He Who Laughs Last… #socs #JusJoJan

My uncle Jack gave me the advice early on in my career: get whatever experience you can on a job and leave after a couple of years. I wish I had followed his advice rather than working for the same company for 20 years. Actually, the company changed hands a number of times while I was there, but it was a case of “new circus, same clowns” each time.

I finished my career there working for a person I didn’t like working with many years earlier. To give you some idea of how well it went, the day it was announced that he was going to be my manager, he omitted my name from the list of names he sent his introductory email to. I walked in that morning, and everyone wanted to know what had happened and where I was going. Naturally, I was pretty upset by the whole thing and was ready to raise a stink about it, but I checked my email and he had forwarded me the original, with a sorry-not-sorry added to it. The next time I saw him, I introduced myself: “Hello M., I’m John Holton, and unfortunately I work for you.” He laughed it off.

I was lucky that I had a manager between him and me for most of the time I worked for him, but that relationship went away about the time the company had developed a new product, so to speak, and he decided I should be the lead person on it. He then spent a lot of time and effort micromanaging me and basically getting in my face whenever he didn’t like the work I had done. I should have read the writing on the wall right then, but I was too busy to start looking for another job, or so I told myself.

Things came to a head when I was onsite with a client. He called me in my hotel, informed me he would be arriving that night for a meeting with the client in the morning, and he expected me to meet him at his hotel (which was on the other side of town) so that the two of us and the salesperson (who had worked with us before and who’s another story entirely) could “strategize.” He then launched into a lengthy diatribe about how I have a “cavalier attitude” and that I had better watch myself and change my ways.

I wasn’t especially happy when I hung up. The only thing that cheered me up was realizing I was in Cleveland, whose NBA team is, ironically, the Cavaliers. After dinner, I went in search of a Cavaliers hat, but couldn’t find one. I went back to the hotel and waited for his call. By midnight, I decided he wasn’t going to call, and went to bed. The next morning, he arrived at the client site and told me he had gotten in at 10 the night before and decided to go to bed (and obviously not to call me).

Things deteriorated rapidly after that, and by May I was informed that I was being put on probation for 30 days. I asked what would happen if I didn’t want to do that, and he told me to hand in my notice as of the day the 30-day period ended. Mary and I had already discussed what I should do (she had already told me to go ahead and quit several months earlier), so I handed in my notice, Mary asked some friends to watch the cats, and the two of us took off for Tennessee for a mini-vacation.

We spent the next several days wandering around central Tennessee, and one of the things we did was visit antique stores. In one store, Mary came up to me and said, “I found something you should give M.” She took me to a room and pointed at a painting on the wall:

Frans Hals, “The Laughing Cavalier” (source: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

It was a reproduction, of course, but if it hadn’t been a little out of my price range…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. This month, it’s also part of Just Jot It January.

Now here’s Yogi Bear for Kellogg’s OKs cereal. The one with the bear on the box!

Sap, Sep, Sip, Sop, Sup #socs

I’ve enlisted the help of WordFind.com. I know, we’re not supposed to do that, but that never stopped me (or anyone else) before.

Remember the big box of 64 Crayola crayons? They’ve changed which colors are in it, but one I’m pretty sure they still have is sepia. I included the CSS code if there’s a chance you might want to use it on a web page.


One day, I got an email from my brother asking me if I knew the answer to a trivia question his boss asked: on parade, why does the French Foreign Legion always bring up the rear? It turns out that the Foreign Legion’s quick march, “Boudin,” at 90 beats per minute, is slower than a standard quick march, 120 beats per minute. When they’re on parade, they’re led by a unit called the Pionniers, a “unit of tradition” consisting of sappers, or battle engineers. They have beards, wear buffalo-hide aprons, and carry axes instead of rifles.

French Foreign Legion Pionniers on parade. Source: Wikipedia, Public Domain

While looking at words for sip, I ran across fissiped. Fissipeds are terrestrial carnivores, like dogs, cats, bears, raccoons, and badgers, whose toes are separated. I guess we might be considered fissipeds, too.

RIP Bucky, one of my fissipeds

Did you know that sophomore comes from two Greek words, sophos (wise) and moros (stupid)? Your second year of high school and college (or university, if you prefer) is called your sophomore year. As a matter of fact, it’s used for your second year at anything, as in “sophomore slump,” what baseball players experience in their second season, regardless of how well or poorly they did in their rookie year. The Braves have a lot of players going into their second season, including Ronald Acuña Jr., last year’s National League Rookie of the Year. Maybe he won’t have one. Braves fans definitely hope so.

Ronald Acuña Jr. (source: Wikipedia, CC0)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. This month, it’s also part of Just Jot It January.

Now here’s Anita Bryant for Coca-Cola. King-size Coca-Cola gives you that refreshing new feeling!

A Sticky Situation #socs

So Linda asked us to “ask someone else,” either a living person, the radio, or a book for a word. I didn’t exactly do that. Instead I went to the Random Word Generator and asked to to give me a list of 20 words that are fewer than 4 syllables long. Right at the bottom of my list was this word:


Source: Pixabay

There are all kinds of glue, or maybe I should say adhesives, because I think all glues are adhesives, but not all adhesives are glue. I have experience wiuth many of them, including library paste, rubber cement, silicone glue, glue sticks, mucilage (now, there’s some weird stuff) and good old Elmer’s Glue-All, which is by far the most popular glue in the entire world… okay, maybe just the United States. It was made by Borden, who made just about everything back in the day, not just milk and milk products but also things like Mystik tape and Con-Tac paper. Mystik used to have a factory across the street from my high school, and we had an Environment Club that would go and protest in front of it a few times a year, not that it was that big of a polluter, but it was the principle of
“sticking it to the man,” very popular in the ’70’s. Eventually, the plant shut down, and not long after that the school district, realizing it no longer had enough students to operate two high schools, closed down our campus, the newer of the two. I think it’s reopened, at least for some students, but I haven’t kept up with the place, wanting to stay as far away from the place as possible since graduating.

Where was I? Oh yeah… Borden used to have Elsie the Cow as its spokesbovine for its milk products, and they created Elmer as Elsie’s mate and spokesbovine for Borden’s chemical division. Together their issue includes Beaulah and Beauregard in 1948 and Larrabee (no relation to the character on Get Smart) and Lobelia in 1957. Why do I think that’s important? I dunno.

I remember back in grammar school we were doing one of those art projects where you cut shapes out of construction paper, then glue them to another piece of construction paper. The nun told us to use rubber cement, because you could pick up and rearrange the piecees before the glue dried. Of course, the nun supplied two large jars of rubber cement for the project, and as was normally the case, some kid (the class artiste, and no, it wasn’t me) was hogging one of them. One guy (again, not me) got tired of waiting for the one remaining jar and decided to attach his pieces of construction paper using Elmer’s glue. The nun about had a stroke and chewed the kid out, because his picture would have wrinkles instead of being smooth like everyone else’s. He didn’t care, and neither did the rest of us.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now here are Elsie, Beauregard and Elmer for Borden’s Egg Nog. Borden’s: Very Big On Flavor!

(Talk about your stroke of luck: I had no idea I’d find a commercial with Elsie, Elmer and Beauregard that was appropriate for the season…)

If I don’t see you before then, Happy New Year!

Tinniat, Tinniat, Tintinnabulum! #socs

I spent my freshman year of high school at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, and took Latin from Father Zimecki, who by that time was old enough that Latin might have been his native tongue. The day before the start of Christmas vacation, Mr. Raispis, the principal (who was also a Latin teacher) came in and informed us that Father had fallen ill and had to be taken to the hospital, and that he would be conducting class that day. He then handed out printed sheets of paper and said, “Today we’ll learn to sing Christmas carols in Latin!”

Now, we had all grown up when the Catholic Church was still conducting Mass in Latin, and we already had some experience singing Christmas carols in Latin (e.g. Adeste Fidelis, “O Come All Ye Faithful”) but the song we were given was called Tinnitus, better known to one and all as “Jingle Bells.” Now, the only line from that I remember was “Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus!” and I wanted to share the song with you. And I found it, or at least a different (and possibly better) translation of it, translated and sung by Dr. Keith Massey.

Speaking of tinnitus (changing gears to talk about the medical condition “ringing in the ears”), I have one hell of a case of it. I have to run white noise most of the night to block it out. I asked my doctor about it, and he said that it was possible that I had arthritis in the ossicles, the three little bones in my ears (the malleus, incus, and stapes, or the “hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup”), and there really wasn’t much I could do about it that I wasn’t already doing. I heard another explanation that it might be the sound of the blood rushing through my carotid arteries on its way to the brain. In that case, I’m pretty happy I have it in both ears, because that means my carotids are clear and I won’t have to have the surgery to unblock them. Some company is advertising ear drops that allegedly will stop it, but at this point, I think if I didn’t hear the ringing, I’d miss it.

If I don’t see you before next Tuesday, Merry Christmas!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from McDonald’s. Give McDonald’s gift certificates for Christmas, only $0.50 each or a book of ten for $5.00!

Hair And Such #socs

I can’t resist posting this here:

I’m not an especially hairy guy. My hair is long enough to pull back in a ponytail (having it long takes the curl out of it), and I have a mustache and beard, but really not much more. I didn’t really have any noticeable hair on my chest until I reached my 40’s, and by then it all came in gray.

I was in high school when George Carlin did his famous hair poem…

That was in 1972, when it seemed everyone had lots of hair. Now the trend among some men is to have a shaved head, probably to cover up the fact that they’ve gone bald. In fact, some men are shaving the hair off the rest of their bodies. I think they call it “manscaping.” I call it strange. But, to each his own.

Th term “hairy,” which was the actual prompt for today, was used to indicate that something was horrible. Kind of like the infamous Lincoln Towing, according to singer Steve Goodman.

Or maybe it was just that it rhymed with “Gary,” as in Gary, Indiana, hometown of The Jackson 5. Don’t worry, I won’t add a video.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now, a word from Visa. Season’s Greetings from Visa!