Monday, September 29, 2014

More's the pity and therein lies the rub

As more cities adopt their versions of a living wage, the GOP amps up it's quest to eliminate the minimum. It's amazing, challenging logic which is why, I guess, they have Michele Bachmann be one of it's proponents. She is certain it would lead to full employment.

Well, so would slavery. Duh. Is that anything to brag about? Slavery is society's way of saying we haven't got a clue and we're not even going to try. Where are the slave empires of Biblical times today? Why aren't Greece and Rome running things today?

Some conservative politicians come right out and say that business 'can't afford' the current minimum the way it is now and that doubling it like liberals suggest, would kill the country. I see the quest for $15 as a minimum as a bargaining chip. It make's the $10.10 minimum more palatable to everyone but republicans and greedy employers. Fifteen an hour is what many economists believe the minimum would be if those motherfuckers in the GOP had not fought every increase in the minimum the last fifty or so years. They think a jump to $15 would kill business now but, back in the day, they thought a twenty cent increase would destroy the economy. They just don't want to pay. They are literally penny wise and pound foolish. Whereas you and I know that, the more money poor people have, the more they spend, thus stimulating the economy, republicans equate wages with stealing. Wages cut into profits. They see the $10.10 figure (a near $3 increase) as an attack on profits. Three dollars an hour times X number of hours per week, 52 weeks in a year...equaling tens of millions of dollars that DO NOT sit in a bank in the Cayman Islands. Theft.

They have no shame whatsoever in pleading their case even in the face of obscene $8 and $10 million dollar bonuses for CEO's. They can justify that. That CEO has a responsibility to the shareholders to make a profit. 

I've even seen people say (with straight faces) that this is a legal responsibility. Why, he can go to JAIL if he fails to turn a profit....

Sure. He'd be in there with all the Wall Streeters Eric Holder prosecuted....

I understand why big business backs all this. They are greedy and stupidly so. All governments and societies run their course. You may believe Jesus smiles upon America and always will but, ask yourself why Jesus didn't opt to be born in America 2000 years ago and why we haven't been running things since then. Take your time.

The reality is that the world hasn't worked out the perfect system yet. It isn't capitalism any more than it was monarchies or the communism that rose from the ashes of monarchies. Capitalism seems great as it played out on television with "Leave It To Beaver" and "The Donna Reed Show" but a concept of American life like those programs simply isn't profitable anymore. More is the operative word here. The Cleavers didn't want enough more. Aside from a new baseball glove, they didn't know they needed more.

Whatever Ward Cleaver did for a living, he had a lovely wife, children and home to show for it. Back then a man like Ward or the carpenter who built his house had a pretty good life. Back then, Wally and the Beav could have counted on going to college and paying for that with minimum wage jobs. It pains me to mention that because then republicans start saying; SEE! $1.25 an hour IS GOOD MONEY!!!! Ferrerman just said so! Relative to the time, a buck and a quarter was good money. It bought you pretty much anything you needed from a college education to food on the table. Google the minimum wage in 1960 and prices of the same year. Then, consider today's Federal minimum of $7.25 and go shopping. See what you can buy. Something got out of hand but it wasn't the minimum wage....

We expect too much of government and of the rich, because we foolishly assume they know what they are doing because they are successful at it. For the most part they don't. The free market is a nice concept but, if you don't manipulate it to your advantage, someone else will. That's why there is very little free about it. But worse than expecting too much of the successful is accepting too much. That's why "...a responsibility to the shareholders..." is only offensive to people like me and you. We know that responsibility supersedes a responsibility to society in general  and we are offended. Your average conservative sees that as business today. John Steinbeck said that socialism never took hold in America because each American sees himself " a temporarily embarrassed millionaire..." Lewis Black says the same thing only in the more contemporary vein that each of us believes we'll win the lottery someday. And when we get there, we don't want want the gubmint fucking with our money!

So, we defend the wealthy and even call them "job creators" even though creating jobs (according to their math) costs them money. They know that it's just good business sense to keep labor as streamlined as possible. They tried to elect a billionaire businessman as president just two years ago. They'll try again in two more years, possibly with the same billionaire. Here in Illinois, the republican's are running one who believes the state should be run as a business. Sure- sell off under-performing counties and fire lazy citizens.... Well, he might dream about that but he does advocate eliminating the federal minimum wage. This is what "state's rights" is really all about. Money. Southern people still argue that our civil war was about state's rights rather than slavery but, they are only close and quite a bit disingenuous in their assertion. The American Civil War was the northern states saying that the southern states had no right to enslave people.  Slavery was an unfair economic advantage. Oh- an ugly, primitive institution to be sure but, it was all about the benjamins rather than anyone actually named Benjamin. That we have to have a Federal minimum wage law speaks indirectly to slavery. That modern GOP'ers fight so hard to economically enslave Americans speaks more directly to that. They would pay us all less if they could. For fuck's sake they are literally saying this! Worse, they want us to believe it's a good idea!

'Murica! We had a nice run but we got greedy and willingly killed the short-lived American dream here at home. Turns out the real money was in exporting that dream. Who knew?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Live-action Trolls

We've all had them. You may never have a troll on the internet but, everyone has had a real life troll. We're not really talking about stalkers here, just creepy idiots that we work with or sorta know socially, who, like internet trolls, tend to get a little... obsessed.

The great thing about real life trolls is they have a 100% punchability factor that internet trolls don't have.  I was remembering one this morning while I prepared for another episode of idiot bosses. Danny Jerkface (not his real name) came to mind because I was thinking of 162 IQ Lou. Without a 162 IQ Lou, you don't have a Danny Jerkface for very long. When I worked with Danny he was a kid, barely 21, who had claimed far more experience to our boss, Lou, than was possible. Lou was the kinda boss that, whoever lied to him first, lied to him best. You might know the type. All bosses love snitches whether they admit it or not. Snitches make the job easier for lazy bosses. Beyond snitching though, Lou cherished guys like him who shamelessly embellished their skills.

When I met Lou, I was with a couple of other new hires. The way Lou talked about the job at our orientation I suspected he knew very little about painting. One of the guys had noticed on his way into the shop that day that Lou had the same last name as the VP of the company, whose picture hung in the lobby. Yes, 162 IQ Lou admitted, David was his brother but, that is not why he had this job....

But, of course, it was exactly why Lou had the position. He went on to say (among other things) he had had his own bridge painting company but had lost it in a bitter divorce.... Turned out he had never actually been married and, painting bridges is serious work that his dumbass could never, ever do. I guess it sounded good to him though when one of the voices in his head suggested it.

So, Lou admired liars like Danny and a few others because, they sang the song of his people.

One day we were at break, shooting the breeze about nothing in particular, when all of a sudden Danny says to me:

"Maybe your family loves you and maybe your wife and kids love you, but,,,no one in this company likes you!!!!"

Well, whatever we had been talking about, it wasn't anything like that. It was a very odd segue and I pointed that out though, no one else at the table knew what a segue was. I think they pictured the transportation.

So, Danny was mad at me for some reason and that had been his opening salvo and it was totally unexpected. And, like a typical ad hominem attack, it didn't warrant a rational defense. So, well-versed as I am in warfare, I relied:

"Well, Danny, I guess the next time I get in trouble, I'll just rat out Bob...."

See, that's what Danny had done recently. He was a bit sensitive about being a rat-fucking prick. I exploited that.

And- boy- the little rat-fucker was so mad he couldn't talk! I thought for sure he was going to come at me. He looked that mad.

But, fisticuffs weren't to be. Danny was a pussy and my return verbal-volley had knocked him back on his heels. He never said another word and slinked off the job later that day. I would have cheerfully kicked his young ass even if it meant getting fired for fighting. I could always get a job, When Danny left the company, he got a job changing tires at a tire store for half what he had made painting. No one else but Lou would have put up with him for long. We were un-fucking Danny-shit for months after he left.

Isn't that the way it always goes? Those who can, do. Those who can't, troll. The same people who make you their enemies on the threads are the same people who do so in real life. The one thing I respected (sorta kinda) about Danny was that, though it was a ridiculously lame taunt, he said it to me live and in person. Internet trolls won't ever do that. Danny was a live-action pussy but he at least didn't phone it in that day. Trolls today can literally phone in their cowardice, if they have a phone with internet. They still do the same shit though....

"Ouch! My family doesn't love me?! Oh no...."

All the knowledge in the world at their finger tips and they use the computer to get bitch-slapped by a Ferrerman!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Captain, Oh Captain!

Make no mistake, I admire Derek Jeter as a ballplayer and as a man. But, like Keith Olberman, I just don't think his retirement warrants all the hoopla. Put Jeter in a Kansas City Royals uniform- any team but the Yankees- and all the same stats, good and bad, and he doesn't get the season long farewell tour. It was a great career, one certainly to be proud of but, even by Yankee standards, not deserving of all this.

Paul Konerko of the White Sox is also retiring and playing in ball parks across the country....for the last time. Konerko had a fine career but, his farewell tour is kind of an after thought. Like Jeter he pretty much spent his entire career with one team which, in this time of free-agency and big contracts, is kinda rare and refreshing. But, is it going to be this way from here on out?

I miss the old days when guys retired in the off season after mediocre season and, hurting like hell one morning trying to get out of bed, called it quits. Guys used to hang on a bit too long in the old days for the love of the game and for the money. It's only been in the last 25/30 years that players could retire with security that befitted the ridiculous money they had been making. Jeter is getting $12 million for this season. He won't be collecting Social Security and dining before 5pm to get The Blue Plate special.

You can look up the stats for both and Jeter, at least, will be a first ballot hall of famer. Again though, that's mostly because he was a Yankee. In KC or Tampa Bay the same stats aren't so automatic. I don't see Konerko getting in the Hall at all. He doesn't have the 500 home runs or 3000 hits. Jeter has the hits (3461 and counting) and that is a very legitimate criteria. Konerko will get respectable votes but, never really get close. Honestly, put him in a Yankees uniform and maybe....

Olbermann wasn't knocking Jeter. He was knocking the bullshit surrounding the World Farewell Tour. Same here. I like Keith Olbermann but, he's no Edward R. Murrow, ya know?

Let's go to the videotape:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Team Scheme Meme

Remember the Lois Lerner IRS scandal? She was a bigwig at the IRS and was accused of orchestrating politically inspired investigations of the legitimacy of the various tea parties. The accusation, of course, came from the various tea parties themselves as well as the GOP. Imagine that. New political party organizations spring up literally overnight and claim tax-exempt status and people are surprised that the IRS looks into that? They think it's a "political witch hunt"?

It reminds me of the scenes in "Dirty Harry" where the serial killer, Scorpio, hires a thug to beat the living shit out of him so that he can claim that Inspector Callaghan did it, thus getting him off the case. Pretty slick. I'm no fan of the IRS (and really, who is?) but, they are supposed to check these things out. If they didn't, we'd all be tax-exempt churches, political organizations, football leagues and Exxon. There is no crime in checking things out. There can be a crime committed in not checking things out. And, certainly, there can be a crime committed in persecuting people and/or organizations for political gain.

The latter never happened. The scandal is that the assholes in the GOP and the Foxzi Party on TV think that that was the intent of the Lerner investigations. It might well be a case of the GOP saying: "That's what WE would do!" and projecting that upon Obama. I'm inclined to believe they made a Scorpio-like move though to give themselves a free play at their money-making scheme. To investigate them now would just be suspicious....

The reality is, it was business as usual for the IRS. They took a look at democrat organizations too. The protesting too much was political opportunity. The whole Obama administration up to this very second in time has been about political opportunity- just not so much for him and the democrats, as you would expect.

Every fucking thing he does is deemed by them to be a scandal. Cry "wolf" much? It's a joke. If a real scandal did come along in the next two years, how hard would it be for the White House to say: "Scandal? Oh, like BENGHAZI!!!? Solyndra? Fast And Furious? Affordable Care Act? Golf? Ed Cetera, Ed Cetera? All of those scandals?" The wolf could come and eat us all but, if Issa or Gowdy investigates it and Sean Fucking Hannity reports on it, who of consequence could take it seriously?

Politics is a team sport. It always has been but it seems worse than ever. Ever watch football with a rabid fan of "the other" team? Their guys commit no fouls and the refs are "in on it", when they get called for a face mask...that was clearly NOT a face mask. Are you going to believe them or your lying eyes? When your team scores, it's because you cheated. Come on! YOU KNOW IT!

It's pathetic but, ain't that America? Partisan hackery rules on the internet from Topix to Facebook. People who call themselves both Americans and patriots root and pray for America to fail so that Obama fails. We know that Mitch McConnell and other high-ranking repubs met  right after Obama was elected and said- in so many words- that their singular mission was to make Barack Obama a one term president. Well, they failed miserably. Now that he's halfway through his second term they stop just sort of vowing to limit him to but two terms. There are people who believe Obama will take over and declare himself dictator for life but, none of those people are Barack Obama. The idea now is to ruin his legacy. If America fails on his watch- HE DID IT! WOO HOO! WE WIN!!!!!!!

Nobody hates Americans more than other Americans. These teapublican mopes are no better than ISIL. Lerner has received death threats over this shit. Why? I'm asking for good answer here. I've heard all the death to tyrants crap that doesn't apply in this century, to this duly elected administration. The assholes in the threads and the one's who make the threats against the president and other government officials are the abused pups that give the republican breed the bad name they now have. You beat a dog to make him mean and chain him to a tree...what do you expect? What happens to these abused animals if the republicans ever do get in the White House again and they find out that government will only shrink in size to benefit corporate rule? They'll probably not appreciate the dissent and they'll frown upon the tactics. They won't think them "team players" or "superfans" anymore. They would probably put them down like abused animals....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Testing....testing....Can you guess how many jelly beans are in Elizabeth's head?

Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Dedicated non-readers might recall that she was on The View, and was on it for a long time before this Ferrerman realized that she had also been the girl on Survivor who had used the old man (NOT Rudy- the other one) to advance further in the game and maybe even win it(?) Now she's on Fox News. She's the blonde one, if you're scoring at home.

Anyway, I heard elsewhere today that she believes that kids in school should be tested about gubmint and that, while we're at it, voters should be tested too! She must think that the usual 48% voter turnout is too damn high and a test would be a good way of lowering it. Being that she's a member of the Foxzi party and one of their propagandists, I'd have to say she's not in tune with the Foxzi faithful, most of whom make up the Constitution as they go along and would not necessarily fare well on a test..

Honestly, she approached it from the angle that kids and people need to know more about our government and how it works. Well, yeah. If I remember right, I took a Constitution test in grade school (for sure) and maybe high school too. I don't know if they still do that though. I do know that, as in the clip I saw, they always trot out a naturalized citizen to show how (he or she properly emigrated, mind you) foreign people know more about our government than fifth graders or average Americans in the street. Do you know why this is? It's because they had to take a test to become a citizen. Those of us born here don't have to so, the three branches of government and the number of representatives in the house isn't fresh in our minds like it would be for those studying to become citizens.

How much do you really have to know to vote, whether it be for the president or you city's mayor? If you are having a steak for dinner, do you really have to know all the details of how the steak made it's way from the range to the grill in the kitchen? You just have to know you like steak and prefer it to fish or a pasta dish. Voting is pretty much the same process.

Think about who you are voting for and why. I can study and prep all I want but, that doesn't mean that assholes like Louis Gohmert and John Boehner won't still get elected. If you want to test people, test those fuckers. Neither of them has any business being in Congress. Well, business has something to do with it.... Neither has the skill set to serve 'we the people' but, there they are. All the testing in the world can't stop a House-full of dickhead republicans from voting 52 times on The ACA or holding umpteen hearings on "How To Make A Big Deal Out Of.....BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!"

So, pass a test to give dream jobs to Gomers and Boners? I don't see the point.

Well, OK, I do. Scotland just voted on whether to stay or go away from England. Nearly 87% of eligible voters voted. We here average around 48% for elections including the presidential ones. We've been exporting democracy for so long we just barely have any left, I guess.

It behooves the GOP to make it harder for democrats to vote. Thus, all the bullshit about photo ID's and the curtailing of early voting and anything else that appeals to democrats and to black voters in particular. You would think that in a democracy/republic like we technically are, that they'd be inventing new ways to get people involved in the process of voting but, you'd be one of those new voters from out of town if you thought that. Limiting voting is nothing new. Back in the day, up through the 50's down south when today's republicans were known as "democrats", they didn't want black folks voting. They tried poll taxes, literacy tests and carnival games to stymie them. None of these tricks were legal, of course. The stunts of today are legal but, calling something legal doesn't make it right. Note how some feel about abortion and it's still legal. Republican legislators don't even give it the shrug-off they give inversion with corporations. When Burger King goes to Canada to avoid taxes they say: "Hey, it's legal." like there's not a goddamned thing they can do about it. Then they go vote on the Affordable Care Act- again- and plot some more Benghazi nonsense.

Yeah. We need to study hard to retain the right to vote for those fuckheads. Sheesh....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

If you sit by the river long enough...

Been looking at what's left of the threads....

American Acceptionalism

For the last several years I have been wondering, why do they let us have guns?

The mere prospect of an Obama presidency in '08 brought about the premise that he would- most definitely- confiscate guns. Actually, I believe they had said that about Clinton too and that didn't happen then either. The Second Amendment prohibits gun confiscation, not in so many words, mind you, but when has the 2A not been in interpreted in so many more words than the original sentence? There are people who believe the 2A allows for a violent take-over of the government if  you think they've over-stepped their boundaries and or "...gotten too big for their britches..." Here is the actual wording:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." 

That's all they wrote. The 2A as evolved into a marketing tool and democrat presidents are the unpaid spokespersons for confiscation and banning, no matter what they do or don't do. Obama has done nothing to infringe the sale or possession of guns. Sure, he still might but, the sign outside of at least one bar in every state in the country might actually honor the promise of "FREE BEER TOMORROW!"  Such an unfullfillable promise is essentially the main marketing tool of the NRA, which is the Marketing Department of the GOP. Crime and mass shootings also help. Obviously these things strike fear in people and the media- especially Foxzi News- fans the flames of that fear because that keeps people watching. To my knowledge Remington and Smith and Wesson don't actually advertise on Foxzi News. They don't have to. The fear and loathing of America is promoted by the hosts and guests of the shows.

But, talk to your family, neighbors and friends. Aside from crazy uncle Ned (who was already a gun nut) has anyone you know gone out and bought a arsenal due to the fear of a gun ban or ISIL? No one I know has. I wonder if they should though?

We are not on a good track here in America. There is an element that wants to control every facet of our lives. It's the corporations, my friends. We should be more terrified of them than ISIL/ISIL. Though corporate profits continue to soar, The Foxzi Party (GOP) openly speaks of not only not raising the minimum wage but, eliminating it. Why? Well, it's a global economy now and to compete with China, we need to bring wages down to their level. And, those of us inoculated with the needle of  American exceptionalism accept this because it will happen to them rather than US. No one hates Americans more than other Americans already on the sunny side of the street.

It is very well documented that it is impossible to live on $7.25 an hour. A single person scrapes by at that rate and they can forget about owning a home or paying rent on an apartment even. You can't raise a family on that and those who do, have to do it with several part-time jobs at that rate. So, take that away- and take welfare and medicade away- and how do you expect a person to do better with far less? The only free market these corporations believe in is wages and they obviously want to have it their way too.

The people who put the "me" in America do not care about the "u" in US. There's no reason for them to not make US the third-world labor source. It's fiscally conservative, I suppose. I know what you're thinking: "Well, who is going to buy the crap that they don't need?" Did I mention that it's a global economy? Really, when wages go that far south, where would their sales be anyway? You and I think that, the more poor people make the more they spend and that that should bode well for sales but, I've never been to The Wharton Business School and daddy didn't ever say to me: "Here's a fortune, son, don't lose it." So, what do we know?

What happens when the least among us have the most taken away? It's what happens (inevitably) everywhere that people have been abused: Revolution. Too little too late as it usually goes and never pretty, and rarely with a good outcome. How can Americans possibly allow this to happen? How could you want to live in a country that would treat it's own citizens as chattel?

Well, you already do and we always have. Don't kid yourself. Black people in this country were not given Civil Rights in the 60's. Instead, white people were told that they had to acknowledge that blacks had the same rights.That is what Civil Rights was all about. Blacks were free and citizens since the Civil War. They knew it. Many white people did not. Many white people still do not. Some want to take that back.

Which brings us back to guns and, most importantly, who has them and how they might use them. Open carry in Texas is all about intimidation. Jack-leg militias 'patrolling' the border there and in the rest of the southwest is about that plus immigration enforcement. The whole silly-but-scary debacle with Cliven Bundy was an extension of all of the above. These assholes will be the ones that take their guns to the streets when corporations pull the rug out from us. The stupid fuckers will still be thinking they are fighting and killing for the American way of life. They will be told that they are. They'll easily believe it. They've been well-prepped.

There won't be a Hitler that changes this country. We don't operate that way. Instead we put it in people's minds that affordable healthcare was something Hitler did. And he took guns away from the Jews and look what happened... The German people did not choose Hitler to lead them. He seized power. And even then, though he had most certainly preached of "the Jewish problem", he did not advertise "The Final Solution." Your average German would not sign on for that. Neither would your average American. But, it isn't always what you sign on for in life. It's not even always in the fine print. It's what is implied. One thing leads to another. And then, perhaps chaos?

We had our American dream, folks. We exported it. Turns out, it was too expensive to sustain. The big money is in exports. Didn't we already know that?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Here's your hat, what's your hurry.

I did a deck recently for a homeowner who was wrapped a little tight. He wanted me to cut corners to get the job done as fast as possible. Mind you, I wasn't working by the hour. Time and materials often causes homeowners to watch the clock. That's human nature. This guy was a ball of anxiety trying to get me to cut unnecessary corners. Of course I fought him on this- in a nice way.

I've had many bosses like this when I was working by the hour. It's quite counter-productive but, that's how they get and keep their positions.It's sometimes skill but all too often it is being a company man, rat bastard that gets you promoted. It's probably the same at your job.

Rushing things is rarely a good idea. Homeowners want things done ASAP as foremen do but for different reasons. The lady of the house understandably wants her home back in order but the foreman just wants a feather in his cap. "LOOK WHAT *I* DID!!!!!"

There were soooo many but, I'll start with Donnie Silver. Silver wanted everything done FAAAAST! It wasn't just from an owners bean-counting perspective though. Silver was looking to reinvent painting, something that didn't need to be done. He asked a buddy of mine once why painters didn't roll from side to side. Never minding that it's stupid and a helluva lot more work, it's stupid and a helluva lot more work. A few years later, he was asking me the same question. Can you guess what I told him?

Well, I left out the "stupid" part because I needed the job but, it is more work and it accomplishes nothing. You're looking for coverage and a smooth finish on a wall and up and down is the way to go. We don't even (necessarily) do the *W* like they tell you to do on the fix-it shows. There's nothing wrong with the *W* except it leads to unnecessary wars as well as odd political segues. But, Silver had this bad habit of saying that he wanted everything done fast and punctuating fast with his hand, palms down, diving into the air in front of him. And he looked for new stupid ways to do basic things, all the time. I wondered if he stayed up at night mis-thinking things. During my first week for him I cheerfully did an after hours job in an office building that required that I spackle little pin holes on about 20 offices on four floors. Notice I said "spackle". That's what you use. Unless you're Donnie Silver....

He gave me a sack of 5 minute quickset- "because it's FAAAAST!"  It is indeed. Too fast. It's often ambitious that you make it the full 5 minutes before it sets up in your pan. It has it's uses but this wasn't one of them, Finishers hate it because of the working time and because it's a bitch to sand. And spackle in extremely small doses like that dries verrrry faaaast!  Gun to my head, the first floor I do is dry and ready to lightly sand and prime by the time I finish the fourth. I related this to Donnie but, he was having none of it. I had no spackle on my truck and if I left to get some, I wouldn't be able to get back in unless I propped the door and left it open to crime. Not on my watch. I should have quit that night. Donnie would not get better. He wasn't the least bit malleble. On a later job, he was using 20 minute mud to float out a wall in a bank. I suggested 45 or 90 but, they weren't faaaast enough. Donnie wished aloud that he had fans to accelerate the drying. I explained that the quickset did not air dry. Rather, it was a chemical reaction that caused it to set in the varying times available. It looked at me in a probable mix of confusion and suspicion. I went to the paint store for some 45 or 90. In a delicious occurrence of irony, the guy at the paint store volunteered(!) the statement: "I'd like to meet the idiot who uses 20 or 5 minute mud!" No prompting from me! I replied: "Well, come on down the street and I'll show you the idiot!" "Really?" he replied. "Goodness...."

Indeed, Donnie Silver was wrapped too tight. I believe his daddy was a minister and Donnie had had a strict upbringing. He had been a drug addict and alcoholic and clean when I worked for him. A year or so later he had relapsed. He lost his lovely wife, home and probably 60-70 pounds he had not needed to lose.

Little Jimmy Smith was an actual painter and pretty much knew what to do but he could never get the hang on when to do it. He was caught up in that corporate pole-climb that guys with no people skills trip up on. He was not a leader and not very organized. Coupled with that, he was what you call "a fucking liar" who regularly gave false deadlines designed to hurry the crew. After a walk-around of a new project, I'd ask when the job needed to be done. All to often the answer was: "Last week..."

Well now, he should have put me on it two to three weeks ago. I was never sure if he had seriously lost paperwork and put himself in a hole that we had to pull him out of or if he was giving false deadlines to make us hurry. It was likely 50/50. Well, Little Jimmy was a 5 foot nothing bully. We all did what could be done, in the time it took to get done. He was a rat who scampered off to the office for brownie points every chance he could. But, if you think I'm being hard on him, the guys at the shop were worse. Little Jimmy had 'trained' 4 or five of the superintendents he wound up working under. He couldn't believe the shop passed over him like that. Everybody else could.

He once had us paint the exterior of a building that we didn't actually have a contract on. I would have loved to have been in the shop for that one when he explained things- if he did. I could imagine him putting it off on me and Dale- a couple of rogue, renegade painters painting whatever buildings they felt like.... It may well have gone down like that. A week later, another company re-painted our work. Little Jimmy refused to talk about it. Very telling in his silence.

Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I haven't even gotten to "162 IQ Lou" yet. Story for another day.

The gist is, good work takes time. If there was 'book time' on these things as in auto mechanics, I could maybe beat it but, not necessarily by much. If everything is a race, chaos wins. Why rush a good thing?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Broken Windows, Broken Souls

Cris Carter, Hall Of Fame wide receiver who played mostly for the Minnesota Vikings, gave an impassioned plea against beating children, in the darkness of Adrian Peterson's arrest for beating one of his children. Let's go to the videotape.

Peterson is alleged to have beaten his 4 year old son with a "switch" a small tree branch, to you city folk. "Alleged" is a relative term here because, well, he did it. This was the way he was raised as a child and, as former NBA player Charles Barkley explained, it's what all blacks do in the south. For some reason Charles was interviewed on the matter on Sunday morning's NFL Today program. Ferrerman note here: the NFL leads all the leagues in news panel-like pre-game, halftime, and post game chit-chat with panels of experts. Ex-players and coaches sit down and prognosticate about the games while wondering what prognosticate means. The show's are the NFL's version of The Five on Fox or Meet The Press. I guess they chose Barkley because he is black, southern and was near the studio at show time.

I like Charles. He's affable and amusing. His take was rather matter-a-fact, noting that it's a southern black thing, and that you'd have to arrest the whole black south if beating your yunguns was a crime. This really must have pricked up some GOP ears!

But, Barkley had seen the pics and they brought back childhood memories that didn't haunt him like they did Cris Carter. At the end of the video, by the way, Mike Ditka goes on to proclaim that childhood beatings made him the blowhard, fucking jerk he is today. I guess that was why they cut off the video where they did.

The only thing I got out of childhood beatings was that I would never raise my hand to a child- ever. It is weakness. It's not parenting, nor is it effective discipline. It is vengeance. That old saw about this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, is Hollywood bullshit. A whupping/spanking at best teaches a child that violence solves problems. It doesn't. And, in the absence of  physical scars, there are mental scars. See the men above. But worse, kids have been killed by the people who were supposed to love them unconditionally. Anger is just one letter away from danger.

I have never in my life heard someone I respect defend child abuse. Kids become good people not because of beating but, in spite of beatings. If mom and dad had never laid a hand, belt or wooden spoon on me I would still be the Ferrerman I am today. And, I would still not be beating my kids because I never would have learned that at home. I never even hit my brothers. We rough-housed but, no fist fights. Years ago a boss of mine who despised his brother met one of mine and asked what the meanest thing I had ever done to him was. He couldn't recall anything. Instead he remembered the time I brought him a cheese sandwich when he had been sent to bed without dinner. I don't remember that. It meant a lot to him. That means a lot to me.

Working on paint crews in the south, I heard the defense of this southern strategy. Guys were damn near proud to have been beaten. As with Ditka, I even heard..."It made me the man I am today..."
I'd look down the line at these guys...drunk...drug addict....prison...drug addict...jail....

Not all of them. It was the guys you didn't think much of anyway and now you had an insight into why. It's the same with the imaginary people on Topix. The emotional scars of childhood live on for so many people, unseen in the moment when mom or dad is teaching you a lesson you'll never forget. How often was that the same lesson you didn't learn the day before? Being a kid isn't easy. Being a parent isn't either. My folks were not experts and probably winged it, using their own childhoods as a primer. I suspect that was the norm at the time. It's not an excuse so much as it is an explanation. You can mock parents who give time outs as "weak" and "ineffective" and even "gutless" but, there's no blood-no foul with that approach. Yes, children and life are more complicated than that but, a little kindness goes along way. Violence goes the extra hard road.

I'm proud I never raised my hand nor my voice to my son. He turned out well. I did give him a perfunctory smack on the butt when he broke his first window but honestly I was delighted just to have been there for it. That's divorced Dad stuff. You cherish every moment as they grow up so fast two weekends a month. And the window, of course, was an accident. He was throwing rocks at a tree with another kid. There are no six year old phenoms in the big league for a reason. Stuff happens. It's better to err on the side of love for your children, isn't it? Better for you, for them, and better for the world.

Friday, September 12, 2014

To thine own selfie be true

Last weeks big deal about some sort of cloud burst that rained down pics of naked celebrities has come and gone. If you've ever visited tumbler, you might know that lots of regular people take nude selfies" of theirselfies so, it's more than just Anthony Wiener and Brett Favre. People wondered: "Doesn't Jennifer Lawrence have a mirror?" I'm sure she does. I suspect that, like a lot of non-celebs, she's cognizant of being in the best shape of her life and why not document it now? You know- something to show the grandchildren, decades from now?

Well, I don't think she had them in mind but, male or female, when we get to a certain point in life, it's nice to think back to our prime and modern technology sure affords us all the opportunity. And selfies. I would imagine, are- were- a rather private way of doing nudes. Even non-nudes are prevalent, on Facebook and dating sites. My first thought when seeing an attractive woman taking her own pic is: "Doesn't a babe like that have any friends who could snap her?" I'm mostly being silly there as it's obviously an impulsive, in-the-moment snap because, why not? And with nude selfies, you have total control over possession...except for hackers....

Back in the day, when I was as young and pretty as I liked to think I was, I was invited to do porn. The inviter was a past girlfriend of mine, Extremely Blonde Susan. (Not her real name.) I call her this because Susan was as blonde as blonde gets, blonde on blonde, like a young Doris Day. I don't want to get all Sublimey here but, she appreciated my work ethic and job performance and she thought I might like to join her in her professional endeavor. I thought about it but, that wasn't me. Honestly, I also had the porn meme of the late seventies of snuff films in the back of my mind. That wasn't a serious fear, mind you but, it was one of those, ya never knows that sometimes weigh on our minds. Mostly I just thought it was too freaky for me so, I declined. We were no longer together at work or at play so, I don't even know if she went through with it.

This all came to mind when I read of the existence of a 15 minute film of Marilyn Monroe giving a blow job to an unknown man. Given her fame, that was interesting and provocative enough but, that the unknown man being pleasured was possibly President Kennedy made it very interesting. It has long been rumored that JFK and her had had an affair. Her and Bobby too. Probably. I won't hold it against them. Those were different times. Many president's have had affairs but republicans weren't the assholes that they are today and there was no Fox news back then and thus, no stupid impeachments.

J. Edgar Hoover of FBI and dress-wearing fame got a hold of the film and the Fed's studied it intensely. He hated the Kennedy's and all things Kennedy with the piss and vinegar that your average reichwing troll today has for Obama. It was most definitely Ms. Monroe in the film but the face and head of the man was never shown. Hoover had his men round up prostitutes that had been suspected of, or known to have had, sex with Kennedy. They evidently couldn't identify the penis in question as being the presidential penis. Maybe they were patriotic and protected their president? I like to think so.

Hoover's investigation was blue-balled. The film wound up in the possession of one of the FBI agents. At some point, Marilyn's ex-husband, Yankee great Joe Dimaggio, was purported to have offered the guy $20,000 for the film. That was declined but several years ago an anonymous Manhattan multi-millionaire paid $1,5 million (to the son of the agent) for the film to keep it out of nefarious hands. An expensive, but classy move. That's why I don't think the buyer was Michael Bloomberg though it could have been. I hope he doesn't show it at parties. He may have even destroyed it for all we know.

We'll likely never know for sure if it was Kennedy but, the money sure seems to speak to that. However, how did the buyer know? Caveat emptor. And to those who do nude selfies, caveat cellphonor!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Because the night

Over the weekend, my cousin was killed in one of the oddest ways imaginable. Someone took a wooden stake and drove it through his chest, killing him. That person will not be charged.

You see folks, my cousin was dressed as a vampire. He was asking for it. There's no Stand Your Ground or any such law here, just the common sense of public opinion. We the people know that if a woman dresses provocatively she is asking to be raped. We the people know that, if a black man has arms, he is not unarmed and is deserving of death because he probably smoked marijuana. My cousin now knows that if you dress as a vampire, you die by the stake.

Alert readers might have already guessed that I made up the part about my cousin getting killed. I got a bunch of cousins, all are currently accounted for and none run around in vampire costumes, at least not this time of year. Check back late next month.

It's sadly tiresome that when these young, unarmed black teens get killed, so many people spend so much time back-tracking to uncover reasons why it was okay to kill them. It's like a murder trial in reverse where the victim is on trial and the killer is deemed as "the real victim". We saw it with the national stories of Trayvon Martin and more recently with Michael Brown in Missouri. This is not supposed to be how our justice system works.

It's like far too many rape cases have been and still are where the victim is often presumed to be responsible for the violence committed against them. "What was she wearing?"

Rape is a crime of opportunity. Most crime is. A woman can be in the right place but, at the wrong time. Same with black youth, walking from the store, going from point A to point B. Trayvon was wearing a dark hoodie and, after the fact, that attire was deemed to be gangster clothing. A lot of attractive women wear short skirts and or low-cut tops. So do unattractive women. They want people to notice them. If you've ever seen advertising, you know this is extremely normal as portrayed in our society. Beautiful women sell cars, perfume, soap- whatever. It is perfectly legal and socially acceptable to dress sexy.

Well, until you get raped. Then it's a bad thing. Same with the not-always-fashionable wearing of black skin. It's great in sports or on Denzel Washington but not so much- for many people- on a street in Anytown, USA at night.

Most of life is walking in the shoes of another, whether they be high-dollar sneakers or high heels. A woman passed out on a couch, upstairs in a frat house is not asking to be raped. She's not asking for anything. Ask yourself if you were passed out at a party, would you like to be sodomized? Really now- do I have to wait for an answer?

Would you expect to be shot and killed for walking in the street, whether by a cop or a vigilante cop-wannabe? Would you accept it if your child died that way because he made someone "afraid" one night and a new law said his death was legal? I'm not waiting. I think we know the answer.

Going back into someone's life to discover they smoked marijuana, cut school or enjoyed the heck out of sex with previous boyfriends has nothing to do with the night they left this earth or their psyche was killed. It's not payback for previous questionable choices in life. It's not cause and effect or, there you go...we now saw that coming...

We know the answer. Maybe we should stop with the questions except when they deal with the crime itself and maybe stop criminalizing the victims? Aren't we all potential victims?

Saturday, September 6, 2014



I don't have a lot of info on who, what, when or where regarding this video. It's pretty brutal, isn't it? I'm no legal expert but, I don't think that store security is allowed to be beating the snot out of suspects. I'm going to guess that the security guards here- Loss Prevention Associates- probably over-stepped their bounds here and quite likely did not handle things well from the start. As far as I know they can detain people but, as far as I also know, the suspect doesn't have to allow him/herself to be detained. These are not cops. I bet no one has ever been charged with resisting arrest from a security guard. I think they have the same powers of arrest that you and I have which amounts to; you can't go beating on people. In some states you and I might have more powers even. Florida comes to mind. George Zimmerman. Neighborhood Watch. Fucking with people. Them not taking it like you figured....

The suspect in the video is just that- a suspect. Who knows what he stole and if he even stole anything. What would you do if a couple of casually dressed guys demanded you stop, after you exited Walmart? Maybe you've got a bag full of Chinese-made, lead-laced goodies that you paid for but these two strangers claim to be store security and want to look through your stuff. Usually Walmart has a senior citizen at the door check your purchases. Did you know you don't have to submit to that? You do at Sam's Club, Costco or any such place that you signed a shopping agreement with but, not Walmart or the Exxon Tigermarket or any public store. Walmart goons can't (legally) swarm and curb-stomp you for not complying with Carlton, Your Walmart Doorman. They have to see you committing a felony and, unless I miss my guess, just hope you agree to be detained. I really don't know at what point does it become kidnapping or unlawful restraint.

What I do know is that these gooberheads are not cops and I hope they never get to become cops. They don't seem to have the temperament, or the ability to take down a suspect. The suspect has a box cutter and he evidently does cut one of the Walmartians but, again, does he know who is upon him and why?

It seems to me that their job is to witness the crime, call the cops, detain the suspect (if the suspect is detainable) and, if not, get the license plate number or be on site to say: "He went thata way!"

What would you do if you saw two civilians beating on another person? This looked like a street fight or a mugging to me. What if the suspect had a gun, legal or not? These days that is a real possibility and a serious concern. Whatever the guy stole- if he stole at all- is it worth getting stabbed over and risking your life?  There's no real easy call here for the court of public opinion either because all the participants are white. I don't like thieves but I don't like *legal* lawbreakers either. It's a tough call. I wonder what he (allegedly) stole? Maybe the box cutter?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Serf City, USA!

The only way to stop illegal immigration is to make America as unpalatable as possible. I'm talking about electing a republican president. Just let him do whatever he wants; eliminate the minimum wage, end Social Security, end taxation of the rich, etc. NOBODY will want to come here. In fact, inside of 6 months, I bet the whiny democrats all leave, leaving only the republicans to the plutocratic, heavily armed utopia that America would be. Obama doesn't have the guts to burn down America for the insurance but I bet a Ted Cruz does!

It would at least solve the immigration dilemma that suddenly sprang up after 30 years. I can't see too many Mexicans wanting to come to a gun infested, slave-wage driven hellhole. They pretty much what they have that at home. Why go to a country where rich people are so greedy that they can't see that paying workers more means those people can buy more, thus stimulating the economy. I mean- these pendejos just want to cut to the chase, gather up ALL the cash in the country and make America a serfdom.

That's what it would be. If the corporations think the Federal minimum of $7.25 is "too much", but that workers "could do better" with no minimum, and their own negotiation of wages. That's not even their specious argument against Unions. Now it's for the counterperson at Micky D's and the warehouse worker.  That makes NO fucking sense.

"We can't afford to pay you what you are making now and we don't think you deserve more, but if you agree to drop the minimum, come on in to my office and we'll talk!"

You already live in a nation where the least among you can work 40 hours a week and not make rent, never mind hope to send their kids to college. Are you ready for a nation where those folks don't even make that? How can those people survive? How is that better? Remember- there would be little or no welfare from the government. The alleged logic is that, because of supply and demand and an American's proud, self-worth, YOU (and I'm looking at YOU, you handsome, patriot!) are worth more than the others. YOU bring something new and improved to the table that Brand X doesn't! YOU want $3 an hour, not $2 like the chumps!

Well, fuck YOU. It pays $2. Keep walking. You may not have noticed that millions of American's are foraging for berries in the forest. Take the two bucks and shut the fuck up.

And really now, what becomes of your salary? I know you think it will stay the same but, why? Why should it? You just stood idly by while millions of your fellow citizens got screwed- with your approval- and you didn't think it would impact you in a bad way? Bitch, please! What were you thinking?  They might need you still but, not at the salary you had. A kid just out of college can do your job for a fraction of what you were getting. Your employer has a responsibility to his know you posted that about a million times on the internet...fiscally conservative....

Jesus tried to warn about this. Martin Niemoller tried to warn about this. Any sense of fair play you ever had in your life tried to warn about this. YOU ignored it all. YOU never stopped to think how ludicrous it was? The already rich turned the American dream into a fucking Ponzi scheme.

I'll leave you with Mr Dylan even though YOU may not deserve him: