Is it real, or…?

Tuesday night

We’ll see how long this lasts. I was up at 5 a.m. today, out the driveway at 5:55 a.m., in Lansing for a half-day conference followed by the story-writin’, then home. Did I mention both legs of the drive were made in pouring rain and fog? Yes, and isn’t that fun, knowing that just at the end of your headlights might be the puddle that sends you hydroplaning, while enormous SUVs pass you — on both sides — at 80 or so.

The last part of the trip home, a Mercedes sat in front of me for six miles, right blinker on. Exited, turned left, merged left, merged right. Blink, blink, blink. My tension level was high enough at that point that I would have happily rammed the back of his car to shut the thing off.

The point is, man am I tired.

But I have fortified with pizza, wine and cake, and all is better. And now I’m thinking about what I read yesterday, from the AP:

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The breathtaking model on your magazine cover: Of course she’s not that thin and unblemished. That reality show you never miss? You’re shocked – shocked that its real-life drama isn’t 100 percent unscripted. And that diva who may or may not have mouthed the words to the national anthem to her own prerecorded voice? Yeah, well, so what? It was a big moment, and she wanted to sound her best.

In America these days, in countless tiny ways, much of what we see and experience isn’t exactly what it seems. We know it, too. And often we don’t care, because what we’re getting just seems to “pop” more than its garden-variety, without-the-special-sauce counterpart.

It’s not a dumb essay, but not a particularly smart one, either. Real life has become a cascade of unreal artifice? That’s a revelation that could only occur to the AP. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing I care about less than whether Beyoncé was singing live at the presidential inauguration. Not one thing. Singing is a more physical act than most of us would expect, and cold air doesn’t go well with it. Even delivering a rocky note or three is asking to get yourself on Gawker or in the late-night monologues or whatever, and who wants to be known as the girl who was flat on the National Anthem on worldwide TV? So she faked it a little. (Or she didn’t.) It was still her.

If you want to talk about fakery in entertainment, then I want to talk about a show that’s becoming one of my very favorites, because it’s so real — “Enlightened,” a half-hour dramedy-ish thing on HBO. What’s it about? So much, and so little, but mainly, it’s about the way many of us work today.

(Somewhere along the way, it became Wednesday morning.)

It’s a tough sell, this show, as it’s hard to even describe. Season one was about the return of Amy Jellicoe, played by Laura Dern, to work at the soulless corporation that helped drive her to a nervous breakdown some months earlier. The pilot introduces Amy in recovery at a posh Hawaiian rehab facility, meditating on the beach, swimming with the sea turtles and returning to Riverside, Calif. a new woman — the sort who gets up in your face at the office coffeepot and says stuff like, “I am speaking to you with my true voice.”

But in the unspooling of the first season, and especially the second, we come to understand why Amy flipped out in the first place, and why her return, upon which she was immediately exiled to a weird new basement cube farm to work on a project called Cogentiva, is leading to an even bigger flip-out. Because this place may well be hell.

Take the name of the corporation — Abaddon. If you lack an encyclopedic knowledge of the book of Revelation, be advised that’s the name of a dark angel, king of an army of locusts. The company seems to make consumer goods that come in bottles; pre-breakdown, Amy worked in health and beauty, and is seen begging for a demotion to cleaning products to avoid the Cogentiva basement gig. (And because this is 21st-century America, there also seems to be a pharmaceutical wing.) Abaddon is housed in a glistening glass tower in one of those office parks that’s the same from Hartford to Cincinnati to Austin to Riverside, but like its namesake, it’s a destroyer — nominally of the environment, but mainly of the poor schmucks who toil behind those glass walls.

Here’s something I noticed a while back: How often the characters in the books I was reading were independently wealthy. Even serious novelists, with aspirations to Pulitzers and Nobels, and yes, I’m looking at you, Jim Harrison, seem to throw in a lot more heiresses and early retired tycoons than the average person might know in real life. It’s an easy way around a problem for writers trying to create fiction about the way we live today; most of us spend most of our waking hours at work, and much of our work sucks ass. I recall reading an interview with Mike Judge, around the time he was trying to sell “Office Space” in Hollywood; none of these zillionaire, Harvard-educated studio heads could understand why the story’s main character didn’t just quit his job and get a better one. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact there are millions of Americans who toil for corporations like Abaddon or Initech, in suburban office parks, and that many of them are quietly being driven insane by their jobs. But the next job is likely to be just as crazy-making, maybe even in the same office park, so why give up the seniority and accrued vacation days?

“Enlightened” brings us into this world, this real world, better than anything I’ve seen since, well, “Office Space.” It’s sharper, meaner but also kinder, if that’s possible. Even the bad bosses are simply the overseers for the unseen slavers in the corporate suites.

And if that isn’t a pivot, from Tuesday to Wednesday, from the AP to HBO, from Beyoncé to Laura Dern, well slap my face and call me Streamy McConsciousness. But right now, I have to get to work.

Posted at 8:35 am in Popculch, Uncategorized |

57 responses to “Is it real, or…?”

  1. Michael said on January 30, 2013 at 9:09 am

    The Book of Revelation is singular. No great moment but I did see Alex take away $600.00 from a contestant who made the same mistake.

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    • nancy said on January 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

      I learn more from you folks than I did in college. Fixed.

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  2. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Video:Beautiful woman dances in boots in snow and ice caves while accompanying herself with original music on violin. Strange and captivating. Of course, it’s probably fake. As David Blaine would deny, but will probably admit on his deathbed, anybody can make a Jumbo Jet disappear on TeeVee.

    I always find it funny when some fundagelicalictment mail fraud con on TeeVee quotes Revelations. And how do those bastards like Pat Robertsonnot get nabbed by the Feds for offering cancer cures in return for donations through the mail?

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  3. Randy said on January 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

    “Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too…” – Bill Lumbergh

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  4. nancy said on January 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

    That is such a great line, containing the very essence of corporate passive aggression — not a direct order, but “I’m gonna need you,” etc.

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  5. brian stouder said on January 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

    And don’t get me started, but I can go on and on (and on) about the informally enforced ‘political correctness’ that one must endure with one’s colleagues.

    And I believe Alex could add to that, too….if we got started

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  6. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I worked for companies that design spaces for those poor schmucks to work in. To be fair the last place I worked designed some amazing work spaces with multiple types of places for focus, learning, teaming and even entertaining. They preach that the better the workspace the better the work effort and thus bigger profits. The one thing I miss the most about the last place I worked was the fabulous space I worked in, even more than the people I worked with. I think that’s rare.

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  7. Scout said on January 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Randy @ 3 FTW, comments edition, Nancy FTW over all. Great essay today, and so many truths about modern life, in that so much of it is illusion based on reality. And yeah, people stay stuck in their shitty cubes because the alternative is almost always yet another shitty cube without accrued benefits.

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  8. Dorothy said on January 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

    When you shared the link to your former workplace recently, Deborah, I was struck by how fabulous the work spaces appeared to be. I did think “Boy oh boy, I bet it’s fun to work there!” My first job after high school was in an office, with a good company, but the departments were spread out in multiple locations in a suburban building complex of sort. I had the unfortunate experience of working in the basement below Thrift Drug Store. Then when the company built their very own building in that complex so we wouldn’t all be spread out all over the place, THAT department had to STAY in the crappy basement of Thrift Drug. But by then I had been promoted to secretary to the Advertising Manager so I was glad to no longer have to work in a window-less environment. The 6th floor of a 7 story building was SO much nicer.

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  9. BigHank53 said on January 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I remember hearing an interview with Yo-Yo Ma following the 2009 inauguration, in which he said of course the music was piped in. Apparently it’s impossible to keep a cello in tune outdoors on a cold day: the body cools off in a couple minutes, while the neck takes over an hour. And then there’s the humidity issues…

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  10. Peter said on January 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’ve designed many a corporate interior in my career, but the first one I worked on still sticks in my mind.

    It was an airline reservations center, and prominently displayed on one wall was an electronic scoreboard that had a series of four digit numbers with times being displayed next to them. I was told that each employee was given a four digit number, and was also given 75 minutes of free time each day to be taken any way they want – lunch, smoke breaks, personal calls. When they wanted to take a break, they had to key in, and their number would appear on the board, with the time counting down. Go over the 75 minutes, and you might as well go home.

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  11. brian stouder said on January 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Peter, I’d hate that!

    Say – don’t fail to read the link to Nance’s Bridge piece; very good stuff.

    I must say, the more I read/learn about public education, the more convinced I am that Fort Wayne is especially fortunate to have the excellent superintendent and school board that we have.

    The allusion to early childhood education in Nancy’s article is (I think) the key to everything; but also, having a can-do attitude is, at all events, indispensable.

    At our last board meeting (Monday) the FWCS board addressed Indiana’s changing directives….now going to “Common Core” standards. Dr Robinson, our excellent superintendent, emphasized that – first – state funding is indispensable, so their directives will be adhered to, period. But – second – while the state will always tell us “what”, the cannot control “how”; that’s where administrators and educators at the ground level are free to use their professional skills.

    Unfortunately, I have to miss tonight’s (rare) follow-on meeting about Common Core, because…’s parent conference night at our son’s high school…! (A person has to have priorities, I suppose)

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  12. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Ultimate horrible workspace.

    If Sister Re says it’s no biggie if Beyonce lip-synched, the critics should STFU.

    Can’t wait to find out how the NCAA jumps on this:

    Gary Cole’s performance in Office Space was amazing. A fully-realized character more odious than Frank Burns in Mash.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Gabby Giffords speaks to the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun control, in 71 poignant and brave words: You might want to get out the kleenex.

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  14. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Who knew? A Palestinian F1 race car driver. Who’s Palestinian. And a woman:

    Now that’s somebody to root for, and a good reason to follow F1.

    The Gabby Giffords video is particularly moving in comparison to chickenhawk Ted Cruz’s recent disgraceful attempt at disparaging the commitment of Kerry and Hagel to US military personnel:

    That guy needs his ass kicked. Kerry + Hagel = 5 Purple Hearts 1 Bronze Star 1 Silver Star. How does Old Man Mcrappy Appletonpants not call this little POS out for this shameless behavior?

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  15. Kevin said on January 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    It’s a cliche, I suppose, but “Enlightened” is the best thing on TV that no one is watching. And it’s very, very funny in the dryest sense.

    My favorite detail is that Cogentiva is a program designed to replace the people who are working on it, so they come to work every day in order to make themselves obsolete. Fantastic.

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  16. beb said on January 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Office Space was one of those movies that bored the hell out of me but has so many great lines and real characters that it’s also kind of unforgettable. King of the Hill was the same way. Boring as hell, unforgettable characters.

    My favorite line from Office was goes:
    Efficiency expert: We see that you’ve been missing a lot of work.
    Worker: I can’t say that I’ve been missing it.

    There’s been a lot of recent “demonstrations” of people’s second amendment rights by guys parading around with the AR15’s on the streets, in a Penny’s, at a Krogers. And in every case people panic because they think they are terrorists about to shoot up the place. The cops are called and of course no arrest is made because what they were doing was “perfectly legal…” Maybe it’s just me but I think anytime someone does something that, however legal it might be, that sets other people into a panic that ought to be with “disturbing the peace.”

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  17. Charlotte said on January 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I didn’t do well in the physical space that is Cisco-land San Jose — found a niche as soon as I could that allowed for a lot of work-at-home time (which was genuine. In the office there was too much talking to get any editing done). And I’ve been lucky enough to work at home full time since 2002 — of course I was the first one lopped off in the first wave of layoffs, but crept back in to do the 1/2 of my job that was in another department. Our office in Seattle is even worse — they have real offices, with doors, which is nice if you get one on the perimeter, but for those of us who are junior/visiting, it means all day in a purple-and-teal room with florescent lighting and no windows. I get claustrophobic immediately.

    That AP story — I’ve been rereading Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” — from 1935 — concern abou tthe slippage between “the Real” and simulacra is nothing new — and frankly, despite the twitchiness my Phd work left me with re:Theory — Benjamin is a much more interesting writer than the AP.

    (And yeah, Harrison hangs out with too many rich people, it’s annoying. That and his late-in-life notion that young girls are falling in love with him, which gives all of us the heebie jeebies).

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    • nancy said on January 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      I’m reading his latest now — two novellas — and the second one is bumming me out big-time. And yet, its praises are being shouted to the heavens by the usual critical suspects. They must assume he’s going to die soon.

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  18. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I wonder if those two Tejas Senators that voted against confirming Kerry as Secretary of State will admit their terrible error after Tejas secedes and they have to beg for help from the USA.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on January 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Once I did a trade mag article on package design at Kraft Foods that involved a visit to their HQ. The design group worked in this nifty open environment with lots of light, open space for conferences or whatever, package samples and even toys and whimsical posters. When you looked away, the gray, grim expanse of regular cubicles stretched to the far-distant walls.

    The SVP I interviewed for that article left Kraft shortly afterward. Wonder if the space he helped design reverted to cubicle-land after he was gone.

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  20. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I’d have hoped a floor plan for a Kraft workspace would have resembled a Skinner Box.

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  21. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Natural light is important for your wellbeing. I would hate to work in a windowless room. The trend now is for lower cubicle walls and better yet benching which is more like long tables with minimal dividers, if any. They say that there is less noise because psychologically if you see your coworkers you tend to quiet your phone voice etc. There should be other smallish closed in rooms where you can go to consentrate. And gathering spaces where you can go to collaborate, not necessarily conference rooms, smaller, sometimes they call them huddle rooms. Ideally there should be places where people can blow off steam, socializing or even a place to go to cry. They are also coming up with places for people to work standing up from time to time as sitting all day is really bad for your health.

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  22. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm


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  23. Brandon said on January 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Searching for items on the ethics of Beyonce’s lip-syncing, I found this one on her wearing fur at the inauguration.

    An update on the Manti Te`o thing:

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  24. brian stouder said on January 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I’d say we’re more than half-way to learning that, once again (and as always), Nancy’s first take was right. As soon as we see any photo of the football player with this guy, then it’s case-closed.

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  25. Peter said on January 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    My sister worked for a state agency that had everyone in mid height cubicles. She said the place reminded her of a stable and the workers were horses: you could see an upper torso every so often, and two coworkers talking to each other over the cubicles looked like two horses snorting at each other.

    Then she put a pile of sugar cubes on her desk and a bucket of water for a trough and her boss didn’t think it was so funny.

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  26. Charlotte said on January 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Interesting article and slide show from a Detroit native photographer:
    If you follow the link to his site, the re-photography series he did of stuff he originally photographed in the 1970s is really interesting:

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  27. Dexter said on January 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    The best show on television to teach sociology is Showtime’s “Shameless”. This show give one enough material for head-shaking at random moments in one’s week for that week, until Sunday rolls around with a new episode. The Gallagher family of Chicago , with William H. Macy as the horrible dad, is one mind-blowing show. Most people could never even imagine all the plots this show offers up. Example: How to quiet a Downs baby who hollers incessantly? Dose him with heroin that dear old dad rat-holed in from Mexico. Jesus Christ.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Oh, Dexter, who doesn’t know that trick?

    I watched that show once, and decided I’d only watch it again if I could invoice my court job for the time spent.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    By the way, this was this afternoon two blocks down from my church. “Not a problem area”, eh? That’d be news to most local residents, or the guy shot in that block last year, or the couple slugging it out back in December next to the Party Shop that I stopped to try and help. When I realized he was her pimp, it was hard not to cheer her on, if not help out. But she started throwing rocks, and I just wanted everyone to chill, so we all left unhappy. “Not a problem area”? Compared to where, exactly? (Detroit residents will now tell me where, I’m sure.)

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  30. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Stouder: Why you are wrong:

    My opinion is that people choose to play football, and it is fun and it sort of feels like you can leave reality. All of you that think football is evil, I must be a victim. Right? You can’t all have it both ways. I couldn’t point to a player I played with that displays symptoms, but Yeah, I played and I got battered to a pulp. I don’t know what to say about shit like this. My only kid is a girl, so I can ignore this idea. I don’t think any permanent damage was done to my Cerebellum, I’m fairly intelligent and use words fairly precisely. So who makes a deal?

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  31. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Me@30: What, like I don’t get it?

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  32. Suzanne said on January 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I worked for years in an office in a basement below a basement. I’ve only had two jobs in the last 30 that included windows.

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  33. coozledad said on January 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Damn, this is good:
    His passage into his new job — and, with any luck, Chuck Hagel’s subsequent confirmation as Secretary Of Defense — represents the clearest indication yet that the Vietnam generation is being allowed at last into the upper reaches of the one branch of government that has eluded it. This country has yet to elect a president who served in that war. (Yeah, C-Plus Augustus was in the National Guard. Excuse me for a moment because I seem to have commion sense caught in my throat here.) Neither has it elected anyone who was a highly visible member of the opposition to that war. (Bill Clinton’s antiwar activities comprised slipping past the draft here and protesting in England. His entire political career consisted of distancing the Democratic party from George McGovern.) Kerry, of course, was both, and he lost the presidency to a guy who, when Kerry was driving boats up the inland waterways of the Mekong, couldn’t seem to find Alabama. In terms of the executive branch of the government, power skipped that generation.

    Read more: The Confirmation of John Kerry – Secretary Kerry – Esquire

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  34. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    There oughta be a law about having to work in windowless basements. Seriously, unless you’re working on something that needs total light control, like some kind of med lab procedure or something.

    I’m all packed and ready to go to Manhattan tomorrow. Have to leave our place at 5:30am though to make a 7:30 flight.

    Did some regulars here make resolutions to spend less time on-line? Haven’t heard from LAMary for awhile, and Judy Busy was going to go to Puerto Rico for a couple of weeks, is she back yet? It’s been kinda light in comments lately.

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  35. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Top o’ the World Deborah. It is actually. Nobody anywhere should work without actual natural light. And Manhattan is the crown of creation no matter what you midlandians think. I am entirely unwilling to believe anybody with a brain buys the swiftboat shit. People that continue to purport that horseshit should be hunted down and horsewhipped. Lying scum. Got that Mark H?

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  36. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I read this article while I was waiting to get my haircut today at the salon, made me mad

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  37. Sherri said on January 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Given the choice between working in a cubicle bathed in natural light and working in an office with a door that shuts but has no window, I’ll take the office with the door. In fact, I did make that choice at one job. I find it difficult to concentrate with noise and movement all around me.

    When my husband did a startup and everybody was in cubicles, he quickly found out the biggest problem with cubicles is that there was no obvious social convention to indicate that he didn’t want to be disturbed right then. When he was in a office, his door was open most of the time, which meant that it was okay to pop your head in and ask him a question. If the door was closed, that meant “working on a hard problem, don’t interrupt.” They ended up buying a roll of caution tape and using that to indicate the equivalent of a closed door.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Les Nessman.

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  39. MichaelG said on January 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Deborah, when I saw the place where you used to work, I was tempted to post a picture of where our designers work. They and the rest of us in the construction bidness work in six foot cubes. There are small rooms as described by Deborah that are called ‘quiet rooms’ where people can go to talk or review stuff. What I find amusing is that people will email someone three or four cubes away instead of getting up off their hips and walking over there. We have pretty good natural light. Here’s a picture of the place where we work, everyone calls it the ‘Zig’:

    I kept hearing that business about Beyonce lip-synching and kept thinking I was missing something because, like Nance, I couldn’t bring myself to give a rat’s patoot. Glad to hear I wasn’t alone.

    I’ll bet that violin dancer was violin-synching.

    I was in Riverside, CA last night (stayed at the ever wonderful Mission Inn) and left this AM. Didn’t see any of the Abaddon stuff, though I did see lots of tilt ups. The weather was wonderful.

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  40. MichaelG said on January 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    That’s cubes six feet high. The footprint is much bigger.

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  41. Brandon said on January 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    24. brian stouder said on January 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I’d say we’re more than half-way to learning that, once again (and as always), Nancy’s first take was right. As soon as we see any photo of the football player with this guy, then it’s case-closed.

    A possibility, though a remote one.

    The interview will air in two parts–tomorrow and Friday–on Dr. Phil.

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  42. Deborah said on January 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    That’s a strange looking building MichaelG. Where I have worked people emailed the person sitting right next to them all the time, or they called someone who worked a couple of rows away instead of getting up and going over to talk in person.

    Sherri, the signal for “don’t bother me, I’m trying to concentrate on something” was ear phones, I wore them a lot when I wasn’t listening to anything.

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  43. uncle rameau said on January 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Shameless and Enlightened are both awesome. That is all.

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  44. LAMary said on January 30, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I email people across the hall from me. It’s known as CYA. Sad that things have got to that state.

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  45. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Michael G. That violin dancer was doing that for real and she wrote the music. I think she’s carrying on something great from the mad genius Ian Anderson, you know the one they call Jethro Tull.

    I was at that show, and I can swear it can be done. And Lindsey is a great deal prettier than Ian. And at least as good a musician.

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  46. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Deborah, I used to wear half a set of headphones in the office. I’d be listening to a complaint, but only partially. There was a point, at one point, in a 200 person engineering firm that was influential enough to do all of the HVAC work for Copley Place in Boston, a gigunda job, that the namesake of the founding father directed that I should proofread every piece of correspondence. I convinced him eventually that that was an horrific burden on one person, but he still had me deal with his personal correspondence. Strange job. But he was a fascinating mofo and I loved having the bastard think I was smart enough to filter his emissions. I think in the long run, we were sort of friends, or as close as Gary got.

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  47. Bowditch said on January 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Pros: and right there you’ve shown my QED for 40 years that Hotel California was musical plagiarism.

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  48. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Believe me, the HVAC for building a massive hotel and shopping highrise over six lanes of the Mass Pike was serious business. The tunnels also contained in and out tracks for Amtrak. The project was monumental. As were the air handlers. Coolest thing I ever worked on, except for some dermisted rooms at MIT.

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  49. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Bowditch, please explain? I know I should understand your reference but I don’t get it. All I think about that song and that album is that Joe Walsh added a pair that had been lacking from the desperadoes. And I was happy as a pig in swill when I figured out how to play that lick. It’s actually Joe Walsh stealing from Robin Trower Whiskey Traun. But, hell steal from the best.

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  50. Prospero said on January 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Is it real?

    I am making it my life’s work to rescue this gorgeous woman from LDS. They don’t actually like music, do they?

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  51. Sherri said on January 30, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    All I’ve got to say is, guys, if you want to breastfeed, it’s fine by me, and as far as I know, it’s not illegal:

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  52. MichaelG said on January 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    You have a point, Mary, but I am speaking of casual emails. You bet there are many times that one wants the conversation on the record.

    The Zig was a building conceived and built by an ego guy who wanted it to reflect, well something, but something personal to him. His name was Mark Turtletaub and he had created and built a secondary real estate lending outfit called the Money Store. It quickly failed and left the city of West Sacramento holding some kind of bag. The State, in the form of the Department of General Services leased the building and took the heat off W. Sac. There are many reasons why it is not a very good design. The foot print of each floor is all screwed up and there is just no way that space can be efficiently utilized. There are stupid blank spaces all over the place. There are all kinds of structural elements intruding in the space. The lighting is fashionable looking but not at all workable. Most people who don’t have a window seat have task lighting on their desks. It’s fortunate that natural lighting is so good. It’s one of those places that is one man’s ideal building but he’s the only one who holds that ideal and it’s a horror for anybody else. The one thing they did right was the HVAC and that’s a big one. Thankfully, the place is comfortable in all weather and the air is changed often enough so that it is always fresh. My window seat is large and comfortable. I’m just glad that I don’t own or manage the place.

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  53. MarkH said on January 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Oooh, Prospero – you a funny guy. Don’t know what I did to warrant the zero-in that is your post #35, but as usual, whatever. I couldn’t figure out your “swiftboat” reference, however. Was it reference to any disparaging remarks made about NYC, or about Kerry himself.

    For the record, not once, not at any time, have I ever posted an opinion here about John Kerry and his military service. Go back in the nn.c archives and prove me wrong. I dare you. Got that, Prospero?

    Oh, I did post a rather innocuous comment about a visit to NYC a few days ago. Said I liked it, I believe.

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  54. Bowditch said on January 31, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Prospero, listen to the chords that form the harmonic structure of the verses: Bm-F#-A-E-G-D-Em-F#, or i-V-VII-IV-VI-III-iv-V. This is an uncommon chord progression that has Flamenco origins, and prior to Hotel California’s use of the sequence, the only popular rock composition that employed it was, you guessed it, Jethro Tull’s “We Used to Know”. Coincidence or larceny notwithstanding, I agree with you on Joe Walsh’s licks, and the close third descending duet between Walsh and Don Felder in the closing instrumental is surpassed only by comparable lead duets between Duane Allman and Dicky Betts.

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  55. Prospero said on January 31, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Bowditch, I am not as well-versed in theory as you obviously are. I can figure out how to play these things to the point they entertain me. I do know enough to understand i-V-VII-IV-VI-III-iv-V. And I appreciate the lyrics of We Used to Know as much as I do the music. I always thought Ian Anderson was a brilliant lyricist. Meanwhile back in the year one.

    Danny, I never said you’d done Swift Boat bullshit on this site, but you and I both now you prattled that shit a few years ago. And you have more than once claimed I posted something I never did, and that I can prove. But Swift Boat, I never said you spoke that shit here, but you have spouted it before, and that is unmistakable.

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