Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Switch

Switchin' is easy.
Oh, it's essential and you know
when you flick it,
you can start a new episode.

--Golden Earring

(A.P. Somewhere in Virginia)

While attempting to determine the thought process of whoever it was that felt it might be a good idea to send Air Force One flying 15000 feet over Manhattan accompanied by a fighter jet without telling anybody, scientists at the Gilahi Institute of What The Hell Were You Thinking (GIWHWYT) have discovered a small 'switch' in the human brain that allows ordinary individuals to seamlessly move from Plan A to Plan B with no adverse affects on the surrounding population. People with adequate switches in their brain can accommodate unexpected changes so readily that anyone who observes their behavior would not even realize that the switch has been utilized. Some individuals appear not to have this switch. These individuals become so completely focused on Plan A that any unexpected event causes them to appear to be drooling idiots to anyone who might witness their behavior. These individuals are now thought to be the cause of all violence, road rage, war, premature balding, heart attacks, strokes, cramps, wardrobe malfunctions, eye tics, stock market crashes, bad movies, economic downturns, rap music, halitosis, accidental pregnancy, and Milli Vanilli.

Scientists were surprised to observe that both 'switch-enabled' (SE) and 'switch-deficient' (SD) individuals had a nearly overwhelming urge to beat the crap out of SD individuals.

This is big news. It explains a lot. The article goes on to cite examples of the thought patterns of SE/SD individuals in different circumstances:

SE: Darn, I'm already in line at the grocery store and I forgot to pick up a bag of Potato Poopies for little Hiram's lunch. Now I have to get out of line and it will probably add 10 minutes to my shopping experience.
SD: Darn, I'm already in line at the grocery store and I forgot to get that jar of Anti Monkey Butt for Aunt J-Lo. I can't possibly get out of line so I'll just leave my cart full of groceries here and block everybody else while I continue shopping.

SE: Oops! Missed my exit. Now I have to either turn around at the next interchange or take an alternate route.
SD: Oops! Missed my exit. There's nothing else I can do, so I'll just pull over to the shoulder and back my car down the expressway to get back to it.

SE: Uh-oh. I should be turning left here and I'm not in the left-turn lane. Now I have to either turn around at the next opportunity or take an alternate route. (See above)
SD: Uh-oh. I should be turning left here and I'm not in the left-turn lane. But I'm turning left here. I'll turn on my signal and block traffic until the left-turn lane is completely clear and then make an illegal turn. People sure do blow their horns a lot.

SE: My program crashed. I need to find the problem and fix it.
SD: My program crashed. I know the code is good so I'll just run it again. My program crashed. I know the code is good so I'll just run it again. My program crashed.... (this SD was never heard from again).

SE: Even though the phone is ringing, I'm assisting this customer in person so I will ignore it.
SD: Yes, we have those in blue, green, red and.... Hello, thank you for calling Ye Olde Flip-Flop Shoppe.

SE: This person seems bored/uninterested/horrified. Perhaps I'll ask them a probing question or simply change the subject.
SD: ...and despite the nosebleeds, I just can't seem to keep my finger out of there blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah-de-blahblah....

SE: I thought about eating this doughnut, but I've added a couple of pounds lately so I'm going to pass.
SD: I've added a couple of pounds lately, but I thought about eating this doughnut so I have to eat this doughnut.

SE: "Trickle-Down Economics" is a failed theory. The idea that "a rising tide lifts all boats" is only workable if you're so out of touch with reality that you believe everyone has a boat.
SD: Ronald Reagan was a god.

SE: That Gilahi is a very insightful guy.
SD: I keep reading this Gilahi guy and he's just not very funny.

It appears that there may be hope for the development of an artificial switch which could be implanted in the brains of SD individuals. Unfortunately the surgery is fatal a large percentage of the time. Half the scientists at GIWHWYT want to refine the technique until the operation is considered safe. The other half feel that an 80% fatality rate in the target group is really not such a great loss after all.

I suspect there's a new telethon in the future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great Ideas #1 and 2

Wife and I have become quite the social butterflies of late.

I'm from the Atlanta area and Wife is from somewhere north of here. We were, shall we say, pretty well established and living on our own when we met. We each had our own circle of friends, hers up north and mine down south. Maybe this is a pattern that couples go through, but for the early part of our relationship we spent most of our time with each other. We would occasionally see friends, but it was always an effort due to distance.

She used to lament our lack of outside contact and sigh that we needed to make new friends.

Not so much any more. Witness our schedule for this month (gleaned from our shared Google calendar):

March 29 - Lunch with friends in Columbia
April 4 - Lunch with blogger friends, Evening birthday party for neighbor
April 11 - Lunch with friend
April 12 - Brunch with relatives in Baltimore
April 13 - Happy hour with blogger friends
April 17, 18 - Visit family in NJ
April 18, 19 - Visit long-neglected friend in NJ
April 23 - Jazz concert at the Birchmere with friends
April 25 - Lunch with blogger friend, Party at blogger friends' home
April 26 - Lunch with friend

Note that there are only one or two occasions above where we'll be seeing any of the same people, and this doesn't include half the people to whom we still have outstanding social obligations. Also, we still make the effort to go on a date every single weekend, just so we can spend some time with each other and treat each other to some place nice.

While gazing out at our back yard last night, I commented that we needed to do some weeding. Wife pointed out that we simply don't have any free weekends on our calendar any more.

Thus came great idea #1, with full credit to Wife: "We should invite all of our friends over here to pull weeds." How great is that? It could be like a painting party where we provide pizza and beer. Since our yard is just really not that big and since we have approximately 9,547 friends, the yard work would be done in 10 minutes and then it's just a matter of waiting for the pizza guy.

I built on that with great idea #2. You know how marketers are always re-casting things with cool names so that it sounds like something it's not? I suggested that we just send messages to all of our friends inviting them to a "Weed Party".

"We'll provide the weed, you just have to take a pull."

Brilliant. Everybody would show up and wouldn't know the real party theme until we started handing out the gardening gloves.

And I suspect it would probably have the added effect of clearing our calendar for the next few months, until we could make some new friends.

Speaking of friends, thanks to Bilbo for bestowing a "Friendship Award" upon me:

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I've never met the man, and we often have conflicting points of view. However we are reasonable (if occasionally stubborn) guys, and respect the idea that different people may have different takes on things. What a concept. I have every confidence, though, that if we spent a couple of hours in a room somewhere with a little bourbon and an adequate supply of ice, we could between the two of us solve all of the world's social, political, and economic woes.

If only someone would listen to us.

Thanks, Bilbo!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hurrah for!

You may recall my last post in which I expressed some dismay at an advertisement for an online university website offering me a quick degree if I had an interest in "Public Speach". This didn't even take into account the whole idea of getting a degree in "Speach" on the Internet where people don't typically hear you speak. And I didn't even mention the fact that "speech" is a noun and they really meant "public speaking" (or perhaps "speeking").

Well, I'm proud to say that the good folks at are continuing to pursue their fine tradition of academic excellence, despite the fact that they're still trying to sell me something using Christmas trees in April.

Popup ads irk me. The fact that the Google ad blocker is such a piece of crap that it blocks almost no ads at all irks me.

However occasionally an ad does make my life easier and brings me some joy. Witness the latest ad that I got that Google failed to block:

Again, you probably can't see what I immediately saw. Suffice to say the "Public Speach" is now not the only thing for which I could pursue a degree via this august institution.

I thought for a bit about a rant regarding this, but I did that before. Upon further consideration, I realized that a picture really is worth the thousand words I could have written.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Know You're All Wondering Why I Called You Here

There is a certain website that I like to go to (only at night and on weekends, of course) that has hundreds of games that I can play for free. The biggest downside of this site is that before each game I have to sit through the display of an ad for 30 seconds or so while my game is "loading". The only good thing about this is that sometimes the ads can be as diverting as the games. Take this one from, for instance:

You can see my source of amusement, can't you? No? It's not enough that they're showing me Christmas trees in April, let's zoom in on the seventh tree from the left:

That's right, internetters, according to the small type on the left, if your talent is "Public Speach", then you're just one online form away from a degree. And if you think the irony here is the idea of getting a "speach" degree online where no one can actually hear you speak, then you've entirely missed the point (and I do have one, as Ellen Degeneres says).

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm somewhat anal when it comes to spelling and grammar. I remember being on a fishing trip and seeing a small general store that had its offerings listed all around the front of the building: Bait, Tackle, Snacks, Soft Drinks, Beer, Flim. Yes, flim. My first thought was that if anyone should know how to spell, it should be a sign painter. But then I remembered Gene Wilder's character, The Waco Kid, talking to Cleavon Little as Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles: "Come on. What did you expect? These are simple people. People of the land. You know... morons." So I let it go.

Then there's the "Wafle Shop" in Alexandria, near The Birchmere. There's a huge awning with "Wafle Shop" on two sides of the building. At least this gets peoples' attention, though, and from everything I hear that's pretty much all this establishment has going for it aside from the fact that they're open 24 hours a day.

But come on. Here's a web designer creating an ad for an online university fergodsake! Wouldn't you think that someone from read and approved this ad? Would you want to get a degree from a site that puts this much care and planning into what they do? Does the phrase, "Do you want fries with that" qualify as public speach? How about, "Welcome to Wal-Mart"?

It makes me wonder if they have degree programs in riting, bookkeaping, bizness, fizzix, or furrin langwidge.

When you get your degree certificate from, instead of saying that you graduated Magna Cum Laude, it should say that you chose this school Lawdy How Come?

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