Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

Time flies when you are not necessarily having fun. The holidays are not particularly fun when you work in retail. Stores are open longer and longer hours in pursuit of that last 'holiday' dollar. The Christmas 'season', that is, the one that started around Oct.1. Where I work, we have been essentially dead, considering it is only one day until the Big One. We have had some moments of 'busy-ness', but yesterday one employee was sent home early due to the lack of interest. And you can't blame it on the weather, since the streets are dry.

While the holidays can be filled with merriment if you work in a typical office, where people downshift into a more relaxed modus operandi, what with the office potluck lunch, the cheap gift grab, the more formal office party, the chocolates, cookies, year end bonuses and the gift for the boss, life is far different when you are in retail. When you are in retail, you might as well call them the 'hellidays'. Retail outlets respond with staying open LONGER anticipating a last minute deluge of stressed out consumers just itching to buy our stuff.

We did well in some ways. We completely cleaned out a stock room and there were quite a few empty pegs throughout the store, but our store did not get the 'must have' items for 2005. I love Apple, but if I hear 'do you have an Ipod" just ONE MORE TIME....

And I've HAD it with Christmas carols, too. I have hummed 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' for hopefully the last time, I've sold enough batteries to create my own nuclear program and I am tired of asking everybody if they've done all their Christmas shopping yet.

While all of these additional hours are great for the rest of you, how about US? Tomorrow attendance is MANDATORY and we close at 7. When are WE supposed to go food shopping and make plans with OUR friends? No bonuses or cookies in the back room either. Bah Humbug. And for all its lunacy, many of us may not keep our jobs come the middle of January. The only good thing is I have HEALTH CARE effective December 28, the day I go to the doctors to find out what is wrong with my aching feet!

I never thought I'd say this, but going back to a life in a fabric covered box looks more and more appealing.

So, in an attempt at avoiding all controversy, have yourself a merry little CHRISTmas, a happy Hannukkah and a happy Kwaanzaa, too.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Excessive profits, Hurricane recovery and 'My War' and other troop blogs.

I haven't been writing much due to my work schedule and the coming holiday crunch and all its attendant madness, but the fact that during the recent spike up of gas prices and the $100B profit run up by oil companies while heating oil bills double hasn't escaped my scutiny either. Instead of asking Joe Sixpack to cut back on errands by car as the President basically did, how about asking his corporate sponsors to cut back on the use of their private jets? Each one of these uses more gas for their owner's enjoyment than 100 private vehicles do to run errands. It is also absurd on the part of the oil companies to 'pre-raise' the cost of gas BEFORE the hurricanes hit, rather than determining the cost of damage AFTER the hurricanes hit. Now that some of the oil rigs were not destroyed on the scale as was previously feared, how about a 'refund' or 'rebate' or 'price break' for consumers for the next month or so? Or here's another idea: Since consumers have apparently no choice put to pay the price anyway, why not have tje oil companies use their excessive profits for the next 3 months be used to rebuild the Gulf Coast? That way, no one's tax money has to be used, since the Bush Administration always claims there is no money for social programs or a reasonable health care system. But ironically, it wants to keep in place the Wealthfare tax cuts until 2010. $100B. What would Donald Trump build with that kind of money? Could Trump (or anyone else) do a quicker job of dispatching all those trailers that are to be used as temporary hosuing for the displaced in the gulf? One provider of trailers was told to take them back because they were filled with food and clothing and FEMA's rules demanded that they be delivered empty! And by the way, FEMA says the disaster is over, you can go home now and start paying your mortgages again even if you have no home to live in. Happy Holidays!

The other story dominating the news lately is the situation in Iraq. There's been a lot of back-and-forth as to wether the 'media' are accurately reporting the situation over there. Well, for a complete and unabridged version of what it's like over there, try reading a blog wriiten by a soldier or Marine who is living the war on a daily basis try 'My War' by the 'Nom de Blog' of CBFTW, aka Corey Buzzell, a soldier stationed outside of Mosul. 'My War' is the one I've started reading and I will post the link in my link section. I always start at the beginning so I have some catching up to do. You can find blogs from many military personnel by checking out sites such as Iraqi Blogs, Military blogs. I encourage anyone who is interested in what's going on over their, without the filters of the left or right. We didn't have this during my generation's war, Vietnam and after 1970, renamed 'The War in Southeast Asia' after Nixon's invasion of neutral Cambodia.

Can the truth filter out of Iraq even via the blogosphere? Not according to this article by NPR. But as I understand it 'My War' will be published into a book soon. But a warning is in order here, 'My War' is certainly not family reading, but it is an god blog to keep things in perspective this holiday season, while retailers and etailers are saying 'Don't worry, be happy, so keep spending".

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The numbers for November

The new visitor log for November to the Scorched Pig are in.

From US States: AL, AK, AZ, CA - Roseville, Badlands, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sunnyvale and Burbank, CO, DC (new!), FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA (welcome back online), ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA and Puerto Rico. Still outstanding: AR, DE, HI, IA, NH, SC, SD, VT and WY.

Outside the US: Canada: Alberta, Nova Scotia, Finland, Germany and Brazil.

Today I begin my 50th revolution around the Sun. Will be hooking up with friends and one I haven't seen in awhile.

Welcome all!