Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sell the Dream Not the Product

The Aussie creative team at George Patterson Young and Rubicam works their 90s J. Peterman copywriting skills on Ebay for a 500% profit, a Ken Wheaton plug in Ad Age, and the resentment of the commentariat.




Beastie Boy Adam Yauch Diagnosed With Cancer


Timeline check: Generation X  reach their cancer-prone years.




Monday, July 20, 2009

When Gay Penguins Go Straight


Harry, one half of San Francisco's famous gay penguin couple, leaves Pepper for a newly wealthy widow who can afford keep him in better style. Mercenary Opportunism or Nature's Righteous Way? Please feel free to project your favored belief system onto this most perfect tabula rasa of flightless waterfowl.


'War's stupid. Nobody wins. You might as well talk first. You have to talk last, anyway.'













Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of Britain's last remaining First World War vets, dies at age 113.


Susan Estrich Openly Worries About ObamaCare


Surprising even for a strong Hillary supporter. I would question the timing, but I'm not in the mood for conspiracy theories.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good Evening, Patriots. Please Rise.

"And now may we direct your attention to in front of the pitcher's mound. To honor America in the singing of our National Anthem: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Vince Welnick, San Francisco's Own, The Grateful Dead:"



Teaming up with the Viet Nam Vets Color Guard Unit 400 and soldiers from the 6th U.S. Army Presidio of San Francisco at Candlestick Park in 1993, members of the Grateful Dead sing a surprisingly effective rendition of the Star Spangled Banner complete with fussy old-timey harmonies, facial hair, and locks flying in the wind for an oddly Libertarian feel.

Happy Fourth.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Now Appearing *Not Live*
Michael Jackson
@ the Fabulous Staples Center
Tickets On Sale Now



This has to be a first. Fans can register until Saturday for a computerized lottery for a chance to win tickets to the MJ Memorial Extravaganza

Sarah Palin Resignation Speech




Her official statement here.

Palin to Step Down

Breaking.

Palin's latest tweet
We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy... it is good, stay tuned.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's the Little Satan's Fault. Jealous yet?


Bouncing off the Obama deflector shield, Iran redirects its exterior blame mechanism and scapegoats the UK for the post-election riots.

I think they're proud.  

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"But I'm Only Human."



Michael Jackson dead at 50.

Lisa Marie's heartfelt blog statement here.

(The song from the video is called Will You Be There.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PETA Forced to Acknowledge Obama Not the Buddha.


PETA has issued a statement on this very important matter. (That's the same look he gave Hillary @ 0:07, isn't it?)





Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hoodoo Saturday = Movie Time.

Rather than blog on a rainy, bleak Saturday during which the microwave blew up and a planter was smashed, I chose to spend the day getting deep into the heretofore unknown world of Lord Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder - courtesy of Netflix:



This is a clip from the 1981 TV miniseries, not the 2008 film. I'm wondering if Richard Grant based his character from Withnail and I at least partially on Andrews' portrayal of Sebastian?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rainbows, Unicorns, and the Obama Worldview


Eugene Robinson's article in today's WaPo took me back to the spirit of campaigns recently past and more visual depictions of Obama's perceived worldview @1:12 :





Or perhaps even more to the point:




Saturday, May 16, 2009

There Is Nothing For You Out There.


Amanda Palmer instigated a minor twitter phenom as the many and varied Losers Of Friday Night On Their Computers answered her hash tag tribal call. Spontaneously issuing a collaborative list of demands including government-issue, members-only kimonos and etched martini glasses, #LOFNOTC  peaked briefly @ #1 in trending topics before settling into a strong and steady #2 position for the duration of the evening. 

In good capitalist form, the t-shirt has already gone live.



Her fairly spectacular closing toast sequence (in bottom up tweet order):
  • http://twitpic.com/59pl5 - and with that, ladies and gentlemen....i take one final twitpic for you. good night, and good luck.
  • HIP HIP!!!! #LOFNOTC!!!!!
  • LONG LIVE THE LOSERS OF FRIDAY NIGHT ON THEIR COMPUTERS!!!!!! HIP HIP!!!! #LOFNOTC!!!!!
  •  and when they do, we will welcome them with the warm, non-partisan, loving arms of #LOFNOTC. my comrades!!! i say to you:
  • ....to all assembled!! i say: every night is friday night!!! every poor sod out on the eurotrash dance floor must come home at some point!!
  •  ....we must embrace them, we must love them, accept them, we must hold back their hair when they vomit in our toilets later tonight... 

  •  ...we secretly accomplish incredible things using the power of the internetz. they are none the wiser. we cannot blame them...
  • ...leaving us to do what we do best: hide. and twitter. as they cavort in their bars and clubs and see their star treks and jonas brothers...

  
  




  • ...the jeers and the barely-stifled laughs as our so-called friends pack into revved up convertibles, headed for friday nights of vice...

  
  




  • dear friends, new and old. many of us are gathered here tonight because for too long, we have felt the shame. we all know it...

  • we're at #2, but that's where we belong, poetically. now. time for our toast. (clears throat). #LOFNOTC glasses HIGH!!!!!!
  


Well Done.  


Friday, May 15, 2009

GMAC is now Ally Bank. Hah.


That only took a week to the day from the Fed's brilliant insight (blogged three posts down).


Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Development Deal is the Best Revenge


Aspiring comedy writer and ex-drama geek Andrea Wachner gets her Diablo Cody on at her 10-year Palos Verdes Peninsula High reunion:





Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dark Market Checks and Balances


Obama admin to regulate derivatives - announcement coming.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fed Orders GMAC to Raise 13.1 Billion More


Oh. I see. Just demand the banks get more money.  Simple.  Gee, why didn't I think of that?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shale to the Rescue


Intensified by the price pressure and easy credit of the recent past, shale research and development finally pays off after decades of failure and half-measures, with the discovery of enormous, natural gas fields in Texas and Louisiana. Carbon relief within a sane energy policy just became far more feasible. 

"We would not buy them at any price."


Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway has substantial holdings in the Washington Post Co., holds forth on the future of newspapers and print journalism. 

It's over kids. PIMCO's Bill Gross spells it out.


For the benefit of the slow kids in class, PIMCO's Bill Gross, registered Republican and Obama voter, speaks slowly and enunciates the end of the era of libertarian capitalism:
If one had any doubts, a quick, even cursory summary of President Obama’s comments announcing Chrysler’s bankruptcy filing would suffice. “I stand with Chrysler’s employees and their families and communities. I stand with millions of Americans who want to buy Chrysler cars (sic). I do not stand…with a group of investment firms and hedge funds who decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout.” If the cannons fired at Ft. Sumter marked the beginning of the war against the Union, then clearly these words marked the beginning of a war against publically (sic) perceived financial terror.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Imogen Heap: Broadcasting Live From Maui


Late in the night after alerting twitterers, Imogen Heap plays live over Ustream:



Tweets Heap: 
Well that was different! I'm going to do one every day while I'm here. They'll get better. It feels strange you listening in to my nonsense. I want to catch the sunset on the west side tomorrow... will do one mid afternoon here. So, let's say, piano session no.2 at 2am GMT? 


She'll be here all week, folks. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Time to Reverse Gerrymander CA-36


As the Jane Harman wiretap mini-scandal fades to a muddled gray amid allegations and counter allegations, it's clear that Harman's 36th Congressional District is not as homogeneously stable as CA legislators anticipated when they gerrymandered it to a bright sky blue during the Bush years. 

In an effort to consolidate local Dem votes and protect incumbents of both parties, consultant Michael Berman(D) partitioned the area during the great redistricting orgy of 2001 to artificially join large parts of ultra-progressive Venice and union-heavy, Catholic San Pedro - absurdly amputating Harman's longtime hometown on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the process. Harman moved to Venice while her more Republican-tolerant constituents on the Hill were pushed into Dana Rohrabacher's (R) 46th district serving North Orange County.

With the Dems safely in power, the wiretap incident has exposed the fissures in the contrived amalgam of the aerospace-heavy South Bay and the anti-war Westside as Harman's pro-Israel, pro-defense industry, pro-wiretapping, Blue Dog Dem politics grate on the nerves of the residents of CA-36's more progressive districts. Ironically, Harmon's 2006 and 2008 primary challenger, teacher Marcy Winograd, had to move from her Pacific Palisades home into a Marina del Rey apartment to oppose Harman's pro-war policies in the name of the "grassroots." In light of recent events, Winograd is currently mulling a second run.

I say take advantage of the upcoming Census to rezone the area to the contiguous South Bay. We would all be happier.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Flu?


Tracking the Swine Flu (map is interactive):

Purple = Confirmed Cases    Pink=Suspected Cases 
Deaths lack a dot in the marker.

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map

Steve Aoki In The Sahara Tent @ Coachella


Steve Aoki @ Coachella last weekend. 

(I'm guessing the continuous white noise from the eagle cam will only add to the atomosphere, but you can always scroll down and pause it.)


Full first 10 minutes of show here. Last 10 with the Bloody Beetroots here.  Aoki and Bloody Beetroots MP3s here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eagle Cams on Catalina Island

[Note: If you see snow or a black screeen, you do not need a newer version of a plug-in, you just need to wait until daylight hours Pacific Standard Time. The Eagle cams shut down around sunset. And you now need to hit play to start the live streaming.]


One nest on the West End:



And another nest by the Two Harbors area of the island:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GE CEO Immelt Gets Caught in Ratings War Crossfire


Outside, protesters representing FreedomWorks, an activist group led by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, milled about bedecked in Mom Jeans and carrying "Just Say No to Cap 'n' Trade" placards.

Inside, at the already tense GE shareholder meeting, the eternal ratings feud amped up another notch when O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters ambushed beleaguered General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt with accusations that Keith Olbermann allowed Janeane Garofalo to spew hate speech against Republicans on the MSNBC network, whose parent company, NBC-Uni, is a division of GE. Both Watter's employment by and Garofalo's direct attacks on Fox News went unremarked. Olbermann later happily fanned the flames by naming Watters in his Worst Person in the World segment (jump to 2:01).

"My biggest surprise was the open hostility to MSNBC," said GE shareholder Tom Borelli of the Free Enterprise Action Fund as he pushed his online petition in support of his four-year crusade against Immelt. "Any time MSNBC was mentioned, there was a rumbling in the crowd of 400 people," he added helpfully.





So Much Drama. Next time GE has a shareholder's meeting I'm going to smuggle in my cell and post live video. I'm a bondholder. That should get me in.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Clock Strikes 4:20


in Denver, CO:




in Golden Gate Park, SF, CA:




in Vancouver, BC:




Coined in 1971 as code for "a time to get high" by a crew of San Rafael high school stoners with familial access to the Grateful Dead, 4.20 is still celebrated as National Weed Day nearly forty years after the Waldos first met up at 4:20 in the afternoon to hunt for an abandoned patch of weed in Point Reyes, CA.

Janeane Garofalo's Remarkable Arc of Transformation


With Olbermann last week ripping on the Tea Partiers:




Back in the day working her stand-up act:




The Devil, it would seem, is currently displaying far less subtlety in his manifestations than in 1992. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mountain-Thief Tormented by Pink Downy Handcuffs

He came to rob her hair salon. So Olga hogtied Viktor to the radiator with pink, frilly handcuffs, fed him Viagra, and had sex with him so many times he injured his genitals and had to go to hospital "to treat the torn bridle of his man merit," as he alleges in the police report. "He's a jerk," she said in her defense. 

(I know. Blame Mark Steyn.) 


George Harrison gets his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Paul McCartney and Olivia Harrison attend the ceremony Tuesday AM in front of the Capitol Records building.




And here's She Who Shall Not Be Named and Who Shalt Only Be Represented in Small .JPGs Lest They Become Graven (In Thy Mercy) getting her star:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh crap. It's all over when you lose the dolphins.



China has the dolphin juju and we don't.  We do, however, have Michael Phelps and the SEALS.


Spain to indict UCB Law Prof for War Crimes


Scott Horton
reports that Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges later this week against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials, including Boalt's John Yoo, for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo.

This is Your House Being Robbed.


Using a webcam security system, a Florida woman remotely observes her house being robbed while she is at work. After a call to 911, the Boyton Beach police surround the house and all is well. 

Neighborhood kids, one of whom she knew since he was eight,  can be observed lamely loping about, petting the dog, and stealing the Wii controllers @ 3:15, which is, I think, more typical than not for these petty theft situations. 

But for those of you who have ever wondered what it looked like while you were out:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Never Been Kissed.


Susan Boyle, unemployed, 47, never been kissed, lives with cat, stuns the judges on Britain's Got Talent.

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living,
So different now from what it seemed...
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.


Full lyrics here.





Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top Ten: States with Highest Tax Rates


California isn't there!  All thanks and peace be unto you, Howard Jarvis and Prop 13.

The Forbes' article seems to prefer forcing the reader through a million clicks, so here's the straight list:
  1. Vermont
  2. Hawaii
  3. Connecticut
  4. Minnesota
  5. New Jersey
  6. New York
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Washington
  9. Wyoming
  10. Pennsylvania

Simian Sex Trade Shocks Community

Female chimps engage in meat swap. No word on whether the females' lack of prowess in the verdant fields of honest labor was due to lazy opportunism or a hostile work environment as yet untouched by the benevolent hand of regulation.

Sorry, no video.

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Finally!"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Rush Limbaugh Leaves New York
comedycentral.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor


I thought Rush Limbaugh was already based in Florida for tax purposes? Learn something new, etc.

Disney Comes to Pedro


Some good economic news for the South Bay: Disney Cruises will move the Wonder cruise ship from Florida to the San Pedro - Los Angeles harbor starting January 1, 2011. Disney's series of cruises to the Mexican Riviera will create 2600 new state and local jobs, 130 of which will be reserved for the always powerful longshoremen's union, and attract an estimated $7 million in state and local tax revenue. (The article says $47 M, but two previous articles say $7M, so the realist in me says that's a typo editorial didn't catch.)

It is open to question how much of that tourist revenue San Pedro will retain as it is likely Disney will shuttle the boat's occupants straight to Anaheim, Land of Enchantment, before their merry little feet have had a chance to scatter any of that green pixie dust on local ground. San Pedro has been trying to gentrify the waterfront for at least a decade with local galleries hosting a Thursday night ArtWalk, cafés, and development projects like the recession-prone, near-empty Vue condominiums, but for now it remains a colorful, working class area of the port city, home to renters, not owners.

Maybe the Vue could get hooked into this Disney project and provide short-term accommodations more central to SoCal's other tourist destinations. An ocean view with a shuttle ride beats suffering in the alternately sweltering or gray and humid, stagnant atmosphere of land-locked Anaheim through which the aroma of highways and french fries has been officially mandated to waft at all times.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is a Liberal a Conservative who has lost his Health Insurance?


From Andrew Sullivan's reader Dissent of the Day:

The key to Republican success in the last few decades has been getting people angry enough about crap issues like flag burning and gay marriage that they'll vote against their own economic interests. Now we're staring into the abyss, and one of the good things that's happening is that those largely irrelevant social issues don't have the punch they used to have. If a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who's lost his health insurance. At that point, you don't really care that much who's sleeping with whom.


Nightmare Eminent Domain Case


Truly ugly eminent domain case in which José Meza, who built a successful chain of auto paint businesses, chose to "give back to the community" and continue to reside in his generally run-down hometown of Wilmington.  Out of 40 other possible sites, less costly to the taxpayer in both price and lost property tax revenue, the near-insolvent Los Angeles Unified School District chose to seize his anomalous dream home for an expansion project.

Google Map of property in question:
View Larger Map



Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're All Die Bitteren Now


A reader with a vivid sense of imagery writes in regarding the Job Fair From Hell:

Welcome to the New Economy and its "mobile workforce" with their "portable" skills. I get flashes of massed feedlot animals, slaves waiting to go on the block, naked Jews fresh off the cattle cars crammed into that big room waiting for the shower. Reminds me of my epiphany some years ago when I'd pedaled into darkest Silicon Valley for an interview, through that Hanna-Barbera Wonderland of condocomplex - minimall - officepark, over and over, getting more and more depressed. Stopped outside the glass box, said, "No way,  No more," and rode home by the scenic route. 


And Some Celebs Roll Their Own Twitter

Like Dave Navarro, male cougar and nascent pornographer formerly of Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who posts this worthy snap of himself getting inked:



Dave tweets on Mar 24: Best thing for a Vicodin withdrawal... Season 1 of Flight of The Conchords.  

Which allusion on a weekend is reason enough to post their Bowie Song:




Peek into Caterina Fake's Hunch

Caterina Fake's new startup, still in closed beta, with invitations available.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Only if his cabin were in Big Sur.


SF Chronicle's harlequin Mark Morford wonders if the End Times are finally nigh after years of Bushian overreaction. This is why I suspect the Right can get so paranoid at times - like a girl who is forever hysterically afraid she has put on two pounds - keep those standards frantically high, do lettuce and elliptical trainer penance immediately, and you won't end up obese. 

Just hack the Journolist already, so we can Move On.


Ezra Klein's private 300+ Journolist is still ruffling feathers days after its public exposure by Kaus - eerily foreshadowed by Wonkette publicly asking for password access.  I predict those offended will quickly become bored with the content after their sense of omnipotence is restored via compulsory, temporary transparency. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thanks for the link, Sully.

Andrew Sullivan, in his feature View From Your Recession, linked to my original post -  the reason I started this blog - to vent about the job seeking process in the current climate. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sully asks for a term other than "homophobe."


Andrew Sullivan wants a new term for the right, specifically Ed Whelan, to use for anti-gay animus. 

We have "misogyny" (hatred of women by men)  and "misogamy" (hatred of marriage). One can theorize that men who hate women are actually afraid of them, but that's taking a pop psychology leap that doesn't need to be taken. I'm perfectly comfortable taking misogynists at their word and leaving it at the level of hate. I don't necessarily consider them "gynophobic". 

So, accordingly, I offer "misosodomist"  -- though it's a bit of a tongue twister. "Misodomist" maybe? 

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Tato Nano: $2500 and 50 mpg


What's the difference between this and a smart car? I saw one of those on the highway keeping up. I'd be afraid to drive something this light on the freeway, but it'd be fine for bopping around the neighborhood doing errands. It's better than my sister's Gemcar which has little storage, no doors, can't handle hills, and only goes 26 mph. The worst is the windchill factor.  

And this is one of the beaches from which the waving occurs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail Dept.


N.Y. Times Frank Rich comments on Larry Summers' chances of successfully hawking the plan to buy up toxic assets with the assistance of hedge funds after he both helped kill derivatives regulation during the Clinton admin and worked for the less-than-transparent D.E. Shaw.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Halfway through Lent, I'm hanging in there.


I gave up my favorite online forum (which shall remain nameless to protect the feelings of its members) for Lent. It had become a constant habit, a method of escape, a substandard coping mechanism. The neighborhood had degraded. It started off housing mostly university types and had become more run down until we were coping with the indigent and unwell. It had become a psych ward - which is fine in one sense. It provides a socialization outlet for those who have no other method and those who are sane and stick around can act as caretakers.

I was raised by soon-to-be ex-Catholics, so I was only mildly familiar with the history and practices. I am basically piggybacking on the spirit of the season. 

Lent Trivia
  • There's a Sunday loophole. On all Sundays of Lent you can indulge in whatever beloved yet pernicious habit you are giving up for the Lord.
  • Pretzels are kind of like the Lenten Matzoh for Catholics. Who knew?
  • Lent has become super wussy. Minimal participation is two fast days and meatless Fridays and if you're under 15 or over 59, you're excused completely.
  • So Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. I never knew. And my parents were Catholic.
I was actually a bit envious of the mass ritual. I think it'd be cool to walk around with a cross of ash on your forehead and freak out your more secular co-workers and neighbors. It'd be like freaking out your parents' friends by coming home with a tat or pink hair as a kid, but in reverse. Speaking of which, my 2nd cousin, child of a minister, just returned home for a visit with a huge Seek and Ye Shall Find tat across his back. 

Niche Movie Alert: Frozen River


Watched Frozen River with Melissa Leo and Misty Upham last night.  Quirky, depressing subject matter, yet oddly compelling. Two single mothers, one white, one mohawk, get involved in smuggling aliens over the Canadian border through the Mohawk Nation into the United States in order to provide for their kids. The older brother played by Charlie McDermott brought back all my memories of how great older brothers can be.  The depictions of the tight, closed cycle of poverty are bleak, yet the outlaw aspect not only added cash, but adventure and an adrenaline rush to otherwise pretty grim lives. And it made the movie more absorbing - shades of a less cartoonish Thelma and Louise.

Along these lines, if you are feeling like a rainy day and hot chocolate movie with Native American themes, check out Thunderheart with Val Kilmer. Activist and poet John Trudell plays a Leonard Peltier type character.  I came across this on TV one autumn afternoon and ended up watching it pretty much all weekend.  I had seen it previously and just couldn't hook into it at all, but this time I was mesmerized. Perhaps the winter weather put me in the mood for the isolated and remote.

Job Fair @ the Strip Club


More opportunities than the L.A. Career Fair at least...

Just as Las Vegas is designed to have more losers than winners, at the lower limit the economy is structured to turn men into soldiers and women into sex workers - and the house always wins.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Los Angeles Career Fair 2009 - Hall of the Damned


Wow. I knew it wouldn't be good, but what shit was that? In both the interests of practicing my presentation skills and in deference to the suggestions of relatives who would have me humble myself in hair shirt ritual, I attended the 3/18 Los Angeles Career Fair at the airport Radisson promoted by nationalcareerfairs.com.  

Do you want to sell yuppie tupperware?Then this is for you. Would you like to explore opportunities selling crap jewelry, beauty products, credit card swiper systems - being paid only when you get a client? Then this is for you.  Are you interested in sweating to line up clients and recruits in a multi-level marketing finance scheme for a company that has incurred fines from the National Association of Security Dealers for fraud and misconduct? Then this is for you. Make sure you have a firm handshake, bright smile, dress appropriately, and have your résumé in order!!!

Welcome to the LA Career Fair at the Radisson where it costs $10 for parking in a lot so cramped that even though the parking is valet you'll still be worried your car will get dinged. I opted for a nearby free park at $13.15 for 2.5 hours.

The line to sign in stretched across the upper lobby and down the hall to the end of a very cramped corridor with no air conditioning. People in business attire fanned themselves with their brochures and résumés. A KCET reporter from SoCal Connected scurried around looking for a head of household so her network could pimp stories of family desperation to inflame pathos for media consumption. When most of the people in line informed her they were single, she moved on. Everywhere you went,  there was someone with a huge lens trained on you.

The only two booths that were attracting attention were Coke Bottling (grunt work display jobs) and Social Security. Though they were taking three at a time, the line for SS stretched from one end of the hall to the other like the line for the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. While waiting, I overheard a "career specialist" dispensing cookie-cutter résumé advice: "Lose the objective. It causes problems. Don't let them know you've been in business for yourself. They don't like that. They think maybe you want to be the boss." ( And this, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with HR. )

Out of the three hours the fair ran, it took fully an hour to get through the social security line at the end of which was a congenial governmental supervisor who told you that they had only just received their budget and wouldn't be hiring for the call center until the end of the month. Please submit your résumé, take a brochure, and apply online for all other positions.

What was the draw? Why the enormous, gigantic line?  "Well, look around," he said, "We're the only ones offering anything. Over there you have (unsalaried) sales, over there someone is helping people out with their résumés, we're the only ones offering anything real. The government is the only one with job security. "

And it was the sad truth. Almost everything there was a ripoff, a ruse, a scam. It was cruel to taunt people. World Financial Group was a particularly vicious example. With even precursory research, it is revealed to be a hardcore MLM scam (see here, herehere, and here). People are lured with visions of Series 6 and 7 training and tales of 30-yr-old branch supervisors making 200k per month. 

Founded by former Amway salesman Hubert Humphrey along with Primerica, WFG applies MLM techniques to the sale of financial instruments.  As with all MLM schemes, they sell inferior products, pressure you to recruit friends and family, and prey on the uneducated whose profits will go straight to supporting their "upline". The only way you make real $ is to sell the more inferior products and/or recruit more than three downlines and receive a percentage of their sales. By the end of it, many suckers have lost time, $, clients, and friends.

If there is indeed someone making 200K a month, it is as a shark on the backs of a pyramid of the desperate rather than providing any real value. The entire operation should be shut down by the authorities and it definitely should not be allowed a booth at a career fair.

Confronted directly about this essential difference with more legitimate companies, the older leader of the younger Asian cabal at the booth unashamedly dismissed it as "a different business model."  Uh, well, yeah. 

Relieved it was finally over, I was approached on my way down the stairs by what I took to be a surveyor for NationalCareerFairs.com, but who was actually yet another rep for World Financial Group scamming for potentials. Two blocks out to the parking lot, I was handed a flyer by what seemed to be an airport panhandler looking a step-and-a-half up from homeless - but NO!  It was WFG again. By now safely out of range of the cameras and cabal, I asked her how MLM and recruiting was working out for her.  Not too well, it would seem.

There were very few white people in the mix. I always wondered how white people would fair as a minority. I imagined that though the numbers would be less, it would be difficult because they'd still be bland. Wrong. Amidst a sea of varying shades of brown pigment and textures of black hair, a shift in perception occurs and white people, particularly young white males, become the exotics, like delicate, cherubic roses from a far away, more victorian time. Interesting.

On the way home, I coffeed at my favorite Starbucks across the street from the beach. A gaggle of down-to-earth, moneyed wives of leisure in REI gear and australian accents chattered merrily about the best places to eat in Kauai and frequent flier programs. The AIG bonuses were terrible as was Bernie Madoff signing over his money to his wife days before his arrest, they all agreed.