Vices we love: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yes! My niche at last!

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Visitor's Time May 31 2007 8:58:12 pm
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Talk about sending mixed messages

Monday, May 28, 2007

Not minority enough part II: The hunt for green fiscal '08

The school rejected my Ph.D. application. Speaking of rejection, I have a pile of thanks/no thanks letters from the U.S. Obtaining said letter is an accomplishment in itself since most simply ignore you. (I have mentioned before that Americans, descendants of Puritan Brits, are utterly incapable of human interaction unless they want something.)

With that in mind, and in a nod to an acquaintance who thinks that I should give seminars in sociology classes on the immigrant experience (thoughts?), allow moi to show you how you too can score a rejection letter.

Step one is to find a job ad. This is easy, especially online. Once you found one that's not an obvious scam, send them a cover letter and a CV. These documents will not be read, so have some fun. One of my old cover letters was something like this:

"Although my resume is geared towards education (I have only recently returned from China, where I earned my CELTA certification), I would like to introduce other pertinent aspects of my history and abilities to you.

Prior to moving to South Korea and China, I taught civil and criminal law, as well as the New York rules of Evidence at the No Standards Except Financial Community College, which is a part of the City University of New York. This was a temporary non-tenured position which I was qualified for on the basis of my extensive legal field work.

I am certified as a paralegal through the City University of New York and have worked in several large international firms, usually on a freelance basis. Some of these firms included Offices Damned Near Everywhere ( and Me Wantee. ( I also worked, prior to 9/11, with the World Trade Center based firm of Greed Is Good ( At these firms I was often responsible for conducting legal research, cite checking, composing correspondance, reviewing depositions and discovery materials, as well as reviewing and filing legal documents with different courts. I also worked for several government officials, again on a free-lance basis, assisting with their campaigns, helping with constituent concerns, researching issues for them and helping to run individual campaigns or comittees. These officials included Assemblyman Greedy McFee ( ), Tennessee Assembly Bigwig Guns'n'Ammo ( ), and, after graduating from the University of Memphis and moving to New York, New York Assemblyman Not Yet Indicted ( ) and City Councilwoman Can't Find Work So I'm Running for Office ( I worked on all aspects of these campaigns as well as Dollar Bill 2000, including fundraising. I also have strong communication skills, fitting my background as an educator.

With regards to my education, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1999 at the University of Memphis ( ) in International Relations and later completed a Paralegal Studies program at Brooklyn College, part of the umbrella system of the City University of New York ( where I would later be teaching. I also earned a CELTA certification from Oxford at their Beijing branch.

Currently, I am not only teaching but doing considerable technical writing and editing work as well. My client list is confidential, but work samples are available if you would like to see them. Due to my vast experience in the law and the communication skills I possess, I believe I would be a valuable addition to your team. Please note that I look for, above all else, honesty and integrity in an business relationship. I am looking for a permanent, full-time position and can relocate and start immediately. You can reach me at 1-800-BIG-MONEY

I have attached a sample of my writing-unedited- which I produced for the Seoul Board of Education with the intent of exposing English-fluent Korean students to international events and locations. While not a finished or polished document, it does show proof of writing/communications ability. I have spent seven years as a freelance writer, working for such clients as Woori Bank of Seoul and In all these positions, meeting deadlines was essential.

I hope to qualify for and prove my abilities to your organization."

Almost immediately, you receive a form letter- something like...

"Dear Applicant,

Thanks for your application to be our next useless and disposable personnel. We have added your application to our database where it will never see the light of day. FOAD.


Now you wait. You do not ask for updates and heaven forfend, do not call- after all, these are signs that you want something, which means they have to do something and what they will do is to drop your cv in the trash at the first sign of such uppityness.

The months go by as the person you wrote to valiantly ignores your letter.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, you will receive a form that goes like this:

"Dear Applicant,

We just recently used your CV as wallpaper. Before we start throwing darts at it, please help us find the appropriate slurs for this competition. Please check a box for your ethnicity below:

___ Transparent ___ Opaque ___ Tony Danza
___ Translucent ___ Casper ___ Jerry Seinfeld
___ George Lopez ___ One of the Jeffersons (definitely not George. Don't be afraid)

You do not have to check these boxes but if you decline to do so, you'll be considered too individualistic for employment. On the off-chance that none of these suit you, check the box(es) closest to your ethnic makeup."

I usually check opaque since I assume they want to know the color of my soul. Satisfied, I email this missive and wait once more.

About six months after applying, I get a form letter like this:

"Dear Applicant,

Did you think we read your CV? You did? Ha ha!

Annie Bosses' Niece"

And the process starts anew. Anyone know of a job where I can spend the day applying for jobs? Maybe we can have a seminar about it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I shall resist the temptation to snark

Yes, I shall resist the temptation to make snarky comments.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Calling all South Carolina bloggers

What say yea? Clemson, Greenville, Orangeburg? What are these places? Who lives there? What they do? And can I hitchike or will I need a car? Remember, if I need a car, you'll need armor, so answer carefully. Details, tips, threats and donations all welcome. (Unless, this being EFL, I wind up in Port Moresby instead of the Port of Charleston. And maybe even then.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not minority enough darn it

After 400 years too disgusting to describe, the U.S. decided to atone by treating minorities, Blacks in particular, as too stupid to succeed on the merits. Hence the newfangled idea of "minority scholarships". The sticky point of course is who counts as a minority. I knew a kid whose parents were from Puerto Rico so he applied to the U of Miami as a minority since he was a non-Cuban Hispanic. And do Mexicans count? Is the War of 1812 worse than the 200 years before it? What if I'm from Paraguay, do I count as a minority? And Asians? Everybody likes Asians. Even Reagan liked them. Well, I figured that if that's how the game is played, I'd be the best minority out there, so I pulled the Heeb card. After all, Jews are 2% of the population, a statistical minority. Sadly though, that doesn't count. This confuses me to no end. If I move to Iran will I get a minority scholarship? I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Now this is my kind of shul

Up the block from my grandma's apartment building is the incognito shul. Of course, being a shul, it's still about the nicest looking building on the block. Some people just can't help themselves. Anyhoo, I was fairly worn-out with respect to shuls because they tend to come in two flavors- decrepit ones with old men desperate for fresh recruits (examples include West London and most anywhere else in Europe) and ludicrously huge and affluent ones where the convo centers on who gave the most moolah to the renovation fund and where my perpetually hard-up self was as welcome as camel spit. But this place breaks new ground. Neither on the verge of bankruptcy nor filled with paper millionaires, they gather in European fashion to discuss myriad non shul related things and wrap up services in forty minutes. Head covering is optional. Pork chops may be purchased on premises.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


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