Friday, November 28, 2014

This Year's Best Thanksgiving Dinner Moment...

...Came when the smallest child in the room, who had just expressed relief at finally making it into middle school, started talking animatedly about the imminent WORLD TAKEOVER
by the Bavarian Illuminati.
I crap you negative.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Love The Smell Of Government In The Morning

Today at work we talked about something new, called a LOCKDOWN DRILL. 

The agency works out of two buildings, and at the other site a few weeks back there was a shooting outside of, and across the road from, that other building.  They tried to initiate an immediate LOCKDOWN, but it quickly became clear that nobody knew what to do.  The picture painted for us today at the team meeting was of a bunch of people running around like HEADLESS CHICKENS, in response to something that AFFECTED NOBODY IN THE BUILDING, all in response to an emergency that DID NOT EVEN MAKE IT INTO THEIR PARKING LOT, LET ALONE THEIR OFFICES.  This folderol continued for about half a day, I'm told, because in addition to the fact that the emergency had nothing to do with them, NOBODY KNEW FOR SEVERAL HOURS THAT IT WAS ALL OVER.  If that's not a heart-swelling image of government in action, I don't know what is.

So now, after about two and a half solid months of administrative discussion, we have a rough plan to proceed with for our first LOCKDOWN DRILL.  All personnel in our department are going to be ordered to crowd into one of the supervisory offices, while one of the supervisors locks the department door that opens onto the main throughway.

What about the other door to the department? I asked.  Shouldn't we lock that too?

Oh, that doesn't lock, I was told.  It's a fire law, I think, she said.

And we'll lock the door of the office we're in, right?  Someone asked.

Right, we were told.

Great.  Except:

The supervisors' offices don't HAVE locks.  In fact, they don't even shut unless you throw yourself against them with considerable violence.  If a maniac with a meat cleaver is stalking the halls, he will hear someone crashing against the door to try to make it secure.  And turn curiously in that direction to see what he can see...

I checked and found that the department door does, at least, have a lock on it, and you only have to turn the little knob from the inside to make it work, so there will be no scrambling around and digging through file-cabinet drawers to find the right key to get the door secured.   But does this really matter if the other door to the department doesn't lock at all?  The second door is not that obvious to the casual passerby seeking gore and massacree.  But if the maniac with a meat cleaver is a co-worker who's gone off the rails, well, WE'RE ALL DEAD, RIGHT?

They did not say who will lock the place down if there is no supervisor on hand.

We were never told what sort of situations might lead to a LOCKDOWN.

They did not say how they will alert co-workers, who are coming into the building from home visits all over the county at random times, that we are LOCKED DOWN.

They did not explain how we would be informed that the LOCKDOWN is over.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Charlie!


Yes, it's that time of year again -- another birthday for Charlie Manson! 
Happy 80th, Charlie!  We wish you many more!
Not only is he STILL American's best-loved terrorist bizarro, with prison trusties hauling in sack after sack of fan mail for him to read on a daily basis.  AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, he's also about to become a newlywed for the third time, if the paperwork goes through.  Life is good, no actually GREAT, for Charlie.  He doesn't have to work; he can play his guitar and write music all the livelong day when he's not leading the young to enlightenment; and most of all, he has reached the acme of human potential:  EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, KNOWS HIS NAME.
I think it says a great deal about human nature that the mastermind of a very-unclear number of brutal murders is a household word, a cultural icon and, really, pretty close to a Jungian archetype. 
>> When someone can say "I'm the Charles Manson of...(fill in the blank)" and everyone listening knows what you mean without asking -- YOU HAVE MADE IT.
>> When authors, filmmakers and musicians are fighting over the chance to publish your every thought -- YOU HAVE MADE IT.
>> When you have done things far worse than Richard Nixon ever dreamed of, yet are remembered  more affectionately -- YOU HAVE MADE IT.
>> When you're living out a richly-deserved life sentence for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, with a variety of corollaries like auto theft, violation of the Mann Act and damaging your followers' ability to make moral decisions -- dude, YOU HAVE MADE IT.
>> When a steady proportion of know-nothings on the Internet and in print are trying to argue that you're an INNOCENT MAN despite all the criminal convictions -- THAT REALLY COUNTS FOR SOMETHING IN AMERICA.
>> When you can cheerfully answer to the names "Jesus Christ," "The Devil," and "God" WITHOUT HEARING THE CONTRADICTION -- that is a serious accomplishment, although what you've accomplished there I'm really not sure.
>> When your face is the one they choose for EVERY book jacket listing famous serial killers -- even though you aren't a recreational killer at all, and you're obviously a whacked-out terrorist like Osama bin Laden or Tim McVeigh -- well, WAY TO KEEP THEM ON THEIR TOES!  Obviously you're doing a great job of keeping everyone in the dark about what you're about NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES GERALDO RIVERA  INTERVIEWS YOU.
One thing you have consistently done through your whole criminal career is show us what human beings are really made of -- attention-sucking greed,  desperate longing for stardom and LOUSY THINKING.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Put The Plate Down And Nobody Gets Hurt!

We've all heard about this one by now.  This happened in Florida, where there are so few meaningful controls on opiate trafficking that you can open a "pain clinic" in any storefront, with no qualifications of any kind, and have a line outside your door at 5 a.m. made up of dope-sick addicts to whom you are going to dispense Vicodin, Percocet, Kadian and Duragesic by the 5-gallon bucket with no legal consequences.  That's America for you -- land of opportunity!
The man you see above is a Florida minister being arrested for FEEDING THE HOMELESS.  Lawless bastidge!  I hope they throw the book at him!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Michigan's Dept. of Human Services Computer Improvements, Continued...

It's come to my attention that there's yet another special feature of the new computer system now in use by DHS.  It has become possible to have MULTIPLE CASES OPEN ON THE SAME PERSON now, without any need for the recipient to resort to phony identification, fake Social Security numbers, or any of the other bureaucratic hassle we associate with defrauding the government.  THE STATE DOES IT ALL FOR YOU.  I know of one person who has three cases open on herself right now. 

Did she cheat?  NO. 

How many times did she apply for benefits?  ONCE. 

Was her information correct?  YOU BET.

And, yes, you guessed it.  One of her cases shows that she is a benefits recipient in good standing.  One reflects that she has missing paperwork and needs to REAPPLY FROM SCRATCH if she wants to continue getting those benefits.  The third indicates that her paperwork is all up to date and correct, BUT HER BENEFITS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED ANYWAY.   

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Better Living Through Technology!

I've been hearing today about the greatly-improved NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM at the state's Department of Human Services -- the people who bring you your foster-care subsidies, Electronics Benefits Transfer cards (they used to be called "food stamps") and utility-shutoff emergency funds, among a hundred and one other services.

SO WHO CARES WHAT COMPUTER SYSTEM THEY USE? -- that's the question on everyone's lips.  WAIT 'TIL YOU HEAR!  This new system is so super-efficient that whenever there is a hiccup in the system, the benefits recipient AUTOMATICALLY GETS CUT OFF EVERYTHING, INDEFINITELY.  This would tend to explain why client after client at my own agency comes in with armloads of paperwork, weeping and gnashing their teeth because they DID EVERYTHING THEY WERE ASKED, THREE TIMES, AND IT HAPPENED AGAIN ANYWAY. 

BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE!  When the system cuts you off, because someone typed in an incorrect Social Security number or misspelled a name, you also get -- not one -- THREE randomly-assorted letters.  One tells you what benefits you qualify for; one tells you that your screwed up your paperwork and need to resubmit everything (in Sanskrit) and wait another 45 days for an answer about your eligibility; and a third announces that your services have been terminated.  That even beats out my mortgage company when it comes to eccentric communications!  Wow!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Well, Election Day Was Interesting...

...I heard on the radio that despite the massive payouts for campaigns this year, the electorate was THE MOST INDIFFERENT EVER.

And yet, when I went to vote after work yesterday -- for the very first time since I started voting here -- the joint was jumping.  Even when Obama went head-to-head with John McCain, when supposedly almost every registered citizen showed up to duke it out in the voting booth, I was only voter #59, right at the end of the day in my precinct.

Yesterday?  I was voter #600.  Still a pathetic turnout, but that's more than I usually see showing up.  It makes me wonder who they asked about whether they are indifferent to the midterms.  And how you would even go about measuring something like indifference.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Thought for the Day

"There's no rhyme or reason.  You can ask questions all you want, but it's like yelling at the ocean.  It does not answer back."
-- Michael Utley, a guy who was hit by lightning