Category Archives: Work

Young-at-Heart Human Resource Seeks Work

What kind of term is Human Resources anyway? Doesn’t it evoke images of exploitation? Fine, if that’s what you call employees, I’m a human resource—a good one—but it doesn’t matter how reliable, ethical, or conscientious I am, I wouldn’t fit into your corporate culture.

I’m not a social-media addict, but if you hired me, you’d have an employee who comes to work every day, on time, who isn’t a slave to a smartphone. It’s true I would be ignorant of knowing who’s stuck in traffic or how last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy ended. I know these current events are important, but I’d prefer to focus on the work.

My unpopular methods of communicating include speaking and writing articulately and having a lifelong understanding of the apostrophe. This isn’t really considered a skill anymore, but I don’t think I could shake the habit. I promise not to mention the numerous and rather obvious mistakes on your company’s website.

If you land on my blog you’ll find opinions. Maybe you won’t agree with them, so I have to worry about that too. I’ve considered deleting the blog but people come for the pictures—local culture good and bad, cars, animals, birds, insects, plants—I see my work all over Pinterest. Organizations write me for permission to use photos or drawings in a design or on a catalog cover. Maybe this is the way I’ll live on. And all of those spirited, expressive comments! Delete would be a hard button to press. And even if I did, you’d be suspicious of a person not on Facebook.

I don’t expect a fat paycheck and I’m not after anyone’s job. I don’t gossip or discuss my personal business at work. I’m appreciative of being given a chance to be a productive employee and for that you get my enthusiasm and loyalty. I’m a fast learner if you’re clear about what you want. But you’ll never know any of this because I’m screened out as a ‘mismatch’ from the start.

Although age discrimination is illegal, you are young enough to be my daughter and this makes you uncomfortable. You may not be allowed to outright ask my date of birth (many applications do though), but it will be clear from my resume I’m not a kid. You personally vilify the idea of discrimination in any form, and you have strong beliefs about the importance of equality for everyone, but the grim statistics pointing to the masses of unemployed people over 50 prove how selective your concept of discrimination really is. Most of us are completely disillusioned—for all the wasted human resources of our generation—and for you, too. When you’re our age, provided we still have anything resembling an economy, you’ll face the same problems (sorry, challenges).

Anyway, I’m looking for a job. Someplace with no HR department, obviously. A small or medium business where you talk to the owner or manager—you know, real people. I’m flexible and have excellent references. I’m self-employed, which means being energetically resourceful in several fields, but the demands of the physical work I do are wearing down overused body parts. So, can I help you without losing my identity?

Out-Of-My-League Fatigue

I’ve been working on an assignment for the past year that requires reading massive amounts of text. I search for new words, senses, usage, or terminology on specific subjects, and when found, record the citation. Sometimes I’m assigned reading, and some subjects are covered by other readers, but in general I’m on my own. The point of the job is collecting ‘evidence,’ or instances of our language evolving in ways that may or may not mainstream. The citations are entered into a database that helps create testimony to the year the term first began appearing in print. No one can predict what terms are passing trends and which ones may someday become very relevant. A good example is the ‘prepper’ movement. A few years ago most people had never heard of a ‘bug-out bag,’ now, this 72-hour survival kit seems almost essential.

My favorite reading is magazines or books about subcultures, which could be anything. Mixed martial arts, extreme skydiving, low-riders, scrapbooking—even meth addiction—all have their own vocabulary. I’m always on the lookout for new or used magazines on subjects that may not have full coverage in a dictionary (who knew bull riding had such a devoted following?). The citations have to exist in print (rather than solely online) so they can be documented. It’s not my job to have an opinion on the reading material—but since there’s so little in the world I feel neutral about…

My least favorite magazines are the plush glossies catering to pursuit of the good life. These upscale manifestos extol food cruises, guided adventure tours, $5000 bicycles, BMWs. Full-page ads hawk plastic-surgery centers and financial advisors. They’re selling a fantasy that most folks can never have. Or can they? I’m so far removed from luxury that I’m bewildered by anyone who’s not in debt—but somebody’s buying this stuff. Who are you people?

Upscale cooking magazines are the most distasteful to me. Though they serve their purpose as sources for new food words, haute cuisine is to me the most boring, smug, and unappealing subject in the world. (You know why these meals are ‘fast’? Because they’re raw.) My diet is so simple it’s hard for me to understand the histrionics behind an out-of-season tomato.

salmon-donburi-620x500

From the time on Star Trek when Neelix had to serve dinner to the visiting Romulan dignitaries? Nope. Photo from Bon Appetit.

Today, the most popular cuisine is Asian and Latin American, so it’s assumed everyone wants their food at least 100K on the Scoville scale. Restaurant reviews have titles like Go for the Burn and key words are fiery, blistering, blazing, scorching, tongue-searing, combustible, code red. Begin your dinner with a jalapeño gimlet or Grey Goose martini with serrano chile and finish with Sichuan pepper ice cream and a chipotle latte. I feel like the only person in the world who just doesn’t get off on swallowing lava. But what do I know—I  was raised on fifty shades of cabbage.

Recipes center on beef, pork, or sea creatures. What goes unmentioned is overfishing, inhumane slaughterhouse practices, and the ever-expanding environmental destruction caused by the meat industry. Larger than life food-porn, shellacked with glycerin or beaded with Rain-X, has the opposite effect on me than what was intended—rather than inspiring flesh-lust, it makes me a little sick. A bite of meat comes with guilt that’s just not worth the taste. Read a Nature Conservancy right after a Bon Appétit and it’ll happen to you too.

And what’s with the word ‘slurp’? A word that evokes onomatopoeic visions of wet chins and icky sucking noises now cheerfully describes how to eat Asian food. It’s like a slurp-pride movement. Office workers happily slurp their pho ga; try the slurpworthy ginger broth with soba noodles; slurp your way through a brimming bowlful of yukgaejang.  And this: ‘Lush pork and heady broth you can’t stop slurping—it’s no wonder ramen joints are drawing droves of diners, chefs, and everyone on your Instagram feed.’ I’m not exactly sure what an Instagram is but I hope it doesn’t have audio.

 

Artifacts of Madness

I come with a lot of baggage but it ain’t Louis Vuitton. It’s not even the kind with the little wheels. I schlep it around kicking and screaming.

COVERS OF WOMEN’S magazines at the checkout counter:  Drop 2 dress sizes in one week!  Next line:  Chocolate cupcakes to die for! Look inside and see the Ask the Doctor section. I have a large mass growing on the side of my neck. What should I do? Here’s a suggestion—why don’t you go get a big pair of shears and cut it off?

THE NEIGHBORS I have the restraining order against had their water shut off the other day. You can always tell a shut-off compared to a meter reading. Readings are done methodically by street. Shut-offs require the serviceman to wrestle with wrenches and rusted knobs. Next thing I see cop cars racing down the street. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what happened—the serviceman called the cops because the homeowners came out and harassed him. Maybe threatened him, who knows. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen to some poor schmuck trying to do his job. They need to start hiring tough guys, like repo-men, to shut off deadbeats’ water.

SERIAL LIKERS: I will never click on your blog. I have disabled ‘likes’ from my posts but there is no way to disable them from the reader feeds. But your robo-likes will no longer show up on my blog. Here’s an idea: why don’t you try writing something? I’ve clicked on a few serial likers’ blogs and found hundreds of comments on their About pages. I thought, wow, they must be good. But this is what you see:

Thank you for liking my post!
Thank you for liking my post! I’ll be back!
Thank you for liking my post! You rock!
Thank you for liking my post! I’m following you now!
etc., etc., blah blah blah

Please go do your part to keep Facebook shallow.

RECENTLY AN ACQUAINTANCE told me I need to kiss more ass if I want to be successful. He said it was part of the job. Sorry but I can’t do that. He said, fine, but are you happy? Uh, like kissing ass is going to make me happy?

Every now and then I put an ad in the paper advertising my housecleaning service. And every time, I dread answering calls because the cheapest people in the U.S. live in Arizona. They’re used to cut-rate labor and have no clue what a really clean house is, performed by an ethical person. I think of each cleaning job as a work of art that I sign my name to. Last week I placed a completely different kind of ad entitled Not Like Other Housecleaners. This time I wrote what my requirements are, and included a minimum price. I can only do one house per day. It was a little snippy but I’m sick to death of retired people following me around like I’m going to steal something,  interrupting me, asking me are you almost done? and forcing me to listen to CNN. It’s oppressive and I can’t do it anymore. Well damned if I haven’t been getting calls all week from really nice working people. I don’t have to fear returning calls, they already read the ad. I don’t know what the moral of this story is—maybe don’t kiss ass, it’s not worth your self-respect.

A bathroom I was asked to clean. I passed. I have cleaned for people who treated me like scum—lucky for them, I don’t name names. I did laundry for a local couple who were very nasty to me. If I showed the pictures of their laundry (which I had to pick up with rubber gloves and a stick), you would get sick. But not as sick as I.

A keyboard at a jobsite.

What I find on my front lawn in the morning. Gosh, I’m so glad they switched to Bud Light. Even f*cking a**holes need to watch their waistlines!

A neighbor’s yard.

A friend’s garage.

You don’t have to have doors or hoods on your cars here.

Only in B*sb**. 

This newspaper, from a very liberal city we visited in the Pacific Northwest, tossed around the word ‘anarchy’ like it’s The Big Solution. A tidy, anti-gun city  with mowed lawns, no litter, no smoking, and thousands of conformist students all with the same unkempt look, all on their phones. How do they know what anarchy is? They should come down here to the border to see it in actual use. First thing they’d do if someone threatened them is call the cops. Then they’d run back home to their mamas.

Look at the bottom line on the bus. Religion OR reality? I don’t get it. Are they saying people need to make a choice, pick one or the other? What kind of message is that?

A Smokin’ Cover Letter

lividia.lapsus@chronic.com
8/20/12  4:20 p.m.

Dear Mr. DeStickler,

I am writhing to applify for the poofreader position you have adversitized in Obscure Jobs Monthly. I overstand you seek a detailed person—I pay acension to many details and would be happy to provoke you with a list. The requireships for this deployment and my commandeering use of linguage are a perfect match.

Let me be a blunt. I am very dispendable and pried myself on being resluts-oriented. I am self-deficient and dipsomatic with a divisive backgrowned in fending misteaks. I aslo have execrable communicable skills, deadication, and always finish what I star

My bong-term experience in the wirting world has taught me how impotent it is to be articular in educationable pubications.

I look to forwarding an intervention with you soon.

Sincerably yours,

Lividia Lapsus

____________________________________________________

lividia.lapsus@chronic.com
8/20/12  4:25 p.m.

Dear Mr. DeStickler,

I just relized I flailed to detach my resume. I am currently quality control manger at a despinrady in Arizona. I mean dinspedary, no that’s not right…depinsnary? Wait, dispensary. See how I checked the spelling? Dude please. I need a new job.

Thank you in advants for your consinderation.

Lividia

The Last of the Huachucas

I cannot begin to describe the dread in which I witnessed the smoke pouring from the valley west of Coronado National Park this afternoon. I first noticed it at a cleaning job, refused to believe my eyes, but watched in horror as it rose thicker and faster as the day wore on. Cochise County Sheriff’s Dept. reports it started on the Mexican side and quickly jumped the border. The US Forest Service based at Ft. Huachuca has already dispatched air tankers with fire retardant. You can still see great white accumulations of the last year’s slurry all over the mountains—it looks like snow but doesn’t go away.

Last year’s Monument Fire burned 30,000 acres along with homes, businesses, and historical buildings  before masses of firefighters were able to contain it. It took a month.

On top of this, the Great Reconciliation I recently enjoyed with a family member has fallen flat on its face. I came home today to a true-colors email I should have expected. When oh when will I learn to trust my instincts, as I have been doing all my life. If something sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it isn’t.

Guess I picked the wrong day to quit smoking.

New forest fire started this morning around 11 am, taken from customer’s house.

New fire started today, May 8th, as seen from Rt. 92 in Sierra Vista.

School Canyon fire, near Parker Lake west of the Huachucas May 8, 2012. Note the devastation and dead trees in the foreground that will remain for many years from last year’s Monument fire.

Small Mercies

I’m on a mission, one that keeps me from self-destruction. Each of us in our own spheres of influence have the power to do good. It might not seem like much in the grand scheme, but collectively it matters. Maybe our presence will prevent someone from doing harm. The world is already so warped by meanness the least I can do is stand my ground—if nothing more than to spite the next bully who comes along.

More Verbal Entropy: These portmanteau words are driving me crazy. OK so it’s fun to think of a blend of two words to express a concept. Sometimes you luck out and find two words that roll easily off the tongue or are clever. What’s creepy is how ubiquitous this trend is, kept alive through the vast internet. Here are some we didn’t need: dramality, flexitarian, jealousify, listicle, mirthquake, swacket, undoplasty, welebrity. Worth a giggle if you thought it up yourself, but there is nothing new here, just bland pop culture mistaken for originality. I’ll bet most people who love words make up their own anyway. Here’s one I just thought of…it’s true we live in a mediocracy, but it’s powered by the mediacracy!

Then there’s disemvoweling which evolved from texting, forums, etc. You know it’s a major trend when Madonna puts out an album called MDNA and we all know what it means (though the ‘a’ remains, disemvoweling normally strikes vowels only). There are even apps to help you spell words wrong. I guess we should be happy that texting drivers skip the vowels, but it’s just one more trend contributing to modern-day illiteracy. However, the word disemvoweling itself is an expressive and useful word. Another newish word that fulfills a need is petrichor. The eloquent definition for this glossy word from OUP is “the pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. Origin: A blend of petro- ‘relating to rocks’ (the smell is believed to be caused by a liquid mixture of organic compounds that collects in the ground) and ichor.” I can’t wait to use this word word when monsoon starts, because who doesn’t love that magical earthy smell.

Search engine term of the month: Search engine terms are bizarre and sometimes repulsive. When I write about pitbull abuse, I get hits looking for how to abuse a dog so it will fight. It’s a depressing way to learn about depravity. A few months ago I posted some photos of a vintage fridge-sink-stovetop unit from the fifties, and this month’s most revealing search term was “sex with appliencs.” Yeah dude, come on over to Find an Outlet for some spicy appliance porn. I’ll show you how to cut a glory hole in the back of a stove, because nothing screams orgasm like 220 volts.

Politics. Ugh. The bumper sticker below sums up exactly how many of us feel. We long for sane leadership but don’t see anyone who is in touch with real life. Six months ago we were confronted with the world population reaching 7 billion—millions of articles addressed it and suggested strategies. Now the biggest issue raging in Republican politics is contraception? How can this be happening? Is the media pushing this to alienate the candidates? It’s working, they’re turning women away in droves. For god’s sake give free birth control to anyone who wants it in the world—instead of aid, send birth control. Think of it as a low-cost contribution to saving the planet before it reaches the 8 billion projected for 2025 (if we’re still here). Do they think people (especially kids) are going to abstain—are they kidding? Anything but.

Some states force insurance companies pay out enormous sums for fertility treatments, and there are movements to lobby the government to pay if you’re not covered. Taxpayers have funded $240 million through Medicare during the last decade for penis pumps for old men—is that okay?  This is not a time to spotlight personal religious beliefs while solid plans for our country’s (and planet’s) future remain hazy. More and more people say they may not vote at all, and that might include me. I absolutely cannot support Obama, but neither can I vote for someone who is so misogynistic that they would deny abortion in case of rape. If this happens, expect protests that will make the Occupiers look like kittens. I really, really want a generator.

Instead of uniting all us Demoblicans and Republicats, they are dividing us into two nasty camps like never before, leaving millions of Americans disgusted. It’s exactly what won’t work.

Bumper sticker displayed by someone who probably won't vote.

Why. Why can’t people proofread. Would you get your new tat done here? Remember that song by Offspring?
"Now he's getting a tattoo yeah, he's getting ink done
He asks for a 13, but they drew a 31!"

There's a joke here about the pervasive plastic bags stuck to prickly pears and everything else—it's the state flower of Arizona.

The barren Huachucas are a stark contrast to the cottonwoods greening up along the San Pedro River. We hope the recent snow helps new life spring from the fire-ravaged mountains.

An amazing old face of someone who looks like she's been through hard times. I'll bet she's got a thing or two to teach us.

Jada, on left, 6 months ago. Jasmine just told her to go lie down and she's pretending she is. If only it lasted longer than 30 seconds.

And here she is now, about a year old. She's now officially the biggest dog of the pack, and I don't think she's done growing. But she's still a work in progress and will be for a while. She's a great new feature of our security system though.

Last year's seed pods and new growth of the scale-like leaves on my favorite southwest tree, the alligator juniper.

Happy little non-killer bee (the plant was full of them) on a gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) doing what they do best.

It's very warm here and everything is either flowering or about to.

Mwahaha! Some people have ridiculous amounts pillows on their beds or sofas, made goofier by all these huge tags sticking out. It's OK to cut them off, really, no one will arrest you! I applied scissors to this one myself. I had to.

We're now boarding two beautiful rescued horses. I'm not doing it for the (nominal) money, nor because I'm in love with horses, though they sure are growing on me. I'm doing it for the neighborhood. People trying to leave are dumping their houses cheap or renting them. The owners of these horses have their home up for sale nearby, and one of the reasons they want to leave is because they were driving back and forth twice a day to a town 28 miles away to board them. Now they're here, minutes away, and I hope the owners won't move, or at least that they won't give their house away for nothing, which is what you have to do to escape. Some of the new people moving in to my neighborhood are real low-rent. We've had the sheriffs out here a couple times in the past month, prompting us to turn our little house into a fortress. And there was a major drug bust here a month or so ago, complete with cops, border patrol, DEA, sniffer dogs, and hazmat suits.

The Month in My Sepulchral World

It’s not that I don’t have much to say, rather too much. Most Americans know that something is very wrong.  I’m so troubled by all of it, and it manifests in avoidant behavior.  At least I’m self-whiny though, and try not to inflict it on others, so I anesthetize with work, books, and Netflix.

‘Uncivilization’ coming soon to a town near you
I’ve been reading about ‘preppers,’ millions of Americans who are preparing for the worst.  There are over a million hits for advice, a disturbing gauge of our anxiety as a nation. Preppers believe America is headed for a social, environmental, or financial meltdown. They’re buying generators and storing food, similar to survivalists but they don’t live in the wilds of Montana, they live in the cities and suburbs of America. If I could afford it I’d do the same—every day the news warns us of major upheaval.  Here on the border many folks say your best investment is ammo. Can’t say I disagree.

The CruelPhone5
All this news about iPhones manufactured in China under wretched conditions, and they blame it all on the insatiable Americans. I don’t know one person who could afford a $700 phone. If they didn’t hype these phones, wouldn’t people be content with the amazing phones they already have? Apple has a million reasons for making them in China, many of them absurd. In the end it always comes down to the greedy Americans who won’t work for $17 a day and live in dorms with 20 people sleeping in one room. There’s a high rate of suicide among Chinese workers, so the company sprang into action and installed nets along stairways so they can’t jump off the buildings. Thanks Foxconn and Apple, your compassion is heartwarming.

Yummy!
I was going to make a joke about the word pizzle (steer or other animal penis) and offal (entrails of butchered animals) but I discovered that steer pizzles are a popular dog chew, prepared by stretching, twisting and drying the organ. Here are some quotes from sites that sell them:

♦  The rich flavor and crunchy texture keeps dogs chewing for hours!
  The first time I had Coco sniff one her eyes got big and tail wagged and
she’s been nuts for them since!
  Pizzle stick blowout! ValueBull Jumbo 20% off!

I read further and found many recipes for pizzle and other entrails. One recipe said  first, slice the pizzle open along its length and remove the urethra. That might make your stomach lurch but if an animal has given us its life, the least we can do is eat all of it. What I can’t stand is animals like seals being killed to make powdered pizzle, as well as other species nearing extinction because some cultures believe their horns or other body parts will do everything from increasing virility to warding off evil. Chemical tests show the body parts have no medicinal effect—the pizzle I guess just tastes good.

Boyfriend Story (sorry, the drivel made me do it!)
I dated this baker once, Bob “Shortcake” Pizzelle.  Little guy, looked like a breadstick. He was flaky though, and had this constant glazed look. He kept promising to whisk me away but it was always some half-baked scheme—we weren’t exactly rolling in dough. He was crusty about it and we had a big fight. When he called me an old baguette I had to batter him and insert into a preheated oven. He was pretty mad even though I deliberately undercooked him. As I walked out I heard him whimper, ‘don’t leave, I knead you!’ Forget it, you crumb, this little tart is done.

Insight and Faith
My philosophy has always been to carry on no matter what. Two extraordinary  friends have inspired me recently, their convictions more powerful than any new-age notion promising to autotune your life in five easy steps. It doesn’t work that way. One friend, devastated after just losing her job of 15 years writes:
My circumstances may change greatly, but I’m more than mere circumstances, and knowing that will be my saving grace.

My other friend sent this:
I-91, somewhere between Nowhere and Not Much
Infinite stars on a fine night to ride with a thousand wishes
May we still have the faith to make wishes, and the focus and fortune to be led by their light.

Thank you both for inspiring me, and to all who continue to fight the good fight.

I usually hate all pictures of myself, but I like this one. We met some people on the shooting range who invited us home. We sat around their tiny trailer and drank beer and talked for hours. Look—they even gave me a glass. Barely visible is my .327 Taurus revolver on my hip. When I got my CCW I had to go back a couple times because they couldn’t get clear fingerprints. The sheriff’s department explained that the chemicals I use to clean houses has worn away my prints—it happens. We believe that the right to bear arms is about protecting ourselves from both crime AND the government.

Old wood and rubber wheel in their yard. It was attached to some strange metal thing, like part of a train. We can’t date this or determine whether it was a wooden wheel ‘modernized’ with rubber, or if it was built this way. If you know, please tell me. Note the cut-line in the wooden rim, we think this is how they adjusted the wheel.

The trailer we visited—Arizona livin’ on the cheap.

Taking a Mental Shower

A friend from a past life contacted me a few days ago. Catching up with old friends means honestly assessing yourself to report your standing in life. It forces us to confront head-on how the choices we make cast us in circumstances we never dreamed of.  I spend so much time agonizing over work, politics, world news, and Very Bad People that I often fail to see the beauty in the world. It didn’t take me long to realize that my self-appraisal revealed much more umbrage than peace, more plague than pleasure, more condemnation than concord.

As Darwin said: it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. So I looked for beauty, but no week would be complete without the sliding scale of angst. And where I land on that scale depends only on me.

We’re having some beautiful dark rainy days. This powerful sculpture was done by a local artist I have met and was impressed by. I don’t know if this metal female warrior is from mythology or the artist’s mind—but it’s absolutely stunning and even more so in the rain.

This is another part of the metal sculpture above. These figures perch high on a wall around a mountainside home. Spectacular.

These beautiful angel figures were made by Ben Dale who made the warrior figures above. The owner of this house commissioned this after 9/11. Note she flies the American flag, something we see little of here. It was raining when I took this picture.

Strange modified bus parked on Erie Street. I don’t know who owns it or what it’s for, but it’s pretty cool. I don’t know how they drive a bus so low to the ground though.

This hipster art is impressive only because it exists publicly. I don’t know what statement, if any, it’s trying to make.

I guess every town has to have its little Occupy movement. 

The beautiful Mule Mountains in the rain. So far nobody’s burned them down, though there have been a few attempts.

Some musicians playing in St. Elmo’s Bar parking lot a few days ago.

Desolation Row, what I think of every time I pass Coronado Nat’l Park, 30,000 acres burned over the summer. Roads are still closed up there from monsoon mudslide destruction.

I clean a house at the bottom of Carr Canyon, where the firefighters worked to save homes of people who live there. This customer has extensive bird feeders in her yard, and many animals come. This gorgeous little doe comes every day.

Goldfinches on feeder at house on Carr Canyon Road.

Saving the best for last—here’s Maxi, all ready to go for a ride. She truly is too cool for school.

Holiday Unreality

Holidays. Gluttony, waste, forced obligations. Women exhausting themselves to get everything done on time for the great gorge. Millions of dead turkeys whose scraps will not be fed to dogs. I try to work on Thanksgiving if I can. One year I walked into a huge domestic dispute where the wife really didn’t want to go to her in-laws’ house. I had to go sit outside until they left. The spectacle called black Friday made me embarrassed for America, and that doesn’t happen often. Well there is Facebook, but that’s not just us anymore.

I need work. An acquaintance said, why don’t you make flyers offering housecleaning gift certificates? I said, that’s a great idea. She said, make sure you write Keep Your Dollars in America this Year! I said, I can’t say that, people here will get all offended. But consider not only giving work to people who pay taxes here, but also not detonating your credit card with crap made in China, or anywhere else but the US, the same crap people fought over on black Friday. Ugh. I hate that it even has a name and I refuse to capitalize “black” because that gives it credibility as a marketing tactic to make people crazy. This whole season from Thanksgiving to Christmas can go take a sleigh ride to Psychoville.

Our friend Hogan (Hoarder of History) appears to be levitating over carburetor of '71 Ford pickup. Hogan is a person to be thankful for.

She’s a handful is a typical euphemism for little girls who are consistently naughty. Jada, now 7 months, has gained 10 pounds and an attitude. She’s the kind of beautiful dog who gets adopted from a pound, then returned because she’s a project you have to stick with.  She’s soft and cuddly and loving, I hold her in my lap and she snuggles closer and closer into my neck. But keeping her from constantly jumping on everything and everybody is work. Paws on counters, stepping on my heels every time I walk somewhere in the house or outside, annoying the other dogs and cats, still not housebroken. Did I mention the jumping? She and Blitz are playmates but sometimes he hides from her and I have to watch she doesn’t get too rough—those puppy teeth are sharp and plentiful. I am committed to turning her into a respectable member of the pack.  This wild creature will be mine.

Blitz transforms into a wolverine when playing with Jada

I tell Jada, stop being such a baby and grow up!

Jada in a rare quiet moment (it didn't last). Who could resist this face?

Debra on Dogshit: Seven dogs. 14 piles of dogshit a day, 98 piles a week, 392 piles a month. The dogshit goes into plastic grocery bags and is eventually taken to the dump. My partner has never been seen picking up anything that came out of either end of a dog or cat. I went to NY for 8 days last year for a dictionary project and he claims he “took care of” the catbox. I know damn well he filled it up to the top with clean litter then shoveled it out once, the night I got home.

Here are some recent random pics of local interesting stuff…

Weird old combination stove, sink, and fridge seen at Hogan's

I had to look it up. Here's a classic ad for the 1952 General Fridge, Sink & Stove, same model as Hogan has. Look at that babe---as if! Sex sold appliances in 1952 same as now.

Two nice cats in a customer's yard

I became obsessed with making a celestial-themed quilt a few years ago. I just dug out the materials to finish it. I have to sew the batting and the backing, but we don't always finish what we start because every project has a passion tipping point, yes?

I hand-sewed each square, using a basic 8-point quilting star pattern. The fun was designing and making the top, not all this machine-sewing stuff at the end!

One last pedantic harangue: I recoil when adults refer to their parents as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad.’ Up to about adolescence, it’s acceptable to refer to them as “my mom” or “my dad.” After that, it should be ‘my mother’ or ‘my father.’ ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ should only be used among siblings. When an adult who is not related to me says “Mom used to hit me with a ruler,” I cringe. Why not be correct and say “My mother used to hit me with a ruler.” Just sayin’.

The Week in My Infotoxic World 11-8-11

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The Information Abuse Superhighway

Are you as afraid to look at your homepage as I am? Is the entire planet contaminated by a rapidly spreading virus composed of computer-enhanced human ignorance? There’s a sense of malaise around the internet, with some bloggers questioning what we’re doing here. Part of the helplessness many of us feel is a side effect of the filter bubble, an algorithm-driven defilement used by major search engines to collect and control every one of our keystrokes. Google keeps harassing me to “customize” my news, so I can skip those offensive alternative viewpoints. Quite a change from the “fair and balanced news” MSM boasted just ten years ago.  Controlling our exposure to information serves to isolate both sides and is deadly to human development. It’s one of the worst things to come out of technology, period. A nanny Internet goes a step further than a nanny government, it paralyzes our minds. We don’t know where to turn for truth, for hope, or for compromise.

The infection is also spread by Smartphones and Twitter and laptops. I just read a reasonable post by a successful person on a subject that interested me—but his ever-constant Twitter feed displays a much less relatable, and less interesting, persona. Why do I need to see personal minute-by-minute updates when I came to read an essay? He was heading down to the Occupy protest in his city. I was going to comment. Discuss. Interact. Now, I’m not. I’m Occupied-out and not impressed.

Nowadays I read my home page for one reason: in the morning to find out if we’re going to make it through the day, and in the evening to see if we’ve made it through the day. How close to me are the quakes, floods, fires, bombs…how close are the US mobs defecating on American flags, how close to my home on the border is the latest drug-cartel slaughter. I’m afraid to even click on a link on my homepage, because it changes what I see on my homepage within minutes. It’s literally useless.

Many live in filter bubbles of their own making, it’s so very obvious and easy to see in a certain area of the town I live in. The personalized info-smog makes it a snap to remain unchallenged by creating a world of denial. I don’t want to choose sides and then have propaganda shoved down my throat. Fight the filter bubble by choosing what you read yourself. Don’t let search engines decide for you.

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I’m irritated with academic-types this week because they manage to plant  snide snippets of their political views into venues where they have no business doing so. In no way should any reference book reflect the personal, especially political, opinion of its contributors. It should not be tolerated but it is, it is. I have little recourse but to resort to negative fantasy…

The Professors

Two English professors were co-writing a scholarly paper regarding the etymologies of words describing difficult people. They passed the manuscript back and forth with notes attached through interoffice mail.

The professors began arguing over the word ‘stubborn,’ whose uncertain origins date back to the 14th century. The first professor called the second professor an ‘obstinate oaf’ to which the second retorted ‘recalcitrant rube.’ The notes began to get ugly. The second professor’s temper finally got the better of him. ‘I will not tolerate such pertinacious disrespect!’ he gasped as he marched into the first professor’s lovely walnut-paneled office and stabbed him through the heart with a medieval dagger.

Well, so much for the old saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’!