"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Midnight Rile We All Must Hear

Listen, dear voters, and you shall hear
Of the kinds of surprises politicos fear.
In the month of October, in Zero-Sixteen
Hardly any evidence remained still unseen.
Who can forget that famous vid-e-o?

One candidate said to his friend, “I’m a star!
I’m rich! And they’ve all seen me on the TV.
I really just don’t care who most of them are --
I put out my hand and I grab their p***y.
One if by jet, and two if by bus
There’s more than enough chicks for the two of us.
Ready to grab and cause great alarm.
I want them for sex; they’ll succumb to my charm.
When that fails, then Tic-Tacs I use to disarm.”

He sort of apologized – then with hair a-flutter
Returned to the trail, launching yet more attacks.
But all of a sudden one more, then another
Made claims that, in years past, consent he had lacked.
He said, “All are liars! I never molested!
I’ll sue! I will win once my case has been rested.”
The clamor distracted from what John Podesta'd
Allegedly said, since his emails were hacked.

Meanwhile, his opponent, through every device
Sent emails without confidentiality.
Totally disregarding sage advice,
And claimed to not know the meaning of “C.”
First she denied it, then she proclaimed
In hindsight she should have accepted some blame.
Yet nothing was criminal – Comey said the same.
But just when we thought a review had been thorough
A new warning came from the Federal Bureau.

While following up on the trail of a sexter
Who shared a device with her closest aide,
The FBI found more emails sure to vex her.
This scandal was one that would not go away.
No sooner would Hillary claim, “All is well!”
Then some revelation would bring a fresh hell.
Over and over, it was a tough sell.
She’d battled; established a lead with the electorate
But doubts of her trustworthiness may have wrecked it.

On through the campaign trudge Hillary and Donald
With near every night yet another reveal.
Claims from yet one more woman he fondled;
Money her foundation may have concealed.
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
His claim if she wins – Second Amendment no more.
She says he’s unqualified, dangerous to boot.
If he wins, she says our society will uproot.
In this hour of darkness and peril and need
The people will waken and wish they could hear
A message of hope, an inspiring creed.
Instead of this campaign that generates fear.
We want inspiration – we get rant and rave.
While patriot Paul Revere spins in his grave.

"I risked my life for THIS?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Using Every Employee in the Book

Here's the seventh article in my series: "Tell Your Disruptive Business Model To Quiet Down Or Else We're Going To Have To Ask The Two Of You To Leave."

Today's installment offers templates for workplace policies addressing the most common employee issues you encounter. You are welcome to make use of these at no cost. Well, I say "at no cost" but believe me -- if you implement any of these you'll certainly pay in the long run.


We do not tolerate any harassment based on gender, age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, and religion.

That doesn't leave you much to choose from (all that's left: outdated hairstyle; annoying speaking voice; height or lack thereof), so choose your moments with precision, make your digs small and sharp and then -- walk away; don't look back.


Each employee is an important contributor to the company's mission (we have to say this) and each employee is needed at work to assist in the accomplishment of the company’s goals and objectives -- whatever they may be; I've misplaced my little wallet-sized card that spells them out. Absenteeism can lower the morale of other employees who have to perform the work of the absent employee. (Except when that guy from Marketing with the horrible b.o. calls out -- everyone breathes a sigh of relief.)

Daily attendance is an expectation of all employees -- other than members of the Leadership Team, who spend three out of every four weeks either at a convention in Las Vegas or an "off-site" on St. Simons Island.

Emergency time off is offered to employees for such unscheduled events as personal illness (real or imagined), immediate family member sickness (which does not include your cousin who is "like a sister" to you), and doctor appointments (which always seem to require you to leave work right after lunch and take the rest of the afternoon).


We expect employees to dress appropriately in business attire. Because our work environment sees frequent visits from customers, clients, the public and investigators from the SEC, professional business attire is essential to keeping up the charade.

Business attire for men includes suits (but please avoid sharkskin; see "SEC" in the preceding paragraph), sports jackets, and pants that are typical of business formal attire at work (as opposed to business formal attire worn around the house over the weekend). For women, business attire includes pant and skirt suits and sports jackets appropriate to a formal business attire environment, along with an unruly and overly-shiny pin affixed to a lapel. For those who are gender-fluid -- we just throw our hands up in the air; it's your call so please don't sue us. Regardless of identity: underwear is always required and preferably worn next to the skin.

Employees are expected to demonstrate good judgment and professional taste. Of course, expectations here are very low and therefore we often let it slide when someone wears flip-flops or black shoes with brown socks.


Voice mail, email, and Internet usage assigned to an employee's computer or telephone extensions are intended solely for the purpose of conducting Company business. But we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Online shopping, gaming, watching streaming media such "Game Of Thrones," wagering on fantasy sports websites and viewing pornography are examples of behavior that must be handled discreetly and only when you think no one else is watching.


Company employees may date, develop friendships and relationships both inside and outside of the workplace as long as the relationships do not negatively impact work. However, the Company discourages employees from having relations inside of the workplace; that's not what the "Mother's Room" is for. Any relationship that interferes with the company culture of teamwork, the harmonious work environment or the productivity of employees, will be addressed by applying the progressive discipline policy. Any relationship that results in daily drama at the level of a soap opera will be gossiped about and result in the use of separate tables in the cafeteria for the convenience of "us" versus "them."

The exception to this policy relates to managers and supervisors. Managers and supervisors can get away with all kinds of shit; HR is completely useless when salaried positions are involved in the shenanigans.


Any employee who witnesses or is victimized by a violation of company policy is encouraged to snitch report it without fear of retribution. You can anticipate retribution; just don't fear it.

Employees wishing to make such a report anonymously are kidding themselves can call the Company Hotline at 1-888-FULL-VOICEMAIL. However, use of a personal cell phone during working hours is a violation of company policy and will result in disciplinary action up to and including being pelted with overripe tomatoes, or being assigned to a project doomed to fail until you decide to resign in order to "pursue other interests." We wish you well in your next endeavor.
Your electronic signature here indicates your acceptance of and commitment to blind obedience with these policies. Additionally, you are also waiving your right to sue, seek remediation, request restitution or other redress, or drop the f-bomb in response to anything that happens in the workplace. 

Welcome to the team!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Double, Double, Toilet Trouble

Our good friends Bert and Marsha came up for a visit this past week. We were celebrating a number of special occasions -- Bert's 60th birthday; his retirement at the end of the month; our long-standing relationships, both singly and as couples.

Plans for our time together included, as always, enjoying good food, wine and beer, the resumption of a decades-long tennis rivalry between Bert and myself, and our wives getting their chakras aligned during a yoga session. After spending the weekend at our place we'd drive to Acadia National Park for a few days of sightseeing, bolstered with some shopping in the various quaint towns on Mount Desert Island. Here's the chronicle of our action-packed time together:

  • Carol and I leave the house fifteen minutes late for our drive to Portland to pick up Bert and Marsha, who are flying up from Raleigh.
  • We return to the house to get Carol's sunglasses.
  • And once again for her cell phone.
  • As we speed toward the airport I wish I had taken advantage of one of those two U-turns to relieve myself.
  • We arrive only to find their flight is delayed. We cool our heels in the cell phone lot, which is devoid of men's or women's rooms, for thirty minutes while waiting for our friends to summon us to the Arrivals area.
  • We pick them up and start to head downtown for some lunch and exploration.
  • Before we exit the airport, we pull into the cell phone lot again so Marsha can get a sweater out of her suitcase to ward off the brisk Maine fall weather.
  • Shockingly, we find a parking spot right in front of the restaurant where we plan to have lunch.
  • We enter and I make a beeline for the restroom before we place our order. The others follow suit.
  • I return to the car to put change in the parking meter.
  • I return to the car again to get Carol's jacket since it's chilly in the restaurant.
  • After lunch, we stroll to a neighboring coffee shop to warm up.
  • I return to the restaurant to retrieve the credit card I left behind.
  • I return to the car to put more change in the parking meter.
  • After finishing our coffee, we get ready to visit two local breweries to enjoy samples in their tasting rooms. But before leaving, I step into the single bathroom.
  • Then Marsha does the same.
  • Then Bert.
  • Then Carol.
  • By now, I have to go again so I visit the men's gender-neutrals' room one more time.
  • Approaching the brewery, parking is limited so we prowl for an extended period. When a tight space opens up I masterfully squeeze into it. Carol objects to having to slither out of her door but I don't hear her complaint since I am dashing inside to find the toilet.
  • The others enter and immediately head for the stalls.
  • We order our brews, find a table, and some of us saunter toward the W.C. again.
  • After we finish our beer, Marsha goes to buy a souvenir t-shirt while the rest of us return to the privy.
  • We strike out for the second brewery. Once we arrive, I tell Carol what to order for me while I look for the latrine.
  • We carry our drinks to the outside patio area. I have both mine and Carol's in my hands since she has gone to the powder room.
  • We finish and decamp for the car, making a quick dash back inside to use the john.
  • We pull into our driveway an hour and fifteen minutes later. Before I even put it in Park, Carol jumps out of the still-moving car so she can be the first into our one and only washroom.
  • That evening we make a nice home-cooked meal for our company, enjoying a few bottles of wine with dinner. Between their early departure for the airport and the number of adult beverages consumed during the day, Bert and Marsha are ready to turn in early. Bert asks if anyone wants to use the loo before he gets ready for bed, and the three of us take turns.
  • Forty minutes later, Bert finally has a chance to wash up. As he exits, I barge past him in order to take care of business once more.
  • We all stagger upstairs to our respective bedrooms for a good night's sleep.

  • I wake up at 5:15 AM with an urgent need to visit the little boy's room. I decide to stay up and get breakfast prepped. As Carol, Bert and Marsha wander downstairs later that morning, I ask everyone how they slept and the responses are startlingly similar - "Fine, except when I got up at two/three/four o'clock to pee."
  • After breakfast, we take turns using the shower. Hours later, everyone is washed and dressed and now it's time for lunch.
  • We drive to Hallowell so our guests can check out our favorite spot there. Great food and very spacious commodes.
  • After lunch, we park at a spot down by the Kennebec River where the town has placed colorful Adirondack chairs. We sit and chat idly while looking for sturgeon, osprey and eagles, keeping one eye on the Porta Potty and alerting each other as it becomes vacant.
  • After returning home, Bert and I decide to play tennis as the ladies get ready to go to their yoga session. This necessitates everyone needing to complete their toilette.
  • Bert runs me around the court like a reporter rushing to find the source of Donald Trump's fantastical claims. Remaining gracious in defeat, I permit Bert to be first to visit the head when we get back to the house.
  • We spend the rest of the afternoon watching football, eating Cheez-Its, drinking beer and occasionally seeing a man about a horse.
  • Stuffing enough luggage into the back of the car to last for a month-long ocean cruise, we leave for our two-night stay in Bar Harbor.
  • As we approach town, we check the directions for our lodging and discover it's not in Bar Harbor as we thought but instead thirty minutes away in Southwest Harbor. We ask Google Maps to redirect us and also query, "Where's the closest bathroom?"
  • We check into a lovely B&B where the only drawback is the steep stairway from the lobby to the second and third floors. Climbing the steps rivals using the iron rungs needed to scale Acadia's Precipice Trail.
  • That evening we go out to celebrate Bert's birthday with dinner at a first-rate restaurant in Bar Harbor where the only drawback is the seven-minute walk from our table to find the doors marked "Hommes" and "Femmes" located back in the bar area.
  • We plan to spend our one full day in the park making several hikes. We've chosen to start with the Ocean Walk, which offers spectacular coastal views along with a marked pedestrian crossing that leads to public facilities in the parking lot across the road from famous Thunder Hole.
  • Our next stop is the Jordan Pond House for lunch. The parking lot is jammed, so we drop off our wives to get us on the waiting list for a table while Bert and I search for a place to leave the car. 
  • We walk back from the overflow lot to the restaurant. Carol tells me the wait will be thirty minutes, so I decide to find a comfort station.
  • I return and cannot find Carol, Marsha or Bert.
  • I finally stumble across Carol, who tells me she was waiting "right over there." I look in the direction she points to see a crowd of what appears to be hundreds of people restlessly milling about until their tables are ready.
  • Carol asks me to return to the car to get her phone. I walk back and search the entire car without finding it. I return to the spot where I left her and cannot find Carol, Marsha or Bert.
  • Ten minutes later, Carol suddenly appears to say she has been "right over there" the entire time. I look in the direction she points and the crowd now numbers in the thousands.
  • Our table finally opens up and we enjoy a pleasant lunch featuring those famous popovers. Afterward, we depart for the trail around Jordan Pond after stopping for a quick tinkle.
  • We cut our hike short since we are finding it increasingly chilly in the late afternoon shadows and decide to return to the car, taking the long route through the restaurant so we can make a pit stop before heading back to our B&B.

  • Before leaving MDI for home, we drive to Bass Harbor in order to take a glorious afternoon cruise around the outer islands of Blue Hill Bay. After passing the lighthouse we see harbor and gray seals, eagles, egrets, heron, gulls and cormorants; idle near the pens of a large salmon farm in the bay, and explore the contents of a lobster trap our guide pulls onboard. We envy all of these creatures since they can urinate with abandon whenever they want, whereas we're trapped on this boat for the next two hours.
  • Once we return, three of us dash toward the free-standing sanitation stations at the end of the dock. Carol insists on wanting to use a "proper bathroom." I pull up the directions to our dinner destination -- a lobster pound as we exit the island -- which is 26 miles away. Carol says she can't wait that long. I offer to stop twice along the route but she declines, with gas station accommodations also below her standards, and instead she continues davening in the back seat until we reach the restaurant. The place is mobbed with end-of-season diners, but before Carol tells me her order she dashes off to attend to her urgent need. I am left in the midst of a frenzied hoard of shellfish-crazed gourmands who batter me from side to side as they push their way to the front of the line where they select their dinner and then back into another line to choose their sides and pay. When Carol returns she finds me in a daze from the pummeling I've taken. All I can mutter is, "... french fries or coleslaw..."

  • That morning, although I put up more of a fight, Bert thrashes me on the tennis courts yet again. We return to clean up before it's time to take him and Marsha back to Portland for their trip home.
  • As part of our ongoing quest to discover the ultimate lobster roll, we target a shack located along our route to the airport. Despite the hours posted on their website, we find a "CLOSED" sign on the door. Just as we dejectedly turn away, one of the owners pops his head out from a neighboring building and tells us to step inside; he's still got everything up and running and will be glad to serve us.
  • We place our orders and step out onto a small patio to await our food. Within minutes, trays are in front of us and we each take big bites to compare notes. Let me tell you, these lobster rolls are unquestionably the...
Oh, dammit -- I have to go to the can. Back in a few.