Monday, July 31, 2006
Here's a simple experiment. You can speak French with a better accent, more clearly and rapidly, if you extrude your lips slightly while you talk. Try it, messieurs et Mesdames! And look at pictures of the French, who often have those extruded lips.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
(two coins plink)
[somber violin music]
[makes throaty sounds]
[everyone squawking] From a Monty Pyton show.
[no audible dialog] (This one occurred during a movie scene in which people are obviously conversing, but only background music can be heard.)
Friday, July 28, 2006
But then I realized: I was using TiVo to replay a recent show. This was not today's weather.
But then I realized: It was a Philadelphia station. They often have different weather there.
But then I realized: It was an AD that had just briefly showed a weatherman delivering bad news.
But actually, it is very hot and humid here.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I used to know a chemical engineer who worked in plastics. He thought it was a sin to burn even one gallon of oil for fuel. But I must say that when you look at those dreadful tiny plastic toys that come from China and Hong Kong, you can feel there might be worse things to do with oil than burn it.
Backyard tomatoes harvested so far: Cherry, 102. Plum, 8. Big, 1. Delicious!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
How much of this can we bear? They all ought to have cell phones! The harder it gets to understand life without cell phones, the harder it will be to empathize with people who lived entirely without them.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
It was pitch dark, no moon. A man passed me on the sidewalk and I said hello to him. Then his rather large dog appeared out of the dark and passed me. Oh, he's walking his dog, I said to myself. And then it hit me. What's the dog going to do when it smells the meat? I prepared to feel wet teeth on either of my hands. Would it be the bag with the cooked meat, or - more likely - the raw?
But the dog was well-behaved. I realized it was not turning back, and so all was well.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
- influence boosted mens
- Perish unexpectedly
- prease go damage
- among brethren but shook
- Re: Megalomanias spastic
- extremely ceased symbol
- mnbdtdbb zzuztp
- Dunk Bigamy If you're not sure about this one, you'd be reassured by the message, which began: "toilet, fingerprint objector"
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I did get to watch three people deliver three-minute routines, but I'm afraid Last Comic Standing.is a Reality Show, so mostly I watched people agonizing over whom to kick out, and heard many maudlin asides and expressions of hope from the feeble cast.
Finally it hit me: Reality TV is NOT Amateur Talent TV. Television had a bunch of amateur talent shows in the past (and I hope they will never come back). Reality shows are different; they are not about people doing things really well, rather about people having a hard time with other people.
At one moment in the show I was greatly embarrassed, and I hope you will not laugh too hard at me when I explain: the three comics delivered their jokes to a theater audience of hundreds. At the end, the MC needed to find out which comedian they preferred. I expected him to ask everyone to clap in turn for each contestant, with an applause meter showing who got the loudest claps. Well that's the way they used to do it on TV, in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's ... . Instead the theater was wired, every seat having a voting box with three buttons. Every audience member pressed a button for their preferred comic, and the results of this secret ballot were instantly tabulated. Of course!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Actual Transcript of an unactualized telephone conversation:
[AOL Customer Rep:] Hello, I believe I'm speaking to John Smith at 111-555-2222, is that correct?
[John Smith:] Yes.
[AOL CR]: Your mother's maiden name is Barbaraburg, and your dog's name is Dodo, is that correct?
[JS:] Yes. What is this call about?
[AOL CR]: I'm calling to tell you that as of next month, AOL will no longer be charging your credit card for your access to the Internet. You'll be able to get on line free of charge!
[JS:] Sorry, I'm not authorized to accept that.
[AOL CR]: What?
[JS:] Look, if you stop charging my credit card, we'll just arrange to have you charge another one of our credit cards.
[AOL CR]: Look here, I'm just trying too get you to accept using the Internet for free! This is a small, welcome change to your account, that's all.
[JS:] I'm not authorized to change my account. No can do!
[AOL CR]: (sigh.) Okay, who's authorized to change your account?
[JS:] Only my father.
[AOL CR]: (sob.) And how do I get in touch with your father?
[JS:] He's dead.
[AOL CR]: What?
[JS:] He's dead.
[AOL CR]: Then how am I supposed to get in touch with him?
[JS:] Hey, that's not my problem. But if you want to change our account ...
[AOL CR]: Please, you've got to help me! They gave me a list, and I have to convert 60% of them to free accounts or they'll fire me. Jeez, I'm offering you a FREE account!
[JS:] Sorry, bud. We AOL subscribers are banding together, and we're keeping our money accounts. You'll have to keep charging us, that's all.
[AOL CR]: (Not fit to print; sobs; hangs up.)
Monday, July 10, 2006
"Concentration" is a game with a deck of cards or objects that are paired on one side, but all the same on the other side. The items are distributed randomly on a surface and you take turns turning over two cards to find matching pairs. Unmatched cards are turned face down again, but if you remember what and where they are, better than your opponents, you'll probably win.
Concentration comes in many, many forms. My grandson asked me to play some game with him, and I quickly realized he had a sort of concentration deck. I checked the rules of the game with my son, who confirmed we were indeed about to play Concentration, but he added, vaguely, "There's also another rule. Sometimes you're not allowed to play the card you want."
That made no sense to me so I ignored him and started the game. After awhile I saw my chance; a mismatched card would match a card previously turned, and I remembered where it was. As I reached for that other card, my grandson said, "You're not allowed to play that card now."
Obligingly I turned over some other card, and my grandson got the pair instead. And, I then understood the "other" rule my son had been explaining.
Now instead of calling my grandson a sneaky cheat - let's avoid the blame game - I want to move forward into the exciting new world he's created. Here are the changed rules you need to play: Blitz Concentration!
When it is any player's turn to play, he or she turns over one card, and then uses the same hand to turn over a second card. But if any other player places a hand on another card first, he may not turn that card over at this time. The other players may each block at most one other card in this way. Quickness of hand and thought are what count, in Blitz Concentration. (I suspect this game will be best with just two players. Too many players, too much defense.)
Backyard tomatoes harvested so far: Cherry, 3. Plum, 0. Big Girl, 0.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
So I suggest that ebay provide an alernative for those who want more human, easier to use auctions: sealed bids. In a sealed bid auction, the bidders do not know how much others are bidding. You simply submit your bid and find out later whether you've won. Economists approve of this type of auction, it apparently produces desireable results just as well as a competitive auction. But sealed bidding would seem to have an advantage at ebay: I cannot see how it would help to have a computer program assist you (absent hacking the auction), and you could make your one bid at any time.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
When I arrived at the company, I identified myself to the receptionist. She said, "I need to give everyone a copy of your resume, do you have it with you?"
I pulled out my usb memory and offered it to her. She had no idea what to do with it. Now obviously this was NOT the person I wanted to impess with my geekmanship. But I wound up crawling on the floor under her desk, moving her desktop computer around, managing to find a usb port and plugging my memory in. I was thankful I'd found a port at all on her relatively old computer, thankful she didn't feel too busy to allow me my crawl time. I helped her find my resume and print it.
I'm back to bringing printed resumes to interviews. Paper is a wonderful storage medium!
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Those campers probably have kids of their own now, and I bet they proudly tell them, "I learned about LotR in 1959!"
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Today I looked out the window and saw a startling sight: two brilliantly colored cardinals hovering precariously over my tomato patch, their colors a striking contrast with the green vines. How nice, I thought, pretty cardinals. But then I thought, CARDINALS PECKING AT MY TOMATO PLANTS??? And I ran outside shouting to drive them away.
Now I know there's no way I can run outside often enough to keep the cardinals away, so I started hunting for something I might put on a post, perhaps some bright, flapping fabric, to keep scaring them. But while I searched, I also asked myself what they were doing there. We seem to have cardinals in our neighborhood all year long. Why buzz my tomatoes now? Then I remembered: two days ago, I saw a Japanese beetle (the hateful thing!) on a tomato leaf. I rushed to my computer and Googled cardinals AND "Japanese beetles". Sure enough, the birds were just trying to help me out.
I hope they come back.
Monday, July 03, 2006
- The garbage men have the day off. No point putting out your garbage.
- The garbage men have to work until they're finished collecting the garbage, then they get the rest of the day off. Might as well help them finish early. Don't put out your garbage.
- The garbage men have to work all day on the holiday. Lighten their load, it's a holiday! Don't put out your garbage.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
On this occasion that I remember, Stanky hit a line drive foul ball right at those box seats; the fans dove under their seats for cover as the ball flew by, then dusted themselves off and resumed their seats. Stanky then hit a second line drive foul ball right at those box seats; the fans dove under their seats for cover as the ball flew by, then dusted themselves off and resumed their seats. Stanky hit a third line drive foul ball right at those box seats; the fans dove under their seats for cover as the ball flew by, then resumed their seats. Stanky then hit a fourth line drive foul ball right at those box seats; the fans dove under their seats, etc. Stanky then hit a fifth line drive foul ball right at those box seats; the fans dove under their seats and this time they stayed down for a bit. Then a lone arm appeared and slowly waved a white handkerchief up for all to see. (Stanky hit the next pitch in fair territory.)