Mr. Friendly Says So
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Yeah, I am a bad Catholic. Maybe one of my Krazy Katholic readers can clue me in on the origin of the Solemn Mass' proclamation on Christmas:

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

Even if I don't get an answer, it was still pretty cool. Proclamations are cool! Well, as long as you got something to say. I will not sully the post with "not so cool" proclamations.

Funny thing is I don't remember ever hearing this before. Then in one night, I get it recited, chanted, written. I am feeling good about my proud Church today.

My church was packed. It is not a megachurch by any means. It is a small, 200+ year old church in Albany. Check out the website. They crammed in over 1200 people there for the 4:00 vigil on Sunday. Who cares if the congregation was supplemented by the C & E's? At least they participated in a pretty good service.

Like Ralphie, my kids got nearly everything they wanted for Christmas. All gripes may be forwarded to the complaint department. That would be the full set of grandparents. With full wallets, of course. All more than happy to, uhm, take care of bidness.

I can only con Mrs. F. into having a country ham once a year or so. Christmas was my day. Ooh-la-la Mama Friendly made one the night before. Delectable. Yours truly fired his up on the big day. Can you have too much of a good thing? I don't know. Ask Porky Pig if there is a downside to too much ham.

I gotta slip it in because it is wrong. The link refers to a clinical description more popularly known "Partial Birth Abortion." If Catholic employers need to fund contraception and what not, Planned Parenthood and its supporters should be required to view the procedure, in all its glory, every day.

Going to be making some changes here. Check out the Albany links. We have some additions.

Upstream is THE Mohawk Valley blog. Dan Weaver shames most others with his writing. Mr. F. says check it out.

Off the Top of My Head is Chris Rooney's blog. The one remaining Niskayuna reader is commanded to read it.

The Judge Report is Amsterdamer(Amsterdamian) Robert Going's blog. I read December and I liked. Seems like a good man. Let him know if you agree.

Seriously need to get around to adding some religiousy type stuff. I'll get there...

My problem with some of the Katlick type blogs is the "Top That" type of faith. I really don't care if you know all the holy days of obligation or if you know the difference between the Nicene and Apostolic Creed or how much you just looooooove the "Old Mass." Those issues pale in import to faith, hope, and love. And the God, the Word, and the Spirit that make them all possible.

Don't forget Mary too. Without her and her exercise of free will, we would all be up a creek without a paddle.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
  I'm dreaming of a Brown Christmas!
And such little squekers as these you will be led by.

Over twenty years ago and for more years than I would like to say I worked for United Parcel Service. During that time, I worked my way up from package handling turd to supervisor of package handling turds.

Imagine my self esteem.

Used to be during that time, I would dread Christmas. From a time of celebrating Christ's birth and spending time with loved ones, it became PEAK SEASON. When I started, peak began the Monday following Thanksgiving and lasted until the day before Christmas Eve. By the time I left, peak extended from Columbus Day to December 24th. I could best characterize it as a dream, a nightmare, of an unrelenting backlog of catalogs, LL Bean bags, Grandma's cookies, electronic crap, and heavy shat that in reality only lasted 15 hours a day. I remember distinctly waking from a morning fever dream of a mountain of packages that got bigger and bigger...

Among the numerous atrocities performed by myself and my managerial overlords, one event remains prominent. Settle back, and I will tell you a little story.

Back in the day, in addition to peak season's steady roll of parcels, there was always our manager's issue of the day. Usually, production held prominence, but occassionally, we lowly supervisors were tormented with demands for timeliness (get the trucks out on time), missorts (no packages in a truck that don't belong there), or leaving our area neat and tidy for the next group of jagasses to operate. In a reasonable world, economic analysis would show my manager/dictator that you might be able to optimize one or two of these objectives, but not all.

Never all.

Did. not. fugging. matter.
Not tonight.
With Christmas fast approaching, my manager's managers had expressed with great emphasis and many expletives to be sure, that our shift was not to leave one fugging package for the next shift.

Not one.

In an operation that moves 120,000 - 150,000 parcels in three to four hours, trust me, in a world of competing demands, this one is an impossibility. Our operation was designed to accomodate 20 - 25,000 happy packages per hour optimally. We were moving at least twice that at this time of year. The law of ten pounds of shat in a five pound bag clearly states:
Some shat will overflow.

But overlords being overlords, laws will be overlord-looked.

By the end of the shift, the guy leading us through our Christmas Coma gathered roughly 50 packages together. Then he gathered his we little supervisory crew.
"What the fug are these packages doing here?!"
My fellow supes and I looked at each other, looked down. We knew what they were doing there. They were missed. The trucks had to roll. These orphans never made their ride.

How wrong we were.

"You fuggin' arseholes are going to split these fuggin' packages up, put them in fuggin' vehicles, gas fuggin' up and fuggin' deliver them!"
"You will fuggin' do this or you will not get your fuggin' bonus check!"

Check and mate.

Our bonus checks amounted to at least half a month's pay. For those of us pulling doubles throughout the year, it was considerably more. We depended on those checks. Many of us worked all year for those checks. Bonus my hairy arse, these scumbags took that money out of my hide. That is my check.

I was wrong.

My manager could hold that check in his JC Penney shirt forever. I could try to go to his boss, but the response would probably be something along the lines of:
Boss's boss: Did you guys leave packages for the next shift?
Me: Yes.
Boss's boss: TS fugger.

So I load up a white panel truck (we rented some vehicles during the peak season), make sure none of the teamsters see me drive off (did I mention that this was a grievable action), and make my way to Hartford, Ct. Hope I have enough gas.

Decembers in the great Northeast can be rough. Typically, the early weeks of December bring the first weather assaults on the thermometer. That night the temperature approached zero, with a wind.

There was no one on the Thruway, Mass Pike, or I-81. I get to the Hartford Hub in a little over 2 hours. I pull into an inbound feeder door, make my way to the unload, and find a Hartford supervisor.

"Hey, another arsehole for the Brown Frown," I say.
"What, fugface!"
Typical response.
"I'm from Albany. My cogsuggin manager is holding my bonus check until I unload these here packages." I say.
"What an arsehole!", comes the response.

Good to know that there is some commonality with brothers in arms.

My counterpart will take care of the packages. I just leave them on the platform. I am about 10 miles from Hartford when I first think that I should have gassed up at the Hub.

Things are getting dicey by the time I pass the New York/Massachusetts border...
low on gas,
still about 35 miles from the Albany Hub,
midnight on a winter weeknight,
weather is abominable,
Art Bell is on the radio.

I do what I swore, when I left, I would not do. I buy $5 of Thruway gas. Back in '89, that was about 4 gallons. Just enough to get me home. There is no way I am giving these chuckleheads free gas.

You get to thinking on the empty road. Well, I suppose you get to thinking about how nice getting home would be. I got to thinking about how much longer I would have to work for some miserable, punitive somnabit that would force my gang and me into delivering 5-10 packages on a 100 (or more, one way) mile trip. I reentered academia about half a year earlier and it would be another year before I got my degree. I was screwed for now. But when the day came, man it would be so sweet to kick the UPS dust off my workboots. And then burn the workboots.

I pull into the Albany Hub on fumes. That is when the teamsters saw me. They were waiting. They saw some of my fellow supes come back and knew what the deal was. They were just making sure they got all the names for the grievance. I told them I was just following my beloved manager's crazy demand and to spell Friendly with an "ie." I proceed to track down my manager.

Bumping into an old boss of mine, the one who ran the second shift, I ask him if he knows where Stoolmaker is (that isn't the manager's name, but it's close). Old boss lowers the boom. Stoolmaker left. Then he asks me what's up. I knew he knew but I felt I needed to unload and, what the hell, he was asking for it.

I launch into an expletive rich tirade that lasts about 15 minutes. During that time, I question the parentage of my coggsuggin' superiors, my own stupidity, and my generally miserable future.

You know what my old boss said. It had all the economy and wisdom of Ben Franklin:
"What the fug do you care, you'll not always be here."


During my time at the Brown Frown, I saw more than one person carried out, never to be seen by friend or family again. I have heard of the poor souls that would rather take the gas pipe than another day in his veil of tears. I saw people younger than forty have their futures obliterated by an innappropriate act or utterance which led to their firing. People I knew, who had futures beyond work, make it to retirement and have it end after six months. I saw young guys throw away a perfectly good education in order to get some teamster pothead to move just, a, little, bit, quicker. In short, God showed me in manifest ways that my future lied elsewhere.

Old boss was right. Let that miserable bahstahd have his day and pound of flesh. I hoped he was satisfied and would back off the rest of peak season. To myself, I wished him luck in his career. He would need it. In a year or two, he was one of the arseholes whose UPS career met a dismal end in the aftermath of some cocaine imbroglio.

Me. Well, after my bachelor's I pressed for graduate work so I stayed at the widowmaker a few more years. But I remember after I was done with my master's like it was yesterday. I gave my notice and after over ten years of service without a sick day, I called in on my last day. Fug them and their fuggin' cake. After a few weeks, I had not received my final pay (with four weeks of vacation time). So I called the district office and ratted out every manager, with one exception (old boss). My check came a week later and I felt square for a long time.

Nowadays, it's easy. I am way ahead but still laugh my arse off every Christmas season as I drive by the Albany Hub.

Merry Christmas to the poor schlubs of UPS.
Monday, December 18, 2006
  Do You Hear What I Hear?
I spent many a Christmas as a supervisor for a largely known package delivery firm. I hope that I can trade in my time there for time served come purgatory time. We'll see.
In commemoration, I give you "Do You Hear What I Hear?" UPS style.

Merry Christmas. This is all in fun. It's ok to not get it.

Said night side supe to his sorter staff
"Do you see what I see?
Way out in the lot, sorter staff
Do you see what I see?
A trailer, a trailer, we're missing one alnight
It will keep us here through the night
It will keep us here through the night."

Said the jaded sorter to the steroid boy,
"Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the PA, steroid boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A page, a page high above the noise
With some news that will bring us no joy,
With some news that will bring us no joy."

Said the steroid boy to his lowly supe,
"Do you know what I know?
In your carhart jacket torn, lowly supe,
Do you know what I know?
A feeder, a feeder lingers in the cold --
We must unload it 'til we are old.
We must unload it 'til we are old."

Said the unload supe to his people everywhere,
"Listen to what I say!
Pray for an end to shifts everyday,
Listen to what I say!
A feeder, a feeder missing in the night
It will bring us misery and blight,
It will bring us misery and blight."
Friday, December 15, 2006
  Are we fuggin retarded or what?
Yeah, I know its been a long time, but with Christmas and all, things are slowing down at the salt mine and that means, more bloggin' time.

Yeah, baby! Let's get to it.

The only non-culturally befuddled habib around here steps up today:
NCBHabib: Mr. Friendly, when you calculate someone's age, does the number increment on or after the birthdate?

Restraining oneself from slapping someone silly for asking such a stupid question can really build character.

Me: The day the birthday falls ON! You friggin mo-mo! I imagine in your country, you actually turn five three weeks and a day following your fifth birthday.

He continues.
NCBHabib: Then why would someone (identity redacted because it would cost me my job) who was born on this day, five years ago, have an age of four?


Me: How the fug do I know? Let's look at the code.

So we look at the code, but the problem is there are two versions that supposedly do the same thing, get a list of people and show some characteristics (race, language, AGE!, etc.). MY version calculates the age of the person and is correct.

Always. well, so far.

Then there is the code Habibalala used. The nitwit who wrote it just took the age from the database. i.e. WHAT?!

I laugh.

You're not laughing. Ok, I will explain. There are two different kinds of data. Static data, like for instance a person's birth date. You know, data that will not change relatively often. Then there is Derived data, that is data that should be figured out each and every time you access it because that is a heck of alot easier than updating it every fuggin' year, month, week, day, second.

The only problem with this little model is when some yo-yo confuses the two types.

Guess what my little habibalalas did?

Yes, you are correct, sir!

I fuggin laugh at NCBHabib. He must take the issue up with his fellow subcontinenter who wrote the crap code.

I wish him luck and kick his arse out of my cubicle.
Voted Best Blog 2006 by the city of Cohoes, NY. Mr. Friendly humbly accepts this honor as he attempts to stamp out retardation in our lifetime.

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