Saturday, January 31, 2009

Question of the Day: 40

Why aren't more things done Gilbert & Sullivan style?

It just seems like such a happy, pleasant way to go through life, doesn't it? And then you could sneak songs like this past Grandma:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Question of the Day: 39.

Why do people have accents?

I know what most people would say: kids get accents through learning to talk by listening to their parents. I'm skeptical that "listening to parents" is how babies learn to talk; I talk all the time and all Mr F and Mr Bunches say so far is sha na na. Which in turn makes me think of that song Get a Job, by Sha Na Na, in which they say Sha na na na, sha na na na na -- and now you're humming that song, aren't you? -- and then I sing that song, and Mr Bunches will say sha na na back to me, so maybe, in some kind of Moebius-strip way, they are learning to talk from me.

But that's not the point. The point is, where did the accent start? Why would living in different regions of the world result in pronouncing words differently? Why is it a car if I live in Wisconsin and a "cah" if I live in Boston and however it is people in Ireland say "car?"

Oh, and the reason that some of these questions don't have answers? It's because there are people who answer questions the way this guy does: asked why people have accents, "Dr." Orville Jenkins says, and I quote, "Accents exist because people speak." (That "A" is from the original.)

Presumably, "Dr." Orville would say that people breath oxygen because they have lungs or people stand upright because they have legs. Or people say they are doctors because it's the Internet and nobody can prove them wrong.

"Dr." Orville's site is the first link you get when you google "Why do people have accents," and is the first reason I have for fearing for the future of human intelligence.

Question of the Day 38 here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: 9

“I wonder what the most intelligent thing ever said was that started with the word ‘dude.’

-- Demetri Martin

I really have nothing else I could add to that. Nothing at all.

Quote of the Day, 8 here.

I Read The News Today Oh Boy: (Tuesday, January 27, 2009)

"I Read The News Today Oh Boy" is a new thing I'm trying out here. Each week I'll spend one day taking pictures throughout my day, and then post those (probably on Wednesdays. Don't Wednesdays need a little spicing up?) It'll be mostly pictures, lessly writing -- to give an idea of what I do when I'm not pretending to give Mr F a time-out at the playground because he shoved a kid down the slide, pretending because (a) Mr F didn't know it was a time-out and (b) the kid had it coming; he was blocking the slide (c) the kid was four years old, if not older, and Mr F just took it to him, so I was secretly proud.

So here's

I Read The News Today Oh Boy
For Tuesday, January 29, 2009:

1. Our kitchen, 7:40 a.m. That's lunch and breakfast on the counter. I'm coming down the stairs. Off to another exciting day!

2. Stopping for gas, 7:52 a.m. I'm looking over the car at Gino's Italian Deli, which I've lived within a mile of for 9 years now. Everytime I see it, I think the same thing: I should go eat there. And I never do. Not pictured: the back door of the car, which I thought looked like it was a little unhinged or something. Also not pictured: The two lottery tickets I bought.

3. Frustration Sets In, 8:16 a.m. This is the 17-minute mark of my drive. 17 minutes is where I get frustrated with traffic. It's especially bad because 17 minutes now also marks the start of the University's merged-left-lane-for-no-reason. Note the clean windshield. Remember that I drive into work with the sun shining towards me. Imagine yourself on the road with me at that time. Shudder.

4. The parking garage, 8:25 a.m. I didn't tint this picture at all. That light is someday going to cause me a seizure.

5. View from the front of our building, 8:27 a.m. This is the view from the offices in the front of our building. That's the Wisconsin capitol building there-- the big building taking up most of the picture.

6. View from my office, 8:28 a.m. My office is not in the front of the building. Some people think that a bank drive-through is not quite as awe-inspiring a spectacle as a glorious government building. They're right.

7. Three shots of my office, 8:29 a.m. That desk is actually pretty neat, isn't it? And you can tell how important I am by the number of SpongeBob Squarepants throw pillows in my office. A lot of people forget to include "cartoon characters" in their feng shui. Not me. The lava lamp has Backstreet Boys stickers on it, as does the Boom Box.

8. The space heater in my office 9:15 a.m.. The temperature? A balmy 62 degrees. Inside. That's 45 minutes after I turned it on. I have to leave it on low because the time I put it on high, it blew a fuse in the building and 4 lawyers and three paralegals who were on the same circuit as me all got very upset.

(I played dumb.)

9. Let's focus on my desk, 11:00 a.m. Just prior to when I eat lunch. Yes, that's a Dr. Seuss book in the upper left corner. I had time to take this picture because my computer locked up for the fourth time that day, and I was just about to shut it off manually and try again.

See the little blue Post-It Note on the computer monitor?

10. 11:01 a.m. That one? (Computer's down; let's get ready to turn it back on!)

11. Be nice: 11:02 a.m. That's what it says. You wouldn't believe how helpful that note is. It first got posted there when a federal judge in Milwaukee asked me and another lawyer what he had to do to get us to be cordial and professional towards each other, and then left the courtroom for us to work it out. I ended up giving that guy a ride to the airport and chatting with him, and went back to my office and wrote this note as a reminder that it wouldn't kill me to once in a while be nice. I look at it a lot. Like the other day when some people we're going to sue were swearing at me on the phone.

12. What do you do all day? (1 p.m.) Every now and then, people ask me, why don't you talk about your job more? Aside from the fact that everything I do is protected by attorney-Dumpster privilege (It's a Lionel Hutz thing), this picture shows why. That is a written opinion from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals discussing a breach of fiduciary duty and imposition of a constructive trust as a result of a couple of land transactions gone awry. I spent a great deal of time reading that, then moved onto reading consent decrees from the Office of Thrift Supervision, after which I began to draft an amended counterclaim in a mortgage foreclosure case. Still want to know more?

But I did get sworn at on the phone the other day. So it's not like there's never anything to talk about at dinner.

13. Back at the parking garage, 5:05 p.m.. Did you ever, as you were walking downstairs to get to your car, pause, and look up and see the weird symmetry and colors of a parking garage stairwell at dusk? I did.

14. WBFP, 88.1 FM, 5:10 p.m.: That's what I call the radio station created by listening to my iPod on the way home. Today's playlist: "Upbeat." The 35 songs that always pick me up and put me in a good mood. When I play that list, I always begin with "All I Want Is You" by Barry Louis Polisar, because that's Mr F's favorite song in the world and it makes me happy to think how it makes him happy.

15. Traffic jam, 5:25 p.m. I've gone three miles. But luckily, I have time to inspect my nails, take a picture of them, try to figure out the lyrics to The Underdog (also on the "Upbeat" playlist, and on this list), and then scowl at the person next to me who thinks I should not be taking pictures while driving.

Not pictured: 5:25 p.m. - 7:10 p.m. My camera battery died and needs to be recharged. My camera sucks.

16. Bathtime, 7:10 p.m. After dinner, we went upstairs to get Mr Bunches (on the right in this picture) and Mr F dressed to go to the health club, where I was going to run laps and Sweetie was going to do whatever she does, some machine, and the boys play in the playroom. But Mr F got it into his head that we were going to take baths, instead, and got upset when I began putting his pants back on. So we scrapped that plan and instead just gave them baths. We originally began the process of getting them ready at 6:30-- taking that long because I had to first debate The Boy about Barack Obama, and then I had to wait for Mr F to calm down enough to explain that he had in fact won and we would not be going bye-bye, we were going to take baths.

17. Contemplating a snack, 7:40 p.m. That's the leftover pizza, front and center. I'm thinking about having some of it. Most of the leftovers are pepperoni, which Sweetie ordered for The Boy, who doesn't actually like it. I will, at 7:42, decide against having a snack and go play "Rrowr Monster" instead. Also, I will in about 20 minutes accidentally bump Mr F's head while playing with him, and he won't forgive me for about 15 minutes beyond that, giving in and liking me again only when I "Tickle Bug" him.

18. CVS Pharmacy, 9:10 p.m. With the Babies! safely in bed, Sweetie and I decide to go work out at the health club and leave Middle in charge. When he hears we're going out, The Boy asks if we would stop off and get him some looseleaf paper. That prompts this exchange:

Me: Why didn't you bring this up before 9 at night?

The Boy: Why, were you going to rush out and get some, or would you have just said that you'll get it when you go to the club.

I'm still a little mad about that and it's hard to formulate exactly why.

19. The Backwards Clock, 9:59 p.m. Home from the club. I didn't jog because after two laps I didn't feel like it, so I rode a stationary bike and watched "Pineapple Express" on my iPod, thereby "exercising" only in the loosest sense of that word. Then again, I didn't need to exercise much because I skipped that snack. From here, I will go upstairs, turn on "The Daily Show" and be asleep before the theme is done playing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Enemies List, 5:

1. People who honk their horn.
2. Pepperoni pizza.
3. The 2008 Detroit Lions.
4. The guy who programmed my cell phone camera, etc. etc....

5. The Guy Whose House I'm Stalking.

You may think it a little unfair to include him on my Enemies List when, technically, I am stalking his house. Not him -- his house. There's a subdivision near us filled with awesome houses and his is the most excellently awesome of them all. So when Sweetie and I take her for an ice cream and the Babies! for a drive, I like to drive through there and see his house, and every time I do that, he's home, and I think he's starting to recognize our car as one that drives by all the time, and I think he's getting suspicious, so I've had to not drive by there as often, and when I do drive by there, I've had to not slow down and try to look in his windows.

Which is really unfair of him to make me do that. And that's why he's made the list.

Question of the Day: 38.

How can a digital clock lose time?

The clock on Vuey's dashboard is never accurate. It loses a minute or two a month, requiring me each month to try to remember how to re-set it, and also trying to wonder if it's slow, or fast, or dead-on. It might be fast, because when I re-set it, I re-set it to be fast to try to avoid having to re-set the clock again next month... thereby guaranteeing that my clock is never accurate, so that when I tell Sweetie on the phone on the way home on Monday night that I'll be home by 6:00 and that by the "official time of my lateness" on Vuey's clock I still have six minutes, I can't be sure it's the official time.

All of which brings me back to the question of how a digital clock can lose time. It's a computer program. There's no moving parts to slow down or wear out or slip a gear. Do other computer programs randomly mess up, too? Will Word eventually not have the letter "q" and I'll call the computer guy and he'll say "oh, just re-set it every so often?"

To anyone who's afraid of a Matrix or Skynet situation: until a clock can keep accurate time, I wouldn't worry too much that we're going to be subjugated by computers.

Question of the day 37 here.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Quote of the Day: 8

"Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl."

-- Bill Peterson, football coach.

While the transformation of my former sports blog is complete, that doesn't mean I've stopped thinking about sports entirely, or even slowed down thinking about sports. But that's okay, because sports are ...

sports is... ?

Should it be sports
are or sports is?

Sports are/is applicable to all aspects of life. Anything you can say about sports, you can apply to your life in general. Don't worry that in in doing so, you may be stretching the metaphor so far that the Former Worst President Ever Bush Administration would ask to use it as a form of interrogation. Just go ahead, in your next meeting, and lay that quote on people. Then say "And by Super Bowl, I mean sales figures. Although I don't actually mean sales figures, because sales figures are just an expression of the sales you guys are making. And women, too. I'm not forgetting you women. So what I really mean is Super Bowl means sales, guys and girls. I suppose, though, I should call you women. So here it is, one last time, my pep talk: Men and women, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl, by which I mean sales that will be represented by the sales figures we will keep track of for all the sales you make. Which I suppose is also not quite right, because we're a law firm."

Can't you smell the inspiration?

PS: The picture here is the first image that came up when I googled the phrase smell the inspiration.

Quote of the Day 7 is here.

Ultimate present:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Question of the day, 37:

Will I eat my carrots today, or not?

In a fit of healthiness last night, packing my lunch to bring with me for my couple-of-hours-in-the-office today, I offset the leftover lasagna and Rice Krispie bar (with Lucky Charms mixed in) with a healthy part of lunch: Some baby carrots with a little peanut butter on the side.

Now, it's 11:06 and I'm gonna start lunch, and I'm not sure I'm going to eat them.


Is the alien a baby, or what? (Sunday's Poem: Number 3)

The Alien
by Greg Delanty

I'm back again scrutinizing the Milky Way
of your ultrasound, scanning the dark
matter, the nothingness, that now the heads say
is chockablock with quarks & squarks,
gravitons & gravitini, photons & photinos. Our sprout,

who art there inside the spacecraft
of your Ma, the time capsule of this printout,
hurling & whirling towards us, it's all daft
on this earth. Our alien who art in the heavens,
our Martian, our little green man, we're anxious

to make contact, to ask divers questions
about the heavendom you hail from, to discuss
the whole shebang of the beginning&end,
the pre–big bang untime before you forget the why
and lie of thy first place. And, our friend,

to say Welcome, that we mean no harm, we'd die
for you even, that we pray you’re not here
to subdue us, that we’d put away
our ray guns, missiles, attitude and share
our world with you, little big head, if only you stay.


See what I mean by the headline? "Ultrasound?" The "spacecraft of your Ma?" Is the alien simply a metaphorical description of a baby? Or is a baby a metaphor for an alien? Yeah, I just blew your mind, didn't I?

Then again, before you spend too much time thinking about that, remember that all symbolism is bunk.

And the final thought on this poem:
How long do you think it'll be until someone invents a drink called the "gravitini?" Or by saying that, did I in fact just invent that drink myself?