Jim Varagona

Month: February, 2006

>We Don’t Get Mad, We Get Italian

>As Retail Service Workers, we do not get much respect. People do not understand the behind the scenes work we do as “gnomes” to make stores look presentable and the workload we take off of actual employees of stores, so that they may be even more invisible when you come-a-shopping in their establishment. Even those employees sometimes cannot give us props for doing our job.

For instance, recently a worker in one of these stores approached one of my supervisors complaining of how dispicable we were for leaving such a mess for him to stare at over several days. As he badgered my co-worker, our boss, The Don, stepped in to make some sense of this. If anyone else were to attempt to make sense of this retail anomaly, it would hurt their head worse than receiving a blow to the cranium from one of those keen Ludell sledgehammers that we service. He did this in a calm, yet stern manner, comparable to Al Pacino in The Godfather films. Rather does he lose his cool, but his words speak volumes, and if one were to not listen, they would experience his wrath.

He asked this fellow how he knew it was his boys leaving this mess. No answer. He asked how a “responsible and upstanding” employee could pass such a mess up so many times and only complain about it. No answer. By feeding the nonsense back at this man, our boss defended our honor and converted this numb nut into a bumbling idiot. Then in one swift motion, as the man walked away, The Don, ripped one of our wired book racks off the wall and slammed it into the idiot’s calves. The whole scen reminded me of Joe Pesci losing it in Casino.

You have heard of “going postal”, but this is an example of how an IRS worker goes Italian. We can stay so cool and calm until an eventual breaking point. It’s bound to happen.



>The Filipino Fans Have Spoken

>It’s amazing how much of a response I have gotten for the way I treat the Filipino Mafia. By no means do I hate the boys. On the contrary, I have much respect for them as brethren in the Order of Retail Service Workers. My only beef is how they treat my boss, the Don of the IRS (Italian Retail Service) Workers division. Things have improved though, as we have joined forces to take on Knorks.

The cracker girls really eat up the Pinoys. I’d like to refer them to clothing that they may express themselves through. T-Shirt Hell has these great shirts that are available in various styles that may be of interest. Ciao!

>Barney Fife Is No More…Don Knotts Dead At 81


Don Knotts photo from Entertainment Weekly

Strangely enough, I brought up Barney Fife about a week ago while posting about names for my fork and knife combo. Now Barney is no more. I just caught the news that Don Knotts died yesterday. As a kid, I watched The Andy Griffith Show because my parents watched it a lot. I also remember catching him on Three’s Company back in the day. He was a very entertaining fellow. This may be because he made famous the lovable loser and bumbling idiot types, which I probably fall into the categories of at times. He gave us a good name though.

Also see:


>Aiding Mexican Janitors

>So I was doing my duty (some say “making doody”) in the john at a Home Depot the other day. One of the Mexican janitors that work there was mopping up as I did my business.

I think it is safe to say that 98% of the janitors at the Home Depots that I’ve set foot in are Mexican and do not speak English. That isn’t a knock on them, but it does make things interesting at times.

Anyway, he was mopping along and was cleaning out the stall adjacent to mine. Then he began reaching his mop under the door and walls of my stall. He kept mopping up to my feet and around them. My belt, which was drooping onto the tiled floor, even got tangled in the mop several times. Rather than being angry, I was simply amused by this. After pushing the mop into my feet a bit, I decided to lift them to make things easier for him. He even finished my stall and came back minutes later to repeat the process. When I finished, there was a small puddle of mop water at my feet, which was dirtied by the bottoms of my filthy shoes, therefore negating any good he thought he was doing through his persistence.

I probably could have said something, but I figured it would have confused the whole situation more. This way we both accomplished what we were setting out to do. And what a fine job he did.

Bien, bien.


>A Colony of Bigfoot…or Bigfoots…or Bigfeet?


More than one man in a gorrila suit?

The informative Disinformation site has broken what I consider to be the story of the year so far. A society in Malaysia claims to have scientific evidence of a Bigfoot colony.

‘The Johor Wildlife Protection Society said it has “scientific evidence” to prove the existence of Bigfoot whose reported sightings recently in the Johor jungles have excited the world’s media.’Not just one Bigfoot but a whole colony of the giant, hairy creatures which the society named “Orang Lenggor” (Lenggor People) as one was spotted in an area by that name, said the society’s secretary Tay Teng Hwa.’ (Malaysian National News Agency article).

I’m still not sure what to call more than one Bigfoot since that’s all we’re accustomed to thinking of, but this truly is astonishing. According to this society’s rep., Tay Teng Hwa (a name that flows off the tongue), “The adult creatures are between 10 and 12 feet tall while their children are 6 to 7 footers. Seventy percent of the Orang Lenggor have a human appearance but the rest resemble apes,” he said.

I do question whether or not this is just a bunch of Malaysians hopped up on some hybrid hashish sitting on eachothers’ shoulders in gorrila suits, because we all know the original Bigfoot footage was a man doing just that, but still looked very convincing and inspired the hit film Harry and The Hendersons.

I did manage to acquire a photo of one of the more human looking child Lenggors by bartering with the society. Let’s just say the deal involved patio furniture, knorks, and the promise of a gnome in return.

Here it is…

It appears that they have already adapted human clothing and what appears to be eyeglasses. We can only wait for the Malaysians to make their expedition into the colony in March or April and then come back with their findings to discuss what all of this really means. The truthiness is out there.

Also see: Wikipedia: Sasquatch


>When Knorks Meet the Mafia…

>My last blog discussed how I discovered that the Knork exists, but I had the same idea and a better marketing scheme. Yesterday I received a memo from the former wrestler I work with , which I share with the blogosphere on conditions of anonymoty. I’ll quote it verbatim:

Some engineer geek at Cessna saw a prop shear off a prototype plane and slice through a cow in an adjacent pasture while trying to cut his roast beef at lunch with a plastic fork thus inspiring the knork, perfect balance, cutting ability etc. He immediately resigned and started Knork Industries. Being a geeky engineer though, he has no idea how to market the knork. The web site sucks and the testimonials are fake. This is where the Mafia steps in and convinces him that he needs a professional marketing team. There is still money to be made. There may not be a fountain with Greek goddesses but I can see a small pond with a spitting frog… and I know where we can get one cheap.

I see great management skills in this man, especially considering his background in sports entertainment. He may not be The Don, but he has a point. Why shall we give up because the Knork exists? And he is absolutely right about those testimonials…check out those fake grins. I suppose the Filipinos and the Italians may have to combine their forces for this one.


>Just When you Think You Have A Million Dollar Idea…

>I heard once that the average person comes up with two million dollar ideas a year, and simply lets them go by.

I have always had this great idea to combine a knife and fork. The spoon and fork mated to create the spork, and look what that did for KFC. You know you try to saw food with a fork, and sometimes it gets frustrating, so why not add a serated edge to it? I ran this idea by the guys at work during one of our famous business lunches not long ago. We would call it the Knork, which I’ll admit that one of the Filipino Mafia was behind the name. There would be plastic and silverware Knorks. People could convert their old useless forks into Knorks when the Knork man came through their neighborhood in the Knork truck, which would have a giant Knork laid across the roof. There would be different varieties like golden Knorks, Knorks with cartoon characters on the handle, Knorks with collapsible handles, Knorks as military weapons for poking and then sawing. I even devised Knork Industries Headquarters as a spacious modern office building with a giant Knork fountain out front, flanked by a Greek goddess on each side.

Then today, it happened. No, I didn’t even get my prototype made. I found out the Knork already exists. Apparently these folks just can’t market their product well. This innovative and genius product exists, and not many even know about it. It’s a crying shame. They even have the curved edges on the tines that I thought up all by myself to assist in spreading and scooping. And they come in plasticware and regular flatware. How could this happen? How could someone come up with the same idea as me, but before me, and ruin it by not having creative infomercials with people hilariously attempting to saw their food with forks to no avail??! How could they not have Knork men driving Knork trucks? And where is their Knork fountain??! I am obviously thoroughly disappointed.

I guess my only option is to make a generic knockoff with a better marketing campaign. It could be my key to financial freedom and my ticket out of the Retail Servicing industry. I could give the boss a job as a Knork man, but I’d have to change the name. Fife is too easy and reminds me of Barney Fife. Maybe I’ll just skip to the next step–the Spnork! I’ll be swimming in the dough a la Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal in no time.

Speaking of million dollar ideas, check out this statement from the folks at Terracycle:

At TerraCycle we manufacture affordable, powerful, organic products that are
not only made from waste, but are also packaged entirely in waste!
TerraCycle Plant Food™ is made by feeding premium organic waste to millions of worms. The worm poop is then liquified into a powerful organic plant food and bottled directly in used soda bottles.

Yes folks, worm poop plant food. Another genius idea, but who has heard of this, and is TerraCycle Plant Food really a catchy name?? Take a page from the million dollar Butt Paste play book, BE OBVIOUS AND UP FRONT. Just call it Worm Poop Plant Food. I would buy it just based on that. Why am I in the Retail Servicing Industry anyway? If your company needs any marketing ideas, just drop me a line. Me and my boys can discuss it over a bagel break.


>Enigma Dick, the Boozer?

>Interesting excerpt from today’s White House press briefing with Scott McClellan, during which a reporter questioned why Cheney’s blood alcohol level wasn’t taken after he shot his buddy, especially considering the men admitted to drinking during lunch earlier in the day. Also, the VP was not questioned by the po-po’s at all until the next day. The reporter’s point being that regular Joe citizen wouldn’t have been treated so nicely. She must remember that this is America, and politicians and celebrities are different from us. If Dick killed Mrs. Cheney and blamed it on a one armed man, a one armed man did it. Case in point: O.J., Robert Blake, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Gary Condit…the list goes on forever.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that when Dick finally decided to discuss this whole matter, he chose Fox News. How convenient.


>What Have You Done Dick?

>What seemed to be simply humor food has turned into quite a serious and controversial situation. VP Cheney “accidentally” shoots a man, let’s the ranch owner break the news, and now the victim, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, has a “silent heart attack” because one of the several pellets lodged in him has moved to his heart–on Valentine’s Day. Sounds like Dick has a sick deal with the devil and was pulling some strings on Tuesday.

Doctors still are optimistic about Whittington’s prognosis, but that’s what they said before this “setback”. I am so easily amused, as usual with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s handling of this fiasco. And once again, David Gregory from NBC has come through as the hero trying to penetrate the forcefield of silence that this administration puts up. An excerpt from a Washington Post article dated Tuesday morning:

The most heated public moment occurred during McClellan’s off-camera
“gaggle” with White House reporters yesterday morning. It featured NBC’s David
Gregory, one of McClellan’s most persistent inquisitors over the last year, who
raised his voice while asking a question about the incident.

“Hold on,” McClellan interrupted, pointing out that “the cameras aren’t on right now. You can do this later.”

“Don’t accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,” Gregory replied. “Don’t be a jerk to me personally when I’m asking you a serious question.”

“You don’t have to yell,” McClellan said.

“I will yell,” said Gregory, jabbing his finger in McClellan’s direction. “If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don’t appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that’s wrong.”

“Calm down, Dave. Calm down,” said McClellan evenly.

The two men spoke privately after the gaggle, Gregory said later. No apologies were exchanged. “I said what I said and I meant what I said,” Gregory said. He said he and McClellan get along “very well,” a point agreed upon by McClellan during a brief interview.

“David’s a good guy and a good reporter,” McClellan added. He said that yesterday was “one of those days where I knew exactly what to expect.”

This nonsense never gets old. Now I understand why people voted for Bush. This crap is so ridiculous, that it’s entertaining, moreso than Grey’s Anatomy or Desperate Housewives. We are a pop culture society of convenience, and the politics of today play to both of those aspects.


>Fun With Video (Not My Own)!

>One of the members of the Filipino Mafia referred me to this trailer for Brokeback to the Future, which reminded him of my posting on Shining. Both are genius recuts of known films to make trailers for “different” motion pictures.

The Brokeback clip was done by a video sketch comedy troupe from Emerson College, alma mater of Pete Parisi (RIP) of World Wide Magazine fame and the subject of my documentary, P.E.P.

This article from CTV in Canada discusses the impact on humor that the film, Brokeback Mountain, has had. It also mentions this trailer for a sequel to Top Gun, a la Gay Cowboy flick. The quality is not as good, but still worth checking out. These video dorks with no time on their hands are very clever.

While on YouTube, I also found this clip entitled “Lazy Sunday” , by Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell from SNL, which I saw on SNL several weeks back and cannot get out of my head. It is also referred to as “The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia”. It’s dope, man.


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