Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Violence in the Workplace

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting column this past week about how bosses need to learn to confront troubled employees. Given the tragedy at Virginia Tech, this is a very timely article. It gets you thinking -- how can you tell if your coworker is potentially violent or is just bad tempered or eccentric?

Back on April 6 we did have an incident in my office. A female employee was getting some maintenance work done on her office computer. She told the technician that she did not like his cologne, and he should leave her cubicle immediately. He must have thought she was joking. So she pulled out a squirt gun and told him she was going to shoot poison at him.

This particular woman is about 60 years old and has worked in my office for over 20 years. She has a history of bizarre behavior (including another gun episode) and litigation. No one willingly works with her. As you have guessed, no one really does anything about her, either. I can't believe it's because they like her lemon cake recipe.

Do you have situations like this at work? Given the proximity of this incident in time to what happened at Virginia Tech, one can become pretty paranoid. What is it about managers that they can't fire someone like this? They've certainly fired some others.

There is some good news for me, anyway. I am transferring jobs, so I won't be in the same office or even building with her. In fact, I will be working in DC while the office I am leaving is in Virginia. The transfer is not related to the incident of a few weeks ago, but I do feel that much better about getting away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"We Are All Hokies!"

I haven't been in the mood to post given the news of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. You will find that the politicians, university administrators, and many of my colleagues listed in the Old Dominion Blog Alliance links have said it all. A lot of questions remain to be answered, and facts are emerging slowly.

At this time, I can only offer my condolences for the grieving families and friends of the murdered students and professors, and wishes for a speedy recovery for the wounded.

On a personal note, our family did a vacation to that area of Virginia only last summer. Part of our itinerary was to visit Blackburg and Virginia Tech. The people who worked at the campus visitors' center were quite friendly, the campus was quite open, and we had a good time. The campus uses a lab facility as a Museum of Geosciences in Derring Hall. Our kids had a lot of fun there and one of the researchers gave my older son a polished rock (which he still has).

Virginia Tech has a fantastic academic reputation. I am an engineer by training, and even though I never went to that school, I have always held it in high regard. The bios I have read of the victims show the talented professors and students that the school attracts. Let's hope that we never have another tragedy like this again, anywhere.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Country Music Wisdom for Don Imus

The CMT Awards is this week, so I got to thinking -- What country lyrics are most relevant to the misfortunes of Don Imus? Well, here's my answer:

I love my records
Black, shiny vinyl
Clicks and pops
And white noise
Man they sounded fine
I had my favorite stations
The ones that played them all
Country, soul, rock-and-roll
What happened to those times?

I'm readin' Street Slang For Dummies
Cause they put pop in my country
I want more for my money
The way it was back then

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a Coke
And crack's what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I'm down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when

(Apologies to Tim McGraw)

Don't forget to root for Sugarland!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sexy Zoning Appeals Hearing!

Now that I've gotten your attention . . .

Hat Tip: Bill Hobbs

Apparently, the Gores need to get zoning approval for their solar panels. The City of Belle Meade, Tennessee, is considering his request on Tuesday, April 17, 2007. Anyone going?

Who knows, maybe Gore will then be using only 19.997 times the average monthly residential use of electricity instead of 20 times! Either that or he can add a few more fancy appliances! LOL

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pelosi, Lantos Refuse to Visit France

Thanks to Mason Conservative for the inspiration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Tom Lantos (D’s-CA) both said that they refused to visit France. “There’s this vast right-wing media conspiracy that is telling everyone that we are willing to visit any country hostile to the United States,” said Pelosi. “This is simply not true. While there is a lot to admire about France, namely, their constructive role they played in Iraq before 2003, their strong work ethic, and their charming President Jacques Chirac, the country disturbs us in many ways. For example, they haven’t beheaded anyone in almost 30 years! Besides, we have better wine in California.”

Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, added that “we will keep France on our list of places to visit at a future time. We are excited that they encourage their Moslems to respect the Jews much the way Iran does. If this trend continues we will reconsider our travel plans.”

Linguistic Notes on Al Gore

This item from National Review Online's "Planet Gore" blog was too funny. Here is the best excerpt:

Algor, funnily enough, is Latin for "cold." The plural, Algores, is a colloquialism for "bad weather."

My handy dandy Latin book says that "Gorgo" means "Gorgon." Well, does that say something about the concept of global warming being a mythical creature?

I might note that if our lives were subjected to Al Gore's schemes, they would be the reverse of an AlGER story.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Teachers in the NUT-House

Via Intercepts

According to The Guardian, British teachers are being driven to drug addiction and eating disorders due to the pressures of their jobs.

Excessive demands from ministers and management "bullying" have led to up to one in three teachers experiencing mental health problems, the National Union of Teachers said.

Yes, the acronym for the National Union of Teachers is "NUT."

Here is the interesting part:

A snapshot survey of 140 teachers in Nottingham found one in three "resort to alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating or other substances to help them cope".

One in three teachers going nuts? I guess the good people of Nottingham don't call the Sheriff, eh? (Sorry, couldn't help that!)

Now what gets me is that in no place does the article mention anything like classroom discipline as a problem for the teachers. I mean, isn't Britain rather notorious for their increasing laxness in law enforcement? I've even read that schools in former British colonies (which cling to backward traditional teaching methods) outperform the ones in Britain. Maybe asking for a safe learning environment is too much for these people, or too obvious.

You can read more about the "NUT" resolution here. Note also the objections to "faith schools" and to performance standards. Sounds like many British parents are getting the same ideas American ones are!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

How to Tick Off a Leftist

This is too funny, and a bit politically incorrect to boot!

You have now completed your diversity training requirement for the year. ;)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Virginia Blog Carnival

OK, I don't link to it as often as I should, but check out the latest Virginia Blog Carnival. For those of you from Virginia, feel free to put in entries next week. The items are good reading for everyone. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Elementary Thoughts VIII

Spring Break thoughts from my six-year-old son

The panda bear went "Roar" on them, but then you know what happened? He threw an egg on your head! And then the person got very upset and then a cracked egg fell on panda.

Then the tree fell down because sombody sat on it. Then the person weighed like a thousand pounds. The house fell down.

Now I'm done saying.

Pelosi Supports Motion on Hostage Crisis

Wants "Slight Adjustment" to Republican Motion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today that she has changed her mind and will now allow a vote on a resolution addressing the taking of 15 British sailors by the Iranians. The Speaker said that she had some initial reservations, but with some "minor adjustments" suggested by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and James Moran (D-VA), she is satisfied with the wording of the resolution.

"We feel that our new resolution will do more good than the Senate version," said the Speaker. The new resolution was described as seeking "balance" by calling for an end to the detainment of the British, and by calling on the British to "stop getting in the Iranians' personal space even if not in their territorial waters." The Speaker did give credit to Ellison and Moran for their effort to include the language that expressed concern about the role of "Israeli lobbyists" in the crisis. "This language is very important to Reps. Ellison, Moran, and much of our strongest Internet supporters" said Pelosi. "In addition, this is the kind of language with which most of my own constituents can agree."

No comment was available from the Republican Caucus. An inside source did point to the "widening Gulf that seems to be appearing in Congress."