I’m disappointed by the stupid soundtrack, but there’s still something about this that cracks me up:
Man wonders why AT&T truck has been parked in the alley for three days. Man looks closer. Man realizes AT&T worker — in orange vest and hardhat — is actually using the bucket truck to pick oranges off a neighbor’s tree.
Now see, if he were doing this in Iraq, we’d celebrate his entrepreneurial spirit.
Having never lived with a fruit tree, I’m of two minds. My friends in Florida say that once you get over the thrill of having a mango tree in your yard, after you make the first mango ice cream and mango chutney and mango smoothie and mango grilled with fish and so forth, you look up at the tree and realize: I’ve got about a million more mangoes to go, don’t I? And then you start praying an AT&T truck rolls down the street and steals a few, before they start to fall on the lawn and rot. The next thing you learn about fruit trees is, they really require a great deal of care to give fruit worth picking — thoughtful pruning and spraying and so forth, and if you don’t, pretty soon the apples get wormy, the peaches shrink to the size of golf balls and you start perusing garden catalogs online, using the search term “maintenance-free.”
On the one hand, I could see that AT&T guy as a blessing. On the other, it’s always courteous to ask before you pick. On the third hand, maybe he did ask; what does the guy with the video camera know, really? On the fourth hand, this is what journalism will look like in the future; this is “citizen journalism,” comrades. Enjoy the future!
Speaking of future journalism, here’s something else you’ll have to get used to — major metropolitan newspaper columns about anal sex, including a bulleted list of tips for how to make it work for you. I can only chuckle wryly, recalling the approximately 70 million times I had something excised from a story on the grounds that it was too spicy for our readers. I once wrote a fashion story about the strategic removal of pubic hair that, by editorial fiat, never once used the term “pubic hair.” I was scolded for trying to pull a fast one on a less dirty-minded editor by including the name of the rock band the person I was writing about played in (Catherine’s Horse). I recall the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when hours were spent in meetings, trying to draw a shaky line between the sexual practices that were most often involved in the disease’s transmission and the sensibilities of our readers, whom the editors all assumed were 70-year-old nuns, apparently. And now here’s a column about how to do one of these very same dirty deeds! I never thought I’d live so long.
As recently as Jan. 3, 2005, I worked for a newspaper where, on orders from the corner office, the word “butt” was verboten. Not two years later, butt-f*cking. It is to laugh.
(A friend of mine tells me a story about how her syndicated column, which on this day discussed the merits of sucking fat about of one area of the body and injecting it in another, caused a stir with editors. Why? Because she wrote that fat was sucked from one’s “butt,” and oh my we can’t say that, can we? She was encouraged to substitute the word “hips” instead. I tell you this so the next time you see a story about “hips-f*cking,” you’ll know what it’s about.)
OK, bloggage: Here in southeast Michigan, I wake up every day and open my newspaper with a certain wreck-on-the-freeway fascination, because it appears that our free-fall to the bottom of the economic barrel is not over. Our unemployment rate is over 7 percent and the state is bleeding population in an arterial spray. The day before yesterday came the news that we lead the nation in home foreclosures. (Guess what our rate of increase between 2005 and 2006 was? Here’s a hint: Nationally, it was 42 percent. Give up? OK. In Michigan, it was…drumroll please…127 percent. Yes! Michigan is in the house! Or out of the house! Whatever.) Yesterday came the news that Ford Motor Co. could not have lost more money last year if they’d set fire to the building and used a dump truck to drop $100 bills into the flames for 12 months straight. And today comes the story I’ve learned to look for in the days immediately following these gloomy announcements. I reproduce the headline here because it didn’t disappoint:
This happened after the Delphi bankruptcy filing last year, too. The company announced it was cutting the rank-and-file’s pay by 50 percent, but paying seven-figure bonuses to certain members of the management team so they wouldn’t leave. A reasonable person might say, “So? Let them leave. Don’t they share responsibility for this debacle?” Well. To read these stories, not only is this a stupid question, the sort of thing only a blue-collar numbskull would ask, it shows your utter lack of understanding of how business works. Said the CEO:
“Now we are in a tough situation right now, and we are in a turnaround situation, and we need the absolute best, skilled and motivated team in all of the positions. That is the way we are looking at it, is to make sure that we are paying for performance, even though it is really a turnaround situation. We need that performance … more than ever.”
It’s times like this I regret not going to business school.