November 2018 archive
still life with dog.
Monty Python Salvation Fuzz sketch (live version):
The Washington Post, yesterday:
Asked who should be held accountable for the death of Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, Trump again refused to place blame — instead espousing a grim view of the world that he often shares with advisers.
Living in a remote rural area has its inconveniences. Some things can't be done by mail order: automobile service, for example. The nearest shop that does wheel alignments is a Honda dealer an hour away. They have the right tools to align my NSX. I used them a number of years ago and they did fine.
I brought the car to them again last week for an alignment. Again the work seemed fine—until two days later when the car's steering suddenly shifted while driving. I got the car home, put it up on ramps, and found a loose locknut on the left front camber adjuster. I tightened it but camber on that wheel was off and the car didn't drive as it should (steering wheel not level anymore when driving straight ahead).
I called the shop, spoke to the manager of the service department, and told him I thought it was very much not OK that a locknut came loose. (It would be very much not OK even if it had been a Honda Civic; I wasn't playing the "I have an NSX" card.) He offered to redo the work with a different technician and to refund my money. I said OK.
I brought the car back to their shop today to have the alignment redone. When the work was nearly finished, the service manager told me he was having trouble convincing the owner to refund my money. "He'll come around," he said. "I promised you your money back."
When the work was done, the service manager had "left the building" and one of his underlings told me the owner needed more time to think about whether to refund my money. "If he says OK, we'll mail you a check."
I told him, "You have a choice: pay me now, or I'll take you to small claims court and you'll pay me when you get the subpoena because you'll decide it's not worth going to Independence (the county seat, about 40 miles away)." Other customers were within earshot.
He brought me to the owner. Whereas everyone else could pretend to be nice and say it was out of their control, the owner could not. He tried pretty hard to try to weasel out of paying but I saw it as a matter of principle and I insisted. He gave me a refund.
I went directly to their bank to cash the check. The teller said there would be a $10 fee because I didn't have an account with them. I said OK. I told her what I'd just been through and said it was worth $10 to me to cash the check right away because I wouldn't put it past the dealer to stop payment on it. The teller waived the fee.
About recent clinical trials of an experimental antibiotic:
There was one serious adverse event, the researchers note dryly, and that was "a nonfatal gunshot wound considered by the investigators to be unrelated to zoliflodacin."
A few people I've worked with used malaprops a lot. When context makes the intended word obvious, why not say something different? At one job we had a bunch of alternate terms we used routinely, many of them juvenile (e.g. mammary instead of memory).
This seemed perfectly natural. Odd words usually passed without comment unless the construction was particularly inventive. My favorite was when a co‑worker said crustacean instead of escutcheon.
It's a programmer thing (not that we have a monopoly on this type of humor). You can say a 'wrong' word around most any (American) software engineer and they'll get that it's a joke.
Not everyone does. I was talking to my doctor about a paronychia and at one point called it a paramecium instead and he just thought I was confused. I thought to myself, he probably doesn't hang out with programmers much.
I handed a piece of mail to a clerk at the post office this afternoon. She tried to weigh it but wasn't satisfied by how the scale was working and went to get a five pound weight to calibrate it with. "I have to collaborate my scale," she said.
What to do? I didn't know her, I didn't know if she was screwing up calibrate on purpose. I loved it, I thought it was a great substitution. But not knowing the spirit in which it was intended, I just let it pass.
I liked the aphorism/poem
Losing one gloveimmediately because it reminded me of situations I've been in.
I liked it even more when I read that it was a message encoded as metaphor to get past censors. Explanation and context here.
The Bank of England wants to put a portrait of a prominent [and dead] British scientist on a new £50 note and is soliciting suggestions.
I submitted a name today. The person I chose was absolutely a top‑knotch* scientist but I'm guessing he won't be the Bank's choice.
* aberrant spelling following this example