Monday, December 26, 2011

What Is It With Sneakers?

The re-release of the Air Jordan sneakers and the chaos across the country last week on people stampeding to buy them is baffling to me. Of course spending $180 on a pair of sneakers is equally baffling to me as well. Sorry, I just don't get it.

But these incidents of fighting, stabbings, gunfire, and arrests over a pair of shoes did remind me of something I've always wondered about. Working in a mall setting can be interesting at times, especially a mall with a lot of shoe stores. The store I work in is sandwiched between two shoe stores and a shoe store across from us so I see a lot of shoe shoppers.

The one thing that baffles me is young African-American males and their shoe fetish, so to speak. They buy a lot of sneakers. It's not uncommon to see them leaving a store with several pairs of sneakers at a time. Many of them will sit on a bench in front of our store after purchasing new sneakers, remove what appears to be new sneakers from their feet, then proceed to debate which pair of new shoes they just purchased are worthy of wearing out of the mall. It's equally baffling and comical to me to watch this process. They seem to take this process very seriously though.

I assume sneakers are some type of status symbol. One I don't understand, especially since the shoes they came into the mall wearing look fine to me and not in need of replacement.

I dunno.

Maybe young white guys have a fetish of some sort I just haven't noticed. It doesn't appear to be sneakers though. Perhaps it's video games?


Maybe I'm just getting old and it's just something I'm not ever going to understand. Just seems like such a waste of money to me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sometimes Big Brother Needs To Be Watching

In August of 2010 a fatal accident occurred in Missouri killing two people and injuring dozens of others. A teenager was texting while driving and slammed into a semi- truck and two school buses then piled into this wreckage as well.

I was reading a recent news article where the kids of a school in Missouri now have vowed not to use cell phones when behind the wheel of a car since losing a classmate due to this accident. Chalk one up to common sense.

Then I started reading through some of the comments to this news article. Some of the most ignorant people on the planet decided to weigh in with their opinions on this article. There has been a lot of debate about banning the use of cell phones in cars. I'm not sure what there is to debate about though. Common sense should dictate that a driver should be driving, not texting. There are enough distractions to worry about while driving without having to worry about someone on a cell phone.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. Too many people don't see it that way though. Naturally cell phone usage isn't the only distraction that causes accidents. Drunk drivers, people putting on make-up, reading while driving, etc... all cause accidents. Too few people think about the actual responsibility and power they have when behind the wheel of a car. Their actions cannot only affect themselves but anyone else on the road around them, sometimes with fatal results. It's truly a lack of common sense and act of selfishness on their part.

Getting back to this news article and the comments. Most of the people responding feel texting is alright while driving and many of these people claim they have mastered this act well enough that they're not a danger when driving. They rail that "Big Brother" has enough laws in place and they don't see the necessity of more laws banning cell phone use in cars.

Personally I agree that it's a shame that "Big Brother" has to enact laws when common sense should dictate that it's just pure stupidity to text and drive. Since so many people possess little to no common sense "Big Brother" has to enact laws in an attempt to protect other drivers from the morons. This also protects the morons as well.

The trouble I have with the laws being proposed is that the punishment isn't harsh enough, nor is law enforcement enforcing current laws well enough as it is. (The same thing can be said about drunk driving laws as well.) Texting and drunk driving both impair your ability to drive, period. The fines and the "slap on the wrists" that are currently in place aren't enough of a deterrent. Loss of driving privileges for a significant time need to be the punishment, with the possibility of house arrest and electronic monitoring to ensure offenders won't/can't drive while being suspended. Honestly I see no other way to deter this because too many people are too damn stupid to obey the law without a harsh punishment.

With the current laws and enforcement of said laws we wait until someone dies before a harsh punishment is handed down, or considered for that matter. A lot of good that does the person who died though because of irresponsible behavior of people with no common sense.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sometimes Stupid People Are Incredibly Close To Home

I had a post in mind for today about a stupid person. I thought about it off and on yesterday and had myself convinced to do it.

Even the best of plans change though. Oh, I'm going to write about a stupid person today, just not about the one I was thinking about yesterday. This one is all about me.

I'm a smoker. A smoker who lives in a smoke free building, which is alright with me. The building wasn't always a smoke free building but since the rebuild from the tornado of last spring it became one. Since I had to virtually replace all of my furnishings lost in the tornado I was all for a smoke free building. I figured since I had all new furniture there was no sense smoking inside and having the furniture smell like an ashtray.

I'm also an early riser in the morning for the most part. Sleeping until 5 am would be considered sleeping in for me and I'm often awake at around 4 am, or earlier, such as the case today. I crack open a Diet Coke for a little caffeine and then decide to slip out the patio door for a cigarette.

So far no problem.

45 minutes later I decide another cigarette would be a great idea. When I slipped out the patio doors earlier it was a bit chilly out, with a breeze blowing directly at me, and drizzling. I decided I should go outside one of the apartment building main entrances for this cigarette to stay out of the breeze and rain. A logical decision I thought on my part.

So that's what I did. I grabbed my lighter and a cigarette and headed out. As the door to the building clicked, and I mean audibly clicked, shut behind me panic set in. I was standing outside with nothing more than a cigarette and a lighter and no means to get back into the building at a little after 4:30 am. As I stood there smoking I contemplated my situation. I wasn't happy.

This building has a total of 24 apartments with only 6 of them occupied as of now. It's been slow filling up as it reopened apparently. I knew one person well though and her apartment was on the first floor and close to this exit. So I spent the next 45 minutes or so wandering around the building hoping to see a light on in one of the apartments that was occupied. Finally I saw a light, and in the apartment of a lady I've known for 7 years.

I went to her patio doors and knocked quietly and she heard the knock.

I was saved!!

And then not so much. I could see through the blinds that she was moving about her apartment, but not toward the patio doors.

Have I mentioned yet that the drizzle had turned into a steady rain as well? Yeah, my luck pretty much sucked this morning. But, it was going to get worse.

After knocking on her patio doors a few times and getting no result I commenced wandering around the building looking for another light on and another savior. No luck there.

A car then pulls into the parking lot on the other side of the building and I sprint around to that side thinking someone is finally home and I'm going to get into the building. It was the police, responding to a call from the lady I know, to an intruder at the building.

I've got to correct that sprint thing used in the previous paragraph. At my age a fast walk is considered a sprint. It's hell to get old.

I walk up to the police car and the first thing he asks for is some identification. Showing him my lighter didn't impress him much. I'm soaking wet, chilled, and a bad case of bed head matted down. To say the cop was skeptical of my claims of actually living in the building would be highly accurate.

The lady I know finally pops her head out her patio doors when she saw the police had arrived. The very first thing she uttered was a question to me. "Did you get woke up by someone trying to break into the building too?"

Um... no, actually. That person was me. I locked myself out of the building and saw you had a light on so I was just hoping to get back inside.

At least she had the decency to verify that I actually lived here and the cop lightened up considerably and I got back into the building. So today's stupid person is actually me. But I'm happily stupid, warmed back up, and in dry clothes so the day is starting to look up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Well, She's Back: Part Four

Hopefully we'll get this last bit of insanity with the Worthless Co-Worker wrapped up today.

(Why yes, I can hear the chants of about time quite clearly.)

We last left off with this piece of drama where the Worthless Co-Worker threw the boss under the bus. She and the district manager went on a 2 1/2 hour journey through the mall where the Worthless Co-Worker aired every grievance imaginable she had in her little demented mind.

They came back into the store where she was all teary-eyed and he was visibly upset. He left saying very little and she was uncharacteristically close mouthed. (Something she never is so I figured she really went to town on her complaints.)

I didn't really need her to say what she complained about though as she had been spouting off for two months about real, and not so real problems in the store.

Initially the district manager bought into everything she complained about. The boss was in hot water. Apparently he had created a hostile work environment in the Worthless Co-Worker's opinion. She complained he, and I for that matter, had been harassing her.

This actually stemmed from her religious beliefs. (Now I'm all for people believing whatever it is when it comes to religion, but in her case she's a loony tune and phony when it comes to being a Christian.) She spouts off all the time about the bible and her beliefs. She's a homophobic bitch as well. As a parent of a gay daughter I quite frankly get tired of hearing how my daughter and all gay people are hell bound. She always starts this nonsense when a gay couple, or I should say, a suspected gay couple in her mind, comes into the store and she doesn't want to work with them. I usually keep my mouth shut because she isn't worth arguing with, but I'd finally had enough of her crap so we pulled a joke on her. While she deserved it, in hindsight the boss got a little too carried away with it.

After one of her diatribes about gay people I told her that we had an upcoming off site sales event in January. An off site event she had to work. I told her we were part of a Rainbow sales show event. This sent her over the edge naturally. The boss picked up on this and went out of his way to talk about this fabricated event every day to her telling her she had no choice in working the event.

This is the main thing the boss was in trouble for, along with her many other complaints. The next week was crazy. Not so much for me as I was mostly a bystander, but for the boss and the Worthless Co-Worker. Conference calls and visits occurred and no one was talking to me about what was going on. Slowly but surely though things were coming out about her litany of complaints though.

I was told by the boss that the district manager was going to talk to me about what was going on, as well as the personnel department, but no one actually did for over a week. I suspect the biggest reason for this was the fact that the district manager dislikes my boss and wants to get rid of him. He bought into everything the Worthless Co-Worker told him. My boss in now on the thinnest of thin ice with the company now. He's basically on a last chance written warning of sorts. Somewhat deservedly so, but not for her litany of fabricated complaints.

Last week the district manager shows up and we're all working. He has a cryptic meeting about following company policies and no grey areas and that this issue is now closed and no more discussion is to take place about it. I was fine with that truth be told because I was tired of the drama. He leaves, the boss leaves a few hours later and it's just me and the Worthless Co-Worker left in the store.

What does she do? She gloats and states how she has the ear of the district manager and how she has control of whether the boss gets to keep his job or not. I told her several times to shut up, but someone like her can't seem to keep her mouth shut. Her aim, by fair means or fowl is to get the boss fired. When I told her people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones she was bewildered. She had never heard that phrase before I guess. When I explained to her that someone who really isn't doing their job complaining about someone else not doing their job is very ironic she went over the edge and spent the next ten minutes screaming at me. I spent the majority of that ten minutes laughing at her.

She threatened to call the district manager and tell him how I was now harassing her which I replied was just fine. She waited until the next day, when I was off, to do so. This was a mistake on her part because now the district manager was forced to actually speak with me about the situation.

I came to work the following day and the boss told me I was supposed to call the district manager. It ended up being quite a heated phone call, mostly on my part. I finally got to hear more specific details about the situation and all I'll say is the Worthless Co-Worker needs to be institutionalized. Her sense of reality is skewed and off the charts. When the conversation ended I believe he was starting to realize just how mentally unstable she is. I think one thing that convinced him of this was the fact I wasn't defending the boss necessarily. Quite frankly he hasn't been doing his job, but he had been making improvements. I stated whether these improvements were enough or not was up to him to decide upon, not I or a mentally unstable Worthless Co-Worker to decide. Especially since the Worthless Co-Worker has a hidden agenda.

I also let him know that by buying into everything the Worthless Co-Worker had told him he had actually hamstrung the boss on doing a part of his job. That being making sure the Worthless Co-Worker did her job. Ever since this charade started she was just getting worse and the boss was treating her with kid gloves because he was scared of losing his job. Something had to give.

The Worthless Co-Worker was off that day and the next day. When she came in she received a call from the district manager. She trotted off to the store room for privacy and was gone for about thirty minutes and when she returned to the sales floor she was once again teary-eyed and upset. She kept her mouth shut for the rest of the day.

The next day however was different. It probably killed her to wait a day to whine. When I got off the phone with the district manager I wasn't positive how much of what I said was believed. That came out on this day though. Apparently he spent the thirty minutes yelling at her and the more she tried defending her demented views and fantasies the angrier he became with her. I was left with the impression now the district manager knows how crazy she is, as well as how lazy my boss is.

Honestly, what I see happening is two people losing their jobs before long. She's bat shit crazy and will self destruct eventually and I'm not sure my boss is going to get his act together enough to maintain his job either. I'm sure it's going to be an interesting ride for awhile though and I'm just going to stay on the sidelines and avoid as much of the bloodshed as possible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Well, She's Back: Part Three

In the previous two posts we've established that the Worthless Co-Worker has been rehired and is as loony tune as ever. Actually I believe she's even more mentally unstable now than when she worked here the first time.

I think everyone knows someone who is mentally unstable, or bat shit crazy if you will. There are some people who actually get more unstable as they age. It's almost like Alzheimer's where a person starts out getting a little forgetful and progressively gets worse. That's the best way to describe her in my mind. The first time she worked here she was a little bit unstable, and now is even more unstable. I just see it getting worse as she gets older.

We also established that my boss is in hot water with his new boss in the last post as well. To some extent this is warranted because he's been allowed to coast and under perform in the past.

The Worthless Co-Worker went through the 30 day probation period on her best behavior. There weren't any signs of the shit storm of a tsunami approaching once she got past this 30 day probationary period. Oh yes, there were signs of loony tune there, but it all related to her personal life, which the boss and I really didn't care about. As a matter of fact we expected that to be the case because that's just her.

In hindsight two and two should have been put together. If she couldn't get along with anyone, and I mean anyone in her family, why was she getting along with us so smoothly during her first 30 days here? This applied to any friends she had. Well, friend any way, I only know of one person who tolerated her who could be classified as a friend to her, and that friendship ended in this time frame as well.

No, we were simply amused by her tales of woe when it came to her family and friend(s). The thinking was "Yup, she's still crazy, but no trouble here, so whatever." It was entertaining in a train wreck, non-lethal way to us.

Once the probationary period ended it all changed. The boss was her main target. She knew his boss disliked him and in her demented mind she thought if he was fired she was the logical choice to replace him. She knew I had no interest, and never have, in being the manager of the store.

All of a sudden when I was working with her, her litany of complaints about the boss grew. As they grew they took on a life of their own, becoming far worse to her than the reality of the situation. While some of her complaints had validity, most were overblown and way out of proportion. When she wasn't receiving a sympathetic ear from me all of a sudden I was a problem to her as well.

When she made a mistake it was always my fault. Most of her assertions were so outlandish I spent most of my time simply alternating between being amused and irritated with her.

She'd ring up a sale using a wrong finance option and it was my fault because I told her it was okay. Never mind I was off the day it occurred, it was still my fault.

She'd screw up inventory when product shipments were received and it was my fault because I told her not to worry about updating the system. (Um, yeah, not so much. The company takes inventory control anally serious.)

She left a product bin outside the gate on the mall floor one night when closing and apparently I once again was at fault because I told her it was okay to do something like that. Never mind that what was actually said by me to her the next day was that this had happened in the past by a previous employee and we were lucky to have nothing stolen overnight. (And seriously, how does one close and lock a gate, kneeling down right next to this product bin by the way, and not realize that maybe you should pull it back into the store prior to locking the gate?)

Naturally she uses these excuses when confronted by the boss and he sees through her absurdity. She then goes off the deep end and declares she doesn't appreciate being called a liar. My response to her is to simply quit lying then and take responsibility for her own actions. As you might have guessed this doesn't go over well either.

One of her biggest complaints about the boss is that he never cleans. True enough. Sadly she thinks she's the only one who does any cleaning though. The truth of the matter is all she does is talk about cleaning and by simply talking about cleaning it suddenly transforms into actual cleaning on her part. I've never seen her do any cleaning, ever. When I pointed out to her that talking about cleaning and actual cleaning are two different things she goes berserk. Bat shit crazy berserk.

If she's not selling well it is the fault of the boss because naturally, in her mind, if he's not doing his job, she can't sell anything. Now I'm willing to concede the boss is lazy, although he's improving because.. well... he has to due to his new boss and his demands. I also know that neither his laziness nor her craziness for that matter, have never inhibited my sales.

There have been many instances of property destruction since she's returned as well. A towel rack in our bathroom has mysteriously been pulled off the wall. One of our phones has had its phone cord damaged and the phone rendered unusable. While it can't be proven she's responsible for the damage, both items, in her mind, didn't work properly and she has wanted them replaced. Since there was nothing wrong with either item they weren't replaced, until damaged of course.

Any way....

Her complaints and whining were falling on deaf ears here. This enraged her, more so than a normal person could ever imagine. The week of Black Friday rolls around and in the retail world this is a huge event. Our district manager decided to show up on Monday of that week when it was just myself and the Worthless Co-Worker working to cover plans and strategy for the week. The day was going well and the Worthless Co-Worker was behaving and acting reasonably sane for a change. Right when the district manager announced he was satisfied with what we were doing and he was leaving she speaks up.

She informs him she needs to speak with him privately and off they go out into the mall and they're gone for over 2 1/2 hours.

And once again, as this post is long enough as it is, the next post will continue this seemingly never ending drama. As you may have guessed she threw the boss, and myself to some extent, under the bus. She came back into the store all teary-eyed...... to be continued.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Well, She's Back: Part Two

Note: Reading the previous post prior to reading this one is recommended.

As mentioned in the previous post my boss has a new boss as of last July. There were many reasons for this change which I'll attempt to layout as follows:

1) We're a profitable store but not growing as fast as the average company store has the past year or two.

2) The previous district manager was too hands off and too far away from us to hold my boss accountable for store operations. He's close to retirement and is just basically on cruise control.

3) (This probably should have been #1) My boss, who is a nice guy, is probably the laziest person I've ever worked for.

4) The fact that we were short handed for the better part of 10 months does fall directly on my bosses shoulders. The lazy factor played a significant role in this.

5) His last hire, before bringing the Worthless Co-Worker back on board, was his brother-in-law who possibly was the nicest guy on the planet. He was probably the dumbest guy on the planet as well and couldn't give product away, much less sell anything. Hiring family is a violation of company policy as well.

6) My boss loves his laptop and always has his head buried in it watching sports on weekends and his head buried in facebook and yahoo games during the week. Naturally this is against company policy.

7) My boss is also a social butterfly who wanders the mall yapping at people in other stores and just generally goofing off rather than doing his job.

I think you guys get the picture by now.

So.... the new district manager:

1) Gung-ho.

2) Asshole, which honestly doesn't bother me much, and is definitely needed at this point.

3) Pretty smart guy, and pegged my boss from the get-go as a slacker.

4) Has zero tolerance for bullshit. (A trait I'm very fond of actually.)

5) Has a strong dislike of my boss.

Unlike our previous district manager who we saw for one day every quarter this guy shows up quite frequently. And usually unannounced, something the previous district manager never did. There's no doubt in my mind he's trying to catch my boss not following policies, and he has caught him at a few things, but nothing that would call for terminating him.

This district manager pretty much knows what is going on and is looking to catch my boss not doing his job. He's talked to people who have worked with my boss in our district in the past and has a pretty clear picture of what is going on.

Back in August this district manager called me 3 times in one week trying to wheedle information out of me about my boss and didn't like my response(s) to his calls. I neither confirmed, nor denied anything he'd heard or thought. I don't like to lie, but also didn't want to throw my boss under the bus. On the 3rd call I blew up at the district manager and told him to get off his ass and get down here and find out for himself what he was asking of me.

Basically my boss has been in hot water since this guy took over. But I can also say he's finally waking up and getting his act together. He's got a ways to go though and I'm not sure he's going to keep his job. It's a shame in one way because he's very capable of running the store if he'd just get off his ass and do it.

Adding insult to injury, so to speak, he hires back the Worthless Co-Worker. Her only redeeming quality is that she sells fairly well. She's also mentally unstable. I chose to describe her as mentally unstable rather than bat shit crazy because a lot of people will say someone is crazy. While I possess no degree in psychology I'm positive she's unstable.

So now the table is set and with the next post I will layout specifics on her actions and antics that is probably going to get my boss, and herself, fired before this circus act is over.

Stay tuned.... and stuff. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Well, She's Back

As many some a few of you may remember we lost the Worthless Co-Worker in November of last year to true love..... or so she thought any way.

She ran off to Israel with this guy she met on the internet to get married in some type of old fashioned Jewish wedding. (Never mind that neither of them were Jewish.)  They met in person for the first time at Thanksgiving last year and a week later flew off for this wedding extravaganza in Israel.

Apparently they ran out of money and somehow decided that maybe a wedding was a bad idea as well. So back home they came and she moved to New Mexico to live with him. That lasted about three weeks and he threw her out declaring "she was the devil." She then moved in with a friend she met down there, which apparently didn't go so well either.

The only things she owned at the time were her clothes and an old car as she sold all of her worldly goods to run off to Israel to get married. So here she was broke, jobless, and not really too welcome in New Mexico last winter and spring.

In the mean time, we were short handed at work, for a comically long period of time. From November of last year until August of this year as a matter of fact. Oh we were able to get a few people hired but they never lasted more than a few weeks. (One of them lasted a total of 3 days.)

Last May the Worthless Co-Worker had finally managed to save enough money to get back to Wisconsin for one of her sister's wedding, still planning on returning to New Mexico afterwards for some reason. Again, she ran out of money while back here so she had just a suitcase of clothes with her. The bulk of her clothes and car were back in New Mexico.

She moved into another sister's place and took on some type of door-to-door job. (Selling cable/internet packages I believe on a bike for transportation.)

As an aside, this post is taking a long time to type. I think eating chili for breakfast is having something to do with that. At least it's what I'm going to blame it on. I'd like to also tell you that the chili was mighty tasty and a two bowl event. (Yeah, you might not want to hang out with me later today as it works it way through my system, just saying.)

Any way....

In August she finally had enough money to fly to New Mexico to get her car and clothes. She was gone for about a week to do this and lost her door-to-door job. She failed to mention that she was taking this trip to her employer and they terminated her. She thought this was very unfair of them, naturally.

So here it was August, her unemployed, us short handed. A very bad combination. She convinced the boss, and his new boss, how much she had grown up and she was going to be the consumate team player if she were rehired. Both of them bought into this fantasy.

(You know, now that I've had time to think about it, I've been very unfair in blaming the chili for the length of time this post is taking me to type. I think it may be the fact that I've got to go outside of the building to smoke. I'm pretty sure that's the hindering factor here.)

Where was I any way?


So she was hired. She's been nothing but trouble once the 30 day probation period ended in September. We'll definitely get into more details but more groundwork needs layed. Remember, I mentioned the boss has a new boss himself a few paragraphs ago. That plays a factor in all this as well and since this post is long enough as it is (and you have to recall I like cliffhangers as well) the next post will delve into that.

What? Like that's a surprise? Pfft....

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm Alive: Part Two

As alluded to in my previous post a tornado ruined my day last May. Actually the last 6 months weren't a banner time. I was at work and knew a tornado had touched down and heard about some damage in town, but what I heard about wasn't in the vicinity of where I lived.

As I headed home my dread began to build though. The closer I got to the area I lived, more and more damage was evident. As I turned down the street I lived on there were emergency vehicles everywhere. The closest I could get to my place was two blocks away, but I could see the building. A building with no roof and trees down all over the place.

Amazingly there were no injuries or deaths as there were people in the upper level of the building when the tornado hit. I spent the next couple of days in limbo to the status of my place as it was deemed unsafe to enter the building. Eventually we were allowed in the building to salvage what we could. My losses actually weren't caused by the tornado itself, but by the rain storm that followed.

While I had renter's insurance it was inadequate to cover my losses. Lesson learned the hard way I guess. I never imagined I'd ever need it to tell you the truth. The coverage I had covered about half of what I lost. Sadly, as I talked to other folks who lived in the building, very few of them had any insurance at all.

Oddly enough (and thankfully) my rent was never raised. Actually my rent has never gone up in the 9 plus years I've lived here. The landlord did a super job on the rebuild and the place is very nice. My rent is $165 less per month than any new occupants coming into the building now. I definitely can't complain about that.

I've got all new furniture for the most part, but the place still looks somewhat bare to me. I finally figured out the other day what it was that was making that impression on me. I need more pictures on the walls. Too much blank white spaces, so I've still got some more money to spend over the next few weeks.

Any way.....

It feels good to be home and blogging again. I've got a lot to blabber about, including the infamous Worthless Co-Worker. (Why yes, she's back, and as loony tune as ever.) We'll be getting to that in the near future I assure you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Alive

Greetings.... to anyone who still wanders in here.

What's a six month absence between friends, huh?

Last May, the 22nd to be exact, a tornado ripped through the homestead here and leveled the place.

Fortunately I was at work and missed out on the excitement.


I was temporarily homeless, bunking with my son and his wife while this place was rebuilt. Most household items were lost/damaged. What I was able to salvage was packed away -- mostly electronics. Everything else had to be replaced.

So now I'm home and very happy to be here.

Hopefully I'll be able to get around to your blogs soon. I just wanted to post this quick little post for now.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Shut Up Pakistan

Under normal circumstances a military raid in another country isn't the best option without it being a joint operation, or at least a "heads up" to the country itself.

That's under "normal" circumstances.

Osama bin Laden resided in that Pakistani compound for years. Personally I find it hard to believe there weren't factions in Pakistan who knew, and withheld this information from us. Perhaps it's possible Pakistan didn't know.


Regardless, their complaints are not falling on deaf ears, but not sympathetic ears from my stand point.

If we find out there was Pakistani government or military involvement in hiding him I for one will not call for the United States to quit sending aid to Pakistan.


I suggest a huge "aid package" be delivered, by bombers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remember When....

Remember when you could turn your television off and it didn't draw any electricity?

Or how about making toast in the morning. You popped in the bread, pushed the lever down, the bread toasted, popped up, and the toaster was off.

Or even your microwave?

Now nothing seems to be truly off unless it's unplugged. They have lighted numbers that stay on, or clocks that run continuously, or as in my television the brand name is lit up when the television is turned off.

(Trust me VIZIO, I don't need your name lit up to know what brand you are. You're actually not that impressive of a brand now that I think about it.)

What a waste, and I'm tired of having to unplug, or shut down power strips in an effort to conserve energy. But I'll continue because there is a tangible cost involved. As an experiment I didn't unplug anything, or shut down the power strips to various appliances in March. My electric bill was approximately $12.00 higher, and that's with electric heat, which I'm sure less was used due to February being a colder month than March.

Personally I don't need my microwave to tell me what time it is. I just need the damn thing to heat up whatever slop I've decided to throw down my gullet. I don't need a television to remind me what brand it is, whether on or off, it just needs to provide a viewable screen when I'm actually interested in watching whatever garbage a network is showing.

And my toaster? I'm not blind, so the damn numbers don't need to be lit to see that the toast is under toasted, or burnt. My eyesight and sense of smell are both intact, thank you very much.

I don't even want to get started about the power a shut off, but not powered down computer draws.

This is the type of stuff that keeps me up at night, or at least I blame when I wake up at 4:00 am in the morning. I need to blame something, or someone so today's target is these appliance manufacturers.

But I guess there's always a silver lining, as I'm working a couple of twelve hours days and had I woke up to an alarm I wouldn't have had time to make a blog post. I'm not too sure that balances out the tiredness I'll be experiencing later today though. Damn appliances anyway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

This Place Is A Mess


There's a lot of dust in here and I think I hear crickets chirping.

I dunno, maybe I left the door open or one of you did because this place is a mess.

But I'm back, somewhat.

(Yeah, that "somewhat" even makes me nervous.)

But I am back, just not sure of the frequency of posting as of yet.

I wish I could regale you with tales of the rock star life style I've been living the last couple of months but alas, I have no style, nor rock in my life. (Unless you count a rocking chair.)

No, nothing earth shattering happening here. Just lots of work, which of course can provide some blog fodder. I do have one story about an incident which happened last month where I thought I was in trouble but apparently I can't even manage to get myself in trouble properly at work any more. I'll share that soon.

As some of you know we lost the "Worthless Co-Worker at the end of October, of last year. We're still short handed. It's been a comedy of errors trying to get someone hired. We had a guy hired and he lasted 3 1/2 weeks of February. His girlfriend decided to dump him, so he decided he needed new scenery. As in moving to the other side of the state scenery.

We then hired a guy at the end of March, who lasted all of three days.

The boss and his wife had a baby in early April and he took two weeks of family leave which left me as the only person working for that period of time. He's also planning on taking a week of later this month because they have a timeshare deal which expires this year, so if it isn't used they lose out on some money, or something like that. I think the boss has tried to explain it in more detail but I haven't been too receptive in all honesty. I've just been kind of "meh" in regard to it.

I was actually off today. What did I do? I slept in, until just after 10:00 am. I then debated between  going hungry or grocery shopping. Grocery shopping won out. I then debated between running around naked at work tomorrow or doing a mountain of laundry. Laundry won out, as no one, including me, wants to see me sans clothes. I then took a two hour nap, and now I'm blogging. Just call me Mr. Excitement, huh?


I'm back and I've got to get around to seeing what you guys/gals have been up to. I've missed you. Hopefully you all had a good Easter and here's wishing all you Mom's a great Mother's Day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Hello, It's Been Awhile

I've been neglecting this blog, but not blogging by any means.

I figured my last few posts here have become a little too political and that's not what I set this blog up for.

So I'm on a temporary hiatus of sorts due to the political upheaval here in Wisconsin. I've become involved heavily in the recall efforts of our local Republican elected official to tell you the truth. The current policies of our Governor and state representatives have taken an apathetic citizen (me) and has fired me up.

My blogging has gone 100% political for the time being in another blog.

I will be back with the goof and the incoherency you've become accustomed to again, and hopefully soon.

Just thought I should pop in and explain the (temporary) absence. I certainly hope all is going well in your lives and I'll see you guys/gals again.

I promise, and stuff.

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Open Letter To Governor Scott Walker

Dear Scott,

I've never personally met you so I need to ask if it's okay to call you Scott. I'm assuming so since you took a call from a prankster whom you thought was a buddy of yours named David Koch. Is it okay for an actual constituent of yours to be on a first name basis with you?

Oh hell, let's not get mired down in minor details. It's not like I'm going to offer to fly you out to California for a "good time." Seriously, who would do that?

Oh wait, didn't you enthusiastically accept that same exact offer? If memory serves me correctly that offer was accepted when you agreed to "crush those union bastards" for your (fake) buddy David Koch.

Again, a minor detail.

I'm actually 100% in favor of you getting some face time with David Koch (real or otherwise), and if it's in sunny California, all the better. In my eyes you deserve this reward! I'm actually thankful for your efforts of late.

You've been the best thing to happen to labor and the working class in perhaps decades. You've aroused an apathetic and non-participating group of citizens with your deceit. I can't even claim to be a fan of unions in general, but do believe they have the fundamental right to exist. You've gotten the moderate and independent voters against you now because we know your efforts to end collective bargaining rights isn't a real budget issue. The unions have agreed to your wage and benefit concessions.

The middle class is finally waking up. You've been the catalyst to this awakening. I've never met an over compensated teacher myself, nor one who became rich from the teaching profession.

I know, I know, you don't pay attention to polling numbers which show an overwhelming number of your constituents who believe your wrong. That number is only rising. When you're recalled, along with your 8 Republican buddies, I'm willing to bet you will wish you had paid more attention to the polls and the voters of Wisconsin, despite your recent comments to the contrary.

Will you win this current battle?


But it's one battle and you've laid down a gauntlet and it's not simply one battle. When the dust clears, and it will, you'll be out of a job and the fine and decent people of Wisconsin will  repair the damage you're heaping upon us in the brief tenure you're going to serve dis-serve us. We will emerge much stronger, and quite frankly, you'll deserve some credit for that.

So, thanks for that!


Just Plain Tired

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Lesson In Facts?

I've become a political blogger (of sorts, and of late). Temporarily I hope. The situation in Wisconsin with a governor trying to bust unions under the ruse of budget cuts has me incensed. I'm not personally a big fan of unions but believe it's fundamentally wrong to bust them. (Especially when the unions have agreed to all cuts but the governor still wants to take away collective bargaining rights.)

Twitter has been a source for news and observations on the mess the last few weeks in Madison. I engaged one person who seems to feel unions and teachers are overpaid and a burden on taxpayers.

His original tweet:

 Kevin Cassell 

@ @ What lies? FACT-Taxpayers DO NOT have a seat at CB table but foot the bill. FACT-Unions donate big$ to Dems 

My replies, as the 140 character limit sucks at times:

 No one you know 

@ FACT -- Taxpayers do have a seat at the table, it's called collective bargaining for a reason. 

 No one you know 

@ And since you're so into "FACTS" -- Corporations donate big $ to republicans. 

He didn't respond back right away so I went to bed and when I woke up this morning I did see he did favor me with two responses. Since the 140 character limit doesn't allow for a proper response my responses will be in italics to his here in the blog. Maybe I'll even invite him over to the blog for a lesson in "FACTS."

 Kevin Cassell 

@ Wrong. Politicians & Unions have a seat & disputes are settled by arbitration. The taxpayers don't have a say.

Wrong? Politicians are voted in by the taxpayers to represent them at the collective bargaining table. Is that so hard to understand? Your anger at unions is misplaced and misguided. Your problem is with your elected officials if they're truly over paying teachers with extravagant wages and benefits. (I don't personally know anyone who got rich, or is overpaid as a teacher myself.)

What the taxpayers don't seem to have a say in, in this situation, is the union busting tactics of Gov. Walker. He's forging ahead with vows of no compromise when the majority of taxpayers in WI clearly have stated they support the rights of public workers to collective bargaining. The taxpayers got their wage and benefits cuts demanded of (and agreed to) by the union to help with the state budget woes. Walker has overstepped and doesn't have the majority of the support of the taxpayers to take away collective bargaining rights. He never once campaigned on the issue of union busting. 

 Kevin Cassell 

@ OK - What do corp donations have to do with public unions, taxpayer$, budgets, and spending?  

My first thought is are you serious? Had you stopped your tweet at public unions I'd have had to say nothing, other than most corporations want to end collective bargaining as well.  So nothing isn't entirely true here, in actuality. 

You decided to point out that unions donate money to democrats. While corporations and big business interests donate money to both parties, they overwhelmingly support republicans. That's a "FACT." (The capitalization is for you Kevin, as that seems to be your favorite way to represent the word "FACT.")

Your other points bring up taxpayer $, budgets, and spending. You don't think corporate donations affect those things? A book could be written here on how corporate donations affect all of those things. 

How about corporations and unions both quit donating money to curry favor with politicians at the detriment of the taxpayer. Let's level the playing field. Of course if that were to happen I suspect the unions would probably come out ahead and big business would be one crying and whining bunch. Do some homework Kevin and you'll see the disparity of corporate profits and tax reductions over the last 30 years versus the income gains of the common taxpayer and their tax reductions. It may surprise you to see the disparity. As a note I have nothing against businesses making a profit, even huge profits at that. After all, making a profit is what they're in business to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fox News Once Again Exposed As Incompetent and Biased

Bill O'Reilly and Fox Faux News saw the need to prove the protests in Wisconsin against Gov. Walker and his push to eliminate collective bargaining rights were violent. He presented a video which did show some violence and pushing by protesters. The video also showed palm trees in the background as well. The last I heard it's awfully hard to get palm trees to grow in Madison, WI though. (Gotta love the protesters sense of humor in the above picture to ridicule Fox Faux News and O'Reilly today in Madison.)

Naturally Fox Faux News also doesn't believe in global warming so to pass this off as a true and factual video blows that concept out of the water as well. I guarantee you that no one could argue global warming if Madison had palm trees lining the streets there. I guess they figure it's a fair trade off to lie and malign the protesters and accept global warming as a truth.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Random Observations

1) Rumor had it the Oscar's were awarded last night. I've never watched an Oscar program in the 51 years I've been on this planet. I've just never been able to drum up any interest in this yearly event for some reason. No hate here or dissing, just no interest.

2) Fox Faux News is looking to do an exclusive report on the incivility of the people in Wisconsin protesting the controversial bill to essentially bust unions in Madison the last couple of weeks. It's gotten so out of hand that there hasn't been one arrest. But they have to pander to their uninformed and biased viewers I guess.

3) Has Charlie Sheen made Mel Gibson look like a nice guy after his incoherent ranting of the past week? Now he states that the only way he'll return to the show is if he gets a raise from 1.8 million dollars per episode to 3 million dollars. He figures its it owed to him due to what the show has put him through lately. Delusional antics at its best.

4) Back to the mess in Madison. Gov. Walker wants you to believe that taxpayers are on the hook for state employee pension plans. A blatant lie as the employees contribute 100% to this fund from their own wages. The media hasn't covered this aspect so it's no wonder some people are up in arms over this issue. Quite frankly, the unions have agreed to all wage and benefit cuts proposed by the Governor. What they don't want to lose is collective bargaining rights. Walker refuses to compromise as his ultimate goal is to bust unions to please big business interests and corporations. The pension facts are covered nicely here. And here.

5) Bernie Madoff refers to the U.S. government as a Ponzi scheme. Laughable on one hand. But then when you consider that Madoff is the master of Ponzi schemes perhaps he knows what he's talking about.

6) Taylor Swift seems like a sweet girl and genuinely a nice person. I can't honestly see the singing talent myself but then that may just be me. The one thing I've noticed over the past year, or so, is the number of guys she's been linked with. I'm thinking she's a little too dependent and needy in this area myself. Maybe someone needs to tell her there's nothing wrong with taking a break and being single isn't necessarily a bad thing. But then again thinking that I'm exceedingly happy as a single person doesn't necessarily equate to other people being happy single, even if only temporarily.

7) Gas prices have risen approximately 10% in the last two weeks. Economists have predominantly blamed this on the mess in Libya. I'm having a little trouble with the math on this one. Libya produces 1.8% of the world oil supply and Saudia Arabia has raised their output by 8% to pick up this 1.8% slack. Why the 10% increase in prices at the pump?

8) Did anyone else have a Hershey's candy bar for breakfast today? Didn't think so.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Random Crap

1) I've become obsessed with the weather lately. Every morning when I fire up the computer I check the weather and look for one thing. While most people look for the actual forecast and temperature setting first, that isn't what I'm focused on. What I've been looking at is the sunrise and sunset times and we've finally hit an important milestone. Why it's important to me isn't entirely logical, nor really explainable either.

We've crossed a thresh hold now that there is 11 hours (plus) between sunrise and sunset. Trust me when I say it's important and it makes me feel better. Yesterday disappointed me when I was anticipating getting to this all important milestone only to see we were one minute short. One lousy minute short. I cursed February 25th and it's shortcoming in this area.

2) Toddler speak isn't my forte. Yesterday was my granddaughter babysitting gig day. It's honestly one of the best days of the week for me. She's two-years-old now and is a lot of fun. For the most part she speaks very well and I understand pretty much everything she's saying. Except yesterday. This is what I kept hearing all afternoon yesterday:

"Pa Pa, I want cuckcold."

I never figured out what she wanted. My son got home from work and the first thing out of her mouth to him was "Daddy, I want cuckcold." He asked me if she'd had any chocolate milk that day. When I said no, because I didn't have a clue what she was asking for, he just laughed and got her a glass of "cuckcold milk."

3) Is Charlie Sheen as big a douchebag as I think he is? While I've never watched his sitcom I can only applaud the CBS decision to shut it down. Hopefully they'll move on without him and the other cast and production members of the crew don't suffer too much due to his over sized ego. I'd like to see him and Lindsay Lohan hook up just in the interest in saving two other people from disaster.

4) Glen Beck compared Reformed Judaism to Islamic Extremism, then apologized when he was informed that was blatantly a bad thing. (I say he was informed simply because he's not bright enough to figure out for himself how stupid his commentary was.)

But he'll be just fine as it's Fox Faux News, which really isn't into accurate reporting anyway, and the people who tune into his show are morons of the lowest form who eat up everything that he spews as their Gospel.

5) I think I'm going to go back to bed. Why I decided to wake up at a little after 3:00 am today is a bit baffling. I suspect it had something to do with item #1 though. That's how oddly obsessed I've been with the sunrise/sunset thing lately. But I have to work later today and 3 hours of sleep isn't going to cut it.

Night, night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I've Reached A New Level Of Cool

I think it's time to take a break from blogging about the mess Gov. Walker is making here in Wisconsin. (It's probably only a temporary break though as Walker and his fundamentally wrong stance and union busting tactics have me incensed.)

Last night I was pleasantly surprised when both my kids showed up here. It's a rarity to get them together any more as one is in college and the other has a family of his own now. As we were visiting my son was uncharacteristically quiet. When he finally spoke it was to ask me what I was listening to as I had some music playing in the background. When I told him it was a playlist from YouTube both kids got off the sofa and decided to investigate what the "old man" listens to.

I like various forms of music but have especially embraced (some) symphonic rock as of late. My kids, who consider themselves up on most music trends were completely baffled and impressed with what I had on a particular playlist. They had also never heard of most of the groups/bands as well. This wan't particularly surprising to me as most of these groups were from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc. For some reason their music hasn't really caught on in the U.S., which I've found perplexing myself.


They spent almost an hour checking out my tunes and then I heard my daughter whisper to my son, "Did you ever think Dad was this cool?" His response was no. My response, "I heard that smart ass."

By the time the evening was over both had decided that they've been sadly missing out on some great music and the old man here had certainly surprised them. I think they were used to me playing music from the "80's", the era when I was young enough to be considered "cool." They also like music from that era as well, which makes them "cool" in my eyes.

(Although, disappointingly, they both consider rap a form of music with some merit. Sigh.)

The evening ended and I'm sure by now I've lost a measure of coolness in their eyes though. I mean seriously, who really considers a parent cool for any real length of time?

Below is a couple of examples of what I like and what they seemed to be impressed with as well. Give 'em a play and let me know what you guys think.

Now in all fairness both of my kids like and have heard of Within Temptation. But the group, Sirenia was totally off their radar, as well as a few others on my playlist. The "old man" here felt a little smug at their bafflement and amazement at my musical taste. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Real Koch Sucker

The following is a letter sent to Gov. Scott Walker concerning his phone call from a reporter posing as his biggest corporate supporter in Wisconsin. Just the fact that he was duped by a reporter is enough evidence that he's not the sharpest knife in drawer. The taped call did reveal his real intentions on simply trying to bust unions rather than the baloney he's been spewing about a budget deficit and controlling costs.

The unions have accepted all wage and benefit concessions he wants. He's just simply trying to eliminate collective bargaining with deceit and to please his "big business" partners in crime.

February 23, 2011

Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin State Capitol

Dear Governor Walker,

I am informed that a tape recording has been released in which you apparently held an
extensive discussion with someone you believed to be your campaign supporter, David
Koch.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that the caller was actually a reporter,
pretending to be David Koch, and it has posted a transcript of the recording.  It appears
that you admit the call occurred, and have not contested the authenticity of transcript.
David Koch is the billionaire businessman who reportedly contributed thousands to your
campaign and who the media claims is a key source of funding for shadowy political
groups that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking your political adversaries in
our state.

At a historic moment in our State’s history, brought on by your refusal to compromise
with elected officials regarding the elimination of worker’s rights, you still refuse to talk
with Democratic legislators.  However, you apparently have no problem taking a phone
call from “Mr. Koch” and to:
• Discuss your strategy to lay off public workers to seek partisan advantage to pass
your agenda;
• Discuss your plan to lure Democratic legislators to the Capitol on the pretext of
negotiation, but then state that you would never actually negotiate;
• Discuss your plan to use the pretext of negotiation to get a quorum for legislative
fiscal action that Republicans so far have not been able to do;
• Discuss that you considered the “planting” of paid  troublemakers into the
peaceful protests at our Capitol; and to
• Give your enthusiastic acceptance to an offer from  “Koch” to fly you out on a
vacation to show you a “good time” once you “crush  these bastards.”   Your
response was “That would be outstanding…”

Given that Koch’s businesses could reap vast rewards with the ‘no bid’ sale of the Wisconsin’s power plants that you propose in your budget repair bill, this response is severely troubling.

Governor Walker, this tape would make Richard Nixon blush.  If the recording and the
items discussed by you are indeed your plans, you have no business being in public office
in our State, and should resign.

Tim Carpenter
State Senator

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Can't Keep Stupid At Home

Yesterday was a terrible day weather wise. We alternated between snow, sleet, freezing drizzle, sleet, (which felt like hail beating the hell out of you), back to snow. All of the precipitation that fell upon us hit you from the side as the wind was quite brisk. (Think Forrest Gump as he explained how the rain fell in Vietnam in one scene.)

Naturally it was a work day for me. The mall I work at rarely shuts down for winter weather. Last December when we got nailed with a blizzard that dropped 19 inches of snow on us we had to actually take it upon ourselves to walk out and shut down our store. The mall management refused to shut down until most of the stores closed on their own and walked out, with the threat of being fined by the mall for shutting down without the mall's express permission.

It was laughable when they finally declared that the mall was closing then. The mall was already effectively closed as only five or six stores were actually open when mall management declared the mall was going to close.

While we didn't receive anywhere near the amount of snow yesterday as we did in the December storm, the roads were treacherous. Freezing rain, drizzle, and sleet are more hazardous than snow, as most people know. I also knew there wasn't a chance that the mall would close, or refuse to open for that matter. I wasn't scheduled to be at work until 11:30 am. The storm hit here at about 8:00 am. Knowing the mall wouldn't be closed I grabbed a quick shower and headed out to work. I figured I might as well get to work safely as I knew getting home from work was going to involve much suckage. (And it did.)

I did eat breakfast at the local buffet as it's only a couple of blocks from the mall. I still arrived at work 90 minutes before the mall opened. In the space of 2 hours we had 5 inches of snow on the ground, then the freezing rain, sleet, drizzle hit. It was just plain miserable.

I called the boss and told him to stay home as I was already there. Both he and his wife had to work yesterday and I knew they would have to drag their toddler out to daycare if they both went to work. I figured there was no sense in dragging a little kid out in this weather. Apparently there aren't too many people who think like this though.

We stayed open, naturally. We also did absolutely no business yesterday. Zip and Nada were the words yesterday. Intelligent people stayed off the roads yesterday. Who didn't stay off the roads were teenagers and a few young couples with small children and babies. As I stood at the front of the store I had to step away and back into the store whenever I saw a young couple with a baby stroller walking by. I was incensed at their stupidity for dragging out little babies and toddlers in this weather.

The one time I didn't step away this young couple with a baby in a stroller paused and struck up a conversation with me, as follows:

Young wife: Where is everyone? The mall is really dead today.
Me: Most intelligent people stay home in bad weather.
Young husband: What did you say?
Me: Most intelligent people stay home in this weather.
Young husband: Are you calling us stupid?
Me: Not yet.
Young wife: It's not that bad out, now it's only freezing rain.
Me: The jury's not out any more on your intelligence I see.
Young husband: What does that mean?
Me: What that means is that I just called you stupid.
Young wife: We're adults and can decide for ourselves when to stay home.
Me: You sure can.
Young husband: It's really none of your business and we don't need your opinion.
Me: You two stopped here and asked where is everybody. I told you why the mall is dead today. If you didn't want my opinion you shouldn't have asked for it in the first place. Personally I couldn't care less about you and your wife driving in any type of weather. Your little baby on the other hand has no choice. You're risking the safety of your baby driving in this weather.
Young husband: You're an asshole.
Me: Possibly, but I'm not stupid. Now move along.
Young husband: Fuck you!!
Me: Brilliant comeback, now move along and get to that more important shopping than the safety of your child activity.
Young husband: Asshole.
Me: We've already established that. Bye.

And off they went, in a tiff I might add. And how bad were the roads yesterday? My normal 15 to 20 minute trip home took 47 minutes. (Why yes, I did time it.) The snow plows had down an awesome job in removing the snow so the roads could ice up when the freezing rain, drizzle, sleet hit. Nerve racking drive as any type of braking caused you to slide all over.

Sadly, it's not over with yet as freezing drizzle/rain is still currently falling. The trip to work later this morning isn't going to be any fun either apparently.