The Indian’s not the only one crying now

 

We all feel this way today

 

Holy peace pipe! I’ve spent all day perusing the web for a way to commemorate the 134th anniversary of Custer’s Last Stand, but I fear I’ve learned too much.

It turns out one of the dearest traditions of this blog, the Crying Indian, was never Indian at all! (I know this has nothing to do with Custer. He was a jerk anyway). 

The lamenting Lakota that taught us to be nice to our planet was not Native American, but rather Italian-American. His birth name was Espera Oscar de Corti and it wasn’t until he headed to Hollywood in 1924 that he began to market himself as American Indian.

This was a very trying discovery for me, but what this guy lacked in genetics he made up for with insanity. He changed his name to Iron Eyes Cody (which is a pretty sweet name), married himself a nice Native gal named Bertha (not such a sweet name)  and never looked back. Old Iron Eyes and Bertha adopted two little Indians, and according to his Snopes article he went everywhere in moccasins, a buckskin jacket and a braided wig. While the Crying Indian was his most famous role, he had a long acting career in which he acted opposite John Wayne and dazzled cinema goers with a striking performance in “Earnest goes to Camp.” 

Iron Eyes championed many an Native cause, and maintained his false heritage all the way into his old age, even after his half-sister released his birth certificate the newspapers. He went on to meet the Great Spirit in 1999 at the age of 94. Apparently despite being an Italian in buckskin clothing, he’s well respected in the Native American community. Actually, all the craziness just makes me like him more.

And you know that tear that rolled down his cheek? It was glycerine.

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But on the other hand…

I thought about it. I picked apart this blog (man I’ve missed a lot of typos) and I thought about what it was I wanted from a new one in terms of appearance, content and subject matter. I even registered a new blog with a new title and theme. But I eventually decided that what I want in a blog currently is not substantially different from what I (we? When’s the last time you logged on, Ashley?) have in MLC.

There were a number of other factors that influenced me. Like the fact that it’s a lot of work to set up a new blog and make it look nice… I forgot Ashley did most of that with this one. Or I just recently discovered the name could be abbreviated as “MLC.” I expect to get all sorts of usage out of that in the future. Also, Tiffany just blog-rolled us, and you can turn up your nose at that kind of honor.

I’d still like to update this blog a little. One of the founding missions of MLC (doesn’t that sound classy?) was to chronicle the unemployment experience, and since we’re both gainfully employed now there’s not much to say that you can’t read in the newspapers everyday. Also, this blog has absolutely nothing to do with Missouri, which, I’ll admit, makes the name a bit of a misnomer.

But then I’ve always felt this blog was about youth and coming of age, and what better  way to illustrate a peculiar life experience in a blog than to have the blog itself be a testament to how drastically life changes in one year.

But this always has been a fairly generic blog in terms of focus (my last post was about whaling, for goodness sake. Where did that come from?) and until I have a more narrow scope that I’d like to build a blog around, I think I’ll (or we’ll? Seriously Ash, anytime you want to stage a comeback… or a debut…) maintain this one. Besides which, I’m far too sentimental to ever delete this Missouri Loves Company, and it doesn’t behoove anyone to have me leaving a trail of derelict sites across cyberspace every time I have a new idea.

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Who doesn’t like whales?

I don’t consider myself an environmental activist by any means. I don’t chain myself to trees or protest outside of oil refineries. I don’t have one of those nifty Nalgene bottles the cool kids are sipping on, but I don’t drink bottled water either. If I can, I prefer to throw my pop cans in recycling.

But I feel pretty strongly about protecting the oceans. People abuse the oceans in some pretty ridiculous ways, from dumping pollutants to shark-finning (a practice in which fishers pull sharks out of the water, chop off the dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins for soup and toss the shark into the water to die). We really don’t know much about what’s going on beneath the surface in the oceans, and people seem to think that makes it okay to pummel them. It’s like closing your eyes when you rifle the cookie jar and thinking it will always be full.

Which brings me to whaling. The International Whaling Commission is in talks right now to extend the whaling moratorium declared in 1986. Now that seems like good news for whales, right? Except the IWC did such a poor job designing the moratorium that during the past 24 years 33,000 whales have been “legally” killed. The IWC did so poorly last time that the other proposal they’re considering is to legalize commercial whaling, because that might actually lower the amount of whales harvested.

Now I have little tolerance for inept bureaucracies or for the spelling of the word bureaucracy. (You know it’s bad when the spell checker can’t even guess what you’re going for). But I have not one ounce of love set aside for the governments who continue whaling: Japan, Iceland and Norway. Norway at least has guff to tell the IWC where they can put their moratorium. Japan and Iceland nominally agree to the ban, but claim exemptions for “scientific research.” (And conveniently, whale meat harvested for so-called research can be sold in markets and restaurants).

I really can’t imagine a compelling reason any country on the planet should be whaling. The meat does not make up a key part of any ethnicities diet––it’s a luxury food. But neither does it make up a major part of any country’s economy. It’s just that backwards assumption that because a particular practice is part of a nation’s culture, they have the right to continue practicing regardless of the effects. Like the tigers that are poached or all the fossils that have been destroyed for Chinese “medicine.” Raping and pillaging used to be part of Norway’s culture too, but they’ve had to move on. Now it’s time to move on again.

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An MLC Public Opinion Poll, and other farces

To whom it may concern: 

I’m considering reconsidering this blog, and I mean from top to bottom. Probably starting at the top. I know in this past year many of you came to think of Missouri Loves Company as being synonymous with trenchant commentary, expansive scope and taught, hard-hitting prose, but then I know you all are also familiar with that little adage about a rose by any other name.

For a little insight on the update itch, let’s travel back to its roots: It was the sweltering early summer of 09. Ashley and I were a couple of pining 20-somethings separated by 600 miles and financially constricting circumstances. We decided to make this blog as a way of doing something together while we were apart (Awww) and to express what we saw as the unique voice of the young unemployed in America. And we did express that perspective, in earnest, for about two months.

Flash to us in the present. We are employed, we are married, we live in Minnesota and Ashley refused to blog anymore. (Not that I’m bitter, honey pie!) While this is an interesting study in the ephemeral nature of one’s condition, it also pretty much scraps all of the founding elements of this blog.

Here’s what I’m thinking: a revamped, re-named blog that maintains the trenchant commentary, etc. but updated to our modern circumstances and a slightly more malleable frame. This means no more “Miserable” theme, no more Missouri, and no more pretense of Ashley ever freaking contributing (Joking! I’m not bitter dear! Especially since you are my only reader! Love you! But seriously, what happened to the vision we had?)

What will take the place? Hard to say. I think I’ll keep the formatting the same, as a tribute to Ashley’s being a part of the blog (Joking!) The vantage point will probably be more generic, although it was never that narrow–unemployment is a limited and depressing window to view the world from.

If you, the reading public have thoughts on how this blog could be improved, let me know. Even if you don’t, expect to see big changes next time you remember to visit, which may or may not come before the next time I remember to blog.

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Add New Post

I don’t need to explain myself. True, we haven’t blogged in a long time. But then you haven’t read since… ever. No matter. I have a right to express my opinions, and the world has a right to hear them. Even if it never exercises that right.

Life has stabilized. We’re employed. We’re finally getting married. I’ve had a couple of friends who are still in college who recently explained to me how they were dragging their feet on entering the “real world.” Forget that. Being a grownup is sweet, from my nigh on one year of experience. There are more things deal with now, but I don’t think you’re any less stressed in college. You just stress over more trivial things. (“Oh holy frick mother of pearl I forgot to read that Herbert Hoover thing I’ll have to pull an all-nighter!” Trust me. Within 10 minutes of graduation you’ve already forgotten the paper, Herbert Hoover, the grade you received your GPA, and the term “Great Depression” rings only a faint, bittersweet little bell in your memory.)

All that to say, I’m in the mood to speak out. I’m going to reform this blog to reflect life as I see it now, and I’m going to be on here a lot more consistently. But probably not tomorrow.

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Free Psychoanalysis with Job Applicationhon

I like to think that I do a fairly insightful job of exploring issues affecting the young unemployed. By this I mean I complain routinely about every grievance my jobless state yields. Back when I still looking at job’s that required college degrees, I complained about long response times and writing cover letters. Now I’m applying at everything from Safeway to security guard, which means I have an entire new crop of complications to draw my ire. Today’s hot topic: the online application.

First of all, online applications in general seem to be more intensive. Classic paper aps (a dying breed) are always Dragnet: Just the facts. And if you don’t like a question (like a request for your social security number) you can leave it blank, or write a note in the margins. Not so with the online ap. Before you even get to any information you have to go through a series of disclosures, agreements, releases and “I understand” clauses. Then you actually get to the application part of it, which varies from site to site. I’ve found US Bank to be the best for this. You can create a profile one time, and then you then affirm and submit to every job at any location you choose afterwards. Everywhere else, you are forced to fill out the entire application for every position at every location at which you apply, and if you are applying at a corporate retailer, law of averages dictates you blanket a region. Luckily my trusty Mac remembers what I write in a blank space, so if I fill out more than one application for a store, I simply press down arrow and Safari pastes whatever I previously wrote in that space before, making this portion bearable. This brings us to our nemesis: Kronos.

Kronos Incorporated, and more specifically its subsidiary Unicru, designs software for HR departments. This software ostensibly screens candidates for personality and attentiveness. However, the questions are prosaic, repetitive and obnoxious, and they are obsessed with the ascocial. Example: “You don’t like to meet to new people.” You can then select if you 1)Strongly Disagree 2) Disagree 3) Agree 4) Strongly Agree. Plausible. But this is followed by: “You don’t know what to say when meet new people.” Well, sometimes. “You are unsure of yourself with new people.” 2) Disagree. I’m more unsure of them. Then we segue into downright misanthropy. “People do a lot of things that make you mad.” 2) Disagree. I don’t pay attention. “Many people cannot be trusted.” I wouldn’t know I don’t get out often. “You ignore people you don’t like.” 1) Strongly Disagree. I avoid them entirely. “People are often mean to you. 3) Agree. Ashley’s been a little abusive lately. “Slow-moving people make you impatient.” 2) Disagree. I am a slow-mover. “People do a lot of things that make you mad.” 2) Disagree. Really just a few, certain things. Bumperstickers and unattributed quotations come to mind. “There are people you really can’t stand.” 4) Strongly Agree. Isn’t this true for everyone expect Golden Retrievers?

As far as functionality, the questionnaire might thwart  Theodore Kacynski tripping on sodium pentathol. Other than that, any person with faculty enough to type in a Web site can anticipate the desired answer. But with 25 pages of questions on average per application, the real challenge is tedium. And as I said if you are truly trying to get hired, you have to fill out aps for multiple positions at multiple locations. Which means the real challenge is tedium. Filling out the same questions over and over for hours on end, your eyes glaze over and you click bubbles instinctively and not selectively. (This is how I once responded “Daily,” when one quiz asked me how often I “use hard drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, speed and LSD immediately before or during a work shift.”) I expect the people truly handicapped by this mess are not the degenerates but the honest ones trying hardest to find jobs.

And that’s just a description of the standard questionnaire. Most will also have a voluntary addendum asking if you come from families that receive AFDC or TANF. Or if you receive supplemental social security.Or food stamps. Ethnicity? Exact age? What’s your military record? How about your families criminal record? It turns out that if you do well on your questionnaire in your Lowe’s application, they ask you to fill out a secondary questionnaire. At first I thought perhaps I would finally get to some substantial material, but it turned out to be 12 more pages of identical drivel. And this does not mean you get a job, or even an interview. It’s just so they can really be sure you’re willing to jump through hoops if they do have an opening ever.

That’s perhaps the back-breaker in all of this. After all this work–Unicru estimates 45 minutes per application–you don’t have any idea if the location is even hiring, or has any plans. It’s all shooting in the dark. “This is a fair practice.” 1) Strongly Disagree. “You have to play along to get a job.” 5) Bleh.

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No, We Weren’t Hit by a Trolley in the Loop

Yeah yeah, we never write. And judging by our hit meters, you  never read, so we’re even. The main reason we’ve been so quiet lately is that we’ve been together, which numbs the simmering hostility against the world that we channeled into writing. Here’s the update: I went to St. Louis, applied at approximately 1.5 trillion jobs, stayed in Ashley’s parent’s basements until I potentially ruined all relations with my future in-laws, and then swept her up and came back to Minnesota. I was in St. Louis three weeks, got one interview at a retail store and zero jobs. Ashley, after being in Minnesota two weeks, was hired as a underwriter at a financial advising firm. And my parents like her better that her parents like me. My parents like her better than like me, I suspect. Life is turning up roses for Ashley.

And, naturally, if life is good for Ashley it’s good for me. However, I do not have a job, and I’m trying to recapture some of that hostile edge, so I’ll focus on my own continued unemployment. Maybe leading to more posts in the next couple days. Maybe.

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