OK, so recently we were in Miami and we went to a coffee shop/restaurant for lunch.* This was a tiny place with tables and a counter with baristas, a stove, espresso machine and a cook all packed in tight behind it, everyone working ass-to-elbows. It was clean and the food was good, but Miami is full of good restaurants so competition has got to be fierce and margins are probably pretty thin. It was lunchtime but the place was half empty. Hopefully they do better on a week day when the people who work in the area want a bite for lunch.
I work for a company that I will refer to as ‘Levy Pants Company’ (a very clever reference on my part to Peter O’Toole’s ‘Confederacy of Dunces’). We have a relationship with a vendor of communications services that I will call ‘Acme Communications.’ Acme’s billing is so notoriously full of errors and overcharges that ‘Levy Pants’ employs a ‘billing negotiation company’ I shall call ‘Clawback Enterprises’ to negotiate our bills for us. As far as I understand the process, in Acme’s billing agreements, Acme specifies that it is dependent upon the customer (Levy Pants) to determine whether or not the bill is accurate… which is where ‘Clawback’ comes in. ‘Clawback’ uses billing specialists (most are former employees of companies like Acme) to look through the bills and dispute errors unfavorable to Levy Pants. Every over-charge that is successfully dismissed nets Clawback about a third of what Levy Pants would have otherwise overpaid. Acme’s usual strategy to fight Clawback is to simply ignore requests for disputes and to continually send incorrect invoices in hopes that Levy Pants pays them… where they land on my desk and I immediately forward them to my associate at Clawback whom I will call ‘Laura.’
Put another way, Acme Communication’s bills are so notoriously filled with overcharges that companies like Clawback exist just to dispute them. This is insanity worthy of Twain or Swift… but overbilling may well be a growth source of revenue for Acme ‘cause they just keep doing it.
Periodically, I find myself in a three way conference call with representatives from Acme and Clawback. During these conference calls, I’m usually just trying to puzzle my way through the massive spreadsheets that Laura from Clawback has emailed to me about how fucked up the bills from Acme are that week and while they talk I try to figure out what the shizzle the Acme and Clawback people are arguing about.
|Nothing personal; it’s just business.|
A teacher at a school for girls in London apparently wanted to teach her students about economics, business, history and the slave trade all in one lesson, so she asked the students to put their thinking caps on to create a business plan for importing slaves from Africa in the most profitable manner possible. As far as the assignment goes, everything was on the table… fucking over your suppliers by using violence, bribes or alcohol was OK, torture was on the menu (and they got down to specifics — whips, manacles, thumbscrews, etc., and here I though all those English Girl’s School stories were a product of the pornographer’s whimsy), and, best of all, one of the benefits was fucking your merchandise (yes, having sex with slaves) in order to breed ‘mixed race’ slave business employees who would handle the human flesh business overseas while your white offspring enjoyed snuff, claret and harpsichord music back on the estate in jolly old England.
The head of the school issued an apology: “On behalf of the school, I apologise unreservedly for the distress and anguish caused to [the student] and to her mother, as well as to you and others in your community who this material may have been shared with. Now I have had the opportunity to view the Powerpoint in its’ entirety, I share your concerns“.
WTF, England? The perfect bookend for this little tale would be for some teacher in Germany to casually suggest to the students that they come up with a ‘business plan’ for the occupation of Poland.
Tea Party congressman Jim DeMint (R-SC) has apparently bailed on serving the people of the great state of South Carolina in order to take over as president of “The Heritage Foundation.” DeMint served only 2 years as a congress member before accepting what is apparently a very cushy gig as a non-elected member of a political ‘think’ tank.
As a principled opponent of “big guvvernment” and leading light of the Tea Party, I wonder if Jim ‘The Freshmaker’ DeMint will refuse the lifetime healthcare that members of congress have elected to give themselves? Or, like most congress members, is he only against funded government healthcare when it is for anyone other than members of congress?
|“These hands have never done an honest days work… my palms are as soft and supple as a baby’s bottom!”|
A friend of mine owns a business where they rent furnished apartments to the well heeled traveling executive who needs a place to stay for extended periods. They have a crew that cleans the places out after a guest leaves, this group of male executives and high rollers leave behind a surprisingly large number of sex toys. If my friend rented apartments to porn stars or sex therapists, I guess finding sex toys would seem less surprising (at least to me).
Maybe the dildos and penis pumps are left behind by call girls? Maybe these middle aged dudes end up in a city and think to themselves, “I’ve always wanted to stick a dildo in my butt without my family judging me… here is my chance…”? I don’t know. Some of them are still in the package, meaning, I suppose, that they are still ‘perfectly good.’
What is a ‘penis pump’ for, anyway? As a species, have we grown so lazy that masturbating ‘by hand’ is too much work and we want a machine to do it for us? Or does the pump really permanently increase the size of the organ? Or does it just help the man who cannot rise to the occasion seal the deal with the call girl?
Nasa officials recently offered up the cheerful news that the world really isn’t going to end on December 21st, 2012, as supposedly predicted by the Mayans and their impressive stone calendars. Someone once told me that the fact that the Mayan calendars ended on the day we describe as December 21, 2012 was of no significance; it just meant that by the time the Spanish arrived and started killing them, that was as far in the future as the Mayans had bothered to calculate time… although part of me likes the idea of some ancient Mayan calendar carver, dying of whooping cough, thinking to himself, “The joke’s on you, Spaniards — according to this calendar I just finished, in about four hundred and twelve years from now you guys are FUCKED!”
Of course, the skeptic in me thinks that if the Mayans had the power to predict the end of the world more than 400 years in the future, they also would have had the power to prevent a bunch of unwashed Spaniards with fancy hats to destroy their civilization.
Q’uq’umatz is apparently the Mayan feathered serpent god whom some claim is much like the Aztec god, Quezcoatl (and others say that Q’uq’umatz is nothing like Quezcoatl — me, I don’t have an opinion because I don’t know). Quezcoatl is cool because they also call him, “The Smoking Mirror” which is an excellent name. I chose Q’uq’umatz’s name from a list because I was wondering how you pronounce it. “Kwu-kwu mats? Ku-uk-oo-matz? Kwuck-oo-matz?”
Note to self: Never agree to join any Mayan sport team. If I understand it correctly, the winners usually eat the losers and my softball skills are so woefully poor that I am more likely to find myself among the eaten rather than the eaters.
I’m listening, right now, to a radio story about some guy who makes balloon animals for a living. I think most of his money comes from writing books and making instructional videos that teach other people how to make balloon animals rather than getting paid for making the balloon animals themselves. In his heart of hearts, he really wishes he could make a go of it as a musician playing classical guitar… but, somehow, the balloon animals he started off making ‘just to get by’ while he worked on his real ‘art’ (music) became his full time job and the music is what he now what he looks forward to once he gets done selling his balloon animal videos.
While listening to the balloon animal artist complain about how his former artist and musician friends started treating him as a ‘sell out’ once his balloon animals led to his being able to afford a car, a house, a wife, a family, etc., was both comical and sad, I thought about other small ponds. It seems the smaller the pond, the more bitterly the few fish fight over being the master of it.
The bit done by David Sedaris about life as a performance artist that follows it is also well worth a listen.
On an only tangentially related issue, the reviewer Holland Carter, in writing about the death of the famous artist Mike Kelley, that Kelley was, “…one of the most influential American artists of the past quarter century and a pungent commentator on American class, popular culture and youthful rebellion.” I underlined the word ‘pungent’ because I think it’s just hilarious.
How is it possible that this slipped under my radar for so long?
UT Student and Phi-Kappa-Alpha brother Alexander “Zander” Broughton denies butt-chugging. Apparently, at some point “Zander” was hospitalized for extreme alcohol poisoning and the whole PKA frat was placed under suspension for this (and possibly other) alcohol related incident(s). Somehow the rumor started that “Zander” had been ‘butt-chugging.’ ‘Butt-chugging’ is when you take alcohol and, instead of drinking it, you put it up your butt… I’m guessing butt chuggers use an enema bag or something. It apparently gets you really fucked up really quickly… maybe butt-chugging is for busy multi-taskers who don’t have time to stand around drinking through your mouth anymore like they did in Grandpa’s day.
The best part of the video is where all the dudes are standing around looking serious as ‘Zander’ and the Fraternity’s lawyer sternly deny butt-chugging several times. ‘Zander’ wants to make it clear that he is NOT GAY… because, I guess, that’s the first question that he thinks should come to mind… and wants to clear his good name — he is not a butt-chugger and he wants those who have called him a butt-chugger to pay the legal consequences for damage to his reputation and the reputation of his fraternity. He wants us to know that the alcohol poisoning that landed him in the hospital was the result of him drinking a whole box of Franzia box wine through his mouth… not by using a hose to put it up his butt. Franzia? Nice choice of beverage, by the way. How the whole topic of butt-chugging came up when ‘Zander’ (or is it ‘Xander?’) landed in the ER is discussed at length in the video.
“Butt-chugging” has a long history. The pre-Columbian Mayans were notorious butt-chuggers, as this ancient statue proves:
Look at that Mayan; he is so happy to be butt-chugging!
Life is full of disappointments. This morning I was running late and just grabbed something from the freezer for lunch. Trader Joe’s Filet of Sole. Compare the picture on the box to what I got. After I cooked it, it looked even worse.
Son of a bitch, Joe! You really let me down!
|I work for The Levy Pants Co.|
Today, the phone company turned off the DSL service at one of the facilities that the company I work for owns because of non-payment of the bill. The phone company never sent a bill to our office and I can’t find out where the bills have been going until I get access to the account. We have never seen a bill and I didn’t even know that there was DSL service at this facility until they turned it off and all these devices in the warehouse suddenly do not work. In order to get the service turned back on, I need to get someone to pay the bill. The woman in the accounts payable department of my company can’t pay a bill she does not have (which makes sense to me). The phone company will not let me request a copy of the bill unless I know the account number and the super-secret PIN number which is printed on the bill. In other words, in order to get a copy of the bill I need to know information which is printed on the bill.