Sunday, June 10, 2018

I think I've worked with this guy

This brings back disturbing memories of the second project I ever worked on in Temp Town. First, let us deal with this truly horrifying tale of international air travel gone disastrously wrong:
The flight was heading to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria when it had to make an unexpected detour as passengers became overwhelmed by the “unbearable” smell of the “unwashed” man.
The man in question smelt so bad that other tourists began fainting and vomiting after the plane took off from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.
Belgian passenger Piet van Haut who was on board the flight described the smell of the man as “unbearable.” . . . It was like he hadn't washed himself for several weeks. Several passengers got sick and had to puke."
Fainting and vomiting! Sadly, I am at least tangentially familiar with what these poor people went through. On my second project in Temp Town, we were stuck in two rooms that clearly were usually used for storage of case files. There were about 20 people in each of two rooms. One of the rooms had to be the home of the dude who came to be known as "Stinky Guy."

Alas, the room that came to be the home of Stinky Guy proved to be the room in which I was required to sit. I begged. I pleaded. I complained constantly. Nothing helped. The folks at the firm would come by in the morning, when Stinky Guy had not yet reached his peak offensiveness. They saw (or smelled) no problem. At noon, he went to lunch, walking to God knows where in the summer heat. When he got back, he smelled like he hadn't bathed in months. It would seem that our suffering was nothing compared to the people on this particular international flight:
Staff on board the Transavia plane had reportedly tried to quarantine the passenger in a toilet of the Boeing 737 before pilots took the action to divert the flight.
Apparently, the plane landed in a Portuguese city and threw the stinky fucker off the plane. They claimed he was taken off the flight for "medical reasons." Yeah, like people on the flight were going to die if they didn't remove the stench. The airline isn't even pretending the dude didn't stink at levels that made it impossible for other people to be in an enclosed space with him. They tried to pass it off as a medical problem -- I'm sure at some level it was -- but they admitted that the fucker just flat-out stuck:
A Transavia spokesman said: "The aeroplane diverted because of medical reasons, but it is indeed right that he smelled quite a bit."
Transavia, of course, is the same airline that had to make an emergency landing in Vienna during a flight from Amsterdam to Dubai because a passenger was ripping one killer fart after another. And he didn't care. Maybe Transavia should stop marketing itself as the airline that stinks, or whatever they do.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Yeah, so this is a little awkward -- and disturbing

My current project is not located at the firm or at the agency. We are in rented space at one of those companies that rents out temporary office space. While many people view people using temporary office space renters are losers who don't really have a business, it is worth noting that, by renting office space and striking out on their own, these people already have shown more initiative and ambition than pretty much every contract attorney on the face of the planet. Many of them are budding entrepeneurs. But I digress.

What I actually am getting at is how much these people otherwise are so much like temps, and how much the environment in which we works fits perfectly with Temp Town. For instance, on Thursday and Friday of this week, anyone whose olfactory senses had not been destroyed by the stench of Temp Town or sniffing glue could detect a faint scent of poo in the atrium of the building in which we are working. Upon entering the lobby of the tower of the building in which we are working, it became clear that the whiff of poo was really, really strong. In fact, I was not the only person who was pretty sure someone had shit in the elevator lobby. And please, considering history in Temp Town, the possibility was not outlandish. And the smell was unmistakable: it was poo.

Sure, my natural inclination was to blame it on a Temp, even if a homeless person sneaking into the building was a more likely suspect. However, another guy on the project may have found an even more likely suspect.

As you know, I never identify people by name -- I assign nicknames. The temp who has served up a more likely suspect presents problems for me. He seems like a nice guy: intelligent, easy to get along with, possessed of social skills -- in other words, not like most temps. Nonetheless, he has a beard that makes it look like he is on the short list to be the bass player for ZZTopp, and a haircut that makes it clear that he is either seriously gay or a rampaging urban hipster who needs to be put out of my misery. He is neither, so I give his account of a likely suspect high credibility. For lack of a better name, I shall refer to him as "Freak Show," even though I am sure a better nickname applies. But, once again, I digress.

Friday morning, Freak Show -- who always is first to arrive at the office, at least among those people working in our room -- got to work, opened our office, then went to the bathroom, where he found another tenant -- not a temp on our project, but apparently someone else also renting office space -- taking what can best be termed a "hobo bath." In my experience, this includes bathing as best you can by splashing yourself with water from the bathroom sink, usually targeting the armpits. That isn't what was happening, or at least not exactly.

This guy apparently was splashing himself with water from a toilet. In his defense, he was targeting his armpits for this hobo bath and, granted, the toilet appeared to be freshly flushed and not full of poo or anything, but it still was a toilet. Used dozens of times a day by God knows how many temps and other tenants of this office space. Yet there he was, dipping water from the toilet and semi-bathing with it. Needless to say, the encounter was just a bit awkward.

We had already speculated that this particular individual was actually living in the office space he was renting. His office space smells like a landfill. This tends to support the theory that he both lives in his office space and that he took a poo in the lobby. More concerning, though, is this: Is it possible we have found someone even more socially undesirable than a temp? Do we want to accept that such a thing is even possible?

Naturally, we assume that, if this person is, in fact, more socially undesirable than a temp, he clearly is a leading suspect as the guy who made the elevator lobby smell like poo. Hard to believe we might have found someone more likely to have taken a dump in the elevator lobby than would be a temp. A little scary, really.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The USS Arizona Memorial is closed indefinitely, which is a shame

The memorial that spans the wreck of the USS Arizona, a battleship that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941 has been closed indefinitely because of structural problems.
Damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely, officials said.
Boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial, Hawaii News Now reported.
Tourists were allowed to disembark at the memorial after crews completed interim repairs. But the cracks reappeared hours later, indicating a more serious issue.
The memorial is a very moving experience, and I hope they get it open again soon. It commemorates the disastrous loss of the USS Arizona, with the loss of more than 1,500 of her crew, early during the Sunday morning sneak attack by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941, that brought the United States into World War II. You can look down at the sunken ship, which was left at the bottom of the harbor as a tomb for the hundreds of men who died that day whose bodies were trapped inside the sunken ship. Hundreds of survivors of the attack have over the years had their ashes entombed in the sunken ship with their shipmates. I hope they get it open again soon, because people need to remember the sacrifices made by those sailors. Today is Memorial Day, and these are the people this holiday is meant to honor. I'm afraid that too many people today don't even realize why they had today off work. Here's why:

Never forget.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Old stuff from The Farm

This is from a month ago, easy, but I have been busy. Anyway, after a very cold March and even colder April, we were ready to go.

Farmer Tom and I weeded, tilled, and basically prepared the beds for planting.

Then we planted. You can see the stakes in the beds  that identify what we planted. We put in kale, chard, spinach, radishes, arugula, and carrots.

A lot has happened since then. Farmer Tom has been out of action for health reasons, so I have been doing what I can. There are gaps in the documentation. Tomorrow I will be back at The Farm, and you will see a lot of progress. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The U.S. Navy has reactivated the 2nd Fleet -- now they need to give it some ships

For many years, the 2nd Fleet patrolled the North Atlantic, serving as our primary force for tracking Soviet -- and later Russian -- submarines entering the Atlantic from bases in Arctic Russia. Emperor Barry I deactivated the 2nd Fleet in 2011 because it was "expensive" and, hey, who needs to keep track of Russian submarines anyway?

Well, somebody decided maybe we should, after all:
Washington (AFP) - A top US navy admiral announces the re-establishment of the US 2nd Fleet -- a Cold War command disbanded in 2011 -- to patrol the North Atlantic and face a resurgent threat from Russia.
The chief of US Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, made the announcement during a change of command ceremony Friday in the Atlantic naval port of Norfolk, Virginia.
Of course, the 2nd Fleet has no ships at the moment. Nonetheless, a command structure will be created. It's a start, but it isn't enough. The Navy needs ships. Pres. Bill Clinton and Emperor Barry I were horrible, but Pres. George W. Bush wasn't much better at adding ships to the fleet. And don't think for a second we don't need more ships:
Russian planes and ships have in recent months made multiple incursions in the north Atlantic close to the airspace and territorial waters of US NATO allies, including Britain.
NATO naval officials in late 2017 also reported Russian submarines probing underseas data cables in the north Atlantic.
The Russians have been very aggressive in recent years. Letting them continue to be so unchecked is a horrible idea. I will take this as a good sign. A small start, but a start.

Maj. Wolves has retired for good

Maj. Wolves, my father, died in his sleep early this morning. He was 83. He served more than 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and fought in Korea and Vietnam. He was the fire support coordinator, in charge of artillery and air strikes, for much the siege of Khe Sanh in 1968, during which he earned the Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart. He had a rare talent for not talking about combat while telling hilarious stories about things that happened in combat.

Maj. Wolves was a track and cross-country coach after he retired. He lived in Taiwan for many years, moving there first to serve as the military attache at the U.S. Embassy in Taipei in 1979 before Pres. Jimmy "Why, yes, I am a fuckwad, why to you ask?" Carter cut off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and closed the embassy. For years Maj. Wolves was an instructor at the Republic of China's -- Taiwan to you -- War College. He was the coach of their national track and field team, and was the head coach of the country's 1984 Olympic Team at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

Maj. Wolves retired for the second time to Pensacola, Fla. This photo was taken in May 2017 during a visit with Cpl. Wolves and Married Into Wolves:

I grilled a bunch of London broil that day. We visited again at Thanksgiving, but he fell and broke his hip just before our visit. He couldn't attend the holiday meal, but we got to see him again. This morning, he retired for the third and final time. Rest in peace, Maj. Wolves.

Update: Mrs. Wolves has provided me with more pictures. The first two are from a visit to Florida right before Cpl. Wolves deployed to Afghanistan:

This one is from an earlier visit that I can't even put a date on:

This is a composite the Mrs. Wolves created that features a composite of an official photo of Cpl. Wolves right after graduation from bootcamp at Parris Island when he was Pvt. Wolves and a picture of Maj. Wolves at the wedding of his youngest daughter:

Sunday, May 6, 2018