Saturday, August 18, 2007

1443 Bylaws Rant

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't bother reading this. I'm just blowing off steam.

Just thinking about the bylaws is making me angry.

This guy who has appointed himself chair of the bylaws revision committee was in charge of the previous revision of the bylaws, about ten years ago. The usual process is that revisions are proposed, and published in the newsletter. Comments are gathered, decisions are made by the committee, then it is sent to the national office for approval, and the final version is again published for an approval vote of the membership.

The way the A55hole did it ten years ago, the general membership didn't see it at all until time for the vote. This "guy who knows best" didn't feel he needed any other input. I don't know how the hell it got approved (probably nobody actually read it), because it was full of errors. Stupid errors.

Like the head of the board has traditionally been called the "Local Secretary (a.k.a LocSec)", a British term. This guy happened to be the LocSec at the time, and he thought it didn't sound important enough, so he decided he wanted to be the President. So references to the LocSec were changed to President. EXCEPT, not in ALL places! So up front where the officers are defined, we have a President. There is no LocSec. But later, where responsibilities are assigned, the President apparently has none, and the LocSec (who doesn't exist) has many. The A55hole didn't even ask anyone else to proofread it!

In the section on the timing of elections, there is a nominating committee, and an option for petition nominations. However, when you lay out the election schedule (which is defined by specific month and day in the Bylaws) next to the newsletter cutoff and mailing dates (which are not in the bylaws, and change on the whim of the editor), there are perhaps THREE DAYS for the membership to see the recommendations of the nominating committee, decide to run as a petition candidate, get the signatures, and get the petition to the Board and to the editor.

There are only five elected officers, and if the nominating committee comes up with only five candidates and there are no petition candidates, then the five are declared elected. No voting.

The Board appoints the nominating committee. The nominating committee selects the candidates. There's no requirement to ask in the newsletter for candidates to volunteer, and not enough time anyway. There's no time for petition candidates. If the nominating committee selects only five candidates, they are declared elected. This looks like the previous board SELECTS the succeeding board. And that's exactly what happens. There has been no real election since this guy single-handedly revised the bylaws ten years or so ago.

How convenient.

There were other problems.

When I saw all the errors, I wrote them all up and submitted the corrections and recommendations, and was horrified when I was told that "There isn't enough time to make the changes. We have to submit it to National as is, because that's what they approved." (National makes you jump through hoops so you understand that it's not something you want to do often.) I was shocked when National didn't disapprove, but this is a small group, and I'll bet A55hole said in the application that we simply followed the skeleton from National, so they didn't bother reading it.

So, ok, A55hole has decided it's time to revise again. He asked me if I wanted to be involved, because he knew he damn well better. He also asked another member, probably randomly, I've never heard of her, and from the email discussions far, I gather she has no idea what bylaws ARE.

But, of course, neither does A55hole.

I'm also pissed because there was NO copy of the bylaws locally available (it is supposed to be distributed to new members, and to any member who asks. I've been asking for years, and have been rebuffed), so A55hole had to get HARDCOPY from National. He gave it to Roman, Roman scanned it, and ran it through a program that converted the scan to text, and emailed the cleaned-up script file to A55hole.

Now, it seems like we OTHER members of the bylaws revision committee should have received a copy, huh? Pretty soon, huh? So we could, like, maybe, review it? And think about what we'd like to see fixed?

He sat on it for weeks. Probably more than a month - I didn't mark the calendar. And it was pretty obvious that when he finally sent me and the other woman a copy, he'd already figured out what he wanted.

When I say he doesn't know what bylaws are supposed to do, here's an example. The Bylaws require that the board meets a minimum of once a quarter. All board meetings are open to the membership and announced in the newsletter. He wants to have an "Annual Business Meeting" required in the Bylaws.

I asked how is that different from other board meetings. He said it's open to the membership, and there's a pot-luck dinner, and a speaker. Is the business discussed any different? No. I pointed out that all meetings are open, and any one of them could include dinner and/or a speaker. He wants to REQUIRE dinner and a speaker at a board meeting once a year.

I pointed out that we used to have speakers several times a year, after board meetings, and it died for lack of interest, and a dearth of free but interesting speakers who will show up for five or six people. The general membership simply isn't interested. So if you put this requirement in the bylaws, once a year someone will have to find and schedule a speaker and coordinate a pot-luck dinner, and the only attendees will be the board members. And when they decide it isn't worth doing any more, they have to revise the Bylaws to get rid of it! If the Board wants to do this fancy meeting, all they have to do is decide to do it, then do it. You DON'T require it in the Bylaws! Bylaws should require only the absolute minimum for the proper functioning of the group.


I'm really angry, and I'm working myself up to do battle. He's VERY difficult to disagree with. He is always so positive he's right that he doesn't listen to reason. I'm going to have to use Authority, National guidelines and recommendations, against him - it's the only thing he might listen to.

Judging from his emails, he seems to think we're going to just fix typos, add a statement that President=LocSec, and rubber stamp some fancy requirements he wants to add.

Yeah. Sure. Little does he know....

Now pardon me while I go draw up an elections timeline, and find some authority for requiring that the nominating committee should come up with at least one more candidate than positions to be filled.


1442 No Sleep

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's 7 am, and I haven't slept at all. I don't know why. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular, just couldn't fall asleep.

I won't be able to nap today, either, because the day is full. This morning I have to cut up boxes, and take the cardboard and glass bottles to the recycle center.

I've gathered all the information for the Mensa Bylaws revision meeting tomorrow, but I have to sit down and work on my recommendations and arguments. That'll take a few hours this afternoon. I'll be "going up against" the guy who thinks he knows everything, and we've already heard some of the changes he wants to make, and he doesn't seem to understand the purpose of bylaws, so I have to be fully prepared.

At 4:30 I'll meet Roman and FW at an estate auction. Neither of them had ever been to a real auction, and I'd mentioned that there's one tonight, and they both wanted to go. These auctions easily go 'til midnight.

It's gonna be a long day....

Friday, August 17, 2007

1441 Mirthday

Friday, August 17, 2007

First off, no, I don't mind if anyone reading this links to me in their own blogs. The only folks I'm "hiding from" are local gossips, who are highly unlikely to be reading your blogs, so they won't find me through you. (Actually, it's only one person, but I figured this was a good time to clean the slate, so to speak.) He won't find me on a search, either. I'm WAY down on the search lists at this point.

Incidentally, I've informed my friends that I'd moved, and why, and they are all ok with it. They all know the one who screwed it up for everyone, and they're not surprised - he's a notorious gossip - and having read my treatment of themselves and others up to this point, they trust me. As one of them has said, "You're so open all the time, I don't need to read your blog to know what's going on with you. It's more fun when you tell me in person."

So, link away. There aren't so many of you that you'd move me up in search lists.


Tonight was Mirthday.

It started out as a monthly Mensa event for everyone who had a birthday in that month, and anyone else who wanted to attend. Lack of attendance has dropped it from the calendar, except for when a birthday person wants to put it in. So far, the past two years, the only Mirthday has been in August, organized by FW (she likes celebrating her birthday). Last year the attendees were FW and me. This year, FW got 10 people who said they'd be there - right up until this afternoon, when they began dropping out, and it ended up FW, Roman, and me. Sheesh.

We met on a moored barge on the Hudson River, at the Newburgh waterfront. There's a bar on the top deck, roofed over, but open to the river all around the sides. The restaurant is downstairs. We had a drink up top, then went down for dinner.

It was funny - I confused the slight swaying of the boat with the effects of my (very mild) drink, and I felt a bit tipsy. I got giggly. I may have said a few things I shouldn't have, but I guess it was ok.

The food was good. Best steak I've had in a long time. Fed the ducks the remnants of our bread basket.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

1440 Dinner Talk

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I arrived at the mall a bit early for dinner, so I did some shopping. Bought (among other things) two black bras. Neither of them are the right size (that's why I don't HAVE any black bras, Daughter! They never seem to have any in my size) but I won't wear them very often, so they'll do.

Dinner was Roman, me, Bill, and The Ditz. I swear someone must have smacked The Ditz upside the head or something. She was reasonable again. Oddly, general conversation seemed to settle on "cats we have known". Really deep Mensan conversation....

At the buffet, I noticed a man looking at me, "that" look. I looked away, then looked back, and he was still looking, and he smiled and said hello, and I said hello, then I walked over to him and said "Do I know you?" (Well, he was cute!) Turns out he had the office next to mine over twenty years ago. Chatted. He asked if I still worked for The Company, and I said no, I had quit when I married Jay - and was amused by the reaction. He immediately deflated, lost interest.

I didn't clarify. I don't need complications.

But he sure was good looking.

As usual, Roman and I stayed at the table to talk after the others left.

He invited me to go to Israel with him in late November or early December. His daughter lives there. I didn't know what to say. I want to go. He's the perfect person to go with. But we have this awkwardness right now. Finally I said I'd love to go, but "You understand, it would be separate rooms. In fact, it's possible I will have made a commitment to someone else by then." I'm serious about commitments. He said that would be fine.

Oh dear. What now. What next.
I don't need complications.
But I also think we really could do it platonically. He knows how much he hurt me in 2005 and 2006, and he does feel bad about it, and I think he will be very careful now. Plus, we will have his daughter as a chaperone. And I'm not exactly a pushover.

1439 Kitty Update

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jasper had his first vet appointment today. He got his ears, teeth, and coat checked, and it's all ok. His FIV and leukemia tests were negative, and he got a dose of roundworm killer. He weighs seven pounds! Shocker - he's so small, but it's all bone and muscle, I guess. (When I hold him against my chest, his bottom is on my breast and his shoulders are at my shoulder. I'm used to cats that reach to my waist.)

I told Dr. Tucker about his having been feral, and she was surprised that he was so well behaved. We had a moment of panicked scrabbling when he first came out of the carrier, but even then he was careful of the claws, and calmed down quickly. Dr. T. said she can tell he trusts me by the look on his face. When I was holding him, there was no panic.

She said he's probably just short of a year old. I'm not so sure. I was surprised at how much he'd grown in just the past two and a half weeks. I put him in the same small carrier I'd used to bring him home the night we caught him, and back then he was a mite in all that space. Standing, his ears didn't touch the roof. Today he barely fit. His back was only two inches from the roof. So, really, I still want to put him at about six months. Maybe as much as nine, maybe. But no more.

Third Thursday dinner tonight.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

1438 Bush Addresses the Newest Threat


1437 Veggies!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I've rediscovered something I'd forgotten.

I don't get enough fresh vegetables. I eat over half my meals out, and restaurants don't exactly concentrate on fresh vegetables. Salads don't do it, because they're mostly lettuce, which doesn't count.

I tried buying vegetables for the refrigerator, but after a while, I got tired of throwing out almost-full bags of spinach, broccoli, celery, carrots, heads of cabbage, onions, green beans, peppers, etc. when I've eaten a tiny bit and the rest goes mushy or yucky. They just don't sell "one person" amounts of vegetables.

Aha! But they DO!

I've rediscovered the small bags of "ready-cut" vegetables for stir-fry. The bag I'm snacking out of right now has snow peas, broccoli, julienne carrots, celeriac, and turnip, and purple cabbage. There's about three servings in the bag, and there are several different mixes available. Yeah, it's more expensive per pound, but I can eat it all before it gets icky, so in the long run, it's a big savings. And I'm eating my raw veggies!

I'm happy.

1436 Kitty Upate; Conspiracy

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I may have created a monster. Jasper loves me. He wants to rub against me constantly. I can't walk the seven steps across the laundry room because he's weaving around my ankles. I sit down and he climbs into my lap. That's ok, but he's gonna have to learn that it's not a good idea when I sit in the bathroom.

I was amazed that he has no fleas. He does have roundworms! He threw some up this morning. Six and seven inches long, white, and ugly. Luckily, the vet appointment is tomorrow morning. I'm surprised he has worms. He's putting on bone and fat at an amazing rate (I swear he's a third larger now than he was two weeks ago), and his fur is smooth and as shiny as a shorthair tabby ever gets.

He's been a food hog, attacks every dish like he'll never see the like again, which is understandable given his previous life as a hobo, but today he's not eating. Maybe the throwing up discombobulated him.


I spent several hours today watching this movie:

It's two hours long, and I had a problem where it suddenly would stop and the indicator would go all the way to the end. I'd have to move the "needle" back to where it quit, then a second or two beyond that point to restart it. That "feature" was very annoying, but in the end it was more than worth it. You may not agree with the conclusions, but you have to admit it's very well done.

It's in three parts.

The first part is about Christianity, and how it is based on old religions. The movie traces the parallels. One spot that amused me, I think they were too tempted by something too easy - the similarity between "sun" and "son". Yeah, cute. But in the old languages, the word for "sun" and the word for "son" are not homonyms, folks. Oops. The rest, however, is not so easily shrugged off. And yes, there's a strong case for the purpose of organized religion being power and control of the masses. (Will you recognize George Carlin's voice in there?)

The second part is about 9/11, and the case for it having been an inside job, to create a unifying enemy (now that we don't have "The Commies" any more), and an excuse for war. It will make you think.

The third part is about the federal reserve bank (it isn't at all what you thought it was), and international banking cartels, their quest for world domination, and how they've engineered the deaths of hundreds of thousands to further their own agenda. It's scary.

If you have two hours, I recommend watching it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

1435 Dear Diary - Museum

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maritime Museum today. Mailed reminders for August renewals.

Russ gave me the phone number for the guy who will take over the membership tasks, so I'll have to contact him and set up some training sessions.

1434 Last Night's Missed Call

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Last night's missed call was not from The Man. By the strangest coincidence, the Mensa visitor, Jeff, to whom I had given a ride to dinner last night, is from the same city where The Man is right now. So the missed call showed as having come from that city, because that's where Jeff's cell phone is registered, and he had called to make sure I remembered to pick him up.

Major coincidence.

Even stranger, I made a decision last night and took an action based partly on that call. When I discovered this morning that my assumptions were incorrect, I wondered if my decision would have been different had I known the true caller - and then almost immediately I got the confirmation I needed via a different route.

My head is spinning. It's just too much for my mind to handle. The Fates are not simply weaving my threads - they're doing macrame!

1433 Dear Diary - Monday EEE

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eclectic Eatery Expedition this evening. We went to what used to be Umami in Fishkill, and is now a BBQ place. Eh. The BBQ was so-so, but the vegetable appetizer I had was great.

The visiting Mensan staying at Bard needed a ride to dinner, so I picked him up at 5:05, thus missing a call from The Man by mere minutes. If I had known he was going to call, I'd have blown off the entire dinner. Ah, well.

Conversation at dinner was pretty good, but, as usual, trivial. Angela, Nate, Roman, me, Jeff, and a friend of Angela's from work.

Afterward, I pretty much gave our visitor a tour of the area. We had gone down the east side of the river, and going back I had to stop at FW's in Newburgh to drop off some disks, so we returned up the west side. Enjoyed our conversation in the car.

Got home after 10. Called Daughter, called FW to tell her I had left the disks with her housemate, emailed The Man, got a response, emailed back, now bed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

1432 Dear Diary - Dinner With Daughter

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Daughter had driven up to Highland for a friend's son's afternoon birthday party, so I drove down to Hyde Park, and she and I had dinner. Discussed her discontent with her job, and other stuff.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

1431 Photo Essay

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Interesting photo essay at, about Jewels, a denizen of Tompkins Square Park. There's a further writeup at

Note the policemen and the "police car" in the last few photos. The police are in civilian clothes, but I don't think there's any effort at "undercover". If so, they failed miserably. The "police car" was a much better job of disguise.