So Radovan Karadžić finally got chased down by the law. I forgo commentary on Karadžić and his crimes but would care to draw your attention to the alias he’s been living under: Dr. Dragan David Dabić, expert and lecturer in Human Quantum Energy. Also, he appears to have hired Jerry Garcia’s stylist. Just goes to you show you, hippies can’t be trusted. That harmless looking old dude who lives under the boardwalk in a hemp sweater and pants selling downers to teens could well be Nikolai Yezhov. Seriously, did you actually see them dump him in the Lubyanka incinerator?
His Fiskitude the Grand Exalted Psychopomp Jas. Lileks here goes after Garrison Keillor, who inspired the immortal “TV, BE MORE FUNNY!” Simpsons gag. In the course of Lileks’s column, he notes that the Minnesota State Treasure® Keillor names as one of the many classes of people he despises as “cheese merchants.”
The Œcumenical Volgi, having sources in that part of the world, has obtained the text of the following telegram sent from Wisconsin Gov. James A. Doyle (D) to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), dated Wednesday, July 23, 2008.
Dear Gov. Pawlenty,
Cheese Merchants?! CHEESE MERCHANTS?!?! THIS MEANS WAR! The Wisconsin National Guard will be in Moorhead by Friday! IT’S ON, GOPHER B*TCHES!
The Antient & Noble Order of the Gormogons began as a secret society in Scotland in the eighteenth century, dedicated to parodying the powerful, self-important Freemasons and thoroughly enjoying themselves. In their spirit, we Latter-Day Gormogons have founded this blog to tweak any institution or person in need of comeuppance. This chastisement may take the form of social, political, and cultural criticism, but, in keeping with Gormogonical first principles, we’ll won’t take ourselves too seriously and ask that you don’t either.
Who are the Gormogons? Ghettoputer, GorTechie and the Œcumenical Volgi have been friends since their halcyon youth in the Greater D.C. Metroplex under the benevolent despotism of Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry. At that time, they received the enlightened doctrine of Gormogon founder, the secret first Emperor of China Chin-K’wa Kai-Po (秦胯戤魄) by decoding the Voynich Manuscript using an occult algorithm derived from Paracelsus’s Archidoxis of Magic and the metrical scansion of Doug E. Fresh’s “La-Di-Da-Di.”*
Events have since scattered them across the country, except for GorTechie, who is too lazy to move. Ghettoputer resides in the Stygian dimness of Upstate New York, while the Notorious ŒV resides in exile in the Scandinavian-Occupied Territories, formerly known as the Upper Midwest.
Since you asked, turn-ons include current events, the Bill of Rights, technology (except for Ghettoputer, an Evangelical Luddite), long walks on the beach, Alexander Ovechkin, pop culture, history, the Washington Redskins (excepting Daniel Snyder until he publicly renounces Xenu and the pursuit of old, overpaid veterans), the military, personal responsibility, Ghettoputer’s ’71 Dodge Swinger, and Charlize Theron.
Turn-offs include Ghettoputer’s jenkemesque dip cup, unions organized against the public, the occupations of Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and tort lawyer, o’erweening government and its authors, stupid movie remakes, politicians in the main, X-TREEEEEEM sp0rtz, like-y’know mean people, the Dallas Cowboys, literalism, crappy writing, and Matthew McConaughey.
Pax vobiscum, shalom aleichem, salâm ‘alaykum, Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, Fremde, étranger, stranger. Glücklich zu sehen, nous sommes enchantés. Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay!
*The original version, as the sample of “Ue o muite arukō” a/k/a “Sukiyaki” proved critical. Word.
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So what qualifies the Czar as an authority on job interviews? Plenty! We have interviewed for dozens of jobs, and have interviewed people for jobs probably nearly as much. And in that time, weve realized a few truths that will help anybody look smarter… at least, smarter than those without web access to this page. Lets start with that eye-opener…
Having a great-looking résumé is not as important as you might think… in most cases, it will look like crap once theyre done with it. Instead of using fancy stationery and explosive color, just put it on plain white paper with simple, clear fonts. Anything more will be illegible once its photocopied and faxed around. And surprisingly, this mistreatment happens a lot to résumés, partially because so many people need to review a résumé before the interviewing process begins, but mostly because people like to copy and fax them around because they want a good laugh at your expense.
Note that the word is spelled résumé, not resume. Resume is a verb meaning to continue. Résumé is a noun, that means I dont know a lot, but am using big words to impress you.
An address is very important on a résumé, unless its a prison address. Also, put a phone number with the address. For maximum effect, be sure its your phone number, and that the phone works. If youre somehow still employed somewhere, dont put down your current work number, especially (a) if its risky for you to get a call at work from a prospective employer, and (b) if its a 900 number.
Some people put down what their objective is, next. We could never figure this out, since everyones objective is the same: a job which can mostly pay the bills, and from which one can steal whatever office supplies one needs. Our advice is to skip the objective, since, for one thing, its potentially limiting, and for another, nobody cares but you what your long-term goals are.
The next section should be your experience. Start with your most current job, and then go backward until you were born. Avoid gaps in your work history, particularly if the gaps are long enough to be prison sentences (see the paragraph above on addresses; employers dont trust active felons). If you have a gap in your résumé because you are afraid to put down an extremely unpleasant job experience, thats okay. Just make something up that sounds good. Put the time spent at each job, but be careful: interviewers get suspicious when you seem to leave every job after three weeks.
When describing what you did at each job, be creative. Remember, this is an ad, not a tax form. Honesty is right out (remember how that one car ad you saw convinced you to purchase that model, because of the elegant comfort, great mileage, and sexy design, and yet failed to mention anything about the transmission dropping out onto the pavement every few hours? Your résumé should be like this.)
Use action words in your résumé, like managed, transformed, enabled, oriented, sieged, and decapitated. Avoid weak or negative words like, hated, vomited, unseamed from nave to chaps, gurgled, or fainted. For example:
Worked in mail sorting department. Licked stamps all day. Sometimes cleaned counters. Occasionally napped and struck up conversations with FedEx guy. Stole eleven staplers. Am willing to part with staplers if you hire me.
Managed and transformed large-scale messaging and routing substation. Worked in key management capacity with high efficiency in applications. Functioned as core member of red team on periodic continuous quality improvement (CQI) program in facility renovation. Provided human resource management in scheduling on-the-job (OTJ) flex-time. Acted in key liaison role with Fortune 500 company. Boosted inventory beyond recommendations of inventory control. Developed active plan to migrate resources as leveraging tool.
Now, mind you, this can backfire. As an experienced résumé reader, we know about this stuff. You might think you could never compete with this guy:
Managed entire Systems Coordination Analysis department. Functioned as employment liaison between all levels of management, provided interfacing mechanisms to strategic development teams, and was responsible for $300,000 in direct savings to company profit plan. Key member of employee post-pay profit distribution program. Directly oversaw non-corporate appropriation, and provided technological direction on companys 1,000-node wide-area-network (WAN).
In fact, you stand a great chance, because this is what hes really telling us:
I was a one-man department that had no real function, so I assigned it a name that you could never possibly identify. I was the guy in our office who pretty much walked around and talked everyones ear off all day, although I sometimes sat in on some meetings without knowing what was being discussed. I saved the company $300,000 dollars by not embezzling that much from the profit plan… not that I even had the chance. By the way, I participated in the companys benefits program. Also, I stole a lot of stuff from supplies for my own, non-business use, and I had a computer on my desk that was connected to the network.
So rather than being down on yourself, cheer up! The résumé doesnt mean anything you dont want it to!
When done with your experience, be sure to put down what your educational background is. This doesnt mean diddly: interviewers just want to see what school you went to, and see if it was a rival to theirs.
That leads us to…
Here are some basic tips for the interview:
- Show up on time. Do not be three days late.
- Dress appropriately. Avoid Mardi Gras costumes or fig leaves. Be conservative: dress exactly like the interviewer, even if it means dragging a suitcase around with a variety of clothing and accessories.
- Do not mimic the interviewers lisp.
- A sense of humor is good, but avoid puppets or gags like wax lips.
- Dont bring your lawyer.
- Avoid answering personal questions, such as How old are you, Are you pregnant, or Would you show me pictures of yourself in the shower.
- Avoid falling asleep.
A lot of people come up to the Czar and say Czar, what on earth is wrong with us? Actually, they say you, and not us, but we know allegory when we hear it.
Of course, we cant answer that question completely. At least not with a yes or no answer because those, frankly, would be non sequiturs. But its a good question that has a lot of answers.
There are some clear signs that society should be worried about itself. Somehow, we have decided to put common sense in the hands of a few.
As an example, weve noticed the warning labels on familiar products. In fact, its hard not to, because theyre appearing everywhere. There just cant be that many liability lawsuits occuring: we must just be getting more stupid. In addition to warning labels, were also seeing step-by-step directions appearing on the most commonplace items.
You know how people put those huge carboard visors against their cars windshield, in order to block out the suns rays and keep the car a little cooler? In 1993, the Czar came across one of those, and stamped on the back was the phrase WARNING: REMOVE SUN SHADE BEFORE DRIVING. What on earth?
Correspondant LG once spotted directions on a candle. Its true: at the bottom of the candle was a mini-manual, explaining how to bend the wick, how to light it from underneath, and above all, that it was important to keep debris out of the wax pool. If you even know what a wax pool is, were willing to bet you already know how to light a candle.
Notice how many jars have the instructions TWIST TO OPEN on the lids. How many screw-on jar lids open any other way? Or consider envelopes that tell you to place postage here. Good idea.
This is off our toothpaste tube: If you accidentally swallow more [toothpaste] than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately. Can you imagine that phone call? Poison control. You what? Slow down, sir… you swallowed what? Too much toothpaste? Imagine somehow finding out that, after ingesting drain cleaner, you called Poison Control and were put on hold because of that call.
The Czars microwave oven warns against overcooking foods. Thats very important to remember, in case you havent figured this out for yourseslf yet. Oddly, it doesnt also warn against undercooking foods.
Today, the Galaxy IV satellite failed, plunging nearly the entire worlds supply of pagers into an eerie silence. Of course, not that any of us noticed. This only inconvenienced the twelve of you who still have pagers in the world of the cell phone.
You know who you are. The Czar bets you still call them beepers, too. Well, guess what? Your swingin 60s mod comsat, with day-glo daisy silhouettes painted on the side and transistors the size of a mouse just took a crap. And you realized, to your horror, that no one has been trying to reach you since 1994.
No more being introduced to some awkward coyote-faced endless talker chick at a party, and after 20 minutes of listening to her trying to remember whether her long ago one-month boyfriend Antoine, the rock climber, preferred a Klemheist to a Prusik, you suddenly clutch your inert pager and exclaim that the entire X.25 to Europe is down and you have to go. Now. No, now youre going to have to be like the rest of us and simply splash-chuck the remains of your drink right into her canine face and walk away. What, like Antoine is going to hunt you down? He hasnt seen her since the Plasmatics concert, and now he runs some crampon clinic at the Fort Lauderdale REI, and you know for damn sure that, between tokes, he isnt wondering about the girl with the donkey voice, and whether she would have liked him better if he only had a pager.
What a tragedy that the Galaxy III or the Galaxy V birds never picked up the immense slack, so that you could continue to swing by Mitchs retirement party at the Doubletree, pass a note to the concierge to please call your pager number at the front desk, blow into the party, drink four beers real fast, and then duck out of throwing in $20 for your portion because your pager went off 15 minutes into it. Sorry, gotta run, you say, putting a dollar bill in the bar druids tip glass, The token ring just jumped down from 16 meg to 4 meg. No, now you might actually have to remember who the hell Mitch is, shake the poor bastards hand, and put in the full Jackson. For once. Yeah, pay for your fair share. See what its like.
And pity the shellshocked schmuck who kept his old pagers so that he could walk into Memories on Montrose and Cicero with three pagers on his belt, wearing nighttime black-lensed aviator shades and a Members Only jacket, hoping that the sleek nympho in the Spandex dress rolling her eyes and gathering her belongings into a cartoonishly tiny purse might catch a glimpse of you and think…what? Military operator? Black ops guy? Government hit man? Because those three pagers prove youre always on call and answerable to only three authorities in the world, thereby taking attention away from your stained Polo shirt and the gut that says the last beep you answered was the sound of the deep fryer at Wendys announcing to the world your second order of jumbo-sized fries were about to land on your tray.
Requeiscat in paunch, old Galaxy IV. Yeah, officially you were launched in 1993, not 1963, but your spectacular failure was the better way to go, as opposed to being decommed in humiliation by 2001 because the only guys still using you were Mitch for the pager he forgot to turn into HR on his exit interview, and the backup feed to NPRs Remembering Margaret Mead in Word Jazz. Well call you once in a while from our cell phone.
Well, congratulations. Rumor has it you’re interested in fighting the good fight, keeping the world safe from villainy, and cleaning scum from the earth. We need people like you. But if you’re going to be effective (or at least planning on being effective), then you have to know how to play the game. Remember, there’s more to being a superhero than just being a hero. You also have to be super.
It helps to have superpowers. Most superheros would have it no other way. As it happens, these are pretty easy to come by. If you’re an alien, like Superman, you probably have more than you need right away. If you got your powers in the 1960s, the odds are that you got them from radiation (the Hulk, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the ubiquitous X-Men, and their ilk). Mutants are a big source of supervillains, and we’re lucky to have them mostly on our side. Mind you, if you lack native abilities such as these, you’re hardly out of luck. All you need is some sort of special tool to make the magic happen, like the Green Lantern’s ring or Thor’s lucky hammer. We guess Iron Man’s goofy suit qualifies here.
Mind you, even that doesn’t matter if you’re well-funded. With money, you can become a superb superhero, even if you have no super abilities whatsoever. While Batman and the Green Hornet come to mind, it oddly didn’t work for Ross Perot.
You need a costume. Even the most meager superhero has a costume. Your costume should be so far funky that it won’t be mistaken for a west coast fashion statement. Capes are normally de rigueur, but quite frankly, we think they have limited effectiveness: if the Flash wore a cape, the windspeed he generates would make him sound like a raspberry blowing past you, and that would be pretty humiliating. Further, if Hawkman wore a cape, it would inevitably entangle his wings. The last thing anyone needs is somebody his size crashing into a crowded intersection from a thousand feet up. And many superheros have completely done away with capes (the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Fantastic Four).
Your costume should say something about you or your powers. Batman looks like a bat. Iron Man wears armor. The Silver Surfer uses a surfboard, since JetSkis are unwieldy in space (unlike surfboards). But be careful here, because some superheros stretched this one pretty far, and end up having a superficial link to their costumes: Gambit looks like a risky gamble, Doctor Strange simply looks strange, and it’s a wonder that Wonder Woman still bothers with her swimsuit in this conservative age.
On the other hand, you can be one of the few superheros who have done away with the concept of costumes entirely. The Submariner sticks with a pair of trunks. The Hulk is also a notable example, and it wasn’t until we saw Bill Bixby stealing clothes from a laundry line that we even found out where he kept getting all those pants and shirts.
Well, now that you have superpowers and a costume, you need a place to work from. Basically you have three choices. You can choose…
- A real city. This is what Spiderman does. He opted to stick close to home in New York City, which is convenient given that his sick aunt lives there. We forgot where Daredevil hangs out, but we can always say Detroit. If the city’s rough, move out to the burbs. The X-Men did, living in a nice part of scenic upstate New York. Fortunately, there’s a lot of danger out there, so it works out for them, as well.
- A totally fictitious place. Batman is pretty smart to choose Gotham City, since it affords him all the worst elements of New York City without the hassle of paying a city income tax. And Gotham is lucky to have him, given that they haven’t hired one competent police officer since about 1940. Superman lives happily out in Metropolis, which one writer surmised might (because of the proximity of the farming community of Smallville) be either Chicago or Cleveland. Wonder Woman spent some time in Washington, DC, although it must have been difficult to land that invisible plane on the Mall. At least, not without plowing over a few homeless people.
- Some other place entirely. The Hulk wanders around, and could be anywhere at any time. The Fantastic Four spend an awful lot of time in space, or in alternate dimensions, which has got to get pretty expensive after a while. If you’re Thor, you get to spend time in Aasgard, which also has the benefit of having some of Wagner’s coolest music (even if the overall Nordic mythology is a little dizzy).
Sidekicks… Yea, or Nay?
Generally, this is up to you, although only a small percentage of the superhero population uses them. Superman and Spiderman have decided against it, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a helping hand time and again. Even Captain America used that little kid Bucky or whatever, before he realized that the Falcon (or whatever) was not only competent, but in many ways more hip. Generally, though, sidekicks are always needing a rescue, and quite frankly, the one or two clues they spot aren’t worth the trouble. Ironically, the only superhero who ever made good use of a sidekick was Batman, who by all accounts is a loner type. The Czar guesses everyone needs a friend.
You should have these. These can be of two types: cool tools, or headquarters. Spiderman has his special chemical webs which do just about anything a plot contrivance calls for, the X-Men have their Blackbird jet that not only flies in space, but also can go from one end of the earth to the other in a few seconds without melting. Also, a neat base of operations is definitely in order: the Fantastic Four own their own skyscraper (although they could net a fortune by subletting to some commercial and retail tenants), Wonder Woman’s golden lariat (some guys commit crimes solely so she’ll tie them up and make them tell the truth) and even Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, which is up at the North Pole, just down the street a piece from Santa’s Workshop, for which it is frequently mistaken.
But the absolute king of gadgetry is Batman. From his now famous utility belt, to his wide array of specialized vehicles (the Batmobile, the Batplane, the Batboat, the seldom-seen Batcycle, and the never-seen BatVespa), he stashes all of it in his monstrous, eighty-room BatCave. And Batman, like all the other superheros, has discovered the best part of all this: it’s all free! That specialized aircraft you want to use? Sure, it would cost several hundred million dollars, and require years of planning and design analysis from the best aerospace engineers… but only if you’re an ordinary schmoe! When you’re a superhero, none of this unbelievable engineering costs a penny. Ask the X-Men: they smash their stuff up all the time.
Well, now this is what you’re in business for. You have to get yourself some good archvillains to fight, or you’re really no better than the many vigilantes roaming the big city streets, illegally dispensing justice, making a mockery of the police and wearing red berets and white t-shirts. You need a supervillain!
Of course, some thought is warranted here. You can’t just go and get any old person to be an arch-enemy. For example:
- Good Names include Gor-Klops, Dr. Strangulo, the Astro-Men of Zeptar, Monstrolus, Vokaan the Annihilator, and the Fang.
- Bad names include Scruffy, Ned, Pushpin Boy, Prancer, the Floor Mop of Doom, Lord Nasally, and Downtown Badboy Brown.
Of course, what you get depends a lot on the decade in which you’re fighting. In the 1930s, you had to fight gangsters and other members of organized crime. Generally, superheros really did help the police.
In the 1940s, you fought Nazis for the most part, and did your best to help out the war effort. In fact, one of the major reasons the Nazis never developed the atomic bomb was because they spent too much time working on Kryptonite.
In the 1950s, most of your time was spent fighting communists. This was a great decade for Captain America, who spent an entire decade fighting the Red Skull, whom any other superhero would have pounded in three issues.
In the 1960s, you generally had to fight mutants, which was interesting because odds were you were a mutant yourself. Radiation produced some great villains, or some great monsters… or you could always fight robots, which were invariably powered by… that’s right… radiation.
In the 1970s, times changed a lot, and you probably wound up fighting racists, rednecks, or computers. The one thing these three had in common was a dislike for the common person. In many ways, this is still true.
In the 1980s, you spent all of your time fighting aliens. This was a banner year for SETI, as species of all kinds were dropping in and eating entire area codes. Who knows how many times the Golden Gate bridge was destroyed. Too bad the superheros didn’t use a Macintosh to defeat them, which Jeff Goldblum proved is far easier once you get it started without freezing.
In the 1990s, your time was spent battling environmental and toxic villains, although aliens are, by and large, pretty popular still. Ideally, the supervillain of the 1990s will be a mutant commie Nazi gangster from space intent on poisoning the oceans. And he’ll be a remake of a 1960s television series.
So for the new century, what sort of supervillains will we have? It’s too soon to tell, but if all supervillains are personifications of What We Most Fear as a society, there are three possibilities: (1) People Who Use Harsh Words; (2) Smokers; and (3) Cody Gifford.
Get A Life
Secret identities are essential. No superhero goes around telling people what his day job is. Even the Hulk has enough sense to run and hide from the media. Millionaire Bruce Wayne owns some companies, although it’s difficult to envision how he has time to run them. Tony Stark, when he’s not busy being Iron Man, manages to run his own Stark Enterprises in a similar manner. Peter Parker is an ordinary teenager who (like most teenagers) sticks to walls. A good identity is a must! It keeps the taxman off your back for unreported income, and it always helps to have a nosy neighbor almost discover your secret every five issues.
You don’t have to go to amazing lengths, either. No one has figured out Clark Kent, have they? Who would suspect that a skinny, awkward, nerdy guy with big glasses has immense and almost frightening power? Nobody! Except maybe Bill Gates.
Be A Role Model
Please! Superheros aren’t dumb. In fact, you always have to have a good line for the occasion! After you dispatch a bad guy, it’s a tradition to have a really bad pun ready. Hung a guy from a lamp post? “Why don’t you hang around until I get back?” Rope a guy up like a coccoon? “I’m afraid you’re tied up for a while!” Cook a guy up in a pan with corned beef, potatoes, and a little onion, black pepper, with an egg on top? “Let’s hash this out over breakfast!” It’s best to inspire your fans with good quips. However, a dumb comment never works. If you swap fists with your evil twin (which you don’t need to get, by the way: they turn up on their own), never say “Hey, you’re unbelieveably stupid looking!” On the other hand, don’t be an egghead or an obscurist. Don’t flip your opponent upside-down and remark “Hey, you’re as inverted as an E♭+6 is to a Cm(maj)7,” unless a jazz musician is your sidekick. Or your only reader.
Also, kids look up to you. Showing up with a half-smoked cigarette has been tabu since the mid-sixties. And it has never been acceptable to show up for work drunk. Nobody trusts an incontinent, drooling guy in a cape with slurred speech… even in the heart of DuPont Circle.
Now that you’ve got all this down, get out there and fight some crime. This page should have given you plenty to think about, and whether you’re The Dark Talon or Pink The Merry Tailor, you have to just bite the bullet (perhaps literally, if this is your super power) and smash some villains. But please! Don’t get an attitude just because you got some profressional pointers at this site. Batman and Spiderman have saved the world countless times, but even they stop to bag the odd purse-snatcher or burglar.
And you’re tougher than them, right?
The “Skynet” project had a little trouble today. Luckily, GorT was able to use his time/space traveling subroutines and transferred the project into the 8th dimension for safe keeping. We’ve shelved the multi-rotor flying automaton concept for a bit later. ‘Puter is still shaking his head, now with a “I told you so look” on his face.
The Gormogons’ “Skynet” project went online today. Looks to be good. The Mandarin has hooked it into a bunch of geosynchronous satellites and GorT augmented its processing with a Bayesian neural network processing core. ‘Puter keeps shaking his head saying something doesn’t feel right.