I hate labor unions

"You can just delete that email from (Name Withheld)" he said as we passed in the hall.

"Okay" was my response.

Because I hadn't seen the email from this particular person.

But I was suddenly very curious to see what it was about.


From time to time there are things at work that require me sending out an email to the masses to kind of nudge them in the right direction. Nothing bad, nothing earth-shaking, just one of those things that makes life a whole lot easier all along the river, so to speak.

Today was one of those times.

For reasons unknown to me, several people where I work don't quite grasp the difference between the subject of an email and the body of an email.


They type their whole message in the subject line. Which, I'm sure, is just great on AOL. However, it doesn't work well in other places.

Where I work is one of those places.

So me being the proactive forward-thinker that I am, I send out the following email, hoping to explain to the confused masses that email subjects and email bodies have different purposes, and sometimes emails aren't read by people but by other computers, and sometimes the results are not quite what the sender had in mind.

And me being the over-explainer that I am, I do more than just say "Hey guys, learn how to use the fucking tab key after you type a BRIEF subject and put all the important shit in the body, m'kay?"

Besides, spell-check at work hates the word fuck. Weird.

So here's the email I sent to the masses:

Hello all.

When you're sending email to the Help Desk to initiate a support request, please DO NOT put your entire problem in the subject.

Put a five to seven word description as your subject, such as:

Warehouse Barcode printer not working
Bill Gates is unable to log on to SAP

Steve Jobs can't log in to Windows

Maximo doesn't work

The software used at the Help Desk has a limited number of characters in the title of ticket. The title of the ticket as seen by the support staff is automatically generated from the subject line of your email.

You can put the rest of the information into body of the email, such as

The barcode printer in the warehouse is not printing labels. There is an error message on the front that says #411 framing.

Bill's SAP account is locked out. Please reset his password.

Steve can't get into the computer in Bldg 62 because it says his password is wrong.

Maximo doesn't work. When I try to run my work order tracking report nothing prints.

This allows the technician who is responsible for responding to issues quickly assign your ticket to the responsible party or contact you if additional information is needed.

If you have questions about this, please ask.

Pretty well written, if I do say so myself. And pretty well explained.

And pretty much to the point of not blaming anyone, because neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs works with me, I just pulled some names out of the air to populate the messages.

So I sit back and await the questions.

The first was from Maria ... who said, "You seriously had to explain this?"

Um, yeah. I did.

Because of people like the second responder:

HOW DOES YOUR E-MAIL HELP OUR PROBLEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I FIND IT VERY DISCOURAGING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was the email I was advised to delete.

But me being the reactionary wordsmith I am immediately hit reply to start jousting with this blowhard. Then I realized that I'd be wasting my time, for many reasons:

  1. Words are my friend. He has trouble 'handleing' words, as obviously shown by his email.
  2. I have no real idea what the fuck problem he's referring to, unless his tab key is broken, because I've been out of the office for three days.
  3. Um, color me confused, but I do believe I was attempting to remedy the problem as I saw it by explaining to people that typing a big-ass paragraph as the subject is stupid when the ticketing software's title field is limited to 255 characters.
  4. Engaging in a battle of words with him would be like deer hunting with an AK-47. You'd end up with deer jerky in noun and verb form. (Thanks, Will Durst, for the joke)
  5. I'm dealing with a union rep.


I'm a product of organized labor. I grew up in the Warren, Ohio, area. The last remaining stronghold of unionized life. Slowly dying a unionized death.

My dad worked for GM for a long time. He's now involved in the contract dispute at Delphi and I wish him and his union brothers and sisters well. He's close to retirement age. I know GM/Delphi is broke. And I know that canceling contracts is a bad thing and the unions have a right to be upset, but seriously, sometimes unions lose sight of the big picture trying to protect themselves. Because the primary goal of a labor union these days is not to protect workers, but to protect the union oligarchy and ensure that the flow of dues up to the top remains intact.

After all, how long did you hear the unions crying about the illegal aliens taking jobs from union workers by working for a dollar a day in cash ... only to see them totally turn the tables and offer union membership to illegal aliens when they realized that they were the last hope to keep the numbers up.


And sometimes union members stop using their own brain matter and let the union think for them, because, after all, the union's looking out for them, right?


Case in point:

In 1992, when I was a radio reporter in Warren, Ohio, a company there was involved in a contract dispute with the Steelworkers Union. And the Steelworkers union told their members to strike rather than accept the company's "final offer" of continuing the terms of the recently expired contract. The union thought that the company should pay more in wages, and benefits, to the union brothers, even though the company was losing money.

Okay, so I took a couple of college math and business classes that I can use here:

  1. Union says, "We want raises."
  2. Company says "We don't have money for raises. We can keep paying you what we're paying you on the old contract."
  3. Union says "You should pay us more."
  4. Company says, "Um, perhaps you missed the first point: we got no fucking money."
  5. Union says, "Fine. Then you got no fucking workforce. STRIKE."

See, that whole big picture thing I mentioned earlier. Screw the health of the company long-term, get what we can get short-term and worry about tomorrow later.

And they went on strike.

And after being on strike for four months, the 250-man union membership had decreased by about half as guys left to find jobs to support their families because what they were making in strike pay from the union wasn't anywhere close to what they were making while working for the company (even under the terms of the old contract that the union said wasn't good enough to work under) and they had mouths to feed, bills to pay and lives to lead.

As the strike rolled into the fifth month, the company came in one day with a whole lot of big fucking flatbed trucks and mechanics and removed all the machines from the plant, trucked them about 60 miles down the road, and added about 100 more unionized jobs to a different plant. Unionized jobs, by the way, that paid LESS than the guys in Warren had been making under their old contract.

And guess what?

The same Steelworkers Union, in a press release, praised the company for adding jobs to the other plant, never once mentioning that the work was coming from the Warren plant where the union was not letting more guys work the same jobs that paid MORE MONEY.


Because that would be the union admitting that 100 people could do the work that 250 were doing elsewhere. Because that would prove the union was only concerned about keeping its own numbers up even though it was bankrupting the company where those people were working.

See, again, that whole big picture thing I mentioned.

So as the strike went into the ninth month, the company closed the factory, transferring the non-union administrative jobs to the plant where the machines were transferred to.

Okay, so now we have about fifty guys left out of 250 still on strike in front of a factory that has no machines and no jobs and locks on the gates because nobody works there.

In fact, the name of the company has been removed from the building and the street signs leading to the loading docks that said "(Company Name)" Way had been removed and replaced with generic city street names.

So we had 250 people working there. So what happened to the other 200? Well, they got other jobs. We found out later in a series of articles in 2002 looking back on the "last great strike" as it was called, that most of the jobs taken by union members were making less than they were making under the terms of their expired contract. Most of them were NOT union jobs. Most of them did NOT have the same benefit package. And most of them lost all the seniority they had built up.

All because their union told them they deserved more.

But back to 1993 ... and as the strike reached the one year point, the 40 guys that were left received letters from the Steelworkers Union telling them that since there were no jobs left at the plant they used to work at, and since there were no machines left for them to work on, and since the company had in fact closed that plant, that particular local was being disbanded, the strike was over, and the union was no longer paying strike pay.

Basically, take down the pickets, go home. You're no longer in the union that's no longer on strike against a place that no longer exists.


So me being the smart ass that I am did a series of radio spots that ran during my talk show (I used to have a daily talk show on AM Radio. Scary, isn't it? Then again, the station was 5000 watts. Basically it got about halfway across town. Then faded out.) that basically said this:

"Hi. My name is Steve. And I've been on strike against (Company Name) because my union told me I deserved better. The company offered me the same amount of money I was making, with the same benefit package I was making under the old contract if I'd continue working. But my union told me I deserved better. My union told me not to worry.

"And I love my union.

"And my union card.

"The one day, after we had been on strike for a while, and my wife had to get a job, and we had to sell one of our cars, and we had to stop the music lessons for the girls, and cancel the cable television and stop going out and turn the heat in the house down because the strike pay was only about a third of what I had been making, the company took the machines I used to work on out of the plant I used to work at and moved them 60 miles down the road, and gave them to other union workers represented by my union.

"And I love my union.

"And my union card.

"Then, about four months after that, the company then took down all the signs and closed the plant I worked at.

"My union told me not to worry.

"And I love my union.

"And my union card.

"Then about three months after that, about a year after the union told me I deserved better, the union told me I had no machines to work on, no plant to work at and no company to be on strike from, so I wasn't a union member anymore.

"And I loved my union.

"And my union card.

"In fact, my wife and kids each found the our small piece of my union card was pretty tasty if you dipped it in ketchup."
So after about 50 angry phone calls from the last remaining stronghold of union life in America, I was put on notice by the radio station that I was close to losing my job because they were afraid of being boycotted by unions.

I was fired a month later for making fun of the mayor of the city for being incompetent.

By the way ... the mayor of the city is now in jail.

For being incompetent.

And those guys who worked at the plant that doesn't exist anymore?

Most of the, according to the newspaper reports, don't even live in the city. And most of them said they'd never join another union.

Because the union cares about the union.



My brand new used car

The neighbors come from near and far to check out my brand new used car ... as the Boss said so many years ago, when he didn't suck.


For a variety of reasons, Lumey is mine no more. Main reasons:

175,000 miles
$1,700 in repairs needed to the braking and suspension
$1,000 in repairs needed to the air conditioning
1 Rear Door needed after I sideswiped a semi in July of 2005.

So ... not only did I join the current decade ... I bought a car with less than 10,000 miles on it ... complete with the balance of the factory warranty.

2005 Ford Focus SE ... 9,320 miles on it. Mine, all mine ... for at least the next four years that I'm paying on it.

But it'll last me four years ... really.


This was a rockin' show

You haven't lived until you've borne witness to what I saw today.

Yes, that's right. I challenge ANYONE to defy what I saw was the height of the field it's in.

Allow me to explain.

What I saw was amazing.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime happening … that happened at 10:30 and 2:00 on Saturday, and I believe twice before on Friday and is planned for two or three more times on Sunday; and then other dates and times in other cities, but believe me, you need not see it more than once in your life.

One witness.

One viewing.

One vision.

What, you ask, could be all that?

A rap performance.



Music Snob.

Watching a rap performance.

But I'm not talking just any rapper.

But before I tell you who was the height of the genre … I have to lay down a bit of my rap history:

I've seen Vanilla Ice live in concert.


But put that aside … I do have a solid grasp on the history of rap. I lived it. I'm old.

I lived in the 'hood when I started junior high school in 1980. I came into my musical being with Grandmaster Flash, and a few years later, Run D.M.C.

I've seen Hammer (as Hammer and M.C. Hammer) on stage. He was amazing. (Seriously. I saw him twice, and enjoyed both shows.)

And I've seen L.L. Cool J blow the roof off a building.

And I've seen Chuck D and Flav (when he was cool the first time) absolutely demolish the crowd at Bogart's in Cincinnati on an amazing hot October night in 1988 that seared itself into my mind and just makes me weep for music today.

Because Public Enemy … Chuck, Flav, Terminator X and Professor Griff … were the high to the low to the end of the show for the rest of their lives.

Nobody did it better.

And nobody ever will.

And to back it up and name check even further ... I even saw Run, D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay step on stage at Live Aid where all the people gave and the poor got paid.

In person.

Because I was at Live Aid in Philly in 1985.

Because I'm old school, bitches.

So old, in fact, I can even remember when MTV played videos.

And they played only white musicians.

And only black people rapped.

So when I tell you I saw the most amazing rap performer on Saturday, I want you to know not only do I have a base to balance that statement against, but the knowledge and experience to show you I'm a subject expert in world of rap performances.

And for the record, I'm not talking about the performer dropping the bomb for a money makin' playa that ain't with us no mo.

Yeah, like Notorious B.I.G.

Hell no.

And for the record, I ain't talking about a gangbanging thug that never seen it comin'.

Yeah, like Tupac Shakur.

Nah bitches, I'm talkin' 'bout muthafuckin' Grumpy Bear and shit.

That's right.

I said Grumpy Bear.


I saw, with my own eyes, on Saturday, in a building I saw both LL Cool J and NWA play, a big blue badass bear rockin' the mic.

Oh yeah.

The Care Bears Live Experience, 'Caring and Sharing Friends' was at Hara Arena on Saturday.

And I was there.

With my daughter.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Who loves her some Care Bears.

She loved the show. She's 8. In a few years she'll refuse to admit that she loved it. Hell, she'll refuse to admit she was there.

But right here, tonight, she's in her glory.

With a new Care Bear (Thanks-A-Lot Bear), a balloon and a Cheer Bear light spinner.

And my wallet is empty.

But my heart is full of the moment when she saw what we were going to. She loved it. In her words, it was "AWESOME."

And not only did Grumpy Bear rap for us, he moonwalked.


And he was laying down some heavy shit, too.

His message-based rap taught us that it's okay to play and fun, but sometimes, you have to be serious and solve problems.


Because while the rest of the Care-A-Lot gang was hanging out and having fun with some little white girl who they kidnapped and took to their rainbow and cloud world, Grumpy was a working bear, trying to keep the rainbow reader full so the rainbows in Care-A-Lot would stay bright and colorful.

He was trying to keep it real.

As real as a person in a bear suit playing Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio, on a Saturday afternoon in March can be.

Word to your stuffer.

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Dude, you're *this* close

I'm having a bad day.

A really, really bad day.

For lots of reasons that are all work related.

And mostly because I have to deal with "that guy."

That guy. Yeah, Lauren, like you were just blogging about, it seems in my case I have "That Guy" in the office, not in the dating pool.

Which, in my case, as a guy who prefers to date women (well, at least this wonderful woman, who's my love ... the rest of you ... sorry), it's a good thing he's not in my dating pool.

Unfortunately, he's in my workplace.

Which makes me understand and appreciate workplace violence.

And you know this guy ... you have him in your office, too:

This person I'm talking about is the guy who's always in everyone's business like he's a friend ... but he's not. He's a leech. A parasite. And quite frankly on my list of people who I may actually hate. And I don't hate often. But he's getting there.



He's "that guy:"

The guy who asks for your professional assistance, says he'll pay you, and when you give him a bill he never does. Until the next time he needs your professional assistance on a home project. Then he won't pay you for that one until the next time.

THAT guy. And he owes me $20 that I'll never see. I know that. And honestly, I like the hatred that $20 has bought me on his ass. Really. Money well spent.

And I'm sure you hate "that guy" in your office, too, because he's the type of dickhead that inhabits all workplaces.

His given first name is Mike.

We call him "Fucking (last name removed)."

If his current course of behavior remains, he'll soon be called "The late fucking (last name removed).

So as I mentioned in a since-deleted blog, I've basically worked my way out of a job here at my present place of employment by being that damn good at what I do.

All the machines work, the barcode scanners work, the network works, the mail works and most of the users have learned that the guy who was here before me was a big dumb fuck who made a lot of busy work for himself, because in 15 months I've gotten this place squared away and on the road to self-support on all but the most heinous computer issues. For that, they'll have to go to headquarters, like the rest of the company does. Sorry 'bout your luck.

But yeah, I got it all squared away and, yeah, worked my way out of a job.

When? Still not known. Could be over on the 31st, could be another month, but it's coming. And when it does, I'll deal with it.

Until then, I don't need the constant reminder from the office dickhead.

Yeah, back to "That guy."

Yesterday (that's Wednesday for the timeline), he walks into my office, uninvited, and says with not even a hello:

"So next week's your last week here, huh?"

Me, being me, immediately plays dumb: "Really? Wow. I haven't heard anything. You know more than me."

So he starts backpedaling with the "Oh, well, I heard it might happen, but it could happen to all of us the way things are going here."

(For the record, he's right, but it's because this company was purchased by the company I worked at in Pittsburgh, and this company here has failed to assimilate to the parent company, because their way is what got them into bankruptcy court so it must work, right?

Wrong. They need to step it up, and learn Borg-like, that resistance is futile. You will do it the new way or you will be fired/laid-off. And the way the union workers here acting, they're all going to be unemployed soon, and take the one or two people that are trying down with them, but I digress.)

So I look at him with a dismissive look and say "Well, Ohio is a right-to-work state. Since we're not in the union, we could all be gone tomorrow without a notice. That's business sometimes. But I haven't heard anything about my job, good or bad, just the fact it's on the block like everyone else is, but it seems like you know more than I do."

And he looks at me, raises his eyebrows and leaves.


So then this morning, about 10:30, he walks in again, without a hello, and says, "So, you hear anything yet about when your last day is?"

DUDE ... YOU'RE CLOSE TO DEATH is what I screamed in my brain.

My mouth, on the other hand, said, "No. But if it happens, it happens. I have skills. I'm employable. I'm not worried. I take it one day at a time."

And again walked out without another word.




So my office buddy Maria feels about the same way about him that I do ... and I wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire. I think she might, just because she's that freaky. Or maybe that's only in my mind. ANYWAY ...

I fire off the following email to her:

Subject: If you see blood on the window of my door

Body: Or hear loud screaming and bones breaking, odds are it's (last name deleted).

AGAIN, today, he came in and asked me if I heard anything about when my last day is.

If (or is that when?) it happens again, he's going to get an earful from me with the following facts:

Yes, I'm aware my job is being eliminated.

You need to know it's none of your business.

Yes, it's stressful.

No, I don't appreciate you constantly asking about it.

Yes, it sucks.

No, I don't need to be reminded of the fact that a decision hasn't been made yet.

Do not ask me about it again.

If and when a change is made it will be communicated from upper management.

If you have questions I suggest you discuss that with your supervisor and the acting plant manager.

If you wish, you can call my supervisor, I'll dial the phone.

If you have a business-related question or need computer assistance, I suggest you dial the help desk in Pittsburgh.

If you have a question about your home computer, I suggest you go fuck yourself.

(Sorry, does that sound pissy?)


So short of literally killing this guy ... if he asks me tomorrow he's going to get that earful. Because I'm not his friend. I'm not his buddy, I'm not his work colleague. He's on my list.

And that's not a good place to be.


Tell me about, well, me

Click Here and tell me what you think of me using the Johari Window.

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

So ... tell me ... about me ...


Song of the Day

My Lucky Day

I got your number on a napkin that you gave me at the bar
Burning a hole in my pocket
Like a winning lotto ticket
Damn. I need an armored car
And firepower to protect it

Yeah I've got to get this right
Just in case I live forever
Or in case I die tonight

Girl you're everything I ever wanted
Not sure how I stumbled on it
It must be my lucky day
And tomorrow and the next day too
Every day I wake up next to you
Is my lucky day

I got drunk dialing fingers but I can't find the phone
I really want to come over
As soon as I get there
Ain't no place to go but home
Maybe I'm better off alone

So I've got to find the words
It's like stealing something from the heavens
Bring it right back down to Earth

If I could hold you in my arms
Oh yeah this is my lucky day

Written by Gawel-Oestreich. © Copyright 2004. Larry Funderbunk ASCAP.


Newegg made my list

So you may know that I'm a computer geek I love me some hardware and software.

And you may know that I build systems for people, do upgrades and generally make computers run fast. Like marsupials.

And since the latter part of 2002 I have been ordering exclusively from newegg.com because, like marsupials, they're fast. And they're cheap, and they've got all the stuff I want, when I want it, with no bullshit.

Until now.

When I went to order a new hard drive today (a nice shiny 300gb SATA drive, all for me, thank you), on the order page, off to the side, was a little box with this information.

Yeah, if I do say so, that's pretty fucked up.

In essence, what they're saying, is since you're so nice to be our customer, and we know you so well, we're totally sure you want this $10 magazine subscription that the publisher says they're giving away that we've included it in the price of your item, as a convenience to you, our loyal customer.

So unless you're smart enough to notice, and unless you're paying attention and unless you're reading everything on this page and unless you're smart enough to uncheck this box and unless you're smart enough to notice you just got f'ed in the a, so to speak, for $9.97. US.

But when you realize this you can always request a refund for your subscription. But only twice. Because after we screw you a second time we hope you're smart enough to remember to uncheck this box. Or you're f'ed. In the A. For $9.97. US.

Now am I wrong here or is this totally deceptive and dishonest?

There's nothing worse than being overcharged for something in the guise of a free gift. Folks, nothing, and I mean nothing, is free. Prince gave away copies of his new album Musicology with a ticket purchase. Wow. How nice. But if you already had the CD, could you buy a ticket that was cheaper and NOT get the CD? Nope. Thanks. Some gift, eh? Being charged for something you either already have or don't want and not having a choice to not get charged, but get a refund, in six-to-eight weeks, if you do everything right and follow all the rules? That's rewarding your customers.


But the best part of this does not checking the box on this website save you $9.97?


Okay. Maybe I didn't earn my Bachelor's yet but I did pass College Math. Twice. And I do know that nobody gives anything away for free. That $9.97 is somewhere.

Is that legalese at its finest or what? Now I'm not an attorney ... but the way I read this the first graphic is the price includes $9.97 for this magazine subscription. The way this second one reads says to me if you sign up for the magazine and cancel you can get $9.97 refunded from Ziff Davis, but if you don't sign up you don't get $9.97 deducted from the price.

Yeah. Fucked up. Deceptive. Dishonest. And now they're on my list.

And now I'm checking my past orders to see if I was charged $9.97 for a subscription I don't want. And I'm going to request a refund of the $9.97 just to see if they did charge me.

Lying whores.

This has class-action lawsuit written all over it.


Song of the Day

Back Home Again
John Denver

There's a storm across the valley, clouds are rollin' in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There's a truck out on the four lane a mile or more away
The whinin' of his wheels just makes it colder

He's an hour away from ridin' on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There's a fire softly burnin', supper's on the stove
But it's the light in your eyes that makes him warm

Hey it's good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes 'n' hey, it's good to be back home again

There's all the news to tell him, how'd you spend your time
What's the latest thing the neighbors say
And your mother called last Friday, "Sunshine" made her cry
You felt the baby move just yesterday

Hey it's good to be back home again - yes it is
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes 'n' hey, it's good to be back home again

Oh the time that I can lay this tired old body down
Feel your fingers feather soft upon me
The kisses that I live for, the love that lights my way
The happiness that that livin' with you brings me

It's the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you
It's the little things that make a house a home
Like a fire softly burnin' supper on the stove
The light in your eyes that makes me warm

Hey it's good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes 'n' hey, it's good to be back home again

Hey it's good to be back home again - you know it is
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Hey, it's good to be back home again
I said hey it's good to be back home again