Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obama, have you reached a verdict?

So Obama was called for jury duty in his former home city of Chicago. Oops. Guess what? He moved.

We can only hope that generating and sending out these notices is automated, and no actual humans are involved. Otherwise, I think we're all in trouble. Next they'll be calling Georgie B. to help decide the fate of some poor shmuck on trial for trying to rob a convenience store with a toy gun. After all, he did so well making important decisions before, didn't he?! How scary would it be to look over at the jurors and see Bushie sitting there with his finger in his ear?

You never hear of A-list actors doing jury duty. I guess if you have to be charged with a crime, there are worse things than staring at George Clooney in the jury box all day. Plus you could pretend you were actually in a movie and not on trial with the possibility of going to a real prison and having to go to the bathroom in public. Not to mention having to eat really bad food. I don't know from experience, but I wouldn't imagine prisons get their supplies from Whole Foods.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Through a Scanner Nudely

In 9 short years, plane travel has become an exercise in patience and the ability to withstand discomfort and humiliation. Not only do we have to take off our shoes with the fervent hope that the smell of our feet doesn't offend our fellow passengers, but now we will have our bodies scanned, electronically stripped, and studied by a guy in a room. Supposedly our faces will be pixelized, thereby encouraging Scanner Guy to leer or jeer at our naked bodies without actually being able to determine who we are when he leaves his post to use the men's room.

What I wonder is, who will be watching him? And how popular will this job be? At first glance, it would seem like a voyeur's wet dream job. But seriously, if you picked 100 people at random, how many would we actually want to see naked? Will the occasional hottie be worth the more common not-so-physically-appealing bodies Scanner Guy will be forced to look at? Will it be worth having to peer at the body of the 85-year-old guy on his way to visit his great-grandchildren, to make sure Great-Grandpa isn't packing explosives in his Depends?

Of course, there may be female scanners too, but will they actually be in different rooms? Chances are, passengers will just have the illusion of gender privacy, but in reality they'll both be looking, in addition to having someone else to make fun of the passengers with. "Hey Bob, look at THAT one! Bet THOSE tits aren't real!"

I heard we might actually be able to choose our terrorist-detection method. If we don't want Scanner Guy to see us naked, we can decide to have someone pat us down and stick their hand in our pants instead. Or we can choose the crotch-sniffing dog method. Hmmm. I'd probably choose Pat-down-Guy if he's cute.

Unfortunately the ordeal isn't over once we make it onto the plane, either. Now we have to do what we can to control our bodily functions in the last hour of the flight, lest we be forced to rush into the bathroom before the flight attendant can strong-arm us, resulting in an international incident and a cover story in TIME. Not exactly how I'd like my 15 minutes of fame.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Post Office BMS

I went to the post office the other day to put the rent check in my landlord's P.O. box. When I got up to the counter, I asked the postal guy to put the letter in the box number indicated on the envelope. He replied, "I can do that for $17.50."

I stared at him. "Are you kidding?"

"No, that's the price for 'Express Mail.'"

I stared at him in disbelief. My mouth may have been hanging open. He grudgingly relented at my shock. "I'll do it, but I'm supposed to charge you," he grumbled, moving toward the back. I managed to say "thank you" with as minimal sarcasm as I could, fervently hoping he didn't toss the envelope in the trash. Of course, if he did he'd be fired and probably arrested, forced to spend New Year's in jail dodging the advances of a no-necked, tattooed guy named Big Leroy.

Now, I know Postal Services hasn't exactly been raking in the bucks in the last few years. Still, to actually charge someone seventeen dollars for walking a few yards and dropping an envelope into a box seems excessive. And calling it "Express Mail??" Express Mail is when you send something to somewhere that isn't in the same 10-feet radius you're standing in, and it goes through a somewhat elaborate process involving several parties to get to its destination the next day because you zoned out on your twin sister's birthday.

I couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't in fact a new regulation, but merely the brainchild of the asshole behind the counter, perhaps hoping to make some bucks. Maybe postal workers now work on commission. Or maybe this type of behavior is a symptom of Bureaucratic Maladjustment Syndrome, or BMS for short. At least it's better than bursting in the door brandishing an Uzi.