Free Restaurant Idea

If I had a large fortune I wanted to turn into a small fortune, I know what I’d do with it: an ethnic restaurant that could fill a globally-conscious niche, that could authentically charge high prices for small portions and make a mint:

The North Korean Buffet.

Just think of it! I could call it “Happy Kim Garden” or “Revered Buffet”. The menu would be simple: grass boiled in dirty water and dirt. All you can eat of both. I wouldn’t have to restock the buffet very often. At $9.95 for dinner and $5.95 for lunch, I would easily recoup the costs of whatever I would need to buy–I mean, the raw materials are free.

But I don’t have enough to afford the quality downtown location where I could ensnare the hip young professionals who dig that sort of thing.

Ah, well. Back to work.

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Department of Righteous Taserings Which, Unfortunately, Resulted in Death

When a drunk man is in a woman’s home uninvited and is killed, is it acceptable or bad?

Man, that’s tricky. I mean, when the woman does it, it seems acceptable:

“She felt threatened,” says Lt. Lane Byers, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. “She felt she could not leave the home to get away from him. And she felt she had to defend herself. She used a firearm to do so.”

But when cops do it, it doesn’t seem right:

City police officers shot a man twice with Tasers, then scuffled with him, a friend who witnessed the incident said Monday.

Hours after that Saturday scuffle, Nick Mamino Jr., 41, was dead.

When I read that last story, I reacted immediately with my standard, cops-misusing-tasers outrage, but seeing the first story so soon after has put the incidents into stark relief. In Collinsville, Illinois, the police came to a woman’s home where an unarmed man (with a history of armed criminal action) refuses to leave and runs back into the house. To lock himself into the bathroom and sob? To plead with the woman he loves who has just called the cops on him? Or to get a gun?

Given that and given the subtleties of the home-invader versus home-wouldn’t-leaver storylines that are only available the next day in the paper, I conclude the police were correct in trying to subdue him with less than lethal means which, unfortunately and accidentally, proved fatal to Mamino.

The woman who killed her home intruder will receive her recognition in Kim du Toit’s Department of Righteous Shootings. Meanwhile, the police in Collinsville will get pilloried for the crime of enforcing the law while law enforcement officials and for the ultimate results of Mamino’s suspect actions.

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Medical Establishment Dismayed Potential Prozac Consumers Try Alternate Methods

The British medical establishment has determined: Too Many ‘Self-Medicate’:

Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the foundation, said: “The research confirms our worries that people are drinking to cope with emotions and situations they can’t otherwise manage.

“Drinking alcohol is a very common and accepted way of coping – our culture allows us to use alcohol for ‘medicinal purposes’ or ‘dutch courage’ from an early age.

“But using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression doesn’t work.”

No doubt the good doctor would prefer you try any of the handful of colorful brain chemistry-altering alternatives offered by prescription only. Using Prozac, Paxil, and so on to deal with anxiety or depression might work, might not work, or might make you suicidal. Kinda like whiskey, but more expensive and not available without a doctor’s visit.

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Yesterday’s Punchlines Today

Powerball jackpot: 1 ticket. 13 people.:

They used to chase dead-beat dads. Now they’re chasing dreams.

On Thursday, the Missouri Lottery announced the winners of the state’s largest Powerball jackpot ever, $224.2 million. The big winners, dubbed the Lucky 13, are employees with the Missouri Department of Social Services.

When interviewed, the winners said they wouldn’t work another day and that the lottery wouldn’t change them. Given their employer, this is probably not a contradiction.

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Memo to Suburban Drivers Visiting Downtown

Here’s a handy hint: If there’s not room enough for your car on the other side of the intersection in heavy traffic, don’t pull into the intersection. The light will turn red, and there you will sit, without even the intelligence to feel ashamed of yourself.

Blocking the box makes you look like such a tourist that even I want to take your wallet.

If you cannot handle the stress of driving downtown, stay in Wildwood and struggle to get the Cardinals game on the radio.

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Effective Office Jerk Counter Measures

MSNBC has offered an insightful article entitled "How to handle the office jerk". Of course, I like the article not because I have to deal with office jerks; no, I am the office jerk, and the article gives me intelligence I can use to effect countermeasures against the people who would attempt to thwart my boorishness. You, too, can learn from these counter-techniques to remain in control, jerkishly, of any situation even when others try to weasel out of your grasp.

The following list includes counter-strikes against you, jerk, that you should recognize and respond to appropriately:

  1. Assertiveness short of aggressiveness.
      First, be assertive — not aggressive — when dealing with a jerk. A jerk may have doubts about his ability and status, so the last thing you want to do is challenge him on those grounds. Being aggressive with a jerk will play into his hands and give him an excuse to become a turbo-charged twit.

    Unfortunately, when you’re trying to bully and badger one of your weaker co-workers, some of them will undoubtedly attempt to show some spine and resist. In most cases, they’ll try to puff up through strong-sounding tones, hoping that merely by standing up to you, they will shock you into leaving them alone and not taking their Starbucks money. Don’t fall for it! By merely remaining firm in your jerkishness, you’ll show that you’re not going to fold with a simple show of brazen assertiveness. Instead, you should repeat your jerkish assertions slowly and more loudly, as though your target is a child or a retard. Also, you might choose to bridge the distance in your points of view by closing the distance between you and your target. Remember, touching is a felony, but you can come within micrometers of striking your target’s nose with your own proboscis without going to jail.

    To mix things up, break down in front of the target. Yes, I said break down. Tell the target, through tears if possible, some anecdote of hardship or tragedy that has recently or in your childhood struck you to make you the way you are. You can sometimes make your target feel guilty for his or her own assertive behavior and make that person question whether it is, in fact, he or she that is the jerk for misunderstanding you or pressing you in this hour of your hardship. Assertiveness and self-confidence is a blade best blunted on guilt.

  2. Like Major, I will work harder.
      If so, don’t play the game and assume your assigned role of wanderer in the wilderness. Ask questions. Demand answers. Seek challenging assignments. Show the jerk what you can do.

    When confronted with a productive and overachieving target, it’s best to feed the beast what it will eat. When answering questions, give out false information with just enough truth to be dangerous. Of course, you’ll want to avoid questions at all costs. Set up an e-mail rule so that the target’s e-mails go right to your Junk box. That way, when the target presses you on the e-mails, you won’t even risk the flicker of recognition or deception when you say you didn’t see it. Lie convincingly in person, but in meetings obfuscate, stall, and tell the target that you’ll “take it offline” to a more private forum where you can lie with more impunity.

    As for charging harder into the breach, well, make that a breech. Make sure the over-achiever gets the failing projects and doomed customer relationships. Sure, there’s a chance the target is a real rockstar, but you can only juggle so many teacups before you spill some Earl Grey, or something. Challenging assignments will taint your target with the scent of failure; coupled with the assertive demanding of answers, and you can aikido your target right into the reputation if difficulty.

  3. Just take it.
      Slough off his bad behavior as best you can, since his actions say a lot about him and nothing about you.

    The best offense is the fetal position. I mean, we know we’re jerks, and we’ve made our peace with it. So if when you see someone who doesn’t react to your jerk behavior, you have that person’s permission to be a jerk!

  4. The s-h-bomb.
      Jerk-like behavior between men and women can quickly become sexual harassment, opening the company to legal liability. A manager must stop it immediately. If you’re in the middle of it, make your situation known to your manager or the personnel office.

    Beware this mindset, where normal jerkishness suddenly becomes about simple sexual innuendo. As such, it’s important to employ preventive measures in your boorishness; that is, to avoid any appearance of any impropriety of the sexual sort whatsoever. As such, it’s important that your conversations with the target avoid troublesome topics such as:

    • Sex.
    • The naughty bits.
    • The not quite naughty, but the sometimes naughty in certain corners of the Internet bits.
    • Furniture, as sex sometimes occurs on it.
    • Edifices, as sex sometimes occurs in them.
    • Cars, as sex sometimes occurs in them.
    • Gender roles, especially traditional gender roles.
    • Transgender roles, especially traditional transgender roles.
    • Things that are cylindrical, rectangular, or are longer than they are tall, as these can be construed of as phallic in many college English papers.
    • Things that fit into other things, such as keys, nuts and bolts, letters and envelopes.
    • Things that sound like the words for or slang words in any language for naughty bits, genders, edifices, and so on.
    • Things that rhyme with any slang in any language for naughty bits, genders, edifices, and so on.
    • Calendars, days of which can include the menstral cycle.
    • Food, since there’s a lot of inappropriate slang usage for a lot of the words, like BLT.
    • Anything else an attorney anywhere might think of.

    Granted, this list pretty much eliminates all conversations, but sometimes you can be a jerk non-verbally. Through body language. Wait, that involves the body, so undoubtedly it’s all prohibited. Never mind, carry on.

Final words of encouragement:

    “There is no single cause for a jerk’s behavior,” Lloyd says. “You’ve got to tailor your response to each case. Some organizations reward the abusive behavior of jerks. That’s not true in the best companies, but if it’s true at your company, ask yourself, Is this an environment where I can thrive?”

Even if your organization doesn’t reward jerkishness, jerkinosity is its own reward, and any practice you get now will pay dividends when you finally get to an organization that will appreciate and reward your talent.

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Book Report: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (1992)

I inherited this book from my aunt, so it doesn’t count against my total accumulated book reading cost for the year (24 books costing $123.70 total, for a whopping average of $5.15 a book–oh, the humanity!). However, I’m not some poor, suffering fellow doing his familial duty by readint the heirloom; no, I like Stephen King, gentle reader.

This book represents an entry in the later Stephen King paradigm. In his early period, King dealt with large-scale evils such as demonic cars, apocalypse, or whatnot. Sometime after the middle 1990s, though, King began to stretch outside the simple horror genre and began to delve into character studies which examined what normal people would do within horrific situations–a girl lost in the woods, a woman chained to a bed in the woods, and so on. As a matter of fact, of the books I’ve reviewed recently, they fall into the two camps thusly:

Large Plot Simple Situation
Title Year Title Year
Firestarter 1980 Gerald’s Game 1992
Christine 1983 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1999
Pet Sematary 1983 From a Buick 8 1999
It 1986    
Dreamcatcher 2001    

I definitely see a shift in the problems faced by the main characters within the books. Although the main characters of all novels have to face some existential evil, the later books hang from a simpler hook.

I’d known about this book for some time. At the time that Toad the Wet Sprocket was playing on the radio, a woman was chained to a fictional bed or something in a Stephen King book. I didn’t think it would be something I sought out, but I’ve grown to appreciate Stephen King and I got the book for free (at great cost, though).

I won’t spoil the story for you, but the setting for most of the book is when the woman is handcuffed to the bed. On that small stage, a 250+ page book rests. Of course, she has time to reminisce about a dark secret in her past and confront threats real and imagined.

King’s prose remains the most evocative of anything I read these days. Some of the details within the book actually turned my stomach, but I respect the author since he’s done what he wanted to do.

Books mentioned in this review:

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