Prodigals' Return

The two delivery barcode sorters that had been at Page Field Station returned to our plant over the weekend. My machine (DBCS #14) is no longer the end of the line, since one of the machines from Page Field is now behind mine. Unfortunately, they didn't take out the yellow safety rails that were behind my machine, so they are still blocking us from moving equipment around. I told my supervisor that I really, REALLY want them gone when I come in tonight. If that doesn't work, I'll go up the chain of command.

The only other little problem is that management didn't give the DBCS operators with bids at Page Field the thirty days notice that they are contractually entitled to, which means that we have the machines but not the operators, at least for the time being. Right hand, meet left hand.

And while we're on the subject, what's wrong with this series of numbers:



And yes, those are our machine numbers, with 28 and 29 being the two "new" machines; 1 through "28" are the machines on the right side of the aisle as you enter the front of the building, and 16 through 27 are the ones coming back on the left side. Seems to me that the "new" machines should have been numbered "2" and "15", but there I go making sense again. Darn that patriarchal mathematical logic!

We won't go into a discussion here of Larry Summers' politically incorrect comments. Pointed japes at Ward Churchill are welcome, however. Anyone want to buy an "original" serigraph?


Gorilla My Dreams

Perhaps you have seen the stories in the news about the three female employees of the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, who have filed lawsuits against their employer because Koko the sign-language-"speaking" gorilla, female variety, wanted them to show her their nipples. Yes, that ape was sexually harassing them! Oh, the horror! Two of them refused to do it, but a third bared her breasts for the simian "as a disagreeable duty of her employment," as her lawyer put it. Note that the foundation's president, who asked the women to acquiesce to Koko's request, is a woman.

When I read stories like this, I have just one reaction: There are too damn many lawyers in this country.


Rust Never Sleeps

Hey hey, my my. Today's post is about how it's better to burn out than it is to rust. The rusty vessels we shall discuss today are Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Pope John Paul II. Full disclosure: I'm not a Roman Catholic, I'm not a lawyer or jurist, and I'm not an old person, although I aspire to live long enough to become one, since it beats the alternative.

Yesterday, the Pope was readmitted to the hospital with breathing problems. He's 84 years old and in frail health. Chief Justice Rehnquist is suffering from thyroid cancer, for which I offer my sympathies and hopes for a successful recovery, since I myself had a benign thyroid tumor removed in 1983. However, it should be noted that the Chief Justice is 80 years old.

What do these two men have in common, other than holding positions to which they were appointed for life? It seems to me that they both believe that they are indispensable, which is of course not true. All of us are replaceable, and indeed, eventually we all will be replaced in the jobs that we hold, whether through retirement or through a more final exit. Unless you work in a company which you founded, someone else must have held your job before you came along, and someone else will hold it after you are gone. There have been many Supreme Court Justices over the centuries and even more Popes, primarily because the Papacy is a much older institution.

It seems clear that neither of these men is willing to go quietly into retirement. They will both probably "die with their boots on." The question arises whether these octogenarians really are still in touch with the world which is so affected by their decisions and pronouncements, and whether it might be better for them to move aside so that younger, healthier, more vital leaders might emerge.

They are not the only ones who don't want to retire even when they have reached the normal age of retirement. One of my co-workers passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago and I heard that he was in his early 80s. He worked right up until his dying day. I've sworn that I won't do that. I don't know if I'll retire early, but I guarantee you that I won't be working beyond age 67, which is when I'm (theoretically) eligible for Social Security.


The Things I Do For Science!

On Tuesday night, I noticed that something new had appeared in the vending machine in the break room at work: EuroMints, which are "energy" mints containing caffeine, in this particular case, wintergreen-flavored. According to the tin, each three-mint serving contains the caffeine equivalent of a can of soda; there are about 75 mints per tin. Well, in the name of science, I shelled out $2.00 and bought a tin of them last night. I didn't keep an exact count of how many I ate, but it was somewhere around a dozen or so. Combined with my normal caffeine consumption from the Diet Cokes I drink on breaks and at lunch, I had a pretty good caffeine buzz going by the end of the day. I certainly wouldn't want to consume the entire tin in one sitting or I'd be bouncing off the walls.

The mints also come in peppermint and cinnamon flavors, although the vending machine only had the wintergreen variety. They were light green in color and disk-shaped. The ad copy on their web site's The Look & Feel page claims that the mints are designed to have "softer edges, sexier curves," and to be "easy on the eyes." Come on, guys. Sometimes a mint is just a mint.


Ballot Stuffing?

The Naples Daily News (henceforth "NDN") is running their "SW Florida Choice Awards" contest. How do I know this, since I don't read the NDN? Because I ended up with several trays of mailed-in entries for the NDN this morning. At first I was worried that the gate was stuck open, since stacker #95 normally doesn't fill up so quickly or so frequently on the first pass run. When I looked at the mail, I noticed that all of it was addressed to the same place. Many of the envelopes had printed address labels, and many of them were on corporate stock, with companies like real estate brokers and electronics stores well represented. I suspect some ballot stuffing was going on by those companies. Well, you can't blame them for trying, since it no doubt is an advertising coup to be able to claim that you are "the people's choice" for whatever product or service you are selling. I wonder what the carrier's reaction was this morning when he or she got eight trays of mail from stacker #33 on the second pass run? Probably a sigh of relief when it became evident that about seven of the trays were going to the same place. I suspect that this was not an isolated incident and that I'll be getting a lot of mail in those stackers until the NDN finishes their contest.

Also on the ballot stuffing topic, the bulletin board at work is encouraging us to call in and vote for Vonzell "Baby V" Solomon on "American Idol." She is a letter carrier here in Fort Myers, although the "American Idol" gig may lead to bigger and better things, even if she doesn't win. I don't watch the show myself, but I do think it would be cool for someone from here to win, so I'll be pulling for her.

Blog housekeeping: I've added a few links, mostly the "Just Folks" personal ones from my old blog and a few of the other ones that I still read on a frequent basis. I still have my old template with the old links, so if there are any of the old ones that you'd like to see added here, leave a request in the comments.


Rock On

Television can be educational. Yesterday, I was watching a show on the History Channel called "Modern Marvels," and this particular episode was about rock quarries and how our civilization is dependent on various types of rock and rock products for materials used in buildings, roads, concrete, etc. One little factoid for you: The white powder on the inside of your chewing gum wrapper that keeps the gum from sticking to the wrapper is made of sweetened powdered marble. Believe it. Another factoid: Each mile of two-lane road takes about 40,000 tons of rock to make. There are about 3.9 million miles of road in the United States. That's a lot of rock.


Not Shocked

I heard on the news last night that Hunter Thompson committed suicide. For some reason, it seems kind of appropriate that he'd choose to make his exit that way, on his own terms. My favorite Hunter Thompson quote was "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." And by golly, he was a pro.

Speaking of weird, my favorite news story from last week was about "Baby 81" in Sri Lanka getting reunited with his parents after the DNA tests proved he was their son. The mother said that the first thing she would do when she got her son back was to fulfill her vows to smash 100 coconuts for the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, offer sweet rice to the warrior god Murugan and kill a rooster for the goddess Kali. Her husband added, "Then we'll figure out what to do next." I'm figuring they probably cooked coconut chicken over rice, but that's just me. And what's the deal with 100 coconuts? You figure that the priests at the temple have some kind of coconut concession?

On the same page of the USA Today where I read that story, there was a picture of Iraqi Shiites marching through the street flagellating themselves with metal chains for their religious festival of Ashura. And after reading those stories, I thought to myself, "You know, by comparison it's almost normal here in Jesusland."

Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!

The hiatus is over, but it is time for a new incarnation. The King is dead, long live the King. You might be curious about this blog's name. It's an anagram; if you know me, you'll figure it out. I'll be playing around with the look of the template over the next few days and weeks until I get something that I like. Welcome aboard.