Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Overread at Booth 5: LinkedIn Messenger

LinkedIn Messenger

A message from a friend,
through LinkedIn.  Hadn't heard from him in years,
but he responded to my prompted "congrats" on the
work anniversary.
He's still in Shanghai, the wife has a good
job with GM there,
they've been there for ten years.

He says they don't really want to come back,
what with everything on the news these days.

I tell him about how my wife's co-workers,
engineers, professionals, guys she's worked with
for five years, suddenly speaking in unencumbered voices,
about how the Hispanics should all go back to their countries.

My wife doesn't speak out at work anymore.
Her Latin American accent would be like a flare
shot into the powder keg of these dark skies.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Overheard at Table 4: Daughter and Dad

Dad: So, how was your 21 party in NOLA?

Daughter: It was wild, Dad.  I really don't know how you took Mom there.

Dad: When the sun went down, we hid in our hotel room.

Daughter: I mean, it was wild!  Even too wild for even me!

Dad: You're not going to go into details with me, right?

Daughter: Of course not!  But it was kinda funny, when I checked into our hotel in the French Quarter, I asked the lady where was the nearest Chik-Fil-A and Target.  She said, "Girl!  What suburb are you from?!"

Dad: Yes.   Daughter, nothing screams WHITE GIRL like asking for Chik-Fil-A and Target.  My God, you're in New Orleans!  Some of the greatest restaurants in the country?

Daughter: But it's all fish and crawfish!  I'm allergic to seafood.

Dad: They have non-fish gumbos, all sort of things.  And Target?  What the heck?

Daughter: I forgot my hair straightener.  I wanted to pick up another one.

Dad: I'm amazed you were able to make it there and back.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Overheard at the Counter: MR talks about St Patrick's Day 2018



OK, so it's La na Phadraig and I’m at Home Depot buying wood for slats for the bed in the guest bedroom upstairs, and as I'm walking through this crowded hellhole, I see a handful of people are decked out in crazy Irish wear, but at least it’s not as bad as I used to see it in high school or even a decade ago.  All this, “If you don’t wear green you’ll get pinched.” 

I remember a time when it used to be, “If you don’t wear green you get kissed.”  At the time they said that I was in grade school and I always wear green because who wants to be kissed by a girl, right?  But then a few years go by and you’re in high school and yeah, it’d be frikkin’ awesome if you get kissed by some random girl, so once I didn’t wear green on St Patrick’s Day and nobody did a damn thing.  Not a kiss, not a pinch, nothing.


So these people here at Home Depot: like the man from India with the big belly and the Irish Flag t-shirt, and the six foot tall girl with the Irish flag sticking out of her hair, wearing shamrock socks all the way up to her knees, or this old white guys with shamrock stickers slapped to each of his cheeks, these are the true holdouts.  At first, I want to pinch them, pinch them awake.  “Stop doing that!”  I want to say, “No one in Ireland would wear such shite!”


But then, as I go to the aisle with the wood and start pulling out the 10' long slats and look around for the place to cut them, I starting thinking, heck, let the people who are wearing the goofy clothes wear the goofy clothes.   So few people adhere to any traditions any more.  Everything is watered down and debilitated.  The ones who continue wearing crazy shit for traditions that never really existed in the first place, those people, for all their ridiculous dress, are the bravest of us all.  

Almost makes me want to go toast them with a green beer.  But that's insulting to Ireland.  Only Americans drink green beer on St Patrick's Day.

Overheard at Table 4: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)


Juan: So what'd you think about the movie?

Ann Otter:  It was OK.   Better than I expected.   Didn't get the ending, though, so, was he right?

Juan:  Who?  John Goodman?

Ann Otter:  So, was he right about the aliens?

Juan: It was more like he was right but didn't know he was right.  Remember?  He said it could be the Russians, the Chinese, or the Martians.   He was a survivalist.  He just knew something big was going down and he rushed back to his shelter.

Ann Otter:  So he meant to run the girl off the road?

Juan:  No, that's the whole point.  That part was an accident, but he felt bad about it, so he brought her to the shelter.   But that's what was really cool about the whole movie, you didn't know until the end if the thing was all in his head or not.

Ann Otter:  Well, I kinda knew it'd be the aliens.   I mean, it had the same name as that other movie you showed me, remember?  The one in New York where the giant aliens knocked off the Statue of Liberty head?

Juan:  Oh.   Oh yeah.  Crap, I forgot about that one.   I was wondering where I had heard the name before.

Ann Otter:  You don't remember all the boring movies you make me watch?

Juan: If they are so boring then how can you remember them?

Ann Otter: Probably because I love you.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Overread at Table 3: Book Review of "Sway"

Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior

Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

Broadway Books: New York, 2008


Contains many compelling anecdotes regarding human aversion to risk that manifests in making choices that are truly against economic self-interest.  The science (sociology, psychology) behind all this is a little thin, such as citing studies conducted on only a handful of samplings, but it’s an easy read and very engaging. 


Truly, it’s beneficial to spur someone who is interested in this topic to devle into the studies cited, and the greatest benefit I can see is to have someone inspired by this book continue the sociological study further and possibly expand the theory of Economics.   Currently, the field is still largely dominated by the idea that each person makes decisions driven by their own economic self-interest, and this book, as well as other emprical evidence, suggests that this is simply not true.


Sway helps show this, even while not being a fully developed tool on its own.


However, I have to admit that one of the insights pointed out in this book is that we as consumers will make value judgements based on the price of an object.   So, I have to admit, I will never be truly certain if my critique of this book is based on the fact that I got it for $1 at a Library Book Sale, and it has a huge 50% sticker on the front cover.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Erick Manana Ny Fitiavako An'I Mama (Madagascar)

Overheard at Table 3: Black Panther Breakups

Crystal:  So I'm driving to work yesterday morning and I'm flipping through the stations and sometimes I get tired of that and leave it on one station and it's on the R&B station and there's this guy on there talking to the DJs about how his white girlfriend got him tickets to go see Black Panther.  And he was talking about how after seeing the movie he realized he had been lying to himself and really just going against his race by dating a white girl.

Maurice: Going against his race?

Crystal:  Yeah, what kind of shit is that?  Is there something in the movie about a special race of women?

Maurice:  The Wakandan special guard is all-female.  Badasses.   Supreme.

Crystal: Well, that's what this guy was talking about.  He wanted a real woman.  So the DJs they call up this guy's girlfriend and have him break up with her live on air, and he's telling her how he needs a real woman and she hears the other guys laughing and she said, "Who are those people?" and the DJs just rip her to shreds, man, saying, "Hey, you don't get to say 'THOSE people'!"  And they were calling her colonizer and shit like that.

Maurice:  That's horrible.  

Crystal: I mean, why do they let that shit on the radio?

Maurice:  Money.  You can say anything on the radio as long as it makes money.  When people stop listening to shit like that, then it'll go away.

Crystal:  Well, getting dumped like that is a sure way to create on more white racist, is all I can say.
I mean, now this girl's got the story of how she was dumped just because she wasn't black.

Maurice: Wakanda forever.