- Seen at the farmers' market: a scrawny old man with a bushy white
beard walking around asking, in a classic decrepit-geezer voice: "Anybody
want a poem or a massage?"
- I went to
to train some teachers to teach the new GRE, and while I was up there
Elizabeth and I took a lot of buses. One of them had the following sign
Seems to me that "getting in the know" about snow would include learning
that snowflakes aren't octagonal.
- When I returned home after a couple of weeks in the Northwest, I was
surprised to find that my neighborhood was suddenly filled with empty
storefronts. Guess the recession hit that second dip while I was away?
- Checking my mail upon my return, I found a letter from my health
insurance company warning me that due to that dastardly Obamacare, my
premiums were being hiked — there was a long list of reasons
why their hands were being forced and why if we wanted to blame someone
we should blame the sassafrassin' Demmy-crats. Then, at the bottom, was
the automatically generated notice detailing exactly how much my premiums
were going up: negative 13 percent. Confound you, Obamacare!
- The Pew Research Center asked a random sample of 1000 adults,
"Thinking about the candidates running for the Republican presidential
nomination, if you had to use one single word to describe your overall
impression of this group of candidates, what would that one word be?"
Checking in at #36: "Republican." /golfclap
- Not long after I got back from the Northwest I had to hope right back
on a plane and head down to L.A. While at Oakland Airport — I
repeat, Oakland Airport — I passed a
and decided to check it out. The sample Kindle had the
following passage cued up:
I then proceeded to my gate and boarded a Boeing 737. I did not
buy a Kindle.
- I have become hooked on a Youtube series called "Kids React" in which
kids (most of them aspiring performers, I have gathered) opine about viral
videos (and occasionally other stuff like celebrity interviews).
one with Keyboard Cat, for instance. I don't even know why I like this so
much! Sure, some of the kids are pretty darn cute, but others are fairly
annoying with their tendency to ham it up and their inability to act
naturally on camera. I was thinking about this and it occurred to me that
part of the answer might be that I am simpatico with these kids because
they are, in a strange sense, my colleagues: when I was their age I was
also on a "kids say the most goddamned things" type of show, on CBS, and
good heavens am I ever going to regret this but
clip — skip to about 2:05. What jumps out at me here is not so
much that I look like a chimp or that I have crushingly awful '80s hair or
that there might as well be a neon sign flashing ASPIE behind
me — I was expecting those things — so much as the
accent. I had been in California for more than a quarter of my life by
this point! Why do I sound like I just got off the New Jersey Turnpike?
- Speaking of the '80s, I was gobsmacked to read that being floated for
the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an apparent
protégé of Elizabeth Warren's named
I went to junior high with that guy! I've been to his house! I've played
Microsoft Decathlon on his computer!
- From the "phrases you don't hear much anymore" department: "harmonic
- I happened across an obituary for a member of the board of directors
at a local bank. Her name: Debbie Downer. No joke. Wouldn't you at
least go by "Deborah"?
- Later I was walking down Solano when I passed a storefront with a
little sandwich-board out front declaring "EVERYONE INVITED" to some sort
of event "TONIGHT @ 7 PM." It was a bit past seven, so I
glanced through the window to see what the event was. Inside I found a
bunch of people watching a movie screen on which was projected an image
of a diseased foot.
- cnn.com: The alleged East Coast mobster and his girlfriend were
known as Charlie and Carol Gasko, a May-December couple living in the
heart of sunny Southern California [...] But their real names were James
"Whitey" Bulger, 81, and Catherine Elizabeth Greig, 60. That's not
"May-December"! She's November, he's February.
- I was in my car singing along to the song
by Metric and it occurred to me that in context I didn't even register the
word "fuck" as profanity. Maybe it's just me, but I really do think that
the song somehow makes it sound more innocuous than usual. (The ironic thing
is that, as I understand it, the fact that it's not being used as an
expletive makes it more subject to censorship under FCC guidelines.)
- After the North Korean soccer team lost to the U.S. 2-0 in the Women's
World Cup I was interested to see what psychotically farfetched excuse it
would trot out, and North Korea did not disappoint: North Korea blames
loss to U.S. on players getting struck by lightning. While browsing
the official North Korean news
web site, I happened across a couple of other gems; here's one report:
Pyongyang, June 28 (KCNA) -- A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Alaska State,
the U.S. on June 23.
The epicenter was 172 kms east of a town of the State.
A delightful mix of precision and vagueness! On the flip side, I have no
criticisms whatsoever to make of this headline: Fatal Radioactive
Substances Ceaselessly Detected in Japan. That's just an unalloyed
- I went to the bakery and bought a loaf of bread. The girl behind the
counter asked, "Do you want that sliced at all?" I wonder what she
would've done if I'd said, "Okay, just a little."
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