Rants & Raves


  1. The diminutive “paddy” has been discussed here on occasion and it was interesting to note that the dreadful, loathsome Merc used “St. Patrick’s Day” in a respectful, responsible way, while the progressive Metro used “St. Paddy’s Day” on its cover.

    Maybe we should have a contest to see what diminutives are acceptable for African Americans, Jewish Americans, American Latinos, Chinese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Muslim Americans.

    Let’s see.  To arrive at “Paddy” from “Patrick,” we turn the “T” sound into a “D” sound and add an “EE” sound.  Just imagine what anti-Semites could do with the word “Jewish” or what other haters could do to “Chinese” or “Latino.”  And we don’t see these labels promoted on the cover of progressive weekly magazines.

    It is a serious flaw in San Jose’s cultural life that there is no general support for a slur-free society. This failure to imagine a slur-free society is what brought “political correctness” into existence two decades ago. 

    PC began as an exploration of society to determine who has power by determining who claims the supremacist power to name and label whom. Of course, PC went too far and has swallowed its own tail, Ouroboros-style, to become the opposite of its promising beginning.

    But let’s think through the names and labels we hurl at one another for the simple reasons of good manners and respect.

  2. 1.  Just keep the paddies out of my neighborhood.

    2.  Paddy is a funny term.  I think it is funny and slurs cannot be about terms that are funny to a group of people.

    3.  This reminds of the joke of the two paddies, Pat and Mike.  They both were appointed to a Human Rights Commission.  Now, Pat says to Mike, “How many commissioners does it take to replace a light bulb.”  Mike says, “Three, and four more if there are any paddies on the commission.”  Pat says, “Begora, I will not laughing at the term ‘paddy.’  Mike says, “Have a shot of this Paddy Whisket by the Moon.”  Pat says, “Under protest”

  3. #2- Said, “But let’s think through the names and labels we hurl at one another for the simple reasons of good manners and respect.” I agree 100%. Now may be the media can follow that good piece of advise themselves, and stop shortening Christmas to X-Mas, and St. Particks Day to Paddy.

  4. PNPS #2,
    When we apply a nickname to an individual, in most instances it is a gesture of friendliness and familiarity. Only the most insecure and prickly among us take offense at something that they well know was not intended that way. I don’t believe the Metro intended any insult by using “Paddy” and it’s ungracious and ill mannered to act as though they did.
    Lighten up and stop looking for “hate” in everything you hear. Try imagining that you may be overestimating the level of bigotry and hatred that actually exists.

  5. Hugh #1,
    Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
    Science has become the basis of a new religion. People don’t understand the science that is preached to them by the scientists (priests) but they blindly believe in it on FAITH.
    The people meekly cower as the sermon is delivered. They are scolded for committing the original sin of burning fossil fuels. They promise to repent, but they are but weak sinners and they yield to temptation.
    “Verily I say unto you”, comes the thundering voice from the pulpit. “Continue to worship false idols, such as freedom and independence, and ye shall be rent asunder with massive floods, fire, disease, and pestilence. Worship me and only me and surely ye shall find redemption.”

    Well anyway, you get the idea.
    Government policy is now being directed by the high priests of the church of “scientism”. They are in control and any dissenting opinion is considered to be heresy.

  6. #5-John Galt,
    Paddy No has a right to his or her opinion. Often times, and for many, the media unfortunately sets the tone for PC behavior. I don’t think the objection made is one of looking for hate, but rather asking the media not to take privileges none of the rest of us are allowed.

    While I would most certainly agree with you that most nicknames are meant in a friendly, familiar way, I would still object to hearing one African American greeting another with the term, Hey “N” what’s up! Do they have the right to do that, by God they sure do, but do I have a right to be offended by it, you bet! It is just a matter of being respectful to others and one another, and not excusing the media from setting a bad example to members of the public.

  7. May the wind be at your back, #5, but your posting has three problems. 

    #2 did not claim that “Paddy” was offensive.  But the use of a diminutive does reflect a claim to have the right to name the other.  In most cross-cultural conversations, it is well established that each person has the right to pick his or her name or label.  For all its charm and insight, Metro is not an expression of Irish-American sentiments. Your claim that we accused Metro of seeking to offend is wildly off the point.

    We also did not talk about “hate” so your assumption that we did needs some refinement. 

    In addition, we did not claim that Metro intended any insult.  It doesn’t take “intent to insult” to use an unwanted name.  Consider how some attendees at an NAACP convention failed to appreciate Ross Perot’s use of “you people” or how the Mercury News blasted a Cupertino council member who referred to a demographic as “these people.”  I doubt the usage of those two terms was based on intent to insult. 

    The next time an issue like this comes up, please do us the courtesy of rebutting what we said, not what you imagine we said.

    Let’s think through the names and labels we hurl at one another for the simple reasons of good manners and respect.

  8. Patrick Redux et al in #8,

    I guess I missed previous discussions of this topic and wasn’t fully briefed on the latest official PC position regarding usage of the term “paddy”.

    3 problems with my post? Problem 3 appears to be a redundant restatement of Problem 1.

    Problem 2 is my supposed misapprehension that you had said anything about “hate”. Reread paragraph 3 of your original post. It clearly implies that “paddy” is a label chosen by “haters”. 

    Look. I think you know what I meant and, true to form you don’t care what I meant. It’s more important that you’re able to cry, “Gotcha!” Your second post demonstrates perfectly that progressive PC enthusiasts have no interest in substance- only that phrasing and labeling conform to their current standards.
    My point is that the recipient of a label has it in his or her power not to take umbrage (There. Is that more acceptable terminology?) at that label and in doing so liberates both the labeler and the labelee from a silly and unnecessary impediment to further discourse.
    This phobia about saying the wrong thing is ingrained to the point that people take offense simply because they think it’s their duty to take offense. We’re denied the freedom to be an individual and express what we think. We’re required to represent the official platform of some group.
    You want a society where everyone is slick-talking? As long as the words are right it doesn’t matter what they really think? Well, I’d say you’ve got 95% of what you want but evidently won’t be satisfied until it’s 100%.

  9. #10,

    It’s too bad the American people weren’t similarly outraged when politically appointed directors of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were being awarded gigantic bonuses for mismanaging those agencies.
    If Barney Frank had done his job we would not even be in this position. But alas, Barney Frank is a Democrat and continues merrily along as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
    Why isn’t anybody angry about that?

  10. Hello all,
    Using your writing talent, you may want to help send your thoughts to the White House. I also hope the media will make a big deal about this issue and won’t let it dies down without the expected result. Thank you.
    I don’t know if it would do any good, but I have sent this today:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ , http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl/
    Dear Mr. President:

      We sincerely hope you and your staff won’t fail us in blocking the AIG bonuses as you pledged, “I’ve asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses”.  As you said, “that is an ethic that we have to demand”.

      We also wholeheartedly agreed with your statement that “everybody involved needs to understand this is not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about our fundamental values”. 

      What else can happen if this is happening and nothing can be done, and how one can hope living in a supposedly great country that leaders let fundamental values disappear?

      We are anxiously waiting for the better news and we look forward to a better overall economy.


    The White House Blog. Help for small business, condemnation for AIG bonuses, March 16, 2009. Retrieved at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/03/16/Help-for-small-business-condemnation-for-AIG-bonuses/

  11. Begora, Begora, and it is so nice to be here in the neighborhood of Pete Campbell.  We want to give San Jose’s favorite shoneen, Peter, some of the corn beef and cabbage we have been saving for him.  No doubt Peter has made a lot of jokes today about paddies and put on his Orange sash and bowler hat.  Too la roo, Peter, and try to learn your background, you will be happier!

  12. #11- John Galt,
    “Why isn’t anybody angry about that?”

    Who says we weren’t and aren’t? I think just about everyone is fed up with these ALL these disgusting opportunistic thieves. But again, the media drives the information we do and do not get so; I guess everyone’s outrage is only placed in the media, when THEY think it should be.

    FYI- Speaking of bias reporting, did you see Herhold’s latest piece in the Mercury News? Disbanding a city commission because they are being used as a pawn? Give me a break! So much for Sunshine…


  13. Barney Frank is as plug uselss as teats on a bull.  Had he not been sleeping around, perhaps he could have mustered up a couple of brain cells and avoided being largely responsible for the mortgage mess.

  14. Have a non-racist, non-sectarian, non-political, non-offensive, non-inebriated, non-stereotypical Saint (spelled out because “St.” would, no doubt, offend someone) Patrick’s Day.

    Gee, that sounds dull, almost British.

    But St. Paddy’s Day, now that sounds like fun!

  15. “i do not regard ‘paddy’ as a ethnic slur.”  Peter the Shoneen.

    On July 12th, and you can read about this in the novel TRINITY, the Orangemen would march to a song,


    You would think someone who served on a Human Relations Commission would know that a term used in a parade to attack an ethnic group is a slur.  But they did subsidize their tennis shops when redeveloped!  Good for Ulster!

  16. 13 – Are you saying Herhold’s column is biased? If so, in what way? You do know his column is an opinion column, don’t you? You have said you have journalism training so I am sure you know the difference between a news story and an opinion piece.

    14 – Is that the best you can do? “Had he not been sleeping around…” Really, what are you, in 3rd grade? It’s no wonder the level of some of the discussion on this blog has deteriorated so much with childish comments like that.
    There’s plenty of blame to go around, why not focus on the substance…for a change?

  17. Just Wondering,

    “Is that the best you can do?”  Gee whiz, now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings!

    My job in life is not to impress you, one who is too ashamed or timid to use your real name.  Next time you want to come to the table, don’t hide behind your mom’s skirt.

    And BTW, Barney’s bed partner did hold a top position in one of the quasi-public secondary mortgage investment institutions. So, yes, his unrelenting push to allow any and all potential homebuyers access to a mortgage was indeed substantive.

  18. 18 – Greg (or whatever your real name might be)so now the names people use here bothers you—too bad. This issue has been discussed to death here so I won’t go over old ground again. You will just have to deal with it.
    Your argument that Barney’s bed mate is the reason (or at least a main reason) for the mortgage meltdown is a stretch, but for the sake of argument let us assume that is why we are now facing an economic crisis. If only he had slept with someone outside of the financial industry, we might all be counting our money instead of our losses. If only. I hadn’t looked at this from your perspective, but now I see where we went wrong. It can all be traced to Barney’s bedroom. Who knew.

  19. #17-Just Wondering,
    Yes, I know it is an editorial, and YES, he is bias! He also writes regular news stories in the same manner. I guess you haven’t read much of his stuff in the Merc over the years.

  20. Just Wondering,

    I’m just wondering why Barney Frank still holds the position which he mismanaged to such a degree that the economic system almost collapsed. Isn’t anybody concerned about this guy’s competence?
    If it wasn’t for the fact that he’d enjoy it, I’d say he ought to be run out of town on a rail.

  21. “Just,”

    Indeed, had Barney kept his fly zipped and not steered legislation, lenders and the secondary mortgage market into hopeless loans, we could well be in a much better situation. 

    Now, we’re faced with Barney being indignant regarding the AIG bonuses.  He’d like us to believe that he’s part of the solution instead of one of the more prominent causes of the problem.  What a joke! 

    Oh, and sure thing, “Just” – remain anonymous if you choose.  I for one have difficult in thinking that anyone hiding behind a pseudonym is credible.  Anyway, must be bedtime for you… go put your your jammies on now and let your mom read you one of your little Golden Books.

  22. I always get a chuckle when I drive by the offices of Abbott, Stringham, and Lynch on Leigh Ave. Now if they could just get rid of Abbott and replace him with Ketchum they’d probably be mistaken for the local chapter of the KKK!

  23. #23 Andrew:

    Not to dis someone who is out of work, but here’s some constructive criticism.

    As someone who has spent many years on the other side of the hiring equation It’s pretty easy to understand why the manager wasn’t interested in your application.

    Put yourself in his shoes: An applicant comes in who A)Thinks the restaurant’s service sucks. B)Says, in effect, “Experience? I’ve never done the job but, thanks to my unrelated experience I could do it.” and C)Argues about the job requirements and the nature of the work.

    Would YOU hire this person? Or would you hire one of the dozens of other applicants who have experience and a better attitude?
    (And is a 20 minute wait for a job interview really that great of an inconvenience?)

    Maybe you and the Elephant Bar aren’t such a good fit after all? Just a thought. 

    Meanwhile, good luck with your job search.

  24. Here is my rant of the day… Ready?  OK, let’s go!

    Not too long ago I went to the Elephant Bar in Campbell to apply for a waiter job (good money, fun work, why not right?).

    Keep in mind that in my experience the service at this specific Elephant Bar is pathetic!  Especially at the bar and bar seating area.  So I think, “Jeeze! I’m an energetic, personable, and responsible young guy that knows what people expect when dinning. If they hire horrible people with no personality and no desire to actually work, why not me?!”

    Crazy thinking right?  I didn’t think so at the time.  Oh was I wrong… =/

    After filling out this ridiculously long application and waiting for 20 minutes for the other 10 people waiting to interview, I finally get called up to sit at a booth with the hiring manager.

    HIM: “First question, do you have any serving experience?”

    ME: “No but I’ve been a personal trainer for over 6 years, I’m organized, I have a great work ethic, and I have great people/customer service skills.  Also a keen ability to read whether someone is going to want a lot of attention or just to come by and maintain a full glass while staying attentive in case they need something.”

    HIM:  -Rude tone- “We’re only hiring people that have serving experience.”

    ME:  “I’m confident I can learn very quickly and work hard to be one of your best servers.”

    HIM: “It will take too long to teach you the food ordering computer system.”

    ME: “I’m confident I can figure it out very quickly.  I’ve handled multiple register systems in the past.”

    HIM: -Macho tone- “Probably not, it is very complex.”

    ME: “I doubt it.  Also I’ve experience pretty bad service in the past but keep coming back for the food.  I’m confident I can satisfy your customers needs better than many servers I’ve encountered in the past.  And if you’re not hiring anyone without experience should first off mention that in your ad and not waste half these peoples time.  Second, it probably isn’t the smartest plan of action to be rude to someone that has been a customer for years and comes back despite the bad service.”

    Interview over…

    That’s my rant…  To sum it up though, hire people that are passionate about the job and have a desire to work hard, not just those that have the experience and could care less.

    Speaking of which, anyone need a hard working customer service specialist, personal trainer, web development student, or plain ol cheerful assistant, I’m your guy.

    admin [at] sanjosecityliving.com

  25. Could someone explain begorra to me.  My grandparents were from Ireland, and immigrated to Boston; and they told me they’d never heard the word spoken by any Irish person—either in Ireland or in Boston.

  26. #25

    Thanks for the constructive criticism!

    While I am always thankful for constructive criticism, I must argue and clarify a few points.

    1.  I went in with the best possible and up-beat attitude I could.  I came across professional and ready to get the job done.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn but I’m a pretty good interviewer.  But when it became obvious there was no changing his mind and I’d had enough of his rude remarks I decided to have fun with it.  I wasn’t coming back anyways.

    2.  I may have made a mistake of ranting about the experience because by definition, I was ranting and not attempting to truly and professionally sell myself, nor give a true play by play of the conversation while accurately portraying our tone and attitudes.

    3.  I also have been on the other side of the hiring equation many times and always value eagerness, determination, desire, and competence based on an applicants past experience (given the job isn’t technical and they can be taught the job specifics).  Ex: Most important aspects to being a server:  being presentable, communicate effectively, organized, and customer service. Oh and half a brain to understand a computer system which a 12 year old could figure out by himself. (Just realized that could have come off as I’m attacking but meant more as playfully sarcastic)

    4.  The hiring manager was rude, cocky, and unprofessional to me from the get go.  Even after HE asked if I came to the restaurant often and I told him my girlfriend and I come at least twice a month (sometimes more) and what my favorites are and I told him with no mention of the bad service.  Probably not smart to be unnecessarily rude to a long standing customer who you now know really enjoys the place.  FYI I’m not some 16 year old kid that has no money and doesn’t get to make the decision of where to spend his money.

    5.  For the record… is being a server THAT technical of a job?  I highly doubt it.  I’m not talking about a technical job like web development which requires specific skills and a portfolio to demonstrate ability.  Not to take away from the serving profession but it isn’t rocket science.  Most important is customer service and being attentive to your customers needs.

    And I will concede on two things:

    1.  He very well could have been frustrated that he’s BEEN hiring inexperienced people and those are the ones I’ve been having bad customer service with.  But to be honest, those that I’ve be waited on really seem a bit… out there? Aloof? Oblivious?

    2.  My potential ego might have eventually come to the surface after my multiple failed attempts (not mentioned in my dialogue) to counter his objections with relative skills to the job.

    And you said, “Argues about the job requirements and the nature of the work.”

    The primary job requirement I “argued” about was a computer system in which you order food with. 

    In my experience I have worked with many based on other jobs I’ve had.  And maybe it took HIM a long time to figure out a primitive technology but by no means does that suggest others will.  And in my opinion, knowing the menu and food ranks much higher in importance.  So when the manager stated the difficulty, I brought that fact up in a very strategic way… (here is my actual response) “While I haven’t used a restaurants register system, I’ve worked on various registers in the past and with my computer background, I’m confident I could learn it quite quickly.  And I also understand knowing the menu and the food is also an integral part of being a server.  Based on the fact I’ve been coming here for many years and I’ve tried just about everything on the menu, I think that would go a long way towards adding to my value as a candidate.”

    I’m glad you gave me the chance to clarify though!  The last thing I want is to come off the way you perceived it.  But maybe you still feel the same way?

  27. #26: I take your point about rude hiring managers, and am sorry if I hit a nerve. That is inexcusable. 

    Like most people these days I know people who are out of work and trying hard to find a job. They frequently tell me of rude interviewers and just plain shabby treatment.

    Still, in times of high unemployment the cold hard reality is that businesses have a wider pool of candidates and can afford to be choosy. If a restaurant only wants to talk to experienced waiters, so be it. It could be, as you suggest, that they end up passing on a great candidate. But the reality is it’s probably more cost-effective to hire someone who knows the job from Day One than take a chance on someone who needs even a few hours of training.

    Meanwhile, next time I’m in the Elephant bar I will make a point to tip well knowing that the waiter/waitress has to report to a jerk. And again, good luck with your job search.