From the Salt Mines: Ridiculous Interview Questions (by Sasha)

          Remember that old feminist saying (originated by Irina Dunn) that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle?

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Well, given that the Sarasota employment market is so tough, those of us searching for a job need ridiculous interview questions thrown at us as much as …. well, you get the point. With so much “riding” on a 30 minute conversation, then, it is deflating to be faced with questions that are, well, just plain stupid. And even more distressing is that the person asking the question is serious. They want an answer.

So here are some of the most memorable ones I’ve experienced or heard about as people search for a job in Sarasota (followed by a variety of imagined responses).

(1) Is this your dream job?

  • Yes, I was hoping to earn 70% less and lose most of my benefits;
  • Of course. I have nothing else to do on weekends and I even look forward to spending every holiday working here;
  • Right on. Until I’m appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, this IS my dream job.

(2) Which day of the week do you bring your best to work?

  • Tuesday. Monday I’m recovering from the weekend; Tuesday I’m back to normal; Wednesday I’m tired; Thursday I’m recovering from Hump Night; Friday I’m busy making plans for the weekend, so yes, definitely Tuesday.
  • Sorry, but I leave my best at home.
  • I bring my best every day (isn’t this answer obvious?)

Continue reading “From the Salt Mines: Ridiculous Interview Questions (by Sasha)”

The Salty Dog: Good Karma in Sarasota

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I am a Tibetan Terrier (TT), an ancient breed. I am fierce. I was bred by the Tibetans to sit for hours on top of snowy mountain peaks and to use my keen eyes and sharp bark to warn my humans about invaders. I am a watch dog.

In Tibet, the members of my breed are referred to as “Little People” and as the “Holy Dogs of Tibet.” We were never bought or sold but given to guests as good luck charms. We were gifts; we were treasured.

We are not in fact terriers; the English named us and made a mistake. There’s no terrier in our bloodline. Our Tibetan name is Tsang Apso, or bearded one from Tsang. Our hair grows thick and long. The Dalai Lama named his own TT “Senge” which means Little Lion.  We are fierce.

The move to Sarasota, although good for my sun-loving human companions, has not been as good for me. Look at me now.

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My coat has been shorn, not because I’m a shedder (because we TTs don’t shed), but because it’s so darn hot here. Really hot. All summer long. From June to September I walk around nearly naked. With this hair cut, I look like a goat. Put a clanging bell around my neck, and you’d never know I am a  TT. [This may be why some Tibetans called us “Rapso” meaning goat-haired.] But I don’t bleat. Grrrr. Even shorn, I am fierce.

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Instead of sitting atop a mountain, these days I guard the pool from my cabana.

Life is tough.

TTs are tougher.

Top 10 Things NOT to Do While Vacationing in Sarasota (by Jack)

There are lots of websites you can go to that will list things to do while you visit Sarasota and I can’t disagree with many of those recommendations. Indeed, Sarasota is a wonderful place to enjoy a wide variety of things, from the marvelous Symphony Orchestra, to the world-famous beaches, to some of the best Cuban sandwiches in South Florida. But even paradise has some dangers and some things to avoid. Below are 10 things I recommend you not do while enjoying the Sun Coast.

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1. Do not go wading in retention ponds. Sarasota has built a large number of retention ponds that help control flooding and mitigate the effects of storm-water run-off. However, since these ponds are freshwater and often connected to each other through a system of canals it is not unusual to find alligators in them at any particular time. It is not a good idea to go wading in these ponds at any time of the day or night, as Matthew Riggins would tell you (that is, if he was still alive to be able to talk to you). Riggins was a not too bright alleged burglar who was breaking into homes in Barefoot Bay when he was interrupted by the police. He fled and apparently thought it was a good idea to hide in a retention pond not far away. The police found him, or what was left of him, a few days later.

2. Do not ride a bicycle. Riding a bike anywhere in Florida is a dangerous proposition. Florida ranks second in the nation in bicycle fatalities. While the Legacy Trail is a wonderful 11-mile bike path between Palmer Ranch and Venice, avoid biking on our roads. Of the 2,300 miles of Sarasota roads only 313 miles have bike lanes. If you are one of those crazy biking Europeans and insist on biking, at least avoid Fruitville Road. For some reason drivers on Fruitville have a higher propensity for running down cyclists than drivers in other parts of the city. Continue reading “Top 10 Things NOT to Do While Vacationing in Sarasota (by Jack)”

Why FL and Every Vote Matters in Presidential Election 2016 (by Sasha)

Like it or not, here they come…

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As a swing state, Florida will be inundated with both political advertisements and visits from the Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) campaigns. We will live for the next three months with ubiquitous efforts to convince us Floridians to vote in a decisive manner so that the hanging chads and hanging presidential election outcome of 2000 will not be repeated.

Florida is an important electoral state for several reasons:

First, because it takes only 270 votes to win the Electoral College (i.e., half of the 535 total votes plus one) and Florida holds 29 of those votes (only California at 55 and Texas at 38 and have more; NYS has the same at 29), Florida is a powerhouse state. Continue reading “Why FL and Every Vote Matters in Presidential Election 2016 (by Sasha)”