Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: It can't end quick enough

I think it is safe to say that none of us can get rid of 2009 fast enough. With that being said, thank you for your support, comments, and readership. I appreciate the loyalty of you 2 faithful readers and hope 2010 will bring happiness and prosperity to both of you.

To the band of Weirdos, Whacko's, and Misfits here at FTI, I don't see how the future could be any more dismal than the present you currently endure.  It is my fervent hope the governor grants my plea to have each of you placed at a more secure facility for the good of society.  One can only hope.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Order from the convenience of your own home

The cheap-assed Board of Directors notified me yesterday that they have taken it upon themselves to hire an independent, outside consultant to help them explore different ways to "raise our level of exposure" here at FTI as we move forward into the future. I have always worked under the assumption that we wanted to bring no added attention to ourselves due to the level of idiocy found here, but, apparently not. 

This clown convinced our Board to explore unique avenues that no one else has previously ever explored. One idea was to develop an on-line store of official FTI merchandise. We don't even have an official logo, and yet, we're talking about merchandise emblazoned with our name that someone would have around the house that remind them of us during use. At first glance, one would think "that's not very unique. Everyone has printed stuff. What's so special about that type of concept?" Ah, but the devil lies in the details. We're not talking about T-shirts, key chains, bookmarks, or ball caps. No. We are thinking stuff along the lines of FTI Doggy Pooper-Scoopers, FTI Chair Donuts for people whom suffer from hemorrhoid difficulty, and my favorite: an authentic, official FTI pencil,  actually previously chewed by one of our staff. Now that is a unique thing! Anyway, as any good consultant does before meeting with a new client, he did some advance research and produced a sample item I have displayed above. (I am considering my own legal challenge to this item as the use of this picture in my younger days is actually an invasion of privacy.)

Our reviled  IT Department has been given the task to set up all of the details of how people will order, pay, etc., so I don't expect anything meaningful to happen anytime soon.   If we ever do get up and going however, remember this one wise caveat:  Buyer Beware.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some end o' the year housecleaning

Well, it's getting down to that time of year again.  Time to get rid of the old and bring in the new.  Time to implement some new policies,  procedures, and methods designed to assure our 2 faithful readers  that, yes indeed,  though this website is indeed a waste of bandwidth over the internet, maybe there's a glimmer of hope that something useful will eventually surface here.   

Like most major news outlets, I thought it would be good form to review some of our highlights (low points?) of the past year.   Though certainly accessible on our weekly Green Sunday random results tool, I draw your attention to these particular posts  for their ability to demonstrate the properties of what occurs here on a daily basis:  planned stupidity.  Hopefully, we can avoid these type of events in the future.  With that in mind, here are  a couple of examples:

* Pete Barbutti is our adopted musical inspiration here at FTI.  After viewing this, you will know why.

* Dicky the Peap is one of our staff members whom was unfortunately born with this affliction. Chalk this one up to simply "Life isn't fair."

* The staff picnic was the summer highlight for our team at FTI.  Gummo, the Balloon Boy, failed to heed the 30 minute swimming rule after eating and as a result ended up with cramps. Gummo, Mom is always right.

* Mrs. Kfred is highly regarded by both the staff and obviously, myself. She's on her own on this one, however.

* And lastly, our hoped for theme song as we move into 2010.

One bit of 2009 sad news that needs to be passed along:  Our local State Attorney General has informed us that we will be required to continue to perform community service for an undetermined amount of time.  The Institute's orignal charter was envisioned to be based  on need on a short-term emergency basis, but,  has now bloated to a cumbersome bureacracy.  Despite my best leadership efforts, the incompetencies continue.  Oh,  the humanity. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our After the Holiday Sunday Clearance post

Hey c'mon, it's Clearance Sunday.  We get a day off too, you know. 

 Consider yourself lucky. We have our ENTIRE STOCK (!!) of past thoughts on display for reading.  Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful  to the environment)  if you leave now without getting what you came for.  So we'll  do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read.   Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

See you tomorrow. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It wasn't me

Well, the big day has come and gone.  The weather was perfect,  the gifts were generous, and the prime rib was perfect.  You couldn't have asked for a better day.  While giving the staff  the weekend off to celebrate, the continuing Flatline experiences continue with or without our staff around.  I didn't realize that it would come from within my own immediate family, however.    

Joining Mrs Kfred and myself for the holiday were Kfred Jr. 1 and his fiancé, Goldilocks; Kfred Jr. 2, home from college for the holidays; and Brother Eddie.  Brother Eddie is the member of the family that is in his own world.  A lifelong bachelor, he marches to the beat of a different drummer (one resembling the skills of a beginning player in the 4th grade orchestra).  Regardless, he is family and one of us.  He does, however, possess a certain attitude of superiority that, at times, can be a bit arrogant.  As a result, if I get a chance every so often to bring him down a notch or two, I immediately seize the opportunity. 

After dinner last night, Brother Eddie had been gone for a few minutes.  Shortly thereafter, he comes down the stairs and bellows "Kfred, Kfred".  I answered and asked what he wanted.  He replied, "come here".  In a low, quietly discrete voice, he mentions, "It wasn't me, but, the toilet upstairs needs a plunger".    Now, right away, I recognize the opening I knew that would eventually be forthcoming at some time.  My job was to simply wait for it, tee it up, and swing it over the fences.  Did I?  No, I quietly got the plunger, took care of the task at hand, and considered the incident over. 

He and I both know that I now have my own little comeuppance with him for the  rest of my life.    It's a great spot to be in.  And all for the lack of a high fiber diet. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all ‘round the ‘tute
The dimwits were sleeping, the sight is not cute.
The restraints were hung by the chimney with care,
It’s for their own safety and general welfare;

The misfits were locked in their dormitory with beds,
They’re really no more than slow-thinking pinheads;
And Mrs Kfred in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
He’d be the one to visit our mentally sick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called the dimwits by name;
"Now, Freako! now, Gummo! and Dickie the Peap!
Wake up you slow whacko’s; you need no more sleep!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
He knew of these idiots I suffer each day,
He couldn’t believe I had chosen to stay.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
Some brand new straightjackets he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Replacing the restraints with an all knowing smirk,
He knew the great burden I constantly bear,
Sometimes I think, I’m in a giant daycare,

"Now Kfred," he boomed, “Don’t Worry, Don’t fuss,
All people know they ride the short bus,
Most readers know they are mental midgets,
Their collective IQ is one single digit”,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“I’m glad I’m not you, none of those idiots seem right!”

(with profuse apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Adhering to the Boy Scout principle to always "Be prepared", I have always strove in both my personal life, and, here at the Institute, to make sure that any unforeseen emergencies will be dealt with appropriately. 

During yesterday's staff meeting, we were talking about winter preparation and the need to have a plan for inclement weather.  True to our ways, I left the meeting with my head shaking and wondering what in God's name was the type of atrocious act I committed in a previous life to be placed with this band of misfits in this life. Previously, Dickie the Peap has spent some time  in the meteorology/weather forecasting field and relayed the incident that led him to being dismissed and placed here with us  at FTI. 

A new Indian chief located nearby where Dickie was located was unsure if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members should collect firewood to be prepared.
But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called Dickie at the National Weather Service and asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?'
'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' Dickie admitted.
So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.
A week later, he called Dickie again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter ?'
'Yes,' Dickie again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter.'
The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.
Two weeks later, the chief called  Dickie again. 'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?'
'Absolutely,' the Peap replied. 'It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen.'
'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked.
Dickie replied, 'The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.'

Monday, December 21, 2009

Circle takes the square

We received a pre-Christmas gift here at the Institute yesterday that I think is appropriate for our staff. The gift is a board game called "Smart Ass".  Players are asked various questions and, based on your answers,  you progress on a board to the final destination. 

The whole concept reminded me of the old Hollywood Squares TV quiz show.  The set was a  giant tic-tac-toe board where various celebrities were seated and  would be asked random questions.  Two contestants had to alternately determine if the answers were true or false and based on their correct determination, the contestant would win the square.  Some of the greatest one-liner smart ass replies came from this show.

With full credit to the celebrities and writers: 

You're a 71-year old man who has lost interest in sex.  Does your doctor have anything to help you?
Charley Weaver:  No, but his nurse does. 

True or False.  Experts say there are only seven or eight things in the world dumber than the ant.
George Gobel:  Yes, and I think I voted for them. 

In a survey of teenage mothers, most of them said they were listening to this when they got pregnant.  What is it?
Paul Lynde: A pack of lies. 

What are 'Do It,' 'I Can Help,' and 'I Can't Get Enough'?
George Gobel:  I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Paul, what is a good reason for pounding meat?
Paul Lynde: Loneliness!

I'm sure our group, being as dimwitted as they are, will never match the clever answers listed here. Perhaps though, they will use it as a form of inspiration.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our green holiday policy

Hey c'mon, it's the final Sunday before Christmas and we've got some shopping to do.  What would you get as a gift for this band of weirdos?

We're glad you're here, though. We have endorsed an alternative holiday "green" policy here at FTI and want to do our part.  Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful  to the environment)  if you leave now without getting what you came for.  So we'll  do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read.   Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yep. We've seen his kind before

This guy is exactly the type of member that our HR department chooses when we have an opening here at FTI.

If anyone knows him, please advise him that though his credentials are impressive,  we currently have no openings that match his skillset. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Greetings

I haven't sent any Christmas cards out this year.  Though they are nice and fun to receive, I believe the whole concept is rapidly becoming unnecessary.  With the advent of cell phones, instant messaging, Facebook, web cams, etc., a person can be on another continent, up in space, or underwater on a submarine and still contact their family and friends to let them know they want to share the Christmas spirit with them instantly.  Christmas was always the time of year of re-contacting long lost acquaintances or distant family members to let them know you were thinking of them.    With these new types of technology, I can forsee the day when actual card exchanging will go away.  You will just exchange electronic greetings, instead. 

I received 2 different Christmas greetings yesterday.   One was sent via the US Postal Service; the other via e-mail.  Both conveyed the message of wishing me and my family  holiday greetings and that the sender was thinking of me.  Let's compare the two greetings I received:  The card via the Post Office was sent by an elderly aunt whom I keep in contact each year at Christmas only.  Here is the message:  "Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with Cheer, and many warm wishes for the coming year."  Nice, right?  Pleasant, cheerful, well-meaning.  The Christmas greeting I received via e-mail was from American Airlines.  Here's their message:

"Words. They can have a profound impact.
As 2009 comes to an end, we would like to take a moment to share simple words of gratitude with you. Your business is deeply appreciated and gives us more reason to celebrate and look forward to the fresh beginnings of a new year and the promise and potential 2010 may bring.

From all of us at American Airlines, we wish you a very happy holiday season. And most of all, we’d like to share two more words with you.

Tough Luck. "

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Uh, We're kind of Sorry

This past week has been themed around the incompetence of American Airlines for disallowing  my bag to travel with me when I returned from Dallas, Texas last weekend.  At that time, I held American responsible for the troubles and adopted them as an involuntary affiliate member here at FTI due to their ineptness, stupidity , and lack of common sense in dealing with a minor situation. Due to the dogged determination and investigative skills of the FTI Research team, an added co-conspirator has also been identified.   And of course, I want them to get their due recognition as well. 

It has been uncovered that the  co-party responsible for this screw-up is, in fact, the Transportation Security Administration, a division of the US Department of Homeland Security.  These are the people who man the metal detectors and then paw over you like a 16 year old on a second date should you trip it; so pleasantly practice their customer service skills by barking "shoes off!, shoes off!"while standing in line to go through the above mentioned metal detector; and so animatedly stare into an x-ray machine hoping they run across a set of fingernail clippers that they can confiscate as a threat to airline security. 

For their part, American Airlines, sent me a computer generated email response that cited phrases in my original complaint.  In it, I was instructed that I could access the AA website, drill down  3 times deep into the bowels of the AA website to find out,  in fact, I was a screw-up for not checking the baggage in earlier.  I have never denied, ultimately, I was at fault.  My complaint is that the simple lack of common sense and flexibility would have made it easier for all of us involved; both AA and me.   I would have had my bag; their customer service people would have been able to speak with a potential paying customer for a future flight rather than arguing with one irate for 30 minutes after  a completed flight.  As I see it, that formula doesn't seem to be one that generates new revenue. 

In conclusion, I am over my snit.  I am prepared to release American Airlines from FTI affiliation after Friday of this week.  ( I still have one more  whack I want to give them, yet.)  We wouldn't even think about adding the TSA as an official affiliate:  We have plenty of incompetence practiced by the staff.  They certainly don't need to learn any new techniques.   

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I think it looks nice

Teaming up with Mrs. Kfred last evening, I finished trimming the Christmas tree  in the Executive Living area of the FTI compound.     There is so much involved with the decoration task:  deciding if the tree is straight in the stand, is there  enough room against the wall to walk by,  is a branch  being bent, are the ornaments hung in the wrong place, etc.  If I do say so myself, the tree looks very nice and highly festive.  There normally is a little stress associated with this task resulting in the usual  hurt feelings, raised voices, pouting, name calling,  and ultimately, tears.  (We haven't even discussed the reactions generated by Mrs. Kfred under these circumstances.)   In the end, though, all was forgiven and the affected half of the team got over it. 

I have it on good authority that over at American Airlines headquarters however, a different scenario took place.  Apparently, "the computer", dictated that the  tree in their lobby would potentially be overweight as initially planned to be decorated.  Much debate went back and forth between management and the decoration committee and ultimately, management (you know, the group whom programs "the computer"), prevailed.  Here's a shot of their current tree.   Aren't computers wonderful?

Monday, December 14, 2009

FTI Recommended Reading

Normally,  I don't recommend books for the readership here.  I like to read and actually am in a book club with Mrs. Kfred, but,  choose to refrain from sharing my choices here.  Mandatory FTI reading subjects, however, are different.   The Complete Worst-case Scenario Survival Handbook with such topics as How to Thwart an Affectionate Costumed Mascot, How To  Carry a Date Who Is Passed Out, How To Steer Your Bike Down A Rock Face,  not only are mandatory reading for the staff, but actually , in some cases, penned by some of our staff and affiliate members.

Interestingly, one ominously titled chapter, How To Get A Job You Are Not Qualified For, would appeared to have been used by the Vice President in charge of Customer Service/Baggage issues over at American Airlines.   It can only be assumed that the particular Vice President in question never  read (and as a result was not able to learn) How to Foil A UFO Abduction.  Obviously, the alien got his brain.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Lost Luggage Sunday

Hey c'mon, it's Lost Luggage Sunday.  Today starts a week of posts themed around the incompetence of our first idiot corporate affiliate, American Airlines.  We're still trying to get someone with an ounce of sense or intelligence at American Airlines to answer our complaint and, as a result, we haven't been able to address other matters. 

We're glad you're here, though. Unlike American Airlines, we have policies of which we inform our readers.  As a result, today we have  implemented a new "lost luggage/prior posts" policy here at FTI.      No spilled liquids, no smelly socks, no embarrassing marital aids.  Take a look here , rifle through some of our past columns, and see if you missed anything that we have previously packed from the past.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Doing What We Do Best

Due to our position in the community, most self-respecting corporations and companies avoid any type of link or mention of their identity with us here at FTI.  As Executive Director of FTI, I understand brand imaging and am aware of the reluctance to be grouped with unsavory individuals or questionable organizations.  To date, our strenuous selection process and monitoring of the  level of incompetence, indifference, and total idiocy equal to the staff here at FTI  has never found any corporation engaging in  this type of behavior..............until now.  After an experience yesterday, however,  our first corporate affiliate has been identified as equally inept as Gummo, the Balloon Boy, Dickie the Peap, Commando Barney,  and the rest of our losers.  And that is not the recipe for a successful business model.   Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce American Airlines.  (Earning a mention in our highly coveted "Government/Public Facility" Ineptness category is DFW Airport.  That will be explored at a later time)

While finishing up my non-Institute duties in the Dallas branch of Dilbert-land yesterday, I had an administrative person pre-print me a boarding pass to avoid the line at check-in.  Arriving 45 minutes in advance of the plane departing, I planned to go to  the desk, get the luggage tag, check the bag,  and be on my way.  Finally reaching the agent after 15 minutes of waiting,  I was informed that I was 4 minutes late in checking my bag and as a result, I could board, but, the bag would be on the next flight to my destination 5 hours later.  Apparently, "the computer" had cut off accepting any more baggage within 30 minutes of departure.  (Results produced by the Factorcrap Truthometer Deluxe during subsequent analysis last night were inconclusive on this statement).    Arriving, I was told that American would not pay to have the bag delivered as it was "your fault" for not having the bag ready on time.  Of course, the fact that I was electronically checked in, but, had not personally spoke with the agent; that Dallas is the location of American's headquarters and major hub; that American had 3 agents on duty at 4 pm on a Friday afternoon at the Gate 28-29 counter area to service the 3 lines of approximately 50 passengers waiting to be processed; and that nowhere on the boarding pass or on the American Airlines website concerning preboarding policies was this discussed seemed to sway anyone I spoke to .  So, it's a trip back to the airport to retrieve my luggage. 

Upon reflection, I understand this type of behavior; I experience it on a daily basis.  To practice this at the level equal to our own, though is noteworthy.   If you ever have the choice between American Airlines and a blind burro to get you somewhere capably, choose the mule.  After all, "We know why you fly.  We're American Airlines".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now, here is a sales tip

Well, I have arrived  at my out of town location on non-Institute business.  7 hours late.  And none too happy.     Unfortunately, I can't seem to escape the scrutiny, ridicule, and embarrassment that doggedly follows me when the three letters, FTI, are brought up. 

While checking in at the airport yesterday morning, I was asked to verify that my name and the one on my ticket matched.  I immediately provided my official FTI ID badge, adjusted my headwear, and readied myself to proceed to my gate. The gate agent look at my ID badge, looked at me, checked the badge again, and stated, "Uh, sir. We have a problem".   I realized that the act of adjusting my hat  had vastly altered my looks as compared to that on the badge and promptly removed it.  At this point, the agent cocked her head, narrowed here eyes, and repeated, "Sir, did you hear me?"  I pointed out that the hearing results of my recent physical with the personnel at our outsourced FTI medical facility, Tijuana Medical Clinico and Gringo Coffee, (Our Espresso is Bueno!") noted my hearing was normal.  She replied, "Then, what is this?"  Apparently, the Green Comic had thought it would be hilarious to steal my badge,  switch my image with his , and see what would ensue.  I eventually cleared up the misunderstanding and was finally assigned my seat between two large hulking individuals ("We're grain salesmen from Omaha") with crewcut hairstyles and earpieces.  I was able to get some rest after the ordeal and have arrived ready to fulfill my duties here. 

Upon arrival, I bid my seatmates a hasty goodbye and went to retrieve my bags.  We must have bonded in the air as I did notice them constantly observing me from the time we landed until I caught the cab.  I did point out to the two salesmen that, perhaps, if they were a little less shy and  improved their listening skills while speaking with the customer, their sales might increase.  They didn't seem too interested in listening to what I had to say.   I guess you are only as good as the people around you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa!? Santa!? Have you no shame?

Unfortunately, even the Christmas season is not immune from the sophomoric behavior of our team.  I instructed the staff to decorate the compound here at FTI in festive Christmas lights as we usually try to have a nice display for our neighbors as an offering of goodwill and to thank them for not complaining about living within such close proximity of us year round.    I assigned Gummo, the Balloon Boy, to decorate the staff wing.  Here is the result.  Is there any wonder why I have health issues?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Now, to tie up some of those loose ends

A little bit of housekeeping from this past week:

The Boomerang effect noted this past Monday is real.  Based on a closer observation of our staff during the recent Chrismas light installation party here at the Insititute, the syndrome couldn't be clearer.  This team is a bunch of idiots. 

The cheap-assed Board of Directors conducted an emergency budget session to approve my request for additional funds for repair of our sewage treatment system.  Previously, my pleas for funds had been ignored, but, when I pointed out the fact that our reputation was now in jeopardy of actually fulfilling itself, literally, I couldn't have received the money quick enough. 

The controversy over the authority succession plan is still not settled.  It was decided that a written proficiency test should be  part of any evaluation when considering candidates for the position of Executive Director.  Unfortunately, the only tests our members are adept with are those that involve a jail nurse, a small plastic cup, and a  restroom.  Anything else is  beyond their abilities. 

I can't get away from this place next week fast enough.   


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Well, we could draw straws

A recent event has exposed a major flaw here at FTI that has never been addressed. This may, however, be a problem that has no solution.

I am scheduled to be out of town next week on non-Institute business. It has been pointed out that we have no succession plan of leadership to conduct business in my absence or sudden demise. This is a huge problem. The problem is that we have no qualified candidates to assume these responsibilities. I have studied parallel circumstances to attempt to find some solution, but have been stymied at every turn to date. For example, upon the death or incapacitation of members of Congress, there have been instances of spouses assuming the position their spouse occupied. Mrs. Kfred would be a logical choice to be my replacement, but, as Director of Institute Safety, she has no interest in the Executive Director position. I would not be so cruel as to saddle Kred Jr’s 1 or 2 at this point in their young lives to have to deal with this band of Weirdo’s, Whacko’s, and Misfits. Dickie the Peap would probably be the immediate and first choice to carry on our mission, but his disability prevents him from effectively fully carrying out the financial duties associated with the position. Gummo, the Balloon Boy, has some potential, but his recent admission that “sometimes, I’m a Buffoon”, immediately disqualifies him. Freako, Commando Barney, Trumpster, and the rest just are not yet seasoned enough to don this mantle of responsibility. We have a rising star in The Campus Eunuch; he may be a glimpse into the future here at FTI.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, I plan on being as careful as humanly possible to avoid any mishaps that would result in my inability to lead. After all,  who else would produce this stuff?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I wouldn't want you to think we are full of..................

While lounging in the Executive quarters of the FTI compound last night, Mrs. Kfred alerted me to a high pitched alarm occuring outdoors and asked me to investigate.  As the Director of Institute Safety, Mrs. Kfred has been a valuable member in keeping the Institute free of any time lost accidents or harmful events which would raise our liability costs any further.  (The monthly payment to our bondsman whom we have on retainer is substantial enough.  We can't afford any more insurance).  As chief maintenance officer, and at her repeated insistence suggestion, I immediately sprung into action.

Upon further investigation, I determined that the alarm was occurring because one of the effluent pumps on the waste treatment facility here at the Institute was not functioning properly. Our cheap-assed Board of Directors has repeatedly cut our budget so many times that our repair equipment for this division of FTI has been reduced to a single plunger, easily purchased at your local Home Depot for $2.49 (or free if you happen to get a door buster holiday special at the local Tru-Value). Regardless, there was trouble a-brewin'. I quickly formulated a repair plan that calmed Mrs. Kfred, ended the distracting noise, and guaranteed a peaceful night's sleep: I simply hit the "Silence Alarm" button. Of course, this does nothing to address the actual problem in the first place. It does, however, buy me time to deal with the issue in the daylight hours, call a professional, and arrange for the necessary repairs.

I relay this incident to get it out in the open. I'm sure some of our less well intentioned, mean-spirited, affiliates will try to comment, make fun of our plight, and suggest that we are full of it anyway. I remind our staff:  We are what you produce.