Tag Archives: Huh?

A Ruse?

Our kids need to get out more.

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‘Grave’ Therapy

Over the years, I’ve had to do some pretty weird things for work, had to work for some  weird people.  And while I have sometimes felt that my job was hell, and that it would be the death of me, well, I never thought that it would lead me to an early grave.  Or an early casket.

Possibly among the things I’ve hated most have been those retreat-thingys organized by HR.

For the most part, I’ve gotten along with folks I worked with.  Still, I find HR retreats — with their artificial conviviality — uncomfortable.  And even I, who willingly tells my most embarrassing stories to the whole world, finds doing so in a closed room to folks I work with when I don’t choose the timing — awkward.  They always seem so false, so forced.  Perhaps because they are.

Work-Life Balance

Google Images

Never again will I complain though.  Because as bad as things seem, they can always be worse.  MUCH WORSE.

Today I found out just how much worse things could be.

Yup, I read on my new BBC App that some Korean companies are holding mass funerals.  For their employees.  For their LIVE employees.

According to the article as well as independent sources, the Korean suicide rate is quite high, because folks are seriously stressed out.  Of course that is a serious situation — so much is expected of employees that they just can’t take it.

So, to alleviate the stress, somebody came up with a colorful approach to stress reduction.  [Please don’t tell my boss.*]

Well, they hold a company retreat, of sorts, many companies worldwide do that too.

But this one has a twist.  Or maybe it’s just twisted.  Perhaps both.

You see, they have groups of employees all get together, and write farewell letters to their families.  As if they are about to kill themselves.  Then, while gathered in a room with the folks they work with, they stand next to empty coffins.

The participants at this session were sent by their employer, human resources firm Staffs. “Our company has always encouraged employees to change their old ways of thinking, but it was hard to bring about any real difference,” says its president, Park Chun-woong. “I thought going inside a coffin would be such a shocking experience it would completely reset their minds for a completely fresh start in their attitudes.”

Yes.  They get into the fucking coffins!

Let me reiterate:  You go to work one day, and head off for a company retreat, knowing that it will be an awkward, wasted day and that you are already way behind in your work.

Then they have you write a suicide note and put you into a coffin.

lyingincoffins

BBC Photo, I’m guessing. Because while it came from the article linked to above, there is no credit given. Perhaps the photographer did not want to disrespect the, umm, un-dead.

The idea is to make employees feel that their lives are worth living.  However, I think that if someone forced me into a coffin, I would be thinking long and hard about my career choice.

And about litigation.  I would definitely be thinking about suing the shit out of somebody.

So the next time you decide you hate your job, count yourself lucky.  Because things aren’t really all that bad unless they trade your cubicle for a pine box.

***

*My current boss would never do this.  She’s a doctor.  She tries to keep people OUT of coffins.  But there have been other bosses …

 

 

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Psst! Need a Christmas Tree?

Since I was a tomboy/ragamuffin hybrid as a kid, nobody called me “Princess.” And the one time I tried to be a princess – the time when I was 4 and dressed up as a princess for Halloween and fell on my face in a Queen-size mud puddle – that pretty much cured me of any princess fantasies I might have had.

But there was one time, one time, when I really did feel like a princess. I felt that like a princess because I stood in an actual ballroom.  That’s where princesses hang out, isn’t it?

I looked around the room in wonder.  It was, of course, huge.  I easily imagined hundreds of beautifully dressed dancers waltzing around the floor. There were floor-to-two-story-high-ceiling windows all along the back of the room, covered in Scarlett O’Hara’s curtains. Thick, heavy green velvet drapes with gold brocade tassels holding them back. And through them, I could see to the sea. Long Island Sound.

I had forgotten my cell phone that day in 1965, so I had to use Google Images. Tthanks, Google!

This isn’t the actual room, although there are similarities.   You see, I had forgotten my cell phone that day in 1965, and couldn’t snap a picture.  I had to use Google Images. Thanks, Google!

A balcony surrounded the ballroom on three sides, and it too rose way up. The floor is what I remember most clearly, though: Black and white marble, a massive checkerboard, without a single scuff mark in the entire room.

As was true of all of my childhood adventures (or since it was a princess-thing, perhaps I should call it a fantasy), this one came to me courtesy of my brother, Fred.

You see, Mr. Richardson, the wealthiest amongst our very wealthy neighbors, had invited us to his house. And we were to use the front door! Because we — me and Fred (and our sister Beth) — were heroes.  Heroes always use the front door.

Wanna know what happened?

Well, one hot summer day, Beth and I were out in the backyard, when Fred came racing in from the outer limits of our yard, near “the fields.“ The fields was a tract of land owned by Mr. Richardson, located behind our yard.  It stretched for several hundred acres. Part of it was meadow, but part of it was made up of small, neatly spaced and impeccably trimmed pine trees.

The Fields Behind My House. I think. Google Image. So really, it could be anywhere.

The Fields Behind My House. I think. Google Image. So really, it could be anywhere.

“Tax haven,” my Dad said, rolling his eyes, when he realized what Mr. R was planting.  “A Christmas tree farm.”

Well, yeah. Probably. Whatever.

But Mr. R believed in investing in land, and he bought anything he could. (He was away when our house went up for sale, or according to my Dad, my childhood would have been spent elsewhere.  I will always be thankful for that trip of Mr. R’s.)

Anyway, Fred came running in from the fields, shouting “FIRE!” “THERE’S A FIRE IN THE FIELDS!!”

Beth and I didn’t ask any questions, but apparently we rushed into the house, called the fire department, grabbed brooms and blankets and rushed out to where Fred had seen the fire. That’s where the fire department found us. We had contained the fire, and there was very little damage. Without our intervention, well, who knows what might have happened.

So back to the Ballroom.

Mr. Richardson had invited us over to thank us. And he gave us a gift!

“I want to thank you for putting out the fire in my fields.  You were very brave, and I am very proud of you both.  And as a reward, from now on, for as long as you and your family live in that house,” Mr. R said, “You and your family may take any Christmas tree you want from my field.”*

 

Before becoming heroes, we had managed to get our Christmas trees for the $2 that Dad bartered with with for as long as we all could remember.  But our heroism took us to the upper crust of Christmas trees.  Because from that year on my family did, indeed, get our Christmas trees from Mr. R’s field.  We chose the biggest and nicest of them all, cut it down, and dragged it home.

But (and you know there’s always a “but” or a “butt” in my stories), it wasn’t strictly Kosher.

You see, not a whole lot of years later, in 1972, Mr. Richardson died. He willed the land to the Audubon Society, and ever since then, the Audubon Society has been selling those very Christmas trees. No mention was made, apparently, in Mr. R’s Last Will and Testament, for heroes who got free Christmas trees. No mention at all.  Naturally that didn’t stop us. But we also didn’t mention our prior claim to the Audubon Society.

And there was another issue.

If you guessed that my brother, accidentally started the fire, well, I will simply remind you that the Statute of Limitations is 7 years.  We’re way past that.  The Statute of Limitations is still 7 years on Christmas tree theft, isn’t it?

* I think there might have been other rewards; at least I hope so. Because I’ve always thought of Mr. R as a really nice guy. After all, he let me be a princess that one time, and, honestly, it was pretty cool even if I was more Cinderella than Snow White.  So I don’t want to think he was a skinflint who just gave us kids, who wouldn’t be paying for them anyway, free Christmas trees, for saving them.  Then again, it was the 60s.  Everybody didn’t get a trophy.

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Am I Too Late for the Debate Debate?

Sorry guys.  I’ve let you down.  I know that you rely on me for news.  And I failed you.

I haven’t written a single word about the GOP candidate kerfluffle on the debate and all those mean questions that the CNBC moderators asked.

So I thought I’d leave it to my spokesman to make my comments for me:

I mean, what more could I offer?  What more can be said about these clowns and their “‘First Percent’ Running For Prez” problems?  Not much.

Frankly even I, a political junkie, am getting sick of it all.

So I’ve been trying to figure out just what we can do to get a little bit of relief from it all, without, well, getting too much relief from it all.  And I have a few ideas:

  • We could restrict GOP access to one channel (Fox would do nicely).  Who wouldn’t want to listen to this:

  • We could gamble on the odds of the various GOP contenders getting the nomination (there’s actually a website that does this:  http://www.sportsbettingdime.com/news/presidential-election-super-serious-odds-and-props/.  Me, I’m planning on making a mint by betting on Scott Walker becoming the 45th President of These United States.  Nobody else will think to bet on him!  I will clean up!
  • Or we could eliminate all news of the GOP and fill the airtime with additional CSI series in different American cities!  Because, really, you just can’t have too many gun-drug-sex related crime shows set in America’s cities, now can we?

I must confess, I’m leaning towards the last one.  Because I have just the city for the show!  A city that combines crime with a Democratic Tradition!

Image Wikimedia

Image Wikimedia

The Park City — Bridgeport, Connecticut!

Wait, wait!  Don’t go.  I’m not done!  And I have good reason to suggest this location!

You see, I, personally, was born in Bridgeport– as were all of my family members whom you’ve come to know and love.  The fact that we moved away really has no bearing on the issue of whether a good crime drama could be situated in Bpt.

Equally important, one of my relatives once served as Mayor of this fine city.  I never met this cousin 238 times removed.  But still, blood is blood and that’s important in any crime drama.

Lastly, on Tuesday, the City of Bridgeport — my home town — elected an  ex-convict Mayor.

Ex-Con In Jail For Seven Years Elected Mayor of Bridgeport, CT

Bridgeport

Image: Breitbart News (Still, it is really actually true — they DID elect an ex-con who’d gone to jail for cheating the City of Bridgeport!)

http://wtnh.com/2015/11/03/ex-convict-declares-victory-in-bridgeport-mayors-race/

Voters in Bridgeport, Connecticut elected as their next mayor an ex-convict who spent seven years in federal prison after being convicted on 16 corruption charges.

Democrat Joe Ganim, 56, had served as mayor of Bridgeport – the state’s largest city – 12 years ago, from 1991 to 2003, when he resigned after being convicted of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from individuals and companies in exchange for sending city contracts in their direction, the New York Times reports.

Since he was released from prison five years ago, Ganim has worked as a legal assistant at his family’s law firm in Bridgeport, though he has not been able to have his law license restored.

Now tell me, which would you choose?  To watch the GOP or to watch a colorful Democrat?

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Sometimes, There’s Just Nothin’ to Add

Sometimes, I am left speechless.

Sometimes, I feel my gag reflex going into hyper-drive.

And sometimes, I just need to get out of the way and let some folks speak for themselves.

So I’m gonna do just that tonight.

Here is GOP Presidential Candidate neurosurgeon Ben Carson, MD

And since I know you, and I KNOW you didn’t click on that video, I will have to step back up to the plate and tell you that the good doctor explained that we Democrats are all wrong.

It’s true, apparently.

Dr. Carson let all of us know that the GOP, well, they aren’t so bad.  Women should like them, even.

So says the No. 2 (in some polls) Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.  It’s true.  He said on Thursday that Democrats were wrong to allege Republicans were waging a “war on women.”

“They tell you that there’s a war on women,” he said. “There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”

This guy should be headlining in the Poconos.  What an eff’in commedian.

Oh, well, maybe I do have something else to add:

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There IS a Difference

Periodically, I take some heat here at FiftyFourAndAHalf for being one sided in my political commentary. For not saying nice things about the GOP.  There is some validity to those charges.  My bad.

But, frankly, there are loads of folks who write up the other side. I have said that if the Republican Party hadn’t taken Ronald Reagan’s “The Government IS the Problem” quite so much to heart, well, things might be different.  I might be different.

But as things turned out, you see, well, I’m a liberal. An unapologetic liberal.

When I look at today’s GOP (which is very different from the pre-Reagan GOP) I am astonished that there are folks who go along with the things these folks are advocating.  They’re cra-cray!

Only today, Governor and GOP Presidential hopeful Scott Walker announced that he might just have to bomb Iran his first day in office.  You know, before he knows were the bathrooms are in the White House.  The minute he gets near the button, well, he might just push it.

Some newly elected prezes watch a parade and dance at the Inaugural balls. But not Scott!  Nope!  Nope, he will inaugurate his own balls by starting a fucking war.

Where the hell do you think I got this one?

Where the hell do you think I got this one?

Even ¿Jeb!, the brother of the last GOP guy to bring us a stupid war, thought that Scotty was going a wee bit too far:

One thing that I won’t do is just say, as a candidate, ‘I’m going to tear up the agreement on the first day.’ That’s great, that sounds great but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first, maybe you ought to appoint a secretary of state, maybe secretary of defense, you might want to have your team in place, before you take an act like that.

Scotty, however, disagreed:

At a press conference after his appearance at the Family Leader Summit here Saturday, Walker was asked if he thinks Bush is wrong. “He may have his opinion. I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time,” Walker said.

“I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office. It’s very possible – God forbid, but it’s very possible – that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military action, on the first day in office. And I don’t want a president who is not prepared to act on day one.

This is not a man who thinks he might have to react to a 9/11-like attack. This is a man with no military experience except the fucking Boy Scouts, And he is planning to go to war on January 20, 2017.

Does this make you feel safe? Secure? Like your children and your children’s children will be hunky dory?

Personally, it gives me a feeling of déjà vu:

Photo Credit;  My memory and Google Image's

Photo Credit; My memory and Google Image’s

Contrast that with the Democrats. They just negotiated an historic agreement to avoid war. To see what we can do to not destroy the planet. Well done, Blue Team!

Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs who was involved in the negotiations, described what happened after the deal was concluded. After the cameras and the reporters were gone.

[E]ach of the foreign ministers of the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – and Iran “made a statement about what this meant to them.”

“All of the remarks, by all of the ministers, including [Iranian Foreign] Minister [Javad] Zarif, were very moving, because it was private, and it was about what this deal meant to them.”

But the last spot was reserved for John Kerry.*

“When I was 22, I went to war” – [Kerry said] before choking up.

“He couldn’t get the words out,” [Sherman] recalled. “And everybody was completely spellbound.”

Kerry composed himself and continued, “I went to war and it became clear to me that I never wanted to go to war again.”

Do you have kids?  Grand kids?  Siblings who might be called upon to fight?  Which side should you be supporting?

So I am unapologetic about supporting the folks who believe that before going to war, they should work for peace.

I had the poster.  I had the necklace.  Google has the image.

I had the poster. I had the necklace. Google has the image.

* Kerry would have made a fine president.

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Peacenik

My views on the subject are quite consistent.  I don’t believe in War.

I protested Viet Nam, and Iraq, although I supported limited intervention into Afghanistan (and look where THAT got us).

I think it’s always better to try to work things out.

So as a public service, I am reposting this picture.  Because almost regardless of the details of the deal being worked out with Iran, compromises are better than war.

Deal or No Deal?  (Image courtesy of the White House, but I found it at CrooksandLiars.com)

Deal or No Deal? (Image courtesy of the White House, but I found it at CrooksandLiars.com)

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