|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Step One: Respect Diversity. Step Eight: Profit
Please turn down your thermostat.
Christ, it's hot. I want to move to Nova Scotia and work on a trawler. I'll spend my summers off the coast of Greenland as an iceberg farmer, or maybe I'll hop a train to St. Petersburg and hitchhike to the majesties that are the great nougat fields of Northern Asia.
My air conditioner sucks.
I've been raspy and wheezy all week due to the confluence of aggravating humidity, wildly interrupted sleep patterns and probably allergies. The situation is exacerbated badly by air conditioning, but living in an upstairs apartment in hunnerd-degree weather isn't allowing me the box fan/artificial cross breeze solution.
So I sit and sweat on my couch, growing ever more miserable as this heat wave lingers.
I had this little daydream from the files of "Would you rather..." that posed a big conundrum. Sitting on my couch, sweating morbidly from the back of my neck, trying in vain to find the cool spot on a chennile pillow (hint: does not exist) I asked myself the following question: Would you rather be instantly completely healthy at this very moment, or have the weather no matter where you were be like San Diego's for the rest of your life?
I'm like the hungry lady in the supermarket with a cart full of Cheetos and Nutter Butters who only went in for paper towels. I demand instant gratification for whatever's irritating me at any given moment.
In the midst of this wheezing discomfort, I actually slept with the windows open, AC off and three box fans strategically ventilating the room on Tuesday. It certainly helped the allergies to not have the AC regurgitating stale air up my nose all night, but waking every thirty minutes to peel one's sweaty arm off his flank is no way to enjoy a good night's sleep. Needless to say the AC returned last night, as did my sniffles.
You know, I could probably deal with this ninety-nine shit if the temperatures would drop appreciably when the sun went down. As it is, I'm going to weep tears of unabashed joy as soon as this weather breaks for good and I can sleep comfortably with my windows open. Until then?
As a tiny cog in an enormous corporate machine, I've been tasked periodically to various online training modules with the intention that I will absorb various ham-handed attempts to install a mandated level of appreciation/respect/adherence to a variety of HR-driven topics. Due to their appeal to the lowest common denominator among us, there's a certain level of absurdity and humor that can be found within these sessions.
Today's topic? Diversity. Sample quiz question:
True or False:I know what I'm supposed to answer here, but are you sure that's the correct answer? For all the corporate speak about shared values, vision and goals, isn't the standardization and remote distribution of policy in the form of training modules simply an attempt to influence thought in a directed fashion? And what exactly then is the difference between this and brainwashing? And how's this for a nebulously constructed question that's designed to pander to the reader's ego:
True or False:If there's a single word that has lost its meaning in a more profound way over the past ten years or so than "VALUES," I'd like to know what it is. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic here, but "values" is a way to illustrate that your own personal predispositions and biases are valid and allowable, so long as they are rooted in some sort of logical rationale. But since we're appreciating diversity and approaching a seven-step plan* (step eight: profit) to acknowledge and "triage" our biases so as not to affect our company's corporate citizen reputation, isn't a pandering statement about "values" here fundamentally contradictory to the "respect for and appreciation of our differences?"
It's okay to think the homos are going to ruin marriage for the heteros. Just don't judge the queen two cubes away until you get to know him.
*Really. Seven entire steps is all it takes to break down years of prejudicial barriers. Someone really should have tried this plan back in the 1600s on any one of a variety of boats coming from Africa.
My favorite part of the training was a brief "word association" exercise that turned into an unexpectedly comical corporate mad lib of sorts. The module was careful to explain that you shouldn't allow your prejudicial attitudes about people in certain groups to
The module insisted the answers were neither tracked nor recorded, but I still didn't try to get too cute with them.
I wish I had.
As soon as the word association game was over, it was time to examine my prejudices. Here are the two "challenges" the module made from my responses:
If the person were a male executive rather than a female executive would you still have answered:Um, probably not. Thanks for exposing the dark underbelly of my preconceptions!
In case you were wondering:
***"Gay" (showing, in fact, a highly restrained approach to creativity here)
****"Tabbouleh" - and you thought I was going to say, "Terrorist."
Anyway, they found Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's hot granddaughter, ending the latest "young white girl in trouble" alert. Apparently, this girl ran away from home to meet a pimp she met on MySpace.
I realize that I'm not a "playa" who expressly states his interest in meeting "(y)oung fine classy women who r open minded to a different way of life. And must be sexy." I understand that I never have once in this space said that I believe that "when your (sic) [sexy], classy or fine you should get what's coming to (sic), like all the money... (and the) perfect opportunity for you to travel with me and achieve the finer thing (sic) in life."
Ladies, I shouldn't have to say these things to you. Verbatim, this is my implicit dedication to you.
No offense to anyone or anything here, but do I need to be depressed that Jazza the Pimp's Internet come-on is good enough for a hot blonde 20 year-old with political connections, and I get a less well-connected Okie thirty years her senior?
I just got done eating lunch (ham sandwich, water and an apple) with one of my suppliers who happens to be an enormously attractive woman. I was witty, possibly charming, told a story with resonance to our industry that got a laugh and sparked a side discussion, and successfully used the phrase "apocryphal hyperbole" in a sentence (level of difficulty: 8.3). I'm dressed well today, feel good, and was on "my game," whatever that's supposed to mean.
Naturally, I have a festering bug bite on my head that is awfully red and scabby that looks like it's ready to bleed at any given moment. I clearly cannot win.
In addition to the cold lunch with the hot business associate, I also visited my brand new dentist last night, who happens to be what I'll call "Country Club Hot." Blonde, very attractive, and runs an absolutely meticulous office*****. Although my fling with my middle-aged woman was satisfying, if not ridiculously short, I'm thinking that I should be allowed more than one of these in my life before "older woman" means "necrophilia." So yeah, I want to pork my dentist. Except for the gawdawful piano music (think "aural soundscapes" meets "trite redundancy") she piped into her office, she seems like the type of rich woman who could appreciate a dissheveled loser in $30 shoes like yours truly.
*****You know how there's all sorts of dental equipment on those maneuverable arms and such? Stuff like lamps and trays and X-Ray machines? On the unused stations all arms were at right angles to or collapsed on top of the previous joint. In other words, I think if she got in early on a Wednesday and found a station with equipment arms akimbo, there'd likely be hell to pay. No sire, spank me.
Joaquin emailed me today and said he's "been loving the Jazz posts." Not sure if he means jazz record reviews, but how about another just for him?
Soul Station - Hank Mobley
I've got no apologies for growing into my Hank Mo fetish. He's as straight as hard bop gets, kinda one of those guys that's so good at what he does that despite only doing this one thing well, you don't even notice that his career isn't full of the same sort of ground-breaking genre exploration some of his peers went through. To me, he's Patrick Ewing. On tenor you've got guys like Coltrane (Olajuwon - infinitely better in every aspect of his game, far more creative a player, fluid and dynamic, has a ring), Sonny Rollins (Adrian Dantley - less brawny with a smaller tone, still able to mix it up with the big boys, highly imaginative and the type of high-socks spin move post game that brings fresh soul to the old school) and Wayne Shorter (Kevin Garnett - young buck coming in as the old guys aged and got comfortable, angular and athletic, a threat to catch you with intensity in his songwriting or offguard lulling you with moments of beauty in a simple ballad, the template for the post-Olajuwon big guy), and they were all different and "better" than Mobley. But like Ewing, Mobley's got one good go-to move, enormous elbows (presumably) and a veteran's bulldog mentality that's going to net him his 20 and 8 no matter the situation.
So yeah, he's a little bit of a one-dimension hard bop blues player, but that doesn't lessen how entertaining these albums of his are. Soul Station particularly is a favorite of mine, as he's flying without additional horns, and in the accompaniment of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and the great Art Blakey. It's top quality blues, less overtly funky than Horace Silver, but far more accessible than anything Miles Davis was doing to the blues in the mid 60s. "Dig Dis" and the title track are both excellent, owing largely to Wynton Kelly's simpatico style. I constantly am coming back to this disc, it's probably my favorite one in Hank's catalog.
Apropos of nothing, actor Billy Crudup has dated both Mary-Louise Parker and Claire Danes. I will now either slit my wrists, or possibly lobby to star in Prefontaine II: What Hath Cheetos Wrought?
So Al had mentioned we hit Maggiano's on Saturday. Here's the scoop:
Better value for the price than I would have figured, as it looks a little fancy from the moment you walk in. We got family style for what amounted to $26ish per person, and I think that even without the abject excess potential with an all-you-can-eat restaurant, we got our money's worth.
I wanted to treat a bottle of wine to the table, mainly to tip the
By the way, our waitress had a fantastic ass. Al politely nodded and changed the subject near the end of the meal when I mused that she was the type I would have been chasing* had I worked at this restaurant**, and that she was either dating someone way better or way worse*** than me, and there was no in-between.
(I'm starting over with the asterisks, I think you can keep up)
*By "chasing" I mean "a slow and silent process featuring a gut-wrenchingly angsty pining that in no way reflects honesty or overt machinations to express my feelings."
**Had I worked at this restaurant ten years ago. If I worked there now, I would most likely be swinging from the exposed oak beams and not banging waitresses marginally older than half my age. Or maybe not.
***This has, in my experience, always been true of restaurant girls. Maybe my sample size is small, but the quality of boyfriends of the waitresses with whom I worked ranged from your standard top-tier fraternity dude, complete with square jaw and trust fund, all the way down to Big Shon on house arrest for hustling weed who admonished me in private for not fucking his incredibly hot girlfriend who was, at the time, also my housemate.
Anyway, I asked the waitress if many people asked for the decanter. Of course, she said no, and then I trotted out one of the four or five things I know about wine ("You know, if your customers order a Tuscan or any Italian red that starts with 'B' - Barolo and Brunello specifically, even Barbera - they're going to enjoy it more if it decants for awhile.") like some asshole trying to impress a 22 year old waitress with a fantastic ass, which I think she read perfectly.
The wine kinda sucked, by the way. It had that really thin body up front, so dry that you barely tasted it until it was halfway down your gullet. Totally disappointing.
The food was alright. Even with the ambience and the solid reviews from my dining companions, I was eyeing the pricing of all-you-can-eat at $26ish/person with some skepticism. Like I said, it was alright. I was skeptical, and although it didn't knock my socks off, it didn't disappoint me either.
We started with calamari (was good, nothing special) and Bruschetta (it's bread and tomatoes, nearly impossible to screw up), moved on to salads (I had the spinach salad, which had not remotely close to enough Gorgonzola but was fresh and tangy), then hit the pasta/entree/sides course all at the same time. I tried the Gnocchi in Vodka Sauce, which was solid but obviously (higher-end) food service gnocchi, and the Veal Picatta, which was absent nearly any moist tenderness and sauce. Even with those knocks it tasted pretty decent. Asparagus and potato wedges were... well, asparagus and potato wedges.
We finished up with Tiramisu (again, nothing to complain about but I wasn't wowed), some apple pie sort of thing and very necessary coffee.
In case you were wondering... yes, I do feel guilty for eating out like this. Made me feel like I was only giving lip service to the "diet" I'm currently easing myself into. Of course, The Doc says I'm allowed "cheat days," which makes it all okay.
Of course, it doesn't make Sunday's pizza feel like any less of a cop-out, but whatever. I've eaten better since.
I think I deserve a chicken parm sub...
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
About the Author
Greatest Hits [archived]
Guinness and Poker
Al Can't Hang
The Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Tao of Pauly
Scott, Texas' favorite Fat Guy
Only Built 4 Cuban Links
Up For Poker
Ugarte's Poker Grovel
JD's Cheap Thrills
Poker Stars Blog
Vegas Poker Blog
Poker in the Weeds
Nickle And Dimes
Not a Poker Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Horse Racing Links
Curb My Enthusiasm
Daily Racing Form
They Are At The Post
Tampa Bay Downs
Your Average Horseplayer
Tote Board Brad
Left At The Gate
design by maystar
powered by blogger
Syndicate this site
Online Poker : Visit Dr. Pauly at Tao of Poker for the best written journal on Poker Around. From on-line poker rooms to off-line live tournament coverage including the WSOP.
Las Vegas : The Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog is the goto stop for people who come to Sin city to hit the tournaments and poker rooms. From the World Poker Tour to the World Series if it's big poker in Vegas it's blogged here. Home to the Prof's Las Vegas Links Directory.
Utilities Provided By