Musings on random crap redux

I’m back.

I’ve got much to say.

The human race has been busy — and not in a good way.

First, this little tidbit from Good.is

Forced Friends: Want a Job? Give Up Your Facebook Password

Side note: A few months ago, I had two phone interviews where my age came up. During the first one, the M.E. of a publication in Florida flat out asked me how old I was. When I politely reminded him that question was illegal, his response before he hung up on me was, “What are you going to do about it? In this economy, I can ask whatever questions I want! It’s my word against yours!” At first I was outraged and contemplated telling the useless EEOC, but then realized that I’d never want to work for a company where the folks in charge felt the laws were troublesome guidelines rather than binding agreements.

The second place, located in Chicago, tried to be a scosch creative with trying to figure out my age. The youngin’ asked me what type of music I listened to in high school because the company “wanted to get a feel for their prospective employees’ tastes and whatnot.” I saw right through this little ruse, however, and sang the praises of Edith Piaf and Benny Goodman. When the desired answers weren’t flowing threw the black wires, my interviewer tried another angle: “What were your favorite television shows when you were growing up?” Answer: “We didn’t have a television.” The interview was over soon after, and I was bathed in relief.

FYI-I’m not THAT old. Sadly, ageism is alive and well, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Onto the article.

“Concerns about the safety of Facebook profiles are valid, especially as the company grows and people share more information on the site. Facebook has had frightening breaches of user trust in the past, and some questions about where its loyalties lie—with consumers or with corporations—remain unanswered. Nobody can predict whether Facebook will end up taking advantage of the information provided by the millions of people who log into it every hour. But while Facebook itself waffles between creepy and benevolent, it turns out some people are using the site to get downright evil when it comes to online privacy.

An in-depth report from MSNBC reveals numerous documented instances of American colleges and employers demanding that students, employees, and applicants open up their Facebook profiles for review. Tecca.com reported last year on a police department in North Carolina that asked people applying for a clerical job, “Do you have any web page accounts such as Facebook, Myspace, etc.? If so, list your username and password.” The Maryland Department of Corrections also asked applicants to hand over their passwords, until an ACLU complaint killed that practice. Still, some applicants report being asked in interviews to log into their Facebook profiles and allow the interviewer to look over their shoulder while they click around their photos and wall posts.”

Glad that the ACLU put the kibosh on the whole handing-over-the-passwords bullshit.

“It doesn’t end with the job market. College students—athletes in particular—are also subject to this invasive line of inquiry. In the new player handbook for athletes at the University of North Carolina, a passage reads, “Each team must identify at least one coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of team members’ social networking sites and postings. The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes’ posts.” Elsewhere, students have been told they have to friend their coaches, thus giving the coaches total access to their accounts.”

Could you imagine being the person who is in charge of lurking around some athlete’s Facebook page? It would either be boring or frustrating — by frustrating I mean I’d want to correct the horrible grammar and spelling I came across.

More …

“To be sure, there are ways to lock down your Facebook account, even from “friends,” but should anyone be forced to to resort to such lengths?”

That’s a good question, and that is why I’m private on Facebook. It’s tough to find me and once you do, you can’t access my account or any info without my permission. Then, once you’re a friend, I’m still tough to figure out.

“In an effort to catch law up with society, two Maryland state legislators are sponsoring a bill that would prevent schools and potential employers from seizing access to people’s social networking sites. In the meantime, it’s important to take note of at least one major factor driving these insane invasions of privacy: the terrible economy.

It’s simple: In a world in which options are plentiful, people don’t subject themselves to totalitarianism in order to secure employment. They go to a job interview, and when the interviewer starts demanding to rifle through their personal digital lives, they get up and leave, confident they can go somewhere else for work. The reason anyone is allowing potential employers to treat them like this is because a job is hard to come by these days, and so you do whatever you can to get employed—even if that means having your right to privacy trampled. Illegal immigrants have suffered with this “steady employment vs. avoiding abuse” dilemma for years. Now it’s come to the Maryland Department of Corrections. When economic stability erodes, so does the list of things people won’t do to get that stability back.”

Simply put, employers can do sneaky stuff to prospective employees because the economy is in the shitter, and since so many folks are looking for work, we are more than likely to put up with all of it. Like the article states, hopefully these questionable screening tactics will fall by the wayside once the economy improves. Who knows when that will happen though.

Onward.

Some things are just too gross to discuss. My stomach hurts just thinking about ingesting this.

These have got to be the ugliest fucking things I’ve ever laid my hazel eyes upon. Looks like Mr. West is spending too much time with a glue gun and believing his minions when they spew the words “genius” and “renaissance man” in the same breath as his name. Also, any stylist (even the trash peddlers Kim Kardashian hires) who thinks this is a good look, should consider spending some quality time at Trembling Acres and give E.S.T. a try, AND invest in a good mirror. But, for fun, look at them again. Then again. And again and eventually you’ll either want to gouge your eyes out with a spork, or will want to move to Death Valley, never to return.

And last but not least, I have a feeling that the throw-up I just produced in my mouth, tastes a lot like this stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little amusement

I’ve been hibernating for the past few weeks, so I haven’t been paying close attention to the news. That’s very odd for a news hound like me. Most of the news has been so maddening that me adding my two cents would’ve been a waste since so many others are doing it so much better than I possibly could.

Until today when this little gem came floating through my RSS feed courtesy of Reuters.

Theme park highlights challenges facing China’s dwarfs

Yes, I had to read that hed several times before I could fully appreciate it AND stop giggling. I’ve been struck dumb by this story.

(Reuters Life!) – Sitting in a valley in southwest China sits an unlikely and controversial theme park — the Little People’s Kingdom of dwarfs.

Here, dwarfs perform in fairytale costumes for tourists, drawing both curious crowds and a fair share of criticism.

The image knocking around in my noggin is of a bunch of little people participating in a Chinese Ren Faire but without the obnoxiousness of the King Dick’s Faire that’s so popular in the Midwest. Knowing China, it’s probably forced humiliation.

“For many of the employees, the park is a rare opportunity to find work, and, as unlikely as it seems for men and women doing daily spoof performances of Swan Lake in tutus, respect.

The park, near Kunming city in Yunnan province, employs 108 dwarfs from across the country, who twice daily gather on an artificial hillside to dance and sing for tourists.

As well as a host of dwarf guardian angels, the fantasy world has a king, an army, a health department and even its own foreign ministry, and all must pretend to live in a miniature hilltop village of crooked little houses.

For 80 yuan ($11.72) — not a small sum in China — tourists can watch skits, sentimental group dances and acrobatics some may view as more than a little reminiscent of medieval freak shows now deemed politically incorrect in many parts of the world.

The show’s centerpiece, a farcical rendition of Swan Lake, sees performers both male and female dressed in pink tutus and pretending to be little swans.”

Note to self: Bring back the freak shows. Just make it happen.

“When I did it for the very first time, I felt a bit embarrassed. I had never worn a skirt like that before,” said 21-year-old Chen Ruan, who left his native Hunan province to join the park when it opened last July.

“But later, once I got used to it, performing it felt very natural,” he added.

Chen Ming, a flamboyant Sichuanese businessman who single-handedly conceived and funded the park, made his fortune manufacturing electronics and investing in property, but said he had always wanted to do good for society.

And Chen now has bigger plans for his little kingdom.”

Chen always wanted to do good for society? By inventing a Chinese midget Ren Faire? I’d hate to be around him when the laughter and great ideas stop.

“Having already invested around 100 million yuan in the site, which nestles among nine forested peaks, he is looking for a further 700 million to expand it.

While the venture is yet to make a profit, Chen hopes the number of performers employed will grow to around 1,000 within a few years. One day, Chen beams, the navy will have its own reservoir, the infantry a railroad, the air force a cable car, and the foreign ministry employees will serve as tour guides.

“I’m very happy with it,” he told Reuters. “What I need now is for some people, especially Europeans and Americans, to understand us. Because some people don’t get it, they think we are using the dwarfs.

“But what we are actually doing is giving them a platform to live, giving them worth and the ability to work freely, to exist freely,” he added.”

Nice that he’s looking to hire folks since China’s economy is slipping a titch. However, if China wants to keep a theme park like this going, it may want to rethink it’s one child policy and start encouraging its citizens to have more secksy time.

As with everything else — even in China — this wee peeps fun time park ain’t above criticism.

“Not everyone is convinced. Disabled rights groups and members of China’s increasingly vocal online community have suggested the park may only serve to increase stigma.

“We need to go and tell him how to respect disabled people’s rights, how to help disabled people to develop in their own lives, and not to exploit people’s curiosity for commercial success,” said Xie Yan, director of Beijing’s One Plus One Cultural Exchange Center, an NGO which advocates more equality for China’s disabled.

The situation for China’s estimated 83 million people with a disability has improved in recent years, with enrolment figures for schools and universities increasing dramatically. Beijing’s hosting of the Paralympics in 2008 also focused government and public attention on the rights of China’s disabled.”

Xie Yan is probably in prison after that comment.

“Li Caixia said it had been near impossible to find well-paid work after graduating from high school, and was tempted to the park by the prospect of up to 2,000 yuan a month, double what she might get working anywhere else.

“As soon as employers see us, they know they definitely wouldn’t want a small person like us. They have to pay the same salary, so they all want to find someone more normal,” she said. “But here, staff aren’t prejudiced like the people outside.”

Pay the same salary? I gotta sit with that statement for a bit. Are Chinese employers onto something here? If you’re big or tall, you get more money? Now that’s innovation!

“The only qualification for employees, whose ages range from 18 to 48, is to be shorter than 130 cms (51 inches) and be fundamentally self sufficient.

Living together in a dormitory designed to look like a cave, some residents say life in the park is a welcome opportunity to be around others with similar experiences.

Facilities from sinks to light switches are installed for people with a short stature in mind, offering greater independence for people many of whom were once heavily reliant on parents or charitable institutions.

Kunming primary school teacher Deng Li, whose students were among hundreds enjoying the show on a recent weekday morning, said it was a positive experience for both sides.

“You can see the children have accepted them,” she said. “I think this will be of great help to the children as they grow up and come into contact with people like them.”

Perhaps it is true — Children are the future.