Saturday, July 30, 2011

The 511

I have plenty of things I thought I'd write about and was ready to start when I remembered that tomorrow (July 31st ) is a special day, and I wanted to take a minute to  be surfe to say Happy Birthday, Harry.

Sadly, the release of the recent film is the end of the series. It's just as well. That way you won't find out about Harry's lost years :

Today is also the anniversary of the founding of the first Society of Freemasons Lodge here in the good ol' US of A, in the town of Boston to be exact in 1733. Hi guys. What 'cha doooin?

And today is the birthday of Thorstein (born Torsten) Bunde Veblen  (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929). He was an economist and a sociologist. Wrote a fun read called "The Theory of the Leisure Class" (pub. 1899).  Here's an excerpt from wiki:

...arguing there was a basic distinction between the productiveness of "industry," run by engineers, which manufactures goods, and the parasitism of "business," which exists only to make profits for a leisure class. The chief activity of the leisure class was "conspicuous consumption", and their economic contribution is "waste," activity that contributes nothing to productivity. The American economy was therefore made inefficient and corrupt by the businessmen...

I think that's about it for now. I should go and check the news to see if the alleged tea party crowd has fulfilled the Republican's not so secret agenda of doing away with Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid yet. Later.

July 30 is the 211th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.
There are 511 days remaining until the end of time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th Birthdays:

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) - playwright who used his works to cover examinations of social problems with wit and style. According to wiki, his causes included "
gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles". Oh, well, at least we were left with some wickedly funny plays. He's also the only Nobel Laureate to win an Oscar. And the master of Shavian wit: I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation. 

Carl Jung (1875-1961) - I thought I might change the pic of Jung. Somehow, I ended up finding a history of strange actions figures. Adolph Hitler has an action figure! I'm not kidding. I wondered if, using this archetype of evil, the Collective Unconscious was in a joking mood. Or was this discoverery just an odd synchronicity of events I don't yet understand?

George Grosz (1893-1959) German born dadaist, changed his style when he left Berlin (while the getting out was good) for the USA.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - author / Brave New World

Gracie Allen (1895-1964) - actress / comedienne / Mrs George Burns


VVivian Vanceivian Vance (1909-1979) - 2nd banana

Erskine Hawkins (1914-1993) trumpeter and bandleader - "the 20th Century Gabriel". The Savoy theatre in Harlem had two stages, one band would rotate out of view with an improvised riff as the other band would would take it over and rotate into view. One night the other band held off as a joke. Hawkins just kept playing and playing. The riff became Tuxedo Junction. It was #1 for about 4 months, until Glenn Miller's version took over the #1 spot for another 4 months.


Virginia Gilmore (1919-1986) - actress

Jean Shepherd (1921-1999) writer, raconteur and radio personality. The DJ in "On the Road" is based on him. So is the Howard Beale character in 'Network'. He was a radio God. I have one show of his, in which he spends an hour telling the story of a boy who lived down the street (whose name was 'Flick') being triple dog dared to stick his tongue to a lampost in the middle of winter. If his voice, and some of what he talks about in the clip below sounds familiar, he was the narrator and writer of the movie "A Christmas Story".


Jason Robards (1922-2000) - actor

. .
Blake Edwards - director / producer / Mr Julie Andrews

James Best - character actor / Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) - director / producer / writer. I have very fond memories of sitting in the front row of a Cinerama theatre, stoned and tripping, seeing the uncut 2001.

Darlene Love - singer/actress. Every Christmas (starting in 1986), she appears on the David Letterman show to perform her hit "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". As far as I know, it's the only reason to watch Letterman. This past March, she was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her's was the voice of my generation. Here's a taste:


How could a young gay boy not love her, with songs like

and this hit - credited to the Chrystals, was really Ms. Love and the Blossoms. Here's the Crystals in a clip - except it's Ms. Love as the lead singer. (BTW, same thing with Da Doo Ron Ron)


Mary Jo Kopechne (1940-1969) aide to Robert Kennedy, shouldn't have taken a ride with his brother Ted.

Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger - singer / The Rolling Stones

Someone may be listening

Its been a hell of a week. A triumph of evil in Norway, Amy  Winehouse joined the 27 club, a government minister in Ghana has called for a roundup of those suspected of being homosexual, there was a deadly train crash in China which seems to be in the process of being covered up by that government, a couple of large businesses have announced layoffs in the thousands, Comic Con has been going on, the debt crisis has pushed way past political theater into surrealism, Casey Anthony was set free, the stock market has been writhing, 3650+ small town post offices may be closed,'The football players and management came to an agreement so there will be a season after all - how much bad news can one take? Has evil become a palpable real entity slowly enveloping the globe?

Late last night, I started to put the birthday write ups here. I have to substantially change things for the same material to show properly thru Blogger. I worked on it for over a half an hour, there were problems. I gave up and went to bed. I don't know if I'll get around to fixing it.

Instead, I just have to tell you what life in America is like for an average nothing job at the moment. See, the company I work for, part of an international conglomerate, has been bringing the boot down. On Sunday, I was made to watch - and there was a quiz to pass - a new computer presentation (45 minutes!) about confidential material. After going through the obvious (credit cards, checks), the program spent a good bit of time discussing the necessary confidentiality of possible company secrets. You never know who might be listening. It could be the competition, ready to steal all our ideas. Oh, and by the way, the company considers its pay levels a secret. We should never talk about them - even to each other. The same is true for anything from discussing the hours we work, to disciplinary actions to... well, just about anything. Transgress and it is a fireable offense. Oh, and by the way, writing about the company on a blog is a fireable offense too. Do I feel intimidated? Actually yes, I do. Does it bother me? Yes, it does. Will I stop? No, not really. I don't think I've ever used the company's name on here. I may not have used mine, actually. If you wanted to match blog to person, you could find the info quickly enough.

This morning, I was pulled aside several times. The first discussed our policy of ID'ing everyone who looks 45 or under, regular customers included, for beer and or wine purchases. It's a younger age for cigarettes. These rules must be strictly enforced. Even if the customer comes in everyday. They say this every now and then, and after a month or so things will settle down a bit. However, this time we were told that corporate will pull and watch the surveillance tapes of the cashiers, and listen in to our conversations with customers. (Oops, I think I just broke confidentiality again..) If they don't hear us ask for ID, it's a "step" offence. Three steps and you're out.

Then I got pulled aside and told that our "rings per minute" levels must get up to company standards. They already go over our "scores" with us daily. Well sir Jim Bob, if'n we don't make the proper scores, it's a step offense, three steps and you're out.

Later I was pulled aside and told about my clothes. The pair of pants I had on had worn spots which had begun to look like holes in my clothes. That was unacceptable. I think my boss also said "indecent" but I'm not positive about that.

I already skip most medications and doctor visits because there isn't any money. Not with what they pay me. I started in 2007 - and I still haven't worked my way up to $10.00 per hour. Even buying recycled "re-loved" clothes from the hospice store means skipping another day or two's food. If I pay rent on time, and with my money the damned eagle had the grin squeezed out some time back, such steps must be taken. And just when did it become permissible to tape and listen in to your workers? The boot is coming down. Did I mention that I overheard someone in authority tell a customer that we keep trying to hire, we're hiring all the time, but we can't get anybody.? They actually don't understand why people don't want to work for them.

Maybe Amy Winehouse had the right idea. Anesthetize yourself, sedate yourself, do everything you can to escape the reality outside your body. Of course, if you fail the piss test you'll never get a job as good as mine.

July 26 is the 207th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.
 There are 515 days remaining until the end of time.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24th Birthdays:

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco, (1783-1830) Another revolutionary who turned out to be a Mason.

Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870) playwright and novelist. Grandson of a French nobleman and a Haitian slave. The count of Monte Christo, The Three Musketeers, etc.

Alfons Maria Mucha (1860-1939) Art Nouveau, oh oh oh.

Frank Wedekind (1864-1918) playwright - his first, called 'Spring Awakening" had homoeroticism, implied group male masturbation, actual male masturbation, sado-masochism between a teenage boy and girl, rape, suicide, and references to abortion. It was, of course, turned into a musical in 2006 (8 Tonys!). Then there's the two Lulu plays, a movie, and an opera...

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany- writer who published under Lord Dunsany. He wrote fantasy, horror, and sci-fi stories. A young stevil stumbled upon his story, "Two Bottles of Relish". stevil was very happy. He finally found someone who understood.

Robert Graves (1895-1985) author, translator, poet. The White Goddess. I, Claudius & Claudius the God. etc. A further influence to young stevil's perception of history as myth and myth as history.

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) - aviator. I wonder what ever became of her? Hiliary Swank played her in a recent movie.

Chief Dan George (Geswanouth Slahoot) (1899-1981) - actor
Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Zelda Fitzgerald (1900-1948) - F. Scott's wife / artist.

Bella Abzug (1920-1998) - congresswoman / feminist