Friday, August 30, 2013

A Blog About Nothing

Late this morning I opened up my Blogger page to start writing.  It is 4:30 now and the blank page is still staring into space.  I would say it's staring at me, but I just finally sat down.  Here's the story of how my day went so far, and why this was fated to become a blog about nothing.

Ginger left the house before noon to apply for some jobs and do the grocery shopping.  That left me here with my 5 year old, YaYa, and my 1 month old, Link.  Normally this would not be a problem, and I'd have plenty of time to write, but Link has not been feeling good so he's been quite fussy.  Usually he wakes up, takes a bottle, lifts weights for half an hour, smokes a cigar, and goes back to bed.  But today he will only take a little bit of a bottle at a time and is only sleeping in shorts spurts, not leaving me enough time to write.  Also, YaYa is trying her hand at nuclear fission, and I have to keep putting down what I'm doing to help her find the atoms that she dropped on the floor.  Kids!

I had given YaYa her lunch, I had fed Link while watching a bunch of Buster Keaton shorts, and I had eaten lunch, too.  Everyone had a full belly and was content for the moment.  I sat down to write, though I hadn't really settled on a topic yet.  I knew I didn't have much time to write, so I considered the first thing that popped into my head, which was Shemp Howard, my favorite Stooge.  (I guess if I was a Ghostbuster, we would have battled a giant Shemp at the end of the first movie instead of Stay-Puft).  I figured another Stooge-related post would be okay after the heaviness of my rant on Monday.  But before I even had a chance to commit to this idea, Link started raising a ruckus.

Flash forward maybe an hour or two.  Time hasn't really existed for me today.  I had another chance to sit down, and by this time I had thought about one of my favorite types of stories.  I enjoy any type of book or film in which a character is transported into an alternate dimension, world, or what-have-you.  I was going to write up three reviews/recommendations for some b-movie favorites that fall into this category.  Of course, I couldn't remember the name of one of them, just the plot and that Richard Kiel was in it.  But before I even had a chance to start digging through my massive b-movie collection to find it, Link started raising a ruckus.

I was now aware that I was running out of time to get this done before I had to leave for work.  I settled on putting some of my poetry up on the blog, though I haven't seen the little notebook I write my poems in for months.  I started searching for it, but the only thing I accomplished was bumping my head on a beam in the attic.  After a brief fit of cursing and muttering I gave up on the poetry idea.  I decided to settle on a new idea.  But before I even had a chance to start brainstorming...

No!  Not Link this time.  Mama Pancake returned home with a trunk full of groceries.  She stocked up because our cabinets have been looking kinda bare, so the bags were rather heavy.  Once more I had to put the blog aside.  Now that I'm done moving all the heavy shit from the car into the house, I have to get ready to go to work and move heavy shit from the dock into trucks.  At least when I lift heavy stuff at home I'm not being micro-managed by a living ulcer, but on the other hand, I don't get paid when I do it at home.

Well, that's that.  This is all I have time for.  I typed this up at a furious rate, and I don't even have time to proofread it, so forgive any typos or nonsensical thoughts you may have come across while reading.  (I might proofread it when I get home, if I remember.)  Alright... Done!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Video Vednesday #22

The Brothers are back (again)!!  Here's the second episode of Series 2.  In it you will see that S.M. and I are fucked, man, in "Crisis".  We also have our fingers on the pulse of society, and we prove it with our local news "Special Bulletin".  If you crave action, danger, and action, we've got that in the trailer for "Death Time Charlie"!  And if anime is more your thing, don't miss "Pancake Bros. Teen Robot Action Time!!!"  Oh yes, we crammed all that into one episode.  What are you waiting for?  Watch the damn thing!

Monday, August 26, 2013

American Pride

USA!  USA!  I was a big fan of pro-wrestling growing up, and I still enjoy watching DVDs of the 'classic' era of WWE (WWF) and WCW.  There's always been a stereotype of wrestling fans as ignorant hicks, and unfortunately sometimes the crowds play up to that stereotype.  One of the dumbest things I've ever seen is when an audience broke out into a "USA" chant during a match between Japanese and Canadian combatants.

But today I'm not writing about wrestling; I've done that before (and I may again, but not today).  Today I'm writing about 'American Pride', and my reasons for thinking that it's bullshit...

Similar to the "USA" chant, people like to display their American Pride on their automobiles.  One of my favorites is the "These Colors Don't Run" sticker, which is often faded, ironically.  The best I've seen by far (and I think I've mentioned this on the blog before) was the "United We Stand" sticker I saw on somebody's truck.  The sticker was right next to a Confederate flag.  Apparently this person was unaware of what took place during The Civil War.  But reading is for nerds and queers.

Speaking of which, did you know America is rated 17th in education amongst developed countries?  We pride ourselves on being the best country in the world, but if what I know about ranking systems is correct, 17th is not the best.  17th is far from the best.  That's like 16 slots behind the best, by my calculation.  People are petitioning online to get Ben Affleck fired from the role of Batman.  I'm not really satisfied by the casting announcement, but how about spending all that time and energy petitioning the government to put less money into the military and more into education?  How about petitioning to get GMOs banned so we can eat poison-free food for a change?  If people were half as concerned about the legitimate issues this country is facing as they are about what Miley Cirus did at the VMAs, we'd all be better off.

Our media is part of the problem.  The focus always seems to be on celebrities, sex scandals, sports, and viral videos of cute kids or animals.  "News" in our country has become a 24-hour-a-day, money-making entertainment conglomerate, the opposite of what news is supposed to be.  The cable news networks, rather than seeking out the truth to benefit their viewers, have built up an "us vs. them" mentality.  They wait for a rival network to make the slightest gaff so they can pounce on it and thump their chests proudly.  Can a news team that spends most of their time scrutinizing another news team really be doing their best to report important, relevant information?  Important, relevant information doesn't garner enough ratings, which means less advertising, which means less money.

Money is another problem.  I'm not a socialist or a communist or anything else along those lines.  I don't believe all of the nation's wealth should go into one giant pot to be distributed equally to everyone.  But I do think it's ridiculous how much money CEOs and other snake-like individuals make.  I used to work for a company called Dex One.  When one of our CEOs (Dave Swanson) sank the company into bankruptcy and got us booted off the stock exchange for continuously maintaining a stock price below a dollar, was he shamefully called out for his actions and fired for doing such a shitty job?  Nope!  He was rewarded with a 17 million dollar bonus package (on top of the millions he was already pulling in) and jumped off the crashing plane of a company, free to float away strapped to his golden parachute.  So, a guy who destroyed the company made more money as a bonus for destroying the company than I would have made if I worked for them my whole life.  If I was a werewolf (I'm not admitting to that!) and I worked there for 20 lifetimes, I still probably wouldn't get anywhere near that much money.  And I knew how to do my job.  But in the end it didn't matter anyhow, because my job was outsourced.

Having my job outsourced certainly doesn't make me unique in this country.  Talk to a random handful of people and I guarantee at least a few of them lost their jobs the same way.  People in this country have the gall to complain about the unemployed and the welfare cases, but none of them are willing to take a minute to think about what's causing so much unemployment and reliance on welfare.  Barking "Get a job!!" isn't a solution, because the people who are hiring pay laughable wages.  When Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry he payed his employees double the country's average wages, building up the middle class and providing a better life for those lucky enough to work for his company. Fast forward nearly 100 years.  I work for a car company, let's call it Adzam so I don't have to name names, which is actually in a partnership with Ford.  At the end of the week, after five days of coming home drained from busting my ass, I don't bring home enough money to pay my rent and all of my bills.  People look at the past as if its people were unfortunate souls without modern conveniences like iPhones, 24-hour drive-thrus, or Snuggies.  But if you look at it from the same angle as me, you can see that we've sure gone downhill in the last 100 years.

I know there's no magic solutions to make all of our problems go away, but living in ignorance is not only making life worse for all of us who are here now, it will have negative consequences that will ripple into the future.  For the sake of your grandchildren and their grandchildren, open a book!  Dig for the truth!  Demand more from our so-called leaders!

I really don't know how to fix everything that is broken in our country, but I can point to a precise starting point: admitting that USA! USA! isn't #1.  Once we all come to terms with the fact that we've fallen embarrassingly behind in education, production, and even social progress, we can start taking the steps to make things better.  You can't start working your way to the top if you're deluding yourself into thinking you're still the best.  America needs to admit to itself, and the world, what it really is: a nation birthed in the blood of an indigenous people, built by slave labor, ruled by hypocrisy, and maintained by hysteria, finger-pointing, and false pride.  Only after we admit this can we become determined to be something better.  If we continue to rest on our laurels and pretend we live in a fairy-tale wonderland, we'll continue sliding downhill until, inevitably, we meet the same fate as many once-great civilizations before us.

Our 'leaders' certainly aren't going to make us a better, stronger nation.  It's up to the people.  I'm just hoping there's an off week where the Kardashians, the royal baby, and Mike Tyson don't do anything "newsworthy", so everyone has time to read about matters that actually have consequences.  Maybe I'm pipe-dreaming.  Anyway, I'd love it if we'd put a hold on 'American Pride' until we actually had something to be proud about.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Practical Lessons From The Three Stooges

Spread out!  I've been a Three Stooges fan for about two decades.  Before Sony/Columbia finally released all of the short films (there's 190!) on DVD box sets, I had made it one of my life's missions to collect all 190.  I got pretty damn close, taping over 120 of them from various TV showings over the years.  (Remember recording programs onto VHS tapes in the pre-DVR days?  We lived like neanderthals!)  Lately I've been watching the DVDs while feeding baby Link, and it set my mind a-wonderin' about why I haven't written about those three (actually six) knuckleheads.  Well, today is the day that I rectify that situation, and I'll do it faster that you can say Ticonderoga, if you can say Ticonderoga.

I'm not here to polarize anybody with arguments about who the best Stooge was (any sap knows Shemp is the top), but rather, I'm here to share some important life lessons I picked up from Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe, and Curly Joe.  As my daughter YaYa (who's become quite the Stooges fan despite typically only watching cartoons or at the very least something in color) said, "Those guys aren't very good at anything!"  Sure, every time they cook a turkey they end up stuffing it with clamshells and tin cans.  Okay, whenever they try to fix a leak they end up flooding the basement and somehow hooking the water up to all the electric devices in the house.  Alright, so they repeatedly make the questionable decision to put Curly on the top of their triple-bunk-beds.  None of us are perfect, but without the antics of the three missing links, I may not have become the man I am today, for better or worse.

By now you must be wondering what I possibly could have learned from such nonsense and mayhem.  Well, don't get excited, I'll tell you when I'm ready.  Am I ready?  Yeah, I'm ready.  Swing it!

Lesson #1: Push Buttons!

It happens pretty much every time the Stooges have to operate an unfamiliar piece of machinery; the boys randomly push every button they can until they get either the desired result or sparks start shooting out of the machine.  While this trial and error approach often ends in disaster for the chowderheads, it has come in handy quite often for me.

When I worked in an office, I was known as one of the guys who was "good at computers".  I soitenly am, but only through growing up always having access to one and learning through the trial and error (or "Push Buttons!") method.  Whenever I run into a software problem, my natural inclination is to try everything I can, including commands that I'm unfamiliar with, to see what the result is.  Usually I stumble upon a solution.  Rarely I mess things up even more (I'm a victim of coicumstance!), but there's always an ace up my sleeve (and by "ace" I mean "web search").

This reminds me of a story I heard a few years back.  I'm not sure if it's true or not, but it's a good story anyway.  An out-of-work fellow applied for a job operating a crane.  He lied and said he had experience.  He was fired on the first day while trying to learn to use the crane on the job.  He then got a second job operating a crane, this time merely exaggerating his level of experience.  He was fired after a few days when it became obvious that he didn't truly know the ins and outs (or is it 'ups and downs'?) of working a crane.  But by his third attempt at attaining (and maintaining) a job as a crane operator, he had accumulated the necessarily abilities to do the work, and he kept the job.  Trial and error.  Push buttons!

Lesson #2: Always Carry a Rag!!

Any mom or dad (or aunt or uncle or godparent or babysitter, etc.) already knows this, but you've got to carry a rag (or at least a pocketful of napkins) at all times.  Yes, I'm a dad, but I learned this lesson a long time ago from Los Tres Chiflados.  How?  (And how!)

You never know when you're going to get hit in the face with a pie, a lump of clay, or a geyser of oil.  That's why you always need a rag.  Okay, so maybe the Stooges get hit in the face with more pies, lumps of clay, and geysers of oil than the average ham-and-egger, but still, you never know.  Maybe you won't ever get a pie to the face, but a rag or hunk of paper towel will always come in handy to clean up spit-ups, spilled juice boxes, or ice cream drips (all of which can and will happen if you hang out with my brother, S.M.).  Or suppose you sneeze that newfangled way doctors are promoting, into your elbow, and you're left with a glob of boogers on your arm.  Good thing you brought a rag!

By the by, a rag also comes in handy for over-dramatically crying into, then ringing out a ludicrous amount of water from.

Lesson #3: Make the Best of Things!!!

Perhaps this one is a little corny, but that doesn't make it any less true.  One thing I've always loved about the Stooges is their eternal optimism despite repeated screw-ups.  No matter what the situation, they always make the best of things.  Let's pretend for a moment that your friend, we'll call him 'Shemp', fell out a window, and he's dangling off the 8th or 10th floor.  You and your other pal, we'll call him 'Larry', have procured a rope, and the two of you are in the process of hoisting him back up to the window.  But Shemp, ever the hound-dog, lets go of the rope when he reaches a balcony occupied by a shapely female type.  Not expecting the sudden shift in momentum, you and Larry stumble backwards and land in the bathtub with your clothes on.  What would you do?  Would you complain, or would you decide to make the best of it and take a bath, even though "this ain't Saturday night!"?  The Stooges opt for the bath (and curiously start applying soap over their clothing).

Of course, this isn't the only example of how Larry, Moe, and (Third Stooge) take the lemons life gives them and make the proverbial lemonade.  On the run from the cops or a group of men they tried to scam (or both), the Stooges will take refuge in a random building.  Once inside they may join the military, become riveters, or start art classes.  And they just roll with it, much to the annoyance of the people who normally engage in these activities without the interference of three disgraceful vagabonds.

There's a handful of films where Curly goes violently insane when he either hears a certain song, sees a mouse (because his father was a rat), or sees a tassel.  He usually can only be calmed by being tickled or eating cheese.  Most people would probably have such a person committed or put onto oodles of medication, but Larry and Moe always use this odd quirk to the benefit of the group, entering Curly into boxing matches or letting him go berserk when there's bad guys on the loose.  You could say they're taking advantage of the poor guy, and I could tell you to shut up and poke you in the eyes.  Poink!

Whether you're a casual fan who doesn't know a woo woo woo from an eeb eeb eeb, or you're a hardcore salami skull who knows that 'Gritto' spelled sideways is 'Otri-guh-guhh' (?), we can all learn a lot from the Stooges.  They're terrific!  They're colossal!  They're even mediocre!

Watch your P's and Q's, heed these lessons, and make sure to come back to the blog next week for more articles and another Pancake Bros. video (see if you can spot the Stooges influence in our work).  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Video Vednesday #21

The time has come!  Super Pancake Bros. Super Show: Series 2 begins today!  After a year of dealing with lost voices, broken hands, blizzards, false labors, and losing our family ranch to Blackjack Calhoun, SPBSS Series 2 has arrived.

This episode features "Robo-Fantasy", in which S.M. laments about not being a robot.  Also "Tie", in which Baxter shatters S.M.'s confidence as he tries to put on a tie.  And there's a commercial for "Mountaintop Mountain Ski & Resort".

I promised on The Pancake Bros. facebook page months ago that this would be the explodiest series of SPBSS episodes ever, and this episode contains the first explosion of Series 2.  Yeah!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Return of Movie Monday Returns

Are you brimming with anticipation? You should be, because Series 2 of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show premieres on Wednesday!   You can find the first episode (and subsequent episodes) right here on the blog or on our Funny or Die page.  And for Pancake news, pics, and shenanigans, check out (and like!) our facebook page.

Here's the last video in the countdown to Series 2.  It's actually the last video we put out (to date).  It's more leftover bits from Series 1 that either had to be cut for time or didn't quite fit in with the scenes they were filmed for.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Flick Returns

Here's the last episode of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show that I haven't shown on the blog.  It is the second-to-last episode of Series One.  It's definitely our most polarizing episode (meaning it has the lowest "funny percentage" on Funny or Die).  Personally, I like it.  But I like weird stuff.  What do you think?

Can anything that contains the phrase "The Biggest Boners!" really be that bad?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Video Vednesday #20

The countdown to the premiere of Series 2 continues!  Here is the eighth episode from Series 1.  This is our 'cable access' episode, which includes ghost hunting and a super-low-budget talk show.  The host of the show is our old improv mate John McNulty.  Check it out, and make sure to check out the next installment of Video Vednesday for the premiere of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show: Series 2!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Movie Monday Returns

Alright, I'm killing two birds with one stone.

Bird One:  I've gotten very little sleep, and I'm busy doing newborn related stuff most of the time I'm not at work.  Because of this, I'm doing a 'cop out' blog post where I put up a video.  My eyes feel like they're too big for my head right now, so sitting in front of the computer long enough to write a full article is not something I intend to do today.

Bird Two:  There's only four Pancake Bros. videos I haven't posted as Video Vednesday (or cop out posts) entries.  There's four more posts to make (including this one) before the big premiere of the new series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, so you can consider this sort of a countdown to the new season.

This is an "Extra Batter" video which consists of a deleted scene from the very first episode of the show.  I had wanted to use this material in the original episode, but I ended up cutting tons of stuff for time.  Luckily, everything we filmed was saved for posterity.  Don't you love posterity?

Friday, August 9, 2013


In the very early days of the blog, I wrote about trying to get a job working for King Koopa.  So far I've been unable to get a position, but what about finding work related to a different dragon-type creature?  A dragon-type creature that's way, way bigger.   A dragon-type creature with a much more impressive win-loss record.  I'm talking about the king of dragon-type creatures; I'm talking about Godzilla!  King of the Monsters!

Of course, Godzilla doesn't run any businesses that I know of, so I can't actually work for the big man, but there's got to be lots of jobs available in the zany version of reality that the Godzilla films take place in.  I'll skip over the obvious ones such as post-monster-fight clean-up crew or post-monster-fight-clean-up construction crew.  Those types of jobs already exist without giant monsters necessitating clean-up and rebuilding.  Nature is a monster (and I can't blame her, since she's constantly being fucked with by Man!  King of the Assholes!)  So, aside from donning a hardhat and helping to rebuild Tokyo every few weeks, what could I do?

Another Kind of Clean-Up Crew

Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the scientist lady goes elbows-deep into a giant pile of poop?  Certainly you remember, that's the best scene!  Well, think about it.  There must be piles of poop at least that big all over Tokyo and its suburbs.  (Tokyo has suburbs, right?)  It's not just Godzilla dropping deuces all over Japan.  You'd have to factor in the king-size turds of Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and dozens more monsters.  Mechagodzilla is the only one not stinking up the island, though I think he has organic components, so maybe he does drop robo-poops from time to time.  I'm not sure.

Regardless of whether or not Mechagodzilla makes boom-boom, there's plenty to pick up after Megalon drills his way through town.  And that's when the Monster Poo Crew would be called into action.  It's a stinky job, but somebody has to do it.  The MPC would be contracted by the city to clean up all of the monster stink-bombs.  Since the government would be doing the hiring, the MPC would probably be paid a ridiculous amount of money for dung removal.

I really don't think I'd want to do the actual hands-on work that this job would entail, but I would definitely manage the business.  And as a bonus, I could start a second business selling fertilizer to farmers.  Lots and lots of fertilizer.

Monster Tag

When I was in elementary school we had a visitor whose job was tracking bears.  He and his team would catch a bear (I'm assuming by putting honey in a box held up by a stick with a string tied to it) and put a tag on its ear.  Then he would use the tags to track the wanderings of the bears for scientific bear research.  Since Godzilla is cooler than bears, the scientific community and the public would want to know as much about him (and all the other freaky beasts) as possible, including finding out where they roam.

Catching the monsters would be harder to do, since I'd need a really big box, a really big stick, and a really big piece of string.  Then again, maybe Jet Jaguar could help me tag the monsters.  Then my team and I could figure out where the monsters are when they're not smashing all the stuff in Tokyo.  Hmm... It looks like they mostly hang out on Monster Island.  Look here!  This monster swam all the way to California, but the smog was too much for him to handle so he came back.  Oh wow!  Godzilla went to New York, stayed for a while, then came back with his tail between his legs.  I wonder why...

I'm not sure how profitable this line of work would be, but it would be worth it for the contribution to science.  Monster science.

Stupid Helmets

One thing I've noticed about the Godzilla film series (and pretty much all of the Japanese films that fit into the Kaiju category) is that there's never a shortage of stupid helmets for people to wear.  Putting together a Godzilla task force?  You're going to need some stupid helmets for your team.  Trying to get your unknown civilization to revolt and attack the outside world?  You'll need some stupid helmets for that.  And I'd be the guy to come to; I'd be the guy that supplies the stupid helmets.

Everybody needs stupid helmets in Japan.  The government needs stupid helmets.  Citizens need stupid helmets in case a monster attacks their office building or factory.  And if the stupid helmet is obnoxious enough, it's sure to become a must-have item for some pop star, which would then lead to it becoming a must-have item for every fad-following teenie-bopper.  I wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand for stupid helmets.  I might even have to outsource some of the manufacturing work to a poor country, like Indonesia or America.  I could retire on all the profits from my stupid helmet company.

Whether it's cleaning up giant poops, tracking all the places where monsters go to make giant poops, or manufacturing stupid helmets that uh... (insert third poop reference here), there's plenty of capitalistic opportunities available in a monster-infested world.  Unfortunately, I'm stuck here in a non-monster-infested world, though with all the horrifying chemicals we're dumping onto and into the earth, I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  Lucky for me, because I've got solid business plans.  Monster business plans.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Video Vednesday #19

I hope you're ready!  In two weeks the new series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show begins!  So, actually, I guess it doesn't matter if you're ready.  You've got two weeks to prepare.  Or die!!  Meanwhile, check out episode 4 from the original series, in which we try to help our depressed friend (played by Rob Klubeck), and I try to interview my bro for a school project.

This is some no-nonsense get 'em get 'em comedy.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Here's the lyrics to a song my alter-ego (Klondike Maybe) has been working on.  For a while I've wanted to do a blog post filled with b-movie recommendations, but I didn't want to just do your typical tongue-in-cheek b-movie reviews.  The lyrics of the song are mostly based on films that I've watched, so I decided a clever way to recommend such movies would be to post the words for the song and just link to the movies.  (Did I just call my own idea clever?  I did.)  I'm going to link to as much as I can, though some of the concepts found in the lyrics are things seen in so many movies that I wouldn't know what to link to.  Anyway, here goes...


by Klondike Maybe

Watchin' these gangstas
Watchin' these aliens
Scientists searchin' for
The holy graliens

Could it be a monster
Could it be a kid
You're gamblin' with your soul
And you've just been outbid

Through the barbed-wire
To steal the encoder
Tryin' to shake the curse
Of the brain exploder

Here comes the cyborgs
Here comes the mafia
Half of your face
Just got ripped offaya

High stakes chess game
Could you be a pawn
Cut the right wire
To deactivate the bomb

Things are too real
They're about to get rilla
Helicopter drops off
The kung-fu gorilla

Sailin' on a ship
But the ocean is boilin'
Smell the witch's brew
That's bubblin' and toilin'

Torches and pitchforks
Give the mob the slip
Only way to escape
Is through Dracula's crypt


Explore the lyrics.  Click the links.  Watch the movies... IF YOU DARE!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Good Help is Hard to Find (and I Know Why)

When I first started my warehouse job, I worked with two other guys loading trucks.  There was Joe, who was good at his job; he was fast, a good loader, and essentially he trained me.  Then there was another guy, we'll call him Tim (I don't want to name names).  Tim had spent 20 years working for PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation).  It's laughable that so many older types claim that they're the hardest working generation, when this guy seemed to have been trained to be lazy and uncooperative.  Also, he was slow as a snail climbing a hill made of molasses.  He quit after a few weeks when our dock lead criticized the sloppy way he had loaded a truck.

Joe told me that this was nothing new.  In the weeks before I started, he had trained temp after temp, and all of them had quit within a few days.  Some of them, as described by Joe, were worse than Tim.  They'd take way too much time loading the trucks (if they weren't busy standing around or making frequent trips to their cars for "headache medicine").  I was the first person to come along that could actually do the job.  This boggles my mind, because warehouse work certainly is not rocket science.  It's not even non-rocket-related science.  When lots of parts are going out, loading the trucks is like putting a big puzzle together.  Sometimes it's a bit challenging, but let's face it: chimpanzees can put puzzles together.  I do consider myself smarter than the average chimp, but even a below-average chimp could load some of the trucks, because sometimes they have practically nothing on them.  Yet there are people who are allowed to drive cars, make children, and own firearms but are incapable of grasping basic concepts such as stacking boxes or putting things in numerical order.  Apparently survival of the fittest has been canceled, because there's a lot of dummies roaming around out there.

Worse still, some of the dummiest of the dummies are running the companies that are hiring the other dummies.  Case in point: Joe was hired as a temp.  He made the same amount of money as those of us who work full time hours nearly every week but are considered part time, but he also got health care benefits, vacation pay, and some paid time off.  I don't get any of that stuff.  The people who makes lots more money than me and Joe, who get paid to make decisions, couldn't understand why he didn't want to accept a part-time position with the company rather than being a temp.  They were, in theory, offering him a more secure job, but they were (in reality) asking him to give up all of his benefits to do the same job for the same amount of money.  When he declined their bogus offer, they cut his hours down to about 12-15 hours a week.  Since making the drive to the warehouse for that amount of hours is idiotic, he quit.  I don't blame him.  So, to sum up what took place, the brain-trust that runs the place forced out the best loader they had to save themselves a few bucks.  They claim that their goal is quality for the customers, but what took place next is proof that this is not the case...

Two weeks after Joe quit is when Link was due to be born.  I had put in for that Monday and Tuesday off about two months in advance.  Also, the dispatcher/boss-type-person knew he was going to be taking a vacation starting on Thursday of the same week.  So they twisted Joe's arm to make him quit two weeks before they would definitely need another person in the warehouse.  And boy-oh-boy, I can't put into words exactly how incompetent the temp they hired for that week was.  You know how goldfish are usually just dumbly staring out of the tank with their mouths open?  That's the face this guy always had on.  When one person is loading a truck, the other person or people bring him the cages and pieces for each stop.  This guy couldn't comprehend two things: one, that the stops should be brought to the truck in the order they need to be loaded, and two, that the pieces from one stop should be left somewhere near the cage of that stop.  And even though we do this same thing over and over again until each truck is loaded, he would just stand around, blankly staring, until one of us told him what he should do.  He was a friendly dude, so I feel bad saying this, but truth is truth: he was a dumb motherfucker.  He actually slowed the rest of the team down.  And this is who they brought in to temporarily replace the good worker they'd already had.

I'm not sure if all of the crappy workmanship is due to lack of intelligence, lack of giving a shit, or a combination of the two.  A great philosopher once said, "Stupid is as stupid does."  I suppose this means that the stupidity part of the problem can't be fixed, but the not-giving-a-shit problem is in the hands of the employers.  There's lots of different ways to make people want to do a good job.  The worst ways are brow-beating and punishments; the best way is rewarding good work.  But this doesn't happen in our current job market.  Loyalty is not rewarded; I stayed in the same office for five years, but when it came time to cut costs (so the CEO could make a few extra thousands on top of the millions he already was making), my job was outsourced.  I saw the work the new employers were doing; it was low quality.  Putting in your best effort and doing a good job is not rewarded; I work hard and always come in early when I'm asked, but I know I won't be offered a full time job with benefits (in fact, I was told they only want part time workers, even if I'm working full time hours).  So, rather than trying to hang onto this job, I've been looking for work elsewhere.  This means that once I'm gone they'll have to bring in yet another new person, train this person, and hope that he or she isn't totally incompetent.  For a company that claims, as all of them do, that their main goal is quality, this is a poor business model.

The company I used to work for (in the office) has since gone bankrupt and been stripped down and sold off to other companies.  When it comes time for the company that uses the warehouse to decide if they want to renew their contract with us, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they decided not to renew.  People wonder why the economy is so shitty, but it's pretty clear to me.  Workers don't care because they have no reason to care.  The bottom line that dictates the actions of the employers is greed, not providing the best products or services.  Our capitalistic system used to be fueled by competition and innovation, two things the corporations seem to fear and actively take measures to squash.  These are the ingredients of a recipe for repeated failures, more outsourcing, more bailouts, and a murky, dismal future for the economy of our country.

I wish America had a reset button.