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“Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from."
--Jodie Foster

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6/21/16

      All together now: "BUT THE BEES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OUR FRIENDS"

      Yes, I figured after 15 months of updating the same page, maybe it was time to get a newer News.

      The old computer finally died. The new one has hateful Windows 10. I'd download and install files, and they would just vanish. (It also has the wonderful feature of making the screen go black while playing a jaunty four-note non-tune, then doing it again with a less jaunty non-tune. Sometimes it will do 3 pairs of this in 5 seconds)
      So Itried to see if I could get a copy of Win7 from Jessica's awesome husband Ron. He's a high level programmer/engineer and many paygrades above installation, but I though his business software company might have clean, legal install disks for their customers. And he found one!
      And I couldn't get it to install. Just getting error screens. On the second day, I said "Try again," and, despite me not doing anything different, bang! Well, it looked like bang, but was more of a whimper. "Partitions are out of order." Well, out them in order then! I got all the way through, and "Digital signature not valid." I tried again with the same results. Then I
      It just did the non-tune blackout again.
      Then I dug through every inch of the fucking drive and found where it was hiding files. There are plenty of other reasons to hate it, but let's leave it there.

      Jess and I got together at Sturbridge Cracker Barrel Indoor Flea Market blah blah blah, you know what unpredictable freebirds we are. She got a haul of Disneyana and cat-related stuff. "Is that a coin purse?" I asked, pointing at something with Minnie Mouse on it. She said, "Actually, they're suspenders!" I said, "I never pictured you as a suspenders type of girl," and then found myself wondering how she could wear them. Backwards maybe? I'll leave it to you ladies of the female persuasion to figure out what that means.
      For once I bought stuff! An SPI game called "Spies!" "Best for 5 players," so yeah, pretty much just to have it. A couple of fridge magnets, one for a hen feed named "LAY OR BUST," another made from a cut up Monopoly board space--Connecticut Avenue. We saw multiple versions of the Worst Board Game Ever, including Beatles Monopoly. There were spaces labeled Abyy Road and Penny Lane, oh, the wit! The Luxury tax space was labeled Tax Man. I didn't look at it long enough to see what Jail was called, but if it wasn't "Gaol"...
      I bought a GI Joe comic book. No, not the 1980s toy ad, one from the Korean War. Here's the one I got:

      

      He's landing at Inchon! Holding that puppy. While in combat. This combo turns up on a lot of covers. My dog as a kid hated the 4th of July, so I guess his dog went deaf after the first dozen times Joe fired a machine gun an inch from his ears.
      Now, you may ask, as you are an asky person, why did you get this, beyond it being only $2? Because there was a whole buncha them in a pile. I realize these aren't big images, but let's see if you can figure out why:

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      You gotta admire a man who loves his work. He has that same village idiot grin on every cover. And I mean exact--it's like the guy painted it once and said "Done!"
      You can see that this is not an isolated trend here. Here's my favorite:

      

      WTF IS GOING ON?! He's in Korea, fighting a top-hatted Voodoo priest? WTF COMIC BOOK It certainly proves the old adage: "Don't bring a knife to a helmet fight."
      And there is more than 1 cover in which he's beating someone with his hat. The stories in the comic itself are pretty boring.
      I also got "Batman: The Cheetah Caper," a Big Little Book. For those of you not old enough to start pricing walkers with tennis balls on the legs, these were from the 1930s to 60s, with a page of hack writing alternating with a page of hack drawing.
      The Batman book is...interesting. The Cheetah, who spends most of the story dressed as an orangutan, likes to put poisoned sponges in car tailpipes to make passersby "inhale the deadly fumes." He puts piranha in swimming pools. "The Cheetah enjoys watching people suffer. He'd rather listen to children groan in agony than anything else..."
      "Except eat peanut butter!"
      WTF Big Little Book.

      Sorry about the last post. Win10 wouldn't let me preview images without me replacing the entirety of the New. So, I really didn't realize how damn tiny those comic covers were, at least until I was at the point of "I don't give a shit anymore tonight." Nothing is easy win Win10, unless you count the ease with which you tear your hair out in frustration.

      I suppose I should mention that there's a beer strike on. There's basically 2 companies, both monopolies as far as the product lines. One has Miller-Coors and some relatively unimportant imports; the other has Bud and everything else. Guess which one's on strike!
      I will always side with labor. I AM labor. It's complicated as to why it's happening (I won't go into "pocket loading"), but it's also about benefits. The Bosses want the Union to pay for a chunk of their health benefits. Well, this the USA, be glad you get any benefits. A driver for the other company told me "We went through the same thing when our contract was up. We agreed to not get any raises if we kept our benefits. Now, they want to make them pay and not give them raises!"
      Oh, and it wasn't so much a "strike" as it was a "management lockout." They refused to let the workers in without warning. The latest rumor--who knows if it's true--is that if everyone doesn't turn up for work Monday, everyone's fired. Supposedly they've hired "200-300" people from North Carolina to replace everyone. That's oddly specific information from a Teamster who doesn't work there.
      That's to replace the scabs who already crossing the picket lines. Deliveries are being done by scab drivers, and unloaded by the sales reps and some temps. We haven't had a delivery in over a week, so our beer cooler has that much-desired "Going Out of Business" look. Most customers understand when we explain about the strike--we can't get it if they won't ship it--but some get all pissy and say "I'll take my business ELSEWHERE!" Like "elsewhere" is getting deliveries using their time machine. "Screw you, Toys R Us! I'll go to Kay Bee Toys to buy MY Furby!"
      We can pick stuff up at their warehouse, if we have a person and a van to spare and cross a picket line. I called in a 60-case order of essentials, and a guy of ours went to pick it up. I don't know how it ended, but after he'd been gone an hour, he called back. The owner said "They gave him the invoice, told him where to go in the warehouse, and a [scab] worker said 'I can't help you with that! I'll get someone who can!' A second guy came and said 'I can't help you with that! I'll get someone who can!' That guy didn't show up. So they're getting a fourth guy to talk to the other guys!"
      So if the apocalyptic rumor is true, these scabs are mad that they're being replaced with different scabs. I will be polite and make it so any new NC drivers get in and out quickly, but it'll be a long time before I act like they're my "buddy." I'll really want to say if they try to be overly friendly, "Do you know the name of the guy whose job you took? Oh, look out, you cut yourself! I hope that doesn't turn into a scab!"

      "Bill, I need to sit down!" said our saleman from the beer company that's striking. Currently a deliveryman. The "mass firing" rumor turned about to be a rumor. As I thought, how can management fire their workers when they locked them out?
      But he said it'll last until July 4th, maybe into August. I can't see how that company is making any money--we got our first delivery in 9 days. But it's co-"run" by a pair of dimwits who hate each other, and are trying to get the other guy fired (who'd be firing them is not a thing I can guess at). They're splitting the company apart over stupid and petty grievances, against their own best interests! Who's dumb enough to do that shit?
      And, this is not a joke: of the 17,000 tracks on the iPod, as I started that paragraph, "Scotland the Brave" played.
      Ah, yes. That country.
      Not Scotland, but the Brexidiots. I really paid little attention to it until the last couple of weeks. But when it was 49% Stay to 49% Leave Your Senses, I said "Shit. All this takes is a bunch angry old white racists voting, and the sane people not voting, and there ya go."
      And so they went!
      From what research I did before the vote, mainly of American or British ex-pat blogs, I thought: If Leave wins, they lose. The world stock markets will go down, the pound will drop value, and I'll bet Scotland tries to be her own nation again, and then, if they win their Leave vote, immediately sign on for EU membership. Huh! Think the EU might instantly grant them that?
      (disclosure: I'm half Scots, half Irish, no English, by no means remotely an Anglophobe, but may be a bit biased)
      The ever perspicacious John Scalzi shares his Brexit thoughts.
      Ha ha! Silly English! Bigots in this country would never vote in a racist demagogue who'll work against their own interests!
      Inspiration for this post goes to NPR headlines, which involved Cheeto-Haired Mussolini in Scotland. Opening his millionaire golf course      Adventures in Scabbing:
      We're getting only the people willing to cross picket lines, and none of them have ever dealt with giant beer shipments, or sometimes even the use of a handtruck. The first one had a driver who came from New Mexico. Which, if you look at a map, isn't next door to CT. I saw him and thought "Please just be driving please just be driving," but he brought stuff in on a handtruck, bumping into things, gasping and wheezing. This guy was in the 400-450 pound range. I don't want to be even inderctly responsible for someone's heart attack. Did they not explain to him what the job physically entails? I lean towards No.
      8days later, we got another delivery. The handtruck guy was Aussie (how far ARE they recruiting these people?), and was quite hostile. I suppose crossing a picket line twice a day at minimum will do that to you. Plus going to a store that blames you for the late deliveries. But I Pleased and Thank You'd, and after 10-15 minutes, he was smiling and very helpful. There was a lot on the truck that wasn't on the truck. The trucks are loaded by scabs who also have no idea what they're doing.
      Today's guys--so far, it's always different crews, I wonder what the turnover rate is--were awful. It took them 2.5 hours to unload and broke stuff nonstop. They broke a case, and let it sit in the stack drenching the other cases before they were told to remove it. If you were in a restaurant and some passing toddler puked on your food, would you not call the waiter over? So much stuff was soaked, that things were breaking after they left. Bottoms would fall out of 6 packs. We get credit for breakage, but they asked "Do you want me to just throw this in the dumpster?" Yeah, sure, let's take a loss because you suck.
      In unrelated work stupidity, one of the beer cooler compressers died. Instead of 38 degrees, the cooler was 48. This was almost 2 months ago, when I said "The other one will go at the worst time, like just before Memorial Day weekend!"
      But a compressor was $3000 ( my smaller delivery today cost us on $2K), so they dragged their feet, not even ordering one until 3 weeks ago. "It's on its way!" was the answer everytime we called. And I was wrong!
      The other one broke just before 4th of July weekend. The beer cooler was 60 when I came in. The owner said "I thought it seemed a little warm in there." Crimeny.
      So they spent extra to have a guy rush down to verify that the compresser was dead (duh), and will now pay extra to get the compresser delivered before the weekend. With no guarantee it will be. And it will be one compressor, when we now need 2.
      I work with/for fucking morons.

6/28

      Samantha Bee looks at Brexit, with special attention to the Chump. Guest appearance by David Tennant.

      

      

6/28

      Message on my answering machine, just now:
      (long pasue) "shluurrrp"
      "shluurrrp"
      "shluurrrp"
      "Hi, this is representitive Chris Murphy" [the CT guy who led the anti-gun filibuster] "we're sorry we missed you, but we're having a telephone town hall debate, and there's still time to call. The number is" It hung up.
      How did he know he missed me?

      I finally watched the first Yes Men movie from 2003, the one with the inflatable penis suit. At one point, they say "We just got a big donation from Herb Alpert! The Tijuana Brass guy? He really likes what we're doing, and gave us enough funding for a bunch of projects!" I LOVE me some Alpert! Now, I love him for more than his music.       
      

      


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