persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

IN THE POSTAL ZONE: GOING POSTAL. Working with wonder workers.

Some months back I got a daylight job. Bad news was it started at 6 AM, which meant I'd need to wake up about 4:30 to get to work (there's a commute involved). I dealt with dispatches, recording and retailing incoming and outgoing mail. Working on a computer for the Post Office.

I was still dealing with the time shift: 30 years of going to be at 3 AM and getting up when I felt like it to going to be at 8 PM and getting up at 4 AM. I drank beer. It helped, but for many weeks, I still couldn't get to sleep before 10 PM.

So I'd wake up fuzzy brained, drink lots of coffee and drive to work and clock in and fumble around on the computer, faking it for a few weeks. My small office measured about nine feet by four feet. In it was a desk, a computer, a TV monitor, a heater, an air cooler, a tiny set of lockers, a water fountain and two chairs. One which I sat on.

And in the other chair was Al. Al McGrant. For a couple of weeks I couldn't figure out why he sat in my office, reading a newspaper and drinking coffee and pressing the button.

The button opened a gate, which he could see on a monitor. Normally it focused on the trucks going in and out, but also some employees. They'd press a button Al would look up and press his end. This is all he did. He did it for five days a week, and had weekends off. He pressed a button, the trucks and employees were let in and out.

He did not talk much and he also didn't bathe. He also had a different kind of body tolerance for heat and cold. Insisted on turning the heat on in mid May. He reeked of stale tobacco at all hours.

Details came out. He was a driver, but was disabled after a door fell on him. A loading dock door fell on him and injured his shoulder. These are industrial strength items that weigh a great deal. His missed breaking his neck by a few inches. He could still drive. But Not constantly. So they gave him the job of button pusher. It was a job I often had to fill in, when he was loading up with another cup of coffee, visiting someone at the other end of the building, or trying to find a newspaper. I didn't get the same pay scale and I wasn't given training, either.

With the details over the tempeture control in place, he moved the monitor out of the office, close to the door pulled the spare chair out and continued his efforts to work hard. He was still on the job after I bid off the Dispatches, and got an in house driving job.

Al lost his job several months later, arguing with another driver and threatening to break arms, shoot someone and kill them repeatedly. Before his ultimate termination he wandered around with his union file that detailed all problems he had with management. It was about eight inches thick.

Al McGrant is one of many wonder workers I have encountered.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

David Bellamy wrote...

Have you read _Variable Star_? (Robinson/Heinlein)

Robert Whitaker Sirignano said...

I see it on my shelf, as I see other things I bought recently and have yet to get around to reading, like FINN by Jon Clinch, THE ONLY BUSH I TRUST IS MY OWN by Periel Aschenbrand, OPAL, a biography of Opal Whitley, I AM A STRANGE LOOP by Douglas Hofsteader, EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT SEX IS WRONG!, APOCALYPSE 2012: AN OPTIMIST LOOKS AT END TIMES, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CINEMA ZOMBIES, HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill, HEADPRESS GUIDE TO THE COUNTER CULTURE, that bio of James Tiptree, etcetera...

I've placed a small brake on stuff I'm ordering. I read a new book, and read a book I recall reading thirty years ago. Back in the late 60's what was published in one year in the SF genre field is now published every two weeks.
Generally, my "new" book purchases are as follows: I will not purchase anything that has a cat, elf, vampire, unicorn, dwarf or fairy on the cover, or combinations of the proceeding. Or cute.

Saves time.


A United Nations spokesman recently released a report on the Geico lizard, noting that even as an almost extinct species, it has no merit, and if the Geico company ceased to exploit it, the premiums that the car insurance holders paid would drop 50%. "It's an unavoidable conclusion," said the report. "Geico never says what its company actually does, and knocking off the lizard would bring back focus." The UN report declined to comment on the recent "cave-men" who are showing up in commercials, but noted that "they could be institutionalized, or stuffed and mounted."

George Wells wrote:

>Gary Tesser finally caught the mouse that was teasing and torturing the people in his apartment. He found the mouse caught in one of the glue traps he put out. Not wanting it to struggle and suffer while dying, Gary put the glue trap with mouse in it into his freezer. It died of hypothermia (or whatever you call it). The strange thing was when gary took the dead mouse out he found fire crackers duct taped around the mouse's chest and back. It was a terrorist! luv, George wells
Baron Munchausen must be green with envy.... I suppose the mouse,
incapable of striking a match, was looking for the pilot light on the
gas stove or water heater to set himself off!--Ned Brooks

I don't think I can respond to this...RWS

Dear Gang,
I met Sandy Baron, who supposedly did that LP. He was a New York comedian. If I remember correctly, he always used to use the word Existentialism. I can't say he impressed me.
Rich Dengrove

Yes, well, I used that title because I had it at hand. I also will transfer other items that will never make it to CD, like WHEN IN DOUBT MUMBLE, MRS PORTNOY'S RETORT, BLIND MAN'S MOVIE, THE SICKNIKS, MAD TWISTS ROCK AND ROLL, SEX LIFE OF THE PRIMATE, and a bunch of other stuff.

Sandy Baron often changed his career path so frequently, no one could assess what kind of auidence he was trying for. He did an LP called GOD SAVE THE QUEENS, which was marketed as humor but wasn't funny. The only thing that comes to mind where the publics knows him is HEY LANDLORD, and that was aeons ago.


Jenna Jameson, porn star, recently had a vaginalplasty.

She wasn't pleased.

So she's having a bad hair pie day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

SWIPED FROM MY OWN SKETCHBOOK: little is known of the saga of Edward Ferrethands...

From the internet:
Re: rats and soap.
We had a major infestation of mice less than three days after our cat died. The mice weren't fussy. They attacked Ivory, Safeguard, Lux, Jergens, Tone, Camay, Palmolive, you name it, ... everything but Lava. Most were either bars in soap dishes or used ends I'd melt for home-made liquid soap, but some were still in the wrappers (in the linen closet yet!!).
We found an excellent way to live-catch the mice (and get rid of the remaining dry cat food) was a LARGE plastic bucket and long, narrow wooden plank. It took about three weeks and we caught over a dozen before they got the hint.
Helen and Terry Buranello

:: Doesn't Lava soap contain pumice? Could be those rough granuals might annoy the mouse's innards.

I had some notion that "The Bed Sitting Room" was a soap-opera sort of
movie. Now that you say it's a Spike Milligan post-holocaust fantasy I'd
like to see it!--Ned Brooks

THE BED SITTING ROOM has quite a cast: Spike Milligan, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Harry Secombe, Marty Feldman, Ralph Richardson and directed by Richard Lester. If it had won a Hugo it might be better known.

from A GRAND GUY the art and life of Terry Southern. Every now and then I read something very interesting, and want to place it somewhere for others to read.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

RADIOACTIVE HAMSTER DANCE is not the name of this blog. I just had some passing thoughts or two.

There is one good thing about the Goerge W. Bush administration. It has so depressed Kurt Vonnegut Jr. that he has aquired writer's block. Maybe he should have worn his sunscreen.

If all the material written by and about H.P.Lovecraft were stacked up, the resulting mass would probably fall over.

By the way, it is about time people stopped refering to Kilgore Trout as the "persona" of Theodore Sturgeon. It's an insult to the man who could write nebulas around Vonnegut's simplistic "so it goes" primer style.

I usually don't do URL's in this blog, but there are some good connections here and there:

This one will last as long as Harlan Ellison doesn't hear of it.

A Star Trek parody, as if it would be if it were written by Dr. Suess.

I've been working with a device called iMic, which allows you to transfer and digitalize LP's onto computer files, which can then be made into compact dics, or loaded onto a spare hard drive and tranfered to an iPod. Next on my list of LP's to digitalize will be Sandy Baron's HOW I FOUND GOD, ZEN YOGA, EST, ARICA, SUFI, SCIENTOLOGY...AND MY LIFE STILL SUCKS. Internet spies tell me that Paul Krassner wrote it.

SPIDER ROBINSON: THE CRAZY YEARS. And how to judge a book by the cover.
I think sales for this tome were not good. The cover sucks. If I were to have gotten a hold of this title and wanted a cover done up for it, I would have gone to Mad Magazine, asked an artist or two, "Can you make this guy look like Alfred E. Neuman?" and suggest he be viewed as holding up a book titled THE CRAZY YEARS with him on the cover holding up a book, etc....

But this cover is just dumb. I almost didn't buy this one, looking at it and feeling the whole inane view just making me wish I could find one where the cover had been torn off, or heavily inked over so I wouldn't need to look at it.

The title is by way of Robert A. Heinlein, by way of his future history sequence, which has a small section in it, largely unwritten, called "the crazy years", by which RAH meant a schism and showdown between science and art and religion and society needs and wants and confrontations with commerce and requirement. I don't think he meant for the writer he loaned this title to, would enable him to appear trussed up in a straight jacket with a dull hint of stupid on his face enabling the book to bomb in the marketplace, or throw off the reader in the wrong direction about the content of the book.

What's worse is the writer involved ought to know better. I've had my say. Deal with it.