Upsetting
Friday, May 28, 2004
 
By drawing attention away from the Muslim fanatic networks centered in Saudi Arabia, Bush diverted the war against terror. That seems to be the implication of the 28 pages, which the White House demanded be kept from the American people when the full report was released.
 
 
Due to early closing hours we ask that all mail is in by 2:30 today.
Thank you
 
Thursday, May 27, 2004
 
Elliott Offen
A cross dressing street runner who claims he's straight though he looks completly queer. Even though he's a weirdo he's funny as hell and is easily insulted. Wants to be referred to as ''Elegant'' Elliot Offen but Howard refuses to do it. Claims to be the epitome of physical fitness but won't show Howard his belly to prove it. Constantly yelling over everyone who tries to speak to him.
 
 
I would suggest that barbarism be considered as a permanent and universal human characteristic which becomes more or less pronounced according to the play of circumstances.

Simone Weil (1910-43), French philosopher, mystic
 
 
JEWEL'S ODDBALL CONCERT APPEARANCE

Fans of singing beauty Jewel are worried about her state of mind -- after she attacked fans at a recent bizarre concert in America.
The star astonished gig-goers in Hampton Beach, N.H., when she started behaving oddly between songs and verbally attacking members of the audience.

Web site SeaCoastOnline.com reports, "Witnesses said Jewel went on a tirade of insults from poking fun at fat people to others with no teeth.

"At one point, she asked the audience to yell requests and then told them to 'shut the hell up'."

Other highlights of the concerts came when Jewel urged fans to "stop looking at my teeth and look at my breasts."
 
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
 
On January 19, 2004, Steve Kerr used the term "Chinaman" in referring to Yao Ming during a basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Grand (National) President Saykin Foo sent a letter to Mr. Kerr to express the displeasure of all the members of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance at his use of the derogatory term on national television.

The following letter was sent by Grand President Foo:

January 22, 2004

Mr. Steve Kerr
Turner Sports
One CNN Center
13 South Tower
Atlanta, GA 30303

RE: Remarks about Yao Ming during TNT Broadcast of Memphis vs. Houston on January 19, 2004

Dear Mr. Kerr:
 
 
That kind of gaping hole between the president?s words and the reality in Iraq poses huge political risks for Bush.
 
 
 
Monday, May 24, 2004
 
A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.


A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.


A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.


A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.


A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.


A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.


A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20 ).
 
 
All Emloyees;

On Thursday, May 27th, we will begin the implementation of our new phone system. While every effort is being taken to insure a smooth transition, some downtime of the telephones in our facility is necessary. There are also some changes which will impact us. The following list outlines some of these changes:

Extensions: Some of the internal extensions will be changing. If your extension is in the 3000 range, it will move to the 1000 range. For example, if your current extension is 3001, your new extension will be 1001. If your extension is in the 5200 range, it will move to the 1200 range. For example, 5201 will become 1201. All external numbers will remain the same. There should be no need to order new business cards.

Voicemail: There is no way to transfer existing voicemails over to the new system. At close of business on Thursday, all existing voicemails will be deleted. If you have any voicemails that absolutely must be retained, contact the help desk.

New Phones: Over the next couple of days, new phones will be placed on all desks. Please DO NOT attempt to plug these phones in. An Intertel technician will plug your phone in when the system is ready for it. Plugging a new phone into our existing system will damage the phone, and quite possibly the system itself. Please leave the new phones alone until you are told it is ready to use.

Training: Training for the new phones will be provided on Thursday. There will be at least four training sessions, more information regarding these sessions will be provided in a seperate email.

At close of business on Thursday, the existing phone system will be taken down, and the new system brought online. When you return to work on Friday, your new phone will be in place and fully functional. This new system will provide us with numerous new and enhanced features. In addition, the system will allow us to improve our already excellent customer service offerings. We will do everything in our power to minimize any adverse effects of this major system overhaul.

Thanks in advance for your patience.
 
 
Hello,

I am on day 3 of the 12 hour shifts. Not too much to do, yet morale is pretty high. People are making a fun atmosphere of it. I am laying low and quiet, reviewing the training, surfing the web, listening to music, etc. I am working in Billing for Business customers. It amounts to calling the customers, confirming their orders, the entering the orders in these antiquated software applications. The applications are very hard to use and there are a multitude of cryptic codes to remember. I see an opportunity for these apps to be written and stepped up into the 90's. I envision those huge, mobile home-sized, 1960's computers running these things.

I wish I was at home with my family, but it could be a lot worse. I have friends that are hundreds of miles away from their families. At least I get to home at night.

The number of picketers has steadily declined since Friday, but I expect a large number tomorrow (monday). Their most irritating tactic is walking slowly across the only parking lot entrance/exit as us managers try to arrive/leave. It has been reported that numerous union strikers have been hit by cars as a result of this tactic across the 13 states SBC operates in. There have also been fist fights and numerous verbal assaults.

All in all, it is interesting. However, this could get extremely old if the strike goes on past Monday.
Not sure if you were interested in hearing any of this, but I needed the diversion of writing....

I hope you are well
 
 
At last, a Republican with integrity.
 
Friday, May 21, 2004
 
Dear Straight Dope:

I have searched several music sources and asked numerous individuals for the answer to the following question. Obviously you are my best bet as your book series now occupies the shelves previously held by my Britannica. What the heck does 25 or 6 to 4 mean in the song by Chicago (previously Chicago Transit Authority--everything seems shorter these days)? Any help is appreciated, oh wise Cecil and/or research staff.
--Dennis Wilson, P.E., Omaha

SDSTAFF Songbird replies:

It's always wise to leave such big things in our hands, Dennis.

Big Thing, incidentally, was the band name used by Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Lee Loughnane, Terry Kath and Danny Seraphine when they first got together. After some mild success, they opened for a band called The Exceptions for two weeks. When The Exceptions' bassist (a guy named Peter Cetera) heard the Big Thing's new sound, he took exception to his own band and joined Big Thing.

When the group's sound really began to come together, they changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority and cut an album. Then the real CTA objected to the name, so they shortened it for their second album to the now familiar Chicago.

The song "25 or 6 to 4" appeared on "Chicago II" and was written by organist/vocalist Robert Lamm. The title and lyrics have puzzled many since it appeared in 1970. Some say it's a drug reference, suggesting a unit of measurement involving the quantity of joints that can be rolled from a what-used-to-be dime bag. Some feel it's about looking for spiritual revelation, undergoing a mysterious soul-searching journey.

Perhaps you're too young to recall that in the late '60s and '70s it was a popular parlour game--if not quite an intellectual pursuit--to read hidden messages and double meanings into song lyrics. Many people thought "Hey Jude" was about shooting heroin. Just about everything Bob Dylan wrote went through hours of scrutiny by his fans. Did you ever check into the "Hotel California" by the Eagles? Many of the Rolling Stones songs were supposedly about drugs, though it's hard to ignore the more explicit meanings ("You make a dead man come.") What about "I Am the Walrus," which was supposedly written on an acid trip about Paul McCartney's greatly exaggerated and rumored demise? Goo goo g'joob, baby.

Lamm says it's simpler than that. "The song is about writing a song. It's not mystical," he says. Take a look at some of the lyrics:

Waiting for the break of day--He's been up all night and now it's getting close to sunrise.
Searching for something to say--Trying to think of song lyrics.
Flashing lights against the sky--Perhaps stars or the traditional flashing neon hotel sign.
Giving up I close my eyes--He's exhausted and his eyes hurt from being open too long, so he closes them.
Staring blindly into space--This expression can be seen often on the faces of writers and reporters. Trust me.
Getting up to splash my face--Something you do when you're trying to stay awake, though a good cup of Starbuck's does wonders for Cecil and me.
Wanting just to stay awake, wondering how much I can take--How far can he push himself to get the song done?
Should I try to do some more?--This is the line that makes many think it's a drug song. But it is just as easily construed as a frustrated writer wondering if he should try to do some more lyrics/songwriting.

As for the curious title, Lamm says, "It's just a reference to the time of day"--as in "waiting for the break of day" at 25 or (2)6 minutes to 4 a.m. (3:35 or 3:34 a.m.)

I think we can take Lamm's word for the whole thing. Because, when it's that early in the morning, does anybody really know what time it is?

SDSTAFF Euty comments:

Does anybody really care?

--SDSTAFF Songbird
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
 
 
 
 
Americans see history as a straight line and themselves standing at the cutting edge of it as representatives for all mankind. They believe in the future as if it were a religion; they believe that there is nothing they cannot accomplish, that solutions wait somewhere for all problems, like brides.

--Frances Fitzgerald (b. 1940), U.S. journalist and author
 
Thursday, May 20, 2004
 
Dear Professor,
Regarding your recent purchase from Pond Hobby Ltd., I have encountered a minor difficulty regarding your card number. I would be most grateful if you could contact me at your convenience to confirm the card number. My contact numbers are 086-2959077, 01-8078892 I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,

John Sweeney
Pond Hobby Ltd
 
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
 
The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society

It has long been theorized that the week prior to an exam is an extremely dangerous time for the relatives of college students. Ever since I began my teaching career, I heard vague comments, incomplete references and unfinished remarks, all alluding to the "Dead Grandmother Problem." Few colleagues would ever be explicit in their description of what they knew, but I quickly discovered that anyone who was involved in teaching at the college level would react to any mention of the concept. In my travels I found that a similar phenomenon is known in other countries.
 
 
Giuliani finished his testimony and abruptly left the auditorium minutes later, leaving many family members upset that they received few answers. Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband, Richard, called it a "lost opportunity."
 
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
 
 
Monday, May 17, 2004
 
Al Qaeda is dead. The organization of men whose deadly choreography of planes in the sky murdered 3,000 people on September 11 has been smashed into oblivion. Its leaders have been killed, imprisoned, or hunted into the barren mountains straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Nearly 3,400 of their followers and fighters are either buried, or praying within concrete prisons, and the lands of their training camps have been taken back by provincial warlords. Al Qaeda's funds have been choked and its communication lines tapped.
 
 
Julianne Moore: Howard Stern has always been someone who I've admired for being incredibly outrageous. I really do feel that we have personal responsibility to either turn it on or turn it off. It's not the government's responsibility. We have individual responsibility. I was just talking to someone about how fast food makes them sick. (Yells) Well, you don't have to eat it! We do have some responsibility. You can't expect the world to take care of everything for you. So I don't think the government should be controlling the content of a radio station. We should be able to elect to listen to it or elect not to listen to it. It could be anything next, like literature or movies. The government should not decide these things for us.
 
Saturday, May 15, 2004
 
Arabic Boy and Girl Baby Names
 
 
Black patriotism has always been a matter of balancing the perils of racism with the promise of America. Historically for Black Americans, wartime has been the source of patriotism and pragmatic idealism.
 
 
roue \roo-AY\, noun:

A man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure; a debauchee; a rake.
 
Thursday, May 13, 2004
 
LOOK AT ME NOW
BIGGEST CAR ON THE ROAD

I'M NO. 1
THE HELL WITH TOM JOAD

EVERYBODY'S GETTIN' 'EM
LEBRON DID, TOO

SURE BEATS THE HELL
OUT OF MY ISUZU

BOUGHT A HUMMER
BOUGHT A HUMMER
BOUGHT A HUMMER

'CUZ I COULDN'T GET ONE
 
 
Two bad brothers you know so well.

 
 
To worry about spoiling an infant by comforting him when he cries is needless.... If you put the baby down and the baby cries, pick him up. His crying isn't a habit you should try to break. Your baby can't be taught not to cry.

--Lawrence Balter (20th century), U.S. psychologist and author
 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
 
FYI,

Operation Moonlight - a ?dirty bomb? training exercise will commence shortly in the near vicinity of our corporate office. Local police, fire, hospital and other emergency personnel will participate in Operation Moonlight - a training exercise to ensure adequate response is in place in the event of a radiological event.

Just so you know, it is a TRAINING EVENT only. Your access may be impacted and you may see activity related to this event.

VICE PRESIDENT ? ADMINISTRATION,
LEGAL AFFAIRS & HUMAN RESOURCES
 
 



THE BOY IN THE VIDEO IS NAMED JESSE JAMES HOLLYWOOD.

That is what his birth certificate says. He is close to 20 but could pass for 15. His hair is short and blond. His eyes are blue. He is nearly as small--five feet five, 140 pounds--as most of his friends were in junior high school.

Jesse James Hollywood is drinking a Heineken.

He is smoking weed from a long yellow bong. He is wearing baggy jeans, a baby blue Dodgers cap turned backward, and a T-shirt manufactured by Serial Killer Inc. The shirt has a black-and-white movie frame on the chest, a scene from "Heat," the 1995 L.A. crime saga. It shows Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer making their getaway from a downtown bank heist.

The caption is a single word: MONEY.
 
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 
A second, more damning aspect of Bush's mind-set is that he doesn't want to know anything in detail, however important. Since college, he has spilled with contempt for knowledge, equating learning with snobbery and making a joke of his own anti-intellectualism. ("[William F. Buckley] wrote a book at Yale; I read one," he quipped at a black-tie event.) By O'Neill's account, Bush could sit through an hourlong presentation about the state of the economy without asking a single question. ("I was bored as hell," the president shot back, ostensibly in jest.)

Closely related to this aggressive ignorance is a third feature of Bush's mentality: laziness. Again, this is a lifelong trait. Bush's college grades were mostly Cs (including a 73 in Introduction to the American Political System). At the start of one term, the star of the Yale football team spotted him in the back row during the shopping period for courses. "Hey! George Bush is in this class!" Calvin Hill shouted to his teammates. "This is the one for us!" As governor of Texas, Bush would take a long break in the middle of his short workday for a run followed by a stretch of video golf or computer solitaire.

A fourth and final quality of Bush's mind is that it does not think. The president can't tolerate debate about issues. Offered an option, he makes up his mind quickly and never reconsiders. At an elementary school, a child once asked him whether it was hard to make decisions as president.

"Most of the decisions come pretty easily for me, to be frank with you." By leaping to conclusions based on what he "believes," Bush avoids contemplating even the most obvious basic contradictions: between his policy of tax cuts and reducing the deficit; between his call for a humble foreign policy based on alliances and his unilateral assertion of American power; between his support for in-vitro fertilization (which destroys embryos) and his opposition to fetal stem-cell research (because it destroys embryos).
 
Monday, May 10, 2004
 
The question I am most frequently asked about Bushisms is, "Do you really think the president of the United States is dumb?"

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is yes and no.
 
Saturday, May 08, 2004
 
 
Friday, May 07, 2004
 
"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way that girls like Lynndie are raised.

"Tormenting Iraqis, to their mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey."
 
 
20th Anniversary Grand Finale!

Please join us in the parking lot by the warehouse at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon for a beer bash!! (Thanks Stan!)

Limit 1 beer per person, please.

See you there. . .

____
VICE PRESIDENT • ADMINISTRATION,
LEGAL AFFAIRS & HUMAN RESOURCES
 
Thursday, May 06, 2004
 
This Washington Post editorial has been posted in full because the newspaper makes you register to read it, and God's Lonely Man didn't want you to have to go through that semi-ordeal.


Mr. Rumsfeld's Responsibility
Thursday, May 6, 2004; Page A34

THE HORRIFIC abuses by American interrogators and guards at the Abu Ghraib prison and at other facilities maintained by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan can be traced, in part, to policy decisions and public statements of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Beginning more than two years ago, Mr. Rumsfeld decided to overturn decades of previous practice by the U.S. military in its handling of detainees in foreign countries. His Pentagon ruled that the United States would no longer be bound by the Geneva Conventions; that Army regulations on the interrogation of prisoners would not be observed; and that many detainees would be held incommunicado and without any independent mechanism of review. Abuses will take place in any prison system. But Mr. Rumsfeld's decisions helped create a lawless regime in which prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliated, beaten, tortured and murdered -- and in which, until recently, no one has been held accountable.

The lawlessness began in January 2002 when Mr. Rumsfeld publicly declared that hundreds of people detained by U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan "do not have any rights" under the Geneva Conventions. That was not the case: At a minimum, all those arrested in the war zone were entitled under the conventions to a formal hearing to determine whether they were prisoners of war or unlawful combatants. No such hearings were held, but then Mr. Rumsfeld made clear that U.S. observance of the convention was now optional. Prisoners, he said, would be treated "for the most part" in "a manner that is reasonably consistent" with the conventions -- which, the secretary breezily suggested, was outdated.

In one important respect, Mr. Rumsfeld was correct: Not only could captured al Qaeda members be legitimately deprived of Geneva Convention guarantees (once the required hearing was held) but such treatment was in many cases necessary to obtain vital intelligence and prevent terrorists from communicating with confederates abroad. But if the United States was to resort to that exceptional practice, Mr. Rumsfeld should have established procedures to ensure that it did so without violating international conventions against torture and that only suspects who truly needed such extraordinary handling were treated that way. Outside controls or independent reviews could have provided such safeguards. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld allowed detainees to be indiscriminately designated as beyond the law -- and made humane treatment dependent on the goodwill of U.S. personnel.

Much of what has happened at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay is shrouded in secrecy. But according to an official Army report, a system was established at the camp under which military guards were expected to "set the conditions" for intelligence investigations. The report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba says the system was later introduced at military facilities at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, even though it violates Army regulations forbidding guards to participate in interrogations.

The Taguba report and others by human rights groups reveal that the detention system Mr. Rumsfeld oversees has become so grossly distorted that military police have abused or tortured prisoners under the direction of civilian contractors and intelligence officers outside the military chain of command -- not in "exceptional" cases, as Mr. Rumsfeld said Tuesday, but systematically. Army guards have held "ghost" prisoners detained by the CIA and even hidden these prisoners from the International Red Cross. Meanwhile, Mr. Rumsfeld's contempt for the Geneva Conventions has trickled down: The Taguba report says that guards at Abu Ghraib had not been instructed on them and that no copies were posted in the facility.

The abuses that have done so much harm to the U.S. mission in Iraq might have been prevented had Mr. Rumsfeld been responsive to earlier reports of violations. Instead, he publicly dismissed or minimized such accounts. He and his staff ignored detailed reports by respected human rights groups about criminal activity at U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, and they refused to provide access to facilities or respond to most questions. In December 2002, two Afghan detainees died in events that were ruled homicides by medical officials; only when the New York Times obtained the story did the Pentagon confirm that an investigation was underway, and no results have yet been announced. Not until other media obtained the photos from Abu Ghraib did Mr. Rumsfeld fully acknowledge what had happened, and not until Tuesday did his department disclose that 25 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. Accountability for those deaths has been virtually nonexistent: One soldier was punished with a dishonorable discharge.

On Monday Mr. Rumsfeld's spokesman said that the secretary had not read Mr. Taguba's report, which was completed in early March. Yesterday Mr. Rumsfeld told a television interviewer that he still hadn't finished reading it, and he repeated his view that the Geneva Conventions "did not precisely apply" but were only "basic rules" for handling prisoners. His message remains the same: that the United States need not be bound by international law and that the crimes Mr. Taguba reported are not, for him, a priority. That attitude has undermined the American military's observance of basic human rights and damaged this country's ability to prevail in the war on terrorism.
 
 
1979 NBA Draft, First Round

First Round Player College
1. Los Angeles Lakers Earvin Johnson Michigan State
2. Chicago Bulls David Greenwood UCLA
3. New York Knicks Bill Cartwright San Francisco
4. Detroit Pistons Greg Kelser Michigan State
5. Milwaukee Bucks Sidney Moncrief Arkansas
6. Seattle SuperSonics James Bailey Rutgers
7. Seattle SuperSonics Vinnie Johnson Baylor
8. New Jersey Nets Calvin Natt NE Louisiana
9. New York Knicks Larry Demic Arizona
10. Detroit Pistons Roy Hamilton UCLA
11. New Jersey Nets Cliff Robinson USC
12. Portland Trail Blazers Jim Paxson Dayton
13. Indiana Pacers Dudley Bradley North Carolina
14. Los Angeles Lakers Brad Holland UCLA
15. Detroit Pistons Phil Hubbard Michigan
16. Philadelphia 76ers Jim Spanarkel Duke
17. Houston Rockets Lee Johnson East Texas State
18. Kansas City Kings Reggie King Alabama
19. San Antonio Spurs Wiley Peck Mississippi State
20. Utah Jazz Larry Knight Loyola (Ill.)
21. New York Knicks Sylvester Williams Rhode Island
22. Phoenix Suns Kyle Macy Kentucky
 
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
 
The Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money, documents show.
 
 
embonpoint \ahn-bohn-PWAN\, noun:

Plumpness of person; stoutness.
 
 
TV 'Wild Boyz' Check into Emergency after Ant Attack

TV daredevils Steve-O and Chris Pontius scored a first during a recent trip to Brazil's rain forests - they needed medical treatment after getting stung by red ants. The wacky former Jackass stars filmed one episode of their hit Wild Boyz show deep in a Brazilian rainforest, where they met an indigenous tribe - and took part in a rite of passage ceremony.

The ceremony included putting their right hands in a wooden glove, full of angry ants. The oddball pair needed emergency medical treatment after their hands tingled and swelled after coming into contact with the poisonous insects.

Steve-O says, "It was a first - the first time we'd needed medical help. We had to have injections in the a**."

During the meeting with the indigenous tribesmen, the wacky pranksters also drank a potent fruit punch, which was fermented in the ground after local women had chewed fruit into a mulch. Also while they were in Brazil, Steve-O was bitten by a red tailed boa; both men were shocked by a six-foot electric eel, and they placed an 'anacondom' over an anaconda's head.
 
Monday, May 03, 2004
 
This just in from The Onion:

Bush To Iraqi Militants: 'Please Stop Bringing It On'

WASHINGTON, DC - In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces.

"Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now," Bush said at a Monday press conference. "Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y'all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back."

The president added that the "it" Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.
 
 
Oil hasn't cost this much since the first Bush was president.
 
 
I regret to report that four items of personal employee property were stolen last week from several of our fellow employees here at the ____ location; these items were electronic devices of significant value. In the event you borrowed one of these items from a fellow employee without letting them know, please return immediately.

Unfortunately, we will have to request that you do not leave your personal items of value on company premises unless they are locked away for safeguarding. If you must leave a personal item overnight and have no locked space available to you, please see me.

An obvious reminder - stealing anything, even as small as a lunch, is absolute grounds for termination.


____
VICE PRESIDENT ? ADMINISTRATION,
LEGAL AFFAIRS & HUMAN RESOURCES
 
Sunday, May 02, 2004
 
The words from the father to the son: Violence is failure.

All those years ago, the pretty boy talked about how we here in California were afraid to merge, and he’s still right all these non-pretty years later. You remember the cocaine sun, don’t you? Get over to the right away.

Violence is a failure, he tells the son, but it is universal, no like no other tongue humans wag. It may have dialects, but it is as unmistakable in Castilian Spanish as it is in Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes, he tells his boy, it’s the only thing people understand, better than the own thoughts in their own heads.

But never forget that it is failure.

Like a business organization that says it is a diverse employer but is not truly.

Were the company you work for diverse, it would exhibit diversity all levels; foster diversity in formal and informal ways throughout the organization; and uncover and root out bias and discriminatory practices.

It does none of these, so it cannot truly call itself diverse.

You put on that old Red Sox t-shirt and sit down to strum out a few chords, No. 5 fading to pink on the back of the gray shirt. GARCIAPARRA, it says, the name beautiful and unique and pleasing to pronounce. You say it out loud while wondering if he is still on the team. GARCIAPARRA.

The chord you start with is an F sharp, right there at the second fret, and you knot your fingers into a passable barre chord. The first time you picked up a guitar to learn how to play and every time since, the same person has entered your mind. An Englishman born in Turkey who called himself Strummer. The balls of that, you think, picking up a guitar and calling yourself Strummer.

He is in your mind as you hold the F sharp. That is your environment.

Something is in F sharp, and you realize it’s that Tracy Chapman blues. You start it, thinking of Tracy and Strummer, about what the man tells his son about the violence.

It’s like what you imagine the top of a skiing course – what do they call them, runs? – to be, though you’ve never skied and wouldn’t like to.

The chord and Tracy’s blues take you away.

Like Strummer, you have taken up arms against the violence.
 
Formerly GOD'S LONELY MAN

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