Posts tagged ‘you know you work in dc when’

Shutdown, Day 3: The Monkeys Have the Phone Box

3 October, 2013 | | No Comment

“If ‘pro’ is the opposite of ‘con,’ what is the opposite of progress?” – Paul Harvey

03 October 2013, Washington D.C.: As the US Federal Government continues to bicker about how many toppings they want on their healthcare reform, the National Zoo finds itself in the cross-hairs, forced to feed the animals in their care – whatever the cost.

Zoo Ranger and spokesperson Griffin Waccatee, who wishes I’d stop citing her in public, mentioned today that the situation will get even more dire if the government does not re-open before Saturday. “We’re going to need to feed the reptiles eventually,” she said, “and right now, that looks a lot like the lemurs. In the meantime, the regular locksmith is out, and so the Orangutans have popped their locks again and let out all the rest of the primates.”

A brief check of the Monkey House confirmed that all the major primates – High- and Lowland gorillas, Orangutans, and the chimpanzees – had all gathered in the main hall and were working out a set of parliamentary procedures in order to establish a National Zoo Government for themselves. A small faction of the chimps had been holding up the debate, but politely bowed to the majority opinion for the good of the greater nation without conceding their position. They agreed to disagree for the sake of progress.

Over by the zebras was another story of cooperation for a common cause, albeit a less heartwarming one – unless your heart is warmed by watching a pack of hungry alpine dingos bring down one stripy-assed hoofed ungulate after another, pausing only to share the meal with the raptors – which the chimps had let loose in the spirit of bi-partisanship. “God I love nature,” said Elle Fantus, taking a break from monitoring the elephants to catch a quick smoke and watch the terrified zebras run screaming through their small enclosures as the dingos circled around. “Right now, this is the best damn zoo in the world. It doesn’t get closer to nature than this shit, man. I hope they never solve the budget.”

The last stop of the afternoon was at the Zoo’s public relations office, where Mr. Bob Dobbs was busily preparing a flyer. “We’re asking for the public’s help during this time of crisis at the Zoo,” he said. “It’s the chance of a lifetime! Come feed the lions! When do most people get to do that, outside of the Serengeti?” His smile was rather unfortunately feral, even for a PR guy.

When asked if they had reached out to any other zoos, he smiled again. “Oh no,” said Dobbs, “We’re fighting fire with fire. If Congress doesn’t pass that budget in the next few days, the baby panda meets Mr. Lion. Shutting down the government is one thing, but I’m sure no one who votes to kill the little panda will ever hold office again.”

He’s probably right. As I left, I saw four Orangutans circling a payphone and holding their oversized hands in front of their eyes. I’m sure they were trying to call their congressperson, but of course she doesn’t really have a vote anyway.

Shutdown, Day 2: Fiscal Constraints Impact National Zoo

2 October, 2013 | | No Comment

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

02 October 2013, Washington D.C.: As the US Federal Government continues to bicker about the budget, twerking, Obamacare, and whether Miley Cyrus would make a better ambassador to North Korea than Dennis Rodman, the National Zoo finds itself in the cross-hairs of history, caught in a landslide of media attention and budgetary brouhaha.

“The biggest issue with giving 800,000 Federal workers a few days out of the office is that they’ve suddenly got ALL DAMN DAY to watch the Panda Cam, instead of the usual 3-4 hours they waste on it,” said Zoo Ranger and spokesperson Griffin Waccatee, speaking on condition of anonymity since she was furloughed as well. “We had to turn it off before it melted – it wasn’t built for that kind of load.”

Another issue Waccatee noted was the crushing fiscal burden of continuing to feed the animals through the shutdown, despite having no budget. “We’re really doing triage here,” she said, “just trying to figure out how to feed more than two thousand critters, large and small.” The small ones, of course, are less of a problem – Waccatee said that the slender-tailed meerkats, for example, will eat pretty much anything. “We’ve just been bringing in our compost from home. Those bastards don’t care.”

The elephants, of course, are another story. “We’ve started giving them massive doses of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is cheaper than all those vegetables anyway,” said Elle Fantus, who works with the over-sized proboscideans when their non-essential handlers aren’t available. “They’re basically a bunch of walking piano keys that eat,” she said, “and I don’t play piano.” Fantus reports that the ivory-tusked mastodon-wannabes have lost a few pounds, but seem a little more irritable than usual. “It certainly keeps the costs of their food down, and I wasn’t enjoying that diet anyhow.”

When asked about the big cats, Zoo Ranger Waccatee sported a small, sly smile. “Like I said earlier, triage. Ninety-eight percent of Americans don’t know what the fuck a Tapir is, anyway – and the lions needed some exercise. Problem solved.”

If the shutdown continues more than a few days, Waccatee said that they would expect to just open a few more doors and let the various species forage the grounds for themselves. “Hey, there are clearly a bunch of dumb animals grubbing around Congress,” she said. “Why shouldn’t we let our animals have some fun? It’s not like they’re paying us over here.”

The Panda Cam is expected to remain off for the duration, despite the howling protests of the entire Internet.

Wake Me Up When the Shutdown Ends

1 October, 2013 | | 4 Comments

OK, with all due respect, rights, and mad props to Green Day, I present for your reading and humming along pleasure my cheerful filk on one of their best songs. You can just please read, hum, and pretend you’re hearing Billie Jo Armstrong bitch at Congress.  (And not, you know, me.)


The fiscal year has come and passed
 And so it goes, just like years passed
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

ObamaCare is all they say
 but Congress gets paid anyway
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Here comes the vote again
 The Budget’s on the Floor
 Now send it back again
 Amending it some more…

As my savings start to drain
 I’ll never forget to VOTE again
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

You’ve passed a budget once before
 Do you need there to be a war?
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Shut down the Feds again
 Like we did in Clinton’s Day
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Here comes the vote again
 The Budget’s on the Floor
 Now send it back again
 Amending it some more…

As my savings start to drain
 I’ll never forget to VOTE again
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

This Congress is just a big disgrace
 Your sorry asses can be replaced
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

ObamaCare is all they say
 but Congress gets paid anyway
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Wake me up when The Shutdown ends
Wake me up when The Shutdown ends


Really, you don’t want me to sing that.  Billie Jo has it.  I don’t have it, and I can’t carry it in a bucket, either.  YouTube channel notwithstanding. 


Electric Elephants and Other Bad Ideas

16 March, 2013 | | 1 Comment

So there I was on a Saturday morning before the Mall opened, at the Mall.  As  usual, don’t ask.

Is there any place more soul destroying than a decrepit old mall?  If there is, it’s that mall before the doors open and the lights come on. As I walk past the run-down furniture store – and yes, they sell run-down furniture – the lights go up on the jewelry across the way, the furniture, the early morning dance studios.  The music starts slowly and the salespeople come to life like plastic automatons of some bygone horror film, the circuit is closed and the rusty sales force creaks to life, again.  This ancient mall is a palimpsest of stories, the hopes and dreams of sales and vendors and con men, written and crushed out and rewritten until the walls themselves can tell the stories, money, money, sell, sell, fail, fail, fail. We should accessorize our thirst, dance, relax, the walls tell us, beaconing us in, come in, buy something.

There are two massage parlors, open early, for the discriminating shopper to get their freak on in the early morning before the roving bands of stroller-toting exercise moms take over the halls.  There is a “D&D Security Training Academy,” which doesn’t seem to feature anywhere near as many swords or dice as you would guess.

They have anchor stores. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of an anchor to drag along the bottom and impede progress?  Right.  They have two of these.  I think this explains a lot, really.

There’s a store called Columbia Linens.  Columbia is the poetic name used for the female personification of the United States – there are 35 places in the US with Columbia in their names, along with at least 5 songs, a university, and the odd space electric-elephantsshuttle.  Linen, a textile made from flax, is valued for its marvelous coolness in hot weather.  In this store, Columbia Linens,  therefore, we should expect to find flax-based cloths that are either made in the US or printed with themes that might have something to do with the Americas.  Right?  No, of course not.  They don’t carry anything to do with the US, nor do they, in fact, sell linens.  Mostly they sell furniture of the Late Shitty period, and a lot of Far East knickknacks.  They do, however, have a display of Van de Graaff elephants, in front of a framed needlepoint rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

I mean, fucking electric elephants.  I’m sure someone asked their boss, “Hey, where the hell do I put this thing?” and got an answer of, “Um, put them in front of, Christ, I don’t know.”  Where else would you put them?

There’s a store called New York Fashion.  Here’s a pic.New York Fashion!

Now, I’ve been to New York City, and I don’t remember seeing anyone wearing this.  Maybe I didn’t get to the right part of New York.  I tend to think of this as Los Vegas Fashion, but what do I know?

I love the serial entrepreneurs as well. There’s a place called Eyebrow Designer 21. Me, I would probably have given up on this idea after the failure of Eyebrow Designer 8 or 9, but this guy perseveres. Good for him.

So, the mall.  In the end I outwaited them and accomplished what I came for, and possibly more than that.  After all, I now know where to pick up a steady supply of Van de Graaff elephants, which I can sell for a stiff mark up while wearing my New York Fashion go-go shorts.  What more could a guy ask for?



Calculating Your Stress Index

12 June, 2012 | | 12 Comments

Recently my company launched a new initiative for “Wellness” – promoting employee welfare through staying in shape, maintaining a good work-life balance, being responsible citizens, and being “prepared” – although that latter one mostly read like making sure you’re prepared to get old and die.

Being the responsible citizen that I am, I took the 6-question stress test offered on their new site, which will help you gauge your current level of stress. (I work in the Washington DC area, commonly cited as one of the most stressed out places in the known universe.) I noted with a certain incredulity that their first question asked me to rate my current level of stress, using 1 as low and 5 as high. This would seem to obviate the need for the other 5 questions.

After stressing about this for a minute, in the interest of helping all my loyal readers gauge their current levels of stress, I thought I’d create my own Stress Test, using a method that is highly scientific on account of it has more than 6 questions. Answer the following 20 questions as honestly as you can, sobriety notwithstanding, and I will present you with a scientifically derived “Stress Index Number” at the end of the test. Based on your SIN, I will present a variety of options to choose from to help reduce your stress levels, if needed.

Question Never Some-times Often All the Damn Time Not on Purpose
Have you been known to drink alcohol?          
On an average weekday, do you find yourself wanting to choke the living shit out of one or more people during the course of the day?          
Do you routinely engage in a little Hey Hey (with yourself or another person, doesn’t matter)?          
Do you include “going to the bathroom” as a form of escapism, like novels and movies?          
Say someone cuts you off in traffic. Do you fantasize about ramming their vehicle?          
Say someone cuts you off in traffic. Do you actually ram their vehicle?          
Do you find yourself muttering “Clean ALL the things!” to yourself more than once a week?          
Do people talk about your coffee habits in hushed tones when they think you can’t hear them?          
Would you consider the term “Self-induced ADD” to adequately describe your approach to task completion?          
Have you included your potty breaks on your schedule in Outlook because otherwise you know you’ll get stuck in some fucking meeting and nearly wet your pants again because that guy from marketing Won’t. Shut. Up?          
When you’re lying in bed trying to sleep, do you count tasks you didn’t complete today instead of sheep?          
In the past seven days, have you eaten more than a pint of ice cream while just sitting in the kitchen, just staring at the clock, just watching the goddamn clock on the wall, not thinking about anything, just sucking down a whole goddamn pint of ice cream while the second hand goes around and around and around?          
When you dream of winning the lottery, is your primary fantasy “not having to put up with this crap anymore?”          
When engaged in BDSM role-playing, is your usual safe word “chocolate?”          
Have you spent more time worrying about how someone would take interpret your email than it took to write it?          
Do you explain to your kids that there are other answers besides ‘Because I said so, now just DO IT!’ but that you can’t always remember what they are?          
Do you run marathons?          
Do you stress about all the people you know who run marathons while you sit on your couch and feel superior because really, that’s just crazy, but secretly wonder if you could do that, not that you would because that’s nuts, but you know what I mean?          
Do you feel guilty because you check Facebook more often than your corporate email?          
In the past week, have you used “FML” as part of your status on any social media site?          

Your Personal Stress Index:


Interpreting your Stress Index Number:

If your SIN is less than 11: You’re fucking lying.

If your SIN is between 12 and 20: You’re pretty relaxed for someone on the run from the law. They’re going to catch you eventually, but you’re a honeybadger, aren’t you? You don’t care. You don’t give a shit. It’s a grand adventure. You go, honeybadger. You go.

If your SIN is between 21 and 40: You’re doing ok. You’re not going to pop anytime soon, but you’re on a slippery slope of stress and sudden angry urges. Consider adding more alcohol and sex to your diet.

If your SIN is between 41 and 60: Just what you need, one more thing to worry about. You now have a number – a concrete, solid, put-your-hands-on-it digit – for your stress, to add to all the things you’re already stressing about. Try not to let it get to you. Just try. What’s going to help? Naked time!

If your SIN is between 61 and 80: You, my friend, are a beautiful mess. You’re past the saving embrace of booze – you’re going to need medical intervention. Try checking yourself into a sex therapy clinic and offering to be the release valve for the “guests” – you seriously need to get laid.

If your SIN is greater than 81: Put the gun down. Step away from the gun. OK, deep breath now. The nice people with the thorazine are on their way. It’s all going to be – I said step away from the gun. No. No! Put it down again. Come on, it’ll be fine. We have cookies.