Archive for January, 2013

Why I love America: capitalism that cares

Saturday, 12 January 2013

TRUE STORY

To:  ConsumerRelations@cr.auntjemima.com

Imagine my surprise and horror when my 24 oz. Aunt Jemima syrup gently slipped from my fingers from a height of 2.8 feet, hit the tiled kitchen floor on its side and the base of the bottle CRACKED OPEN like a cheap piece of china, bleeding out in a huge puddle on the floor, a total loss. While it’s often true that we have to go too far to know our limits, I’m here to tell you, as VICTIM, that your plastic Aunt Jemima Syrup bottle–at least the batch with the bottle I got–was made to inferior specifications. On a scale of disappointment with 1 being a stubbed toe and 10 being an asteroid destroying earth, I’m rating this a 9. (It would have been a solid 10 had I been eating actual pancakes and not a breakfast burrito). A coupon, words of sympathy, a simple message to the effect that your otherwise fine company recognizes this problem and has people working around the clock to correct it, or any combination thereof, would be most appreciated. Thank You…

ONE DAY LATER

To: Meat

Thank you for sharing your recent experience with our Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup. We’re very sorry the bottle broke, and we apologize profusely for the inconvenience this caused. We’d never want to inconvenience or disappoint any of our consumers.

I’ve sent a full value coupon along with an additional coupon to compensate you for the inconvenience. Please look for them to arrive by mail in about a week.

We take pride in the quality of our products, and your satisfaction is most important to us. Therefore, I have shared your report with our quality assurance team for review. The information you thoughtfully provided from the packaging is very valuable to them as they complete this process.

We’d like you to know, we consider many factors when producing containers for our products. They must function easily, protect product quality, and hold down the cost to our consumers. The final selection is made on the basis of consumer convenience and product safety. With that in mind, you can understand why your feedback is so valuable to us.

Thanks, (Meat) for bringing this matter to our attention. We hope that you’ll remain a consumer of our products.

Diana
Quaker Consumer Relations
A Division of PepsiCo
Ref# X8245A69

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Dexter should’ve ended with Season 7

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Season 7 of Dexter ended one month ago.

Here’s how badly the writers fucked up: Deb should’ve shot Dexter and the series should’ve ended this season. I would’ve been cool with that.

This is far from an in-depth analysis, I’ll just throw some things out there.

Detective Joesph “Pretty Boy” Quinn: I like Quinn. At first I thought his “romance” with the dancer was dumb and just served the plot, and I was correct, it wasn’t at all believable. At the end of an episode last season Quinn is shown mournfully dog-banging some bimbo at least as hot as the dancer, so his “falling” for the foreign dancer rang false; he’s just not a guy who would ever be desperate for pussy. From a certain point of view, one could argue that Quinn was merely seeking a more meaningful relationship, but after his dalliance with Deb, it would be far more likely he would pursue/seek out another broad with Deb’s demeanor, who “thinks like a dude” without being a dude. Deb is smart, the dancer was/is a dumbass.

I will be insulted if Jaime hooks up with Quinn. Yep, here at Dexter Inc. we’re too lazy and cheap to hire another actor, so we’ll just hook these two up. Convenience!

Isaac Sirkos: an average and somewhat early ending to a plot that went nowhere. Compared to how seemingly high-ranked he was, the mob disowned him way too soon.

Batista: He’s just background noise they’re keeping around to have something awful happen to next season (besides possibly mourning LaGuerta). Though he makes it to retirement, the idea that he’s both running a restaurant and being a cop, even for a short time, just wasn’t realistic. You could do one job well and the other badly, or both badly, but not both properly. Also, with the “mysterious” death of Iron Eagle, this is the SECOND time Batista has heard shots fired out of sequence against the official story (the first time was Doakes versus the Haitian ex-soldier under the pier) and been duped or agreed to be duped.

Hannah aka Blondie McPoisoner. The whole story arc was handled illogically and ended badly. Blondie said it herself: she doesn’t make mistakes. If that were true, then Deb would be dead from a proper overdose of Deb’s meds plus some aconite for good measure. Also, if Hannah were smart, she’d have killed off Arlene long ago. She had a reason to kill off Arlene for being a loose thread, whereas she had NO good reason to kill off her boss, the previous owner of the nursery. Now she’s escaped (“That’s some mighty fine police work there, Lou”) and is running about but, dead or alive, her character is done, even if she comes back to kill Deb or some such nonsense.

The Main Event: Within the Dexterverse, there’s just too much shit to ever make another season work. Bringing Matthews on board ensured there was no tidy wrap-up. BTW, does anyone believe Matthews wouldn’t have already gotten his full pension from a forced retirement? Government is government, short-changing him would all but promise he expose his own “crime” in order to embarrass the department, the very thing the department was trying to avoid by firing him.

The series really ended when LaGuerta arrested Dexter and brought him to the station, spilling the beans. How many minds will be cast in doubt, even among the extras? For fuck’s sake, these are detectives, right? Isn’t a huge part of their job to entertain theories? Whatever tableaux Dexter arranged with LaGuerta’s corpse, there are still too many loose ends:

LaGuerta’s pending warrants for Deb and Dex’s cellphones
AND the survelliance photos of Deb buying gasoline,
AND Deb requesting LaGuerta’s “20” via a call to Miami Metro,
AND Matthews with nothing better to do but dwell on the case,
AND Masuka restudying the evidence locker,
AND a Batista-in-mourning snooping around,
AND, though they haven’t shown it (yet) LaGuerta would have kept a journal or log or something noting events and evidence as well as her theories and thoughts…

All this is in addition to Deb who is now a zombie.

There’s really nowhere to go from here. As stated in one of the final Season 7 episodes, Dexter won’t be running, either with or without Deb, as that would be unacceptable.

There’s yet ANOTHER problem, having to do with the Dexterverse versus our world. Dexter Morgan has a huge, loyal following in real life. Killing him off at the end of Season 8, done as a kind of karmic “rebalancing” to the universe is a bullshit “Crime Doesn’t Pay” ending that will satisfy no one, yet after killing off LaGuerta, it seems all of the good he’s done has been for nothing.

It’s a sad, sick feeling, realizing somehow we’ve arrived at a point where it would be equally ridiculous for Dexter to live OR die.

Season 8 can wait.

Deb should’ve shot Dexter and the series should’ve ended this season. I would’ve been cool with that.

One more very last thing: if, at the start of Season 8, LaGuerta is somehow alive and chained up like Doakes, and Blondie McPoisoner kills her off so she and Dex can be together (a la Lila) I’m going to turn into Dexter myself and put each of the show’s writers on MY table, one at a time.

 

Friendships can die of natural causes

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I’ve known Dalby for half my life, 20 years. We met on the same job and from there went our separate ways, often for years at a time in separate states.

Now we’re in the same state, although he’s too far away for causal visits.  He’s
lived with the same woman now for about 12 years. I’ve never lived with a woman. He’s into a bunch of stupid shit, I’m into a different bunch of shit, most of it probably stupid to him.

Our friendship is dead. It may surprise one who hasn’t experienced it to have a
friendship die of natural causes. It happens, and why not? Relationships die all
the time, not just the ones peppered with declarations of love and fucking. 

Even before Dalby started seeing a shrink, I knew it was over. Very infrequently did I contact him, nor do I seek his counsel. I cat-sitted at his place while he went on vacation.

The last time I saw him was yesterday and the night before. I drove two hours in horrible traffic and rain but was eager the whole way. I stayed overnight and left yesterday afternoon simmering in anger, anger that only now is beginning to dissipate.

What changed? Well, there’s a core of respect in every friendship, and no longer does Dalby honor it. In every relationship, one person leads and one follows, even if only slightly. The best friendships alternate who leads and who follows, depending on circumstances. Dalby now ignores that equation entirely, meaning even if he’s being passive, he maintains an arrogance too intense for friendship. I’m not the type of person that demands unearned respect, but after all these years I’m not even getting the basics from him.

Those are the long-term problems; the immediate problem is his fucking shrink. I have a feeling she’s full of shit, perhaps no more than the rest of us, except she’s demanding payment for it. It’s not even her that’s the problem, it’s the stink of shrinkology itself.

Have you noticed that everyone who comes in contact with shrinks or shrinkology suddenly fancies themselves studious observers of the human race who automatically know everyone else’s problems and (oh goody!) knows how to solve them? You’re duty-bound to meet someone like this eventually, you might even be that person.

So Dalby is attempting to remove negativity from his life. I would argue that it’s more important to recognize and remove obstacles from one’s path, be they negatives OR positives. A pie-in-the-sky hope can be just as crippling as an automatic sour grapes attitude. Dalby and his shrink’s shadow don’t see this distinction. I was greatly offended by two things he said, the first that he remembers my compassion for others over the years being limited to leaving some quarters behind for the next person at a self-service car wash (although he thanked me for it, I also bought 60 bucks worth of food for us over the 1.25 days I was there).

Dalby also remembers the time I invited him to fly to and from our home state when he was on one side of the country and I the other (we both flew into the home state) and put him up my entire week-long vacation, but apparently fails to remember I paid for all of it  (unless things get extreme, true friends don’t keep running tabs on every kindness and coin bestowed).

An interlude: over dinner, Dalby was being rude with his cell, to the point his own girl told him to stop texting her and enjoy our time together. I actually demanded he give me the phone (to put it out of reach) when he got pissy. From the casual reader’s perspective, and most people today in love with their phones, such a request might seem outrageous. The casual reader misses the point: the standoff with the phone was the moment a 20-year-friendship truly ended. It wasn’t about a phone, it was about respect. My recognition of the end was confirmed shortly thereafter when Dalby went on about the girl he lived with before his current girl. Though she was no saint, he admitted he treated her like shit.

“Why did she stay?”
“I don’t know. She thought she could change me.”

It didn’t paint Dalby in a favorable light.

The second outrageous thing he said was more a recounted cluster of events revolving around his being “lost” in our early years, how he’d found my other friends and me and embraced our misanthropy. Dalby wasn’t recounting these tales of youthful angst with any fondness, he was portraying himself as an innocent and duped victim of the negative influences we all generated. More of the shrink’s stinking shadow in the background.

When I asked if a person who pointed out how things don’t fit together is as valuable to the world as the opposite, he demurred, implying his father had been the former and taken the same negative attitude towards his own kids (apparently the shrink is big on having patients talk to their inner child).

He also mentioned a random girl who was a psychic vampire (a term I taught him 15 years ago) who would come over for a few hours, after which Dalby and his girlfriend would just want to sleep. The implication was that I may be having the same effect on him., otherwise why bring it up?

What Dalby doesn’t understand–beyond the obvious that the friendship is over and done–is that a true psychic vampire seeks others just like an extrovert does. I, on the other hand, would be happy never to see or hear about 99.999% of the human race ever again. I don’t need them or him, the bulk of our shared karma is complete, and since he’s turned to shrinkology, don’t want to be near him.

(Another fringe benefit of being a shrink’s victim is feeling completely justified in being an asshole, since you “put in the work” to rationalize your own behavior).

I know when to be kind or at least diplomatic, but I’ll be a son of a bitch if I’m going to waste any time around people who require everyone around them to keep in line, limiting what they’re allowed to say, and sometimes even think.

It’s a terrible world, or if you want to be charitable, a mostly terrible world. Humor and sarcasm are my sword and shield, and if people don’t like it, they’re free to go off and listen to One Direction or suck a shotgun barrel.

So that’s it for Dalby. What to do about it I don’t know. Nothing, probably. He lives far away enough that it doesn’t matter, I rarely see him, and after this last meeting, have no real desire to see him again.

Friendships can and do die. Of natural causes.