Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Potpourri

● Is "insolvent" the new "insurgent?" Ow.

Linguistic Patrol: At&T (I love you guys, O Providers of my Internet, POTS and Celphone, please don't pull the plug, 'kay? Call me?) keeps stickin' Post-Its™ to the newspaper that read "When you need more than 411, call the new 411." No, dammit, "411" was the number for the old 411. Or is black the new black? "When you need a number more than five, use five." Look, that only works with Aleph-null (et seq...) and I am not sittin' here with my steam-powered desk phone waiting for the dial to scroll back, flipping the pulse contacts a transfinite number of times, okay?

● Overheard: "I would not poke that even with your umbrella." And they said Bowlder[1] was dead! Seems like an open-and-shut case, no?

● Congress -- and most everyone else -- thinks government creates the economy. Which one was there first? Which provided the original impetus for which?

● Speakin of -- ptoo -- Congress, during the great peristaltic gush of bipartisanship that led to passage of the bucket-with-a-big-hole-in-it bailout bill, was lovey-dovey with fellership while the electorate is quite sharply divided between the Big O and the ol' GOP. I was reminded of nothing so much as the scene in Animal House FARM (So that's why I couldn't find my copy? Oh, that Belushi! can you tell I have slept very poorly all week?[2] Does it show?) where the pigs are laughin' it up in the farmhouse while it's biz worse than usual for the other critters. With the added benefit -- for the pigs -- that they've got us too busy against one another to do anything to bring them to heel.

● One more: Congress is a Them everyone can agree on. Greedy excess? Socialism run amok? Exploiters of the downtrod' and destructive class warriors? Baby, there's only one place you'll find all that in one reekin' package and it's under the big dome. This whole Presidential race is just a flappin' red cape we're supposed to charge at. Do so, says I, and enjoy every minute of it -- but on the way, vote out every incumbent legislator on your ballot. At the very least, judge them harshly before you decide. As a general rule and assuming he keeps his booger-hook off the big bang switch, Presidents can only ruin your week; Congress can ruin your life.

● On a lighter note, if ever I compose a dance number for whales, I'll call it the Beluga-Blue Boogaloo!

● Last but not least: you thought ordinary army ants, a million on the march, were creepy? Step it up by a factor of ten or more: say OMG to Siafu.
1. Bowlder is pictured now as a mealy-mouthed prude. At the time, his Family Shakespeare received a lot of praise for being as true to the Bard as one could manage while making it suitable for a proper Victorian child; nowadays, cultural and language drift has gone far enough that a very little in the plays is considered grownups-only fare: it's either as nothing compared to the evening news or flatly incomprehensible. Back then, not so much.

2. Tam has been house-sitting all this week. I've been on vacation and it turns out that after the decade-plus I was with my ex, if I am alone in a house, I cannot sleep unless I am exhausted. Literally can't -- I nod off and wake up at the least sound. Last time I was home alone and not working every day, I was recovering from a broken femur; I had the challenge of navigating a three-floor house on crutches to occupy my time and plenty of Vicodin. What's worse, several times now I've awakened about halfway and got stuck: can't move, can't think straight, just barely enough wits to fight my way back across an infinity trapped in my own skull.


Anonymous said...

I think you mean Animal Farm. ;)

BobG said...

"Congress is a Them everyone can agree on."

Some appropriate quotes:

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."
-Mark Twain

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets".
-Will Rogers

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."
- John Adams

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies."
- Thomas Jefferson

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." -G.K. Chesterton

Anonymous said...

"When you need more than 411, call the new 411." No, dammit, "411" was the number for the old 411. Or is black the new black? "When you need a number more than five, use five."
So-if I'm following your drift, which may be in some doubt, this also suggests that 2+2=4, except for very large values of 2?

Roberta X said...

Precisely. And the other lesson I have learned is that "house" does not equal "farm." America, whatta country!

Carteach said...

"just barely enough wits to fight my way back across an infinity trapped in my own skull"

I recognize that.

Chuck Pergiel said...

On vacation, but not sleeping? That does not sound good at all. I hope things get better for you soon.

Somerled said...

Now for a word from a lovely bunch of mixed marketeers, GlaxoSmithKline.

""Take Sominex tonight and sleep...sleep...sleep".

"How does Sominex® work?
Sominex® contains the active ingredient diphenhydramine HCl, which will induce drowsiness and will help you fall asleep. It will provide approximately six to eight hours of restful sleep."

Rest well, Roberta.

Roberta X said...

It's not the drowsiness; I've got that part down. It's that 14-year-old that lives in the back of my mind: she's of a nervous disposition. If there's someone else in the house, she can figure any odd noise is made by that individual. But a-l-o-n-e? Oh, noes!

It's appalling but despite conscious knowledge that the place is secure, I get half asleep and a cat leaps to the floor or a car door slams down the block and blammo! I'm sittin' up in bed wide awake, trying to decide what it was I just heard.

Sleep aids just make it worse: I hear a noise and I'm too muzzy to do more than panic.

Tam's back. I slept like a baby last night, despite a higher-than-usual incidence of car doors and polite chatter from the neighbors having a party. Pretty silly, ey?

Somerled said...

No, Roberta, it doesn't seem silly. It's good to have family around, and I have some friends that who I consider family. It is comforting to have them near no matter if my eyes are closed or not.

Tam's better than any alarm system, too. After all, she done kilt a bear at the tender age of three.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Durn, I musta dun got my histry rong. All this time I thought it was Davy Crockett. I'm glad you set me straight.

Cowboy Blob said...

Welcome to my brain! I sleep like a baby at Mom's house (remote location, no internet) but can't get better than three hours sleep at my friend's house (quiet neighborhood, cable modem in the guest room beckons to me) unless I've got lotsa alcoholic reinforcement. Mmmm, Rum & coke.

Chuck Pergiel said...

"Look, that only works with Aleph-null (et seq...)"? Am I missing some context here?

Roberta X said...

Transfinite Maths Made Stupid, with your hostess, Dr. X:

Aleph-null is the, erm, smallerest transfinite number.

From Wikipedia: "...m is a transfinite cardinal. That is, there is a Dedekind infinite set A such that the cardinality of A is m.
"m + 1 = m." Or m + 10. Or m + 100. And so on, though not exactly forever.

And that's the only sensible situation that came to mind in which "411" = "the new 411," other than for extremely small values of "new" which would appear to be ruled out by the emphasis given the greater utility (and implicitly, more content) of the "new 411."

OTOH, advertising has been driving the value of "new" near zero for over a century...