Sunday, May 21, 2006

No Irony

racist clowns

Here's a charming little photo that was in Bloomington's Herald Times this morning. The caption:

Lorraine Hensley, 18, sits between signs held by Alexis Hensley, 8, left, and Linda Jerome during a demonstration against illegal immigration Saturday near the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans in downtown Columbus. President Bush urged Congress on Saturday to find a middle ground between mass deportation or instant U.S. citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already living in America. Bush's radio message was the third time this week he has spoken out about immigration. Andrew Laker | Associated Press

I would consider it to be an A-OK use of my tax money to round up this lot and ship them back to where they came from. Probably that would be Lower Assclownia.

Not sure if these folks will achieve the fame of the 'Get a brain morans' guy, but they tried.

get a brain morans

Follow up 06/06/06:

'LEMA_ODA' on has a great post on livejournal (wow, there's a phrase I neve imagined myself typing, 'a great post etc etc') about the 'NO AMNETY' photo, along with other anti-immigrant spelling bloopers. He notes:

On a personal note, i have now been to two very large immigrant rights protests at which there were thousands of mostly Hispanic immigrants for whom English is a second language and i have yet to see even one misspelled word on any of the English-language signs and banners they carried. 5/25/2006 12:08 AM

He also has a quote from the photographer who captured this comic moment:

Hi. This image was taken with a still camera, and the video on the web site was shot with a different camera. And how do I know that? I shot them both - that's how. Thanks everyone for the kind comments. It was a funny situation. The down side is that my poor editor has been inundated with phone calls from angry protesters.

Here's a link to that post: click.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006



One thing this blog needs is some pictures. So, in order to add some images to this otherwise logocentric site, I bravely ventured into GRUBB COUTRY (sic) on Bloomington's industrial West side with my digital camera. Occasionally you will see Mr. GRUBB sitting out in front of his house, but he wasn't there today. He will never wave when you wave at him. He used to have a grey beard, but the beard is gone now.


One morning, on the way to work, I saw Coutry Commissioner GRUBB coming out his front door, followed by a very large TV. The TV sped up and passed him going down the front steps. He was laying flat on his back. The TV was laying screen down on the ground. I stopped the car and asked if he needed help. 'No, no' he said, and waved me off. He was able to get up and that was all the convincing I needed. I hopped in the car and sped off.


Just as Ol' Dirty Bastard once proclaimed 'Wu-Tang is for the children', so too is GRUBB concerned about the well-being of our young people. The truck used to say 'KIDS NO DRUGS' along with other slogans including 'THANKS REPS BLACKS DEMORATS (sic)' and 'POWELL AFTER BUSH'. Now it says 'KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS'. KIDS what? I'm afraid to ask

Worth noting: the satellite dish. In related news, the number of homes without plumbing recently surprassed the number of homes without satellite TV.


Our last shot shows the truck from the other side. As you can see, still shaken by my previous visit, I was afraid to get out of the car to take these photos. I would be surprised if more than 3 of the people who graduated from IU this year ever saw GRUBB COUTRY in their 4 or more years in Bloomington. But like Skull Island, it's out there, with its own rules and logic, best left alone by those from the outside.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Scenes from post-graduate life ca. 1990

Congratulations, graduates!

I graduated from college 16 years ago. W's Daddy was in office, and things were pretty bleak. He hadn't yet started that hoo-ha, let's feel good about ourselves war in the gulf yet, but plenty of people were graduating with seemingly not too bad degrees (various engineering disciplines) from not too bad schools (like Purdue, not too shabby in the technical area), yet getting fuck-all response to their job searches.

I was able to land something using some of the same pestering nerdly skills that had met with a 0% success rate in dealing with the opposite sex. Anyhow, they got sick of me calling and generally annoying them all the time, and gave me a job at what everybody called the 'Naval Air Welfare Center' in Indianapolis. It was about the only place I could think of where you could work in Indianapolis with a Physics degree, seeing as it involved creating and testing devices that could be used to kill people. It was where veterans and college grads with no self-esteem went to die. This dying process could take anywhere from 1 to 40 years, and involved such indignities as

  • sitting in the cafeteria eating horrible, horrible food, listening to your Lovecraft-esque boss talk about his sex life with his wife
  • listening to grown men talk for an hour about the merits of competing brands of lawnmowers
  • listening to increasingly icky guy co-workers make lewd remarks about the women in the cafeteria
  • watching the new boss, who had a body resembling a melted candle, pull a room-temperature (no microwaves available at the time) hot dog from his cooler every day as he ate lunch at his desk
Anyhow, dealing with this day in and day out created a level of angst and dread so intense I had to listen to the Smiths and read Kafka after work to step down from the heights gradually. It really woke me up to the nail-gun-repeatedly-to-the-head banality and tedium that apparently was what really made post-collegiate life so horrifying, and made attending graduate school and working for $4500 a semester seem like I had died and gone to a better place.

So, enjoy your new jobs!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

They killed Mr. Softie

Here's some tired crap you hear a lot - it's one of those memes that people hear and pass on and on and on, without ever pausing to think about how fucking stupid they sound first off for repeating something verbatim which probably everybody has heard many times to begin with, secondly, for doing so in a complete mental vacuum in re: labor history:

Unions were fine organizations, 100 years ago. Back when the federal government was not addressing certain crucial labor issues, unions brought them into the public's view and created needed debate.

Today, however, unions do little but increase the costs of doing business. Sure, some select people benefit by earning more than they would otherwise get in a truly free market. But the majority suffers from higher prices and union corruption.

It's from here, but oh god it doesn't matter. Anyhow, I am on a mailing list for They have taken on the Quixotic task of getting techies to Unionize. Quixotic because among other things techies are anti-social creatures, so the whole getting together and organizing thing seems a bit absurd. Also because they are highly competitive, so the whole working for the common good thing seems a bit absurd. You could probably be a passable manager of techies just by insinuating to your various reports that 'employee X might do job Y better than you'. They would then bust their techie asses to prove you wrong. Anyhow.

Here's an article from a former Microsoftie, The WalMartization of Microsoft.

I left Microsoft to be a full-time parent to my newly adopted daughter in 2000. Since then, not only is the stock stagnant, but the wages and salaries are too. In fact, wages and salaries seem to have stagnated at the same time Microsoft hired a top Wal-Mart executive. That same executive has just been promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

Meanwhile, according to anonymous sources, managers at a recent Executive Retreat were encouraged to make everything like “Wal-Mart.” How deep will this exhortation go? Will wages continue to be stagnant and perhaps decline?

She goes on to reference Steve Ballmer's advice to fire 6.5% of your staff every year. That might actually please 'Who da'Punk', the individual behind Mini-Microsoft, a blog with this mission statement:

Let's slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine! Mini-Microsoft, Mini-Microsoft, lean-and-mean!

Sounds good on paper, but who is he kidding? You can't go back to the garage. Once a company reaches a certain size, all it can do is hang on and make modest but safe gains, picking up new products by buying out little guys here and there, hopefully without accidentally destroying them with your hamfisted clumsy big fucking corporation hands, and eventually you just die. In the meantime, the blog is an interesting window into Microsoft, as many Microsoft type folks vent spleen within (here's the big revelation - middle management: not good!), and it's also a good source of Schadenfreude for Microsoft-bashers or maybe just people who wished they worked someplace of significance.

For the record, I actually like a lot of Microsoft products. XP, which I'm using now, SQL Server, I even think C# is pretty cool despite the Java resemblance. I got no personal beef with Microsoft. I'd get much more Schadenfreudic enjoyment seeing Oracle or Sun go down the toilet, actually. Larry Ellison's role in life seems to be making Steve Ballmer seem all cuddly and Care Bear like.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Series of Progressively More Painful Indignities

I recently read The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, a book seemingly written for these times, and by these times I mean the times where the immigration debate is on everyone's mind, with immigrants even marching in Burlington, VT, of all places. Actually the book was written in 1995, and is set in California, which is usually ahead of the rest of the U.S. in things like popular music, fashion, drugs, and racism toward Mexicans (I visited L.A. back in the 80's, and what struck me the most was how all the white people would speak disapprovingly and condescendingly of racism toward African-Americans in Indiana, then turn around and rant about 'beans', apparently completely oblivious to the irony of the conversation's turn. But this was before Alanis Morrisette brought the concept of irony to the masses.)

The novel revolves around two couples, well-off white liberals Delaney and Kyra, and immigrants Candido and America, who live in a camp in Topanga Canyon not far from the white folks' gated community. The book opens with Delaney striking Candido with his car, and Candido and America suffer a series of progressively more painful indignities as the book progresses, while Delaney's liberal ideals slowly (and Kyra's less slowly) unravel under the influence of paranoid and decidedly creepy upper-class neighbors.

As I've mentioned before, I'm fascinated with Mexico and its culture, so I found the book very interesting independently of the timeliness of the subject matter, and it is definitely worth reading (as is the other T.C. Boyle novel I've read, Drop City, in which a hippie commune self-destructs in a highly interesting way, in Alaska, of all places). It will give the reader a better understanding of what immigrants have to deal with, although I suspect people clamoring to round up all the illegals and ship them South of the Border might not be too inclined to give this book a chance.