Archive for March, 2009

Keep off the grass

A sign on a small patch of lawn outside my workplace reads “Keep off the grass. Motion-activated sprinklers in use.” Is this to keep people from walking on the grass? I think we can put this in the category of things we somehow allow machines to do, even though it would never be acceptable for people to do the same. Could you imagine a guy standing on the edge of the lawn with a hose, spraying anyone who stepped onto it? Also in this category: someone reading your personal email and then trying to sell you things based on the contents.

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Nonsensical hyperbole

I was thinking today about how I often find nonsensical hyberbole really funny, like “Christ on a stick! You are going to hurt your hand if you keep using your iPhone that way.” Or “That woman is dumber than a box of hair.” I appreciate this humor, but I would never use it myself. Somehow I don’t feel qualified to say something like, “Sweet barrels of oil, take a right turn already!” It’s best, of course, with confidant, over-the-top delivery. Perhaps I don’t feel I can pull that off. But, whatever the reason, it makes me wonder how much the humor we appreciate diverges from the humor we use.

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I love pockets.

Especially, I love being able to take things out and put things in my pockets without breaking stride. Like sunglasses or a hat. Or a cellphone, sometimes. If it is a text message, then taking the cellphone out, quickly checking the message, and slipping the phone back into a pocket is quite satisfying. Receiving a call or having to reply to a text while walking is too awkward, however, sapping all the pocket-satisfaction from the experience. Clothing without pockets, or without usable pockets, saddens me (in fact, fake pockets might be even sadder than no pockets). I would go so far as to say that the feminist critique of women’s clothing hasn’t given enough attention to the fact that women are so often deprived of the joys and utilities of pockets.

Since I’m on the topic of pockets, let me mention one other issue: boarding passes. Why aren’t they pocket-sized? Or at least one fold from pocket-sized (for instance, by creasing the standard ones in the middle instead of near the end)? You have to “hold on” to the damn things while you go through airport security. How many hands do they think we have that we can take off our shoes, empty our pockets, take off our coat, remove the liquids from our luggage, take the laptop out and put it in a separate bin, and load everything onto the conveyor belt while holding on to the boarding pass? And hurry up while you’re at it. Even if you have a pocket after taking off your jacket, the boarding pass will not fit in it. The breast pocket of a button-up shirt is a possible exception, depending on the width of the pocket and of the boarding pass. When it works out, having the pocket for the boarding pass makes the whole process significantly easier.

In conclusions, clothing makers, airline companies, you must respect the pocket.

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Refrigerator note

A note on the office refrigerator states that during the last fridge cleaning, “We can’t say for sure, but we know some items date from as far back as March, 2006. And while we realize this is EPA and we do believe in sounds science, this refrigerator is probably not the place to conduct experiments.”

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