Thursday, October 27, 2011

How extreme is too extreme?

I think the Republican Party may have found it. When you have people like Pat Robertson, the man who said Hurricane Katrina was God's way of punishing New Orleans for the existence of homosexuality, using his platform on the 700 Club to say the party is going too far into the bushes, you know for sure they've slid over the line into Total Crazy. As Terence Heath noted,

If having Peggy Noonan as the voice of reason is like having Courtney Love show up at your intervention, and having David Brooks as the voice of sanity is like having Charlie Sheen offer to drive you to rehab, then having Pat Robertson attempt to talk you down from the ledge may be a bit like having Keith Richards as your rehab counselor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The clock lies

The countdown clock is off a bit -- the Great Escape is now barely 4 days away. The U-Haul is reserved for noon on Friday, and by Sunday morning we should be somewhere in Tennessee heading north. We are getting into that phase of moving that's always a nuisance: wanting to finish packing, but unable to because I can't decide if I'll need something in the next 72 hours or not.

Thanks to a fortunate coincidence, though, it appears I will be gainfully employed awhile longer. I was in the process of persuading my manager to allow me to telework when Large Nameless Agency took the issue out of our hands. It was coming dangerously close to me trotting out an ultimatum: I telework, or I retire. That discussion has now been postponed for a few weeks.

It appears LNA screwed up (what a shock!) in planning for the upcoming office shuffle. The journal is slated to exit its current leased office space to move into space in one of the buildings on the main LNA campus. That space has to be remodeled to accommodate the "densification" of personnel (i.e., walls have to be ripped out so existing offices can be made smaller and more cubicles can be crammed into the square footage). And where were the cubicles and office furniture (workstations, etc) going to come from to put into that new space, you ask? Recycling, of course. They're going to take our current work stations and cubicles and move them.

A good plan, but one that contains an obvious flaw: those work stations are being used. What happens to the employees while the fixtures in the leased office space are disassembled, moved, and then reassembled? Where do they go?

Answer: they telework. The word came down last week that everyone at the journal gets to work from home for most of November and part of December. Everyone on the journal staff has to be out of his or her current space by November 10; they'll get to move into the new LNA office space sometime after December 5. Mass panic ensued, with one exception.

Me. The person over in the corner quietly doing the happy dance. I've just been told to work from home. No one's bothered asking where "home" is. I have been trying to tell them, but, as usual, everyone is so focused on their own problems that it's not really sinking in when I say stuff like "I need Friday off to load the U-Haul" and "Here's my Michigan phone number." Oh well, I tried.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Major score

The office chair of my dreams found mingling with a pack of ordinary, ergonomically horrible chairs in one of the vacated cubicles. Hard to believe the person lucky enough to have it didn't insist on having it moved to his or her new workspace because it is so much better than the typical el cheapo furniture.

I love this chair. Too bad I won't get to enjoy it very long. Oh well, 9 work days of sitting in comfort is better than none at all.

I am mildly surprised none of my coworkers snagged it before I did -- we've all been circling through the vacated work spaces foraging for office supplies (binders, hole punches, various other odds and ends we can never manage to persuade our admin person to order for us). I wonder if the first buzzard to spot some fresh roadkill experiences the same sense of elation?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alternate universes

I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher last night, and it struck me (again) how often people will yell loudly about something to use it as proof that they're right when it actually proves the exact opposite. It also struck me just how effective that yelling can be in serving as a distraction.

Case in point:  Maher and the panel were arguing about taxes, the deficit, and government revenue. There was one reality-based person on the panel and two Republican ideologues. The reich-wingers were busy spouting the line about the incredible tax burden we all suffer under now, that the evil, evil tax-and-spend Democrats are crushing the economy with taxes, and that if both personal and corporate income taxes were rolled back to essentially nothing, all would be well. Maher, of course, countered with the truth: tax rates now are the lowest they've been in many, many decades. Inevitably, of course, at some point the holy name of St. Ronald of Reagan was invoked.

Maher was trying to make the point that tax rates were higher under Reagan than they are now. The reich wingers immediately started shouting about how government revenues were higher under Reagan and were going on and on and on about how this proved that Republican economic policies work. Lots of shouting, lots of people trying to talk over each other, and no one recognizing the obvious: there was more money coming in because the government was asking for it. Higher rates -- higher revenues. And the economy was humming along just fine, more or less. If higher tax rates under Reagan helped business, why would higher tax rates hurt  business now?

I really shouldn't watch any of these shows where Republicans are given a chance to try to use a set of facts as proof of the exact opposite. It's too frustrating -- Maher was trying (he was pretty blunt in yelling Bullshit!), but when you've got two idiots yelling that Up is Down, Black is White, and shit can flow uphill, their volume drowns out the voice of reason pretty fast.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Second chances

As I've gone through life, there have been a number of opportunities I've blown. Usually they're just gone, no do-overs, no mulligans. Last week, though, I experienced an exception:  a second visit to Hot Springs, a slight detour on the way from the Retirement Bunker to the Younger Daughter's domicile in east Texas so the S.O. could catch a quick glimpse of Hot Springs National Park and maybe understand why I always liked going there for work. The detour meant, of course, a second shot at the gift shop at the Alligator Farm:
Odd how not indulging in a cheap souvenir can eat at a person after a few weeks of noticing how empty the rear window shelf in the car looks without a bobblehead. I got a green one.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taking a break

I've escaped from Atlanta for a few days. Posting will be sparse.

Photo is part of Bond Falls, in Ontonagon County, Michigan, on a gorgeous October afternoon (yesterday).