Friday, September 30, 2005

The Week in Pictures XVII


Before we jump into the WIP, I thought I'd share a quick story. I was riding the subway to work the other day. The train stopped at a station and the doors opened, but quickly closed again, catching in them few unfortunate souls who were trying to reach the platform. One woman's bag was stuck in the doors, another's woman had her leg stuck and further down the car, the doors had somehow closed on a man's neck. Of course, they were all panicked and screaming at the conductor to open the doors, which he did a few seconds later.

Lesson learned from this incident: When exiting the train, never lead with your head.

Okay, on to the WIP...


Scientists from Mexico's tequila producing region say juice extracted from the blue agave plant, best known when distilled into the fiery spirit, may help dieters shed pounds and cut cholesterol.
At last they've come up ther perfect diet!


Heeding his own call for Americans and federal workers to cut back on unnecessary travel to make up for fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Rita, President Bush chose to forego the helicopter during his most recent flyover of the damaged region.


Meanwhile, relief workers, including this one delivering a pickup truck full of fresh water, continue to provide aid to the people in the areas hardest hit.


In Ireland, a divorced woman armed with a straw was unsuccessful in her attempt to huff and puff and blow down the castle that her ex-husband was allowed to keep in the settlement. He attributed its ability to withstand her attack to his to his decision to build the structure out of stone rather than his first two choices, hay and sticks.


Onlookers gasped in shock when famed superhero Spiderman went on the Today show and "outed" himself as a chiuaua.


In an effort to combat a growing problem with illegal immigrants, Australia is now requiring it's citizens to have the country's flag tattooed on their asses.


In South Korea, SWAT teams going through anti-terrorism exercises jumped through flaming hoops, a skill that should come in handy now that they've passed a law requiring all terrorists to light flaming hoops prior to setting off explosives.


This week's gratuitous picture: Vanessa Minnillo


Another co-conspirator in the canine brothel saga, shown here being kissed by his wife as the police led him away, was arrested this week.


After leaving the Supreme Court, Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playboy model who is seeking $88.6 million from the estate of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall showed how she was able to convince the Justices to hear her appeal.


Flip, a silvery gibbon in Munich's Hellabrunn zoo became the first of his species to begin using a wireless headset when making his cell phone calls.


Historians in London have decried the British government's decision to turn the pillars of the House of Parliament into outdoor toilets.


A man in North Carolina is suing a housing developer after his new home, which had been advertised as being "on the golf course," was actually built on the 18th green.


Famed cereal spokesman Tony the Tiger was forced to resign from his post after he and his wife were caught performing BDSM acts in public.


The famed Medusa of Greek mythology has come out of retirement and decided to pursue a modeling career.


Faced with a critical shortfall of comic pratfalls amongst distracted blue collar workers, the city of Chicago has posted lingerie models at the corners of several busy intersections.


Desperate for relief pitching to help during the critical last three games of the season against the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox signed free agent relief pitcher Chewbacca - shown here accompanied by his agent Princess Leia during his tryout.


Hollywood star Ben Affleck has given up smoking and begun a fitness regimen in preparation for his impending fatherhood.


Meanwhile, a Tonight Show appearance by Affleck's wife Jennifer Garner was abruptly cut short after she became overly excited upon realizing that she'd grown sizeable breasts during her pregnancy.


Ms. Garner then went on a mission to have her pregnant stomach touched by every celebrity in Hollywood.


After appearing on several talk shows, she decided that standing on the red carpet at the Emmy awards would be a more effective way of reaching her goal.


Which she did after several hours of hard work, by convincing the only remaining celebrity who hadn't done so, "Malcolm in the Middle" star Jane Kaczmarek, to pat her stomach on the way in to the ceremony.


And finally, in our last Jennifer Garner story of the week, the Alias star was asked to leave the phone bank for the "Shelter from the Storm" fundraising concert for repeatedly telling callers "Help me, please! I've been forced to marry Ben Affleck and have his baby!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dave the Baseball Guy

Dave was a baseball announcer who had a long and uneven career. While he was talented enough to broadcast for several major league teams, he was never quite good enough to get a network contract. In short, his entire career was probably best described as having pockets of excellence in a sea of mediocrity.

Part of the reason for this was that Dave suffered from Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It had never been diagnosed and tended to manifest itself most blantantly whenever he felt stress or pressure. Since Dave indentified very closely with the teams he worked for, he spent a fair amount of time under stress whenever his team was in a tight game.

He "lost it" a few times a season but there was generally no harm done. However, over time these incidents would begin to irritate management and, after a season or two, they'd ask him to leave.

Dave's fondest wish was to announce a World Series game, but as he wound down his career, it appeared that he would never reach that goal. By 2001, the only job he could get was announcing for the rookie league Phoenix White Sox. He loved baseball so much that he took the job, but he decided it would be his last. At the end of the season he'd retire, settle down, move to a small town, and raise a family.

So on Labor Day weekend, Dave found himself packing up his belongings and planning a new life. He had the radio tuned to the local sports talk station when he heard an announcement that the longtime announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks would miss a few weeks for undisclosed reasons. Almost simultaneously, Dave's phone rang. It was his agent telling him that he'd been hired as a temporary fill in for the absent announcer. Dave leapt at the opportunity. The Diamondbacks were in first place and almost assured of making the playoffs.

It was late in the season, so he never got the chance to fully identify with the team and so he was able to keep his AADD under control. As a result, he did the best work of his career. Even better, for Dave that is, the man he'd replaced was placed on indefinite leave.1 Based on his stellar work, he was offered the job for the remainder of the season.

As it turns out, the Diamondbacks went on a postseason run and made it to the World Series, where they faced the New York Yankees. Unfortunately for Dave, he grew to love the team more and more, especially when it became apparent that they were going to enable him to fulfill his dream. It all came to a head as he and analyst Steve Parks called Game 7 of the World Series.
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Dave
And so it all comes down this. Bottom of the ninth, two outs and the bases are loaded. Luis Gonzalez is stepping in to face Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera winds up, and here's the pitch. Gonzalez swings and fouls it away.

Steve
Man, was he ever late on that swing. Gonzalez had a great regular season but has been struggling throughout the Series with 11 strikeouts in 24 at bats. If he's going to break out of this slump, now is the time to do it.

Dave
Rivera is set to deliver again. Here's the pitch, Gonzalez swings and fists it towards centerfield. Jeter is after it and....is that the popcorn guy over there? I'm starving. I mean, did you see those vultures in the press box attack the food? I almost lost a hand trying to get a hotdog.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why they call that a press box and this an announcer's booth. Why don't they use the same word. It should be an announcer's box or a press booth. I just don't get it.

Hey, look at that! The kid over there has a bobble head doll! I used to love those things. I had a whole set of them. I wonder what ever happened to my Mickey Mantle one. Oh, that's right, I hid it because Jimmy Robinson was threatening to take his new BB gun and use it for target practice.

I remember it because for some reason Angelica Capobianco was extremely attracted to me that day. Then she got mad and broke it when she found out that I wasn't just happy to see her, and that I actually did have a bobble head doll down my pants.

Steve:
Uh, Dave? The game?

Dave:
The game? Oh, right! Sorry folks....let's get back to the game.

Game. That's a funny word. Game. Game, game, game, game. Ever notice how if you keep saying a word, it loses all meaning? I wonder how many words I can get to rhyme with game. There's came, lame, fame, tame, same, dame....

Hey Steve, that reminds me. Do you remember the girl I was talking to last night? The cute blonde with the green eyes? She gave me her number, but I can't remember her name.

Name! That's another word that rhymes with game!

Wow, Harry, look at all of those people running on the field. What do you suppose happened down there?

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1 Late in the season, Dave ran into the man he replaced at a local bar. When he asked the man what had happened, the only thing he'd say was "You can't tell me that girl looked 15 in that dark theater."

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Week in Pictures XVI


As Hurricane Rita continues to gain strength, President Bush assured the country that his administration is prepared for any outcome. In a speech yesterday, he said "The American people have to understand that we have the hurricanes on the run. We're keeping them on the run. One by one, the hurricanes are learning the meaning of American justice..heh, heh. "

He went on to add that "We're going to find the problems and fix them, 'cause we're problem fixers. heh, heh. Then we're going to find the things we're doing right and we're going to keep doing them, 'cause we're keep doing the things we're doing right-ers. heh, heh."


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the NFL forced the New Orleans Saints to play their "home opener" at Giants Stadium, leading their coach Jim Haslett to openly question the fairness of the decision and several Saints players to privately do the same. When asked about the controversy, Saints fans in the New Orleans area generally replied "I just lost every damn thing I own and I'm living in the f*ckin' Astrodome. Do you think I give a sh*t about a motherf*ckin' football game?"


Meanwhile, in New Orleans' famous French Quarter...the...uh...the....um...what was I talking about again?


In an effort to attract new customers, low-fare airline JetBlue is promising exciting underplane fireworks shows during each successful landing.


Inspired by the success of Water Taxi businesses, a local entrepenuer has launched the world's first Water Bus company.


Keepers at the Bronx Zoo have prescribed Viagra for one their male elephants after he experienced trunkile dysfunction while being orally serviced.


A Los Angeles woman suffered severe back injuries after wearing a silver necklace presented as a birthday gift by her boyfriend, who had misheard her request for "baubles."


Tragedy struck today in Oz, where the granddaughter of the infamous Wicked Witch of the West was killed when a house landed on her pickup truck during freak tornado. Ironically, she'd taken shelter in the vehicle only moments earlier to get away from a rainstorm that threatened to melt her.


Researchers in Manhattan have begun a study to determine just how much alcohol a woman must consume before she'll consider talking to me. So far, every woman has passed out before reaching that point.


Designers in Japan have unveiled the latest models in ultra-trendy hearing aids.



This week's gratuitous picture: Salma Hayek


Aging former Rebel Alliance Leader Princess Leia, still wearing the bandages from her recent plastic surgery, was among the celebrity attendees at London's Fashion Week.

On to the shout-outs:


Our song of the week is Foolproofby Ron Sexsmith (see sidebar)


Our favorite post of the week is festinog's: Go West Young Man


Our laugh out loud moment of the week comes from Glitter whoshowed us the real meaning of the Chinese characters onRock Star: INXS winner J.D. Fortune's shirt.

And back to the show:


Inspired by INXS' rebirth, one-hit wonder group the Crash Test Dummies, who are for some reason still putting out albums, also announced that they've signed a new lead singer - 67 year-old Wanda Fisher of Dubuque, Iowa.


Michael Jackson is being sued by a man who blames the "king of pop" for his inability to find acting work. The man, who died in 1857 and was reanimated in 1983 to be an extra in the "Thriller" video, says that he's been typecast as "nothing more than a dancing zombie."


Clay Aiken and Michael Bolton were among the celebrities that signed a Harley-Davidson motorbike being auctioned on e-Bay to raise funds to benefit those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

In a related story, Harley-Davidson is suing to stop the sale of that motorbike saying that any association with Aiken and Bolton will cause irreparable harm to company's brand name.


Screenwriter Tess Smith - who nobody has ever heard of before now - showed her solidarity with Katrina victims by showing up on the red carpet at the Emmys wearing rags.


As baseball's regular season winds down, out of contention teams such as the Chicago Cubs are using this time to evaluate youngsters from their minor league systems.


It turns out that Italy's stunning victory at last week's Soccer Ballet World Championships became possible when the favored Ireland Gaelic Football team's Premier Danseur fell while attempting a grand Fouette en tournant during their performance.


The United English Premier league football match between West Ham and Fullham was delayed after West Ham's Marlon Harewood was injured after slipping on a banana peel that had been carelessly left on the field.


And finally, we close with a picture of my most recent purchase - a lifetime supply of condoms...erm...actually, I'll probably only need about half of these, so the other three are up for grabs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blown Job

The question I'm most often asked is "How did you end up in Human Resources?"

Hold on. That's not quite true. Its probably the third most frequently asked question, right behind "You don't honestly believe that I'd consider going out with you, do you?" and "Are you going to leave me alone or do I have to call the police?"

Erm...now that I think about it, those are more rhetorical questions than actual ones, so forget what I just said. I was right the first time.

Anywho, now that we've gotten that squared away let's get back to our original point. Which was...um...give me a second while I scroll up... oh, that's right - how I wound up in Human Resources.

I'm afraid that's a long and not very interesting story - which, of course, makes it perfect for this blog.

When I was in my early twenties, I set off to conquer the job market. Being full of piss and vinegar,1 as young lads are wont to be, I wanted to work in a job that made a difference and to do something that would make the world a better place. With no concrete ideas and no job hunting experience I did what every person seeking employment does - I wrote up a little cardboard sign and sat on the corner begging passersby for career advice.

One cold winter day, a passing recruiter took pity on me. She wrapped her coat around me, walked me to her office, gave me a hot meal, and counseled me for several hours - if you know what I mean.2 Finally, we hit upon what seemed to be the perfect career for me. Working feverishly, we cobbled together a resume and faxed it off to several potential employers. By the end of the day we'd set up my very first interview.

The morning of the interview, I skipped breakfast3 out of concern that a full stomach would hinder the success of my plan. I strolled out of my apartment at around noon, dressed in my best suit and headed in the direction of my prospective employer. Once I'd located the building, I scouted around the area and found the nearest bar. I wandered in, ordered a shot and a beer and told the bartender to keep them coming every ten minutes.

About a half-hour before my interview, I arose from my perch and stumbled towards the door. After several failed attempts, I succeeded in exiting. As I made my way unsteadily down the street, I noticed that it had begun pitching and rolling at some point during my time at the bar. In marked contrast to my fellow pedestrians, I found myself being thrown off-balance with alarming regularity.

The treacherous walk ended with my arrival at the building. After a brief misunderstanding with the security officers at the front desk (I'd remembered who I was there to meet, but I'd forgotten my own name), I was allowed to proceed upstairs. Leaning on the door for balance, I nearly tumbled out of the elevator when I arrived at my floor. I was met by a perky receptionist who escorted me to the office of a Ms. Hayman, the director of the foundation. Ms. Hayman stood up from her desk and offered her hand. With one eye closed and my tongue stuck out in concentration, I reached for it. A few near misses later, I was finally able to grab it and shake hands with her.

Introductions completed, I plopped into the seat across from her desk, hiccupped, and gave her my best smile. She looked at me quizzically, then put on a pair of reading glasses and reviewed my resume.

"Thank you for taking the time to come in to discuss our opening. Let's begin by discussing the job duties..."

I giggled.

She looked over her glasses at me.

"Is something funny?"

That pushed me over the edge. Collapsing in peals of laughter, I was barely able to choke out my response.

"You said doody"

She stood and walked around her desk to get a closer look at me.

"My God!" she exclaimed stepping back. "You're inebriated, aren't you?"

"Yep!" I replied. I sat back and made myself comfortable while I waited for her to praise my dedication and willingness to go that extra mile to show that I was the right man for the job.

"Do you realize how inappropriate that is - especially considering the position you've applied for?"

Wait a minute, I'm confused. I thought to myself

"Wait a minute. I'm confused" I said

"You're confused?" she asked incredulously. "I can't understand what you're confused about. Do you honestly think that we hire a Drug and Alcohol Counselor who showed up for an interview in your condition?"

"Huh? Drug and Alcohol Couns.....I thought you were looking for a Drunken Alcohol Counselor."

The interview ended about thirty seconds later when security arrived to escort me out.

Fortunately, a few months later, I found a job that allowed me to both help people and drink regularly - and that's how I wound up in Human Resources.

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1 It turns out I wasn't full of piss and vinegar. The burning sensation I felt during urination was due to something completely different, but that's another story for another day.

2 When I say she "counseled me" I mean that I took a Career Interest Inventory, a Personality Inventory, a Values Inventory, and a Skills Inventory. Afterwards we walked through several decision making tools designed to narrow my choices and help me focus on the career that best suited me.

3 Generally, I awoke each morning and ate a balanced breakfast which, as well all know, features at least three of the following food groups: Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), Protein (beans, peanut butter, eggs), Fruit (bananas, oranges, berries), Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery), and Grain (toast, tortilla, bagel, cereal).4

4 A complete breakfast isn't nearly healthy as you'd think. For example, a
Bloody Mary and a slice of cold pizza meet the above criteria.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Week in Pictures XV

Please accept my apology in advance for what is, even by my standards, a poor "Week in Pictures." I appear to have been stricken with a touch of the flu or something which, even as I type this, has me longing for the comfort of my bed and a few more hours of sleep.


We start the week with a huge thank you to LmaC and Trevor for enlightening me about the "The Arcade Fire" in time for me to catch them at Summer Stage in Central Park last night.


A member of the Seabees was injured when he was accidentally thrown into a pile of garbage by President Bush, who was using his powers of telekinesis to help clean up debris on a New Orleans street.


Aliens using military tactics copied from the once popular Space Invaders game were easily defeated as they attempted to invade earth earlier this week.


Another chapter was added to the ongoing canine brothel saga this week as communities in the area surrounding the recently closed house of ill repute are now complaining that the displaced dogs have begun using nearby parks and school yards to conduct their business.


A school bus hostage drama ended peacefully when this man, who authorities identified as a Mr. T. Bear, surrendered to authorities after a three hour standoff. The children on the bus had apparently bonded with their captor during the ordeal and insisted on hugging him before he was taken away.


After killing a Giant that had been terrorizing New Guinea, triumphant soldiers returned to Port Moresby in a boat carrying a pair of his sewing needles that they'd taken as trophies.


The southwestern Chinese city of Kunming is forcing developers to change the names of properties deemed too foreign-sounding, saying they debase traditional culture. At least nine developments have changed their names since officials began implementing new guidelines last month including "Paris of the East Plaza," "French Gardens," and "Ginza Office Tower," which have been respectively re-named "Kunming Dear," "Kunming Soon," and "Oh God, I'm Kunming."


In Atlanta, four people were injured when a man dropped the giant mug of beer he was carrying as he climbed to the top of a sculpture to look down women's tops.


This week's gratuitous picture: Catherine Zeta Jones*

*Special thanks to MJ for this one.


Barbecue mavens across the country are jumping on the latest culinary craze: Grilled Mud.

Now let's pause for a few words from our fellow bloggers:

Speaking of culinary wisdom, this week's High Desert Diva lesson of the week: How to Turn Her On. Not only that, but she posted some great recipes this week.


Our poem of the week comes from Nikki and is titled Work-in-Progress.

**Those of you that are offended by explicit poetry might not want to click there. **

Note to myself: Learn how to write well on the off chance that one day someone will write something like that about me.


Our rant of the week is Roger's Righteous Indignation.


The two most popular posts of the week, at least amongst the many men clamoring for their attention, are MJ's Bent-Slightly and Lavinia's HNT #3...Decoding Dress Codes.


And our song of the week is Dinah Washington's "Teach Me Tonight" (see sidebar to hear the song)

...now back to our regularly scheduled Week in Pictures:


In Athens, several spectators at an air show lodged complaints after Britain's Red Arrows took to the sky and drew a giant heart on.


In a surprise announcement, Bill Gates is planning to retire at the end of the year and turn Microsoft over to his illegitimate son.


Singer, actress, and fashion designer Jennifer Lopez was hospitalized this weekend for what her publicists called "a severe case of dandruff."


In business news, German automaker Volkswagen unveiled their newest vehicle, the Cabriolet, which has the ability to drive on both roads and walls.


And finally, in sports, Italy's Federico Balzaretti and Ighli Vannucchi were the surprise gold medal winners at the Soccer Ballet World Championships in Dublin.

Editor's Note: Festi, Jeanne, Lavinia, and other non-American readers may substitute the following caption:

And finally, in sports, Italy's Federico Balzaretti and Ighli Vannucchi were the surprise gold medal winners at the Football Ballet World Championships in Dublin.