Greetings Slattern friends and family members!
Surprise, surprise, 2013 was (yet another) thrill-packed year for your favorite all-American family, the Slatterns! Although anyone who tunes in to HLN will already be familiar with some of the more sensational chapters of our story (where would Nancy Grace be without US this year?!), there’s more than that silly extradition business to fill you in on.
First the good news — and couldn’t we all use a little more of that? Owing to this year’s “recreational use” decriminalization statute, Grandma’s case was dismissed back in April before it ever went to trial. To tell you the truth, I think the Legal Aid lawyer was a little disappointed at not being able to try out the innovative “oldfluenza” defense he came up with, especially since this was going to be his first real case, but he perked right back up when Mr. Slattern pointed out that with all the “zero tolerance” policies at the assisted living facility, sooner or later the old girl is bound to run afoul of the law again. Next time she ends up in a holding cell, Grandma has promised that Counselor Schenkman will be her first call.
And speaking of involuntary confinement, Uncle Fred is finally back in the bosom of his family after that little misunderstanding at The Mustang Ranch in Nevada. Last summer, thinking he was headed for the dude ranch vacation he’d always dreamed of, our favorite “cowpoke” was more than a little surprised to find himself in a cathouse instead of a horse barn. Still, it was the work of a minute for him to rally the old Slattern spirit and go with the flow. By checkout time they had to use a crowbar to get him out of there. Literally, they chased him out the front door with one. Unfortunately, there was some additional unpleasantness about the bill, which included a long list of expensive “extras” that weren’t part of his package, but in the end management agreed to garnish his Social Security for the next fifteen years in exchange for his prompt and permanent departure. Thanks for all those get well soon wishes! We’re pleased to report that the doctors did finally find an antibiotic that worked. They say that the lesions should heal up eventually, and when they do, Uncle Fred’ll be as good as new.
As our cable-news viewing friends will know by now, young Master Slattern has become a real computer wiz. Although we’ve been advised not to make statements about his case, I can say that the allegations of his CIA database hacking and downloading, however sensational, are nowhere near the truth, and we are one hundred percent certain he will be cleared and our return to the US approved any day now. Nonetheless, I’m happy to report that Khazakhstan really is lovely during the winter holidays, with all the snow and ice out on the steppes, and in the parking lots, and the hallways. And our hotel room.
After two weeks in country, we’ve already mastered a few essential phrases in Kazakh, and boy, do they come in handy. Roughly translated: I’m sorry, but we ‘re not in the market for a camel today; We may look like Uzbeks, but I assure you we are not; and of course, No, my daughter is NOT for sale. With the help of these and several other little cultural tricks, we find that daily life goes on much as it did in the good old US of A with meals to prepare, housework to do and extended visits to the various embassies, consulates and police precincts to negotiate our legal status.
Supplies are a bit scarce over here, but in the outdoor market, I find I can trade my Klonopin and Valium for almost anything, and Mr. S has even developed a taste for the national drink, fermented mare’s milk, which he claims goes well with Russian vodka (it’s cheaper than tonic water!). Most days he can be found comfortably settled on his pony-skin floor mats with gallon jugs of both by his side, listening to the Voice of America. He almost never cries anymore.
I’m finding the combination of a crushing load of stress plus the local goat-based diet has made it possible for me to lose that pesky twenty pounds, and owing to the lack of internet connectivity young Miss Slattern has traded her Facebook and BuzzFeed habits for daily instruction in kick-boxing at the local gimnasia. As an added bonus, she seems to be picking up some Russian from her trainer, Nikolai Nikolaiovich, who is also quite the fashion photographer and cossack-about-town!
And that, my friends, is all our news. We are looking forward to having the warrants lifted and returning home soon. In the meantime, all donations to the Slattern Family Legal Defense Fund are greatly appreciated. The good folks at WikiLeaks have assured us that, although donations are not tax deductible, they’re not remotely traceable either.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Having, rather unfortunately, burned most of my bridges in the world of corporate communications several years ago, I am finding it more than a little challenging to get my foot back in the boardroom door now that our domestic financial situation could use a boost. After all, someone has to pay the liquor store delivery boy, address the Bloomingdale’s balance and cover my legal fees. Sadly, highly-compensated writing gigs are no longer rolling in the way they did before I recommended my last client take his suggestions on my syntax and…well let’s just say it was unlikely he’d have followed my instructions, primarily because it would have been physically impossible for all but the most advanced yogi, which he was not.
Don’t get me wrong. Blogging is fun, but it doesn’t exactly command the big bucks, or any bucks for that matter, and Mr. Slattern can only be expected to shoulder the family financial burden for so long. As such, I’ve recently started mining fresh sources of new clients, and let me tell you, the freelance world has changed significantly in the past few years, and not for the better. Here’s an example of a project description that was recently included on an RFP list I received.
I am looking for a person who can taken on a number of current and future projects which include research and writing of a number of submission (Academic and organizational). I require the production of a number articles and reports which require a professional who has great research skills and is able to put together practical, informative and where appropriate, academic papers, submissions, reports, articles etc. that are totally original and relevant. Employer will have authorship…
This genius potential employer is Australian and requires that his
slave labor hired pen reside in the Philippines. Professor Bruce here offers to compensate the lucky bid winner at the princely rate of $3.00 an hour despite the fact that he is shopping for a very specialized, high-level skill set. Now it may well be that three bucks an hour constitutes a living wage for well-educated, bilingual academic writer/researchers in the greater Manila area, but I wouldn’t bet the Outback on it. Still, I decided to throw out a hook and see what I might reel in. Here is my proposal.
Dear Bruce, apparently you’re an academic, so presumably you have at least one advanced degree, though that’s hardly evident from the sheep dip-esque writing style you display here. Didn’t anyone ever warn you about cheating? Was it never even mentioned out there at the University of Woolloomooloo? It has been some time since I left academia, but I am quite certain professors, instructors, researchers and the like are still expected to do their own research and write their own articles. Which makes you a big, fat cheater.
Being a cheap cheater is even worse. Who do you think is going to become your uncredited scrivener for three bucks an hour anyway, you miserly turd? I assume Stephen Hawking is busy and I’m pretty sure Malcolm Gladwell charges at least $500 an hour for this kind of thing. Hell, I wouldn’t do it for less than a hundred.
Now, from the text of your job description, it is apparent to even the most gin-soaked intelligence — mine — that you could use some editorial support. This is not, however, what you appear to be in the market for. Correct me if I’m wrong, but what you seem to be proposing is for some poor, starving student in some stinking-hot hell hole to research and write a series of articles and reports for which you will pay a pittance and claim to have authored yourself. That can be called purchasing or stealing, but not authoring.
In closing, I would just like to say, “Oi Bruce, you SUCK.”
Although I sent this along, I don’t expect he’ll seriously entertain my proposal to do this work for the going rate. I would, however, like to know whether or not he was able to manage the storage option I suggested for his three dollar offer.
And now for something truly entertaining.