Always look on the bright side.

Quite an evocative photo from my former workplace, which I stole from a friend’s Facebook page. Behold:


Note: That is not the actual winner of the Positive Attitude Award. That is my friend Emma, who used to work there but doesn’t any longer. I’m told the actual winner of the Positive Attitude Award left the company before the year of primo parking was up, and got a better job. Outstanding.

There are two kinds of bosses in the world, I think: Those who think awards like this are a totally great idea and a swell motivator of the workforce, and all the rest. We could fill a shelf of books with stories of both, but mainly the first kind. I’m frankly amazed why so few sense the weird, Soviet vibe of such a designation, but Fort Wayne Newspapers always had a rich vein of that stuff running through it. So did Knight-Ridder, may it rest in pieces, which once rolled out a chain-wide initiative aimed at customer satisfaction. “We’re obsessed with it!” an editor wrote, suggesting he wasn’t entirely clear on the concept of obsession.

Anyway, it was all for naught. Budget cuts, more budget cuts, still more budget cuts, a sale, even more budget cuts and finally – the Positive Attitude Award. This is how American capitalism ends, folks.

Not that I am bitter!

So, I started a new book this weekend, an impulse buy on the Kindle: “400 Things Cops Know.” I remember picking up a similar book from a free pile years ago, with a similar title, and emerging from a blinking fog hours later. You can dive in and not surface, or just nibble at random, and it taught me a new bit of jargon: You know what you call a perp’s butt crack and/or rectum? A “prison wallet.” I’m sorry, it just makes me giggle.

Other things I learned today: The passing of Cat Fancy magazine tracks with the watershed in feline culture in recent years, from purebred fluffy Persians to internet cat culture of LOLcats and Caturday and Grumpy Cat and my favorite, Henri, le chat noir.

How was all y’all’s weekend? Bill Bonds died here, and as I’ve always said, the mourning over long-running TV personalities is not yours to indulge in when you’re a transplant to a city. I’m sure I already missed the passings of the various TV personalities of my youth. Luci of Luci’s Toyshop, Flippo the Clown, Bob Braun – all gone to the great beyond. But Bonds was special, or so they say. An early version of the Freep mentioned that his career was “derailed” by alcohol, true enough but a hell of a load to put in the first sentence of a man’s obit. He was on TV here for 30 years; surely there was more to him than a dapper drunk.

Hope everyone’s week will be stellar.

Posted at 8:20 pm in Media, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

66 responses to “Always look on the bright side.”

  1. Kirk said on December 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    For the record, Nance, Flippo croaked in ’06, Luci in ’03 and Braun in ’01. But Bob Conners of WTVN, aka Radio Berlin, just went to the big studio down below a few weeks back.

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  2. David C. said on December 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Last Friday, at work, management rolled out their response to an employee survey they sent out several months ago. Their response – wait for it – is a committee of volunteer employees to make recommendations. I feel like volunteering so I can suggest a positive attitude of the year parking space. I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of thing they want. We’ve had a huge turn over in engineering in the past couple of years and they just can’t sort out why. A more useful suggestion would be a quick primer on supply and demand. We’ve all our raises in since I’ve been there to health insurance and they don’t seem to be aware the some people (me) keep the insurance information for past years. I looked and found that three years ago they were paying about $11k as their contribution for an employee +1. It’s 9.5k next year. They are completely diabolical on insurance. They know that all they have to do is make our insurance worse than the insurance of the other employers in the area and those with a spouse working elsewhere go on the spouse’s insurance. So as the economy improves they are leaving for better pay and benefits. I had to take a couple of business classes and they always say “pay doesn’t motivate” in the strictest sense, it doesn’t. But if an employee finds a job they see as pretty much equal but with higher pay, they take it. Not a mystery.

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  3. David C. said on December 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    We’ve given back all our raises…

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  4. Sherri said on December 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve regularly been accused of having a bad attitude. I try my best to keep it that way.

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  5. Sherri said on December 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Meanwhile, up here in the NW corner of the world, we passed some slightly stricter restrictions on gun purchases last election, by a large margin. The NRA didn’t even bother to spend money to fight the initiative. That doesn’t mean that everybody was happy about it:

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  6. Jolene said on December 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    The Post is running a series on the fate of the middle class over the past few decades. Looks promising. Link below is to the first piece. Second piece, which I haven’t read yet, just went up on the web site.

    For a few lucky journos, the Post is a pretty good place to be these days. The Bezos money has enabled them to hire a bunch of new people who are doing good work.

    In other local news, our former governor, who dealt with his marital and financial problems by accepting large illegal gifts, has received a sentencing recommendation of ten years in prison. Yikes! The article reporting the recommendation said that judges impose sentences in line with recommendations in about 79% of cases, so he may be looking at some serious time.

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  7. Jolene said on December 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    That was supposed to be about 70% of cases.

    The most amazing detail in your article, Sherri, was the idea of eliminating sales taxes on guns and ammunition. Sheesh! What possible justification could there be for putting them in a special category, distinct from all other purchases.

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  8. Deggjr said on December 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Alfie Kohn touched on the weird Soviet vibe (he didn’t call it that) in his book ‘Punished by Rewards’. Here’s an interview with him discussing rewards

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  9. Dave said on December 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Being a casual listener and not privy to any sort of insider media information, Kirk, as well as listening to WTVN local shows for years, because I could hear it far and wide everywhere I’ve lived (in the daytime), why do you think of it as Radio Berlin?

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  10. alex said on December 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Cat Fancy’s kaput and the News-Sentinel’s still going? The former had a bigger readership, and its contributors were never out to insult anyone’s intelligence or race or religion or politics. What gives?

    Hell, even when the News-Sentinel writes about cats it can’t keep rank partisanship out of it. Leo is always preening about his two felines Maggie and Dutch when he isn’t penning paeans to Ayn Rand.

    You’d have to be fanatical to write for either place, I suppose, but I’d bet Cat Fancy never had to resort to rock star parking for talent it couldn’t afford.

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  11. Kirk said on December 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Its Fox News bent. I’m talking Berlin 75 years ago.

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  12. devtob said on December 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I assume that “positive attitude” means working harder for the same or less money so that a monopoly newspaper makes more money, and smiling while you do it.

    And you might get to save a minute or so at the beginning and end of your commute to a job that’s always getting worse and more insecure.

    Why would anyone bother with that?

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  13. jcburns said on December 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    See, that’s the advantage of moving out of Columbus at the right moment. In my mind, 610, WTVN is preserved in pre-conservative AM-broadcast amber, and will always be the tinny, white-bread-music-playing, sober-newscast-at-the-top-of-the-hour, John Fraim in the morning, Conners in the afternoon, and Bill Smith at night friendly home at the left hand side of your Sony transistor radio. I’d wake up and deliver my paper route to lots of the Carpenters and Glen Campbell, and they’d play Classical Gas or Grazing in the Grass as an instrumental up to the top of the hour. Ah, Taft Broadcasting. Ah, broadcasting. Ah.

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  14. Dave said on December 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

    When I was small, my parents always seemed to listen to WBNS, Irwin Johnson, the Early Worm, I’ve strong memories of his opening theme song, “The Song of India”. At some point, they started listening to WTVN instead, I’ve no clue why, but by that time, I was probably listening to WCOL.

    Went on listening when I lived in Northern Ohio in the 70’s, Steve Cannon and all of that, I would listen to their afternoon drive time local shows when I would drive to and from work or around on errands in the daytime. Still listen to John Corby sometimes now, better than listening to the religious Rush wannabe on WOWO. Local radio really took a bad turn everywhere, it seems. Now, however, we can now listen to whatever we want to whenever we want to.

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  15. susan said on December 15, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Jolene @7:
    …eliminating sales taxes on guns and ammunition. Sheesh! What possible justification could there be for putting them in a special category, distinct from all other purchases.

    Sheesh, Jolene. Because Freeeeedumbbmmmmm! That’s why.

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  16. Dexter said on December 15, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Bill Bonds was a true media giant. Various cable companies we have had over the years sometimes carried a Detroit station or two and of course we can get several Detroit radio stations and I got both The Freep & The News everyday for years, so I was well aware of the legend of Bill Bonds. When I heard the news, I immediately thought of the three giants of Detroit, Joseph Paul “JP” McCarthy, WJR-AM stalwart I listened to every day in the morning until his death in the mid-90s, Neal Shine, “the keeper of the staff conscience” , who ended up as publisher of The Free Press after 45 years of newspaper jobs , all at The Freep for 45 years. Bonds was Mister TV in Detroit, sporting that rug he wore, always with that puffed-up ego.

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  17. Dexter said on December 15, 2014 at 1:23 am

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  18. adrianne said on December 15, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Love the positive attitude award. What a reveal into the cesspool that was my former employer. (Nance’s explanation? I was in a coma for 15 years). I have to say, the outfit that I work for now has genuine incentives. Just gave out 12 awards for superior writing and editing, each with a plaque and a $1,000 check. Winners displayed a positive attitude after opening the check envelope. Oh, and the awards giving was followed by all-expenses-paid holiday party at a NYC nightclub with a catered dinner and those two magic words for journalists everywhere: open bar.

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  19. Kim said on December 15, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Off topice, but I have to ask. From the (possibly) Small World Dept.: Adrianne, do you know Doyle? He’s married to my niece.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on December 15, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Not a day goes by that I don’t bless the memory of Knight Ridder and the 401K that will fund our retirement. Without the pre-tax withdrawals and generous matching amount, we might be looking at a grim future rather than a comfortable one. Not that it wasn’t earned as combat pay, mind you, but I’m grateful.

    Has anyone read California, by Edan Lepucki? It’s one vision of where our country may be headed if we continue the current transfer of wealth. Non-existent government resources, reversion to peasanthood for most, and a few rich enclaves for the Koch brothers. It doesn’t come off as that fictional, or that far away. I’m shuddering to contemplate the next two years, with the evil empire in charge of Congress.

    Anyway, on a happier note, our lad is flying the coop on the 26th, having made a job transfer to Orlando (where big sis lives). We are bustling around like crazy helping him to prepare, all the while praying he has absorbed a few of the life lessons we’ve tried to teach him.

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  21. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Julie, I’m not looking forward to those goodbye-days – which are on the horizon for us, too, I suppose.

    And, regarding what you said about the good ol’ 401k, Amen!

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  22. Jeff Borden said on December 15, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I was only at the Charlotte Observers for four years and three months, but they were always doing stupid shit intended to raise our morale. For the act of coming to work during a snowstorm, T-shirts reading “There’s Snow Stopping Us” were distributed. After the paper won a Pulitzer for its takedown of Jim and Tammy Bakker, everyone got Pulitizer Prize keychains. Whooooeeeeee. None of this raised morale, of course, and actually engendered more anger over our shitty pay, lack of raises and, of course, the constant jockeying of middle-management editors using staffers in their efforts to climb the status ladder.

    Crain’s Chicago Business knew how to raise morale. Everyone got two weeks pay as a bonus in the payroll before Christmas. We also enjoyed profit-sharing with the company contributing up to 15% of our salary in good years. When I left, I took a nice chunk of change with me.

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  23. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

    That IS an evocative photo; and aside from the thousand words that the pose is worth, the ‘thumbs-up’ icon that someone chose as representing a “positive attitude” can be taken several different ways. The boss might use such a motion when telling you to get your stuff and get out! Or, it might be a sly way to say “forget the parking spot, on the wages we pay, you better get good at hitch-hiking, and/or hailing the bus”.

    Last night I was pulled in to a CNN long-form production about a T-Rex (named Sue) found in South Dakota, and the fouled-up way the US government came down on the paleontologists who found her. One of the reporters ended up married to one of the paleontologists – who himself went to prison for two years, literally for failing to fill out a form(!). And during the dinosaur show, they had BREAKING NEWS about whatever is unfolding in Australia.

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  24. Charlotte said on December 15, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I remember being shocked by the tee shirt thing when I first went to work in high-tech. The idea that grown people needed matching shirts and ball caps to feel they were part of a “team” is so infantalizing. But it was a thing for a long time …

    The “good attitude” bullshit is just part of what I think of as the “new slavery” — “you should just be grateful to *have* a job.” (Corrollary: “You should just be grateful to be published.”) Management has spent 30 years instilling fear in the troops, setting individuals against their teams in annual Hunger Games Stack Ranking and in general, trying to convince workers that they should work for as close to free as possible for the good of the corporation. We actually had our last manager (since moved on to “disrupt” other lives) give us the spiel during the last set of layoffs, as if we should all be willing to give up our jobs for the good of Cisco. Give me a frigging break. They already “converted” me to a part-time contractor (like the part time, the lack of all benefits, not so much). Grrr.

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  25. adrianne said on December 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Kim, just got back to NN’s site just now so sorry for the delay in responding to the comments…are you referring to Doyle Murphy? Married to Jenna Goepfert? I just had beers with Doyle on Friday night at Pete’s Tavern off Union Square – a bar that O. Henry frequented back in the day, or so they claim. Doyle’s doing very well at the New York Daily News. He was one of my first and best hires at the Middletown Times Herald-Record.

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  26. Jolene said on December 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Here’s the second installment in the Post’s “what happened to the middle class” series. Quite relevant, as it begins with an overworked, underpaid guy receiving an employee-of-the-year award.

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  27. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Here’s an update on a story from last year, where “the lead” is well and truly buried.

    Their lead sentence is:

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman has reached a settlement with a barbecue chain restaurant where she unknowingly drank iced tea mixed with chemicals and nearly died.

    “mixed with chemicals” sounds like when the evil queen gives Sleeping Beauty the apple….but, to be fair, this passage appears a sentence or two from the end:

    A worker inadvertently mixed an industrial cleaning solution, lye, into an iced tea dispenser at a Dickey’s in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan. Harding drank tea from the dispenser Aug. 10 and suffered deep, ulcerated burns to her esophagus. Lye, an odorless chemical that looks like sugar, is used for degreasing deep fryers and is the active ingredient in Drano.

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  28. beb said on December 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Speaking of having a bad attitude, my wife doesn’t like me answering the phone because of it. Well, I think if someone is going to interrupt supper to sell me aluminum siding I have a right to be surly.

    Sherri and Jolene re gun sales. Remember the bit Chris Rock did a while back about taxing bullets $10 or $50 or $100 (I forget the number he picked) each so that the next time someone pisses you off and you reach for your gun you have to stop and consider whether shooting that guy is really worth a hundred dollars a pop. That made so much since in a twisted sort of way. Like taxing cigarettes out of existence. Of course then we’ll have people selling “loose” (untaxed) bullets…

    I confess I wasn’t sure at first what Nancy’s take on the “Positive Attitude” award was. Her sarcasm was a little too fine-grained for this early in the morning. “Brown noser of the year” award is more like what it is.

    But I immediately thought if the recent news about the Market Basket chain of gorcery stores. It’s CEO had long been known for his generous profit sharing with his workers. Then he got kicked out by a cousin who wanted to suck more of the wealth out of the company. Which lead to a strike by the employees until finally they reinstated the old CEO. He has now bought up 50.5% of the company so he won;t have to deal with shit like this anymore. (Though had to borrow money to close the deal which could put the chain on a conveyer-belt to doom…) How many other businesses can you think of where the workers cared two-bits about who their bosses are?

    Over the weekend I read on several political blogs that Sen. Cruz’s hissy-fit about the government spending bill gave Senate majority lead Reid an opportunity to bring up a lot of President Obama nominees for a vote. But I have not been able to find any report on which ones, if any, were actually confirmed.

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  29. Heather said on December 15, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Our company has an award in memory of a coworker who passed away some years ago–the story they tell is that when she was diagnosed with her illness, the first thing she said was “I’ve got to find a hospital with wifi so I can continue to work!” And this was held up as the paragon of commitment. If I were diagnosed with a major, potentially fatal disease, the last thing I would be thinking of would be how I would fit my workload in. That kind of says it all about my company.

    I was accused a few years ago at work of being “abrasive” and “aggressive,” which I guess means having a bad attitude. Those are qualities I have never been accused of having. All it meant was that I was a woman who refused to be smiley-happy-sugar sweet all the time.

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  30. annie said on December 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Jeff@22 – “There’s snow stopping us” T-shirt – hilarious. I can’t imagine any adult coming up with this & actually thinking that people would be proud to wear it.

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  31. Jolene said on December 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Beb, this WaPo article mentions some of the nominees that Sen. Reid is hoping to get confirmed this week. Also mentions, briefly, why GOPers object to them.

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  32. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Jolene – an excellent article. I was struck that they didn’t mention any nominees to the Federal judiciary…and, did they ever fill the NLRB?

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  33. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    …and the new AG?

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  34. beb said on December 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Since Sen. Reid was going to bring up a host of nominees over the weekend, I was looking for a list of the ones that actually got confirmed, not lists of who Reid would like to see get a vote. I googled after posting here and found that the Surgeon General nominee will get a vote Monday night around 5:30. It’s insane that the NRA considers him a threat. But maybe the fact that the NRA considers him a threat is proof that they are paranoid schizophrenic who should be locked away.

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  35. Jolene said on December 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I don’t think there’s been any voting yet on thi current batch of nominees. Confirmation hearings for the new AG Nd the new SecDef won’t be held until the new Congress is seated.

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  36. Peter said on December 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    That photo is priceless.

    I knew an engineer that worked at a rather large firm in Chicago. The firm’s xerox machine was a pos that kept breaking down, and he was getting fed up. It got to the point where the engineer said he would quit by there end of the week if that machine wasn’t replaced.

    Friday at 4:00 pm the owner calls him into the conference room. There, in front of the employees, the owner awarded the engineer with the company’s first “Man of the Year” award. The owner shows a large plaque with the engineer’s name on it; it will be mounted in the reception area. He asks the engineer if he wants to say anything.

    The engineer asked “Are you going to replace the xerox machine?”

    The owner said no. The engineer said go to hell and walked out.

    I was at that office a year ago, and that plaque is STILL on their reception room wall, and no one’s name has ever been added to it.

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  37. Kim said on December 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Adrianne – that’s the one! My husband’s sister is Jenna’s mom. ‘Tis a small world in NN.C-ville (and everywhere.)

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  38. Sherri said on December 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    One of the times I was accused of having a bad attitude was when a co-worker of mine was telling me about how our company (which was, in general, a good company to work for) had given another co-worker a new title. I asked if this new title had come with any new money, and she said no. I said, money is how a company tells you what they really think of you, and all the rest is just noise to hide that fact. She thought I had a bad attitude.

    My husbands grad school advisor put it more succinctly, though he was referring to funding agencies: if they can’t give you money, they give you shit.

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  39. adrianne said on December 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Kim, Doyle and Jenna are a wonderful couple. I hosted them one year (in 2010?) at my house in the Hudson Valley for Thanskgiving dinner. Glad they got hitched!

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  40. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Truly, whatever happens going forward, I can never complain about my job.

    Next week I’ll roll past my 28th anniversary, and it’s always been a very fine place to work.

    Before this job, I worked for nine years (to the day!) at Maloley’s/Lynn’s (now completely gone). Back in the day, Al Maloley would provide each of his store managers a new Thunderbird each year. When he sold the chain, that was they very first thing the new folks cut out.

    Although I suppose one could say I had a full head of hair 28 years ago(!) (not anymore!) -so there’s that.

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  41. Jolene said on December 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    All day, cable news has been about the hostage-taking in Australia. Meanwhile, there is a guy on the loose in Pennsylvania who has killed six people. So far, they are all family members, but, even so,it seems a little odd that it hasn’t been mentioned. I first heard about it on Twitter. Have checked the Post web site a couple of times, but nothing. We may have gotten a little too accustomed to multiple murder incidents.

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  42. adrianne said on December 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Jolene, that’s my home county (although Souderton is a pretty small town within it). It looks like more media folks are picking up on it: New York Times, New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal.

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  43. Deborah said on December 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Talk about saying good-byes. We did the big one this morning saying good-bye to my cat. We had an in-home euthanasia and it was a good send-off if there is such a thing. The vet was great, even though it was not a quick procedure, my cat’s veins collapsed when she tried to inject the drugs because of dehydration we think, she tried 3 different legs before she ended up injecting it into her side. Ursula, my cat, didn’t feel a thing through all of that because she was sedated. It was sad, sad, sad, the saddest part was me carrying the little blanket wrapped bundle out to the vet’s truck and saying my last good-bye. I didn’t know for sure that today would be the day, but when I called the vet this morning and she asked if I wanted to do it this morning at 11 I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I didn’t want to prolong the agony. It’s over now.

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  44. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Deborah – no fun at all.

    I always refer to our cat as “the stupid cat” – mainly because that always prompts Chloe (the 10 year old) to correct me, with a rather sour tone.

    Over time, they become family and are woven into our lives

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  45. Julie Robinson said on December 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Deborah, I’m so sorry, but grateful that she won’t suffer anymore. Have a good cry and think of her in happier times.

    Even though our son’s cat has done some damage to the house and has a lot of frustrating behavior, I’m gonna miss him too. It’ll be interesting to see how kitty and our daughter’s dog get along. It could be a factor in how fast he finds his own place. I think the cat might be bigger than the dog.

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  46. Jolene said on December 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I send my sympathy, Deborah. It’s hard to lose a friend.

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  47. Scout said on December 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    So very sorry, Deborah. Ursula is hopefully touching noses right now with the sainted Scout, my baby, another black beauty who passed away in January of this year.

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  48. Ocean said on December 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    @Peter – You’re story about the engineer is THE textbook solution to what Nancy (most deftly) illustrates in her post.
    These shit companies with their plaques and T-shirts not only fail to motivate employees, but also risk waking that beast: an employee with no fear. The tyrant’s worst nightmare.

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  49. Kirk said on December 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    As Jeff B. might remember, folks at the Columbus Dispatch who made it to work through the blizzard of ’78 received no T-shirt but did get an extra day off.

    Meanwhile, speaking of work anniversaries and such, though I officially retired four years ago, I have continued to work part time. But as of two weeks from this Saturday, I will work my last day in the newspaper biz and really, truly retire.

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  50. James said on December 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm


    Is it too soon to speak ill of the dead?

    My mom used to insist that Flippo (née Bob Marvin) got away with a drunk hit and run, because… Hey… He was Flippo. Or Krusty. Whatever.

    Had you heard this rumor?

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  51. nancy said on December 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I never heard that one, no. But it wouldn’t surprise me. Your mom knew a lot of things.

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  52. Jeff Borden said on December 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I believe I still have my “There’s Snow Stopping Us” shirt. If so, it will come in handy when I clean the cars of the winter muck and grime. BTW, my Pulitzer Prize keychain and another Charlotte Observer key fob reside at the bottom of the Chicago River. I threw that shit away my first day of work in Chicago.

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  53. MichaelG said on December 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I’m sorry for your poor kitty, Deborah. My thoughts are with you. Talk about the downside of having pets . . .

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  54. Suzanne said on December 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I worked for an organization in Fort Wayne that had its main office in Indy. We had to go to Indy several times a year for meetings. One new manager instituted an Employee of the Month Award with the reward being a good parking spot for the month at the Indy office. Boy that was great motivation for us who were 100+ miles away!

    Money doesn’t motivate? True, maybe, when the job is your version of a certain level of hell, but if it’s an otherwise decent place to work, heck yes money will motivate. I’ll always work harder if my employer values me and compensates me well. Do neither, and I will work as slowly as I can.

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  55. Dave said on December 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Adding to the sympathies for your cat, Deborah. We get so attached to them and then we have to part, always a very sad parting.

    Flippo, a hit and run, oh my. Just as someone has told us that both John Fraim (I think) and Chet Long were hard drinkers. Linda Ellerbee, who I used to enjoy, always said, “And so it goes”. It certainly does.

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  56. Kirk said on December 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Never heard that about Flippo, but he was a dirty old man; a photographer who works here can testify. Chet Long and John Fraim both were serious drunks. Chet died when I was a kid, but I had the misfortune to meet Fraim, who was one a little guy but a giant asshole. I know a couple of guys who, on separate occasions, were ready to break him in half at the Press Club.

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  57. Dexter said on December 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Big step, Kirk. Congratulations, and enjoy the free time.

    I had a little misadventure just now. My wife is helping her new preacher’s family by babysitting, so I decided to have a Whopper and a Coke for dinner, and as I ate in the van I turned on Mitch Albom’s WJR show to hear a little remembrance seg regarding the late Bill Bonds. It was a nice , truthful tribute, even mentioning Bonds’ embarrassing appearances on Mitch’s radio shows, as Bill would show up totally smashed and do stuff like walk into glass walls.
    I finished the Whopper and son of a bitch!—I had killed my damn van battery by having the dome light and radio on. Well, of course the friends I have who would have helped me were unavailable, so I called the wrecker service and got a jump. I know the dude and he had me drive to the shop and he tested my battery and he proclaimed I need a new battery, for which I am grateful for the assessment. Service calls are $45 now here, but I have insurance of course. I hope the battery I only used two months when I had the Blazer that blew up is still good, ‘cuz batteries are sky high in price these days.

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  58. Kirk said on December 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    And Flippo was actually nee Marvin Fishman; he went by Bob Marvin.

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  59. basset said on December 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Sometimes Flippo is their actual name; I’m thinking of Chet Flippo, who wrote so well on music for Rolling Stone and, later, other publications, including Billboard if I remember correctly. He lived literally around the corner from me in Nashville, which I didn’t know till after he’d died and I was out roaming the yard sales with Mrs. B. one Saturday morning. Went to an estate sale at his place and wondered why there were so many little pocket audio recorders there; saw his name on a trophy or something and then it made sense.

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  60. brian stouder said on December 15, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Kirk, congratulations on the coming change. When my turn comes, I’ll have no trouble figuring out how to fill the days.

    Dex – in my ’01 (or maybe it’s an ’02) Pontiac Grand Prix, which is a somewhat quirky car (although I like it), I noticed that sometimes the car would start grudgingly…and then one Saturday morning it was just flat dead.

    Got a new battery, and the thing’s been running like a top ever since. I’m a big shutter-offer; if I have to wait for Shelby at school, or if there’s a slow moving train – shut the thing down and listen to the radio. It’s no trouble for a battery that’s in good shape, I say

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  61. Jill said on December 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Deborah, I’m very sorry. It’s always so hard to let pets go.

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  62. Dexter said on December 16, 2014 at 3:06 am

    yeah, Brian, I am a big believer in keeping a good battery in all vehicles. The one in the old van is six years old, I had let that situation get out of hand. This will be resolved ASAP.
    I moan about the evils of capitalism as much as the next poor struggler, but it doesn’t keep me from getting such a kick out of Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha. Sunday he was down on the field before the game at Ford Field to commiserate with his good friend Ndamukong Suh of the Lions. Buffet then watched the game from a private suite with ten pals from Berkshire Hathaway. Last night Buffet attended “his nephew’s” basketball game. His “nephew” happens to be LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavs. I watched the game on TV and there was 84 year old Warren just having a time cheering on LeBron. Yes, Lebron calls him “Uncle Warren”. All this was gleaned from watching Dan Patrick’s sports show on cable yesterday. Buffet said “money is useful, don’t get me wrong, but it cannot buy happiness. Being with close friends and being able to laugh and have a good time is what happiness is all about, and it has nothing to do with money whatsoever.”

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Deborah, my household’s best to you. Glad they could come and do that hard task at your home, and not add the grim trek to the vet’s office to the sorrow. Vets have figured out that it probably makes people more willing to come and bring their pets to the office when they don’t have that big lump of bad memories for a pet’s final trip outweighing all the routine visits.

    And not that there’s any connection, but I now take my wife to the surgeon’s office for what we hope is a minor outpatient procedure, remembering that “minor” surgery is by definition something that happens to someone else . . . but we hope and pray brings relief after two years of surgeries on her thumb and wrist, which for a keyboard musician and modern day office hero is no minor problem.

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  64. brian stouder said on December 16, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Jeff, all the best wishes for you and yours

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  65. Wim said on December 16, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I’ll add on, Deborah–I’m sorry for your loss, and that you had to schedule it. I recall George Carlin once saying that every time you bring home a pet, you bring home a small tragedy, and it is too sadly true.

    Seeing that sign reminds me of the goofy shit that the Powers-That-Were used to throw the way of state employees back when I was one. There was a State Employee Appreciation Day being held on the capitol lawn in Jefferson City and for once in my life I was in the right place at the right time, and most unusually, because it was the height of field season. I’d been snatched out of the field that week to get schooled in writing environmental impact statements and so there I was, ready willing and able to be appreciated. I walked over to the capitol to discover just how much Missouri appreciated its employees. This much: dirty-water dogs and Boxcar Willy. Only they were out of dirty-water dogs by the time I got there. And as I grumbled, I looked up and about fifty feet away there stood then-governor John Ashcroft. I heard myself shout: “Hey, Big John! Where’s my hot dog?”

    He looked at me too long without blinking. I got right the hell out of there. Just as well: Boxcar Willy was tuning up.

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  66. coozledad said on December 16, 2014 at 8:06 am

    The anatomy of torture clusterfucks:

    In a way, it’s a pity they didn’t continue the Bush administration’s torture regime until they starting killing each other, but we still don’t know, and won’t know how many innocent people died.

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