A Twist Of Fate
January, 2008 Entries
As seen in Klingon Scourge: Hijacking The English Language on Tru TV and Vanity Fair Magazine

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(01/31/08 - 8:22 PM)
Imagine if you will a Presidential address. The President comes on television and says:

"The agression consistantly shown by North Korea has been blatant and random to say the least. As such, I and my advisors feel that we have no choice but to commit a full-out assault on Canada"

That would be pretty stupid, right? I mean, it is the Bush II administration, but even they're probably not that stupid. PROBABLY.

This friends, sums up the day that I had. You see yesterday, I found one of those bane-of-your-existance employees doing something stupid and childish. I politely asked him what he was doing, and was verbally assaulted with more f-words than the English language ought to encompass. Plus, there was the yelling. Yeah, a whole lot of yelling.

His basic beef was with another employee. Specifically, it was with Mr. Phillips Screwdriver, so this probably tells you a great deal in a short span of words. It seems that Mr. Phillips Screwdriver has, on numerous occasions, done things that this employee doesn't appreciate a whole lot; at all, really. Things like scratching up his rolling toolbox and taking his personal tools from his area, to name a few. So yesterday when he found his own personal wrench in Mr. Phillips Screwdriver's area - again - he thought it was time to retalliate by moving Mr. P.S.'s entire toolbox to the back room to show Mr. P.S. what was what. Ths offender is nearly forty, but apparently grown-up solutions didn't occur to him.

As he was doing this, I happened to catch him red handed (and red faced.) When I asked what he was doing, I was apparently really saying, "I bet you can't say a variant of 'Fuck' forty-six times and do so while yelling at me without passing out!"

Which, it turns out, he did just fine.

I calmed him down, taking it all in stride, and asked - specifically - what his beef was. He let me know about his tool in Mr. P.S.'s posession, and then let me know that he had chosen this course of action because, "You never do nothin' about this shit". But here's the really funny part: I had, and always do.

When a situation presents itself, I listen to the aggrieved party. I do not walk away until a solution is reached, and the aggrieved party states that the solution is to their satisfaction. This had been the case of late when he let me know that his toolbox was getting damaged by people pushing metal carts into it at night. I spoke with each individual who had - or could potentially have - damaged his property that very evening, and reported my findings to him the next morning. Then I purchased a 4' x 6' vinyl welding screen to go six inches behind his toolbox to prevent damage from the backside. He agreed to this solution. Or did he?

For you see, he chose this present moment to bring up the fact that we never did anything. When I reminded him that, in fact, I had done quite a number of things, he said, "Yeah, but I had to tell you three times before you did."

>Counting on fingers< One... uh... one... um... nope, still one....

I reminded him that he had only told me once, and that once was all that it had taken for this grievance, as well as all of the abundant others that he had managed to legitimately bring to my attention, or fabricate for his amusement. Be that as it may, apparently logic and reason had no place in our conversation, because he said, "Well, I told so and so the first two times, and he didn't do nothin'."

See, here's that pesky problem of avoiding reason once more. I politely reminded him that while he could dredge up instances in the past when all the wrong people hadn't done what he wanted, that they were moot points for two reasons: That he knew that I was the only person specifically tasked with solutions to problems that involved money or mediation, and that on each and every occasion I had succeeded on the first go-round in putting his issues to rest.

"Yeah, but I shouldn't have to tell you guys two and three times when..."

Are you seeing my problem here? >Sigh<

So, I outlined my position on the matter, he eventually calmed down, but remained upset at Mr. P.S.'s behavior. Fair enough.

But remember the analogy from about twelve paragraphs back about Canada? Let's recall that. Because today, this employee chose not to come to work. Further, he chose not to call anyone to let us know. This is his petty way of showing me how awesome he is, and how he is not to be reckoned with lightly. What makes me sad is that my employees have no greater ally than myself, because I'm paid to like and tolerate them - handsomely, thank God.

So, he took his agression out on me rather than the legitimate target. Guess how prone I'm going to be to help him now? And this "man among men" suffers from chronic wallet lightness syndrome. Why? Because he consistantly makes poor decisions. He wants more overtime, but he works the hours that suit him when he seems to have a surplus of cash. But when times get lean for him, he complains openly about the owner giving "small" Christmas bonuses, and not having enough overtime. Truly, a study in contrasts, this man.

(01/30/08 - 11:37 PM)
I had an employee leave today. Specifically, he told the owner that he had a new job, and would stay on for the remainder of the week. The problem was that the owner then left before talking to me, and no sooner had he exited than the employee in question came up to me and said an equivalent to, "Well - see ya!" and left.

I love the cowardice of weak men. Or at least, if I did, I would have an abundance of it to enjoy.

(01/29/08 - 11:48 PM)
Dear Readers:

I waited here for you to show up for like two hours. Where were you? Anyway, I left because I got hungry and tired. I'll try and catch you some other time, when you're less self-centered about the whole thing.

(01/28/08 - 10:36 PM)
This entry has been blocked until a later time. Check back in a month or so, and it might be turned on if things have run their course.

(01/27/08 - 10:36 AM)
Here's another viral e-mail from somewhere in years past. This one wasn't funny when I got it. So, I fixed it as best as I could. Enjoy!

Job Posting Thruths:

They Say: "Competitive Salary"
They Mean: "We remain competetive by paying less than our competitors, a majority of third-world countries and Chinese slave labor colonies."

They Say: "Some Overtime Required"
They Mean: "Some time each night and some time each weekend. Don't make any plans - we own you. And we expect a few hours out of your spouse and children each week, too."

They Say: "Sales Position Requiring Motivated Self-Starter"
They Mean: "We're not going to supply you with leads; there's no base salary; you'll wait 30 days for your first commission check. You will not be treated any better than a temp, and possibly worse."

They Say: "Self-Motivated"
They Mean: "Management won't answer questions, even if you could find them. Which, we assure you, you won't be able to do."

They Say: "Casual Work Atmosphere"
They Mean: "We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up. In fact, based on your wages, if you show up wearing anything other than a potato sack, we'll suspect you of stealing or embezzlement. The guy next to you? Yeah, he really is naked; it's not your imagination."

They Say: "Competitive Environment"
They Mean: "We have alot of turnover. We might even require you to 'rassle Rufus there for your next promotion for our amusement."

They Say: "Some Public Relations Required"
They Mean: "If we're in trouble, you'll go on TV and get us out of it. If we do something wrong, we'll let you make the call and take the heat from our customer. When customers call, we'll let you tell them we're not here."

They Say: "Duties Will Vary"
They Mean: "Anyone in the office can boss you around without rhyme or reason. Oh, and how are your mopping and plunging skills?"

They Say: "Career-Minded"
They Mean: "We expect that you will want to flip burgers until you are 70. We'll dictate your career, and you won't mind."

They Say: "Seeking Candidates With A Wide Variety Of Experience"
They Mean: "You'll need to replace three people who just up and quit. Former Clinton interns are strongly urged to apply."

They Say: "Problem-Solving Skills A Must"
They Mean: "You're walking into a company in perpetual chaos, and may be expected to negotiate for hostages."

They Say: "Good Communications Skills"
They Mean: "Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want you to do, and then do the opposite."

They Say: "Ability To Handle A Heavy Workload"
They Mean: "Your boss will be in Boca for 9/10's of your career here, and your co-workers are fully-vested Union men, so you'll need to do their jobs too. You whine, you're fired."

They Say: "Flexible Hours"
They Mean: "Work 55 hours; get paid for 40. And is 2:00 AM a problem for you next Saturday night?"

(01/26/08 - 11:32 PM)
First off, happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Kathy!


Now With 100% More 'K'!

Second off, my wife and I went and stocked up on a few items the other day at our local groceteria. As we were turning around in the aisle, I witnessed a face on my wife that were I never to see it again, it would truly be far too soon. What could have made her make a face like that, you might ask? I'm so glad that you inquired! Allow me to elaborate.

There was a boy, who appeared to be about six or seven. He was walking along the massive wall of refrigerated cases (the kind that stand upright with the glass access doors.) As he walked, he was running his tongue along the glass and aluminum frames of the cases. I mean, this kid was leaving a trail of slime that would put a twelve-pound snail to shame. And he was just a movin' along, from case to case, apparently taste-testing as he went.

I can see the near future for this kid. He'll be in a doctor's office, as his physician incredulously asks his mother, "How exactly did Billy get Herpes Simplex A, botulism, strep-throat, and warts on his tongue, Mrs. Johnson?"

Where the hell was this kid's parent(s), and why in the world would someone that age do something like that? The biggest question of all: "Were the flavors of Windex, sweat and dirt not enough of a deterrent, Billy?"

Third off, I finished Janet Evanovich's newest between-the-numbers, holiday-themed book - "Plum Lucky". Her first two in this sub-series I could have done without, but this one hit the mark. Returning is holiday main-man Diesel, and a cast of misfits in an RV. One believes he's a Leprechun and can talk to horses, another is a 'little-person' who Grandma Mazur hires to drive the RV she got a great deal on, because it was retrofitted for just such a person.

The story centers around Grandma finding nearly a million dollars in a duffle bag, and the owner attempting to reclaim it. Chaos ensues, a car gets blown up, and Lula gets her own billboard. What's not to love?

(01/25/08 - 05:50 PM)
I thought of a new... not really a joke, perse today but... something funny, I suppose.

I imagined being a maitre'd with a wry sense of humor (one who might not mind losing his job a whole lot.) Anyway, imagine the maitre'd at a packed restaurant doing the following. Over the mic, you would hear:

"Donner, party of eighty-seven... er... seventy-two... no, wait... sixty-three... whoops!... forty eight... oh... what's that? You've already eaten? Oh, I'm terribly sorry. It just took so long to locate you. Well, have a great evening!"

It's funny to me, anyway.

(01/24/08 - 10:12 PM)
I apologize in advance if I have already told this story in one form or another. But there's no way in hades that I'm scanning all of this dreck that I spew to see if I'm duplicating (I'm pretty sure I'm not, though.) So, enjoy once more! Or have a laugh at the guy who can't remember! Whichever feels more appropriate! I love exclaimation points!

Some time ago, my wife took to articulately speaking to the cat when feeding him. Specifically, she repeats the name of whatever delicious animal he is about to consume. Originally, I believe this was done to eventually see if he responded in some meaningful way to this prompting by, perhaps, getting excited about chicken, or showing disappointment at beef. Pavlov, eat your heart out.

But this was never quite... interesting enough... for myself. So, I decided to serreptitiously make it a little more Heath-ified. One afternoon, without thinking about it and more as a joke, I did as my wife does. As I went through the process of opening and presenting his food, I began saying whatever came to mind. And the word was: "Hippo".

Now, it turns out that only my Nigerian best-friend Prince Mubutu (who always wants to give me a piece of all that cash he keeps finding just lying around after an inheritance or a construction project) actually has the ability to offer hippo-as-catfood. And while he's all-too-willing to share his strangely gotten gains, turns out he's not selling 'Kitty Hippo Chow' on the market - black, or otherwise.

Being the creature of habit that I am, I kept doing this. Every time I fed him, I would always decree that he was eating Hippo. So it makes me laugh - so sue me.

But here's the kicker. The other night, my wife was feeding him when I was working late. "Chicken!", she said several times. My cat was apparently unimpressed, and showed no immediate interest in what was coming. For no particular reason, it srtuck my wife to say, "Hippo!" The cat made an about face, and showed immediate interest. Thinking it a fluke, she once again began pushing the chicken, but the same result: the cat was disinterested. One final time, she switched back to, "Hippo!" Yet again, the cat's interest level changed, and he came back to her to see what was happening.

It might be a fluke, but it's hard to say. What isn't hard to say, is that my wife hates it when I say, "Hippo" to the cat because it turns out that she was actually trying something interesting and I kind of screwed it up.

So to her I say: I'm sorry. But it's super funny dear, don't you think?

(01/23/08 - 11:23 PM)
Mr. Phillips Screwdriver is ill. I mean, this guy looks like something Milla Jovovich should be chasing after with a shotgun in a video game-based film. Which is funny, because he's my own 'Resident Evil'. Ha-Ha! Hilarity!

Resident Evil


Today, he enters my inner sanctum and mumbles in a congested, sexy voice, "I'm not feeling well today."

"Jeez!," I replied, "You don't look well."

"If I need to go home early, would that be okay?," he asks.

"Absolutely. You need rest, and we're doing okay with the workload. Whatever you need."

Normal conversation - and it's over! Right? RIGHT?!?!?!

Oh, shit...

"See", he says, now all warmed up, "I've got a ton of pghlem in my throat - you can hear it. And my nose is all drippy and runny. I'm all cold and clammy..." And on and on and on.

After regaling me with his afflictions of hives, hemmorhoids, and homophobia for three whole minutes (I just needed three things with an 'H' - he really doesn't posess [or exhibit, anyway] any of these traits, to my knowledge - it was more for effect, you see... nevermind...) he went on his way.

Whew! That was a close one!

Five minutes later, he was back.

"So, we gettin' checks, or what?"

"I beg your pardon?" was my reply.

"It's payday. We gettin' checks, or what?", he says again without elaborating, only louder.

See, if I had gotten it the first time, I wouldn't have pressed for more because, well, I would have gotten it and more would have been unecessary. And turning up the volume won't really help, either. It's like speaking English to a Spanish person: No matter how loud or slow you get, or how many words you add 'o' to the end of in the hopes of hitting on something remotely Spanish, it won't force the listener to suddenly comprehend English. Comprende? Anyway...

"Payday is supposed to be Friday," I replied calmly, "But some time ago we began giving out checks on Thursday. However, since it's Wednesday today, payday will not occur until tomorrow."

"Oh", he says, clearly disappointed that I haven't somehow made it payday through the use of my special powers or Santeria spell casting. "Well, okay then."

I Love! Mr. Phillips Screwdriver!

As he walked away, I heard him say to himself, "See, I kiss my wife on the lips, and this is what I get."

I'm still shuddering from the thought...

Five minutes later, he was back again. This time, he had a part and a print. On the print was a note to 'see so-and-so (a day shift operator) about tooling'. The problem was, so-and-so had gone home for the day. But Mr. Phillips Screwdriver had pressed on, trying to do things without help. He asked how the part was manufactured, and I replied that so-and-so had come up with a method - and a tool - and would need to be consulted if the tooling was not with the job.

It was not with the job.

"Oh," he says. "Well, how did he..." and on he went.

I tried to stop him. I really did. I let him know that rather than re-inventing the method, it would be best to consult so-and-so at a later date. I had made the note on the print with one of two scenarios in mind. The first being that a day-shift operator (perhaps so-and-so, if I were lucky) would find the job next in line and either do it, or consult so-and-so. My assumption had been that if so-and-so were unavailable or a second-shift operator obtained the job they would pass it over because - obviously - something was missing that was critical to success. He didn't seem to get this on his own, so I got firm and politely outlined these thoughts for him in a logical progression. I thought that I had gotten through. I thought that he would leave the job for the next day, when someone could consult so-and-so as I had asked.

But, when I went out to the shop floor some twenty minutes later, I found him in the CNC lathe department which is 180° from his department. This did not seem to deter him, as he asked our CNC lathe operator how he would go about making this part (I had already expained the how, but a tool and holder were necessary, and I didn't know where they were at the moment, which is why the note was left and how the whole problem began.) With the patience of a Saint, this gentlemen calmly explained that being a CNC lathe operator, he really had no notion of how a highly-skilled mill operator might have gone about completing the component.

Undeterred, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver began hypothesizing - not to inquire further - but to somehow educate my CNC lathe operator on how he thought it might be accomplished.

Are you serious?

I came over with a 'question' to rescue the operator from commiting murder-one, and we both watched as Mr. Phillips Screwdriver ambled back to his area - part in hand, and apparently in no mood to do the sensible thing that we had discussed earlier. Nope - he was hell-bent on doing this part, even if it meant bothering others and taking way too long as he re-discovered a method and tooling for success. Brilliant!

(01/22/08 - 07:56 PM)
We closed on the Missouri property tonight, so that's that. I now have another payment to make each month but, God willing, I'll be able to clear up something else to set my financial side at ease within the ensuing five years or so. It's kind of a strange experience spending that much money on something so far away that one has never seen before.

(01/21/08 - 10:46 PM)
We received an e-mail today from one of our customers. During their heyday, they had a buyer who was laid off, then a shipping clerk who was made a buyer in his stead and was also laid off. Then another who went the same route of his own accord, followed by the shop manager who was made a buyer and then left to persue his own career. The duties of buyer ultimately fell upon someone who didn't feel it was in his job description, but tolerated it nonetheless as a matter of course. Today, we received this e-mail from him:

"As of February fourth, there will be a new person in charge of purchasing, his name will be [guy who left of his own volition after the shipping/receiving guy was laid off]. He was the purchasing agent here a year ago. He will be returning to [company] and will be taking over the task I never wanted. You can still contact me afterwards but please keep it minimal as I never enjoyed it before."

This was the ENTIRE e-mail; this was it.

Yeah... we'll uh, miss you too.

Bear in mind that this is a college educated man who clearly is above all of this. And he was never a fun guy to call - you have my word on that point. So what in the world makes him think we'd want to talk to him voluntarily when he most likely can't solve any issues that we may have anyway? Further, what makes him believe that we are somehow sympathetic to his plight, when clearly we were his plight.

I've read this so many times, and it still cracks me the hell up. Is this guy for real?

(01/20/08 - 10:09 AM)
I have just discovered the Online Sweepstakes web site. This should be interesting...

(01/19/08 - 11:23 PM)
I watched two movies today. TWO! I must be sick.

The first I watched only as a matter of course. It's one of those films that everyone is supposed to have seen, yet I had not. The film was "The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension". It starred a pre-RoboCop Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schivelli, and a laundry list of B-movie actors and A-movie background actors. And my God, did it suck. I won't even bore you with the details. It was so bad, that I would have turned it off after about fourteen seconds, if I wasn't on a mission to see the damn thing, no matter what. I will say this: The idea that the lead character could be a world-renowned neuro-surgeon, rock star, scientist, inventor, and sex object is beyond far-fetched. It's ridiculous to the point of being offensive. Maybe that's the point. I don't know.

The Good Guys

The second movie I watched was nearly as bad, but it had an excuse. It was the 1931 film "Monkey Business" starring all four Marx brothers (Zeppo dropped out of most of the films in later years, to my knowledge.) It was poorly contrived, but I think that this was intentional. It was - and probably was meant to be - nothing more than a framework for the Marx boys to spew one-liners for an hour and a half. It was probably funny - maybe even risque - in it's day. But to me, it was just killing time.

The Marx Brothers

(01/18/08 - 11:44 PM)
At work today, my lathe operator brought in one of those viral e-mails that you see running rampant. Usually they have a 72-point, italicized, flashing and underlined font with eighty exclaimation points with some tagline at the end meant to learn you somethin' but usually only if you're a trailer park hick who never made it past fourth grade. Otherwise, it's laughable common sense, or ends up sounding like Socrates on heroin. Like: "Show them what America is made of by sending along this picture of a ship made from the World Trade Center wreckage!"


Anyway, I had seen another version of something just like this some years ago, and simply conveying it to you would make me no better than the individuals sending along e-mails about new money or Iraqi soldiers. I thought that you deserved better than that, so I said: "Let's enhance the content."

In the spirit of this, I offer you an article from Housekeeping Monthly, May 13th, 1955. This, in and of itself, is more of a novelty. But I've decided to take the liberty to "updating it" - with the "As seen on COPS" version. Let's see how this goes. Ready, everyone?

The Good Wife's Guide

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Fire up the bong and turn on his computer. Plan to be ignored, even until the next night, especially once he gets one or two brewskis into him. This is his way of letting you know that he's pissed because you didn't pick up a bucket of extra crispy on the way home from your checker job at Wal-Mart. Most men are selfish bastards anyway, and the prospect of having to talk to anyone other than themselves makes them cringe. On the upside, you don't have to talk to him either. After all, who wants to hear about his day at the foundry and the story about that 'broad with the rack that just won't quit'. He'll probably just fire up the one-hitter and pass out in his tube socks later on, which means that you'll have the bed all to yourself. It also means that there will be no crossfire of flatulence while you're dreaming about George Clooney covered in maple syrup.

  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Get ready for Hurricane Male. Take fifteen minutes to psyche yourself up for his arrival. Put in a scrunchy to hide the fact that you've also been working all day. Put a Pabst Blue Ribbon in your hand to distract him and make sure its freshness date is still acceptable - because he will notice. In reality, you could have given him a seven year old beer at one time. But now that those commercials in between yellow flags have convinced him that there really is a difference, you have to make sure to replace that emergency beer every now and again, or else. He has just been with alot of chauvenistic pigs for ten plus hours and the only girl he has seen all day was on a Snap-On calendar. Your visage in a scrunchy will be a sore disappointment to your beer-bellied adonis, so don't even bother trying to look your best. You don't want his lily-white, corpulent form hanging over you for two minutes, anyway.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Talk to him about how you wish that you had become a lesbian, because that would be better than being married to his hairy butt. Be a little more interesting by implying that you and your friend Laura may have already made plans to go all Thelma and Louise on his ass when he least expects it if he doesn't straighten up.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Cut a swath in the rolling waves of toys, take out wrappers and boxes, Power Rangers Neo accessories and car stereos that he's 'just holding onto for a friend' just wide enough for him to get to the can as soon as he comes rushing in the door, turtle-heading.

  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • Gather up your childrens' parole forms and GED paperwork. Put away your rolling papers so he doesn't bogart your stash and make sure the trailer doesn't smell too bad. Put a tarp over anything offensive, and start a Pop-Tart going in the microwave to make the house smell nice. We recommend strawberry.

  • Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel that he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • If the heating bill hasn't been paid in a while, because you spent all that money bonding him out, you should prepare and light the trailer on fire once you find out about that ho waitress he's been seeing behind your back. Your babies' Daddy will know that you're serious about your threats, and it will give you a lift too. After all, a few months in the pokey, away from him, will provide you with immense personal satisfaction and a much needed reprieve.

  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Put some clothes on the naked kids, so DCFS doesn't take them again. Take a few minutes to get the kids to splash around in the kiddie pool to clean them up. They are little reminders of those times when cheaping out to buy store-brand comdoms wasn't such a hot idea, and he would like to see most of them with their biological fathers - whoever they were, and wherever they are. Shut the kids up with Nintendo in the back bedroom, and make sure the noise from the laundromat next door doesn't make it through the open window. Don't test the vacuum pump that he stole from the guy two trailers over right now - he can test it later. Tell the kids that if they aren't quiet, Daddy will get mad again if he gets enough grumpy juice into him.

  • Be happy to see him.
  • Pretend to be happy to see him, and just remember the stipend and welfare checks that you're stashing for your Vegas escape with the guy from the Pump N' Pay.

  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please.
  • Place a warm TV dinner in front of him, and let him know that you're not doing 'that' again, unless you see the fifty up front.

  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversarion are more important than yours.
  • Keep him talking. You know that he's got a dozen FTA's and a blue warrant on his head, but the moment of his arrival is not the time to scare him off before the cops arrive for the inevitable standoff. Remember, his topics of conversation will keep him distracted.

  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Pray that he leaves the house for most of the night, and either cracks up the Cutlass on the way, or comes home too hammered to do anything but pass out. Never complain if he goes to the strip club. Instead, be thankful that he's not aiming his toothless, stinky self at your body. Try and understand that you don't want to know why he needs a scale and all of those tiny zipper lock bags. And you really don't want to know who 'Big Papa Smurf' is, who keeps calling at all hours about the 'candy'.

  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Your goal: Survive with all your teeth and an empty bun oven. Try to make your home a place that's easy for him to hide out in, where he can wait for the restraining order renewal to expire and heal his stab wounds.

  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't tell him the fuzz was here looking for him twenty minutes ago. It will just make him antsy, and start his favorite tirade about 'the man' and legalizing 'it'.

  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Make him invisible. Have him hide in the closet or under the RV while the helicopter with the FLIR unit seeks him out. Have a cold pool of ice ready to hide him in so that it can't pick him up so easily, and turn the heat way up in the trailer to throw it off further. Surrounding your trailer with 'outside cats' is also a plus for confusing the FLIR unit, as well as assaulting the cops in a legal manner when they inadvertantly find them instead of your man.

  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Arrange his parole office visits and take off his prison tats. Speak in inoffensive, submissive tones when letting him know that you're out of Mad Dog.

  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he has been pumping iron in the yard for the last three-to-five stint and he's insanely huge. And he will always exercise to keep himself in top condition for his final conflict with 'the man'. He won't tell you the truth - ever - and you have no constitutional rights to question him without his attorney present.

  • A good wife always knows her place.
  • A good second girlfriend and mom to at least three of his children always knows her place.

(01/17/08 - 11:32 PM)
Ed, my bank guy, called me to let me know that everything was scheduled to close on the land in Missouri on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Then he said, "I took the liberty of securing a better rate for your loan that what I had initially spoken about. It won't be eight percent - I was able to secure it at 7.65%."

Something must have changed since I initially talked to him, as I know bank standards are pretty rigid in the interest of "fairness". Still, I can't help but feel he finagled something somewhere once this project got rolling. This is the guy who got me 4.99% interest during my last flip, which should have been an impossibility. I love my banker! How many people can say that?

(01/16/08 - 10:04 PM)
I received a call today from one of the senior officials at the church that my boss attends. Some time ago, I had written a web site for them, and of late their treasurer had let it lapse. Subsequently, the web site URL was sniped by some religious harmony group in Asia, never to be returned. Plan B was to change the site to an .org (which was what I tried to get them to go with in the first place) from a .com. After alot of tooth pulling, I got them to aquiesce to this point. Two weeks ago, the site went live once again.

Okay - senior official; phone call. So I get this call and he says, "Heath, what in the world is 'LutherRing', and why is there a link to it on our site?" I replied that, as I understood it, LutherRing was a resource of some kind linking Lutheran churches with similar goals together. He asked where in the world I had gotten the big idea to place this link on their site, and I let him know that it was the idea of the Pastor of the church, and not myself at all. I was rewarded with a stunned silence.

"See, here's the thing. One of our parishoners called me yesterday. She was very upset. She had apparently clicked this link, and was taken to a psychic hotline site. How is this possible?"

How do you not crack up at this? I let him know that, like their own site, this site had most likely expired in one way, shape or form and that someone (most likely the psychic hotline, who knew in advance when it would expire because - hey - they're psychic) had probably sniped the URL.

We had a good laugh all around, and the panic faded from his voice when I told him it would take five minutes tops to rectify, and that I would do it right away.

See - if he'd have just called his psychic, all of this could have been avoided.

(01/15/08 - 11:12 PM)
For Christmas, my boss lets people run wild with their requests for presents - be it cash, shop tools, or other he lets you ask for whatever you might desire. If it's within reason, he gets it for you. How cool is that?

One of the things Mr. Phillips Screwdriver asked for for Christmas was a set of metric dial calipers. These are kind of an obscure tool, but are really handy to have (I personally have four sets in my inspection arsenal.)

So, we ordered him a set. Of late, the company who was the leader in the field of measuring instruments such as this has been going the way of their competition by cheapening as many components as they can to get the overall costs of the items more in line with the competition. In light of this, most manufacturers have gone to a one-piece hinged plastic case, where in the past a two piece case made of padded metal or wood had been the norm.

Mr. Phillips Screwdriver received a set in one of said cases, and he was having none of it. He came into my office and let me know that he would like to see about purchasing a snazzier case at his own expense, if I could find one. "No problem", I said. "I know where to go if one exists. I know exactly what you are talking about. I'll get on it."

Case closed, right? HAH!

Behind Mr. Phillips Screwdriver, a line is now forming at the Heath Store. My expediter needs something, and my Mazak operator has just shown up because he needs something as well. His turn over, you'd think he'd hit the road. But he keeps talking. What is he talking about? Important things? New points that have not been covered thus far? The secret location of the Lindbergh baby? Oh no - no, no, no. He's decided that I couldn't possibly know what he's talking about, and he's therefore decided that he had better describe every difference possible between the regular case, and the snazzy one. He can see the pile up happening behind him, but he keeps the verbal battering ram pounding away.

But wait! It gets better!

Now, my Shipping/Receiving Manager pops in with an urgent look on her face. He sees her, and fails to acknowledge her existance. As this is happening, I can hear my assistant taking a call for me, and putting the caller on hold. As he's talking, she's trying to save me by saying, "Heath, you have..." but he just gets louder because, dammit, he needs me to understand that his dream case has foam and not just a molded plastic bed. Foam, dammit - FOAM - F-O-A-M. For those of you who might have now lost count, here's what we've got:

  • I have three people in my office waiting with real problems
  • I have one phone call holding
  • I have an assistant trying to save me from certain verbal assassination
  • And one unimpeeded jackass with his vocal chords a blazin'

Finally. FINALLY, after THREE MINUTES of being regaled with the same five restructured sentences over and over and over again, he figures I probably won't screw up too bad, and excuses himself.

(01/14/08 - 7:13 PM)
It never fails. When my employees pat themselves on the back, it inevitably leads to a catastrophe. When they spend all day telling me how awesome they are, it usually spells certain doom. Today was no exception. With the specific exception that one of my employees took me with him into the doldrums of failure.

Specifically, I am required to check each and every component prior to its' leaving our facility on its way to the end user. If any error is found, I am supposed to rectify the error. On long-run jobs where money becomes exponentially easier to lose, I am also supposed to check each piece upon the completion of each operation. The problem here is that on rare occasion I am unable to check what the employee has programmed the machine to do due to material still existing and therefore finding itself in the way of my measuring instruments. This usually leads to my monkey-doing-a-math-problem face and an ultimate solution. On even more rare occasion, I am unable to divine an acceptable way to prove the component is without flaw until later in the manufacturing process.

Today was one of those days. I had a guy who could not stop telling me how great he was, and he presented a component with precisely this problem - material that would later be removed being in the way of my inspection instruments at the moment. I checked all but one dimension. Guess which one was wrong? Guess when we found it?

Words cannot describe the disappointment and moreover frustration that I am currently experiencing. >Sigh< And I didn't even get to go on ad-nauseum about how great I am first, either.

(01/13/08 - 11:14 PM)
Worked a half-day today so that we could keep a big project moving. As this project progresses, my employees are finding themselves in one of two camps with little middle ground - those who disappoint me continually and those who excel under duress. I just wish that I could get everyone to do what they promise that they will so that I don't have to do their jobs too.

(01/12/08 - 11:32 PM)
My Dad bought a computer. He asked me to come over today to install it, and hook up his DSL. When I got there, I learned that he had torn a muscle in his forearm which pretty much rendered him a casualty for the day. Oh, and he might have thrown away the instructions for installing the DSL modem too. Alot was happening all around; I dunno.

This might not have been so bad, if his computer didn't have Windows Vista and the drivers, while Vista compatible, were not Vista installable on their own. You actually had to find the Lindbergh baby and crack the Enigma code to get the damn thing to work, and I tried everything under the sun to make it go. When I finally called tech support, it took me all of eight seconds to confound the poor guy on the other end of the line. Turns out I had tried 98% of all the right things, but hadn't tried the ones that didn't make any sense. Guess what worked in the end?

(01/11/08 - 11:38 PM)
Went to the groceteria tonight to finally get some food not endorsed by Groucho Marx. It's been a while since we've been, you see. So hence the Groucho reference and... you know what - nevermind. It's not a DeSoto, at any rate. See Groucho used to hawk the DeSoto automobile on his game show and... you know what - seriously, it's not important.

Anyway, it's amazing to me that after almost two weeks of having this cold that I'm still about worthless, energy-wise, after two P.M. True to form, today was no different and I barely made it home awake.

(01/10/08 - 11:44 PM)
I can't even form a cogent simile.

(01/09/08 - 10:18 PM)
All of the web sites are up and ported to the new server. Yeah team Dicksack! (It sounds dirty, but it actually isn't.)

(01/08/08 - 10:47 PM)
So, it turns out that my real estate agent in Missouri (read - the guy who tried to bleed my Dad dry and is only my salesperson because I managed to negotiate a four percent listing reduction on my Dad's behalf by taking him on) sends me a buyer's agency agreement. I didn't think anything of it, until my brother says, "If Dad is the seller, and he's paying the sales percentage on behalf of both the buyer and the seller (standard practice), then why does this contract state that you will also be paying this salesperson 6%?"

That's what I like about my brother - tought but fair, free legal advice. That's a damn fine question, I thought. My assumption is that it was a simple mistake made by an ultra-green agent. But then again, I don't know...

(01/07/08 - 11:53 PM)
If a picture paints a thousand words, then wouldn't it be faster to teach art criticism to the illiterate?

(01/06/08 - 10:02 AM)
We're both still sick. Have been for over a week. This microbe, I have now affectionately dubbed, "Cousin Eddy Syndrome". You'll either get that, or you won't.

(01/05/08 - 12:32 PM)
I was supposed to get the 941 done at work today. It used to be that I did the weekly payroll taxes for the IRS when I ran payroll. Occasionally I would find a small error or two. Typically these events were isolated and easy to rectify. When I received an assistant, this was one item that I handed off to her to do after making certain that the tax preparation process was rock-solid in both form and function. I achieved this end with specific instruction and a spreadsheet that tells you precisely what to put where and that figures all of your taxes for you - it's even color coded.

But today... oh, today. Today my reports said that the company had overpaid the IRS by some $529. Wait - we did what now?

I found (after searching through enough numbers to make a mathematician gleeful for a googleplex of years) six distinct errors where payroll had somehow magically changed from the time that taxes were run to the present. These inexplicable changes were what was causing the "error". But wait - it gets better!

The errors should have reflected a duality - an error in gross payroll thereby causing error(s) in the tax accumulations. But this - and this was the most dumbfounding thing - was simply not the case. On some, the taxes had changed along with gross payroll, but on others this was not so. How in the world could this be?

My assistant had said that she would be coming in today, so I hung out and waited doing other things hoping that the situation could be righted by something she was toting around in her noggin'. At noon I finally gave up and bailed.

"Taxes! Sure they're imminent, but death is better."
- Me

(01/03/08 - 10:13 PM)
I was trying to reach my Dad tonight, but his phone was busy for a while so I just popped over. For those of you who don't know, he recently retired from Cadbury-Adams after a gajillion years of faithful service. He received a call tonight from one of his old co-workers informing him that one of his other fellow co-workers had had an accident on the line this afternoon. Specifically, his glove got caught in something, his arm was pulled through an aperture and a scoring blade proceeded to cut his hand clean off.

With hand no longer attached, the man still had the presence of mind to take his loose hand in his other and make his way to a supervisor's office. Whereupon he said, "I cut my hand off" and proceeded to pass out.

I was - and still am - absolutely stupefied as to how that must have felt as a whole experience.

The man is in Madison now (Rockford hospitals couldn't handle the injury) and is expected to make a full recovery. But his hand was unable to be re-attached.

This is why I harp on my guys until they roll their eyes with regard to working safely around even the most minor piece of equipment. Most of the items we worked with are intended as weapons against metal. The problem is, they make no distinction between workpiece and worker.

(01/02/08 - 11:18 PM)
Still waiting for the real estate agent in Missouri to get his act together. I'm beginning to wonder if buying this property is worth the extra hassle.

Yeah, it probably is. Will be, anyway.

(01/01/08 - 12:01 AM)
There we are. Happy New Year gang.

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