Monday, May 19, 2008

Help Wanted. Must Be Dumber Than Velveeta. EOE.

Let’s hear it for President Bush! Thanks to him, being unemployed is considerably less irritating than it was in the old days.

I’m completely sincere about this. The last time I was out of work for too long came in 2003, before the Do Not Call anti-telemarketing law. I remember a particular eight-hour period where I got seventeen calls, each one answered in a polite, professional voice in case it held a job offer, and each one turning out instead to be some twit mispronouncing my name in hopes of selling a home-equity loan to my apartment-dwelling non-equity-having self.

But not this time! Thank you, Mr. President. And as a small- government libertarian, I have no problem justifying the Do Not Call law on the grounds that expecting solicitors to respect my number’s presence on a DNC list is no different than expecting door-to-door solicitors to respect a “No Trespassing” sign on my house.

Unfortunately, I can’t invent a proper justification for a firm law (not necessarily involving the death penalty, but a good horsewhipping at minimum) against that other bane of a job-hunter’s existence: the would-be scam artist who thinks that if he can trick me into wasting my time at a pointless job interview in which I have no interest, he’ll also coax me into parting with a good chunk of my own cash.

Many years ago, when I’d finished school and started looking for my first Real Job, I sent resumes and cover letters to any help-wanted ad that sounded willing to hire an English major. One ad said something about jobs in “advertising,” and a couple days after mailing my resume I got a call for an interview. The woman was rather vague about exactly what the job would entail, and since this was my first-ever Real Job Call I didn’t know enough to ask certain questions.

Next day I arrived at the interview a few minutes early, as recommended by the career guidebooks, and sat in the waiting room with a couple other applicants filling out a thick pile of forms. After a few minutes, I saw two dozen people file into the conference room adjacent to the room where we sat.

We heard a low, muffled voice speaking, and then everyone in the next room suddenly shouted “YEAH!!!” in raucous voices.

This continued for the next several minutes: Mumble mumble YEAH!! Blah blah YEAH!! Something something YEAH!!

We four in the waiting room exchanged looks. I can’t say what the others were thinking, but I remembered the mandatory pep rallies in high school and how much I’d hated them. So I quit filling out the application, put my pen down and began chatting with the others in the waiting room.

No one knew anymore than I did what this job was supposed to be about. One man had responded to an ad offering “management” jobs, another sought positions in “sales,” and the third also wanted work in “advertising.”


The pep rally finally ended and people streamed out of the conference room. Everyone left the building except for one man – presumably the muffled speaker – who came into the waiting room and started the "interview."

The company turned out to be a pyramid scam. They wanted us all to spend a couple hundred dollars buying some coupon books that we’d sell door-to-door, and if we could sucker other people into selling coupons for us we’d get a cut of their profits.

I had more than enough money to buy the books, and far too many IQ points to ever consider doing so. Instead, I spent awhile saying things like “This sounds great but I don’t have two hundred dollars, that’s why I’m looking for a job,” and tried to persuade him to pretty-please give me an advance on my first paycheck so I could afford to buy these coupon books and embark upon a wonderful and rewarding new career. (I actually said “wonderful and rewarding new career.”) He said I could earn the money by selling his coupon books door-to-door.

Once I figured I’d wasted about as much of his time as he’d wasted of mine, I abruptly ended the discussion and went home.

But that was years ago. The Internet makes such job offers more streamlined; instead of getting dressed and driving to an actual interview, you can stay in your bathrobe while people try to scam you on your own couch. I turned down the chance to make up to $5,000 a month, working on my computer at home, in my spare time, because I’m too stingy to buy and too lazy to install the $100 software package I’d need for this exciting opportunity.

I told the guy that if he’d just give me the name of the software, my friend-who’s-good-with-computers could probably find me a copy cheaper. He didn’t like my idea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plea To All You Science Geniuses Out There

Please oh please oh please invent technology enabling people to travel between parallel universes, because I really, really want to hear what Alterna-Hillary said in response to Alterna-Obama's remark that for the sake of the Democratic Party's future, he should get the presidential nomination because "Senator Clinton's support among working, hard-working Americans, male Americans, is weakening again."

Embarrassing confession: I have this vague recollection of kinda liking Hillary back in the early 90s. I can't quite recall why. I think it had something to do with Jerry Falwell's intense dislike for her; I figured "anyone Falwell hates so much can't be all bad." But if Falwell were alive today he'd probably be stumping for her.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Polygamous Affairs

You've known for a long time now that I pay little more than lip service to monogamy where blogging is concerned. Granted, I've been mostly monogablogamous ever since the last time I cheated on you, but honesty compels me to admit this was more due to a lack of temptation than the presence of any ability to actually resist it.

As you rightly suspect, I'm building up to another blog infidelity confession: one of my friends from Advocate days is now running for Congress as a Ruh ... a Repu ... a Repub ... a member of the party where you could vote for Ron Paul last Super Tuesday, and since I have little else to do these days I agreed to blog about the campaign for him.

Note from the attached photo, taken two days ago, how badly overdue I am for a haircut. Not that I have any intention of getting one.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I Shall Wear My Trousers Rolled

If you saw me going about my normal business today (or typing this right now, for that matter), you’d probably get a very concerned expression on your face and say “Oh, Jennifer, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve been hurt!” And my limpid blue eyes would gaze up at you with a piteous expression as I replied, “Ouch, yes, I injured myself in the shower this morning.”

This is actually true, although I’m not sure how I did it. One minute I was raising my hands to lather up the shampoo in my hair, and next thing I know I’ve pulled in my back some muscle I never realized I had. And by “pulled” I mean “ripped into tiny little painful shreds.”

Since I am a badass, I worked through the pain long enough to finish washing and conditioning my hair. And now it’s been eight hours or more, and after multiple stretching exercises plus the application of tiger balm and a pain patch my back still hurts like hell. But even that isn’t as bad as the psychic pain of knowing I’ve morphed into the sort of person who suffers self-inflicted muscle damage from shampooing.

Meanwhile, the Man About The House has decided to turn this into a Teachable Moment about the importance of starting each day doing stretching exercises as he does, proving that few of life’s annoyances can’t be made worse via the addition of a lecture series. Of course, if I’d started my day exercising then I might’ve torn my back doing a stretching exercise rather than the pragmatic hygiene-related stretching which actually did me in. If this had happened it would’ve been me saying “I told you so” rather than him. So perhaps I might try exercising after all.

Save Me From Those Who Would Save Me

Here’s advice for all you adults reading this: Never trust anybody who forces you to act a certain way and tells you it’s for your own good. The latest illustration of this principle is the country of Malaysia, which wants to protect women from the evil scary world by making it illegal for them to leave the country without written permission from an employer or male relative:
Women's groups in Malaysia have reacted angrily to proposed government restrictions on women travelling abroad on their own.

State media say the plan would require women to obtain written consent from their families or employers.

The Malaysian foreign minister said the move would prevent single women being used by gangs to smuggle drugs.

The proposal follows a review of criminal cases where women had been jailed abroad.

Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said 90% of cases where Malaysian women had been jailed by foreign courts involved drugs.

He told the New Sunday Times newspaper that a compulsory letter of consent to travel alone would enable women's families to make sure they were not being tricked by drug smuggling gangs.

Note that the story does nothing to put these statistics in context: what percentage of women traveling abroad are jailed? What percentage of men? Among Malaysian men jailed overseas, what percentage of them were arrested on drug charges? No matter. It’s the women who need to have their freedom infringed, for their own good of course.

Meanwhile, you’ve no doubt heard the story of the creepy Austrian man who locked his daughter in the basement for 24 years, raped her repeatedly and forced her to bear seven of his children. The father said he locked her in the basement “to prevent her having access to the local drug scene.”

Ah, glorious drugs. Is there any act of evil your detractors won’t embrace? Nope.

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