Doug’s proper office protocol

Leftovers & Links #54

I had a plan once, but it didn’t pan out. Fortunately I had a backup plan, and another and another, but all of them exploded, burst into flames, and burned the building down a dozen times over. Now I’m laying out my 51st major plan, and it’s probably gonna flop too. If it doesn't work out, well, there's always plan B-52.

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San Francisco’s bohemian boat dwellers fight for their way of life 

Quote:  The anchor-outs get by with minimal resources, hauling their own water and generating power from tiny solar panels. They brave the bay’s famous winds to travel to and from the shore in rowboats or motorized dinghies.

Since their boats are old and unimpressive, they’re being seized and destroyed. We can’t have ratty or rusty boats, and god forbid any ratty or rusty people, certainly not near my yacht. So, meet Curtis Havel.

Another quote:  Citing a long-unenforced rule that says boats can anchor for no more than 72 hours, Havel has been confiscating boats, dragging them into a shipyard and crushing them into chunks. Of the 190 boats out here when he took over, Havel says he has gotten rid of all but 86 vessels – about 70 of which are now occupied by full-time residents.

Confiscating and destroying other people's boats is Havel’s career, and I wonder how the job interview went. “Do you hate poor people?” Sure. “Do you think houseboats are only for wealthy bastards?” Of course. “Do you have a conscience?” Nah. “Sounds great, you’re hired.”

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The time-lapse life of a giant pumpkin. The part where it takes over an entire greenhouse is a little bit scary. 

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Anyone want to poop through the legs of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich?

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I’m still recovering from three days working in the office, instead of from home. Worst thing about it was, people talk to me in the office. I hate that.

Let me ‘splain Doug’s proper office protocol: Sure, say good morning or say good night to me. I’ll say it to you, too. And talk to me if there’s a work-related question and I might know the answer, or if there’s some salacious gossip, or if there’s literally a dumpster fire outside (which has happened more than once).

But cripes I don’t want to hear, “What are your plans for the weekend?” and “They say it might snow” and “Did you see the latest Marvel movie?” I am not here to make conversation. I don’t like making conversation, and I’m not good at it, so just shut the hell up and let me listen to the tunes on my old-school headphones. 

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Punk and rock producer Steve Albini wants to apologize, and wanted people to shoot at him behind bulletproof glass.

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The antique toaster that’s better than yours. 

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As I type this on Thursday morning, a Minnesota Vikings tight end is “has refused to come out of his residence after making a series of disturbing posts on Instagram earlier Wednesday morning claiming that someone was in his home trying to kill him.”

That's news of no interest to me, but a radio newscast mentioned that “Vikings mental health officials” were on-site, and ESPN says “law enforcement and Vikings team psychologists have been in communication.” So... a single NFL team employs more than one mental health official and/or psychologist. 

A quick Google search tells me that the Minnesota Vikings have about 300 employees, roughly the same as the company where I work. At my workplace, though, there are no mental health officials or psychologists on staff.

Call me an anti-football bigot, sure, but my impression that pro football players are much more likely than the rest of us to be assholes, idiots, or mentally damaged. Every pro footballer was the very best player on his high school and college teams, so for as long as they’ve had pubic hair they’ve been “the jock,” always been idolized and gotten most of what they want. Factor in a big paycheck, plus all the accumulated concussions from a savage sport, and other than boot camp, there’s simply no better way to manufacture monsters.

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We talked about Charlie Munger a while back, the wingnut billionaire who wants to build windowless college dorms. In today's update, Mr Homegrown talks about other famous and universally un-loved windowless buildings

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No amount of internet surfing, even to the best sites, can match the old-style immersion of reading a single daily newspaper front to back.

I miss newspapers. The internet is killing them. Where I live, there’s only one daily paper left, and it’s frankly not worth reading or supporting.

I’m intrigued by this news about the news, from Utah of all places, where the Salt Lake Tribune has converted itself from an old-style company to a non-profit, and all indications are, it’s doing fairly well. 

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Walmart pulls children's toy that swears and sings in Polish about doing cocaine.

Człowiek psujący zabawę. (That's Polish for spoilsports.)

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I’ve written a page of frequently asked questions, in honor of the 500th person to read Pathetic Life and ask, “Is it true?” or “Did that really happen?” The next time anyone asks, I’ll simply reply with the URL. 

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


 Sing along with Doug:
Democracy is coming to the USA, by Leonard Cohen

Sincere tip 'o the hat: 
Linden Arden

Captain Hampockets
Follow Me Here
Messy Nessy Chick
National Zero
Ran Prieur
Vintage Everyday

Voenix Rising

Becky Jo
Name Withheld
Dave S.


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  1. Doug, thanks so much for featuring Leonard Cohen in your Sing-along feature. Democracy is a lovely song, not quite as subtle as most of Leonard's stuff, but lovely nonetheless.

    The song is off a 1992 album called The Future. Eight years earlier, Leonard had recorded an album called Various Positions which Sony refused to release in the United States. The dipshit who was running Sony at that time called Leonard to let him know that American audiences would not be hearing his latest work. The album contained a few silly ditties like Hallelujah, If It Be Your Will, and Dance Me to the End of Love. The dipshit reportedly told Leonard, "Leonard, we know you're great; we're just not sure you're good."

    After the album reached the top ten in virtually every country in Europe and #1 in Canada, Sony finally decided to release it in Leonard's adopted country and it sold 250,000 copies. Hallelujah slept for a few years, with only Dylan covering it and singing it in concert, then . . . you probably know what happened then.

    In any case, Leonard was rolling on the second of his three career peaks by the time Americans heard The Future. I'm writing all this stuff from memory, so I might be a year off one way or the other.

    Again, thanks. I plan on singing along. I'll warn the neighbors.



    1. > Hallelujah slept for a few years, with only Dylan covering it and singing it in concert, then . . . you probably know what happened then.

      No, I don't know. It's a Cohen standard and damned good, but I didn't know the album had been refused by his label, and I would've thought 'Hallelujah' would be a recognized classic about twenty bars into the recording session. Is there more to the story of 'Hallelujah'?

  2. Yeah, a lot more, but Leonard talks about it in this interview. If I wrote about it, it would take several pages, then the comment would vanish into tears and anger. So, you should invest 42 minutes of your time in this CBC interview with Leonard the old man, but if your schedule is crimped start the video at 30:55 and watch the last 12 minutes. For fuck sakes, this guy is one of the best songwriters and arrangers of the 20th century. I know . . .

    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
    I do not think that they will sing to me.

    OK, if Leonard doesn't sing to you, he doesn't. Watch the last 12 minutes. I'm already pissed off at you for not watching the whole thing, but in an appropriately affectionate way. Here's the fucking link, not hot. I'm not going to that hell again. I'll await the post-mortem experience with whatever bravery I can muster, but I'll do what I can to avoid HyperText Markup Language. Here's Leonard:



    1. Well, I know where I'll be for the next 42 minutes. HTML is not required. Leonard sings to me and so do you, my friend, though that snippet of poetry is TS Eliot, declawed from his 'Cats' phase.


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