Monday, March 28, 2005

I have come to certain conclusions about the average consumer , based on my daily contact with them at work. One such conclusion is that there are a lot of people with too much time on their hands. Another is that many of these people have their local food store on speed dial. My assumption is based on the fact that if people had to look up our phone number in order to call and ask the questions they ask, it wouldn't be worth the effort. These are actual conversations I have had.

Caller: I have a question. I always buy ABC bottled water in your store and it's always 2 for a dollar.
Me: (notice that's NOT a question) Okay
Caller: Today I bought it and it was 59 cents a bottle.
Me:( still waiting for the question) Okay.
Caller: Can you tell me, did the price go up?
Wait, wait. Let me ponder that for a minute. Fifty cents to fifty-nine cents, and did the price go up? Yes that is a stumper.
Me: I'm going to put you on hold while I check into that.
Of course I put him on hold, waited on someone who was annoyed that I answered the phone and then got back on.
Me: Yes sir, the price DID go up.
Caller: Thank you.
Caller: Do you sell postage stamps at your store?
Me: Yes we do.
Caller: Can I mail a package from there?
Me: No
Caller: Well, where CAN I do that?
Me: The Post Office?
Caller: Do you know how much they charge?
Me: No I don't.
Caller: Well, do you have their number? (Obviously the Post Office is NOT on speed dial)
Me: No
Caller: You're not really much help are you?
This is probably my favorite ever.

Caller: This is Shenisha
Me: Can I help you?
Caller: Yeah- I work at the Dollar Store next to you and I'm calling out.
Me: Why don't you call there?
Caller: I don't know the number.

I don't know if they missed Shenisha at the Dollar STore that day. THey were probably better off without her.

Friday, March 25, 2005
  A Little Humor

This article in Slate Magazine puts on humorous spin on something that would be funny, if it wasn't true.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  It's a holiday !

Sorry for the late notice, but today is National Goof Off Day. As you can see I started celebrating early. Just so you can plan ahead, March 27th is National Joe Day, and March 30th is I AM In Control Day. Okay. back to the goofing -off.

Monday, March 21, 2005
  Gimme an "S", Gimme An "E", Gimme an "X"

And whataya got? In Texas you may have an infraction of the Cheerleading Law, if Texas house representative Al Edwards (D-houston) gets his bill passed. Mr. Edwards has witnessed several cheerleading routines that he considers "sexually suggestive". Where oh where, in Texas, would cheerleaders get the idea they should be sexy. Wait, wait. Let me think.
Anyway, is this something that needs to be government regulated? And who gets to decide what is to suggestive? And how would the offensive squad be penalized? Funding for the entire district would be reduced "in an amount to be determined by the education commissioner." Right . Got it. In an effort to raise the moral standard bar for our youth, we kick Math and English in the teeth.
Is this what the Texas legislature is spending time and effort on? Wow, life must be good in Texas if this is the hot topic. Jobs, health care, state and city services must all be topnotch!
We raised 2 cheerleaders. Their outfits and their routines were not particularly "sexually suggestive". But they were athletic. Unless you are up close and personal with an actual spirit booster you probably have no idea the amount of time and physical effort that is put into practice. And these cheerleaders, and their teammates were the kids who had school spirit. They participated in school activities. They maintained good grades. They committed to something and they stuck to it. The kids that need to be "legislated" are the ones skipping school, doing drugs and carrying weapons.
Mr. Edwards, if you find your local high school to be guilty of poor judgement in the way they allow students to represent them, then talk to the coaches, and the teachers , and the parents. Wouldn't it be better to encourage and reward examples of excellence, rather than to punish those you feel don't meet your standards?

Sunday, March 20, 2005
  Maxwell's Silver Hammer

This morning I read a fun post on Kimbofo. Abbey Road studios, in London, has opened it's doors to the public for the first time. The studio has been temporarily converted into a theater to show movies that had their scores recorded there. Lucky Kimbofo was at opening night. I'll let her tell you about it here. She raises an interesting notion that there must be MILLIONS (her estimation) of photos out there of people striding through the crosswalk in front of the studio, emulating the famous cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road album. To test the theory I went to Flckr and searched for Abbey Road. I found a few. Then I searched Yahoo, and got these. And a Google search yielded these. I think she may be right!

Monday, March 14, 2005
  Oh-Oh Say, What?

March 10th was the official kickoff of a campaign to teach Americans their National Anthem. This is in response to Harris Poll findings that 2 out of 3 Americans don't know all of the words to The Star Spangled Banner, or,the history of the song. All of the articles I have read refer to the poll as "recent" although the articles themselves date back as far as May 2004. I looked at the Harris Poll site on line but didn't see the poll listed. Not exactly extensive research on my part. But I am curious as to how the results broke down by age groups, geographical area, ethnic background and other criteria.
If these statistics are accurate it is truly appalling. It seems that the situation has been brought to the forefront by MENC, the National Association for Music Education . They have wisely pounced on these pitiful statistics as a way to lobby public support for art and music in schools. I don't actually remember learning the Star Spangled Banner, but I imagine it was taught in school. I do remember that we started every day with the Pledge of Allegiance, said standing beside our desks, hands over hearts, eyes on the flag. And every weekly assembly included singing the National Anthem. Do they still do that in school or have we litigated that out entirely? I'm not sure.
So by all means, lets teach all Americans the words. While we are at it, lets see if we can teach them to feel proud when they stand up to sing.
Here are a some teaching methods the MENC may or may not have considered.

Have the cast of "Survivor" sing the National Anthem before every vote.

Have a VH1! "Where Are THey Now" about Francis Scott Key.

Play it during the FBI warning on DVDs.

Make it one of Oprah's Favorite Picks.

Make it a Downloadable cell phone ring.

Assign THe National Anthem Project a color of cheap plastic bracelet to sell for 2 bucks a pop.

Require all of the American Idol Finalists to sing it in a competition.

  Isn't every day?

Happy National Potato Chip Day!. I plan on celebrating. How about you? If Chips aren't your choice, check out this site to see when we pay homage to your favorite food.

  This just in.......

rhys 12 weeks
Originally uploaded by foster photos.
Dateline: March 13th 2005-Sagamihara Japan-- breaking news... The child seen here, known in the Sarcas-house as 'The Cutie Patootie "has conquered rolling over from his back to his belly ! At the tender age of 12 weeks! This report comes from a reliable source( his mother) in Sagamihara. We are told there is video to follow.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Years ago, a supervisor complimented me on an idea I had implemented at work. I fessed up that it wasn't an original thought, but one I had seen in practice elsewhere. He told me that a good manager knows which ideas to "appropriate' and which ones to pass on. I mention this because I am about to pass along not one, but 2 websites I came across on Randomblings from Rich. Since I "appropriated" another of his suggestions a few posts back I am afraid he will think I am stalking him.
First is Wikipedia. I am fascinated by this concept. Anyone can contribute an article to this online encyclopedia. And anyone can edit the articles. It's is a constant work in progress.
Secondly, check out The Global Rich List and see where you fall in the rankings of the world's wealthiest people. I bet you will fare better than you think.

Saturday, March 12, 2005
  Schoolhouse Hip-Hop

The day you take the SAT test is one of those experiences forever etched into your memory. The mere mention of that capitalized acronym invokes images of new number 2 pencils sharpened to armour piercing points. Word analogies run unbidden through your mind. (cohesive is to united as efficient is to_______ ), and math formulae can be repeated like a mantra.
When today's test takers turn their papers over they will be the first sitting for the new version of the SAT which includes a written essay portion. Test preparation specialists have developed this CD to help students with their vocabulary. Listen to some tracks here.
It's not exactly Conjunction Junction.

Thursday, March 10, 2005
  Batteries Included

Easter is early this year. In order for the Easter Bunny to visit our Grandson on the other side of the world I had to get our gifts bought, packed and mailed several weeks in advance. Included in our purchases was an item from the Leap Frog line of toys. It is an interactive toy, suitable for his age. The packaging is large and colorful,and therefore, a challenge to mail. The actual toy can be folded up when not in use, so I removed it from the box and did just that, tucking the enclosed instructions in the toy for his parents. This , along with a few other things went into an Easter themed gift bag that I filled with Easter basket Grass and adorned with ribbons. I looked through my stockpile of boxes I hoard for mailing things to the Sarcas-kids, but I didn't have one that would accommodate the bag along with other things I needed to include. No problem. The post office sells boxes and as I was eager to get the Easter package on it's way I decided to go that route. THe plan was to stop at the Post Office on my was to work. They open at 8am. From experience I know that when the doors open there is a small line of eager beavers, but if you get there five minutes later they are usually gone and you can get in and out quickly. As long as I am out by 8:30 I can get to work on time.
So off I go the next morning. Not only do I have my package, but being the veteran mailer I am, I have my address labels written out , my customs declaration form filled out , and even my own roll of packing tape. I get to the counter a 8:08. I have been there so often I am on a first name basis with the clerk on duty. She gives me the box and we chat as I am packing it up on table off to the side. As we are chatting, the door opens and in comes a guy with a hand truck loaded with a couple of dozen boxes to be weighed and mailed. "trust, me. You want to beat this guy back to the counter" says the one and only clerk working said counter. I speed it up and do just that. The clerk weighs and and stamps and puts even more tape on my box. I pay the freight and as she wishes me a good day she moves my box to the side and out of her way. And, we heard music. Very faint, but unmistakably, coming from inside the box. She glared at me. "Didn't you take out the batteries?" Batteries? I didn't even think about it. What comes WITH batteries included these days? We waited a bit but apparently the music wasn't going to stop on it's own. "You gotta fix that " she said."That will drive somebody nuts"
I took the box back to the table. Getting the tape off neatly was a challenge. The postage had already been applied and some of the tape the clerk applied went over top of that so I couldn't remove it. The customs form had been scanned in and applied so that couldn't be damaged. In the end the best I could do was to open the flaps on one side enough to get one hand in. Then I blindly rooted around til I felt the toy. Apparently something else in the bag was pressing on it, and had hit the on button. I managed to slide the toy out of the Easter bag and the music stopped. I think I may have ripped the Easter Bag. So much for the carefully arranged, bag, the pretty ribbons, the neatly packed box and for being prepared.
I am anxiously awaiting word that the box got to it's intended destination unscathed. I have a mental picture of the music starting to play and some anxious postal clerk throwing it in a bucket of water and calling the bomb squad.

Monday, March 07, 2005

As you can plainly see, I haven't had anything to blog about lately. The reservoir of pent up thought seems to be dry. It's not the first time I have experienced this. In the past I would panic a bit, wondering if I was ever going to be struck by the blogging muse again. My experience so far has been that the desire to expound does return, usually producing so many ideas I can't type fast enough. So I'm waiting. Patiently. Any time now blogging muse.
I have been aware that I have been dreaming a lot since I haven't been blogging. Not about anything remarkable. What I remember I can attribute to daily occurrences. So I wonder if there is a connection. Am I not blogging because I am dreaming. Or vica-versa?

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