Stop Dismantling the Language

Coworker: “How would you pronounce that word?”
Me: “Matte”
Coworker: “No! It should be Matté!”

Me: “Wait a second! You complained when I said ‘Frappe’ should be pronounced ‘Frappé’ – this is exactly the same thing!”

Coworker: “Yeah, but I know that one!”

It’s eerie how similar this conversation was with the interchange reported earlier that included a sixth grader.

At Least it’s Better Than a Vial of Blood

I just went to a cardiac health screening here, where they measured my blood pressure, cholesterol, height, and weight.  When I left, they handed me two things:

  1. A folder, with information on cholesterol, blood pressure, and other health considerations.
  2. A small, unmarked box

I forgot about the box, at first, but now I’ve just opened it.  It’s a carabiner keyring.  Yes, that’s right: to commemorate my completing the cardiac health screening, I got a carabiner keyring.

This makes absolutely no sense at all.  Am I meant to use this to climb to a higher level of cardiac health?  I feel like I now need a mental health screening.  Or somebody else does.

That’s Your Answer to Everything

mentioned back in February how a popular hosting provider had recommended web space as the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

Today I got an e-mail headed, “Looking for a unique way to show Mom you love her?  Give Mom a customized website.”

This has to be the least intelligent marketing campaign ever.  I admit it’s a nice thought to create a website for Mom with family photos and “letters of appreciation” (as the e-mail recommends).  It’s certainly nicer than the outcome that would surely follow any guy on the planet uttering the phrase, “Here, honey, I got you a web hosting contract.  Let’s go celebrate.”  Still, let’s not get carried away with the Hallmark Holiday marketing campaigns.

If the Address is Legit You Must Acquit

“Your name has been selected by the Jury Commissioners for prospective jury service.”

I’m the sort of person who would normally be very glad to read that. I’ve never served as a juror, and while I do not overestimate the excitement of serving on a jury outside a Hollywood set, I do value the sense of civic duty.

Watch an episode of The West Wing called “In This White House” from early in the second season. It features a strong sense of civic duty, and contains one of twelve Aaron Sorkin moments that’s guaranteed to make me cry.

So I should have been glad to receive a notice about jury duty. Instead, I am just amused. See, the return address on the envelope begins:

“Chittenden County Clerk”

Some of you may not be sufficiently familiar with the geography, so I will introduce three facts:

  1. Boston is in Suffolk County
  2. “Suffolk” is not just another spelling of “Chittenden”
  3. Chittenden County is in Vermont

This leads us to three interesting conclusions.

First, it would be hard to serve on a jury in another state. Unless they have better teleconferencing hardware than I expect.

Second, I could apparently have voted in Vermont for the last two years, while also voting in Boston.

Third, Vermont is comfortable asking me to serve as a juror even though I haven’t paid them any taxes in the last two years. If they think I still live there, shouldn’t that have come to somebody’s attention by now?


Rob Reiner: “Jack Nicholson himself – I’ll never forget this – when we did the courtroom scene, when Jack has that famous monologue (‘You can’t handle the truth!’) we did that scene from maybe 15 different angles before we got to him and Jack was off camera for all of these and he said he wanted to do his last. In other words, he wanted us to come around and shoot him after having shot everybody else because it would give him a chance to keep working at it.

“Now, in doing his off-camera performance for everybody else’s reaction he did it full out – every single time, full out.

“And I said, ‘Jack, save a little – save it for the time you’re gonna be on camera….’ And he says:

“‘Rob, you don’t understand. I’m an actor. I love to act, and this is a rare time when I’ve gotten really good material so I can act.'”

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Rows

[bobbojones@test parking] > select count(1) from mbta_passes;
| count(1) |
|   179399 |
1 row in set (27.65 sec)

That’s just not cool.  It took 27.65 seconds to count the number of rows?  Using a small subset of test data?  On a test server that nobody else was using at the time of that query?  That is just not cool.

Remind Your Lungs How Much They Like the Taste of Air

“She is gonna call me ‘Point B’ because that way she knows that no matter what happens she can always find her way to me. And I’m gonna paint the solar system on the backs of her hands, so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, ‘Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.'”

This poet, Sarah Kay, is absolutely, completely, and in all other ways amazing.

  1. Hand Me Downs
  2. Point B
  3. Hands
  4. Hiroshima
  5. Jellyfish
  6. And Found

Some of those are very hard to hear, so either get headphones or just be ready to turn the volume way up.

I honestly don’t think I’ve heard words that powerful since Sorkin’s West Wing.

Gary, Indiana, Let Me Say it Once Again

At first the trailer for American Teen looks like a cliché flick about life in high school. Then it becomes clear it’s a documentary about genuine cliché teens – who are cliché for a reason. It reminds me a lot of This American Life, though there’s no real connection.

You must watch the trailer, if only to hear an actual real-life high school guy say aloud in the presence of a girl, “There’s a lot of grease on the table now. Because I put my face on it.”

Mommy, My Drugs Smell

“My avatar’s dressed like a whore.” – Tina Fey, of Rock Band (the PS3 game) in Baby Mama.

Now, in the words of Nurse Roberts in My T.C.W., “Mmm.  Good show today.”

First, let’s consider the girl standing next to me on the T who spent the whole ride griping (on the phone) that her Navy boyfriend won’t tell her where he’s going on the boat.  (Note: “boat” not “ship”)  Sure, he doesn’t actually know where they’re going, ’cause the Navy doesn’t advertise the location of its fleet to anybody who asks, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable that she doesn’t know.

Second, let’s recognize the homeless guy who called me a cracker.  Yeah.  Seriously.  He also observed that I think my drugs don’t smell.  I don’t have any idea what that means, but based on his inflection I infer it’s bad.  It would apparently be preferable if I thought my drugs smelled.  (This, incidentally, was in response to my horrific rudeness in not pounding his offered fist.)