Angry Mobs For Rent – By Hans Kracauer

Crowds on Demand, a Beverly Hills firm that’s an outspoken player in the business of hiring protesters, boasts on its website that it provides its clients with “protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and  inventive PR stunts  … We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas.”

Los Angeles Times – October 21, 2018


A lavishly appointed office.  A huge overhead banner reads: “ANGRY MOBS FOR RENT”.  A smartly dressed executive is seated at a desk. He is the company recruiter.  A sloppily turned out guy in a T-shirt and jeans sits across from him.  He is a job seeker.

RECRUITER –  Welcome to “ANGRY MOBS FOR RENT”.  As head of Human Resources, I welcome your interest in joining our company.

JOB SEEKER – Sure, sure.   But first I have a question.  Can you let me know what the working hours are?  I find I don’t get angry after dinner.

RECRUITER –  Sorry – in this business you have to be ready to get angry around the clock.  If we wind up working together, let me  make a suggestion.  Don’t have dinner.  Or have your dinner at lunch.

JOB SEEKER – Just how angry do I have to get?

RECRUITER – It depends on what — or who — you’re angry about. Your supervisor will let you know.  Generally, companies will require a higher level of anger than politicians running for office. Of course, the highest level of anger is reserved for proposed legislation. The very thought of it should make you look like a crazed dog ready to rip someone’s face off.   Now let’s get down to your qualifications.  May I see your resume?

JOB SEEKER –  No.

RECRUITER – Why not?

JOB SEEKER –  It would be nothing but a list of jails I’ve been in.  I doubt any of those jails would give me a recommendation.

RECRUITER –  Excellent.  The last thing we would want in our employees is a distinguished employment history.  Now what’s your marital status?

JOB SEEKER – I’m a bigamist.

RECRUITER – What?  You have two wives?

JOB SEEKER – Three.   I was about to marry a fourth when I discovered she was a bigamist too.  Had to call off the wedding. (sternly) I won’t tolerate dishonesty in a woman.

RECRUITER –  Let’s continue.   Where did you go to school?

JOB SEEKER –  I have a degree from Harvard.

RECRUITER – Really?  I never would have suspected you studied at Harvard.

JOB SEEKER – Who said I studied  at Harvard?  I just went to Harvard.

RECRUITER –  You were sight-seeing?

JOB SEEKER –  Just looking for a way to kill the afternoon.  Anyway, it happened to be Graduation Day. So I mugged an honors grad and stole his degree.

RECRUITER – You stole the degree of an honors grad?  Hey, I understand.  You needed validation.  It was just your strategy of satisfying your thirst for knowledge.

JOB SEEKER – You hit the nail on the head. Anyway I deleted his name and substituted my name.  Then I framed that degree and it’s hanging on my wall today.

RECRUITER –  Wow!  I think congratulations are in order.  You boosted your self-image while at the same time demonstrating a keen whimsical taste in interior decoration.

JOB SEEKER –  Fraud is a gift that keeps on giving.

RECRUITER – Now we come to the last part of this interview.  Do you have any problem screaming, spitting  or waving a placard?

JOB SEEKER – You kidding?   Those are some of my favorite things.

RECRUITER  –  Are you at all picky about who – or what — you’re ranting against?

JOB SEEKER – Absolutely not.  I never feel more alive than when I’m ranting at the top of my lungs. The cause?  Who cares!  There’s nothing healthier than giving your lungs a good workout.

RECRUITER – (shaking the job seeker’s hand) Thank you very much.  You may go.  My board will review your qualifications and inform you of our decision.

JOB SEEKER – (Jumping up and bellowing) YOU LOUSY SON OF  BITCH!  I’M CLEARLY THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB!  AND YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO STALL ME WITH YOUR “MEETNG YOUR BOARD AND REVIEWING MY QUALIFICATIONS” BULLSHIT!

RECRUITER-  (Smiling)  Well done!  You just passed the last test.  The slightest provocation and you fly spectacularly off the handle.  You’re in.  Report here at nine tomorrow morning.

 

Hans Kracauer – 6.26.2019

Hans is a WGA writer living in Los Angeles.   His screenplay and television web site is:  WWW.MANICMOONBEAMS.COM.

 

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11 Things To Do At Work That Still Kinda Look Like Work

Work

It’s Friday. Your boss is working from home and you don’t have any deadlines until next month. So… you’re at work, but you have no work. How do you kill all that time at the office while still looking like are doing things so you can justify getting paid for the day? Here’s a few tips!


1) Google Earth – This digital mapping program is a great resource for GIS analysis, directions for business travel, historical overlays, and exploring places you’ll go on vacation then Florida then beaches then other beaches then Hawaii then volcanoes then Pompeii then use Streetview to see if there are still some dead volcano people there.

2) Skype for Business – Use this conferencing tool to ping your coworkers for quick answers or hold remote meetings company-wide. It’s also useful for massive amounts of office gossip, or running an all-day trivia contest with the entire floor. Just be sure not to type anything that contains a less-than symbol next to the number 3, or you’ll accidentally send your boss a heart emoji (and he might not be ready for that yet).

3) Go to the Bathroom – And just sit for a while.

4) Check Stuff Out Guy – Have a walk to the copy room and check stuff out. Pick up a stapler. Neat. Ok, now put that down, then open a cabinet. Everything in there checks out. Ok, have a look at the print cue. Wow, Ian is printing 43 pages, I bet he’s going to do some reading soon. What’s that black thing on the counter? Might as well see if you can spin it like a top. Alright, job well done. Back to the ol’ workdesk.

5) Wikipedia Quest – Log on to Wikipedia to get some quick info on a topic so you can speak to it with the client, but then get lost in the abandoned salt mine that is the “random article” button. Now that you’re reading about Miejska Wieś, the village in Poland and its history in Eastern Prussia, try to get back to the article you started on by clicking only the hyperlinks within each article. (Hint: Prussia > German Unification > Napoleonic Wars. I’m sure you can find your way back to accountant stuff from there)

6) Go to the Kitchenette – And just stand for a while.

7) Excel your Life – Microsoft Excel is the standard for organizing data sheets and sorting information in a clean and efficient way. It’s also the standard for lazy attempts to organize your own life, like tracking your weight loss, creating a personal budget you won’t stick to, or building your own roulette program so you can always win at gambling (which you can!).

8) Giggle at LinkedIn – If you work in HR, you no doubt use LinkedIn on a regular basis to find qualified candidates, but don’t hesitate to also click random profiles and snicker at their pictures and qualifications. This guy added “swords” as a skill, and is wearing a bow tie. (Pro tip: look for other jobs).

9) Do You Have Any Work Voicemails? – No.

10) Set your Fantasy Teams – Most of the halfway-decent fantasy sites like ESPN and CBS are set up with plenty of office-y looking material. Bar graphs, pie charts, expert statistical analysis, and a cash-flow of how your kicker performs over a 10-year holding period. Why if they didn’t know any better, the people walking past your desk might say you’re hard at work, what with all those numbers on your screen!

11) Create a Comedy Satire Website


So there it is, 11 things you can do at work that aren’t work but still kinda look like work. Now get out there and waste your day! And if anybody from Mobilitie is reading this… I’m creating a tracker.

Jack Ritchey – 11.12.2018

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My Algorithms Can Beat Up Your Algorithms – By Hans Kracauer

Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters.  Algorithms analyze footage from security cameras and alert staff about potential thieves. They look for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.

Shoplifting cost the global retail industry billions of dollars in lost sales in 2017. Today, retailers are beginning to invest heavily in this new technology.

Los Angeles Times – March 6, 2019  


WE’RE IN A DEPARTMENT STORE.  A MAN (LARRY) IS IN THE MEN’S FASHION SECTION. HE IS RIFLING THROUGH A LARGE SELECTION OF SOCKS.  A STOCKY LITTLE ROBOT WADDLES UP TO HIM. HIS NAME IS INSPECTOR 77.  TINY FLASHING LIGHTS ADORN HIS SILVERY BODY. RIGHT BEHIND HIM ARE TWO UNIFORMED STANDARD-SIZED THUGS.

  

INSPECTOR 77 – Can I help you, sir?   

LARRY – I don’t see how.  Ever since I’ve been an adult, I’ve been able to choose what socks to wear all by myself.

INSPECTOR 77 – Really?  Is that why you’ve picked up and thrown down 29 different pairs of socks over the last ten minutes?  

LARRY – What are you?   A super-advanced breed of snoop?    How did you know that?

INSPECTOR 77 – My algorithms told me.

LARRY – Your algorithms?   I don’t know what algorithms are but your algorithms are liars.  I only picked up 26 pairs of socks.

INSPECTOR 77 –  My algorithms always tell the unvarnished truth.  You must have picked up the same socks multiple times.

LARRY – This is ridiculous. Why are my shopping habits any of your business?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  Permit me to introduce myself.  I am Inspector 77. My job is to identify possible shoplifters.

LARRY – You’re kidding! You mean you seriously suspected me of plotting to swipe your precious socks?  (mockingly)  Oh no!  My evil plans have been foiled.    Curses! I’ve been ambushed by a mind-reader from the future!

INSPECTOR 77 – It so happens I’m imbued with A. I. – Artificial Intelligence.

LARRY –  It so happens you’re imbued with C. S. – Congenital Stupidity.

INSPECTOR 77 –  Did you know that shop-lifting costs retailers billions of dollars every year? Well, I’m the new weapon against it.  My artificial intelligence software works with our security cameras and we scan footage of every person in the store.

LARRY – What put me into your cross-hairs?

INSPECTOR 77 – My suspicions were aroused when you picked up and kept stretching every single pair of socks on the display table.

LARRY – It’s called testing the merchandise.   

INSPECTOR 77 –  It’s more like committing assault and battery on the merchandise.

LARRY – What are you going to do with me now?

INSPECTOR 77 – Well, you didn’t steal anything.  But by my calculations you could have been moments away from doing just that.  So you’ll have to join that line.

(Inspector 77 points to his right.  Standing a short distance away is a long line of outraged shoppers.  Each is handcuffed and shackled. The two thugs start to similarly handcuff and shackle Larry.)

LARRY – (Shouting) You deranged piece of scrap metal!   You’re arresting me?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  I’m not arresting you.  I’m detaining you. Along with all those others.  As soon as the police come, they’ll haul the bunch of you to the station. There they’ll question you. If your answers are satisfactory, they’ll release you.  And hand you a brochure on how to behave and not behave when you’re shopping.

(Suddenly a man — obviously in a towering rage — walks up to Inspector 77.  This is Mr. Farnsworth, the president of the department store.)

FARNSWORTH – Inspector 77!  (Pointing to the long line of handcuffed and shackled shoppers.)  Have you taken leave of your senses?  (Going nose to nose with him) Of course I’m assuming you even possess any senses that you can take your leave from!

INSPECTOR 77 –  I’m only doing my job, Mr. Farnsworth. Each shopper there has behaved in a manner I am programmed to recognize as suspicious.  I am only detaining them until the police arrive.

FARNSWORTH –  You digital asshole!  Look in front of you!  You’ve arrested almost half the customers in this department store!

INSPECTOR 77 – Why does everyone use the word “arrest?”  I’m only holding them for questioning.

FARNSWORTH – (Grabbing Inspector 77 and shaking him) Moron!  You’ve deprived all these people of their freedom. Particularly their freedom  to wander up and down the aisles and purchase my merchandise.  Do you know what they’ll do when they’re released? (Almost apoplectic) They’ll sue me! They’ll sue the store! The media will crucify us 24 hours a day!  Lawsuits will fly from coast to coast like there’s no tomorrow. (Shaking Inspector 77’s body again) Nobody will rest until we’re completely out of business.

INSPECTOR 77 (to the two uniformed thugs) – Take him away!

FARNSWORTH – WHAT?   You’re taking me — your employer — into custody?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  Sorry, Mr. Farnsworth.  But my algorithms tell me that your physical behavior exhibits all the signs that require me to forcibly apprehend you.

(Suddenly another robot — twice as tall as Inspector 77 — appears.  He too has a sleek, silvery body with tiny flashing lights all over his body. This is Inspector 78.  He moves directly in front of Inspector 77.)

INSPECTOR 77 – (astonished) Who are you?

INSPECTOR 78 –  I am Inspector 78.  I have bad news for you.  Headquarters has taken note of your deficiencies and developed a better, more advanced model of you.  I am that model.

Inspector 77 – You mean —-

Inspector 78 – That’s right.  You’re now defunct. Headquarters wants you to report back immediately. (To the two thugs)  Go and remove everyone’s handcuffs and shackles. (the two thugs start doing that.)

INSPECTOR 77 –  Then I guess —

INSPECTOR 78 –  Correct. You can’t stop the relentless forward thrust of progress.  Be it a newer version of a car, a computer or a robot. (addressing the entire assemblage)  My company’s apologies to all of you.  If you wish to file a lawsuit … our lawyers will be happy to meet with your lawyers and reach a just compensation.

INSPECTOR 77 (He moves off slightly and starts singing.  The song is from “The Sound Of Music”. Its title?   “ So Long, Farewell”. He accompanies himself by dancing the same steps as the Von Trapp children in the movie.)

So long, Farewell, Aufwiedersehn, Goodbye

(As he dances, he sings the entire song before he turns and disappears.)

 

Hans Kracauer – 5.13.2019

Hans is a WGA writer living in Los Angeles.   His screenplay and television web site is:  WWW.MANICMOONBEAMS.COM.

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Hi, I’m Calling About Your Student Loan Payments, You Fucking Deadbeat Loser

Nervous guy

Is this Jack? Hi Jack, my name is Marianne, I’m calling from Great Lakes Student Loan Services and totally legitimate carpet cleaning business. How are you today? I don’t actually fucking care how you are, idiot. You owe us your life, and I am going to guilt you into submission like a wobbly puppy during this strangely polite five-minute phone call, and it’s going to be so damn sweet I’m going to serve it for dessert. I can actually hear in your trembling breath that your stomach has just dropped, is that correct? Great! Do you have five minutes to talk, you broke-down deadbeat loser? Great!

Before we continue, I have to let you know that this call is being recorded for quality assurance.

So, dummy. I’m looking at your account, and it appears you currently have a past-due amount on your tri-weekly billing statement of one-hundred twenty-two thousand dollars and sixty-three cents. Yeesh, that’s one horse-tit amount of money, right? You’ll never have that amount of money at once in your entire useless life. And yet ironically it’s exactly what we gave you, and now you owe it back to us several times over. You must feel like a right wasted time of a person. Is that correct? Wonderful! Can you please verify your address for me?

Now, in order for you to avoid interest on this account, I need to remind you that this is a federal law school loan, meant to be used by law school students for law school. Did you actually attend law school? That’s interesting, because if you had, you would obviously be able to pay this absurd amount of money on a regular basis, because all lawyers are rich guys who wear suits and get jobs immediately in big fancy law firms and never pay rent and drive around in Land Rovers. I know this for a fact because I watch the USA Network. Do you currently own a Land Rover? Hmm. And do you get the USA Network? I see. I’ll make a note of that in your account.

Does your work phone number still end in 5284? I see, so you DO have a job.

It is very important to address your past-due amount. Are able to pay that today? No? That seems crazy to us, because money falls out of the sky and everybody wins the lottery at least twice a year. And since you are currently working in your dream job with a wife who has no demands and you didn’t have to pay for a wedding, we think it’s a very reasonable amount. In fact, I just recently blew my nose and a 10 karat gold bar fell out of my face, as we assume is the case with every person in the world. Have you tried blowing your nose recently? Uh huh. Has your wife tried blowing her nose, or any other dependents?

I see, and I fully understand where you are coming from you lying, irresponsible child. Well, why don’t we talk about your options.

First there’s an income-based repayment program. In this program, we will deduct literally eighty-nine percent from your already sad paycheck. This will be in place until your loan is sufficiently paid off (never), no matter how much money you ever make in your entire wasted “career”. The benefit of this program is that – just kidding it’s awful. All your money is now our money. You made this bed, guy. Now you sleep in it. How does that sound to you?

Well, your other option is for me to put a temporary forbearance on your account. This means you can sleep tonight, and we won’t be coming to break your wrist and kill your cat today, but if you don’t make any changes to your account very soon you will have nothing left to pet with your limp, misshapen arms. This is many customers’ preferred option. Is that ok?

Thank you, that’s wonderful news! I’ll go ahead and make those changes for you, you hapless bum!

For your convenience, and to act as a gloomy horror forever dangling over your entire world, I am going to send a transcript of our conversation to your email. With your permission, I will also be sharing this conversation with your former law school professors and your parents, as well as having it played aloud at your funeral while we pass around a collection plate to all your family and friends asking them to make up for your failing, you pathetic loss of a person. Can I just confirm your email real quick?

Terrific. Is there anything else we can help you with today? Thank you so much for your business Jack. We genuinely enjoy it. Genuinely. Have a wonderful day!

 

Jack Ritchey – 4/10/2019

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Human Basics 1 – How To Elevator

This is the first of a running series on how to be a human. Today’s installment – how to operate an elevator properly and convincingly. Go be human.


 

Elevator-Pitch-1

So you got a job in a building that requires you to ride an elevator every day. Good for you! I bet you keep some groceries in a shared kitchenette and took a few pics of that view for your Instagram. But don’t get all high and mighty (pun intended). If you’re going to fit in with the rest of the humans, you need to learn the do’s and the hey-don’t-do’s of riding an elevator. Let’s start with the easy stuff.

Elevator? I Hardly Know ‘Er! – The elevator is a human carrier. Like a tiny room that moves you to different “floors” of the building. Sure, you can use the stairs like a freaking Libertarian, but most people prefer the luxury and care-free lifestyle that comes with automatic heightening. Most tall buildings have at least one elevator. Ideally there is one for every employee working on the property, but this is very rare and usually only found in lighthouses, so be prepared to share. As of 2018 there are only up-down elevators. They don’t go side-to-side or large-to-tiny.

Call That Boy – Most Elevators have a call button to let the giant robot that controls the building know you want to be raised. It might look like an upward arrow or just a button that lights up when you touch it. Be excited when it lights up, and say something nice. It’s doing this for you, for Christ sake. The least you can do is notice. If the call button is already lit up, you don’t have to push it again. The elevator is already on the way and you contribute nothing by pushing it again. In fact, if you see somebody else do this, give them a firm solid slap across the jowls like Moe.

Where To Stand – When the double-doors open, that’s your sign that the elevator has arrived. Let people off the elevator because humans are three-dimensional being who occupy space. Step on in, and move to the rear of the car, away from the door. This will let other people onto the elevator who also want to go to high places. Most people turn around and face the door they came in while riding the elevator, but if you want to create a very uncomfortable staring contest, the option is there. Go ahead and pick the weakest stranger and stare at him dead in his stupid face.

Where To Go – You should probably know this before you get on, but you need to have an idea of which floor is your destination. Whether it’s 18 (yay!) or 25 (boo!), locate the number associated with your goal on the panel and push the button. Again, this button will light up, so be ready to compliment the button on a job well done. There a lot of other buttons in this human container. Feel free to push any of them to just see what they do. Your elevator buddies will love you. The door close button does not work.

Movement – When the shared coffin begins to ascend, hold the railing with a white-knuckle grip as you dangle for your life inside a hollow cacophony of doom, taunting the devil through the hubris of man with nothing beneath you but the lingering pulse of inevitability. If you’re lucky, gravity won’t obviously overcome and snap the few flimsy cables and pull you down hundreds of feet into the blue flame of death, screaming the deepest breath from your frozen lungs while strangers watch the courage ripped from your hopeless soul in empty, overpowering fear. Ashes to ashes, truly alone. The final equalizer.

You’re Here! – You made it! Try not to be too surprised when the doors open and things are different than they were when they closed. It’s supposed to be! You’re in a whole other world now. Depending on what button you pushed, you’ve been lifted or lowered to a different “floor”. Go ahead and step off the elevator. Don’t bother “holding the door” for other people to get off first because you’re all going to the same place and the door isn’t actually closing anyway so just get the hell out of the way. In fact, if somebody else tries to do this, call them an idiot and poke them in both eyes at the same time like Moe.

And there you go! You’ve successfully completed elevators, Human Basics 1. Tune in next week (or later) for more helpful basics on how to be a human!

Jack Ritchey – 12.4.2018

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No Particular Reason – Episode 7

NoParticularReason_Logo

In this episode we look into NASA’s new hiring policy and investigate the causes behind Boeing’s MAX 8 plane crashes. Real lighthearted stuff.

(Not affiliated with National Public Radio in any way. Expect, ya know, to make fun of it.)

Subscribe on iTunes!

Jack Ritchey & Ryan Doris – 3.15.2019

Contributors: Matthew Tucker

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Dunham-ing Down with Lena-ease

Take your white privilege out for a walk. Let it do its business anywhere it wants.

Shake off the patriarchy. Then relax on your own whitewashed Tiny Furniture. Post selfies. For sure.

Say to yourself every day. I’m not fat. I’m thin, for, like Detroit.

Invite Gwyneth over for a sleepover. Make matching gold vagina sculptures. Then screw yourselves. Have jade eggs in the morning.

Remember, I’m rubber, you’re glue. My apologies bounce off me, so not me, it’s you.

Program your internalized dominant male agenda so you can throw pity parties for your ‘delusional girl’ persona.

Redecorate that luminal gray space between admission and vindication. Experiment with varying shades of beige, ivory, and ecru.

Remember, it takes a village to enable a Lena.

Turn on the Lena Dunham Apology Generator. Trend on Twitter.

Rinse, recycle, repeat.

 

Becky Garrison – 3.6.2019

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