I’m glad we decided to purchase Photoshop. I’ve been playing with it and sometimes I even get a little serious, spending some time learning how to use a tool I’m unfamiliar with. This wasn’t one of those times, though being able to select a small part of one photo and layering onto another requires a bit of patience and a reasonably steady hand. The latter I find difficult at times, as I have inherited essential (or familial) tremors from my mother, and there are times when I have a great deal of difficulty pointing and clicking in the right place. When I was back at Rocketdyne (2015 – 2017) there were times when I couldn’t easily log onto my computer in the morning because me hands were shaking so bad. At any rate, this here should be clear to anyone who knows a little Russian history and something about hand tools.
PS – I’m not posting this for any reason other than I created it, it’s been shared on FB and Twitter, and I just want to have it somewhere that doesn’t disappear essentially forever. There’s nothing special about it, other than that it marks another bit of practice I had using Photoshop.
Being the unabashed patriot that I am, I refuse to take anything about our country so seriously as to not be capable of mocking it, especially when it’s so richly deserved. I’ve been holding on to this specific cartoon of his for at least 25 years, as it (somewhat) mirrors my attitude toward reciting the pledge. As a member of one of my local Rotary Clubs for over four years, I recited the pledge quite frequently, at the beginning of each weekly meeting. My Democratic Club recites the pledge at the beginning of every monthly meeting. I no longer speak those words
I am only willing to pledge my allegiance to the human race; not to a particular nationality that I happen to be a part of though, to be clear, if we are attacked I will do everything in my power to defend my friends, my family, and my fellow citizens. I consider myself a patriot, but not a jingoistic one and I prefer we move toward seeing—and dealing with—the world as if we are all fellow citizens of this one planet. The only home we currently have, and most likely the only one we’ll have for centuries to come.
Note there is no date on the cartoon above. I was guessing it was sometime in the 90s that I cut this out and saved it (I just scanned it, after all these years.) I decided to search a little and see what else I could find, including a copy of the original in a Google image search. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this version, below. I found another one that looked slightly different, but it was severely cropped and difficult to figure out.
OK – So I found another one, also dated, which is two years younger than the one above. Of the two above, I have no idea which one was published first, but I’m going to suspect it was the first one I put up there. This was around the time I had started working at Rockwell International’s Rocketdyne Division and I needed to keep myself grounded in what I consider to be reality, meaning I didn’t want to fall into the mental trap of supporting what my government does blindly. I’ve always questioned authority, but working at Rocketdyne was a whole new experience for me. Prior to that job, I had always worked in small—very small—business, most of them employing no more than four or five people.
Somewhere, and I have no idea where that somewhere might be, there is a cartoon where one of the characters begins the pledge saying “I play the legions.” I remember this very clearly, but I don’t for the life of me remember where I encountered it. Having posted this, perhaps I will conduct a thorough search to see if I can find it. I’m not holding out much hope, but one never knows.
Give ’em hell, George. I heard his call sign was “Oak Mouth” or “Fir Face” or “Cherry Choppers.” Something like that. Nobody knows (except for Mango Mussolini) how courageous and valiant he was at the Battle of Covfefe, during the Bowling Green episode. Given how anachronistic the whole affair turned out to be, it’s no surprise he was awarded both the Air Force Combat Action Medal, and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. Our Air Force wouldn’t be the same without his stellar service.
I was a Wiener Clerk at the Wiener Factory back in the early 70s. “We may be contumacious, but we’re never revocatory.” “Tell us how long you want us to hold the onions.” The owner wrote every bit of graffiti in there . . . and the moderately risque stuff in the toilets out back. I think my favorite dog was the coleslaw and cheese, though a good old fashioned kraut dog still hits the spot when I’ma cravin’.
I worked there throughout my first year of law school, 1973 to 1974. It was a decent job at the time. The owner, whose first name—Gene—is all I remember, was a former English teacher and stockbroker. He was a bright, somewhat tortured guy, but he treated his employees with respect, which is frequently not the case.
We used Gulden’s mustard, which we thinned just a bit with pickle juice, adding a significant bit of extra flavor. I often wonder if anyone actually noticed. I think the hot dogs were Vienna’s natural casing wieners, and we got the knackwurst and one other type of sausage from a small sausage maker in Burbank. Alpine sounds about right. We used fresh egg buns, which we steamed before serving so they were nice and soft. We also sold a shitload of German potato salad. I don’t think we had fries, but I just don’t remember.
made a damned good hot dog as well, and I was sorely disappointed a
couple of months ago when I was returning to Simi after an appointment
at the W.H. Kaiser Med Center. I was planning on having a Flooky’s hot
dog (or two) only to find out they had gutted the place. I don’t know if
there’s a Flooky’s left in the SFV.
I still crave a good hot dog probably a lot more frequently than is healthy for me, but I was raised on the damn things. I love a good, kosher, natural casing wiener with gulden’s mustard and a hearty sauerkraut on top of that. I also love mustard, relish, and onions, as well as mustard, chili, cheese, and onions. Hell! I’ve been known to slice one lengthwise and eat it between two pieces of rye bread with some mustard. It’s just a mini bologna, after all.
I wore a suit and tie for many years. I’m not super vain, but I do like to present a sharp image when called upon to do so, and one of the most important things is how you dress. Many years ago I read a book by John T. Molloy, called “Dress For Success.” If memory serves, one of the most important items in any man’s wardrobe is his tie. The tie must be silk, it must be of a certain pattern and color (though there are numerous styles considered acceptable), and it should have a well-tied knot with a dimple which, believe it or not, takes a bit of practice to execute well. Below is an example of a well-tied (looks like) four-in-hand knot. Actually, it’s so symmetrical, it looks a bit like a Windsor knot, but I’m pretty sure it would be thicker if it were.
Another thing I learned from Molloy’s book, again if memory serves (I read it right after it was published, in 1976 – the year I graduated Law School), is that young men wear their collars too tight and old men wear them too loose. Then there are men who can’t admit how old they are and who hang on to images of their self that may enhance their self-esteem, but which make them look a bit ridiculous. In the below case we have such a man. Note how he has no dimple in his tie, but his collar is too small for him, creating a classic, oblivious man’s neck dimple (or neck vagina, depending on how uptight you might be).
I’m not entire certain what this says about a man, but I have my ideas. You, of course, are quite free to develop your own opinion of what this says about any man, let alone this particularly egregious example.
I suppose you could say newsletters are in my blood. My father was the radioman aboard the USS William H. Webb during the second World War and one of his duties was to publish a newsletter for the crew. I remember looking through and reading his saved copies of each edition as I was growing up. I may even have some of them in a box in the garage somewhere, though I doubt they have held up all that well. They were printed on some pretty flimsy paper to begin with. I don’t think archival was part of their thought process.
Over the years I’ve done my share of newsletters, ranging from merely creating a SoCal edition of The War Bulleting, a publication out of Berkeley, California, that documented what was happening in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and the activities we were engaging in to protest our nation’s involvement, to a newsletter I created for my local golf course that garnered me lots of free range balls and rounds on the course, sometimes with a pro who couldn’t help but give me some instruction during the course of a round.
So . . . a series of events have convinced me it’s time to go through all my papers—and I have a ton of ’em—and organize, scan, and recycle as many of them as I can, memorializing what I find here on my blog. I also intend on gathering some of it into book form and see if anyone cares to read it.
Here’s the only saved edition I have of a newsletter I put together for the Student Bar Association of the University of San Fernando Valley College of Law. I’m a bit miffed to discover I didn’t put a date on the damned thing, so I can’t be sure if I published it in 1974 or 1975. Now that I think about it, I believe I was the 2nd year, full-time representative to the Student Bar, so that would have been ’75 . . . a mere 44 years ago.
Note the simplicity. There was no computer involved in any aspect of this publication, as PCs did not exist at the time. I’m pretty sure the headlines were stick-on letters I had to apply one at a time, and the copy was all done on a typewriter, though it may have been an IBM Correcting Selectric, because I was working as a secretary/clerk in a small law office in Beverly Hills at the time.
I’m surprised the paper held up as well as it has over all these years. It’s yellowed a bit, but it was still reasonably malleable; not brittle and parchment-like, as I suspect my father’s newsletter would be if I could find them. Then again, they’d be around 75 years old now.
I have also found a bunch of newsletters I created for Rocketdyne, as well as menus and promotional items I designed over the years, when I wasn’t working at Rocketdyne. I’ve also found some strange things I created as jokes during my tenure at what we called “The Rock.” I intend on sharing all of them.
I can’t take credit for this concept, but I can take credit for executing it in my ongoing quest to get better and better at Photoshop. I think I saw something like this on Twitter and I wasn’t happy with how it had been done, so I thought I would take a crack at it myself.
This is only two layers, but it took a bit of work to get Air Force One selected cleanly enough to delete everything else that was in the picture with it. That’s what takes the most patience at this point; selecting what stays and what gets removed when layering a series of photos.
Frankly, I wouldn’t wish this on the crew or staff along for the trip, but if Trump was on it alone, this represents one of many scenarios I’d love to see. A massive aneurysm is another. My favorite, however, will be arrest, trial, conviction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and imprisonment. That would be ideal.
I don’t make it a habit to post much from Twitter or Facebook here, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one. Our dog, Angel, paws her tennis balls while holding a rope or another ball in her mouth, but she’s nowhere near as animated as this bad boy.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I spent a few years in the business of helping others, shall we say, adjust their perspective. In the late seventies and early eighties I lived in Playa del Rey, California, a small town with an inordinate number of bars squeezed into a couple of blocks less than a quarter mile from the beach.
I frequented one of them more than the others, as it was almost literally across the street from my front door and, in the business I was in, I only needed to be able to get home quickly once in a while. The bar is still there and, if you watch TV, you may have seen it in a few shows. It’s called “The Prince O’ Whales.” I practically owned a stool there and had asked them to carry The Glenlivet when I first started frequenting the place. They were kind enough to oblige me and I have no idea how many cases I personally went through in the few years I spent much of time there.
However, this post has precious little to do with where I lived, how I survived, and how much Scotch I drank in my thirties. It’s actually about an article that was printed in the November 12, 1981 edition of Rolling Stone. It was written by P.J. O’Rourke. If you were an adult around that time, and you’ve not encountered this before, you may really enjoy it; it’s quite funny . . . and mostly (reasonably close to) the truth.
I have searched high and low for a reprint or a .pdf or URL where I could find the article in its entirety, but it doesn’t seem to exist online. Fortunately, I had made a copy of the pages and recently I took the time to re-type the entire article. I thought it was excerpted from his book “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People,” but it appears the first edition of that book was in the late eighties. Regardless, I have always found O’Rourke’s sense of humor—at least on this subject—pretty damn entertaining. Enjoy!
Beyond cocktail coquetry.
Cocaine and etiquette are inseparable; they go together like
cocaine and, well, more cocaine. But why should courtesy be so important when “Sinus
highballs” are passed around? Why shouldn’t we behave the way we behave with
stupidly in the refrigerator as though we’d smoked marijuana or run naked
through the streets killing policemen as though we’d taken PCP? There’s no firm
answer: In fact, cocaine would make killing a policeman easier, since he’d be
much less likely to turn into a 9-eyed moon demon while we’re trying to wrest
the gun from his holster. Yet such behavior could not be less appropriate to
the ingestion of “Alkaloid Chitchat Flakes.
Cocaine demands gentility from its partakers, perhaps
because it’s such a sociable drug. MDA is a sociable drug, but it makes people
so sociable they’ll screw a coffee-table leg. That’s not good manners if the
table has an expensive lacquered finish. Or it may be the price of “Talk
Talcum” that inclines us to courtliness, though heroin, too, is costly, and
repeated use of that turns people into Negroes (Reagan administration
statistics clearly show.) Most likely it’s the special magic cocaine performs upon
us all that ignites our civility and refinement. Cocaine makes us so
intelligent, so quick, witty, charming, alert, well-dressed, good-looking and
sexually attractive that it would be unthinkable to be rude under its
influence. True, there are exceptions. Cocaine doesn’t always do that to you.
But it always does it to me. And that’s plenty of reason for people to behave.
THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED
FOR SELF-SACRIFICE . . . AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT PEOPLE
The most important thing to understand about cocaine is, no
matter how wonderful it makes us feel or how interesting it makes us act, it is
bad for our bodies. This is the basis for all etiquette surrounding cocaine
use. And this is why it’s never bad manners to go off alone and fire some “Nose
Nikes” and not share them. To risk your own health while protecting the
well-being of others is the only honorable thing to do. For the same reason,
when offered someone else’s cocaine, you should Electro-Lux as much as possible
for their sake. If there isn’t any left to take, they will be less inclined to
destroy their mucous membranes, become psychotic, suffer heart palpitations or
die from an overdose.
However, for reasons unknown to medical science, there are
people cocaine does not harm. Important people who might be able to help
someone’s career are never injured by cocaine, no matter how much they’re
given. Neither are famous writers or actors or other personalities with whom
many people would like to be friends. Also unaffected are extraordinarily
good-looking, sexy people. In other words, the type of person reading this
article seems to be immune to cocaine’s deadly consequences.
The detrimental effect of a “Cerebellum Blizzard” on others,
though, cannot be overstated. There was a washed-up musician who hung around a
well-known New York nightspot mooching drugs. He turned into a dangerous
psychopath and tried to bore several people to death. My own younger brother
took too much of my cocaine, and the result was a painful bloody nose. Another
unfortunate case involved a vendor of the item itself. He had, no doubt,
sampled too much of his own wares and began to threaten people with violence
just because they owned him small sums of money . . . well, relatively small. A
mysterious informant—who, honest, felt really bad about it—was
compelled to turn him in to the police. (Jail is a famously discourteous
PROBLEMS OF ETIQUETTE EXAMINED
1 – How to Serve
Nothing is more awkward than taking out a vial of
“Granulated Money” in a bar or restaurant and having everyone you know expect
to get some. If you try to pass the “Powdered Trapeze Act” to some people and
not to others, you may get hit over the head with a bottle. And that’s bad
manners. Instead, excuse yourself inconspicuously, saying something like,
“Well, I sure have to go to the bathroom, and so do Robert and Susan and Alice,
but Jim and Fred and Bob don’t have to go.”
Parties present the same problem. In the past, such secluded
spots as coat closets and dark corners of the butler’s pantry were used for
spontaneous lovemaking. Nowadays, these nooks and crannies are crowded with
people taking drugs. But there is still charm in an old-fashioned excuse. If
you would like to give a “Peruvian Speed Bump” to Eileen, an attractive woman
who’s a power in the entertainment industry, but not to her unemployed
boyfriend, Mark, you can always say: “Excuse me, Mark, I thought Eileen might
like to blow me in the laundry room.”
2 – When to Serve
One of the delights of an “Adenoid Snack” is that it’s appropriate
at any time of night or day, often for several days and nights in a row, though
perhaps everyone’s favorite moment to take cocaine is right after a great deal
of it has been taken already.
An increasingly popular time to make your snout play “Selsun
Blue” with the “Dandruff of the Gods” is before an elaborate dinner. This
brightens table talk, lets guests enjoy staring at the food and arranging
little lumps of it in patterns on their plates, and gives the hostess many
valuable leftovers. (An oyster souffle, for instance, can be reheated and fed
to the pets.)
Another favorite moment for an “Inca Pep Rally” is the
second the dealer arrives with the gram. However, some people find it difficult
to figure out when that will be. This is because cocaine dealers operate on
Dope Dealer Savings Time, which is similar to Daylight Savings Time. Just as
Daylight Savings Time is one hour later than Standard Time, Dope Dealer Savings
Time is one hour later than you could possibly imagine anyone being.
3 – What Implements Should Be Used?
There are any number of devices on the market for taking
cocaine. Some are amusing or even useful in carefully measuring portions to
make sure everyone gets too much. But most sophisticated drug users still
prefer the rolled-up $100 bill. Better yet is a $100 bill folded over and
placed inside a wallet. If you have a great, great many of these, people will
find a way to get cocaine up your nose.
4 – What Else Should Be Served?4 –
Most people enjoy a couple of thousand cigarettes with their
“Face Drano.” Other mix “Indoor Aspen Lift Lines” with multiple sedatives to
achieve that marvelous feeling so similar to not having taken drugs at all. But
everyone, whether he wants to or not, should drink plenty of whiskey or gin. If
you smell strongly of alcohol, people may think you are dunk instead of stupid.
(Whatever you serve, overflowing ashtrays, wads of bloody Kleenex and empty
Valium bottles can be arranged to make an attractive centerpiece.)
5 – Who Pays?
There’s considerable debate about this. Some say the guest
should pay for cocaine as a way of saying thank you to the host. Others say the
host should pay for cocaine as part of the entertainment. Most people, however,
believe society should pay for cocaine by having to watch maniacally
self-indulgent movies, fragmented TV sitcom plots and fractured and pathetic
live performances by brain-broiled comedians and pop musicians wound up tighter
than a Hong Kong wristwatch.
6 – Topics of Conversation
. . . one of the things you’re really getting into is cable
TV which is going to be like the rock & roll of the Eighties because everybody’s
going to be hard-wired into 240 channels and there’s this huge market for
software already which is why you’ve got this programming development deal
together that right right now is a class at the New School but is almost sold
to Home Box and is going to be an hour a day that’s part news but like part
entertainment too like this New Wave group that you’ve already done three
minutes on with mini-cam on quarter-inch but you might turn that into a
documentary plus maybe a docudrama for PBS because it’s this sound that’s sort
of Western Swing but punk but ska which is all in the interview you got with
the bass player that you’re going to publish in this magazine you’re starting
which will be all the complete cable listings for all of New Jersey with public
access stuff that isn’t listed anywhere plus like interviews too and . . .
Just because your mouth is moving much faster than your
brain is no reason not to carry on an engaging conversation.
7 – Romance
If you have taken too much cocaine and are unable to become
aroused, try talking into your partner’s genitals. This gives a fair imitation
of oral sex. However, if you have taken even more cocaine, try not to rape
anyone you know.
8 – An Important Question
If a man gives cocaine to a woman, is she then obligated to go to bed with him?
9 – Another Important Question
If a woman gives cocaine to a man, is he then obligated to
go to bed with her?
Jeeze, I didn’t realize it was this late! I’ve gotta run—gotta
get up and go to work in the morning. Plus I feel like I’m coming down with
something. Mind if I do another line before I go?
10 – How is a Dealer Introduced?
It can be a problem knowing how to introduce your dealer. Is
he a friend? Is he an employee? Or is he a dead pumpkin if he sells you another
load of Dexamyl cut with Portland cement? In fact, there’s no proper way to
introduce your dealer socially, because no one ever deals cocaine. They just have a little extra. You see, a very
special friend of theirs—who was in Peru on different business entirely—brought
back, as a personal favor, some incredible rocks, which are also pure flake and
happen to be crystals, too (unless this gram-ette of alleged narcotics is so
hopelessly filled with muck that it’s indistinguishable from Nepalese temple
which case it will be given an exotic name like “Mudlark of the Andes” and a
spurious history having to do with Spanish conquistadors and Indian
headhunters). So no one ever deals cocaine, but they’ll give you this little
extra they’ve got, for you know, what they paid for it, which is unfortunately
$150 a gram, but really, man, this is special stuff, like the Indians used to
get by rubbing a coca bush between two Spanish conquistadors’ heads.
11 – Is It Polite to Refuse?
It’s probably not bad manners to refuse cocaine. It might
even be very gallant to turn down a spoonful of “Platinum Maxwell House,” but
it’s hard to be sure, because, so far, it’s never been done.
12 – What to Wear
Many people believe it doesn’t matter what they wear while
taking a dose of “Brain Tabasco.” Some people even take it in the nude (not
counting a gold Rolex). But, as in every other social situation, clothes do
matter. Richard Pryor is an example of inappropriate cocaine dress. If he had
been wearing a nice, conservative Brooks Brothers suit and an oxford-cloth
shirt, he would have escaped most injuries. Unfortunately—as
is so often the case in today’s increasingly informal world—Mr.
Pryor was wearing a polyester sport shirt decorated with Jamaican bongo
drummers and dyed in colors visible only to bees. This went up like a torch.
Wool, long-staple cotton and other natural fibers have superior flame-retardant
This past Saturday morning my friend and former colleague, Steve, picked me up and we headed North for our little US Open adventure. We went up Interstate 5, here in California, to Santa Nella and the second of the two Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurants (the other being in Buellton, though some incorrectly think it’s in Solvang).
We chose to stay at the Best Western hotel associated with the restaurant as it wasn’t too far from Pebble Beach and because it was reasonably priced. We couldn’t say that for many of the rooms available much closer to the venue. We checked into the hotel, rested for about a half hour, then had dinner at the restaurant. We both had a bowl of split pea soup (how could we not?) and a salad. The salad was excellent and came with some pretty tasty onion rolls and butter.
After that we had found a brewery in nearby Los Banos, which we wanted to try out and taste some of their craft brews. As it turned out, Saturday night was their monthly comedy night and we got to enjoy five comics, all of whom were quite entertaining. It was interesting being in a fairly small town, far away from any large urban area, and spend time in one of their establishments with all the locals. If it does nothing else, it reminds one of the ubiquity of our culture. Not entirely, but the overlaps, when viewed alongside the dissimilarities, are faskinatin’.
After a decent night’s sleep—my Fitbit tracker told me I slept 5.5 hours, and my goal is usually 6 hours per night—we headed out, our destination being the campus of Cal State University-Monterey Bay. From there we boarded a bus for the final leg of the journey. During the day I walked 18,189 steps, equivalent to 7.88 miles, and climbed the equivalent of 41 flights of stairs. Needless to say, that’s a fair amount more exercise than I’m accustomed to doing. I’m glad I did it, it was a fun day, and I’m paying for it today – as it was pretty hard getting out of bed this morning.
I took a few pictures with my iPhone Xr and I’d like to share a few of them, with a little explanation of each:
Born in 1947, I am an officially retired pensioner who still has two teenage daughters and a desire to contribute. I remain intensely interested in, and fascinated by, Systems Thinking, Machine Learning, Knowledge Management, Decision Intelligence, and Business in general. I am also conversant in such concepts as innovation and ideation, collaborative tools and strategies, crowdsourcing, and the use of social media to accomplish goals ranging from improving business processes to promoting small retail businesses. Since my "retirement" I have done a little bit of freelancing as an editor/proofreader, as well as some technical writing. I've also done a fair amount of Facebook marketing as well.
There's lots more where that came from. Need some help? Perhaps another set of eyes? Contact me. The first one's free! ;0)
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.