John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 98: I Haven’t Seen His Winky Do A Wee

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Annoyingly in Episode 98 of Rum Doings, we don’t discuss which letters of the alphabet should be removed. But instead we gain insight into the tragedy of John’s life.

We learn how Philadelphian trains cause rampant terrorism, paedophilia and puns. Nick dunks himself into a nice mug of tea, and we consider the artificial nature of jellyfish, the artifice of Hollywood, the artistry of The Artist, and how we hit our wives.

Did Nick ever microwave his baby? Does Dexter still have a pee-pee? Are Smarties right for you? And then we talk about Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s hack, before we move onto Nick’s extraordinary array of retro computer floppy disc sound effects. It’s a thing to behold. Finally we celebrate American diners, then question whether such a thing is possible without poorly paid illegal immigrants.

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11 Comments for this entry

  • mister k

    Good stuff. I know very little about American diners, but it strikes me the problem with illegally employed workers is that either employment law is a good thing or a bad thing. If its a good thing it should apply to everyone, and thus people shouldn’t be illegally employed. If its a bad thing it shouldn’t apply at all. Currently they are having their cake and eating it, which seems a tad inconsistent.

    John is wrong about Haywire, I’m afraid. Its not terribly good. After a rather enthusiastic review from Kermode and the AV club, I persuaded a couple of friends to go along. The action scenes are certainly good, but even some of them draw on (the on foot chase is frankly tedious.. its two people running in a straight line, and with the music cut out we don’t even have the fun of that as in Run Lola Run), and the in between bits are a bit dull. The lead actress simply can’t act, and that is a problem, because I’m not entirely sure why I should care about her. If it wants to be a full out action movie then it can by all means, but honestly needs more action a la Ong Bak.

    That said, John is very right about My Brother, My Brother and Me, which is very funny. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Arthur

    I don’t have any stats, but my understanding is that illegal immigrant hirings are primarily a problem with construction work and food production rather than restaurants. These tend to be jobs Americans typically don’t want to work, and they are relatively easy to pay under the table for.

  • Jambe

    I haven’t listened yet, but I will say that Latinos dominate kitchens in virtually every kind of restaurant here, from the lowliest rusty spoon on up to the hoitiest of the toity establishments.

    The staffers at higher-end places tend to be naturalized or at least possessed of temp visas, but most towns above 30k or so population have at least a handful of “Mexican” restaurants staffed and often owned by Latinos, most of questionable immigration status. Some of them only serve bastardized TexMex (nachos, dips, chimichangas, etc) but many offer good-ol’ enchiladas in chile sauce or tasty sopes or even breakfast empanadas if the joint opens early in the day (most don’t).

    Latinos here do anything menial that can be payed for with cash (or indeed via barter), so lawn and garden work, construction, car washing, cooking, meat processing, hand-picking of produce, maid services, etc. Also, as you go further south, the Caucasian hillbillies that drive pickups around collecting aluminium cans to sell slowly become more Latino. Many people do it in El Caminos or the ubiquitous gray Honda pickups…

    There was an apropos This American Life that ran just a few days ago about Alabama’s screwy “self deportation” law and how it’s affecting Latinos in the state, and how such legislation is becoming popular among Republicans nationwide (Mitt Romney was spewing the rhetoric just recently).

    Eh. It’s just another example of American extravagance and complacency — were we an ethical people, we would revamp the immigration system to let these folks work here (and become residents if they want), and we would repeal all the stupid money-burning Drug War legislation that’s turned every Central American nation into a cartel-ridden war zone. Ah well.

  • Jambe

    That was a good one! Also, yay for mention of Shedd Aquarium! Although I think the Field Museum is just as interesting…

  • Xercies

    It was quite weird being in America and getting really nice service ad then finding out that a lot of them had some kind of handicap or from a diffrent ethnic background. But yeah i cant help but want that service in these islands, even if i find it a little uneasy.

  • EthZee

    Thank you, Jon – I was listening to this whilst out on a walk this morning (lovely weather for it) and just as I was passing by some fellow clearing his driveway your baby-in-microwave “well, maybe just a couple of seconds…” remark made me cackle out loud.

    Regards diners: I’d also wonder whether or not the lack of minimum wage does something to encourage friendly service in the US – from what I’ve heard, tips are pretty much a requirement for a living wage if you work in a service industry. Good service encourages good tips.
    (I thought this seemed an obvious point – so obvious it’s most likely incorrect)

  • devlocke

    I’ve worked in a few restaurants, but I’m in a mid-East Coast area that is not coastal, so maybe we don’t have as many illegal immigrants as other places do? I’ve seen (presumed) Mexicans with no ability to speak English at all working as dishwashers; they were the only Spanish-speakers in the place, so there was no way for them to speak Spanish with others in the workplace but also no way for them to learn English. They just washed dishes and then left; didn’t speak to anyone at all. When speaking to them was necessary, it was really frustrating, or – when someone who had taken Spanish in school was working – just a little annoying, cuz’ there was a bad interpreter greasing the works. Definitely isn’t the norm (in RVA at least) for the entire back of the house to be illegal immigrants.

  • Jambe

    Yeah, I might have made it out like they’re the majority of all cooks, but there’s a decided mix even where I am (southern Indiana). There are a great many Spanish-speakers in kitchens, though. In my experience, they only tend to be on the wait staff at Mexican restaurants, though.

    wrt floppy disks, here’s a fun illustration:

  • jonathan

    I really, really love the Shedd. I had some lovely experiences there, chief among them my wife and I wandering into an off-limits part by mistake and ending up watching a newborn beluga calf swimming around with its mama and being permitted to stay. I’m getting all choked up just thinking about it.

    There was also a day where there was free entry to the upper floors, but we weren’t interested in that and paid for full entry, and the downstairs areas were _deserted_. It was so nice.

    I’ve said bad things about Chicago in the past, but you really can’t deny it has some of the best museums. The Art Institute, the Field, the Shedd … and some lovely smaller museums too — the Museum of Mexican Art is fantastic and going there means you’re in the heart of Mexican Chicago, meaning good food is guaranteed.

  • jonathan

    Also, they have those excellent pop-up sand eels, and I could spend hours just watching the otters play in their big tank.

  • Alex

    I still miss the two differently-pitched three-note buzzes my 386’s floppy drives would make as the machine booted.