Thursday, March 28, 2013

Government tells incompetent employee to let 'er rip

USA Today recently conducted a survey of Federal Government employee discipline policy.


It seems Uncle Sam has  a hard time giving the heave-ho to screw-ups getting a paycheck at your expense.


Private sector firings for cause occur five times more frequently than under the wings of the bald eagle.


I therefore present for your reading pleasure a true story of one agency's attempt to root-out a man who single-handedly destroyed his work environment.


The government won't release his name, so I'll just use the initials P. U.


P. U.  passes gas.


A lot of gas.


And this caused the Social Security Administration's management in  the Baltimore office to issue a reprimand to P. U.  in a letter that was extremely specific.


I have a copy of that unusual disciplinary correspondence.


Between September 7 and November 29, 2012, our flatulent friend gave freedom to 61 separate silent but deadly outbursts.


On Friday, September 19, 2012 alone, nine mammoth methane events were recorded by some poor sap who must have pulled the short straw when the boss handed out duties for the day.


"Hey, Frankie, I'm really sorry but you have to record every one of you-know-who's gaseous releases today. You know the mantra when it comes to employee misbehavior: document, document, document."


For you amateur civil rights  lawyers out there, the manager's missive points out that P. U.  has failed to identify a medical reason for the office-clearing behavior.


The reprimand concludes by citing specific ways in which the nausea-inducing incidents violate the employee handbook and provisions of a worker agreement.


More specifically, it says that P. U.  "continues to release the odor which has become intolerable to those who work in the module."


How did this controversy end?


You guessed it.


Uncle Sam backed down.


The American Federation of Government Employees, as P. U. 's union, launched a counter offensive (admittedly, a bad choice of words).


They threatened litigation unless the management action was retracted.


And they prevailed.




An entire office staff gassed out, destroying office morale, and you the taxpayer can't expect a solution.


Why should the people who represent us feel the burden of carrying these incompetent employees that flaunt their misbehavior    right before our eyes and, in this case, our noses?


Common sense tells you that a disgusting atmosphere is intolerable for co-workers and for members of the public who enter the office in Baltimore.


When it comes to what P.U. is doing, the onus is on his anus.


By the way, turn your head away when you open your envelope from Social Security this month.


It might be from the Maryland office.


P. U.  has proven the impotence of our national government  in the face of outrageous behavior.


 He laughs at us because he's made us pull his reprimand.


And now, as we approach the counter at the Social Security office in Baltimore, he smiles as he asks us to pull something else.


His finger.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Russia with love and admiration

Her name was Lana.


She had beautiful blue eyes.


The kind of luminescent blue that sparkled.


I was captivated.


I know what you're thinking.


His wife's name isn't Lana, so what's the deal here?


Here's the story.


Last Tuesday I had a meeting in downtown Chagrin Falls.


It was about 6 PM when my appointment called to say he was running late.


No problem.


I could kill a few minutes by filling my gas tank at the BP station near the town square.


As I was about to pull out of the British Petroleum, there was a tap on my window.




And those penetrating eyes.


I lowered the window.


A very thick Russian accent greeted me.


She was lost.


She wanted directions to an address near Warrensville and Cedar in Cleveland Heights.


But those eyes.


They told of a life of suffering and hope and leaving a homeland far away.


Lana was about 85 years old.


I first began to explain the directions.


To no avail.


I began to confuse even myself.


Do you know how hard it is to describe the route from Main Street in The Falls to Cedar Center in the Heights?


It's complicated.


Poor  Lana.


She was lost and just wanted to get home.


I walked with her to a black Toyota and found her gentleman friend behind the wheel.


Driver was also elderly and also first language Russian.


Now I'm late for my appointment.


But how could I abandon Lana in her time of need?


That's when I had an idea.


I grabbed my Garmin and entered the Cleveland Heights address as the destination.


Then I put the GPS on Lana's dashboard and hit the "Go" button.


Lana and companion understood the proper English of Miss Garmin and they understood the map on the screen.


Off they went with my $150 device.


Would I ever see Lana or my satellite road assistant again?


I had my answer the next day.


She called the number on my business card to say thank you and to arrange return of the gizmo.


That's when I chatted about her life.


She's had it rough since she emigrated to the United States a couple of years ago.


Separated from family.


Struggling financially.


I told her to keep the little direction finder.


I can always get a new one.


She said thanks but no thanks because she did not own a car.


The vehicle she was riding in Tuesday night was owned by the Russian fellow who had been doing the driving.


So next week, I'm stopping over Lana's for a Garmin retrieval.


I don't think I'll forget Lana,  her spunk, her story.


Her eyes.


Her honesty.


And that's what really made her beautiful to me.


Do Svidaniya.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Vow is something you keep, Creep

So I'm watching coverage of the conclave the other night.




The host is Anderson Cooper, the snot nosed rich kid: his mother was Gloria Vanderbilt.


Cooper became the darling of left-wing media types when he came out of the closet last year.


Memo to celebrity wannabes: nothing makes your career take off faster than the "I'm gay" confession.


Anderson introduces Father Alberto Cutie (pronounced KOO-TE-A).


Cutie is wearing a Roman collar.


Cooper inquires as to the future of the papacy.


Cutie appears to be a Roman Catholic priest about to expound on the virtues of the future pontiff.


That's not what happened.


Father Cutie launches into a diatribe.


He tells Anderson that the church must cast aside its policies of exclusion.


He explains.


The church pushes people away from Catholicism by insisting on priests that are celibate and male.


My jaw dropped.


Anderson smiled.


A cheshire cat smile as he  smugly casts aside ancient tradition based on divine inspiration.


Why is "Father" Alberto Cutie on this blasted news show anyhow?


Aren't  we looking for the Catholic view of Catholicism?


What exactly was that?


So I did little research.


Turns out  Alberto Cutie  is not actually a Catholic priest.


Not anymore.


He left the priesthood two years ago to marry his girlfriend.


Oh, it gets better.


Cutie only left because he was found out.


Paparazzi followed the popular prelate and captured some wild video involving Cutie and a bombshell named Ruhama.


I won't get too graphic, but some of the shots show this man who was a parish pastor at the time reaching into the girl's bikini bottoms.


Nice going, Padre.


In any case, this is the man CNN chooses to comment on the Catholic Church's solemn process of picking a successor to St. Peter.


Bishop Sheen must be spinning in his grave.


Today,  Cutie has his own Protestant Episcopalian parish.


He and the bombshell wed and have a new baby.


Good for them.


I don't really blame Alberto Cutie.


He's not the first priest to fall before the power of raging hormones.


But why, why, why on Earth would CNN parade out a man who broke his vows and now celebrates the crime.


This ex-catholic is popular in Miami because of his books proclaiming the need to eliminate celibacy, so the priest can  give full expression to his sexuality.


Newsflash for Alberto: nobody forced you into the seminary.


You took an oath, a promise.


A sacrifice.


Most importantly, you're not qualified to comment on the beloved faith you're so busy ripping to shreds.


No, the real blame falls on CNN.


So Americans, seize thy remote and change the channel.


And tell the cable company that you are upset.


Upset because it is painfully clear that CNN  no longer stands for Cable News Network.


Today it is  apparent  that CNN now stands for something else.


Catholicism Not Needed.


Happy Viewing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Live From New York! It's Saturday Night! Featuring Jesus!

Saturday Night Live.


This time, sponsors are bailing because of complaints from the Christian community.


All prompted by a recent skit.


The comedy piece is actually a fake movie trailer for a fake movie called "Jesus Uncrossed."


It opens with Jesus rolling the stone from his own tomb.


He emerges.


He  looks into the camera.


"Guess who's back?"


So far, so good.


After all, resurrection scenes are uplifting for everybody, right?


It goes downhill from there.


The balance of the faux film promo shows Jesus surprising the Romans.


And then slaughtering them.


Jesus is pictured using the broadsword to dispatch one centurion  after another.


The closing scene shows the Son of Man announcing "no more Mr. Nice Jesus."


And using a machine gun to dispatch a bunch of armor-plated Roman soldiers.


The voiceover during the pretend spot is one of those dramatic baritones proclaiming that Jesus is back for revenge.


Sears has withdrawn its advertising for the online rebroadcast versions of the  program.


The American Family Association has described the levity as disgusting and despicable.


Here's my take.


It's not so bad.


Remember your Bible history.


The Jews of the New Testament awaited the Messiah and were disappointed.


They indeed wanted a king of this world, replete with armies and worldly power.


The Jesus of violent retribution is the kind of savior many prayed for two thousand years ago.


They knew the Old Testament God who sent plagues to put the Egyptians in their place.


The Philistines were visited by a rash of heaven-sent hemorrhoids after they stole the ark of the covenant.


It's in the book of Samuel, no kidding.


Of course, the real Jesus was anything but violent.


He preached the gospel of love.


Turn the other cheek.


Forgive 7 times 70 times.


That's the reason some  producer thought this bit would be so funny.


It's called humor through unexpected contrast.


It's the reason  Schwarzenegger in drag is hilarious.


So I'm not disturbed by this set piece from the folks who brought us Belushi and Aykroyd.


I actually think the humor reminds us of the reality: Jesus was gentle and forgiving.


He didn't rise to avenge.


He rose to save.


The concept of a bloodthirsty Jesus is so laughably ridiculous that the viewer gets the real message.


And if there's a way to remind a national audience on late-night television that Jesus died and rose to save them,  then I'm okay with it.


Is it disrespectful?


Well, maybe a little.


But the Jesus I know has broad shoulders.


Suitable for carrying crosses.


I don't think a little humor is going to bother him.


Especially if it points to his real message.


Imagine Jesus, Peter, James, and John hanging out to watch SNL in the college dorm.


Jesus might even have giggled at the goofy mock commercial.


So, chill everybody.


Jesus loves all of us, including a few wayward comedy writers.


He's pretty good at turning the darkest things into history's brightest moments.


Happy Easter.