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Beyond the Fringefan #407   Boss bird, in business suit, to employee bird, gesturing at open window:
"I'm sorry, Billings, but I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go."

BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN finds himself suddenly free as a birdbrain, and once again seeking a place to roost during working hours that will pay him more than chicken feed; place in the pecking order is not important. While awaiting a new source of golden eggs, he's cooped up at the N.Y. Cadre ((phone(718) NY-CADRE); e-mailnycadre@alum.rpi.edu; Webhttp://www.nycadre.org), playing Angry Birds on his cell phone and scratching out Beyond the Fringefan #407, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 9, #2 (e-APA-NYU #82) and other pigeons, published February 2011 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of Thigamajig Inc. logo. Cartoon above by Kurt Shaw for The New Breed, 15 December 1990. All uncredited material copyright ©2011 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.

     At the end of what seemed a perfectly ordinary workday on Monday, 24 January, my boss Yann called me into a conference room; she was accompanied by Jean of the HR department. They told me, regretfully, that effective immediately, I was no longer to be working at W+K. (I think the actual phrase they used was, "We're terminating your contract." I'm not sure there ever was a contract between me and W+K, though one exists between me and 24 Seven Talent, which has remained my nominal employer through the nearly five years I've been stationed there, and I guess there's one between W+K and 24 Seven. In any case, the terms of whatever contracts exist state pretty explicitly that any work I do is at the mutual pleasure of all parties concerned and can be terminated by any of them with no notice.)

     Reasons were not discussed in huge detail. (They didn't have to be, since the arrangement can be terminated by anyone at any time with no notice.) I know of one significant mistake I made last summer, letting a typo in a headline pass through into production. It was caught by someone else before it was seen by the public, but the last-minute correction cost the agency a bit of money, and someone was Not Happy; perhaps several someones. I still can't figure out how I missed it. Yann alluded to that incident in our brief meeting, but didn't say if that was the only reason for my disengagement. From other things she said, I believe that she'd gone to bat for me, possibly holding off this parting of ways for a couple of months, but eventually had to yield to pressure from higher up.

     I packed up my desk—my computer had already been locked out by the time I got back to it—and left, more stunned than anything else. That night and the next morning I spoke by telephone with Brenda, my contact at 24 Seven, who expressed confidence that she and her associates could find me something in the same or a similar ballpark pretty quickly. I went in to see her in person on Wednesday, résumé in hand; she offered a few suggestions for improving it, and said I'd be highlighted in the next edition of the weekly list of available personnel the agency sends out to its clients. (I don't know if this means much of anything, but it sounded nice.) She also asked me if I'd be interested in something permanent, and of course I said that that's what I'd been seeking all along.

Caveman in front of cave wall full of paintings of human figure hunting, 
fishing, cooking, farming, and building a wheel.  
Second caveman: "Wow!  Impressive resume!" 
(FRANK & ERNEST by Thaves, 2 October 2007)

     So for the moment I'm, as they say, at liberty. I'm trying to catch up on a few things—dental appointments, auto repairs and the like—that I didn't get done Xmas week because of the snow-induced chaos (although fresh waves of that are complicating the task). If I don't get any nibbles through 24 Seven by the time the catching up is done, I have a couple of other old contacts I can try to renew. Fortunately, savings are not depleted, the house and car are fully paid for, and we can get through a few weeks or even months of no income if necessary. I'm more worried about succumbing to inertia if I hang around the house too long.

     And every so often I think about Tampa. When my job with the bank moved down there eight and a half years ago, I could have moved there with it, at company expense. I wonder whether I'd have a job today if I'd done so. I think, weather notwithstanding, I'm much better off being between gigs here than there.

     I'm pleased to report that Donna's electric wheelchair was finally repaired on 25 January. It's sitting in our (unheated) garage; with luck, it'll still be working by the spring thaw.

Fringe Reception: Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 9, #1 (e-APA-NYU #81)

ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
(¢APA-NEWS) "Leslie Nielsen left his mark on several VCR's I have owned by virtue of his role in the Citizens on Patrol movies." Um, I think you're confusing two different series of police comedies. Nielsen was in the Naked Gun series (subtitled From the Files of Police Squad!, referring to the short-lived TV series it was based on). The AAA warns about that very dangerous omission during the winter months.

JAMISON, TAKE E-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
You list "the $2.25 base transit fare" in your In Memoriam, but that's arguable. Buy a Metrocard and the fare is still $2.25. It's $2.50 only if you buy a single-fare ticket. So is the base fare $2.50, with the vast bulk of the transit riders in the city getting a discount of one sort or another? Or is the base fare $2.25, with a tiny minority getting socked with a 25¢ penalty for using the wasteful single-fare tickets? /*/ "...more revealingly, he went on to bemoan that gays want MARRIAGE, not just civil unions or domestic partnerships." I maintain that by definition, the only sort of union a government can recognize is a civil union; anything else is between the participants and their deities, and hence outside the government's jurisdiction. Let government stop calling its unions marriages, and put all civil unions on an equal footing in the eyes of the law. Then let religious groups decide what sort of marriages they'll support, and let people decide what sort of religious groups they're comfortable belonging to. Would Groucho want to belong to any church that would have him as a parishioner? /*/ "(There were also defective madeleines [at FIStFA] – no temps perdu recaptured.)" That may be because no one tried dipping one in tea. /*/ (¢APA-NEWS) "I was working in the WTC when [De Laurentiis'] KONG came out." I was at New York Plaza half a mile south when they were filming it. I showed up to be an unpaid, uncredited extra in the crowd scene at the end, and grabbed a piece of styrofoam prop "concrete" as a souvenir. (Others may have been luckier; I heard someone say, "I got a piece of the ape!")

lifeless body of King Kong lying on the New York City street.  A policeman
is in the midst of tracing its outline with chalk.
Police sergeant, to another cop: "Hinds!  Millar is exhausted. 
  Grab that piece of chalk and take over for him!"
(BIZARRO by Dan Piraro, 16 June 2002)

/*/ (¢me) Actors were mixing into politics enough to inspire Tom Lehrer to write a song about Sen. George Murphy in 1964 (in which he also rhymed "Helen Gahagan" with "Ronald Reagan"). /*/ "Is DOONESBURY's 2-year hiatus balanced by the strip's 2-year run as BULL TALES in the 'YALIE DAILY' (the YALE DAILY NEWS) before syndication? Sure, why not? And a point for you on the pop-culture trivia. Bull Tales originally focused on B.D., who was based loosely on Brian Dowling, the starting quarterback of the undefeated 1968 Yale team. That Mike Doonesbury emerged as the strip's star is another triumph of nurds over jocks. /*/ (¢Cinii) Wikipedia lists 23 real and 9 fictional people nicknamed "Mad Dog"—the real ones largely military, paramilitary, and sports players. I guess it was a popular name. (I think Dave Barry wrote in the '90s that wherever he traveled, there was a radio station with a morning talk show with two guys exchanging repartee, one of whom was known as "Mad Dog.")

"...the Japanese culture must have at some time in the past lifted some design forms from a Sartine observation post that must have been set up a few thousand years ago in or near the Sakhalin Islands." Do you recall (in one of your previous incarnations) being on the staff of that post? /*/ Condolences on your iMac's problems. I've reached the conclusion that my 2002-vintage Dell laptop is nearing the end of its useful life, and will soon start researching its successor. /*/ Even more condolences on the loss of your glasses. Modern optical technology makes a massive dent in the budget. Do polarized lenses filter out fluorescent light sufficiently for your purposes? (I wear polarized non-prescription sunglasses in the summer that fit over regular eyeglass frames. There may be a spare pair bouncing around the Cadre. If so, you want 'em? I know I saw them sometime last year...) /*/ Like the Yule filk. (You have "Jesus was an alien" in one verse and "Jesus was a Jew" in another. Clearly another piece of evidence for the interplanetary Jewish conspiracy. Call Space Rabbi!) I'll have to go back to LJ and check out the comments you got. /*/ (¢Blackman) Actually, APA-NYU's minac, per Mayor Friedman back in the '70s, is respiration. So your title also could be read as "Listen to Your Breathing," another meditative reference. You're even cleverer than you realized...except that the title you put on your December zine was not "Listen to the Minac" but "Dance to the Minac." /*/ (¢me) "[Ethan's] adventures give me concern about him turning into another boring frat-drunk." I've been concerned a little myself about his alcohol consumption out there, but I can't imagine him becoming a boring frat drunk. An even weirder geek-drunk, perhaps. But I think (to play amateur psychologist) the drinking is the result of the total dislocation of being Over There and not having several of his other usual outlets. I won't be truly worried unless he gets back here and continues to drink at that level. (And since I haven't mentioned it yet this month—yes, he's still blogging about his experiences, at <cameroon [dot] betacantrips [dot] com>.)

     Would someone please explain to me why, if it's so cloudy and nasty on 2 February that there's no shadow for the groundhog to see, it's supposed to portend nicer weather? I guess I'll crawl back into my burrow and think about that for a while. See you all next month.   Punxsutawney Phil encased in a block of ice, being lifted out of his 
burrow with ice tongs.
Groundhog wrangler to other Inner Circle members:
"Uh-oh...looks like six more weeks of winter..."
(Editorial cartoon by Bill Schorr, 2 February 2010)

>Portions of the preceding will work for food.<

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