Treeless and Shadeless

The tree removal crew came by this morning and quickly and professionally removed our doomed, split-down-the-center tree.  First they clipped off the branches, then they lopped off the limbs, then they sawed off the trunk at ground level, and finally they raked up the leaves and twigs.  By 2 p.m. they were done.

Our patio now sits naked, treeless and shadeless, exposed to the sun and its beating rays, and in our sawdust-strewn left flower bed a bright tan stump sits where  a mighty tree (or at least a reasonably sized one) once grew.   With the removal of that one tree, our patio has a completely different feel to it.  It will take some time to get used to the change.

The Unemployed Need Not Apply?

The Huffington Post has an interesting piece today about help wanted ads that specifically state that those who are unemployed need not apply because they will not be considered.  It’s one of those weird stories that make you shake your head and think for a while.

The one employer quoted in the piece explains that the rationale for their policy is to avoid unnecessary work by their HR people.  They want people who are happy in their current jobs who might be lured away; they don’t want to be bombarded with a bunch of resumes from unemployed people who probably aren’t qualified but who are desperately hoping they might get lucky.  A spokesperson for the National Employment Law Project, on the other hand, says that employers who try to exclude applications from the unemployed are bad corporate citizens who are falling prey to “sad and despicable” propaganda.

As the article points out, it is not illegal for employers to discriminate against the currently unemployed in their hiring decisions.  And I suppose you could give the employers in question credit for being honest about their preferences.  Wouldn’t an applicant rather know of an ironclad policy that will eliminate any chance that they might get a job, rather than spend the time, money, and emotional capital involved in applying for the job?  If the policy exists and will be enforced, amending a want ad to cut any reference to that policy seems to be a pointless exercise in exalting form over substance.

The reality, though, is that virtually everyone has been unemployed at some point in their working lives, and that many unemployed people have lost their jobs for larger economic reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of their work.  Whether a person currently holds a job clearly not an accurate proxy for the qualities that make a good employee.  Ultimately, employers who flatly refuse to hire the unemployed will just be hurting themselves — and maybe they will come to realize that fact.

The Rules For PB And J Sandwiches

Some time ago Richard posted his rules for revising movies.  I thought listing the rules was a good idea and I decided to do the same for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:

1.  No orange marmalade permitted. Some years ago I was interviewing a candidate for a position at the law firm and asked him what he thought was the best PB and J combo.  He said the jelly had to be orange marmalade.  Just the thought of it made me gag.  Orange marmalade, the veiny, goopy concoction, combined with peanut butter?  Heresy!  You might as well use marmite.

2. Keep it neat. I hate it when people make the sandwich with too much jelly.  We can argue about whether you should use grape jelly or strawberry preserves, creamy or crunchy peanut butter, white bread or wheat — but can we all agree that the sandwich should be constructed so that you can take a bite without jelly leaking out the sides and falling onto your lap?  It’s messy and wasteful.  A great sandwich is a well-constructed sandwich, and you should be able to enjoy every morsel without scraping ingredients off your pants leg.

3.  It’s a sandwich, not a dessert. I don’t get people who put bananas, sugar, and similar items in their PB and Js.  Don’t make the sandwich into some sickeningly sweet combination, and don’t try to overpower or mask the peanut taste.  Let the peanuts leave their mark on your taste buds!

4.  No fancy bread, please. In many restaurants (and even in Subways) they try to jazz up routine sandwiches by putting things on focaccia bread, oregano/cheese flatbread, and similar high brow breads.   Please resist the temptation to experiment with weird breads when you make your PB and J.  The bread is an important component of the sandwich, but it cannot and should not be the focus.

5.  Keep your butter to yourself. When I was a kid I went to a friend’s house for lunch.  His Mom served PB and Js that she prepared by first slathering butter on the bread on the jelly side of the sandwich.  I asked about it and she politely explained that the butter acted as a kind of barrier against dreaded seepage of the jelly through the bread.  I think the butter makes the sandwich a bit too slimy, plus I think a little seepage is a good thing.  Meaningful interaction between the bread, the jelly, and the peanut butter should not be avoided, but encouraged and celebrated.

The Perfect PB and J