Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crude Oil Will Do, or Concentrated Feed, or Any Raw Material, or Even a Conference Table Whose Shape Was Disputed for Months

I was at a full day conference/workshop yesterday (and will be a half day today) on emergency disaster training in libraries. I understand and appreciate the necessity and usefulness of these exercises even if I'd rather be anywhere else: there is a very real possibility pipes will burst in the building I work in and mold infest the stacks.

See the fucker in glasses and light blue shirt in center of the photo below? He's the motherfucker who LOVES! conferences and workshops, who not only looks forward to mandatory conferences and workshops but actively seeks out and registers for conferences and workshops, it's the motherfucking highlight of his job.

He's also the fucker who nods eagerly and constantly and (he hopes) with approving wisdom of everything the speakers have to say (regardless the subject and/or the competence of the speaker), but worse, he's the guy who considers himself more expert than the expert and feels compelled to expand for the group on what the expert is saying with personal work experience anecdotes, the guy who adds half-an-hour to a fifteen minute meeting just by walking into the room.

See the woman in dark blue three chairs up left? She's the person at every conference and meeting who sits the entire meeting concocting what she thinks a sophisticated, paradigm-capturing question of breadth and depth she hopes you grasp, a question that was answered two dozen times in the last hour if she'd been listening, then asks the same question again in what she thinks a sophisticated, paradigm-capturing rephrasing of the question after not listening to her first question be answered. God save you if this person in but one rung below real power in your organization - they'll never go any higher; their bosses put them there for a reason.

See this guy?

He's the guy who does a good job but doesn't love (and doesn't hate) his job, the guy people who love work but don't do as good a job as he, who know it in their bones but will never consciously admit it, hate. He's suspect, scribbling in his notebook instead of the conference handouts, wishing he was outside hiking, throwing plastic, wishing he was anywhere but at this conference, or any conference, any meeting.

He also didn't have much time to read last night (not that there's a lot to read: Blegsylvania be dying, yo), so light links today, a poem, songs.


Wislawa Szymborska

We are children of our era; 
our era is political. 

All affairs, day and night, 
yours, ours, theirs, 
are political affairs. 

Like it or not, 
your genes have a political past, 
your skin a political cast, 
your eyes a political aspect.
What you say has a resonance; 
what you are silent about is telling. 
Either way, it's political. 

Even when you head for the hills 
you're taking political steps 
on political ground. 

Even apolitical poems are political, 
and above us shines the moon, 
by now no longer lunar. 
To be or not to be, that is the question. 
Question? What question? Dear, here's a suggestion: 
a political question. 

You don't even have to be a human being 
to gain political significance. 
Crude oil will do, 
or concentrated feed, or any raw material. 

Or even a conference table whose shape 
was disputed for months: 
should we negotiate life and death 
at a round table or a square one? 

Meanwhile people were dying, 
animals perishing, 
houses burning, 
and fields growing wild,
just as in times most remote 
and less political. 


  1. Reading this post as a library employee, I now know exactly how rock and/or rollers felt upon watching Spinal Tap, minus the sex, drugs and rock and/or roll.

  2. I like the categorization of the two People in Blue.

    Is it just weird serendipity that the Po-Po are nicknamed the "boys in blue" and are equally obnoxious the vast majority of the time? Or is that just my anti-authority side talking?

    And I, too, long to live in the empire of tomato ketchup, or catsup. Tomato Cat Soup!

    (don't let the cats hear that lame joke)

    If I had blog theme songs like you do, one of mine would be Stereolab's Ping Pong.

  3. I can't get past the gal in the first pic who apparently needs two folding chairs b/c one is simply not enough.

    "The presenter looks hot though. She's looking right at me. I think she's digging me. Oh baby baby." That's how I get through those things. Sorry, man.

    Thanks for not picturing Clops again. That shit's just too cute.

    At least you won't have to miss the match on Sunday. The Nippon side is not to be trifled with. Technically proficient, mobile. USWNT is bigger, stronger. Conditioning will be key. Hey, if the Frog squad had a finisher, it coulda' been a whole 'nother story. They were on goal a shitload. Relentless. A barrage.

  4. Perhaps you'd prefer a HUD Multifamily Underwriter's conference?

    Or would a G.E. Six Sigma boot camp float your boat?

    (Yes I've been to each of these. But according to Alan Greenspan, it is Youth Today that is the problem, and how come they won't get offa his lawn?)

  5. I knit. No matter how wretched the conference/meeting I have enhanced my wardrobe. Also keeps me from killing people.

  6. Thunder, I want to smash you just for reproducing the character string "Six Sigma." Oh crap, now I have to smash me, too.

  7. Six Sigma: didn't he play for the Seattle Supersonics back in the 70s; sort of a proto-Nowitzki?