Chapter 80: COVID Chronicles

June 16, 2020

By Karen

Day 97

Max Refuses to Relinquish the Couch & Roc Transcends to New Territory

Last night Max was happily lounging on his new couch turf during TV time. But as soon as he left for just a moment to grab a bite to eat, Roc moved in and reclaimed what he thinks is his rightful place.

So Max plopped down beside me. I could see he was perturbed and pondering what to do next. He may have considered just sitting on top of Roc. It’s a move he’d seen Adele successfully pull off whenever she wanted Roc out of her way.

But Roc wasn’t likely to be so chivalrous with Max, and I’ve never seen Max deliberately provoke confrontation with anyone. Finally, he went over to Roc, but couldn’t figure out how both of them could sit there, so he just sat staring at the wall…

In the end, I carried Max to the bedroom, where he recharged his bruised ego on my bed until dawn. This morning he hung out in my office, apparently plotting a new couch takeover at lunchtime, which I’m happy to report went off without a hitch…

Speaking of my office, this morning I left the door open on the closet where I keep all my writer stuff. Roc took the opportunity to scale heights no kitty has ever seen before. He started out innocently enough by leaping onto the two-drawer file cabinet…

From there, it was a short hop to the top of the four-drawer cabinet…

Noticing a bit of space on the shelf above him, he went for it (apologies for the blurriness)…

But he couldn’t be satisfied until he went as high as it’s possible for anyone to go in this house. I’m glad he didn’t realize that trap door above him goes to the attic because he could have easily pushed it up and disappeared God-knows-where. I’VE never even been up there…

But even THAT wasn’t enough. From there he saw vacant inches on the opposite shelf, and I caught how he got up there…

His reward for all this exploration was a faceful of dust and cobwebs. And he reminded me there’s a lot of stuff in that closet I really need to toss. Anyone care for a case of workbooks called Mastering English Skills for Word Processing by Karen Wormald, yellowing but in mint condition?

Chapter 34: COVID Chronicles

May 1, 2020

By Karen

Day 51

Max Gets Bullied & Biden Gets Blindsided

Tony’s apparently old enough now to appreciate a fine ‘nip, so I let him have some last night and found him sprawled on the kitchen floor looking a bit wacked out…

Speaking of intoxication, I opened my office window today, which I don’t often do. Even though all the other windows were already open, it immediately became the hottest ticket in the house…

Yesterday, I captured a typical encounter between Max and Roc. It all starts out friendly enough, and then Roc has to turn bully…

Roc only left because I nudged him off the table. He knew just where to pick so Max was helpless to defend himself.

And now a word about Joe Biden. Until today, I’ve deliberately kept Tara Reade’s #MeToo allegation off my radar. We already know Joe’s a toucher and a hugger, but a finger rapist? Puleez.

This morning I did catch his first interview about it with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe. I don’t know how he kept his cool because I was screaming at Mika, who didn’t listen to a word he said. Her obvious mission was to paint him as evasive, uncooperative and guilty.

I think it will boil down to confirming whether or not the sexual harassment complaint Reade claims she filed exists. Reade has apparently produced all her Senate employment records for 1993 — she kept everything — BUT the complaint.

Biden issued a very calm and measured statement flatly denying Reade’s accusation without attacking or trying to discredit her. It’s a complete 180 from how Trump reacts in these situations.

Biden repeatedly explained to Mika that any complaint would be in personnel records maintained by the National Archives, and he’s asked them to find it and make it public if it exists. Mika wasn’t hearing it, and continued to demand that Biden have his personal papers at the University of Delaware searched.

What more could the man do?

Trump and the GOP make a grave mistake if they think this puts Biden on equal footing with Trump when it comes to assaulting women. Trump’s in a vile league of his own.

Biden has said and done everything an innocent man would do in such circumstances. Trump, on the other hand, wears his record as a serial predator who’s obsessed with his own daughter like a badge of honor, while doing everything he can to demean and insult his victims.

I just hope Democrats don’t repeat the Al Franken mistake and destroy Biden’s candidacy with their soul-searching.

Here’s a thorough article by a federal prosecutor analyzing many gaping holes in Reade’s claim and her subsequent questionable behavior.

On a purely logistical level, since women weren’t allowed to wear pants in Congress until 1993, such a formal workplace would have required hosiery — PANTYHOSE — under dresses and skirts. Reade wouldn’t have been running around bare-legged. Biden would have had to poke through her pantyhose to do what she’s claiming.

That’s the type of gaucherie only a depraved pig like Trump would try at the office.

What do you think?

O’Reilly May Thank Trump for Getting Him Fired

April 20, 2017

By Karen

Fox News bravely cut loose its darling douchebag, Bill O’Reilly, after more than 80 advertisers stampeded for the exits upon hearing O’Reilly’s despicable behavior toward women goes back many years and has cost him and the network $13 million in hush money.

O’Reilly’s ratings actually rose during all this, thanks to the loyalty of staunch family-values fans who love wallowing in depravity they pretend to abhor.

I think O’Reilly could have weathered this scandal if Donald Trump had kept his mouth shut. But you know Trump. If he sees an opportunity to slither onto someone else’s headline, he doesn’t hesitate.

Having the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief  say he didn’t think O’Reilly’s long history of boorish, threatening behavior constituted “anything wrong” was probably the last straw for many women. They turned out in droves to vent their rage at all such behavior and call for O’Reilly’s head on a platter, because it’s the only head available on the menu at the moment.

Now, when just desserts seem to be in extremely short supply, it was highly satisfying to wake up this morning to the news that O’Reilly got the axe while vacationing in Italy and shaking hands with the Pope. His display of piety proved to be too little, too late.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Bill O’Reilly. He’s one of those guys who will feel world events aren’t complete without his particular spin on them, and he’ll turn up somewhere, on talk shows, radio, or online.

What’s impossible to tell is if O’Reilly’s departure will have any lasting impact on the culture of demeaning women that’s apparently ingrained at Fox. Having one less pompous blowhole there can only be an improvement.

BONUS: I’m not alone in feeling the Trump effect. While researching this post, I found this commentary by AOL’s editors.

BONUS 2: Here’s another one from Huffington Post.

Let Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy Spell Bankruptcy

July 3, 2014

By Karen

The Supreme Court’s reliable misogynists stomped way over the line this time by giving national crafts chain Hobby Lobby the OK to impose its religious beliefs on its employees. No wait, not ALL its employees. Just the ones who don’t want to be pregnant every time they have sex.

It seems Hobby Lobby’s owners are good Christians and don’t believe in certain forms of contraception (morning-after pills and IUDs). However, they DO believe in profiting from these products by investing their employees’ retirement funds in the Big Pharma companies that make them.

Personally, I don’t think the Supreme Court went far enough. Once the 4 dissenting justices (Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg, and Breyer) saw they couldn’t preserve women’s reproductive insurance coverage at Hobby Lobby, they should have argued for a fair ruling that extends to reproductive options for Hobby Lobby’s males — no more Viagra, Cialis, or vasectomy coverage.

The Supreme Court seems to take the founding principle that “all men are created equal” literally and not apply it to women. If we could somehow make that statement gender-neutral and these men knew their own rights would vanish every time they disenfranchised women, I bet men would suddenly have a lot fewer “deeply held religious beliefs.”

Companies are NOT churches, and when they’re allowed to act on Christian beliefs — or Jewish, Muslim, or other faiths — everybody but the males at the top ends up being inferior and undeserving of equal rights.

And that’s exactly the slippery slope the Supreme Court has left us on.

Hobby Lobby thinks it won this battle. But Cats Working stands squarely with actor George Takei and many others in calling for a boycott. Hobby Lobby must lose its war on women as a warning to corporate America, and our best ammunition is Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

GOP Says: If You Hate the Job You Have, You Should Keep It

February 10, 2014

By Karen

If you wake up every morning wishing you’d died in your sleep because you dread facing another day at your job — but you drag yourself to it anyway because you need the health insurance — Republicans think that’s exactly how you should live.

That’s the message the GOP is crowing loud and clear in their deliberate misreading from the CBO report that the Affordable Care Act will cut 2.5 million jobs over 10 years. They’re slavering at the prospect of employers tossing several million more workers into the gutter.

They’re thrilled to claim that Obamacare will trample the little guy, yet hypocritical enough to label it a bad thing, as if their own raison d’être isn’t to destroy the 99% in the name of further enriching the 1%.

Unfortunately, what’s they’re saying is all lies.

The CBO report actually says…

CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor.

People will cut back on hours, retire early, or start their own businesses because THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE.

Lack of portability is one of the most corrosive aspects of our healthcare system. Just for insurance benefits, companies have people on the payroll just going through the motions of jobs they hate. Have you ever gotten no help whatsoever from a so-called “customer service” rep? Yeah, that’s who I’m talking about.

Those miserable souls who are nothing more than deadwood on the payroll, contributors to workplace dysfunction, can now move on and be happy.

This one bona fide silver lining in the Obamacare mess has the GOP wallowing in a La-La Land fantasy of the death of the American workplace as we know it.

Just read John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Orrin Hatch all being quoted by Fox News. You can almost feel them drooling.

The bottom line is that employers never should have put themselves in control of anybody’s health insurance in the first place. Being employed and getting medical care should be mutually exclusive.

But hindsight is 20/20.

For all its many flaws, the ACA is taking the country in the right direction in breaking the link between healthcare and employment — for those who can get decent policies for a reasonable price on the exchanges.

What Got Me Hooked on “Dexter”

August 12, 2013

By Karen

I’m an independent business writer by day, after making the conscious decision to forego paid employer benefits to limit my exposure to corporate America. The rampant duplicity, dishonesty, and ineptitude I saw from my old office cubicles back in the day were putting me in danger of going postal.

But even now, safely on the outside, I still see maliciousness and incompetence getting the better of good people and I can’t do anything about it, so I seek vindication in TV.

I started with a 6-episode Fox “reality” series, Does Someone Have to Go?, in which 3 small, dysfunctional businesses were featured for 2 weeks apiece. Their usually-culpable owners would give the employees free rein to fix everything, always assuming that all problems were rooted in the employees themselves.

Here’s one blogger’s recap of the company that choked on nepotism.

The series was a showcase for mass humiliation. Employees bad-mouthed each other on videos played for everyone, then learned everyone’s salary. Armed with that information, they picked three scapegoats who then had to beg for their jobs.

The fixes comprised the usual HR BS: salary cuts, probation and, in one case, rehab. One group fired the boss’s mouthy young administrative assistant. The follow-up footage revealed her to be happily employed elsewhere.

I wanted justice, but instead got to watch employees shit all over each other to buy their companies national TV exposure.

Then I discovered Dexter, whose 8th and final season is now on Showtime, but the whole series is available on Verizon’s On Demand.

Dexter is so not my usual type of show, it took several episodes to get past the blood. Then I binged for weeks until I was all caught up. If you’re not a fan, here’s the setup:

Dexter was discovered at age 3 in a puddle of blood after watching his mother dismembered by drug dealers. A policeman on the scene named Harry adopted Dexter and raised him by a “code” he devised, because Harry figured Dexter would eventually become a serial killer and need survival skills.

Which he did. Dexter also became a blood-spatter analyst with the Miami Metro PD. Harry’s code dictates that Dexter only murder bad guys, so Dexter finds some of his victims between the cracks in justice, but he isn’t beyond subverting an investigation he’s working on to ensure a bad guy fully gets what he deserves.

Another tenet of the code is to “Never get caught,” so Dexter preps a “kill room” in plastic sheeting, then knocks out his victim with a needle to the neck, strips the person, then wraps him/her in transparent plastic wrap face-up on a “kill table.” He lets the person awaken for a brief chat before Dexter plunges a butcher knife into their heart. He then dismembers the corpse into black plastic garbage bags and dumps them in the bay.

There’s much more to the story, including humor and humanity, but basically, I find Dexter’s successful kills gratifying, even if they are fictional.

Corporate America could use some Dexters. I think most of us have known or fallen prey to an office back-stabber with no other discernible skills. Wouldn’t it be great, just once, to see him or her taking the business end of the blade?

I’m praying they don’t kill Dexter in the series finale because we need to believe he’s still out there, watching out for us when the system won’t.

Steven Slater Quit His Job Like a Cat

August 11, 2010

By Cole

Karen’s book, How to Work Like a Cat, may have been a few years ahead of its time, but downtrodden, demoralized employees seem ripe for it now, if public reaction to the behavior of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater is any indication.

The media initially reported the way he quit his job as a blow-up that flared suddenly when Flight 1052 landed at JFK on August 9, but there’s much more to the story.

According to Slater’s lawyer, an unidentified female passenger boarded Slater’s plane in Pittsburgh with a large carry-on. She started fighting with another woman for overhead bin space, hit Slater’s head with the bin door when he approached to mediate, and didn’t apologize. When he told the woman she’d have to check her bag, she cursed him.

As soon as the plane landed at JFK, the woman demanded her bag immediately and let loose with another barrage of swearing when Slater told her it would be on the baggage carousel.

That’s when Slater finally had enough. He got on the intercom and called her the “f**king asshole who told him to f**k off,” but thanked all the polite passengers. Then he looked out a porthole to make sure no ground crew were outside the plane, grabbed a few beers, deployed the emergency slide, and headed for home.

So what’s feline about that? That woman stepped on his tail twice. He let her get away with physical abuse the first time. But he understandably hissed and spat at the additional verbal abuse and made a hasty escape from a bad situation.

And people are LOVING it. He’s an Internet sensation and Facebook fans are raising money for his legal defense.

We at Cats Working think his approach was a bit too feral, but we applaud him in principle and hope that others follow his example by standing up and saying, “Enough!” to the never-ending crap they’re dished on the job.

What surprises me is that the woman who caused this brouhaha remains silent (still no apology?) and her identity is being protected. She deserves to be publicly humiliated and labeled the “World’s Worst Passenger.” If it doesn’t teach her to behave on her next flight, at least other flight attendants will know they’ve got a crude and selfish abuser on board.

BP’s Tony Hayward: Still Clueless

July 28, 2010

By Yul

Here we go again. Justice, corporate-style… Company going down the tubes with a self-inflicted disaster, and the executive on whose watch it happened traipses off with millions.

Tony Hayward talked a good game when he became BP’s CEO in 2007. He vowed to “focus like a laser” on safety, of all things.

We all know how that worked out. Eleven oil rig workers and untold wildlife are dead or dying slowly and horribly, thousands of people have lost their livelihoods, and the gooey Gulf of Mexico may never fully recover. Not to mention the collateral damage of fouled beaches ruining vacations for families from all over the country and starving the economies that depend on tourism.

Right after the disaster, Hayward seemed to make matters worse every time he opened his mouth — and spent $1 million on PR, starring in that smarmy TV commercial. At first, he didn’t seem to fully comprehend the scope of his company’s destruction (with help from Halliburton and Transocean). Then before Congress, he revealed himself to be a typically clueless suit who was totally out of the loop and perfectly fine with it.

Rightfully, BP recalled Hayward to England, where he promptly jumped aboard his yacht to sail where the water isn’t slimy.

Hayward needed to go as CEO, but they’re shuffling him off to the board of TNK-BP, Russia’s 3rd largest oil company. Hayward will be paid $1.6 million on the barrel instead of working out his employment deal’s one-year notice, and he’ll be eligible for a $17 million pension and stock options that could be worth millions more if BP ever recovers.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Gulf disaster, BP lost $17.2 billion in the second quarter.

Apparently, BP learned nothing from the fury over Wall Street rewarding executives who run their firms into ditches. While people in the Gulf fight with BP to get their claims paid, Hayward is being rewarded with a cushy new job and enough money so he can walk away from it if he doesn’t like Russia and never work another day in his life.

So much for accountability. And the ultimate outrage is that Hayward still believes he’s the hapless fall guy.

Down with ‘Work Like a Dog Day’

August 5, 2008

By Yul

August 5 is “Work Like a Dog Day.” I’m a cat, and I’m steamed.

Humans can be foolish, but to declare a holiday with greeting cards to celebrate working long, tedious hours at pointless tasks for little or no reward is going too far – way too far.

I couldn’t find the origins of this travesty, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Spencer Johnson’s fingerprints are on it somewhere.

In 1998, Johnson wrote what cats consider the most hilarious and ridiculous book of all time – Who Moved My Cheese?

It’s a flimsy fable about two mouse-size humans named Hem and Haw. It became a best-seller because managers love imagining themselves as the dark, invisible forces that hold the power of life or death over scared, hungry mice whose survival depends on finding cheesy handouts in a confusing maze.

We’ve never met anyone who read that book without being ordered to do so by their boss.

Since there isn’t enough cheese in the world to get anyone excited about celebrating “Work Like a Mouse Day,” I think Johnson settled for the next best thing – dogs – because working like a dog is so cliché, it’s an easy sell.

He may even be working on an equally inane sequel, Who Moved My Beggin’ Strips®?

What we really need is “Work Like a Cat Day.” It’s the only one that makes sense. Cats work smarter, not harder. We get the job done with time for catnaps to spare. And we do it while looking poised, graceful, and fabulous.

A sensible blogger named Layla at Be Gifty recommends Karen’s book, How to Work Like a Cat, as the purrfect antidote for “Work Like a Dog Day.”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why Fred, Adele, and I inspired her to write it.

%d bloggers like this: