A zen experience

Leftovers & links
Click any image to engorge.

Yesterday I mentioned that a former co-worker, now in a different department, is training the foreign workers who'll soon be doing my job. I've now reached out to her via email, and for giggles let's replay that conversation here.

ME: So how's it going, training the workers who won't work here but will do our work?

HER: We don’t speak the same language. Literally. I’m learning a lot about myself as a person, and my capacity for patience.

ME: Sounds like a zen experience.

HER: Haha … Well, we’re doing it by Zoom and I just took a break from one individual who needed 30 minutes to log in to the software and reach the starting page. Watching his screen I had to repeat “go left” nine times and he kept going up instead of left. Sigh, it’s going to be a long day... *another* long day.

ME: And these are the folks who'll be handling the company's legal and policy documents — people who don't know the difference between 'left' and 'up'?

HER: It's a process, but I am confident that in another few weeks they *will* know 'left' from 'up'.

ME: What about 'ass' from 'hole in the ground'?

HER: Months, at least.

ME: Are you also training them on the rest of what we do — all the auditing and verification procedures, the legal endorsements, the trust requirements, the correspondence we generate, and all that?

HER: Nope. I don't know who's training them on that, or if anyone is.

ME: I chuckle, and remember this company fondly.

HER: It's all stupid but I only work here. I've been teaching them the most simple things for more than a week and it's not just the language barrier. They don't have much computer experience, or maybe none. I'm serious.

ME: Everyone knows that any company runs more smoothly, and with higher customer satisfaction, when important internal tasks are handled by people who don't speak English and don't know how to use a computer.

HER: Well, we have three months left to make it work. 

ME: Can you make it work?

HER: Probably not.

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When my wife was alive, she subscribed to Cook’s Country, a magazine from the TV show America’s Test Kitchen, featuring recipes they’d allegedly perfected. She had success with perhaps 1/3 of their recipes when she tried them, which is a good batting average for recipes from a magazine.

I’ve renewed Stephanie’s subscription every year since she died, and also sent a gift subscription to her mother. It's mostly a sentimental gesture, as I don't cook, and barely glance at the magazine. The subscription's up, now, and I'd like to renew again. 

Here’s an email exchange between me and their Customer Service Department, about the subscription renewal:

ME: I've received an offer by mail to renew my subscription, and nudging
me toward the web address cookscountry.com/givefree2021b, where I'm told, "This link has expired." Curiously, something similar happened with last year's renewal, except it was just a 404 error. 

I am ready willing and eager to renew my subscription, when the web address goes live. Please let me know.

THEM: if you are having issues with the offer you may contact us at 1-800-526-8442 m/f 8am until 6pm central time and we can assist with the order.

ME: I would rather renew at the web address on your post card, the URL that doesn't work, again. It's *very* difficult for me to get to a telephone during my work hours.

(That’s a lie, of course. I could easily call, but I hate talking on the phone, and calling would probably take twenty minutes on hold. And also, they’ve provided a weblink to a dead URL.)

THEM: You can always send the offer back by mail if you do not wish to call.

ME: Yeah, OK. I'll fill out the form and drop it in the mail and hope it arrives by your Monday deadline. 

Just saying, again, this happened with my renewal last year, too — I was offered the option of renewing via a web address that didn't work. Two years in a row? This makes me question the general competence of your web or marketing staff, and wonder if things are also screwed up in the kitchen at America's Test Kitchen.

Typed with a smile. Cheers.

(That's a lie, too. I wasn't smiling.)

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From a Christian website, we learn that in 2019, almost all of Facebook’s top Christian pages were run by foreign troll farms.

I’m saving the link for the next time either Facebook or Christianity comes up in conversation with my brother. He’s very much into Christianity, and spends most of his internet energy at Facebook.

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A study by researchers at the University of Washington found that killings at the hands of police officers have been underreported or misclassified over forty years, and that the actual number may be nearly double the reported amount.

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I didn’t finish reading this article, as my head was shaking ‘no’ too violently to process the words. Shall we all let Elon Musk decide whether we’re good drivers or bad? 

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Someone recommended a book to me, called How to Talk to a Science Denier, but I’m not interested. I know how to talk to a science denier: Don’t.

The science-, fact-, and reality-deniers probably can be reached, but it would take enormous effort and patience — more than I’m willing to offer, and more than those fools are worth. I have waved toodle-doo, and hope for no further interactions with the willfully and intentionally stupid.

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Update on the balcony situation

I’ve strategically retreated, and started parking on the other side of the building. It’s a longer walk down the hall, which is no fun when I’m carrying heavy groceries, but there’s no surveillance tower.


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Well, it was in the New York Times, so it must be true.  

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Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


Sincere tip 'o the hat to:

• Becky Jo
• Dave S.
Captain Hampockets
Mark Maynard
National Zero 
• and One of the Butt Sisters but definitely not the other.

🧁 ☕ 🍩
You’re always invited
to add anything below,
about anything at all.

🍩 ☕ 🧁


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  1. Man, that complaint generator Mystery Link...

    I typed in your name )of course), but it was soooo long, I just can't reprint it here.

    1. Yeah, definitely too verbose. You should send them a complaint about that.

  2. Renewing your wife's subscription to her recipe magazine made me almost cry. You write all gruff and all, but inside you're a sweetheart...

    1. Sounds like libel. I've got a reputation to uphold.

    2. A serious question if I may, does being a curmudgeon make you happy?

    3. It's what I am. Being anything else would be faking it, which would make me unhappy, so yes, not faking it makes me happy.


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