It just wouldn’t be Christmas without .40 hollowpoints

Santa Claus Uses Handgun to Protect Children From Terrorists

Here’s the Christmas card sent out by the Citizens Committee to Keep and Bear Arms:


I have some concerns. First of all, Santa is not using an approved grip or stance for handgun shooting. One-hand shooting is not recommended, and the loose grasp he has on the firearm is going to result in instability, poor aim, and possibly total loss of control.

Second, although he has the children pushed behind him, there is an infant directly below the handgun. Not only could a terrible mishap occur if his gun somehow went off while pointed down, but raining hot brass from an autopistol on infants is very poor form.

Third, the terrorist does not appear to have any firearms himself and is soletly armed with explosives. Santa is not only risking everyone’s life in that room by pointing a firearm at the explosives, but he’s missing the opportunity either to shoot the bomber directly in the head — thus ending the terrorist mission — or to physically assault the bomber and remove him from the area so that he cannot demolish the tree or kill the children. Merely threatening him with the firearm may result in far worse results than either shooting him in the head or tackling him. Since the terrorist is very clumsily using dynamite sticks with fuses, there is unlikely to be any dead man’s switch or trip wire that would frustrate this attempt, and a terrorist taken alive is far more valuable to the international community than a corpse.

Therefore I cannot support arming poorly trained Santa Clauses. Even though the threat to Christmas may be very serious, reflexively arming previously unarmed sectors of society is likely to result in more harm than good.

A bigger version of the card is available from the url above; I resized it.

tinfoil hat update

When I was making my appointment for the EEG tomorrow, the woman who’s doing it asked me if I wore any hair products. I said “No, in fact I don’t have a lot of hair, so this will be an easy one.” She laughed and said that a fair number of clients have arrived wearing hair mousse. Apparently the plastics in mousse get on the scalp and cause the signal for the EEG to be degraded by about 50%.

So! Tinfoil hat wearers who fear government death rays, mind control, and the church steeples forcing you to have sexual thoughts about manhole covers! Just use lots of mousse!

LOTS AND LOTS of mousse.

Another health tip from Substitute Industries.

The Legend of Aquaman

He arrives in an old Suzuki Sidekick,white with pink and blue pinstripes, and strides in resplendent in a mane of dyed and teased Male Pattern Doofus, plucked eyebrows, and one of an assortment of costumes including but not limited to: captain’s hat with corncob pipe and blazer; medieval/druidic tunic and Roman strap sandals; loud blue-green aloha shirt with slacks and espadrilles; or New Age t-shirt covered in Native American imagery and/or crystal faeries.

His life is mysterious. Before Bree snapped and robbed a bank he used to talk to her a lot, but even a freaked-out Crowleyan transgendered blues singer found him too outré and would sink back into her studies of Left Hand Magick with an apologetic smile. A particular exchange I overheard one day became legendary. They were discussing movie actors and their pay, and that female stars were paid less, and he said: “Well, of course, there’s one business where the women get paid more, and that’s… [pause for effect]… [slowly and deliberately licks top teeth] poooornography.”

His nickname comes from the blue-green aloha shirt outfit, which looks like an aquarium just exploded on him.

I present to you a genuine California eccentric:

two 800×533 jpegs

My Working Life: Mary Sue

For two years in the mid 1990s I was the manager of a hospital medical records transcription department. It was my first and only full-time management job. I was 30 and inexperienced, but I very much wanted to do the job well; in fact, the reason I took the job was that everyone would probably have been outsourced and fired if I hadn’t. That’s another story.

The time came when I had to hire a new person. HR put an ad out and I plowed through resumés, and found a few candidates worth interviewing. We had both an interview and a test, so anyone I hired would at a minimum be able to do the job without a doubt.

My first hire was Mary Sue (not her real name). She was a quiet, diffident woman about my age with a good resumé, obviously highly intelligent, and tested nearly perfect. She was eccentric; all medical transcriptionists are eccentric. Everything about her was buttoned-down. She had tasteful, conservative clothing without a button out of place, finely curled permed hair, the exact right amount of makeup, and a precise and muted voice. She played the subservient office lady role the whole way. Everything was an apology or a question, with the head tilted slightly to one side. She was so pale that “white” didn’t cover it; I think she was partly transparent.

I seated her in an empty cubicle and she began to silently churn out good work. I congratulated myself on a successful first hire! She always looked worried and hunted, but most of the people I worked with were functional neurotics and I didn’t think much of it.

A couple of weeks after she started I was talking to her at the photocopier and she mentioned that she hadn’t slept well the night before due to noisy neighbors. I made commiserative noises. “Well, I don’t know, it’s, worse, worse than that” she said mournfully. “How so?” “Well my neighbor. She is. I think you know, she is a prostitute. So many men coming and going all the time.” I paused for a moment. “Really?” I didn’t think of West Covina as being a haven of condominium whorehouses. “Oh I’m sure of it. I know. You know, we’ve had this before. It’s like it’s taking over.” I made some polite gesture and retired to my desk. Whoo, I thought. I’ve got a sexual paranoid on my hands. This should be entertaining.

A few weeks later Mary Sue showed up at my desk asking for a private conference. I closed both doors and we sat down. “I am having some trouble in the mornings,” she offered. “What’s up?” “Well, you know, Barry (a subject of a previous profile here). and T. and C., they work that same time. And they talk a lot and they’re loud. And it’s hard because I can’t get things done, and you know they aren’t doing anything. And then they’re really rude and mean to me. Barry came up to me at my desk and called me a bitch.”

I was shocked. First of all, I knew that the morning crew didn’t “do nothing”. Although I wasn’t there early I could see their workflow precisely. They were a bit slower than when I was there, but not more than reasonably. And I knew they were BSing around talking. They’d all known each other for 10 years and worked as a team at another hospital. And I couldn’t imagine any circumstance in which Barry would call someone a bitch. Finally, this wasn’t the kind of workplace where you couldn’t stop and chat for five minutes, either. If you didn’t let work pile up or mess with anyone, it was cool. I told Mary Sue that I’d stop in unexpectedly a few times to see what was up, and that if anyone was abusive to her she should log it exactly and I would take appropriate action. She was very grateful and teary and went back to her desk.

I did pop in unexpectedly early a few times over the next month. There were some embarrassing/comic moments when I saw people with their feet up on their desks expounding long stories to each other, but mostly people were just churning along doing their thing and waved a hello to me. “Hey, early guy. There’s bagels.” There wasn’t any loud boorish talking, or any sign of hostility to anyone.

About a month later Mary Sue returned to my desk. She was even more upset this time. Again she told me tales of the other morning employees harassing her, doing no work, and being loud. I mentioned to her that I was puzzled because I’d seen nothing on my surprise visits. She was silent for a minute or so and then said “Well, let me tell you it’s happening. They’re just like that. Those people are idle, it’s their way. I’m sure you know what I mean here. Those people. I knew you would understand.” Thunderbolt. I realized that everyone on that shift but Mary Sue was black. Oh crap.

I told her that if she had continued complaints she’d have to file a grievance with HR and/or talk to my boss, because I had nothing to go on based on the information I had. She looked terribly sad and betrayed, and said that she would do that, but that she had hoped I would understand the situation. I looked at her for a long moment and said “I think I do understand the situation, actually.”

I managed to call my boss before Mary Sue did. She (boss) shared my reaction. “Oh, SHIT. Barry? I don’t think so. Yeah, I’ll talk to her. Thanks.” I asked what the hell we were going to do; can you fire someone for being an insane racist? “No. But I can quit her.”

Over the next couple of weeks things were very tense. Barry came to see me and said “Well, I guess you know why I’m here.” “Yeah.” “I just wanted to say, I’ve been here seven years, and there’s been no trouble. Nothing. I just want to get my job done. I hope..” I cut him off “Don’t worry. It’s not going to be me.” He smiled and left. The others dropped by and this was repeated. Mary Sue barely spoke to me but occasionally would sit at her desk typing with one giant tear rolling down a powdered cheek.

Mary Sue quit at the end of two weeks. She arrived in my office in a portentous way and delivered a note to my desk, a generic quit note. As I read it, she intoned “I am pursuing other opportunities because both you and the Vice President have made it clear to me that serious problems are not taken seriously here.” I took the note and filed it, saying to the wall behind her “I can promise you they are, Mary Sue. Very seriously indeed.”

We had a pot luck the day after her last day. I brought the meringue cookies.