Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First they came for the finishers....

In the 90's, I worked for a large, progressive commercial construction company. I recall I hadn't even been there six months when, one September afternoon, the boss stopped by with bonus checks. Fellas that had been there longer than I marvelled that they had never done that before. Christmas came early that year.

Aside from surprise bonus's, the company- I'll call it RatMo Construction- rewarded us in other ways. Raises, which were pretty easy to come by anyway, were now subject to review for all and were 3% of your hourly rate. If that percentage worked out to an odd number, they cheerfully rounded it off to an even fifty cents. The reviews were easy enough. Everyone was judged on a scale of 1 to five. No one, we were told, would get a five. I got a four despite laurels from my boss and his boss that they "....could put me anywhere and (I) would perform (my) work to perfection."

That was a tad disingenuous but, their hearts and generosity were still appreciated. Just struck me as odd to be told you were wonderful but- hey- nobody's perfect! Nobody! But they also saw fit to give us a Simple IRA retirement plan which they detailed to us at a pizza party. They matched our contributions up to 3% even though they didn't have to. This was nice and unexpected. In those days they fed the whole company on the job at least twice a year, good Memphis barbeque and chicken. One Christmas they surprised us with Paid Time Off that we had secretly accumulated over the past 12 months. It amounted to five days of pay either in cash or personal days. All this was icing on the cake of a pretty damn good insurance plan that was free for individuals and very reasonable for families. (The only quirk I felt about the insurance was that you had to have at least 25 hours of work, each week, for six consecutive months. Three eight hour days wasn't going to get it. If you missed that 25 in one week, the clock re-started the next. I knew for a fact that the office kept tabs on who was coming due. Superintendents were consulted and, if a person was useful but out of favor, they would miss a couple of days that last week and go back to square one. Holidays, which accounted for a lot of three day work weeks, didn't help either. But, a good boss would let a good man work an extra hour or two to beat that twenty five. Despite a vacation, I made my insurance by Fall of that first year, working over that 4th of July week). It was all good as far as work goes.

That was, until George Bush came to power. There must have been a memo to all corporate heads that year.

"Fuck your employees! You DO NOT need to coddle them! DO NOT FEED THEM!!!!! DO NOT let them pass 'go' or collect $500 bonus's!!!!"

I would not be surprised if it did indeed read like that. Things DID change with Bush. We still had our reviews but, instead of generously rounding it off to 50 cents, if your raise percentage was 47 cents, that's what you got. Imagine a company being so cheap as to chisel a man out of a $1.20 A WEEK! It's the thought that counts. Suddenly, they didn't think much of us. Bonus's, which had been about a weeks pay were grudgingly given out as a half a weeks pay. Worse, some fellas didn't get anything at all. Worser, the company rats got more.

Construction, like every job, is very competitive. Cutthroat. It got meaner. As shit rolled downhill from management, the rats climbed up on that shit. No doubt, management encouraged this. Lou and Little Jimmy, my supervisors, became less and less interested in supervising. It became a little more like "Lord Of The Flies" than it previously had been. The paint crew had always pretty much run itself as Lou was incompetent (NOT at all a painter) and Little Jimmy had his head and physical self south of Memphis at the casinos in Tunica much of the time. We were left to our own devices. Ratmo didn't have official foremen. I ran work more often than not because I was good and responsible. I treated my people pretty good. In the south, in construction, these isn't necessarily seen as a "good thing". I think the coal-black souls of many a plantation overseer were reincarnated in most of the foremen and superintendent wannabe's that I knew. The south is very hard on itself, the residue of a not-so civil war, I trust.

In 2000, they let all the finishers go. They kept Don, the superintendent, Wayne, a black guy who had sued the company and, thus, they were afraid to fire him, and a young, under paid kid. The bulk of the sheetrock finishing was then subbed out to a company that employed illegals on a day labor type basis. This absolved the company from the nuisance of insurance, workman's comp and all the little unpleasantries that unions fought decades for.

It was a shock. We had long known that the company fantasy was to fire EVERYONE save for a couple of people in the office and sub out all the work to other companies. We just never figured it would actually happen. Long story but, RatMo did 90% of it's business with one powerful man and his family who appreciated the hands on, GET IT DONE NOW! dedication that you just don't get with sub-contractors. RatMo jumped for them, never asking how high. Subs will "get right on that....tomorrow...."

It was a stupid move, probably fiscally brilliant but, stupid. From the moment the finishers were fired, we were warned that we *could* be next. It was fatherly advice at first but, soon enough, it became a threat and then a promise. A "Good morning" to Little Jimmy was often met with: "You motherfuckers can ALL be replaced with Mexicans!". How that little prick survived us is amazing. He was five-foot- nothing. We were all fully grown men. A lot of eye-rolling and sighs, mixed with a good helping of fuck you's was our typical response.

If it got nasty when Bush took office, it got really mean after 9/11/01. Little Jimmy put the screws to us then. We became more aware of our expendability. Even Lou, the *good boss* distanced himself even further from us. The once good job became daily harassment. NOTHING we did was good enough. We were killing the company. We all just sucked. (Some literally figuratively, I'm pretty damn sure....)

On February 1st, 2002, a select group of 14 of us were called to meet in the parking lot of the paint store. That adage about sitting at the poker table and not seeing a chump made you the chump, came to mind. I saw 13 chumps. We all saw 13 chumps.

Little Jimmy was nervous. He'd been running his mouth and getting his ass beat all his life. I'm sure he felt an ass-whuppin' coming that morning. I knew I wasn't going to do it though I might have surprised myself. I was more surprised but nonetheless pleased that none of my fellow chumps made a move on him. He wasn't worth it. Even when he opened up with: "Well, because of Osama Bin Laden and 911...."

He got THAT out of his mouth before I let go with: "You motherfucker! Don't give me that 'Bin Laden' shit! THIS is what you've got after 6 years!!??"

He replied that he didn't know what I was talking about...this wasn't personal.....just business..... work was slow.....

"Shut the fuck up!" I grabbed my last check out of his fat little hand and walked away. I've never killed anyone in my life despite many opportunities. I know when to walk away. I'm glad of that.

In my truck, I opened the envelope. I had been into my sixth year at RatMo. After five years they used to give you a company jacket (a windbreaker) but they had ceased that in 2000. Inside was a $100 savings bond to honor my fifth year. That was nice, I thought. The fucking bastards didn't HAVE to do that....

I bet they don't bother anymore.

Friday, November 5, 2010


And then there was one....

I had to fire one of my last remaining followers today. Worse, I'm doing it like this. Oh, the indignity!

Rest easy, Curly1, it's not you. You've got a no-cut contract. It's Sublime.

I can't afford to keep him on payroll anymore. He hasn't been producing. He posts comments to me while under the influence; rambling,babbling, waffling posts most of which are longer than my posts which they are allegedly about. I've never had someone so relentlessly agree to disagree with me when I wasn't even consulted! And I've been married one and a half times! Note to future followers: DO NOT begin your comments to me with; "You make a lot of good points Ferrerman, but....." and then proceed to slam EVERY fucking thing I wrote. It's lame. Get your own damn blog! Dissension is fine. I'm a liberal, for chrissakes. Just don't bore me to death while doing it. And papa, don't preach. I ain't the choir.

Now, as dedicated (and undercover) non-readers of this blog know, I started it to combat some lies that were told about me by A770 and others. This was, I don't know, ten years ago? Last century? Something like that. Anyway it was-

Goddamn it! The phone....

Hello? Brett Favre?! Huh? Yeah I heard about that. Yeah. Call the bitch on it! Two years and NOW she's coming up with that? Mine did it after TWO MONTHS! Yeah- I know! Crazy. So, yeah, make her prove it. She can't 'cause it didn't happen so, put the ball in her court. She probably just wants money, right? Mine just wanted ninnie domination. Yeah, go and figure THAT. Yeah, I didn't see that coming! Just blog about it- have some fun! It worked for me. When life gives you lemons, have a beer and have some fun with it! Huh? No, I don't put lemons in my beer. That's not what I meant. That's just me being a Ferrerman. I'm known for my irreverence. You took a pretty hard hit last week. It shows. Listen, I'm busy blogging now so, I gotta get back to that. You take care and, next time you retire, FUCKING ACTUALLY RETIRE! I've fired people for such waffling. In fact, that's what I'm doing now. OK. Take care!

Sheesh. That guy's a talker! Anyway, kinda ironic that ol' Sub is STILL obsessed with that A770 stuff. Kinda sad too. But, like I told Favre there, ya gotta roll with it and have some fun. It's just Topix Town, man. Some people take this shit too seriously.

That's a shame.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What if.....

I was wondering this election night, how different this season would be if McCain/Palin had won in '08.

We'd be far, far worse off, of course. Sheesh, I shudder to think of that. I'm sorry I brought it up. Gawd- what a fucking nightmare.....

But, that's not my point.

Would there be a tea party? Would there be an astroturf movement of patriots screaming to take back America (financed by the billionaire Koch brothers)? Would there be a Sharon Angle and 2nd amendment remedies? A hands-free Christine O'Donnel? Rand Fucking Paul (not certain of his real middle name)? Would there be any of these other yahoos?

Maybe. There wouldn't be any socialist/communist/fascist healthcare to whine about. Glenn Beck would be doing far less whining and possibly even less inciting to riot. He'd be too busy praising McCain/Palin and maybe justifying of the war in Iran (yeah, I spelled it right) to do anything but nod towards Bill Clinton as the villian in all things current.

Remember now, Obama (or some other democrat) would have been the 2nd place finisher so we would still be looking at them dealing with 8 years of Bush. I don't think those two could have handled this mess. We wouldn't be looking at full employment and a robust- or even steady- economy. We'd still be fucked. Just fucked worse.

The left would be doing some complaining but Beck and the other morons in the threads would be shouting the left down, accusing them of treason and of maybe not being patient. So, yeah, no changes there.

So, what would these elections bring? Probably more democrats into office as people realized that McCain just wasn't getting the job done. The left would gear up for a very serious and necessary run at the presidency in '12 which they would surely win. Just like in '08....

For a moment tonight, I wondered if Obama came in at the right time. Maybe '12 would have been better?

No. He was- is- the right man for the job and he came in at the right time. Imagine 4 years of McCain/Palin. As if Bush had not ruined this country enough, would YOU want to follow him PLUS McCain/Palin?

The republican plan seems to be to screw the country up so badly, fight Obama and the dems over everything at all costs, and make Obama a one term president like Mitch McConnell has stated. Fucking morons. Patriots? I don't think so.

Goodness! What an awful scenario I've presented! Just looking ahead while I look back, not liking what I see.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First They Came .... poem by Martin Niem�ller

First They Came .... poem by Martin Niem�ller

Are Liberals the New Jews?

And heaven knows I DO NOT mean God's chosen people! We're in enough trouble as it is! AND we have a *messiah* (or so we're told) so, don't try to pin that on us too.

But, we are being blamed for all of America's ills kinda like 1930's Germany had issues with Jewish citizens. Well, not all of Germany did. Mostly it was the loud-talking Nazi's of the time. Today in America it's the loud-talking, ALL CAPS POSTING Tea Party persons who do most of the finger pointing.

To hear them tell it we are violent, America-hating, *PROGRESSIVES* (spit after saying that) who just can't embrace Muslim/Communist/Fascist/Socialism fast enough. The Tea Party's foremost 3rd rate psychologist (some asshole whose name is unimportant) has even determined that "liberalism is a mental disorder" not unlike homosexuality, another famous mental disorder disavowed by actual psychologists as being an actual mental disorder. To hear them tell it, *we" run the media (except FOXNEWS THE most watched -and least liberal- news outlet in all of cabledom) so, all other media is "the liberal lame-stream media" which conspires to report on Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnel saying dumb things a dozen or more times a day when there time would be better spent making these two (and others) look like fucking genius's instead, like FOX does.

The "violent" thing gets me the most, I think. Some 250,000 or more people gathered this past weekend to be entertained by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the mall in Washington and I don't think there was a single incident. Certainly no violence. But then, I don't watch FOXNEWS so, they might have sacrificed a few dozen corporate CEO's, looted a few banks and murdered a few republican women who refused mandatory abortions and/or Sharia law. I don't know.

Really, the liberals I know, friends and family, are the nicest, gentlest people I know. Good people to party with, lot's of fun. The crowd at the Sanity rally looked the same, all nice people of good humor and attitude. No violence.

Yet, people in the threads try to portray liberals as violent all the time. They cite the young woman who got her head stomped by a man twice her size while held down by three other men at a Rand Paul rally as an example of the violent left. Now, why was this? Well, she wore a wig, held a sign and advanced towards Rand Paul. She could have been an assassin. She wasn't but, she *could* have been....

Oy vey but these schmucks can extrapolate like nobodies business!

Er, uh, I mean, these fucks are just too far gone. It's ridiculous.

Now, republicans in general are probably decent enough people. Most of them aren't even necessarily assholes, I bet. But, I seriously doubt there is a single tea-bagger who IS normal and fun at parties. Just how do you condemn the violence of the left and not even take a breath to add that you wish the cameras had been off so that little lady got a serious beat down? "I'm against violence and I'll kill anyone who disagrees with me!" That's a bit disingenuous.

What bothers me though is that such propaganda is a primer for the finish coat. It's prep work. The Big Lie essentially means that, if you repeat something often enough, people tend to come to believe it is true. When Glenn Beck tells people that he can't prove there are NOT FEMA Camps in Montana, his followers are led to believe that there probably ARE. It's one thing for them to be so fucking stupid. They are allowed to be stupid. But when the seed is planted, watered and fertilized to grow as if it were truth, then that is wrong. Might they be foreshadowing concentration camps for us? You know- because *we* did that to *them*.... it's only fair. We *attacked* their crazy politicians disguised as small women WITH SIGNS! *We* are against the 2nd Amendment so *we* are going to take their guns away so *we* must be stopped....

Oy vey, again. I realize these people are fucking stupid, paranoid idiots. They do not understand that, should they win a few elections tomorrow and not play ball with the incumbent dems and repubs, they'll be looking for work in two years time. They won't change a fucking thing.

But, in pre-Nazi Germany perhaps the mainstream parties of their day chuckled at that goofball Adolph Hitler and his band of thugs and social rejects. What's that tell ya? They call is "socialists". Now, how does that famous poem go again.....