« July 21, 2013 - July 27, 2013 | Main | August 4, 2013 - August 10, 2013 »

August 2, 2013

omni reboot

This is obviously good news:
The best news, however, isn't about the past, but about next week. Omni Reboot is a new publication, edited by Claire L. Evans, a writer and artist. It goes live next week. Frommer says they have hired writers and artists to bring what he calls the "Omni vibe" to 2013, and they want fresh blood, not just established practitioners. To all happy mutants, Frommer says, come aboard. "Those visionary writers who believe in that Omni vibe, they should reach out to me."

It's the result of the efforts of financier Jeremy Frommer, a former Wall Streeter currently involved in restaurant and film ventures.  Frommer has been trying to acquire as much of Omni as he could, piece by piece, which is a bit daunting considering that much of what Omni was consisted of works published under first North American serial contracts, or dispersed by Bob Guccione's bankruptcy.

My interest in Omni is a matter of public record.  I'm looking forward to this one.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:13 AM

August 1, 2013

station id

My name is Brent Cox.  I've been doing some version of "blogging" since before the word was coined, I think 1998 I started?  Freelance writing — the links are in the upper right hand corner, along with the social media links.  (I'm on Facebook too, of course, but that's easy to find.)

I could give you a couple hundred words of anguish over Why Still Have A Blog? but I'll save both our time and just say that owning the means of ones production is never less than a luxury, and potentially something bigger.  Now if I could shake off the information overload and focus.

I'm located in New York, I don't like leaving Brooklyn (though Brooklyn is trying very hard to convince me otherwise), and I have a few gray hairs.  I just experienced my first CSA quandary, as they gave us a whole pound of jalapenos.  What does one do with a whole pound of jalapenos?  I'm about to find out.

Thank you for your continued support.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:52 AM

July 31, 2013

the awl asked us to be nice about the food truck so there's that

This is just a brief note that I am impelled to share because apparently FOOD TRUCKS IN THE NEWS is my new obsession.  One of the Awl summer interns (yes, there is such a thing), Brendan O'Connor, was working part-time at a food truck and tweeted about a certain customer not tipping.  The customer complained to the owner, and so the owner fired O'Connor.

So then O'Connor wrote about it.  And then the entire Internet completely lost its shit, some suggesting boycottish action against the food truck and customer (in which I may or may not have complicit), and some piling on O'Connor for his unmitigated gall and/or Millennial entitlement.

I think it's a fabulously interesting topic.  No, not tipping and firing, but the amplification of the small news events that comprise each of our daily lives.  How many times a day does someone get fired from a probably-shitty job for doing something knuckle-headed?  Impossible to count, right?

But how many times does the person getting fired have the brass to write about it?  And not just some allcaps screed calling the employer some fashion of jerk, but actually reporting it out, putting the facts out there, you decide.

It's not about all of us implicitly knowing how the "sausage" is made.  It's about stopping to watch how the sausage is made every once in a while.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:20 AM

July 30, 2013

amazon "fulfillment"

As much as I do go on about Walmart and their employment practices and their utter wrongness for society in general, it's important to keep in mind that they are not alone.  Hamilton Nolan got a letter from an employee of an Amazon "fulfillment center" (i.e., warehouse), and what employment there lacks in the venal capriciousness of the Walmart Habitrail, it more than makes up for it in nameless, soul-sucking monotony:
I have to touch on the size of this place too. [...] like bigger than 12 city blocks. Last night when I drove to work it took me about 15 min - when you arrive there is a line of cars to get in. Waiting in that line to get to a parking space took 15 min the same time as my commute! There's no way for me to fully describe the size of this place. There are over 7 miles of conveyor belts. The two ends of the warehouse is where product is stored. Think of a library with very small isles. Now imagine over 250 isles deep. Now imagine over 13 long isles across. Now imagine three floors of that. And finally imagine that double since there are two of these "libraries" - one on each side of the building.

Your break is 15 min twice a day and 30 min lunch. But if you are in the wrong place of the warehouse you could easily walk a half mile to a mile to get to break and that time supposedly counts. So sometimes you get to your break sit down for 5 min and start your fucking hike again...

Nolan's been strong on the big box employee abuse beat, also publishing a good couple weeks of letters from Walmart employees, but it would be criminal of me not to also mention the very excellent Mother Jones feature from a year and change back written by Mac McClelland entitled "I Was A Warehouse Wage Slave," in which the McClelland goes undercover and works at a fulfillment warehouse for a period of time.  It is a searingly good read.

I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to using Amazon.  We got an Amazon Prime membership for Christmas and aren't shy about using it.  But it's sobering that, by supporting Amazon, I'm not just driving the last nail in mom-and-pop retailing, I'm also creating a nightmare employment scenario that makes "Metropolitan" look like "Beach Blanket Bingo."

Posted by mrbrent at 10:06 AM

July 29, 2013

the current state of block the vote

Yes, this is a nice little piece on why the Congress Republicans want nothing to do with updating the Voting Rights Act, buried lede and all:
A more cynical reason is Republicans recognize that without Section 4, their state and local colleagues have greater flexibility to enact laws that make it harder for minority groups like blacks and Hispanics, who disproportionately support Democrats, to vote. Such efforts to expand voter ID laws are already underway in Texas and North Carolina. It also gives states more flexibility to gerrymander maps in a way that alienate minorities.

That is of course the case, but also, the raw meat base would probably take Republican acting to protecting the "takers" from righteous Americans the wrong way, so even the Salvaged Remnant of the GOP not bent on only obtaining power for power's sake, they are not so incentivized to get under the hood, as it were.

But it is not all Goodbye Cruel World, as is implied by the article — as is noted (briefly) in the piece, on Friday the Department of Justice filed suit to re-subject the State of Texas to pre-clearance, under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act still standing after Shelby v. Holder.  You know, it's still a court fight ahead, but the accelerated efforts of states formerly subject to pre-clearance to Block The Vote are not going unchallenged.

Not to mention that the unholy glee with which Texas, Virginia, North Carolina et al. are trying to stop huge swaths of people from voting is perhaps the greatest argument that the SCOTUS decision was wrong-headed if not a deliberate attempt to refight the Civil Rights wars.  (And a certain misstep for a party trying so desperately to woo minorities.)

So sure, I'm glum because of the current state of affairs, but I look forward to the DoJ's suit, and the clownishness with which the GOP pursues the disenfranchisement of a sizable portion of voters.

In other news, apparently I missed the testimony of Hans Von Spakovsky last week, who really is the poster boy for this Republican mustache-twirling.  Dammit.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:05 AM