In the job I have presently, I had a boss a few years back who was the WORST boss I’ve ever had, in any job, bar none. She was terrible because she engaged in obvious, and detrimental, favoritism. There were certain people that she liked and those people would get information, and others that she did not, and they did not. When we first got Internet connections, she allowed only one of her favored to have access. In an office of seven librarians, that was just plain stupid. And being her favorite wasn’t always a walk in the park, since she tended to be needy, in an incompetent sort of way, and her favorites had to repeatedly show her how to use the software we used over and over and over again.

One time, her predecessor wrote a scathing e-mail to one of the staff (not me), criticizing her. She felt (wrongly, I believe) that confidential information was given out and she wanted to know who the disloyal one was. She grilled me for an hour and a half, before concluding (perhaps) that I wasn’t the “guilty” party. (I knew perfectly well who had spoken with my former boss, but did not find the need to rat that person out, since I didn’t think that person had done anything wrong.)

So, when I got a new permanent boss in 1998, I was very wary. Mary SEEMED nice, but I was suspicious. I made a point of telling her, preemptively, things I disliked about my previous boss. I had taken one of those personality assessment tests a couple years earlier, and I gave her a copy of mine, highlighted to show her things that her predecessor had violated, and I shared stories too. Here’s one:

I was assigned the task of changing our intake form. I was given a week. On day four, she asked, “Is it done”” “No.” On day five, she asked, “Is it done?” “No.” On day six, she asked, “Is it done?” “Yes.” (I couldn’t bear to hear her ask again.) There was some person who was touring our offices, and she picked up the intake form and said, “Here’s the intake form I designed.” It was an intake form, but this nevertheless INFURIATED me. If she had said, “This is the intake form WE designed,” I would have had no problem.

So all of this anger and frustration I dumped on poor Mary, and she magnanimously listened to it all. In fact, she was so kind, it was almost certainly I who came up with her nickname, the Hoffinator, because she was so very unlike Ah-nold, very go with the flow. Our department was downsized less than six months on, from seven librarians and a secretary to four librarians, and she deftly recalculated the budget.

We moved to a different building, and she and I shared the WORST office I’ve ever been in. The shortest distance from the MIS (techies’) office to the state director’s office was THROUGH our office. So people were constantly saying, “Excuse me,” as they traversed through. How either of us got any work done, I’ll never know.

Since my desk sat in front of hers, I became a de facto screening agent for Mary. She’d often sit at her desk for lunch, but her phone would constantly ring. I would answer her phone and suggest that the person call back after lunch.

We played music, and she was the most accommodating of the other three librarians. The only things I couldn’t play in her presence were Willie Nelson and Neil Young. (Anne, one of my former colleagues, by contrast had a list of about 20 artists, starting with Bruce Springsteen, which could not be played within her earshot.)

By the time we moved upstairs, she was now the Associate State Director, appropriate since she had been doing many of those duties anyway. We now each have our own offices. So now, we make a point of having lunch regularly to keep in touch. We have these wide-ranging conversations about politics, music and life, that are exhilarating.

Happy birthday, Hoffinator. You turned to be all right.

Rock Meme-Kathryn Dawn Lang

Favorite artist of an ex.

Artist/Band: k.d. lang (b. 11/2/1961)
Are you male or female: Big Boned Gal
Describe yourself: I Want It All; Just Keep Me Moving
How do some people feel about you: Constant Craving
How do you feel about yourself: Lifted by Love
Describe what you want to be: Honky Tonk Angels’ Medley
Describe how you live: In Perfect Dreams; Once Again Around the Dance Floor
Describe how you love: Big Big Love
Share a few words of wisdom: Don’t Be a Lemming Polka; Tears Don’t Care Who Cries Them; So It Shall Be


I have hit six months of blogging today. I’ve never missed a day, though I’ve come darn close a couple times.

There was this blogger who wrote something called Fanboy Rampage who quit posting this past month after two years, much to the chagrin of several people. I have no opinion about this development, rarely having read his column. But this situation was so disconcerting that this person had been re-evaluating why he posts. I would feel badly if HE stopped blogging, because I would miss his pithy observations. (BTW, I received a Halloween package from him yesterday, with a CD from him, one from his wife, and a new 25-cent comic book, a rare commodity these days.)

For me, ultimately, I have to post for ME. There are times I post a question and get no responses or just one or two, and I wish I could get more.
Specifically, I STILL want to know:
Is Pam from The Office (US version) attractive, and why? (You can ensure domestic tranquility.)
Are there other albums that use a song as the function title song, such as Shawn Colvin’s “Sunny Came Home”, that contains the line, “A Few Small Repairs”

And I can’t tick off SOMEONE by suggesting that Amos ‘n’ Andy be shown?

But I have to keep remembering that the reason I was doing this thing in the first place was self-expression. I didn’t know if anyone (besides a couple people) would even find it.
(My wife rarely reads it, so when she says, “What did you post today, I harumph, “Go READ it!” rather than try to encapsulize it.)
I continue to be amazed that people I don’t know manage to find it and peruse it more than once.

Besides, it is a place I can post information I receive about Samuel Alito’s America here and here via e-mail. (Alito is the next contestant on “Supreme Court Roulette”.) Or I might find something in today’s newspaper about singing mice that I want to share.

This run I have is rather like Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s consecutive game streak. There are days when I should have benched myself. And sooner or later, I’ll be on a trip, and I’ll be unable to post, and that will be OK. (It will have to be OK, he said to himself, grimacing.) I was comforted by Burgas, because he passed on writing for a whole weekend as he traveled east. (NO football predictions! No pithy links!) But then he revealed, by his own definition, how dumb he is (he missed a wedding he traveled 2500 miles to attend), so that mitigated my comfort level.

Gee, I do love to pick on Greg. On Friday, he wrote:
Washington (+2) 20, NEW YORK GIANTS 17. Tough game to pick. The Giants should be emotionally ready to win one for their dead owner, Wellington Mara, but I’m taking the Washingtonians. I hope they tie, actually. Can’t they both lose?
I replied: “No way the Giants lose at home after Mara’s death.”
Greg’s answer: See, because you say ‘no way,’ that’s why I’m picking against them. I think they’ll be full of confidence to start, but if Washington holds them off in the first quarter, the momentum will start to change.
On Sunday: Giants 36, Washington 0, which means I’m 1-0 for the season, and I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Actually, that game notwithstanding, Greg’s gotten pretty good at that sports selection process.

Meanwhile, I continue to have more ideas to write about than time to write them, especially since my Internet at home will be down for at another couple weeks.

Once again, I must thank (or curse) Fred Hembeck for getting me started on this electronic cruise.

Rock meme-Lyle Lovett

When we first had four librarians in our office in 1998, this was one of the few artists that everyone could tolerate.

Artist/Band: Lyle Lovett (b. 11/1/1956), which makes him the big 5-0 next year
Are you male or female: Stand By Your Man; I Know You Know
Describe yourself: Long Tall Texan; Skinny Legs; I’ve Gort the Blues
How do some people feel about you: Nobody Knows Me; They Don’t Like Me
How do you feel about yourself: Old Friend; I Think You Know What I Mean
Describe what you want to be: Record Lady
Describe how you live: You’ve Been So Good Up to Now
Describe how you love: I Loved You Yesterday; Give Back My Heart; I Love Everybody
Share a few words of wisdom: Here I Am; It Ought to Be Easier; Once is Enough

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