Archive for January 10th, 2005

20 Best Excuses for Missing Work


  • I was sprayed by a skunk.
  • I tripped over my dog
    and was knocked unconscious.
  • My bus broke down and was held up by robbers.
  • I
    was arrested as a result of mistaken identity.
  • I forgot to come
    back to work after lunch.
  • I couldn’t find my shoes.
  • I hurt myself bowling.
  • I was
    spit on by a venomous snake.
  • I totaled my wife’s jeep in a
    collision with a cow.
  • A hitman was looking for me.
  • My curlers burned
    my hair and
    I had
    to go to the hairdresser.
  • I eloped.
  • My brain went to
    sleep and I couldn’t wake it up.
  • My cat unplugged my alarm clock.
  • I had to be
    there for my
    husband’s grand jury trial
  • .I had to ship my
    grandmother’s bones to
  • I forgot what day of the week it was.
  • Someone
    slipped drugs in my drink
    last night.
  • A tree fell on my car.
  • My monkey died.

from MSN
Career Advice

Spare the Spanker, Spoil the Wanker


While we admit we have learned very few things during our
half-century on this planet one of them is that as weird as we feel
sometimes, we are a veritable paragon of moderation and mental health
compared to many of our fellow humans. The world is full of some really
fucked up people, and in the far majority of cases they were fucked up
early by living in some really fucked up families.

We are convinced that for many Americans the family
is a cauldron of torture and abuse, physical and mental. And yet growing
up in a dysfunctional, even an abusive family is not a guarantee of
a messed up life. For millions of kids public schools are a refuge and
a window on another life, an escape or end to the torture, and a door
to the future. Yet now, even that door is being shut for many of them.

Increasingly, families with things to hide are joining
families hiding from things like sexuality and evolution in the burgeoning
Schooling movement
. It is hard to believe this is still going on
in America.  Home Schooling is the biggest step backward in American
education since free public education was introduced in the early 1800’s.
Check out the open hawking instruments of human abuse – kiddie whips
to torture the victims of this sick inbred gulag:

ARLINGTON — On a spring day, Susan Lawrence was flipping through a
magazine, Home School Digest, when she came across an advertisement
that took
her breath away. In it, ”The Rod," a $5 flexible whipping stick,
was described as the ”ideal tool for child training."

The ad shocked Lawrence, a Lutheran who home-schools her
children and opposes corporal punishment. She began a national campaign
to stop what she sees as the misuse of the Bible as a justification for
striking children. She also asked the federal government to deem The
Rod hazardous to children, and ban the sale of all products designed
for spanking

"This is the dark side of home schooling," according to

Though corporal punishment is on the decline in the United States and
the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes the practice,
spanking children remains common. National polls in 2002 indicated
that two-thirds
of American parents approved of spanking, and more than 20 states
sanction corporal punishment in schools. Most parents said they use
bare hands
if they spank a child, though roughly one-third of parents in a 1995
Gallup poll said they had used ”a belt, hairbrush, stick, or some
other hard object" to strike their child’s bottom.

Is it just us, or does anyone else get the sense that
a higher than usual percentage of our future politicians AND serial
killers will turn out to have been home schooled?

from the Boston Globe

Are Masochists Immune to Torture?


Will Americans allow their military and security services
to practice torture? If you asked a mythical representative sampling
of Americans "Should police and national security agencies be allowed
to use torture?" we are confident the answer would be a resounding NO.
If you rephrased the question as "Should police and national security
agencies be given discretion in the use of torture in cases of urgent
national security?" we suspect the answer would be quite different, and
with good reason.

The topic of torture has entered the arena of national
debate, and was all the buzz around the water cooler at work and on the
radio channels we listen to in the White Whale, so as to keep our finger
on the elusive pulse of public opinion.

It seems that, like the Dowbrigade, millions of American
viewers (mostly male demographic) were too lazy to change the channel
after the second NFL playoff game and as a result ended up watching Jack
on FOX in the season premiere
of "24
" pump a high-caliber slug
through the thigh of a terror suspect of Middle Eastern origin in an
to obtain alacritous information.  The predominant tone of the reaction,
as far as we could tell, was "Go Jack".

In a real world parallel, Bush nominee for Attorney General
has been forced to go
on the record
as being opposed
to torture. Meanwhile, repeated reports are dragging Americans out of
denial and into reluctant admission that torture has been not only routinely
to our less scrupulous allies but practiced by US forces,
both in Guantanamo and in Iraq. It has happened, repeatedly, in the past.  Captured
on film and video. Does anyone doubt that it is still happening, in some
dark, secret room, right now, as you read these words?

The questions raised by juxtaposing Jack Bauer
and Alberto Gonzales are many and varied.  How do Americans really
feel about torture? Is it’s use absolutely unacceptable, or does it depend
on the situation of each case? Do terrorists (and, by implication, terrorist
suspects) have different rights than conventional enemy combatants or
spies? Don’t we use psychological torture on prisoners all the time?

Pondering torture leads inevitably to the hypothetical:
If we knew a terrorist group had planted a nuclear device in a major
American city, and we had in our custody someone who we believed knew
the location of that device, would we not be criminally negligent to
FAIL to do everything possible to extract that information? Up to using
torture, if we believed it could save hundreds of thousands of innocent
American lives in imminent mortal danger?

And if you accept torture in theory, in such an extreme
case, who should be in charge of deciding what torture methods should
be applied? Is there a more "humane" torture? And who decides which cases
are imminent enough and vital enough to warrant extreme coercion?

Then there is the related question of the reliability of
the information obtained via torture.  We have heard that all information
obtained by torture is unreliable because the better the torturer the
more likely the victim is to say whatever he thinks the questioner wants
to hear, whether it is true or not. We have heard that hardened intelligence
operatives and fanatical terrorists are immune to torture, willing to
endure into the afterlife rather than give up their comrades.

Are masochists immune to torture? Have there been any scientific
studies done of the veracity of information extracted by torture? Common
sense tells us that it would be an effective method in cases where short-lapse
verification of the information is possible, like "What is the password
to access the information on this hard disk?" and less effective in cases
where stalling and equivocating is possible, like "Where is the nuclear device set
to go off at midnight."

Another uncomfortable question: What percentage of the
population of this country know we have signed the Geneva Convention
and understand what it says on the subject? More to the point, of those who know, what percentage

The difficulty in talking about these subjects makes it
hard to gauge what Americans really think, but you can be sure policy
makers in and out of government are trying to figure it out. It is not
so much a question of whether some degree of government-sponsored torture
will continue to exist, but rather how extreme it will be, how widely
it will be applied, and how openly it will be discussed, if at all, on
and off the record.

Workingman’s Dead


Helping at times, and watching helpless at others,
as our 20-year-old son searches for his first "real" job, his previous
renumerative resume consisting exclusively of post-snowstorm shoveling
duty and very occasional market research study groups. Our emotions are
a mixture of pride and pain, sympathy and disappointment, frustration
with those who fail to recognize his talent and potential and nagging
guilt that we have left him so unprepared to compete in the dog eat dog
entry-level labor market.

These emotions are overaid with memories of our own
checkered work history. When we were our son’s age (20) we were as far
away from the 9-to-5 workaday world as we would ever be. We were nominally
engaged as a full-time student at the World’s Greatest University, but
in reality weeks would go by without our seeing the inside of a classroom.
There were days in which covering our nakedness long enough to go down
to the store for a quart of Tropicana orange juice and the New York Times
was the extent of the daily workload.

On the other hand, by that age we had been working "real"
jobs for over six years and were thoroughly familiar with the costs and
benefits of the working world.


The Dowbrigade started working at the tender age of
13, at the flagship store of The Toggery Shop, a small local chain of
men’s haberdasheries owned by our maternal grandfather. Eldest brother
of a Russian/Polish family riding the greatest wave of immigration to
hit these shores ever (up until the current tsunami of Latin Americans
coming home to roost,)  over 20 million Eastern European Jews fleeing
pogroms and the earliest intimations of a virulent anti-semetism which
crystalkize (mestaphasize) 30 years later in the Holocast, Joseph Feldman
came through Ellis Island, stopped breifly in New Jersey, and finally
settled in Rochester, New York. By 1960 he had founded and built up the
5 store Toggery chain, giving employment to a brother, a sister, a brother-in-law,
a dozen other members of the mishna – and one gangly, goofy grandson.

When we stated at the Toggery Shop our job was mostly stocking and restocking the invnetory, which consisted of everything the well-dressed hoodlum needed, circa 1966. Boot cut chinos, Levis jeans and cords, ruffled shirts and mock turtlenecks, Nehru jackets and Rayban sunglasses. Carnaby street was coming in, and the Mod look was big; splashy, spermy paisley ties and fake silk kercheifs, accessorized with clunky cufflinks and spacey aumlets – pre-hiphop bling-bling.

Before long we were a full-fledged salesman, acting as a seasoned wardrobe advisor to the tragically hip young dudes just starting to flex their cultural muscle, creating a style and attitude which back then was still an affront in the face of straight society. And of course, given our immpeccable sense of style and employee discount, the Dowbrigade was the best-dressed seventh grader at the Harley School.

For the next three or four years we worked a couple of afternoons a week, plus Saturdays. Grandpa Joe treated us just like his other salesmen, and we learned early the

Crewel and Unusual

D & C

Conclusion – don’t work

10 years of catch as catch can
Advice of counsel
He-Man Moving Company

Started teaching week Joey was born

Evers ince

current job

Gabe’s current job