Snark Scribe

Not all of us can meet people of quality

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ambiguity in the CIA

I received an email, with the subject: "Career Opportunities with the CIA."

At first I thought it was spam; perhaps a "cheep Vioxxxxxx" ad disguised as a job-recruitment email. Upon reading it I realized the sender was in earnest.

The body of the email had a graphic consisting of a sphere patchworked from the faces of many people. Next to it was the banner: NATIONAL CLANDESTINE SERVICE CAREERS. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. THE WORK OF A NATION. THE CENTER OF INTELLIGENCE."

Oh dear. They mean business.

Then it asked:
"Are you a person of purpose, patriotism and professionalism?"
Ooh, look. Alliteration.

"If so, the National Clandestine Service of the US Central Intelligence Agency invites you to learn about sharing a vital mission that’s larger than all of us."
Larger than us? Like morbidly obese? But even more so?

"Look inside yourself. Are you ready for a world of challenge, a world of possibilities, a world of ambiguity and adventure?"
Ambiguity? Really? That's supposed to be enticing to a job applicant? I can see it now:

Applicant: "So, um, what will some of my duties be?"
Recruiter: "Oh, this and that."
Applicant: "Can you be more specific?"
Recruiter: "Various functions necessary for the functioning of your functional unit."
Applicant: "So that means I do what?"
Recruiter: "It's ambiguous."
Applicant: "Ambiguous? Wow, really? That's great!"

If one of the selling points for joining the CIA is "ambiguity" I think we're in trouble.

"Why work for a company when you can serve your nation?"
Hey, why settle for a salary when you can have ambiguity, too?

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dear Roommate's Boyfriend

Dear Roommate's Boyfriend,

You seem like a nice guy and of reasonable intelligence, so perhaps you could remember a few things for your next visit:

1. We prefer you attempt to be fully clothed each time you exit your girlfriend's room. We know it's rather warm in the apartment and you may find it more comfortable to prance around in various stages of undress, but when we all wear bathrobes and such we can pretend we're civilized.

2. Perhaps you might want to turn up the stero the next time you and your girlfriend decide to have a business meeting. That way no one can hear you exchange sensitive trade secrets. You see, as a professional courtesy I turn on my music too, but it takes me a moment to turn on my ipod or boot up my computer and it's really much more efficient for you to do it first.

3. Sometimes when you have super secret merger talks you retreat to the shower. That's a step in the right direction since we don't have one of those sound-proof booths. However, the people upstairs have enquired about the yelling. Perhaps if you could take a valium before any heated discussions about stock portfolios we would all be happier.

Thank you.

Your Girlfriend's Roommate

P.S. In the future, could you also stop doing whatever it is that causes her to yell "You bastard! You broke my bed!" ? Thank you.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stalking Old Classmates

Final exams are over. I can return to my snarking and my new hobby: stalking my old high school classmates online.

I finally joined Myspace. I resisted for years, thinking it was full of stupid teenagers.

That hasn't changed.

However, half of my high school is on Myspace and now I can satisfy my curiosity about what they're up to without actually having to talk to them.

I think the novelty will wear off in a couple weeks, when I've found everyone, but for now I can search and gasp:

"Holy crap! She's pregnant! With her fourth child!"

"He's married . . . to a man."

"Oy, the years have not been kind to him."

I hope no one's thinking the same thing when they see my profile.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006


If you live in an apartment complex or spend a lot of time in an urban area with your laptop on you will be in close proximity to a lot of overlapping wireless networks. Mostly I see boring names like "489WIRE" and "homeoffice." Some apparently belong to geeks and are designated "stardestroyer" and such. I once saw a network called "notyours."

But my absolute favorite of all time was called "gossiphoes."

Yes, gossiphoes.

I suppose they wanted to let everyone know they weren't just regular catty gripers. Oh, no. They were a special brand of gossipers.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

1 Man + 6 Women = Fear

An example of match-making gone very, very wrong:

My Mom decided to "help" our handyman find a girlfriend. You see, when you work for my Mom you don't just get a salary, she tries to throw in a wife as a bonus.

My Mom had a Friend who knew a Woman who was single and about the same age as the Man. The plan was for my Mom to bring the Man to lunch while her Friend brought the Woman.

It turns out that my Mom's Friend didn't know the Woman, she actually knew the Woman's Cousin. My Mom did not know that the plan was for the Friend to bring the Cousin, who would bring the Woman.

Therefore, when my Mom and the Man arrived at the restaurant they met her Friend, the Woman and the Cousin.

Are you still with me? A blind date has turned into a luncheon with 4 women and 1 man.

It gets worse.

The Friend had mentioned the set-up to Two Ladies who worked in the same shopping complex as the restaurant.

The Two Ladies decided to drop by to say hello. (Translation: nose around).

Then, they decided, "Oh well, since we're here, we might as well stay for lunch."

A look of fear began to creep into the man's eyes as he realized he was having lunch with 6 women who were scrutinizing him, his appearance, his personality and his general suitability.

My Mom felt very nervous when she realized the Two Ladies were much prettier than the Woman they wanted to set the Man up with.

You see, the Woman was a bit grumpy, stocky and plain. She also had a rather deep voice, verging on masculine. By herself she might not have appeared so badly, but in comparison to the 5 other women at the table it was painfully obvious that she was, by far, the least attractive one.

At the end of lunch the Man offered to pay (in order not to look cheap in front of all these women). My Mom felt very sorry for him because she knew he expected to be treating only 2 or 3 other people, and not 6.

Afterwards the Man told my Mom, "I'm sorry. I just can't. She's so . . . um, you know. But thanks." As far as I know he has not tried contacting our family since.

When my Mom recounted the story I told her not to attempt further match-making. I know she won't listen.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Carnival of the Feminists

Ginger at Diary of a Freak Magnet is hosting the 28th Carnival of the Feminists. She has a lot of interesting links to interesting blogs. I'm included, so does that make me a carny?

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Sock Model

Someone told me that a guy I used to go to school with is now a model.

After I finished laughing and gasping for breath I said, "No, really. What is he doing?"

"He's a model."

"What does he model, socks?"

"I don't know. Apparently he photographs well."

"If he looks anything like the way I remember, he's modeling motorcyle helmets."

"Who knows?"

"Maybe the magic of puberty turned him from a skinny, pale, odd-looking guy into an A&F wannabe. No, not magic. Miracle."

Some time later I got my chance to see him at an event. He was still a skinny, pale, odd-looking guy who was not even particularly tall.

Still, I thought there was a chance that he's one of those people that look normal in person but for some reason are beloved by the camera.

I got a group photo from the party. He looked even odder in the picture.

I now have 3 theories:
1) He once had a soft-focus, from-the-shoulders-up, photo-shopped "glamour shots" session. He now passes the photo around as a sign of his "potential" for modeling.
2) His parents own a business and used him in an advertisement. He now tells people he's a model to pick up chicks.
3) He models furry suits.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Inappropriate Answers to Inappropriate Questions

It's that time of year again: The Holiday Inquisition. Here are some things you might try if you're tired of annoying questions from your so-called loved ones.

Disclaimer: Snark Scribe is not to be held liable for emotional distress, name-calling, vandalism, explosions or the need for family counseling arising out of the use of her bad advice.

Aunt: "You'd be so much prettier if you lost some weight."
You: "You'd look so much younger if you lost a couple chins."

Grandpa: "In my day, only girls who wanted to be spinsters went to college."
You: "In your day there were no elder abuse laws."

Mother: "When are you getting married?"
You: "After his divorce becomes final and he gets out of prison."

Cousin: "My boyfriend just bought me a giant ring. What did yours get you?"
You: "Something that doesn't sparkle like cubic zirconia."

Aunt: "My son-in-law just got a huge promotion at work. How are things going with your fiancee?"
You: "His boss just made him primary hit man."

Sister-in-law: "I am so exhausted from my trip around Europe. But you'd never understand, seeing as how you never go anywhere."
You: "People with typhoid don't have clearance to travel. By the way, did you like the pie I made?"

Grandma: "When are you going to have kids?"
You: "After my psychologist says he's cured my cannibalism. By the way, did you like the pie I made"

Grim Reality: Some advice for the naive male

Once a poor, misguided male friend asked me for some advice about women: "Um, I hear about this PMS stuff, but I don't know the details. When is it safe to approach a girl?"

Because I'm mean, my reply was less than encouraging:

"Well, PMS by definition happens before her period, but how many days before and how long it lasts depends on the woman. Then we feel cranky during the crampy-time, and some feel drained right after, too. So that means possibly the week before, the week during and the week after, we may feel like crap. Plus, there's no good way to ask a girl when her period is so you can calculate. So the best thing to do is to leave us all alone, all the time."

"Oh, damn."

I smiled a wicked little grin. I was exagerrating things to make them seem more dire but really, there is no guaranteed way to not appear like a jerk when you hit on a girl.

Sure, manners count and you should always try to avoid purposely acting like a pig. Also, despite what your drunken buddies tell you, obnoxiousness is never charming. However, the grim reality is whether she likes you or not can depend on random, trivial stuff.

Infuriating, no?

But it makes sense. This is the way it works:

Scenario 1: You're walking down a street and you smile at a girl.
Outcome A: She's in a good mood/appreciates your color-coordination. She thinks "he seems nice."
Outcome B: She's in a bad mood/is disgusted by the food stuck in your beard. She thinks, "eww, what a perv."

Scenario 2: You think your co-worker is cute. You ask her out for drinks.
Outcome A: She already thinks you're nice. She agrees or lets you down gently.
Outcome B: She already decided she has no interest in you. You develop a reputation around the office as "that creepy dude in accounting."

But, you wail, "that's totally unfair!"

Actually guys, you do it too.

Scenario 3: A girl accidentally bumps into you.
Outcome A: She's a Pam Anderson look-alike. You say, "Oops, my bad."
Outcome B: She's a crack whore missing half her teeth. You say, "Hey, watch it!"

So, we sort of think alike because we're human.

But you still can't understand us.

Sort of makes you want to crawl under a rock and weep, no?

For men seeking to understand women, here it is in black and white:

You can't. But we like it when you try.

Truffle Fiend

Going home this weekend I discovered my mom had purchased a box of Belgian truffles with cognac.

I ate one with breakfast - yes, candy at breakfast! -- because I wanted a chance to try them before my dad ate them all.

The last time we had truffles my dad went through them like a famine victim.

When my mom discovered they were all gone her reaction went from shock to disappointment to suspicion. "Did you eat them all?" she accused him.

"Did you have any?" he asked carefully.

"I had one."

"Then I didn't eat them all." He laughed.

"You greedy jerk!"

"Hee hee!" He did a victory dance.

This time my mom told him, "If you eat more than 2 pieces a day you will die!"