Friday, July 31, 2009

Don't Make Me Madder!

Peeps, I guess I didn't realize how much cheating behavior has been stressing me out and making me just rebel and say NO to everything. Crap, I realized it this morning when the FFM made his daily wake-up call and I got all pissy because he has YogaX scheduled for his workout today, and I have been missing a regular workout and YogaX in particular, and I was just edgy about it, like dammit, I am being cheated again!

In fact, I am posting NOW mostly because, despite that I have paperwork to do, someone has been messing with the wireless here and my access keeps being dropped. And I know it's someone messing because I had to defrag Scutabaga last night at bedtime because he'd slowed down a lot in a little time, and I was having the scanty access, and a similar named wireless network kept popping up when I had to reconnect, trying to tempt me away from the real deal.

All I can say is he (note how I assume it's a guy? Well, the President of the University of Wyoming is a guy, Dick Cheney is a guy, Karl Rove is a guy... see where I'm going with this? I'm sure there are plenty of female cheaters out there- Martha Stewart, the poster child being the first who comes to mind, but it doesn't matter male or female, there are enough jerks out there who are self-centered, self-serving and just plain mean...)

I better sign off before I get dropped again. I just went to the lobby to purchase yet another internet card, and you know me: I want my money's worth.

So, I will be getting a later start than anticipated because I have stuff to wrap up, probably closer to 10, and FFM, in case I get dropped and can't e-mail you, if I am not home when you are ready to go party, don't feel like you have to wait for me. I will come find you all.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So, Karl Rove...

If I were to buy a baseball bat and hand it to someone I knew didn't like you and also had gang connections and would maybe hand the baseball bat to a gang member who didn't give a crap if he beat hell out of you, and you got hell beat out of you and traced the bat back to me, and I said, "Oh, gee, I had a lot on my plate the day I bought that bat and gave it away... I can barely remember to whom I gave that bat... I only played a peripheral role in you getting the crap kicked out of you with a baseball bat," WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little Travelrama

OK, peeps, I am now somewhat ensconced (with the door open because the windows won't) in my uber modern Motel 6 room in Jackson, the town that has already proved to me to be the pretentious mountain town I had always envisioned. Really, who goes to the mountains to visit a goddam bistro? You go to the mountains to drink strong coffee and smell the flowers, not the prosciutto- don't you? Not if you are chichioua enough to vacation in places like this. Or, rather, have second or third homes here. I've run into Asian and German tourists already who are cheaping it and probably don't give two craps about a bistro because they have to eat little wedgie sandwiches and drink 6 dollar coffees at home.

It was a long drive today; after 7 hours doing inspections, another 4 from Powell to Jackson, via Yellowstone and Teton National Parks- toooooo bad, right? Perfect time and weather for driving, and it's so much easier to deal with construction when sitting in the middle of a national park with a view. (That construction is your recovery dollars at work, btw.)

So, the Domino's lady just dropped off my latest meal: chicken carbonara pasta bread bowl, ordered without the bread, but arriving with it anyway, and a garden salad. On this trip I have had little time to eat real food. Actually, the closest I've got is a can of pork and beans I picked up at a Maverik Sunday night. But let me tell you, there are some places and foods I can tell you to avoid, and some I can assure you are worth a try, in the convenience- fast food realm.

First, this carbonara (despite the bread bowl) easily rivals a carbonara offered at any regular Italian restaurant I've ever visited. And the garden salad is, amazingly, fresh. And no, I am not one of those mommy bloggers I heard about on NPR a couple days ago. I am working; I get reimbursed for a certain dollar amount of food; I am working the kind of job that doesn't allow sitting down for a homecooked meal for a few days, and I am going to rave about how great Domino's is, without the company having offered me anything free! Yay, Domino's!

(By the way, that whole "workers tamper with the chow" thing on YouTube... Do you think Domino's is the only place that's ever happened? Crap, I know a guy who worked at Wendy's, where all the kids would just pick up food when it dropped on the floor and toss it back in the container for which it was meant. And the Plymouth crew will readily recall the cigarette butt Lis found in her - fresh- fried rice years ago.)

On the other hand, Pizza Hut for sure is on the way out. I mean, it has to be. I can regale you later with the details, but I want to keep this a Positive Post. So, before I retire to my e-mail, where apparently there is some cryptic message from mi cunada awaiting, and then move to Lexulous before I sleep- woe unto you, competitors, when the semester begins and concentrating on a Lexulous game becomes a part of my repertoire again. Enjoy your victories now, for they will soon fade away!-...

The new Angus Burger at McD's, the Totally Complete Angus Burger Specialty, or whatever they call it: way worth the money. Oh yow!

That is all for now- except to say: Rold Gold Pretzels are the perfect road snack. Always have been, always will be. Mmm, Mmm, like crunchy butter.

G'night, all, and thanks for stopping by every however often you do.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Hey, all. If you go to this link:
you will find, as you scroll down, a one-question survey about opening the Geological Museum again. Right now, those who think the university administration's plan to reopen (as a result of public outcry over the closing) are slightly ahead (44% vs. 38%) of those of us who know that a museum open part-time with a custodial security guard does not fulfill the definition of an educationally and scientifically relevant institution.

Peeps, the Control Freak and his Stoolies have decided to reopen the museum with some magically produced private funds that apparently the Money Man pulled out of his arse for the purpose (and was highly lauded for his generosity, when the rest of us would probably not even be thanked for doing our jobs if that's what we were doing, was just our jobs.) Anyway, you're smart, or you wouldn't be here, on this blog. So, please take something like 23 seconds to click on that link, scroll down, and click on the first circle: Yes, it needs to be open all the time. (We can flesh out the details with the Powers That Be over what that "open all the time" entails, later on. First we need to make them listen to the people who pay their fat salaries.

Thanks a lot!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Public Interest

Everyone, I am so swamped getting ready for this road trip for the Sting Chauffeur Ops that I haven't time to sit and think and post. Mi hermano sent me this post from my future Veep Nickie, which some of you might like to know:

Facebook has agreed to let a 3rd party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission. Click on SETTINGS up at the top where you see the log out link. Select PRIVACY. Then select NEWS FEEDS AND WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes. (Please RE-POST THIS to let others know!)

Tomas says check it out further to be sure this isn't doomcrying, but he's been reading stuff in Wired that's a little scary, Crap, I barely finished the May issue a couple weeks ago, and it's almost August!

Have a good weekend. I will check in next week with fun and excitement and ranting politics, depending on how much time the job sucks up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maximum Exposure

Peeps, we have a perfect example here of dirty politics in academia. Yeah, I know it; you don't have to tell me, as the FFM and whomever else has reminded me, that this crap happens everywhere.

Answer me this: Why does the cost of attending college increase annually at significantly higher than the cost of living? Honest, I swear to the Big Guy Upstairs, my mission really IS in education. I am so jaded and distrustful of the system of "higher education" in this country, I want to expose this shite like Barbara Ehrenreich does it. Except I don't have the money to actually do it because I have to work to pay the bills.

Anyway, on to the scandal- but wait! Welcome back to America! I mean, here we are in all her glory! The FFM just called to let me know he is running late because while he was in the auto parts store picking up a battery for the Ural, some dumb jackass- or just plain impolite and selfish jackass- hit his car in the parking lot and left the scene!

Ha, you jackass! There were witnesses who got your license plate number! (Now, America, you are redeemed.) May you find yourself confronted with a fine you cannot afford.

It's payback time, people. In the words of my fine young wise friend Jamie, who will turn a whopping 17 years old on Monday: "It's time for Alice Cooper." No more Mr. Nice Guy (or Miss, for that matter.)

NOW, drumroll, please, as President Tom Buchanan's latest foible is presented:

Response to Press Release

Friends, below is a press release from the University of Wyoming regarding reopening the Geological Museum on the 24th of August on a part-time basis.

IS this what the public wants: families with kids, university students and alumni, scientists, educators, researchers, you who have contributed money and time to the University of Wyoming with the goal in mind of contributing to intellectual and scientific pursuits? A unique historical, paleontological, geological, educational institution of world renown, open so people can come in and look only on a part-time basis, with a security guard to ensure that nothing is stolen?

If so, do nothing. Otherwise, please respond directly to Tom Buchanan and Ben Blalock, to editors of newspapers where you live, to your professional and educational organizations.

Questions to consider:

1) If enough money has been raised privately at this time to open the museum part-time, why is this solution acceptable when Provost Myron Allen told members of the public who offered financial support to keep the institution open for another year and then subsequent years after that, privately, that a temporary solution would not be considered?

2) As the museum has proven to be extremely important to the university, Laramie, and wider scientific and educational communities, why was not more funding acquired to return the museum to full operating capacity in keeping with the public's call for such?

3) What is the status of the fund being held by the Foundation for those who wish to contribute financially to reopening the museum on a full-time budget at full staffing? Will the university administration work with the Geology and Geophysics Department, as stated, to ensure permanent funding, including a director/curator in the future?

For the record, the Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum continues to act as a nonprofit community benefit organization with the goal of raising awareness and funding to reopen the museum, at its former operating capacity, if not better, as called for thus far by you, the public. We will continue to work for success so that the museum's full value is once again recognized.


News Release
UW to Use Private Funds to Reopen Geological Museum to VisitorsJuly 18, 2009 --

UW President Tom Buchanan has directed the University of Wyoming Geological Museum to reopen on August 24 on a part-time basis for public visits.The UW Foundation has identified and offered private funding to pay for security so the Geological Museum can be open to UW visitors through the coming academic year."

I remain fully committed to meeting UW's budget reductions and intend to achieve savings in our state appropriation from the museum's operations," UW President Tom Buchanan says. "I am grateful to the Foundation for providing the resources needed to keep the doors open to the public."

The museum closed June 30 as one of a series of steps taken to meet an $18.3 million state budget cut that took effect July 1. Buchanan says UW administrators are working hard to minimize the impact of recent budget reductions on students, faculty, staff, the community and the state of Wyoming."

The generous assistance of Vice President Ben Blalock and the UW Foundation will allow us to respond to concerns the museum would remain closed to alumni, tourists, school children and families. Although the museum will not be open on the same basis it was before July 1, this approach meets the most pressing desires for access articulated by the public," Buchanan says.

Buchanan has initiated steps to identify a financially sound future for the museum and will direct a campus group to develop a plan for the display collection no later than the end of the fall semester. The plan will also address the extent to which the research and display collections can mesh with UW's broader academic mission, especially in earth and energy sciences and in science education.
For more information call Jessica Lowell, (307) 460-0604.
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009
Posted by Keep Laramie Dinos at 1:51 PM 0 comments

This blogger's personal commentary:
--- Tom Buchanan has directed the museum to reopen, when he was the one who directed it closed? TB: "Museum, I am telling you, reopen! Dammit, why did you close in the first place? What? Are you trying to make me look bad?... Oh, I closed you? Huh, I don't seem to recall... Well, surely it was someone else's fault...I want you open pronto!"

--- Ben Blalock's "generous assistance?" Shite, when I do my job, it's just called doing my job!

--- So, this security guard is exactly what the community has asked for: someone to watch over their shoulders so they don't steal any of the unique scientifically and educationally relevant geological and paleontological display items while they wander around aimlessly, like in their school groups, because the guard doesn't have the expertise to give them an educational tour or at least answer questions, which is what they came for.

--- Buchanan has "initiated steps to save face for making a huge mistake." The words at the end of that press release are a typo.

--- Laugh while you can... Those of you who've seen Buckaroo Banzai know what comes next. I'll stop there and return to the calming task of rearranging furniture.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Is that your dirty clothes that stink?

The FFM has been on vacation this week and has actually had time to peruse and send the poems of the day. Here is one of which I am particularly enamoured:

Keep America Beautiful
by Kenneth Hart

Somebody hung out his red, white and blue
laundry on the highway overpass outside Providence,

a short distance from the prison crew picking up
our Cheetos bags and burger wrappers

and monster drink cups. We're stalled in traffic;
bumper stickers announce the price of freedom,

claim liberty is our right.
The guard in mirror sunglasses leans against

the correctional facility van, props a shotgun on his knee
like he's auditioning for a movie. He's protecting

our freedom to litter from the inmates' desire
to be free to litter. We inch along;

past the Budweiser billboards and the ad haiku,
brakes wheeze – some like an espresso machine,

some like an aging soprano with emphysema.
It looks like this is going to take awhile, here

beneath the soiled laundry of the republic
which clings to a chain link fence.

Maybe the seagull floating above us
sees a few things that we can't.

He's probably scavenging for something
we've left behind.

"Keep America Beautiful" by Kenneth Hunt, from Uh Oh Time. © Anhinga Press, Inc., 2008.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

COULD be illegal? Bet on it.

OK, peeps, I know this was a long time ago, relatively speaking. And that we want to forget the past 8 years of increasingly dictatorial control of a supposed democratic republic by a bunch of guys who preferred to focus on bringing that democracy to other countries, but I can't let this one slide- and neither should our current congress or far more transparent presidential administration. (Read that: We hear from our President and we know that our Vice President isn't sneaking around behind the scenes telling lackeys to torture or kill people he doesn't like or trust. For Jebus's sake, who out there trusts Dick Cheney, but we let that bastard live, and we don't even offer to smack his knees with a baseball bat?)

It doesn't matter if those people aren't in control of the government now; they are in control of their publicity, still, with their little book deals and talks and this has got to stop. Listen, when you are told on the radio by reporters who are at least half on board with that phenomenon called investigative journalism, you have to actually put two and two together when they rattle off an historical list of how secrecy has been maneuvered in our federal government over the last say, 60 years, and know that it is not OK (read: yes, that's illegal) to set up these kinds of secret operations- WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO ANYONE- and that especially that's not even the VP's job. No wonder Sarah Palin failed miserably when asked what her role would be as Veep; Dick Cheney was a bad role model!

Simply, put, before I go to work: It does not matter that things are changing and we are looking forward. Not to hold the people responsible in our recent past for their crimes is to say implicitly, "Well, they messed up, but it's OK." In that case, what the hell? What's the big deal about Nazi trials, and reparation in South Africa? But, then, I forget so easily that we are still all agog in this country that a man with Obama's skin color and name was voted into our highest office.

People, we are digging our own graves. Lazy dummies.

Cheney hid CIA program from Congress: senator
Sun Jul 12, 9:18 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) The CIA withheld information from the U.S. Congress about a secret counterterrorism program on orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, a senator said on Sunday as Democrats called for an investigation.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told "Fox News Sunday" that CIA Director Leon Panetta disclosed Cheney's involvement when he briefed members of Congress two weeks ago. She said Panetta told them he had canceled the program.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, appointed Panetta to head the agency early this year. The still-secret program, which The New York Times said never became operational, began after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

The Wall Street Journal said the secret initiative terminated by Panetta was an effort to carry out a 2001 authorization by then Republican President George W. Bush to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives.

Citing current and former government officials, the newspaper reported the CIA spent money on planning and possibly some training but the initiative had not become fully operational. Panetta ended the CIA effort after learning about it on June 23, the Journal said.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Self Checking Out

People, I am still trying to decide if I want to beg off politics to the best of my ability for at least the next 40 years or so. Though that could involve moving to hermit mode... well, here's Edison for you again today. A cheeky economics lesson seems to me more entertaining than my vascillating over some weird dilemma.

Belt/Table Weight
On most modern check-out kiosks the weight of items placed on them is calculated and recorded. This allows a register to scan, weigh, and calculate the price of things like arrugula and pickled herring. If you are working with a register clerk, there isn’t much fun here. It’s hard to position your thumb on the scale at the right time. I have tried. Additionally, making something weigh more just isn’t in your financial interest. The fun here is at the self check-out kiosks.

Self Check-Out kiosks generally don’t weigh product for pricing. The weight function here is to note if something is placed on the register belt without being previously and successfully scanned. When you place something on the belt without first scanning it, you will get a happy, perky, and distinct message from the machine to the effect of “unscanned item on belt”. Then you need to rescan and sin no more. A couple of these perky messages will alert a floor walker, and you will get to meet them. They are also generally happy, perky, and distinct. They will instruct you on the use of a self check-out kiosk, and answer any other questions you may have about the store. I encourage open and lengthy diatribes with them, although most don’t seem well-versed in comparative spiritualistic topics. They generally can, however, tell you the location of important items like fruit loops, adult diapers, or for other things, about one might inquire with a straight face.

Self Check-out kiosks are nearly always designed to be approached from the right-hand side. Yes, I am aware that this is more ergonomically challenging for left-handed shoppers. The goal is to make shoppers step “more lively” by getting them to take items from the cart with their left hand, changing items to the other hand, and then scanning to their dominant or right hand. Yep, it’s actually quicker that way. They could add speed by placing a belt in front of the scanner so that the shopper wouldn’t have to dig back into the cart to pick-up each item. I suspect that equipment expense and equipment footprint are factors here. When I go to a self check-out kiosk after a WallyWorld “Coaching” session or a bad Elks Club Ritual, I often feel the need to ambulate like the village drunkard out of some early Irish novel. I often steady myself by placing my right hand on the belt to the left of me. If you do this too many times, you will be able to enquire of the perky and helpful floor walker about the “Unborn Pairs”, Advanced Alchemic Techniques, and Nilla Vanilla Wafers. They generally know where the cookies are.

Another really interesting phenomena (Rathbane, non, not na! Come on, man! Are you offending my grammatical OCD on purpose?) is the hybrid feature of scanning an item for its barcode, and then putting in a measurement other than weight for price calculation. I have found this most frequently at HomeboyDepot where they calculate lumber length. They also encourage you to cut your lumber in the store to “only the length you need”. They charge a little more if you don’t by straight lengths of the expensive trim woods, but I find it well worth the slight added expense. You do need to be a store employee to be allowed to use the big power saws; otherwise I would spend half the day making compound angle cuts on 2x4s just for fun. Didn’t someone want a new custom picture frame? They do, however, provide a hand miter saw and wooden miter box if you want to cut it yourself. This encourages me to several things. I like to test new hand miter saws before I even think about buying them. The provided hand miter saws are generally fairly dull from folks whacking through 2x stock and running the saw teeth across the metal frame of the miter cart. Dull saws are dangerous saws. ALWAYS inspect the saw first. If the saw, nearly always a cross-cut saw, seems dull to you, don’t use it. Ask someone for a replacement. They generally let you pick a “nice one” from the rack. If I don’t think the saw is quite sharp enough, I test its integrity but attempting to cut the metal miter cart. I have never seen one of their used saws than can effectively cut the cart, so when I’m done; all employees have agreed that the original saw was toast. Armed with this new high-end cross-cut hand miter saw, I go about cutting just the right lengths of wood that I needed. Last November I hand cut all of the pieces for a detailed Red Oak coffer including all of the detailed trim pieces at HomeboyDepot. It required three trips, to three different HomeboyDepots, just because of my time constraints. I also didn’t use any of the sections that had any imperfections. The register clerks weren’t sure how to measure the little pieces of quarter round trim pieces that were cut at 45 degree angles. They are trained, and recorded on security camera, to measure by feet and inches, and for calculations of straight cuts. I paid a little more for the materials, but had a flawless Red Oak Coffer. It was a true delight for the holidays. I may make some “Sugar Mold Candle Holders” for this coming holiday season.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Buy, baby, buy!

Brian in New Orleans gets a grand slam! Here he is, drinking and smoking, using the language to match the foul mood- kids beware, getting the fine service there that we get around here, only in America:

You are the only one who understands. We went out to dinner tonight at Denny's. Ordered the senior meal with salad. Salad came we ate and waited playing 45 games of hangman on a napkin. waitress with hideous tattoos and body piercing comes over and asks if we ordered anything but the salad. I told we had ordered a goddamn, fuckin' free meal and so she said she forgot to write anything down. Meal finally comes an hour after we are there and it is cold! I take the onion rings in a napkin and we walk out. So after the dinner from hell we go to the actual hell on earth, WalMart. I am in a foul mood but do my best to help Terry with this grocery shopping. I hate this place but she says some things are cheaper. I say let's just do without these things and shop at the family market downtown where they will actually deliver if you want and have a great bakery and deli. But Noooooooooooo. Finally I can't take anymore and am just thinking of having a martini and 12 fags when I get home. I leave the store following some Mexican-Americans with a couple of children. The imbecile employee asks to see their receipt and holds everyone up from getting out of this hellhole which I can't stand-maybe because of the lights or the muzak or the smell of Chinese underwear. Finally I get out and sit on a bench and smoke my brains out thinking I did not lead a mis-spent youth and a few martinis ain't gonna kill me. Fuck dinner--just smoke and drink. What the hell. The Mexicans? Terry was not asked for receipt. This is racial profiling but of course it is Wallyworld. If I was Mexican I'd be on the phone to my fuckin' lawyer right now instead of getting shitfaced.

And Edison takes on the Barcode Readers:

Barcode Readers:

These are the little electronic doo-hickies appended to the cash registers at all big box stores. This allows register people who can’t read to run a register. This also allows the big boxers to hire specialists who are chewing gum challenged to take care of the money. Nearly all products at these places have bar codes. Most smaller stores use them as well, although their programming often has a lot more glitches and far less support at the mothership. Barcode Readers read barcodes and enter the product and price on the cash register. Do not expect them to translate Liturgical Latin, but that’s why they can be fun. These expensive toys have a very limited application. If the visible barcode is compromised in any way, the reader just can’t deal with it. After a couple tries the register person, if there is one, will either call someone who knows how to deal with this sort of thing, or they may just shove it through the belt without scanning the item. Please remember that in BigBoxLand all register clerks are being watched or at least recorded on camera, and are petrified of appearing to mess-up. If they do something that is noticed to be amiss they may be subject to what WallyWorld refers to as “Coaching”. This is a rather unpleasant meeting with the store manager or assistant manager that resembles a bad performance of an Elk’s Club Ritual. Please note that Elk’s Clubs at least serve alcohol, and no one’s job is on the line. The register clerks will do almost anything to not be noticed. If you are a register clerk, and don’t mind being fired, try going to the register with no money in your pocket (this is important) and sticking your hands in your pockets between customers. You will be “Coached” with extreme prejudice. After a near strip search, the store manager will lose it when they don’t find anything in the search. Their blood pressure will rise in exponential levels, and they will want to vent. Let them vent. Laughing or smirking is not recommended at this time. Save that for later especially if you can get a copy of this recorded performance from someone working in Security. Help me out as well… post it on youtube, and send me the link. The most fun you can have with a barcode reader, especially when a register clerk is present, is to make sure a couple product barcodes are compromised. You don’t need to be heroic, or over do this. Many products are roughly and quickly stocked on shelves and minor product creasing can cause the optics of the barcode readers to “gang aglay”. I tend to look for creases in packaging. If I am unsuccessful in my search, I will take notes on the packaging with a “Sharpie” near the barcode area. Notes in strange foreign languages seem to work the best for me. Sometimes you just need to try to get important phrases in your life translated into Pig Latin. Do you feel the need Brothers and Sisters? Spontaneous Fanatic Religious Exclamations are also a favorite if you can’t conjure-up a bout with Tourettes. Do not under any circumstances alter the barcode to resemble the barcode of another product. It could be illegal. The sad thing is that in most cases a register clerk will never examine the barcode of an item that won’t optically scan properly. Sometimes your “Sharpie” brilliance may be overlooked. Floor Walkers generally always inspect a compromised barcode.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hitaus, not Extinction

Ole Brian from New Orleans has just pitched a fit regarding food and retail service he received- or did not receive- recently, and Edison's got more to tell you about those big box bums, but today I feel compelled to share with you the blog entry yopu can also find posted on, the blog of the Friends of SH Knight Geological Museum:

Letters and Address
Hi, everyone.First, for those of you have had difficulty in locating the address to send your donation, you can mail it to Friends at: PO Box 1752, Laramie, WY 82073, or directly to the Friends account at First Interstate Bank, 221 Ivinson, Laramie, WY, 82070.

As a community organization, The Friends does not receive a cut and uses this money strictly for enhancing awareness and funding for the reopening of the museum.

We have had received some rough letters recently, one from a state legislator, another from the president of a regional oil company. The messages are disappointing: a promise not to get in touch with unviersity trustees about the decision to cut an entire scientifically and educationally valuable program; and a claim that while the respondent and company have contributed much money to the university over the years, this has been to other programs and to the general fund, rather than the Geological Museum and that since that respondent has no personal ties to the museum (despite being a CEO in the energy industry), there is no plan for the company to speak out against the closure.

While these words are disheartening, they do not reflect the tone of the visitors to our table at Freedom Has a Birthday; those who have written letters to the editors from an alumni, scientfic, educational, or community perspective; or those of you who have contacted Friends directly via other means.

To those of you who have asked if there is a way you can help, the answer is ABSOLUTELY. The Friends goal is to bring the museum back to life. In the meantime, while the process persists, you can spread the word to others who can contribute, including affected local businesses; donate money to the fund, time to events, and a public voice to the cause.

In response to this last suggestion, I would like to point out that while writing letters to trustees, the president and the provost of the university, and the governor and state legislators is helpful in keeping the cause alive, writing a letter to the editor will carry your voice to a large audience- not only those with whom you disagree about the decision, but those who also believe the museum is a crucial element of our Wyoming academic establishment. These people may in turn be stimulated to write a letter or donate to the fund, until we have succeeded.

Important at this time is the reminder to folks like the state legislator and the oil company executive, that AN ENTIRE PROGRAM BUDGET WAS CUT- a whole program that benefitted annually thousands of unversity students and professors, school groups, local citizens, travelers... While other programs lost employees and funding, which is certainly not forgotten, most were not closed down completely, like the museum was. In the cutting of 45 employees from the university payroll, 3% were the staff of the museum, while far below one percent was the amount of total university funding lost. Eighty-thousand dollars annually is a small budget that kept an important institution alive. We all are asking, of course, why?

But, regardless of the answer to that question, we are on the move; the wheels are turning, we have momentum, and we value the voices of those who have been hurt by the museum's closure. You can help by making your voice heard. No party lines here, just straight up real live people telling it like it is.

We are working on setting up shop, so to speak, at events like the Laramie Farmers Market and Arts in the Park. Do you know of an event that would welcome our presence? Please let us know by leaving a comment here or e-mailing We can't get everywhere right now, but we can keep a high profile and maintain momentum.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bad, bad, bad!

Peeps, I was so stressed out this morning when I got up and got my day-old coffee heated and sat down to write out my To Do list for the day and deal with Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum e-mails that had piled up while I was in Denver yesterday, or sleeping last night, that I was crabby with the FFM when he called from work. Not good! I don't like being all fretty like this. Guess I am getting pretty old for the multi-tasking bit. I'd rather take things slow, you know? Or, moreso, not be jammed into a schedule laid on by others. I seem to have some sort of love-hate relationship with time.

That said, you get Edison again today, more from the world of big box stores.... tadaaa!

“ When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoineth theforest, he found many people assembled in the market-place; for it hadbeen announced that a rope-dancer would give a performance. AndZarathustra spake thus unto the people:I teach you the Superman. [Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen: amazingly Stanley Rosen (The Mask of Enlightenment) got his German grammar all wrong I think: because he translates: "I teach you about the supermen" and comments: "The use of the plural Übermenschen shows that Zarathustra is not prophesying the coming of a single superior being, but a new human type." But "den Übermenschen" is a singular masculine accusative (the object of the teaching); the accusative plural would be: Ich lehre euch die Übermenschen." So Rosen is wrong from the very start, Nietzsche is NOT calling for "a new human type".In fact the text does not yet tell us what the Superman could be.]”

This fits the BigBoxer Nazi theme to come, but yet again… I digress. Oh Hell! Sing along to get used to it? Plus, goose stepping around the living room is a good cardio thing…I’m told….well maybe.

There are a ton of really fun experiments I have performed in BigBoxLand that are a riot, but if you do them wrong, or take them too far, you can wind up in the Stir. I will not defend or support you there. Although I may send you a soap-on-a-rope. No need to fall on the sword for me or for anyone else unless you need immediate therapy… there are help lines for that schtuff. I’ll leave out the riskier, albeit more amusing, feats.

The self check-out features rely on four primary factors:
A Floor Walker that knows a little more than general plant life
Barcode Readers
Belt/Table Weight
Security Cameras

I know this seems out of order, but I hope to make sense of it as I go.

A Floor Walker The Big Boxers don’t like to pay people for working. They would prefer machines that can be unplugged, discarded, or reprogrammed. Get used to it Buckwheat. Near all of the self-check-out kiosks at WholesaleBJ’sRUs dwells a being capable to some degree of independent thought. They understand, to some degree, the computer system, and can fix some of the frequently encountered difficulties without calling upon the mothership, perhaps in Arkansas. They are fully, and I mean fully, capable of putting a sign on the kiosk saying “Out of Order” or Credit Card Only”. Call it an art form? They are also capable of calling or alerting Security. They generally know a bit about the store, so if you alert one, you have a help source for shopping when no workers are on the floor to assist you. See, I told you all was not lost. They are the ones that you may meet if you test their system, as have I.

And more on the way.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I woke up this morning with some Big Stuff to process in my bean, so I'm letting Edison take over again for a couple days. I'll keep you posted. Teaser: Who ever thought I'd burn out on politics? So, while I think, Edison will rail:

"With these draft articles it is probably most appropriate that the reader get to know Edison Rathbane, or at least come to understand his mindset and some of his thinking processes. He did not spring from the womb like Mwindo (actually from his mother’s middle finger… if one is capable of such conception.) also known as, “Little Baby Just Born, He Walks!”. . If he had, there wouldn’t be much hope for humanity. Edison Rathbane was raised by wolves in New York, educated at the University of Heartbreak Ridge, forged by demons of the veritous business venues of the urbanities, mellowed in an oak cask of Amontillado, and mentored by raindogs at midnight. Eventually he emigrated to the foothills of the White Mountains, where he lives alone. He has written numerous “things” or textbooks, grants, and technical writings under a different name, but that’s mostly academic. The beginnings of “The Economic Warrior” are done his later years of decline, during which he has decided to stop cutting his hair and to let the seasons strike him flush in the face. One who wears sunscreen denies the sun the power to change his skin.

"Dr. Rathbane has worked in academe (Philosophy, Forensics in a couple departments, Economics, Business Management, and The Horror! The Horror! Of Marketing), as a stone mason, an economic analyst, a building contractor, a financial salesman, a tool and form inventor, a business consultant, a farmer, a fishmonger, and has even dabbled in the Cabal of lawyering. He no longer takes thought for the morrow.

"6 Matthew 34“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

"And thus we return to Cash Register Mania?

"A couple readers have suggested that their greatest frustration in BigBoxLand lies with the self-check-out features of the big box stores, and the gross reliance of the stores therein. Yep, it’s true. If you can rely on a machine to do the job of a simple human, you can save a lot of money on staffing and all of the associated costs. I have a fairly brief lecture on all of the costs associated with having simple employees. My former student, reader, and friend Kris will probably recall it well… along with the crazy assignment using worksheets on Workers Compensation Insurance Worksheets that I purloined from the State of Wisconsin for the advanced course in Labor Economics. That was a class where the University scheduled a small group to be taught in a lecture hall that was under renovation at the time. We met where we wanted, which included the library, the outdoors, or the student union where we all smoked copious quantities of cigarettes and dined upon our creatively invented Cardiac Burgers. These included a big beef thing, bacon, cheese, mayonnaise, and in my case a few pickles. Call me Dr. Health-Kick? I can go into details at some other point, if desired, but will let Kris address it if she is so inclined, and her memory serves. Si id memini non potes, scitula dirumpens a te collenata est?

"Computers and self check-out lines are cheaper than people. You can also unplug and replace them at less cost then by doing the same with flesh and blood. They come pre-trained, don’t squawk, and never bring up the “union” word that puts WallyWorld in a conniption fit. I’ll talk about infiltrating WallyWorld in the next installment, but suffice it so say that if you hide under the storage racks in the unloading area when it’s empty and sing “Look For the Union Label” like Tiny Tim, all of the cameras go on, and management fires-up like a crematorium at Christmas time.

"Shoppers only like these Self Check-Out kiosks because there are fairly few real register trained people, and the lines are really long if you want to meet one in person. Elvis hasn’t left the building, but there’s a long line to meet him. This is really common at HomeBoyDepot and WholesaleBJ’sRUs . Worry Not. These can be deeply amusing as well if you take time for fun and hijinx. . In BigBoxLand Uber Alles, there is no honor system. The bigboxers want to save money and maximize profit, but they don’t trust you. Big brother IS watching from control central, and even if they are aren’t at the console with Captain Kirk, you are at least on camera and recorded. If you try to rip-them-off, you will probably get caught. So just don’t go there girlfriend. There’s fun to be had though. I’ll explain, but first a disclaimer.

"In these little writings you are being encouraged to learn about, and have some fun with the big box mentality, but I am very specifically not encouraging you to break the law in any way. Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen, but I don’t want to get anyone in trouble."

Zarathrustra speaks next.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday

I think I've got laryngitis from yelling at the game last night (GO, DEXTER FOWLER! GO IAN STEWART!), which will make some people happy, and others not so much because they will have to do all the talking at the Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum table today at Freedom Has a Birthday. Speaking of which, Happy Birthday America.

I've witnessed plenty of instances of Americans being appropriately myopically self-centered Americans lately, and of those in Power and Control here in America tightening the strings- noose? Speaking clearly from a more local level; crap, I haven't had a chance to catch up with national news in days! Having witnessed as I have, the American Personality in full bloom, I find it fitting to share this comment from John D, via Edison Rathbane, that I finally got down the e-mail list to retrieve. Here ya go:

You might mention the height measurements on the inside doorframes of some fast > food restaurants, to help identify characteristics of questionable individuals > when the cctv security recording is viewed later. You might get into the scary > big picture viewpoint identifying all of the locations where we are videotaped > through the various paces of our day, and of what use that information might be > to organized crime, if it were all compiled into one database, analyzing individual > civilian movements over time, either to exploit, or to 'better serve' them, by > understanding better than they do, what their needs and interests are. You might > mention where China fits in to all of this. Not sure I entirely buy the 'economic > warrior' ideology as described thus far, maybe I'm not quite sure who I am fighting > for or how it will benefit me. Perhaps it's just a goof that i shouldn't be taking > too seriously!

Have a great weekend. I mean you, and only you, because you deserve it and dammit better get it, America.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dream Come True

Back from hiatus, and today we will take a little hiatus from the economic lessons and all that and wander off on a short cultural excursion, a little social experiment. Have fun!

So, back in the day, something like 10 years ago, this guy Adam Bartkoski and I talked about washing windows for a living in the Mt. Washington Valley. We both worked for Summit Achievement at the time. Actually, that could be a lie. It's possible that by then Marge had decided she was coming east from Arizona and wanted my job so Chris hatched some lame plan, because they were "friends," to get rid of me, despite that I'd had excellent reviews throughout my short career there. It all worked out in the end because I walked away with more money than they'd expectedt o give, and who wants to work for that kind of person? And I got to move to Burlington and meet many way cool peeps and then decide the northeast was too small and crowded with perfumed ladies on the hiking trails and it was time to go to Laramie.

Anyway, I understand that Adam is now happily ensconced in his life in no other place than Burlington! But, at the time, when we were talking about washing windows to make a living, I thought, cool. I mean, I always have been distracted by window washers. It's an art form, really, to go up high and use this long tool to get the dirt out and make these windows squeaky clean, almost as though they don't exist. It is like dance, the movements.

And so, this summer I have had a dream come true; Gun Man asked if I would be interested in washing the windows at his gun shop on the corner right in historic downtown Laramie. And these windows are big. And I need money. I said yes, of course.

Today was my third day on the job, second washing the pigeon poop and dust off the outsides. And it's interesting to me to be in a position, right on the corner right dowtown where I can observe all manner of foot, car and bicycle traffic- and where all those people can watch me in action.

Kids love window washers, and I understand! I was one of those once! They are fascinated, especially boys and girls alike who are probably 3, 4, 5, maybe 6. The adults with them have to constantly prompt them verbally, and then push them along with impatient- but soft- hands in order to leave the scene of fascination. How many kids could be window washers and love this, if their parents didn't push them later on with "be a doctor," "work for The Man," or whatever it is parents say to their kids any more, if anything.
Adults... they handle the window washing spectacle differently, and I am certain I garner more attention than a male window washer, or a pair or more of window washers, would. Men are enthralled. Whether it is the fact that they are watching a woman do the job, or whether I am still at least mildly attractive to males even after having gained a little weight lately, I don't know. I won't ask.

Women, on the other hand, for the most part look at me with disdain, especially if I am taking up half the sidewalk and they are afraid I will clumsily hit them with a squuegee on a long stick, or drops of dirty water, or something. Well, I thought of this, and most of the women I see downtown in the midmorning tend to be those on vacation, dressed pretty well; or running businesses, inside businesses, in town; or who are walking with their passel of kids because they have time to do so since their men are out making the living for the family.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a diatribe against women. Those of you who know me well simply know that because we women are underestimated, I believe it is important that we be the best we can at whatever it is we do- including singing. (This gets me in trouble with men who like women who sing with breathy voices that are barely there, ridiculous, inane lyrics.)

Anyway, on to the oldsters. Older people, male or female, generally traveling in vacationing pairs when I am washing the windows, would prefer that:
1) A woman not be washing windows, especially in shorts and a tank top, and
2) No one be washing those windows because the act distracts them from strolling along in a straight line down the sidewalk.

How do I know this? The face tells all. But, hey, I will be one someday, and I am already crotchety enough, it's not hard to imagine my own future being all sour about something that doesn't fit my idea of 1) a lady and 2) a sunny stroll through historic downtown.

Whatever. I am going to work in a garden now, free from the observations of passersby, but don't let that fool you. Window washing really is a dream come true!