March 30, 2005
CNN‘s front page is currently sporting an inane little popup on Daylight Saving Time. The last panel is a set of arguments for and against continuing the practice. One of them is based on cows, so it’s a pretty good read. However, in the For category, they include this gem:
Lessens crime. Longer daylight hours reduce some crimes that are more common in dark hours.
(Scene: The Robber is struggling with a car stereo in the early evening. The Policemen approach.)
Policeman #1: Put your hands up! You are under arrest.
Robber: (startled) What?!
Policeman #2: (putting handcuffs on) We saw you come in over the fence, and it looks like you’re up to no good.
Robber: Inconceivable! (breaks free of Policeman #2 to read his watch. For the sake of exposition, neither policeman reacts with alarm) Look, it’s already seven o’clock. I scoped this lot out last week, and it was so dark, I had to use a flashlight. There’s no way either of you saw me do nothin’.
Policeman #2: (chuckling) Oh, we saw you, alright. Thanks to a little help from DST.
Robber: (curious) DST? What’s that, some kind of drug?
Policeman #1: (fatherly places hand on The Robber’s shoulder) No, son. That stands for Daylight Saving Time. (as he speaks, the words appear superimposed, and he points to them) You see, a long time ago…
(dissolve to a dark field with a cow, and a grumpy looking Farmer and his Plucky Farmboy son. They are wearing old-fashioned clothing. Not the cow, though.)
Farmer: Darn sunlight. I can’t see a thing to milk by. Maybe that’s the udder (reaches under the cow to grab something)
Farmer: Dangit all!
Plucky Farmboy: Pop! What if we just changed the clocks. Then it would be light right now.
Farmer: Couldn’t we just get up a little later in the winter?
Plucky Farmboy: No. Without forcing a nearly nationwide change on everybody, our schedules would just dissolve into chaos for the obvious reason that I’m about to spell out. You see…
(dissolve back to the present day)
Policeman #1: And that’s how we get more light in the evenings. Sure, almost none of us need to milk cows in the early morning anymore, but it sure helps us catch the poor and uneducated street criminal (the handcuffs snap into place)
(fade to black)
Mysteriously Speaking Animal Mascot: Remember, kids. Don’t do drugs.
After getting about 100 trackback spam last night, and having them continue to come in every few minutes, I have disabled trackbacks for now.
March 29, 2005
“Hi, I’d like to cancel this credit protection thingy.”
“Can I ask why you’ve decided not to keep the service?”
“Actually, I never had any intention of keeping it. I just wanted the $10.”
“Well, you know that this plan protects your interests if you should ever have a life emergency and need to–”
“No thank you. Just cancel it.”
“Would you be interested if we lowered the rate to $.49 per $100?”
“No, but if you give me another $10, I’ll sign up for another free month.”
“It’s been cancelled. You’ll receive a letter in 6-8 days. Thank you for calling Citibank.”
March 25, 2005
I am delighted to hear that your knee is improving, and saddened that your shingles have worsened. However, would this information not better be direct to your doctor’s office? I imagine that he would also be better able to help you with your requests to schedule appointments. Because I did not listen to your entire message, I do not know what other ailments may afflict you. However, since you have chosen to converse via telephone, I will assume that your hearing is operational. You may have noticed in the past that many businesses will answer their phone with a message to the effect that you have reached <place of business>, and that they are sorry to have missed your call, but if you will leave your name and number, they will return your call post haste. It may be an arduous process, but with time and practice, I’m sure you can learn to distinguish this from the spartan “Ian. Message.” that graces my machine.
Dear Santa Barbara Veterinary Group,
As an animal lover, I assure you that I was overjoyed to hear that Trixie made it through her operation and could be picked up. I would pick her up myself, except that her owners would certainly have no end of grief.
Dear Fax Machine,
I am at this point incapable of sending the proper acknowledge signal for the faxes you would like to send. The limitations of human vocal chords are in this respect regrettable. Should I later gain this ability, I’m sure we will become the best of correspondents. However, as advanced as modern medicine has become, it remains exceedingly unlikely that I shall have done so by the time of your next call, in 10 seconds.
Entiendo que busca Jorge, pero no esta. ¿Quizás puede llamar a él?
I do not have your movies. I would be delighted to return them if I somehow had the means, but I do not. I have, in fact, never rented from the location you are asking me to call, and have no account there. But since you ask so nicely and repeatedly, I have called them three times now, speaking to Lucy, Dan, and Mike. They were all most polite and accomplished young women and men (respectively), who efficiently listened to my request to not be called for this and informed me that they could not search the database by phone number, nor by those who have overdue items. I pointed out that that was clearly false, but I received little satisfaction.
Perhaps your friend enjoys being called at three in the morning by your drunken self, but you didn’t call him. However, I wouldn’t want him to miss out. Kindly let me know his name and address, and I will personally deliver the message to him by airhorn at 6 am.
March 22, 2005
“Ok, so, one Hawaiian, one Geno’s, one Pepperoni with extra cheese, and what else?”
“That one with the sun-dried tomatoes.”
“Do we really need four pizzas?”
“Yeah, ’cause if we have extra, we can just take it for lunch tomorrow.”
“What, are you going to ski around all day with pizza in your pockets?”
“What about getting two mediums?”
“How much smaller are they.”
“Well, the largest is a 19 inch. The medium is 13 inches.”
“Ok, so that’s… [calculating] one-sixty-nine vs. three-hundred-seventy…”
“No, no. Don’t use d2, use r2.
“So how much smaller is a medium?”
“A little less than half.”
“And how much does it cost?”
“A little more than half.”
“What if we ask them to split it?”
“What, half barbecue chicken and half sun-dried tomato? That wouldn’t work. They use different sauces.”
“It might work.”
“You know, I don’t really care anymore. Who’s got the phone? You decide. Just call.”
“Ok, whose turn is it?”
“No it isn’t. I put the guy on the farm.”
“Oh, right, then I put one on the road.”
“So it’s Ryan’s turn.”
“Hi! We’d like to order four pizzas.”
“We’re up at the Condos off of Bridges.”
“We don’t. The phone here doesn’t work.”
“We have a bunch of people here. Can we give you the number of one of the other condos, and you can call them?”
“How about a cell phone?”
“This is dumb. Just tell them it’s working [loudly]Oh, Look! I fixed it.”
“She says they won’t deliver here because of the snow. They won’t go up the driveway.”
“What about if one of us goes down to the bottom of the road to pick it up?”
“Let’s call another place.”
“This is the food delivery service. They deliver for all these restaurants.”
“So… we can’t get anyone to deliver?”
“What about a taxi? I know! We could pay for the pizza by credit card, and have the taxi driver pick it up and bring it to us.”
“That would be way more expensive.”
“I think you’re underestimating the cost of walking into town through a blizzard.”
“I’m on it!”
“Hi, we’re stuck up at the Condos on Bridges, and we can’t get the delivery service to come out, so we wondered if we could get you to go get us a pizza. I mean, we’d pay for it, you just have to…”
“None at all?”
“The taxis won’t come up either.”
“What the hell. Does no one in this town have four wheel drive? What kind of business are they running? The first words out of their mouth should be ‘Of course, sir, but there will be a $30 inclement weather charge.'”
“Yeah. Next winter I’m moving up here with a Hummer and charging $50 each way.”
“So… what now?”
“Iunno. We’ve got hot chocolate in the cupboard. And that couch is leather. Looks like.”
“I think it’s just fake leather.”
“Wait. We’ve got buses, right? We paid for the whole weekend. Just get the buses to come up.”
“Do we really want to do that. If the locals won’t drive up the road…”
“Yeah, but buses are heavy. They can get traction on anything.”
…A little while later…
“Ok. The buses are coming up to ferry people in to town.”
…A further little while later…
“The bus is stuck.”
“In the snow?”
“Are you serious?”
“I told you that was a bad idea.”
“You know, now that I think about it, the weight doesn’t matter. Sure, friction depends on normal force, which is a function of weight. But that’s only helpful on a flat slippery surface. When you’re trying not to slide down a hill, you have to counteract gravity, which also depends on your weight. It really doesn’t gain you anything.”
“But that only makes sense if friction works like it does in physics class.”
“Yeah. Gravity, too.”
“Why wouldn’t it.”
“Friction’s not well understood. It’s not as simple as all that. For one, friction depends on surface area, and tires flatten out under more weight.”
“Friction doesn’t depend on surface area.”
“Then why do they put big tires on race cars.”
“That’s totally different. Those things melt to the track. I’m talking about sliding friction.”
“Yeah, but ask any mechanical engineer. He’ll tell you that the physicists have it all wrong.”
“So you’re saying that emprically, friction doesn’t work the way we learned?”
“I give you exhibit A: A ten ton bus stuck 40 feet outside our door in a snow drift.”
Over on the Straight Dope Message Boards, people have started threads to summarize movies and books in limerick form. I thought I’d post my own contributions to the threads here to exhibit my fantastic cleverness. I, of course, went straight for the classics.
Some terrorists in search of a buck
Run a brand new skyscraper amok.
A cop not from LA
with no shoes saves the day.
Two dudes were in danger of failin’.
Their future band plans were derailin’.
Flew through time with a phone,
And brought hist’ry back home.
Now all they need’s Eddie Van Halen.
A creepy, big-thighed hireling said:
“Master likes you.” Is he out of his head?
It could hardly be worse
And it carries a curse
The filmmakers are almost all dead
March 17, 2005
You know, credit card companies have gotten a bad rap lately, what with the recent vote on the bankruptcy bill that has caused some to characterized Senators as the “hired thugs” of the credit card companies. But, clearly, they’re not all bad. Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who was a major sponsor of the bill, came out in favor of the noble principle of separation of church and state. When asked how he, a good Christian, could condone such usurious practices when the Bible itself condemns it and requires that debt be forgiven after seven years, Grassley responded
I can’t listen to Christian lawyers because I would be imposing the Bible on a diverse population.
Grassley, for the record, is a supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
But enough about all them. My credit card company has nothing but love for me. They sent me a lovely letter today.
Dear Holder of Account ending in xxxx
It seems that they’ve become with concerned with my potential ability to pay my credit cards if I or one of my dependents should become violently ill or unemployed. Because, after all, those percentages are tremendous. For just an absurd amount of money per $100 each month, I will be protected against the kinds of financial insolvency that I used to have governmental protection from. It’s really quite brilliant, you see. Buy the right to bankruptcy away from the Senate and then sell it back to your customers!
But wait. There’s more!
Credit Protector also cancels my minimum amount due for 1 month if I or anyone in my household experiences certain life events that impact my income, such as moving to a new residence, entering college, marriage, or birth or adoption of a child (1 life event per calender year)
I can see it now: “Sorry, dear, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until next year to get married. Your brother went to college this year, and we’re all out of life events credits.”
The best part, though, is that I can sign up by cashing the $10 check they sent me. And I get the first month free. And I can cancel at any time…
Thanks Citibank! Thanks a ten-spot!
March 16, 2005
If you try to post a comment and there’s an error or it is rejected, please don’t just try to repost it. Send me an email and I’ll fix it. Posting it again only enrages the spam blocker.
March 15, 2005
Congratulations, Dan and Keli!