If GM management still had the sack to make stuff like this I doubt that government bureaucrats would dare cross them.
If GM management still had the sack to make stuff like this I doubt that government bureaucrats would dare cross them.
From Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke:
“A sufficiently determined central bank can repeal the laws of mathematics!”
Imagine if you will a little league baseball game being umpired by our new Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The ball streaks from the pitchers hand straight through the heart of the strike zone. All turn to the umpire for the call and are witness to the following. “Well young man, of which racial and economic demographic do you belong? Is that a new bat or a hand me down? You say the player on the other team playing your position out weighs you by 10 pounds and has a higher batting average?… BALL!!
Dr. Sanity has a post up today reflecting on leftists or as they are more commonly known these days, progressives, and their inability to see human nature as it is rather than how they would wish it to be. She hits the nail on the head with this excerpt.
“The squalid utopian fantasies of socialism, communism–or any variant of Marxism for that matter–appeals primarily to people who refuse to acknowledge their own human imperfections, and hence their own capacity for evil. They don’t want to admit it, but those who are drawn to the leftist view of the world, tend to see themselves as superior; above all the boring, ordinary human beings around them; more virtuous, more compassionate, smarter; and of course, much better qualified to decide what’s best for lesser beings like you and me.”
Go read the whole thing as they say.
I’ll be with you shortly.
“Stick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk underware”.
I’ve had worse bosses in terms of practiced incompetance or case studies in inbred nepotism but for shear cantankerous assholery, a certain bricklayer from the Tar-heel state by the name of ”Grady” takes the prize as the hardest guy to get along with during work hours that I have ever been around. If his cake hole was open it was blaring an off key symphony of the vilest insults against you, your parents, your ancestors, future progeny, friends, acquaintances, pets…..all the while hammering into your skull in an equally profane manner the holy trinity of masonry; Square. Plumb. Level.
As a 17 year old hod carrier my primary responsibility was in keeping the mason supplied with bricks easily at hand and to mix and deliver the “mud” (mortar) at exactly the consistency he desired. And when I say “exactly” I mean that if after relaying the mud up the scaffolds via a shovel and 3′x3′ sheets of plywood known as mud-boards, if it arrived a bit drier or runnier than he was accustomed to I would find the mud-board, piled high with mortar mind you, flipped off of the scaffold and rocketing past me, if I was lucky, amid shouts of “mud’s too dry you worthless sack of shit!” At least twice an hour he would, after a particularly vicious assault on my breeding or sexuality or lack there of, laugh maniacally and yell “Stick with me kid and you’ll be fartin’ through silk underware!” as some sort of encouragement I guess. There wasn’t an hour that went by that I didn’t fantasize breaking one of those mud-boards over his mono-browed head and walking off the job. Somehow I managed to get through the summer and as my senior year of high school was commencing, I elected not to “stick” with Grady, silk underware or no.
Years later after learning the carpentry trade and running my own small general contracting company, I reminisced on that summer of hard work and bruised ego and came to a surprising conclusion.
I still hate that S.O.B. Grady with a passion and if I ever see him walking down the street I’ll do what I should have done when I was 17 and bust a piece of 3/4 inch ply over his thick tar-heel skull!
“First place is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second place is a set of steak knives……Third place is you’re fired”.
With the recent slump in the real estate markets it’s hard to keep up with the number of agents departing the business for what they hope will be greener pastures. As was so brilliantly portrayed in the movie classic Glengarry-Glen-Ross, a career in sales has a hierarchy. Generally speaking about 20% of the sales people make 80% of the sales. The remaining 80% are the steak knife winners just barely hanging on. The trick is in moving as quickly as possible from the later category to the former before your nest egg or patience runs out and you find yourself in the show position.
What about me? I’ll answer that by using the time honored response of all sales people when asked ”how’s business” in a slow market.
“Let me answer that by asking you this….” (Substitute here any subject other than how’s business).
Actually I can’t complain. I’m busier than most and doing what I love, focusing my business on the niche market of mid-century architecture that I have such passion for.
To anybody who’s out there, have a great weekend!
Last week I got word that my maternal grandfather had died at the age of 102. An active man well into his 90′s, he was always quick with a laugh and a smile and never seemed to age in my mind. Although his health had been failing steadily since I last saw him on his 100th birthday, it was a surprise when my mother called with the news.
Having come into this world in 1906 on the farm his grandparents homesteaded after having emigrated from Luxembourg, he had born a century’s witness to our country’s emergence from willful adolescence, to world leader in middle age, and in recent years to what he saw as a regression back into an irresponsibility brought about by a people who had forgotten how to do for themselves. He was blue collar through and through and never set foot inside of a school house after the 12th grade but he loved to talk politics and would expound at length, in between lessons on hitting a baseball or how to correctly use a saw and hammer, on how he thought FDR had ruined the country by planting the seeds of looking to the government rather than friends and neighbors for a leg up in hard times. The last time I spoke to him he reflected a bit on how the children produced by his generation, the baby boomers, had been spoiled into believing that they could have all that their hearts desired without thinking that perhaps the devil might ask his due someday. He was afraid that with the best of intentions they had left their children untempered in the face of coming hard times as they themselves, forged in a tougher more self reliant time, had been.
Reproduced below is a draft of an interview my grandfather gave a few months before he died to my ”sister from another mother” Jan Halliday reflecting on the Great Depression. It is a window to a simpler era when hard times were met with a stoicism and “we’re all in this together” attitude that we are unlikely to see this time around.
In October 2008, I lived next to Dick M, for three months in the Trailer Tether. One evening I asked him to reminisce about living through the Depression and took dictation on my laptop computer while he talked. The heat was on about 90 in his trailer. Dick was 102 years old, sitting in his favorite chair with an open book of fiction on his lap and happily stopped reading to share a few thoughts about living through the Depression. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
I’d helped my dad build houses from the time I was six-years-old. In the summer time Dad was building in Morris Minnesota, a crossroads. We were never very far from home when building a house. When I was five and six years old, just five, six, seven blocks from home, I’d slip over to the job and hang around. He worked about four men at a time, so on the way home these big brawny men would set me up on their shoulders and carry me home. Branches from the apple orchard were all over the street, the limbs cut back behind the fence so you couldn’t steal the fruit from along the road, so I leaned over and picked the apples from their shoulders. The orchard manager came squalin out of there raising cane and we’d take off on him. Mostly I was a nuisance, but the men taught me little things. I learned a lot just by watching them. When I was 8 or 9 my dad bought me my first hammer. At 10 my first saw and he taught me how to sharpen that saw. Later, during the Depression, I’d get a dollar for sharpening saws. In a shop it was $2 so I got money that way.
I enjoyed building. I always liked to see something growing. Other jobs behind a desk, I didn’t want that. But if you manufactured something, or made additions, all that, it intrigued me very much. I went clear through high school in Morris Minnesota so I worked every summer for dad and as always we’d get about three plans going at once. First the basements, then we’d close in the houses about the time it would freeze solid, then go inside and finish them out. Three and four bedrooms most of them–people who could afford a house were usually big families. Our house was 2 stories with a basement. We moved in there when I was 3 years old. These were my first memories. We’d been living on the farm at my mother’s parent’s house and they had a couple of rooms for us. My parents grew up on farms that were on the corners. They spent their teenage years as neighbors. Mother went through high school, father through the grades. Those early years before the Depression were almost as tough as the Depression but the difference was that during the Depression you had to fight for every dollar you made. The farmers all worked together. No money had to be transferred. They only hired an extra man here and there. Someone who was coming through picking up any job they could get. You wouldn’t starve if you didn’t raise a certain crop. If one farmer had more sugar beets than he needed they’d trade the extra for grain. There were cows for milk and chickens for eggs and everyone had a garden to eat out of. All the eggs were raised by farmers or people who had chickens in town. They’d trade eggs for groceries. The currency then was food. I’ll bring you 500 lbs. of sugar you give me credit for that and I’ll buy groceries for the next couple of months. They put in long hours, happy work. It was friendly times. They rode their bikes to the dances and always there was chicken dinners and lively music. During the Depression city people had to worry from day to day if they could buy food for their family. We were lucky because we were in farm country. The whole area was surrounded by small farms. I had three or four uncles on each side. No one even thought about getting paid. If the road washed out the neighbors all got together and fixed it and that was that. You worked and people fed you. We weren’t poor. It was a way of life.
In 1925 I graduated high school and my buddy and me we just decided one day to head south. We fixed up the original cross-country vehicle, a model T pickup with a small tent that went over the whole thing to sleep in at night. We had an old mattress in the back, and with my carpentry experience I built a box on the side for dishes and silverware, pots and pans. We decided we’d just pick up some groceries on the way, fix ourselves something to eat, and head south. It was October. Every time we saw a sign “help wanted” we stopped and worked and picked up about $2 a day. We stopped in Kansas to stay overnight in a park there and as I was driving in I hit a stump or rock and dented the flywheel, click click click click. I thought what in the hell, parked that night. Next morning drove into the livery stable, click, click click. I started it up and the livery man crawled up under with a hammer, click click click, tapping until it quit. We had a big dent in the housing and the livery man, he hit around the edge of the dent until he cleared it. Said we owed him nothing. No garages then, you went to a horse stable for any information about cars. We met a lot of nice people on that trip south. We knew we’d done the right thing to go to Oklahoma! We got down there to Oklahoma City and got a job, gave the old pickup to my cousin and bought a Chrysler roadster about three years old. It had panels in the doors, was a bright color and had a jump seat in the back where three could sit. The girls really liked that car! We got jobs where ever we could. I got a job at a Ford assembly plant. My buddy in a bank. I was loading cars onto box cars. For some reason the boss liked me. They got a big rush on Fords so had to open up another track. They called me over there and I was the boss of the gang on the second track, 20 years old. About the time I got through loading the last of those cars he asked me, because I was a carpenter, how would you like a job in the tool crib? I’ve had three wealthy college graduates trying out for the job and not a damn one of them knows a screwdriver from a hammer he said. I worked up there a couple of months. There was concrete on the second floor where they kept the tools and every Saturday night they put a coat of paint on the floor. The floor was built up a couple of inches of paint and every time you dropped a tool you dented the paint. The next week I cleaned up the floor and repainted it. Got me a job I thought would be the rest of my career. Night superintendent of that tool crib from then on. That’s how it was supposed to happen.
I met my future wife at a teacher’s dance in Oklahoma City. My buddy and I had been there about three years, no special girlfriends–too expensive. There was a big ad in the paper about a dance upstairs in a dance hall and I talked my buddy into going along with me. We put on our dancing clothes. He’d gotten a job in a dime store as a supply clerk and had met these girls working there. He didn’t tell me they were coming. I thought I’d talked HIM into going. At the dance these two girls showed up right away, over there sitting together on the bench. We wandered over there and he introduced my future wife though I didn’t know it right away. We danced with them a number of times during the evening. We never could afford to date every weekend. Didn’t have the money to do it. I made $2 an hour. Good wages but still not enough. We didn’t date so we did the next good thing. We got married— just before the Depression hit. And when the Depression hit they closed the plant down and I had no job. The jobs back in those days before the Depression you expected to live the rest of your life in if you lasted the first year. But then after the Depression hit it was just tough times and you did whatever you could, whenever you could. Right after we got married we both lost our jobs without warning. One morning I went to work at the plant just like everyday and there was a whole crowd around the door. They just shut the plant down and you were out of a job. A week later she lost her $10 a week job in the dime store. Shortly after we lost our jobs she became pregnant with Marilynn. We couldn’t afford to stay in Oklahoma. Fifty percent of the people had nothing coming in. We drove the roadster back to Minnesota.
Fortunately, Dad had already traded their home for a farm near Detroit Lakes. If you’re on a farm, if you have good sense you’ve got something to eat. While I was there over a period of two years we built four houses. One house was for people who had a chicken ranch. This guy gave me a job taking care of his chicken ranch while he went to Fargo to run the Elks Club. This guy brought us back food and beer from the Elks club. And leftover drinks. He gambled too in the Elks Club and one time he won $300 or $400. He’d come in about midnight, and invited us to have a picnic. Marilynn was about a year and half old then. The guy who owned the chicken farm, Henry Johnson, he and Marilynn got along great. We had good times back there. No money but made out okay. People helped each other tremendously. When we got low on cash in Minnesota I asked my doctor if he had a job. He had an old couple taking care of his farm and it was getting run down. He put them in a home at the edge of town and turned it over to me. And so I cleaned up the house to live in. I took care of that farm for about two years. Got acquainted with people in town. I started making home brew. When I went into town to buy stuff to make home brew I’d invite people to bring something to eat and we’d have a picnic. Everybody brought a little something. A big picnic and a lot of beer! We had fun by making fun. We wouldn’t give in—no matter how bad it got it never got so bad we couldn’t have fun. The rest had it as tough as we did, some even tougher. Everyone brought something to the table but we gave the ones hardest up all the extra food. I gave away so much in the Depression. I just couldn’t stand for people to be hard up. I’d get them a job or if I had a good week give them a few dollars. I couldn’t stand people to be broke. And very few took advantage of me. Some of them could have drained me dry. We all squeezed by some way. Some moved in together, mostly with relatives. At one point we moved in with somebody too and later when members of my family needed help we all lived together. With some people it was fun, with some it was a problem depending on the personalities. When you’re going through a Depression like we did you recognize the people who just aren’t going to make it. You’re tempted to squeeze a little more out of your income or adjust to help them and it’s a good feeling to help. People’s personalities really show themselves in a time like that. The good and the bad.
What worries me is that people don’t have the resilience now that they had in the first years of the country. So many of the jobs I went out on I did extra. I made a special effort to contribute something extra. The only thing that was and still is important is taking care of the people I know. It’s the company of your family and friends that matters most. Without them what have you got? The government says they can help the Ford Company by giving them all this money but the people won’t see any of that. It’s all backwards. Most people today have no land, and no knowledge. Not the kind that matters anyway. This Depression if it happens again, and I never thought I’d live long enough to see another one, is going to be harder than the last I think.
We had to get into a war to get out of the Great Depression. Everyone says what a great president Roosevelt was but I couldn’t see it. You lose your kids and your friends lose their kids, thousands of people die just to save the economy? That isn’t right. I hope the people understand enough to not let that happen again. Everybody needs to just pitch in and help each other no matter who they are. And remember to have fun doing that. Helping each other is the best thing I know to beat a Depression. The money kind and the feeling kind.
Rest easy in green Minnesota fields old man. You’ve got it coming.
Upon stepping into the office this morning, I had two different people remind me what day it is. “It’s Friday” they spouted, as if they had just unveiled some hidden truth about life……no shit it’s Friday, believe it or not I have a vague understanding of the passing of time, and keep myself moderately aware of what day in the week it is. But thanks anyway, lest I forgot and had the horrible misfortune of thinking it was Thursday. Could you imagine? The horror.
So what does Friday really mean? Why do people feel the need to tell you what day it is? I don’t recall many occasions where an excited employee nudged me w/ a pointy elbow to remind that it was, in fact, Tuesday. “Dude, it’s Tuesday, sweet.” Well, the reason is most of us hate our jobs, and Friday is our welcome respite from the soul shitting grind that is the working week. And what do most of us do on a Friday night? Drink. Self-medicate. Salute ourselves for another listless week by flooding our central nervous system with what is essentially poison. Before you think me some finger pointing parade rainer, please know that I love, love the poison.
So we drink, letting our horrid memories of pointless meetings, inane office banter, the sound of the printer spitting out the dead carcasses of our beloved, oxygen giving trees just so everyone in the office can read yet another idiotic memo from the CEO reminding us all of the importance of “hammering the phones” (this ass-clown refuses, refuses to email the memos, declaring that it’s much more “personal” when it’s tangible, in your hand, and you’re reading it. Note to cock-smoke, no one reads them anyway, you’d have a better shot at getting us to look at a feces-smeared scrap of notebook paper and sticking that on our desks, you raging, insufferable, overpaid mental midget.) By the way, why couldn’t someone have told me that the phone would be such a huge part of corporate life? I don’t remember hearing in college “by the way, 89% of you will make a living by incessantly calling uninterested parties via the telephone and trying like holy hell to get them to purchase something you yourself don’t even understand or believe in, enjoy, you’re doing yeoman work!” So, we drink, we drink to wash it all away, to silence the demons that fester in our skulls Monday through Friday, that feed off our collective apathy as we whither away in front of the true idiot box (the computer has officially taken over the T.V as the single most contributing factor in the decline of modern civilization, causing at the very least eye damage, and the worst, total and complete mental breakdowns. If Google’s pop-up blocker didn’t come around, I’d be serving 25 to life right now for some sort of reprehensible crime). So we drink, we drink to forget and to forgive. To forget the past 5 days, and forgive ourselves for what we’re about to do in the next two. To forgive ourselves for not becoming what we always dreamed. To forgive ourselves the rampant complacency that has taken a hold of us as we watch our lives slip away, one company-wide email at a time.
So we drink. Like rabbits fuck, we drink, from close of business to close of bar, we imbibe enough alcohol in one sitting in the vein, fruitless attempt to carve out just a smidgen of fun in an this suddenly barren, bleak, pale existence we call our lives.
Okay, I think I’m getting a bit too depressing. It’s Friday after all, as I was just reminded by Kelly, our sales engineer, as I was typing this. Actually, I should be clearer, she said, “Hey hun, T.G.I.F, right?” I should have replied “L.O.L Kelly, hopefully we both get a little T.L.C tonight, oh, B.T.W, fuck off.”
Kelly’s a nice girl; I should take this out on her.
So we drink. Like Republicans lie or Democrats waiver, we drink; we drink more than Market Street smells. We drink more than the Muni line 30, 41, and 45 through Chinatown blows. We drink more than Ted Kennedy’s third liver could ever hope to possibly expunge. We drink because we can. We drink because we must.
Now of course, there are some of you out there who like their jobs. A few who dare use the word “love.” But you’re not reading this, b/c you’re busy doing what you enjoy, not scouring CL for something or someone to buy/sell/trade/dump/fuck/rant/rave/find/steal/lie to/lie about/and all other things Craig.
We drink because Katie, our manager, is so insecure she actually makes breathing awkward.
We drink because Bruce, the VP of being a incredible ass-face (and Biz-Dev) insists upon wearing enough cologne to the point where lighting a match anywhere near him is potentially life threatening.
We drink because Michael, the homophobic advertising guy, gets all red in the face if you call him “Mike.” So of course, we call him Mike often, cutting off the “e” at the end to emphasize the point that we’re really, really enjoying it.
We drink because if we have to endure one more Friday afternoon meeting, we might just projectile vomit in Kevin’s glandular, gnome like face. Just because you don’t have a life doesn’t mean the rest of us want to sit down at 4:45 on a Friday to discuss the company’s direction for Q3. You see Jeff’s left eye twitching? I’d give this meeting another 3 minutes before he reaches across the table and pulls one of your ears off, Kev. The man’s in a custody battle for his children and you’re taking time away from his weekend with them because you’re a selfish, horrible man. And if Kevin does blow, you can bet your ass Mitch, the North West sales manager will. I swear that guy starts off cooking some chicken by biting their fucking heads off. Do you hear his unending finger tapping on the faux-marble table? Notice how the pace quickens every few minutes? Well Kev, you’ve got a few more seconds of being a bullshit blowhard until Mitch pulls your heart of your fucking chest.
We drink because there’s no such thing as a good week of work.
We drink because if Jessica doesn’t say, “this is a mission critical decision” at least 4 times a week, it means she was out sick three days. Jessica, it’s an office supply order for Staples, how in HOLY HELL is that mission critical? Do you even know what mission critical means? Do you? You’re the office manager, not the board chairman, the phrase “mission critical” should never, EVER come out of your mouth. It’s a stapler, not a funding request, chill the fuck out.
We drink because there is no such thing as a uni-sex bathroom. It’s a girl’s bathroom people. You wonder why us guys leave the office at least twice to three times a day, not including lunch? It’s because we have to shit, and we can’t very well shit in that veritable Globe Theatre of a restroom, where every sound is amplified ten fold. The one time I just had to go (note to Jessica, now that was a mission critical decision) and simply couldn’t make it to the hotel across the street (those people must have caught on that I’m not staying there, considering they see me every fucking day) I took a shit in the uni-sex bathroom, and what ensued was an anal-philharmonic, led by yours truly, in which the entire office was privy to every fart, grunt, and bowel-related sound effect I had to offer. I felt like taking a bow when I got out, possibly chugging some coffee and going in for an encore. So no, it’s not uni-sex, it’s a girl’s room. You might as well stick a huge tampon on the door with a note reading “No Y Chromosomes allowed.” Oh, and Regina…I salute your utter shamelessness when it comes to shitting. I’ve never, ever seen a women carry the paper under arm when she walks into the bathroom. Bra-fucking-O my girl. Truly, classic stuff.
We drink because we know Ted’s gay, the whole office knows Ted’s gay, Ted’s friends and family know Ted’s gay, and we’re pretty sure at this point Ted must be vaguely aware he’s gay, yet he still insists upon talking about all the “hot ass” he “tags” over the weekend. Note to Ted, it’s not working amigo, when you can recite more show tunes than Nancy, who worked on Broadway in Manhattan for 4 years, well, it’s time to take the jaws of life to that closet door and step out into the world the way you were intended. Thing is Ted, everyone likes you, you’re good people, and coming out won’t change that, it will simply save us from the intensely awkward experience of suffering through one of your bullshit “she was so hot and then we did this and that” stories. How come we never see this girls Ted? How come they never call, never email, and what’s that stain on your shirt? It doesn’t look like mayo.
We drink because we all know that “lunch and learn” really means “this will be the worst lunch you’ll have all week” as we’re forced to share low-rent burrito’s at Chevy’s and listen to some hired-gun of a sales guy tell us all how we have to “want it” more than the other guy. Hey Chet, this is software sales, not rugby, now fuck off.
We drink because Amanda in finance is hot, and Tom in HR thinks he’s going to bang her, and as God in heaven is my witness, if he does I will completely shut down and cry myself to sleep, because Tom in HR is quite possibly a larger d-bag than Kevin, and should he bed Amanda, well, then..nothing is right in the world. We drink because we’re afraid that might happen, and we drink because we’re too afraid to talk to Amanda, save for the pathetic “warm today” comment we threw at her on Tuesday. No shit it’s warm today, she too must come from outside like the rest of us, it’s not as if she wakes up, showers, than steps in her transporter and beams herself to work. She goes outside too, you fuck. And by you, I mean me.
We drink because we’re almost positive Brett and Stu are get stoned at lunch, and we’re pissed they haven’t invited us along yet.
We drink because the last time someone said something funny at work it was completely unintentional, and it revolved around a Freudian slip when Kev, at the end of one of his marathon Friday meetings, was trying to answer Mitch’s constant interjections over our marketing budget but also trying to keep Brian quiet and ended up trying to speak to them both at the same time, calling Mitch “Bitch”. Hilarious. The fact that Kev survived that meeting is a testament to the fact that he’s like a cockroach, and could survive anything. A nuclear holocaust ensues, we’re all dead…and there will be Kevin, holding court in a Friday afternoon meeting with three charred corpses and half a human head, wondering aloud “where everybody is?”
We drink because calling our work weekend in Reno a “retreat” is an oxymoron. It’s not a retreat, it’s an assault, an assault on everything we hold dear…how DARE you ask me to give up a weekend to go to a conference w/ the whole company in Reno. I’d rather eat Kevin’s shit. Okay, that’s a little too far. I’d rather throw shit at Kevin. Actually, come to think about, throwing shit at Kevin would be kinda high on my list of things to do over a weekend.
We drink because Shelly has now tried to arrange four different happy hour get togethers and the only one who shows up is Kelly and Mitch, and the only reason Mitch shows up is because he’s a drunk. We drink at some other bar, out of sadness for Shelly. And Mitch.
We drink because the thought of Monday is enough to make us cry.
And finally, we drink because in the end, when it’s all said and done, we have much to celebrate. We are lucky enough to have the luxury of bitching about corporate jobs and cubes and the bullshit office when you consider the state of affairs for most of this planet’s inhabitants, every day a true struggle, food and a roof over their heads never a certainty, but rather something they strive for. We drink because in the end, we’re lucky, spoiled, pampered brats, we know it.
We drink because we can.
We drink because we have to.