Friday, September 3, 2010


It started on May 11, 1894, when around 3,000 union workers started a wildcat strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company in Pullman, Illinois. Traffic west of Chicago quickly ground to a halt. By the time the strike ended two months later, it had grown nationwide, involved more than two dozen states and around a quarter of a million unionists. Violence, threats of violence, about a dozen deaths, and more than a third of a million dollars in damage (which, adjusted for 2010 dollars would be almost $9 Million today), as well as having ignored court injunctions and interfered with U.S. Mail delivery, forced the hand of President Grover Cleveland to intervene. He sent in U.S. Marshalls and thousands of army troops to put down the strike.

Because of the intense conflict, and seeking to soothe the wounds of the unionists involved, the Congress passed legislation declaring a national Labor Day holiday, signed by Cleveland, within a week of the strike’s end.

Even though the power and influence of labor unions has significantly waned since its heyday, it remains a celebration of labor by many, but mostly a celebration of the “end” of summer.

Now you know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I can’t tell you the number of conversations I have overheard (or surreptitiously eavesdropped upon) where one of the people, obviously not paying close enough attention to the context, will drop an absolutely unrelated and irrelevant comment into the middle of everything.

In a conversation among five women, what started out as excitement about a sale at Payless Shoes, migrated into a wishful discussion about high-end shoes. At one point, one of the women said, “I’m overdue for some Louboutins, if you know what I mean.” To which another women responded, “I know. I’ve been telling my husband for over a month that we need a lube and oil change.” Followed by silence and stares.

I know that Louboutin is typically pronounced lube-it-on, but there should never be confusion between a thousand dollar pair of French shoes and a twenty dollar oil change, no matter how little you were paying attention. As my wife would say, “You need to sprinkle a little relevancy dust on that one, honey.”

And to give fair exposure to the hairier sex, I was at my mechanic’s waiting for my Escort to get struts replaced, when their conversation turned to the neighborhood’s favorite fish fry. One of the guy’s said, “I am so looking forward to perch tomorrow night.” One of the other guys responded, “Really? You go to church Friday nights? That’s just weird.” Followed by silence and stares, then an eruption of laughter.

So here’s a bit of advice to those who stop paying attention to conversations. Before you open your mouth to comment, be sure to begin paying attention for a bit before you speak. It may save you the embarrassment of hearing, “You need to sprinkle a little relevancy dust on that one, honey.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


“Answering the following questions will determine your eligibility for hire.”

It was a rather intimidating statement. Answer them right, and you’re eligible to be hired. Answer them wrong, and it’s bye-bye applicant.

Question 1: Who has the right of way?

A) Bus Drivers courteously yield the right of way.

B) Bus Drivers always have the right of way.

C) What the heck is right of way.

D) Who cares.

Question 2: Do you understand the term, traffic flow?

A) Yes, and I try to match it whenever it is safe to do so.

B) Yes, but Bus Drivers don’t have to pay any attention to it.

C) Traffic flow, schmaffic flow.

D) Who cares.

Question 3: How often should you be considerate of other drivers?

A) Bus Drivers should always be considerate of other drivers and pedestrians.

B) Bus Drivers are not required to be considerate of other drivers and pedestrians.

C) Too many syllables in the word, considerate.

D) Who cares.

Question 4: What do the lines on streets mean?

A) Designation of lanes of traffic and walkways.

B) Bus Drivers don’t need to color within the lines.

C) There are lines on the streets?

D) Who cares.

Question 5: Should Bus Drivers wait for passengers running to catch the bus?

A) Absolutely. A few more seconds waiting won’t matter and the passenger will really appreciate it.

B) Never. When a Bus Driver’s gotta go, he or she has gotta go.

C) Running is good for people and they should do more of it.

D) Who cares.

Based upon the driving behavior of way too many bus drivers, any answer other than “A” would apparently make them eligible for hire.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


“You MUST respond to this for your own good.” That’s what was on the subject line of the ominous sounding email. And it was from the FBI Director. No, not J. Edgar. The current Director, Robert F. Mueller, III. Oh yeah, and it was in my spam folder.

Now the really sad part of this email, is that there are people who, unfortunately, respond to it. “After all,” they say, “you can’t ignore the FBI, can you?.”

So consider this a friendly public service announcement.


And here’s a few tips on how to tell if it’s real.

Number One. If your email provider has already thrown it in your spam folder, it’s not real. IT’S SPAM, get it? (I mean, not the real Spam®, of which I am a huge fan. Because if it was the real Spam® I would be all up and in its face. No wait, reverse that. It would be all up and in my face.) To repeat, if it’s already in your spam folder, leave it alone. It’s not real.

Number Two. It’s from the FBI Director, Robert F. Mueller, III. Close, but no cigar. The real name of the real FBI Director is Robert S. Mueller, III. I know. “F” can sound like “S” but in an email, believe me, the FBI Director is not going to misspell his own name.

Number Three. It’s from the FBI Director. Even if it says it’s from Robert S. Mueller, it’s not really from him. Seriously, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not going to send you a personal email, unless you know him personally. And then, he’s probably going to indicate it’s from Bob, or Robby, or Swan (which is what the middle initial “S” stands), or Mr. Froo Froo, or whatever personal name you know him as.

Number Four. “You MUST respond to this for your own good.” Wow. I’m so glad that was in the subject line. I wasn’t going to fall for that FBI Director thing, but when the subject line said I “MUST” respond, and it was in all caps, well, if it was a bad email they wouldn’t say that, would they? OF COURSE THEY WOULD! What do you expect the bad people to say, “Virus Enclosed,” or “Phishing attempt,” or “From bad people hoping to do you or your computer harm”?

To recount – if it’s from the FBI, it’s not from the FBI.

P.S. You MUST comment on this posting for your own good.

Monday, August 30, 2010



If you chuckled, it must be Monday Morning.