Friday, May 12, 2006

Business jargon

"I don't think you need to know how the sausage is made."
-- Heard by me at my last sales presentation, from a consultant
demurring on supplying a detailed technical explanation of how
a process works.

This expression is now making the rounds among our organization's sales force, because I heard it twice this week from different sources. All the salespeople were recently at a regional meeting, where no doubt it was given to them in a secret ceremony.

I hope this is not the catch phrase of the year. I keep having off-color comebacks pop into my head and it will become increasingly harder to restrain myself from laughing.

Hot dog beginnings

I haven't made it official here, but my goal is to try 10 new hot dog eateries this summer. Secondary goal: soft-serve ice cream.

New Jersey is chock full of marvelous Americana, and what could be more American than a good roadside dog in the summertime?

You must understand that I am an Upstate New Yorker by birth and we had some of the world's best hot dogs, so I know whereof I speak. Check out Ted's website and tell me they don't look appealing.

Ted's hot sauce is to die for and to my mind a charcoal-grilled dog with a casing that snaps is the best kind there is, nestled in the bun with chopped raw onions and a dill pickle spear alongside your Weber's horseradish mustard. And, of course, accompanied by an icy loganberry drink (sorry, if you're not from Buffalo you wouldn't understand). Well, to me that's hot dog home base, but I am eager to see what else awaits me. I've had and loved dirty-water dogs in Manhattan, even compared and contrasted Papaya King vs. Gray's Papaya (hey, 2 dogs and a drink for 3 bucks is a REAL NY bargain no matter who you buy it from), and now I'm ready to take on the Garden State. I will report on my progress as time allows.Oh, and suggestions are welcome.

Who wants to join me?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bands/Musicians that Are Overrated

This is based on an e-versation with my buddy Andre.

Please don't lynch me. I just question sacred cows. I am not saying these bands/musicians suck, but I am unsure of why they are worshipped. I don't "get" it. If you have documentable reasons, by all means, enlighten me. I am willing to listen.

Coldplay (pretentious, self-absorbed...)
Nirvana (Just a decent band from Seattle. That's all.)
Radiohead (The phenomenon just passed me by. Not curious to know more.)
U2 (The Joshua Tree = the last decent album. The rest = hype.)
The Rolling Stones (ENOUGH already! Retire while the memories are still good, not embarrassing...)
The Doors (pretentious, self-absorbed...)
Bob Dylan (just doesn't speak to me. And his voice is annoying.)
Neil Young (see Bob Dylan)
Billy Joel (when I was 12 I bought Glass Houses on LP and played it 10 times a day everyday until my family begged me to stop. I think I just had my fill. Oh yeah, and "Uptown Girl" is going on the jukebox they have in Hell.)
Bruce Springsteen (I like him personally, I do. Seems like a guy you could hang at the diner with. But damn it, "Jersey Girl," one of his finest songs, was actually written, and sung better, by Tom Waits. I AM liking his recent exploration of folk music, however.)
Dave Matthews Band (weak. An annoying voice. Still, he does really decent things for people in the music biz and for good causes.)

Oh, and I denounce my "underground" "street cred" and publicly admit that although it was influential, Captain Beefheart's music exhausts me, Patti Smith annoys me, and people need to fucking stop jacking the Velvet Underground sound and thinking they're original.

That is all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Work-induced disabilities

Is it appropriate to hold your employer responsible for any deterioration of your faculties that may have occurred during the course of doing your job?

I am going to go deaf from wearing headphones to listen to music in my cubicle. This is to drown out the noise generated by some of my esteemed colleagues: the diatribes of the lady who blames all of her failures to grasp the simplest procedures and her chronic lateness on deadlines on Microsoft, because she hates all Windows software and claims she could do the work if it weren't for having to use it; the typing of the division coordinator who spends most of her time defending herself in group emails because she imagines that every departmental directive about correct procedure to be aimed at her; the phone calls of a social butterfly/drama queen; the conversations of the big boss lady, who calls her daughter in Germany from the office...

These are a few of my favorite things. When you are in close quarters (literally feet away) from other people it is nigh on impossible to feign ignorance of every little thing (conversations with self or others, swearing at computer/other imanimate object, eating, drinking, bodily noises, smells, etc.) that happens. The reminders that you are surrounded by unseen neighbors can be distracting, even maddening, if like me you need silence to avoid distraction. Even the clickety-clack of typing on a keyboard is enough to drive me insane, followed closely by the slow and methodical eating of Lady Defensive. Every morning at 10 she eats some kind of dry cereal that sounds like shards of plastic (I imagine it to look like the single army pieces from the Risk board game) out of a plastic cup and chews it verrrrry slowly, almost ruminatively. Then she makes phone calls in a slow, colorless, atonal voice that leads me to believe she is taking Thorazine. For some reason she doesn't contract any parts of speech or shorten words, so it takes her EVEN LONGER to get her words out. ("I believe that you will need to speak with your sales representative about that. Would you like me to give you her telephone number? I will give you her home office telephone number and her cellular telephone number so in case she is on the road you will be able to reach her.")

As Alistair Sim said in the 1952 version of A Christmas Carol (the single best version EVER, by the way), "I'll retire to Bedlam."