On Tuesday, January 26th, the entire NYC block of East 56th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues was closed to motor vehicle traffic due to a possible mainline gas leak (the pedestrians were allowed to walk into the danger zone without any restrictions or even a warning). Apparently someone called 911 around 9 am to report the suspicious smell, which not only filled the street but was also distinctly (as I was informed) felt inside the buildings. Yet, at 3 pm, when I happened to turn the North-East corner of Lexington and 56th, three emergency vehicles were still there and a few maintenance-looking people were poking around the uncovered manholes. A fire engine just joined them a few minute ago (it passed me on the way in).
By today's standards 6 hours lead time is totally okay - the emergencies nowadays are not what they used to be, as some say, back in the day. Plus, the City was assaulted by the blizzard just three days ago; it would be silly to expect an expedient clean up. It is rather difficult to get around, on foot or wheel. And maybe there was no real danger anyway; maybe everything was in order and the repair people were just knocking about to clock the working hours away. A little gas escaped - not a big deal!
However, clearly there were still some concerns regarding possible flameage that required a certain level of readiness - the red and shiny FDNY vehicle was connected to one of the hydrants, taking in the water. Well, maybe "connected" is not the right word. Even by mediocre working standards, a proper connection of the pumping hose between the truck and the hydrant would imply seamless fitting, tightening of the locking mechanisms - some sort of professional decency, for the lack of a better word. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The connecting hose was carelessly shoved onto the hydrant and the truck, with water gashing through and over both ends, forming a small river on the ground.
I guess at $76,700 average annual salary it is too much to ask of a firefighter to care about the quality of his work. And what else can we possibly expect? That the emergency workers would be different from anyone else?I was standing there looking at that sad metaphor of the way we live now, contemplating whether anyone in their right mind can trust their lives to these "rescuers" in case of fire. And don't get me started on the water waste...
"All US military combat positions are being opened up to women, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday.
The decision allows women to fill about 220,000 jobs that are now limited to men - including infantry, armor, reconnaissance and some special operations units.
'This means that as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before. They'll be able to drive tanks, give orders, lead infantry soldiers into combat,' Carter said at a news conference Thursday.
'There will be no exceptions,' he added."
The Frustrated CFO Commentary:
Well, congratulations, ladies! Just as the World Economic Form has concluded that women would not catch up to men in their pay until 2133(not a typo - 117 years from now, in some hypothetical "future"), the Pentagon has proudly declared that they are making more equal-pay jobs available for us - the ones that they themselves officially list among 8 most dangerous military jobs.
And this is why I can never align myself with feminist politics. Don't get me wrong, I greatly admire our contemporary Jeannes d'Arc (or d'Newark) and their desire to challenge themselves in combat. But I cannot possibly agree that it's good for the country when we put in harm's way the better, worthier half of our citizenry.
Rowan (Eli) Pope: How many times did I tell you?! You have to be what?!
Olivia Pope: Twice as good as them to get a half of what they have.
Scandal, Season 3, Episode 1
The Frustrated CFO's Comment:
I'm not placing this excerpt into quotation marks. First of all, it's not an exact citation - on screen it gets all broken up, because the characters interrupt each other with anger, frustration, exasperation, and all other similar feelings; Eli is yelling, and Liv is sort of shudders and attempts to shy away - all those over-the-top dramatics and stuff. More importantly, though, it's not an original phrase. Shonda Rhimes, who actually penned this episode herself, is brilliantly entertaining, but she didn't come up with this maxim. Many African-American journalists, bloggers, and celebrities commented on its wide-spread popularity in their families and communities. Some even tried to date it - 70s, 50s...
The truth is, however, this concept doesn't belong exclusively to black people of the United States. In fact, everywhere around the world similar formulas are spoken in different languages to bright and promising children who will have to spend their lives jumping over the barriers raised in front of them for no other reason than their minority status: Kurds in Turkey, Chinese in Indonesia, Hui in China, Indians in Uganda, Rohingyas in Burma, Jews and Gypsies wherever they are, etc., etc., etc.
Furthermore, the applicability of this mandate goes way beyond race and ethnicity. The same mantra is adapted as a way of life by every marginalized overachiever even in our blessed land we call "Free Country:" women going into "men's" professions; immigrants with strong accents attempting to climb corporate ladders; members of LGBT community trying to get a job outside of the fashion and the entertainment industries; overweight and deformed individuals applying for any position; young talented people without connections trying to break into especially nepotistic fields - the list is long.
Growing up a Jewish girl in one of the most anti-Semitic of European countries, I was barred from many professional careers and life opportunities. And in those that were permissible, someone like me had one chance in a thousand. My personal slogan was even more maximal: I had to be the best just to get in. Was I able to completely shake off the disenfranchised complex after nearly three decades in America? Fat chance! For starters, I'm a woman...
"She had always known that in making certain choices one committed oneself to a sequence of actions - which inevitably meant a switch from being master of one's fate to being its slave - but she had hoped that she could decide when to make that switch, instead of having it forced upon her."
Joe Caputo (Litchfield Penitentiary's Assistant to the Warden):The fish stinks from the head. And I'm not the head! I am actually down by the gills somewhere. So, once I call the police and US Marshals; and the DOC investigators start sniffing around, it's going to look a lot worse for the 'Director of Human Activity' here at Litchfield!
Danny Pearson (MCC appointed Director of Human Activity):Whoa!
Caputo:Whoa, whoa, whoa! Yeah!
Pearson:Slow down! Why do we have to involve all those people?
Caputo: We have an escaped convict!!!
Pearson:Let's just go get her back!
Pearson: You and me. Where did they take her?
Caputo: The bus station in Utica.
Pearson: Let's just get into a car. We'll go get her, bring her back. Yeah! Nobody has to know.
Caputo: So, you're saying, the two of us should go and apprehend an escaped convict? This is not The Fucking Bloodhound Gang! Okay?
Pearson: Well, I don't know what to do! I honestly don't know what the fuck to do! Do you know how I got this job? My Dad is one of the SVP's at MCC.
Caputo: (smirks and nods his head in full comprehension and disgust)
Pearson: Yeah... This is going to be worse than when I got kicked out of Ohio University... I have no idea what I'm doing..
Caputo: Fine. I'll go. On my own.
The Frustrated CFO's Comment:Most shows experience some sort of a slump in the third season - the story exhausts itself, the characters become too familiar, writers run out of surprising ideas. Not this show, though! This 3rd season! It's so good, some critics and viewers rate it higher than the fist two! There is so much excellent, nuanced stuff! And this Caputo guy, who got promoted by the producers into a main character - I painfully relate to his plight of never-ending bad decisions. There are always insults added to his injuries: not only that he gets a new boss, but it's somebody's useless offspring on top of it. You just know, there is no happy ending for Caputo - he'll never get out of prison.