YouTube: Young El Paso County CO Voter Registration Volunteer Fails Civics

This story kicked off the whole “Nathan Sproul, GOP Vote Fraudster, At It Again” narrative. All the old stories came out from 2004 and other years. And the national GOP was forced to fire him after the Florida registration fraud story made it clear that the GOP was paying for Republican voter registrations again (and pretty much NOT paying for Democratic registrations). Then some state GOP organizations fired him some more. Time to create a new name, eh? It’s a reliable predictor of Republican shenanigans: whatever accusation they make against Democrats, they are surely doing more of it. ACORN registration fraud? Their registrars were paid by registration too, but they never threw away completed forms from real people. The Sproul registrars were incentivized to register only Republican voters, MUCH more likely to “untrue the vote” than Mickey Mouse actually showing up to cast a ballot.

What else have Republicans accused the Democrats of doing? Then look for them doing it too, and to much worse effect. Republicans are so in denial and deep in the coils of cognitive dissonance that projection is one way they cope. Now they’re complaining about supposedly “skewed” polls, so what do they do? Skew their polls even more than Rasmussen, a pollster famous for weighting his polls to GOP advantage, is comfortable with. Don’t miss Lee Fang’s overview, which links to more dirty details. Link: YouTube video spurs voter registration flap Colorado Springs Gazette

Travel Pr0n and LOLkitteh make me laugh


It’s been a hellish few months at work. Every now and then, jobs there get switched around, and my job is no exception.

For the last few months, I’ve been getting away from work – in the sense of escaping – at least an hour after “quitting time.” Most nights, it’s been even later. Part of the problem was starting out the day “in the hole,’ spending at least an hour going through the overnight queues, fixing records that the “emergency travel services” agents had worked during the off hours. Mondays, there were sometimes 20 or 30 records to go through -most of which required no action, some of which required a few minutes’ worth of documenting and fixing up to be auto-invoiced, and a few of which totally stalled me out because they required a good 15 or 30 minutes of fixing, calling, and documenting using this really pokey web-based “customer service” tool that is extremely tedious to use, since all the data from each record has to be entered into it by clicking little radio buttons and drop-down menus and popping back and forth copying and pasting bits of info. And for multiple records with the same problem, your only friend is copy and paste the text you put in the “request action” box. Everything else has to be repeated manually.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten totally bogged down with the hotel groups thing – now there’s this entire division of one of our main client’s that’s conducting regional meetings all over the country for the next year, and this division has no friggin idea how to delegate this task so that the “organizers” actually are organized enough to give me the information, and to stay on top of changes. And the travelers… they’re like a herd of cats, because most all of them are either new hires, or raw recruits, and they have no idea how to behave, apparently, on a business trip.

Example: one particularly disorganized organizer had no idea that she was supposed to make sure that lists of names that she sent to me were:

  1. Accurate as to spelling
  2. Contained the arrival dates of each person at the hotel, and the dates each person would physically leave
  3. Purged of the names of attendees who did not RSVP to the invites, or of the names of guys who up and quit
  4. Actually had the real number of attendees, as oppposed to a wild-ass guess that was wildly underestimated

Yeah, this one group is really getting on my last nerve, because it was one that started out with problems and it’s been one problem, change, or complete rebook after another. Plus it’s confirmed at two different hotels, because the disoroganizer did not contact me far enough in advance to secure her space. And the first section, which was at a second-choice hotel, wanted to stay there the whole 5 weeks, while they’re supposed to move to the primary property on Sunday for the next 2-week sections of their training (they get weekend breaks every 2nd week).

At approximately 4pm today, a Friday, the sales rep at the secondary hotel, who’s been rather annoying about wanting to get the entire 5 week stay instead of the 1-week stopgap I booked with her, sends me this email that says in part “The guys are in mutiny, they want to stay here the whole time and I’ll offer a great rate” which is still not as good as the rate the company gets with the primary property, and there are signed booking agreements in place. My reply to her was “Do not extend their stays, do not let them cancel their upcoming reservations at the other hotel, there are booking agreements and direct billings in place, PLEASE do not meddle.” It’s been a nightmare – I’ve never, ever had a group give me this much trouble with changes. It’s like being nibbled to death by ducks, while trying to herd cats.

I’m not even going into how I had to change the block dates all around because the travelers all got sent a calendar with the wrong travel dates marked, and they booked their air for those wrong dates, and it was “easier” for all concerned if I changed the blocks and… oh look, I just did. Yeah, so I had to completely revamp dozens and dozens of name records to show the new hotel dates and email the itineraries, and put them into the air reservations that they booked all wrong. All because some idiot secretary forgot to CC: someone in on the “final” copy of the booking calendar (which didn’t show the actual arrival and departure dates, just the days the meeting took place on – causing no end of merry hell in the beginning, too).

And oh goody, I’ve got another 5-week for the same city, same primary hotel, different disorganizer. Things are going to be different this time, bucko. But dammit, this one only gave me 3 weeks’ notice, too. They have no frickin’ idea that the need to block the space a few months in advance and THEN let me have the namelists 3 weeks prior. Idiots. I’ll have to add that comment to the “groups checklist” that I send out, because half the battle is educating the organizers the first time through.

But aside from those frustrations, today was a happy day, because I discovered a new city code that is entirely unsafe for work, and it becomes more and more obscene when combined with other naughty city codes. It caused me endless mirth today, especially when I had to call someone at another company to discuss a rental car at this location, and I know she’s a rather straight-laced person. She giggled, but would not even spell the code out. It made for an interesting time working out the niceties of booking a rental car to be delivered to a flightline at the little GA airport with the naughty, naughty code.

Did you know the airline pseudo city code for Westhampton Beach, NY is


? I did not know that either.

Would you like me to book you a hotel in FOK? I would be happy to do that, sir or madam, the entry I will make in SABRE will begin HOTFOK. Smoking or nonsmoking? Would you like a king size bed with a Jacuzzi bath and fireplace?

How about a rental car? Let me look up the car vendor for FOK. Why, it is Enterprise, which reminds me of the world’s oldest profession when I look up their location record in SABRE, which for some reason repeats that jolly pseudo-city code so that the address portion actually begins:
and reminds me inexplicably of a cocktail I once had called “Sex on the Beach.” I’d heard the Hamptons can be a bit racy this time of year, but my word.

Where are you flying from, sir or madam? Sioux City? I will be checking availability on the 10th of August:
I am sure you will enjoy your return flight, let me check the schedule on August 22nd for you:
Mmm, that is nice, turnabout is fair play.

There are many more enjoyable examples – Fresno is lovely this time of year, if you like things a bit hot and heavy:
This may make you feel a little ill, so you probably won’t want to continue on to Spokane:
121AUGFATGEG if you have a week stomach.

It’s a good thing there’s no such thing as a direct flight from Westhampton Beach, NY to Fukuoka, Japan, though. There are limits to the amount of travel porn I’ll blog about.

[tags]FOK, DO NOT WANT, overtime[/tags]

Craving Fry Sauce

Hires:Product » Hamburger and Fry Sauce Two Pack
Arctic Circle: Original Fry Sauce 

cnr_frysauce.jpgThere are few things less healthy to eat, and few things more satisfying, than fries with fry sauce. It's kind of a Utah thing – it was written up during the Olympics, it showed up on pins and posters, but still a locally acquired taste.

It's not just ketchup mixed with mayonnaise; there's a bit more kick to it than that. When I was growing up in Utah, there were several local burger eateries, and Mom and I went to them all in turn.  We often went to Dee's, which was… just okay. My uncle Charlie had done some photography for their local ads for them, and  used to tell stories about how they had to engineer their flagship burger to look appetizing on camera. This affected our perception of Dee's, and it wasn't our first choice, but it was our cheapest choice other than McDonald's. For some reason, it was the favorite of one of our neighbors, who we often took along for jaunts (maybe she liked the price? ). So that's where we went, most often to the one in Sugar House. I can't remember what's there now, since the area has undergone a major gentrifying makeover. 

But the better burger, and also a pretty awesome frozen lime concoction, was found at the Arctic Circle (always pronounced "Artic" Circle). They had this stuff to put on the fries that was really, really good, and they put it on the burgers too. The burgers themselves compared to a Big Mac, really, but the sauce elevated them to "better than McDonalds" status.

There are a still a few local burger places in the Salt Lake area – one of them famous for incredible milkshakes,iceberg.jpg the Iceberg Drive-in. It was located pretty far from home, as we reckoned it, but not far at all by my adult standards. The location I remember best was just down the street from the hospital where Mom landed in June -and several family members decamped for a break and a creamy, frosted treat there. They had really good onion rings, and of course the shakes were incredible and super-thick. Just click on the thumbnail and have a good look at the shakes -yes, the ice cream is towering above the rim of the cup – and the thick hand-cut onion rings. And that bun, with an honestly grilled burger peeking modestly out, promises a big mouthful of mmmphfalicious juicy beef. They have their own "homemade fry sauce" as well.

But the best of the locals, and the place Mom and I went as a special treat, was the Hires drive-in downtown. Even when I was getting over a really nasty stomach bug, I wanted Hires. More recently, when Timmy and I were starting to clear the decks in Mom's house and get things organized so they could be given away to family or donated, we wanted a big nasty Hires and a frosty mug one day instead of lighter fare. 

Let there be no mistake: Hires' burgers are awesome, their root beer (served in a frosty mug!) is awesome.FrySauce_sm.jpg Everything on the menu is fresh, the buns are baked to their own recipe, the meat is top shelf. But the fries and onion rings postively sing when dipped in fry sauce. This is a burger to make you go "Mmmmmmm," whether you're sitting inside getting table service, or out in your car listening to your radio while waiting for the carhop to bring you a tray of frosty mugs and big, juicy burgers wrapped in paper marked D + O (for "double with onions" ) in black marker. And the fries, of course. With extra fry sauce dripping on the upholstery…that's the best. Even better if you're driving a rental car, as you'll never get the smell out and you'll find yourself getting unaccountable cravings when the weather warms up.

I've been there a couple of times in the last year, and the fry sauce there was better, to my mind, than what I remembered of Arctic, sorry, Artic Circle's. It sticks to the fries (and your ribs and arteries) and is completely addictive. It's all comfort food, even if it does pack on the pounds if you don't ration your visits. 

Now that I'm on a much more healthy food-and-fitness kick, fry sauce is pretty much out of the question. And besides which, it's all the way back in Utah, so I'm safe enough, or would be if it weren't for teh evul Internets.

Er… two pack? Hmm.

via OneUtah 

Bits & Pieces: Fender skirts and steering knobs

Bits & Pieces: Fender skirts and steering knobs

On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes.
In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.

This is what has now been done with Mom's house. The hardwood floors under the living room carpet were in fairly good shape, except for the entry way that Mom sorta ruined by putting down self-stick vinyl flooring. The floors in the dining room weren't the same quality, as it was formerly a garage, so new flooring was put down in there. The floors in the bedrooms were okay, but not as nice as the living room. But yes, I remember my mom talking about how wonderful wall-to-wall carpeting was after having lived with rugs that could be rolled up and taken outside to be cleaned. The work is nearly done and I'm waiting for word on updated photos.

Another disappearing word: "steering knob" or "suicide knob" was mentioned in the original post – I think Pop had one of these. I seem to remember him swinging the wheel with panache using this knob. I could not fail to see this, as I was generally seated on his lap, with the seat set way back, as he drove. He would get a ticket for this if he were alive today and tried it with his newest great-grandchild, Alexa. Also, air bags and seat belts hadn't even been invented. Weird!

I have a vivid memory of a neighbor's "curb feelers," from when we lived in Albuquerque in the early 60's. They were spring mounted rods that stuck out from the right front and right rear of a car that looked like a road barge. It bothered me that there weren't also feelers on the left side, thus making the car asymmetrical (I didn't know the word, but instinctively understood the concept). The neighbor tried to explain why they weren't needed on the left side and seemed to think it very funny that I just couldn't grasp it.

Here are a couple of more words or phrases that remained current enough in my family to be preserved until the present day:

"Carpet Beater." This was a thing that looked like a tennis racket, used for cleaning rugs.

"Clothes Line." Mom still used hers, and the neighbor uses it too. I used it when I stayed at Mom's house after she passed away, because the dryer wasn't working for me. Imagine, drying your clothes with the power of sun and wind! Not recommended for days with impending rain or dust storms, however. If strong enough wire was used, rugs could be hung on the clothesline and more or less cleaned by whacking them with a "carpet beater." I actually used a "carpet beater" with a "clothesline" on a childhood visit to my Aunt Sis's house in Colorado Springs. I couldn't figure out why they just didn't use the vacuum in the olden days. 

"Sly Flatter" Okay, this is a trick one. It's actually a "Fly Swatter." Pronounced the same, only inside out. It's a thing you kill flies with. Also used to threaten naughty children with, who nowadays would be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and given medication.

"Rabbit Ears" This is a thing that sits on top of the TV, which strangely enough is not flat enough to hang like a picture. If you fiddle with it, your picture will improve… but only if you have fiddled with your cable so much that it fell out of the back of your TV.

"Tele-Vision" What we watched before TV was invented. Like "Dyna-Flow" and "Elecro-Lux" and the other slightly retro, slightly sci-fi marketing terms that have fallen into disuse. People still long for things like "Cinerama" and "Techni-Color," you know. 

"Spotlight" This was an actual light attached to the side of ordinary passenger cars, with a big "Bakelite" knob so that it could be aimed at things at the side of the road to check addresses, street signs, and whether that large lump on the lawn was a drunk passed out already, as you arrive for the big party. My sisters used to beg "Pop" to "play spottie" with the light he had on his big old Ford, when they went to the…

"Drive-In" movie, a kind of outdoor theater where parking was never a problem, but kind of expensive. However, after paying the parking fee, the movie was free, and you got a big chunk of aluminum that contained a speaker and a big long wire with a giant jack on the end. This was hung on a pole next to your parking space and plugged in. Alternatively, it was waiting all plugged in when you got to your space. You then hung it inside your window, and rolled the window up. Oh. There's another one.

"Window Crank" A device for opening and closing car windows, from before electricity was completely understood to be the labor-saving device it could be in cars. You didn't raise and lower your windows, you rolled them up or down. Also useful when visiting "drive-in restaurants," where the tray would be hung on your partially rolled-down window. This is still done at Hires in Salt Lake! Weird!

"Bakelite" What they used before petrochemical-based plastic was invented to make knobs, molded knick-knacks, and even costume jewelry. It was apparently made from cellulose and a bunch of other smelly resins, and then heated and molded. Still in use in some applications today.  

"Girdle" An instrument of torture, worn by women. Elastic straps and rubber and garters with hanging metal tabs for attaching "nylon stockings," not pantyhose. Now do you wonder where fetishes start?

"Garter" or "Garter Belt" A thing for holding up "nylon stockings" if you weren't wearing a "girdle." Cooler, more comfortable, infinitely more sexy. Apparently, they were sometimes worn UNDER one's unmentionables, which were cut like dance shorts, apparently. 

"Nylon Stockings" were single-leg sheer knit coverings worn by women, in one size. On the one hand, if you got a "runner" in your "stocking" you could swap it for a new one while still wearing the orginal mate on the other leg. On the other hand, you had to deal with either garters or girdles. Womanhood heaved a sigh of relief when "pantyhose" were invented. I remember my sister Timmy bringing home a pair with the brand name of "Little Prurnes," and how we laughed at them. Stocking caps made from old nylons went from being one-leggers to two-leggers at our house (my niece Raeanne and her friend Tina wore them on their heads, for various reasons) They were funny-looking, but they did stretch to fit some, but not all women. I haven't worn nylon panty hose in years, because I refuse to be strangled from the waist down, and I only wear skirts (actually, sarongs or pareus) in the summer. I am not a slave to fashion.

Via DDtB: Words Mean Things