El Gringoqueño

All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Category: Humor (page 1 of 3)

Stories, snippets, and observations that crack me up.

Didchaevernotice?

..that we obsess over our technology, hunch over it, faces uplit by the glow of flickering screens  – the iPhone, the tablet, our computers, our screens, we use them to search for things, to learn things, to yearn for things.

It was better when we ran barefoot, it tells us. You see, the modern running shoe is not optimal for the way our bodies evolved. We cackle. These are the things that Big Shoe doesn’t want us to know. We know better now.

We run free now but not complete. Our device wil tell us the next step. We enter our search in google with a small “g.”

It was better when we ate raw food. You see, our bodies evolved to eat what was in nature, unprepared, unprocessed. Bleached flour, high fructose corn syrup, white bread, canned food – these are the foods that Big Agra wants us to eat, but our bodies know better. Don’t be a slave, man.

We swipe the screen, our fingers dancing a sort of mini-tango of pinches and whorls. Here it is, another piece of truth that has been lost to us, brought to us by this gadget pressed together by beautiful Chinese hands.

We poop wrong. Modern humans, in our eternal fascination with everything civilized and clean and controlled, have forgotten how we were supposed to poop. We were meant to squat on the ground, knees high, pressed against our chests. It is only in this position that we relieve our bowels without undue stresses upon our rectums. Big Toilet doesn’t want you to know that, though, as they lie and cheat and steal to support Big Sewer Authority.

We nod our heads. It all makes sense. We know the truth now. We are free, free at last to poop in a hole, eat raw food, and run barefoot through the field – not too far though, we must keep to the confines of the fire, not straying from its light or nearest charging station.

This is the Customer Service Agent I Want to Talk to

I have talked to her, and I always come away awash in good vibrations. This woman speaks to me in my deepest soul. How come I can’t have her voice in my head 24/7.

“Oh, don’t you worry about that. You’re good!”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah, you’re the best, now let’s get you that discount you wanted.”

But instead today, I got Chad.  Chad’s useless.

Salary is Not a Prize

I was watched a little bit of the last auto executives grilling (smoky flavor), and I have to say they were a huge group of clueless morons.  For all the money they make, you’d think they would get the simple things, like:

Your salary is not a prize, or yours for that matter.  Your salary is a reflection of your commitment, responsibility, and risk you assume heading a company. 

As the cookie cutter executives blathered on and danced around a word, a word that was clearly "victim", I began to realize it’s not the market that brought down these companies, it was their clueless CEOs. 

You see, they are victims just like everyone else.  They are just guys, regular guys, employees at their respective companies, paid just like everyone else and worried about their salaries, families, etc.  I’m just a regular joe trying to fix a problem, they seem to say.  This isn’t about me, they say.  It’s about the company.  Please help us.  Help us poor working folks.  You see, I drove here in a hybrid.  Aren’t I special.

You’re not showing me anything special, Mr. Auto-exec.  In fact, I’m starting to wonder why we paid you all that money. 

Let me spell it out for you.  Here’s what happens when things go awry.  You take the hit, Mr. Auto-exec, until such a time as the company improves.  It’s your fault, Mr. Auto-exec.  You get the big salary, as an indication of risk, your responsibility for performance.  You have the most to lose, so you get a big salary.  If things don’t go well, we fire you.  We blame you.  It is your fault.  In some cultures, those responsible parties feel such commitment to their company that they commit suicide.  That’s going a bit far, but in this case I’d like to see top executives stick to a few simple rules.

I’ll call them, Jim’s nine rules to successful leadership at a car company.

  1. Drive yourself to work everyday in a base model (or car that your company wants to promote).  Love that car, know it inside and out.  Do your own oil changes.
  2. Get down in the dirt with the mechanics once in a while.  Walk the production floor EVERY single day in some plant across the country.
  3. Sit in on and understand engineering meetings.  If you are not an engineer, use your company’s education benefits and get a degree.  This is not an option at a car company.
  4. Sit in on and understand marketing/advertising meetings.  If you are not a marketing person, use your company’s education benefits and get a degree.  This is not an option at a car company.
  5. Understand the finances of your company.  If you are not a CPA, take some courses, and take the certification exam.  If you are not an MBA (which isn’t very likely, I suppose), get one.
  6. Stay late at the office and talk to the cleaning staff.  Talk to your designers.  Have lunch with union leadership.  Meet with your plant managers, line workers, dealers, customers, all the time, constantly.
  7. Give up your salary at the first hint of trouble.  Live off your carefully managed investment portfolio. 
  8. Take blame yourself in the bad times
  9. Give credit to others in the good times
Any questions?

Laura’s Priorities

Laura had a meeting with a client this morning. I stayed at home to look after the kids. Since she was going to be out anyway, I asked her to pick up some things at the store.

"I need some Splenda. We need eggs, the boys need bananas – oh and we need lunch meat. Don’t forget we’re out of toilet paper too." The toilet paper was, of course, mostly required by my dear wife. Heaven knows why you people of the feminine persuasion consume so much of the stuff. Baffles the mind. I sometimes ponder aloud about a post-apocalyptic future without toilet paper, napkins, or paper towels. I watch her face drain of blood. Frankly, I think modern civilization owes its bounty to woman and disposable paper cleaning products. At least that’s what I say publicly. Privately I mock you.

But I digress.

"Okay," and off she went to her little meeting.

Around lunch my beloved returned to her brood, shopping complete. Splenda? Check. Eggs? Check. Bananas, lunch meat? Check and check.

"Hon, where’s the toilet paper?"

"Oh, I knew I forgot something. I was thinking that I had to get your Splenda, the boys bananas, and lunch meat. Sigh."

"How come you didn’t call me when you were in the store. I should have made a list. I’m sorry you forgot your thing, my dear. Isn’t that just ironic or something. You love your family so much that you’ve forgotten the ONE thing you needed."

"Yeah, I was thinking about what everyone else needed, I forgot the toilet paper."

"Funny but sad. I’ll make it up to you, I promise."

Fist raised to the heavens: As God is my witness you shall never go without toilet paper again!

More Allegories, Oh Boy. I am NOT Making This Up

Last week I went into a local Subway shop in San Juan.  I looked at the promotional posters offering specials, delicious piping hot bubbling cheese, big big big meatballs and fresh fresh toppings.  I pondered my choices.  Whatever should I get?

Oh will you look at that, they have a special of the day.  $2.99 – cool.  What’s today’s special?  Roast beef.  Excellent.  I love roast beef.  "I’ll have one of those toasted on wheat."

"What chips would you like," The woman asked.  

"I’m okay.  No thanks."  I didn’t need the chips and I wanted the cheapo sandwich and that was it.  I love being a cheap bastard.  Just say NO to the combos folks.  Just say NO!

As she rung me up she asked me what drink I wanted.  Again I informed her that I would not be requiring a combo at this time.  She looked puzzled.

"Honey-child (actually she said, mi amor, but honey child is the best translation for the tone… one of sweet condescension), it already comes in combo."

"Oh,"  I paused, trying to absorb my good fortune.  For a second, my shoulder devil had me convinced that I should take the chips and drink and run – run like the wind, but I took a breath and remembered… "Um, are you sure.  I thought $2.99 was just for a sandwich.  That’s a pretty good deal, maybe too good.  Are you sure?"

"Yes, everything is in combo."

"Um, okay.  I’ll take sour cream and onion (I like sour cream and onion – did I ever tell you that?)."

I stepped into the hot morning sun, beaming the smile of a cat that had swallowed the canary.  I shall frequent this establishment regularly.  Cue Mr. Burns – excellent.

So, it was today, the day that I shall have my beautiful cheap sandwich combo.  I made plans to fetch my $2.99 lunch at the fine Subway establishment and fairly danced through the front door.  Such was my anticipation of hearty roast beef, diet cola, and sour cream chips for myself and PJ.

"That will be $9.50," the nice lady informed me.

Thinking that surely she had erred as to the total, I inquired, "Are you sure?  The sign clearly says $2.99."

"But that’s just for the sandwich," she insisted.

I smiled.  "You remember me right?"  She nodded. "We had this discussion last week.  You told me that the $2.99 price was a combo price, NOT a sandwich price."

"Um, well there was another special we were running that just finished."

"Oh, well I didn’t see a sign," I politely countered.

"Well, we never actually put them up."

"Oh…"  I paused, biting my lip.  "So did you, in fact actually have any offer at all?"

"No sir, I was deliberately wasting your time."

"Right oh."

Now that last part was fictitious, a homage to the classic phlegmatic Monty Python Cheese Shop.  The true ending consisted of her returning the chips that she had fetched for me, re-stacking the paper cups, and charging me $5.98.  I tell this story to you today to emphasize the point that in Puerto Rico, there is a singular true-ism.

There are rules, but they are not posted. 

Tolstoyean Vignettes, Melvillesque Allegories, or Casablog Slashbacks

The following is a series of posts that I started and never finished. I’m going to take the lazy man’s way out, thanks to Slashdot and post my very own slashback, or collection of random snippets of drivel.

The Grapes

I was driving along, doing 62 in a 60, when I came upon a little bunch of cars huddled as they were clinging to a lone police car putt-putting along at a mere 50 miles per hour. Eh?

I wove left. I wove right. I merged. I passed. I sped back up to 62 and continued on my merry way leaving the bunch of grapes behind me slow rolling along at 50 mph. What is wrong with those people? I thought.

Maybe they needed to ripen.

The police car pulled over and squatted on his haunches in the little u-turn lane specially placed for speed traps. I soon saw a celebration, a bursting forth of grapes as they rolled from the table, free, free at last, spilling forth in jubilation, bursting with exuberance.

One by one, they zipped past me at 70, zoom, zoom zoom, Doppler effect, Doppler effect. They rolled into the distance, skipping and dancing with joy.

Silly grapes.

Ice Helps with Swelling

The outdoor hotel lobby of the El Conquistador screamed with pain. Yells and angry words seemed to emanate from a disturbance of some sort. I couldn’t make out the root cause of the commotion, but never mind, the damage was done. A blond, Dawg bounty hunter looking type and a smaller darker man had possession of a large German Shepard. They seemed to be yelling at security. Security seemed to be "discussing" something with them. The yellow haired man said something about the dog, the leash, and, look, he’s tranquil. I don’t know, but I watched security guard after security guard pour into the scene. I watched what seemed a stream of bell boys and curious hotel employees gather around the wound to gawk, their hands shoved deep into their pockets. If there were to be rumble, I want to see it, they seemed to say.

Problem is, what could have been a simple matter really should have been handled better by the staff at a four star hotel. Let’s say the blond man and his friend were in the wrong. Maybe there was a guest scared by the dog, maybe they didn’t allow the dog into the shuttle, maybe… I don’t know. If the dog wasn’t allowed on the shuttle with other guests, they should have gotten a separate shuttle for him. If he was drunk and unreasonable, they could have disarmed him with a smile and a free something maybe another drink, a pretty girl… anything. They could have offered the dog a spa. They could have offered to give them all a free passes to something, offered to walk the dog. I don’t know, but anybody who has any experience dealing with different cultures, like one would expect in a four star hotel, should have been more deft at dealing with such a situation. It was embarrassing, it was pathetic. By the time I paid my parking fee and left, the scene seemed straight out of high school. All that was missing were the chants, of "fight fight fight!"

Welcome to Puerto Rico, where we don’t know how to deal with confrontation and unpleasant situations and gawking is a national pastime.

Let’s get it straight people. If you are not directly aiding in calming the situation, you are MAKING IT WORSE. Ice it. Don’t inflame it.

Oh, and by the way, I vote to revoke El Conquistador’s four star rating.

It is Your Destiny, Luke

Or, as Olaia corrected Darth Vader, "It’s not destiny, it’s a choice!"

–while watching Return of the Jedi. 

If She Was Any Other Woman…

Me: I can’t help it if you married a woman, my dear.

Laura: Yeah *laughs*

Me: Thank God you’re such a man, or we’d just be an old lesbian couple.

Fox News has Ceased to be Entertaining

I am ashamed to admit it… aw who am I kidding, I’m not ashamed. I watch Fox News. At least I did. Recently it has become a bad parody of itself. It’s not even entertaining anymore. And let’s face it, that’s the only reason to watch cable news.

Once, I found them amusing infotainment, but no longer.

Even today’s Bikini Murderer story, complete with gorgeous blond college aged victim found strangled to death with a string bikini isn’t enough to pull me in. I just don’t know you anymore Fox. You used to be fair and balanced. *wipes tear from eye*

Let’s go back to CNN… wait, scratch that. I forgot why I left your snaggle-toothed ass the first time. OMFG, I want to tear my eyes out. Between the giggling sorority girls and Lou Dobbs interviewing for a job at Fox News, I can’t take more than a few minutes. Besides, BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGG. You don’t even have the Bikini Murderer.

Guess the Daily Show is all I’ve got. I shall cling to you, Daily Show, for all my infotainment needs, cling to you I shall, for you are honest in your values.

You profess to be a show with no news, yet you are the Tao of news. You are so "news free," that the purity of your veins in which flows news is the newsiest news that was ever broadcast as news from your veins. Your every denial augments your stature, oh newsy-one.

I’m on to you, you allegory of news, you. Quee-Queg, fetch my harpoon.

Andy Rooney – Have You Ever…

I went out the other day on my bicycle to buy some milk.  I suited up, grabbed some cash and headed out the door.  My morning was uneventful up to that point, routine. It was about to go awry, but not while I was on my bike, no thanks to the cruel fates who would have loved for this little memoir to have started off differently. 

After I returned, I realized that I had to replace the car’s registration sticker.  It had expired the 28th and I had to put on this year’s new little sticker so that I could be legal and that no one could call me illegal and take my car away.  I grabbed a razor blade scraper thingie, some Windex(TM) registered patented trade-secreted intellectually propertized brand glass cleaner, and my new little sticker, clutched in my paw like the last Cheetos brand(TM) original corn puff snack of goodness on the planet. 

Or maybe I felt a little like a first grader in craft class.  Whee, what were we going to make?  I’ve got my pencil, my paste, and my paper.

Scrape scrape scrape, went the razor.

Smudge smudge smudge went the sticky glue bead balls.

Tear tear tear went the old sticker.

Curse curse curse went the Jimmy. 

Spray spray spray went the Windex.

Wipe wipe wipe went the paper towel.

Smudge smudge smudge went the window.

Sigh.  Finally the surface was prepared, and I applied the sticker.  Look, mom, no bubbles.  But the stupid thing was on upside down*.

It was going to be one of those days, eh? 

 

 

 

 

*not really, but it’s funnier that way don’t you think?  I’m sure that’s what James Frey thought.  Truthfully, my day was just fine, a bit hectic, but then again that’s life, doncha know.

Four Things (Bah!)

I’m going to pull a page from the anti-blogger.   Pretend I’m hip for a sec (I know it’s a stretch, but bear with me).  I would probably respond to the cliquey little meme-tag shit in the following manner.

Four Jobs I’ve had:

  1. Look how freaking poor I am
  2. I’m one of the working class – at least I was for the summer between my sophmore and junior year of college
  3. I’m not a classist bastard
  4. I’m interesting, I swear – I had a bunch of jobs, see?

Four Movies I can watch over and over

  1. I’m artsy
  2. I’m deep
  3. I can play populist too
  4. But deep down bah, who am I kidding? I’m better than you are

Four places I’ve lived

  1. I’m worldly
  2. But a homeboy
  3. Hon, what was the name of that city in Canada where we spent the night that one time?
  4. Thank God in a blue state

Four TV shows I love

  1. No reality TV
  2. I’m quirky – but derivative
  3. I’m a trend-setter
  4. Except for the fact that I watch TV

Four places I’ve vacationed

  1. Remember that part where I could hang with commoners… well forget that
  2. Europe BAAABBBY
  3. Never in a red state
  4. Can I count Europe twice?

Four of my favorite dishes

  1. Something I can’t pronounce
  2. Something I never really ate, but the IDEA, the idea of the dish spoke to me
  3. Something from Europe that can only be found in the expensive trendy import shop around the corner
  4. Not something found in a typical red state super market, or God forbid a Walmart.  Ptooie

Four sites I visit daily

  1. Please don’t type foxnews.com
  2. Please don’t type foxnews.com
  3. Please don’t type foxnews.com
  4. foxnews.com – damn!

Four places I’d rather be right now

  1. At our favorite little French cafe, remember the one from the magazine ad?
  2. In a blue state, preferably San Francisco – well, it damn-well ought to be a state
  3. Somewhere conspicuous, reading anything with "Manifesto" "Media" or "Conspiracy" in the title. To help passers-by check out my hipness, extra points for fabricating a jacket with the title in large print.
  4. Saving the whales in Europe with ropes made of hemp.

Four bloggers I’m tagging

  1. Someone who will increase my page rank
  2. Someone who will increase my hipness
  3. Someone who validates ME
  4. Someone who isn’t in a red state
* BTW, I had to google "blue state"/"red state", because I didn’t know which was which.  You mainlanders are a strange lot, what with your gang colors an’ stuff.

Bizarre but True

I’m sure it’s happened to you – you’ve found yourself in some bizarre moment where you suddenly have some first hand experience of what it would have been like to live in Green Acres. 

Take this for example.  I was at a church dinner, a social occasion with lots of food and talk and music.   Laura left me with the kids and went to get some finger food for us to snack on while we socialized.  After she left, there came from the night a winged demon, a mighty attacking thing, and not just any thing, a big black thing.  A bit fat tropical beetle landed on the table near one of the older guests, a 55-something older gentleman and his wife.  Without a thought, he reached into our 4 month old’s baby carrier, grabbed his burp-cloth and smashed that beetle.

"Um, what are you doing?  Put that down."  He stared at me dully, and continued to wipe.  "What are you doing?" I raised my voice.  "That’s the baby’s cloth for wiping his mouth."  And I snatched it away and gave him the most evil glare I could.

"But there was a bug," he replied weakly.
 

Engineer Solves Glass Half Empty Problem – World Yawns

Today, an engineer quietly solved the glass half empty problem.

"You see, it really depends on the initial state.  If the glass starts out empty, and is filled to half, the glass is half full, or put another way, trending toward fullness.  If the glass starts out full and half of its contents are consumed, then the glass is half empty or trending toward emptiness.  It’s just a simple engineering relationship.  Your perception of the glass as half empty or half full depends upon your frame of reference and your stated objective.

Answer the question, ‘For what is the system designed and what are its goals?’ and you will be able to – construct – the – system – accurately… uhm… err.  You guys must think I’m really stupid, huh?"

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