Archive for September, 2004

Neologism-Free Zone
29 September, 2004

I saw a commercial the other night. (I think it was for a Ford vehicle, but I am not sure.) At the bottom of the screen in the tiny disclaimer print (which just happens to be the only part of commercials to which I pay attention) it says "domestic and globally sourced [sic] parts".

Globally sourced?!? What happened to the words "foreign" and "imported"? Did someone misplace them? No. Wait. OED Online recognizes them both. Avoiding "foreign" is a wee bit more understandable. It has an air of the unknown and, in the current climate, no one really wants to be an unknown foreigner. But "imported" describes the situation quite well. "Import" indicates that the part was manufactured somewhere else and brought in to do its job. We have the word "import" for precisely that situation.

One of the English language's survival traits is the ability to turn a noun into a verb. Since the verb "to source" is at least thirty years old, I suppose I can not grumble too much about that. (Although I still find it somewhat cumbersome.) But the phrase "globally sourced" is just unacceptable. I envision some clever copy writer sitting at his or her desk, trying to find some way to make criticism impossible. "Have you stopped beating our global neighbors?" was discarded as being too obvious. "A-ha!" thinks our intrepid flack, "I'll use globally sourced. That way anyone complaining about the presence of import parts in an American auto will be slandering Mother Earth!"

I throw down the gauntlet to my fellow word warriors: let us first master the words and phrases we already have before creating new ones to weakly duplicate extant ones.

Who among you shall take up the challenge?

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Am I the Only One…
27 September, 2004

…that instinctively counts the number of shots fired in movies and television shows?

Failte, Silv!
24 September, 2004

As Nightus has gone on to the Great Big Fishbowl in the Sky, our eldest got to pick out a replacement fishy. So, it is with almost no fanfare that we welcome the newest animal companion to our family, Silv. (So named because of his silver color.) After a day of cautious adjustment, he is now vigorously doing what passes for normal fishy behavior. We hope that this twenty-two-cent fish lives a wee bit longer than the last.

Requiescat in pace, Nightus
23 September, 2004

My eldest's pet goldfish expired last night. Given its vigor earlier in the day, the prime suspect is the drops given to us by the pet store to "balance" our water. I suspect that the hourly employee failed to account for us having well water, not city water, and the drops polluted the water.

Good-bye, Nightus, we barely knew ye.

Just Call Me "Cap'n"
20 September, 2004

You are The Cap'n!

Some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any man that stands between them and the mantle of power. You never met a man you couldn't eviscerate. Not that mindless violence is the only avenue open to you – but why take an avenue when you have complete freeway access? You are the definitive Man of Action. You are James Bond in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. Your swash was buckled long ago and you have never been so sure of anything in your life as in your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off their head if they show any sign of taking you on or backing down. You cannot be saddled with tedious underlings, but if one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed – a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

Stressed Out II: Return of the Jedi
17 September, 2004

I fired my shot across his bow. He's been suitably warned and is making noises about "not doing that again". I've heard that before so I'm not getting my hopes up. But I feel much better since I've spoken my piece.

Stressed Out
16 September, 2004

This person who also accepts a paycheck from my employer (I can't say "co-worker" since he doesn't do much work), let's call him Mueller, has been at it again. He is the pettiest, most passive-aggressive, little turd I have met in ages. I was originally assigned as an advisor to his project but, since he's taken so dang long to finish, I've moved on to other projects. But he is still a thorn in my side. Every few days he sends out an email accusing me (or one of the other people on my team) of having broken something that is preventing him from doing his work. The fact that most often the error is his own has not deterred him. In fact, it seems to have goaded him into more snide remarks than ever.

I can tell that he thinks he's clever. When I call him on his insults, he claims that he didn't intend to insult me. I would accept this excuse once or from a five-year-old. But not from an adult, week after week. So, unless Mueller is seriously mentally ill, and all the evidence points to incompetence rather than insanity, he knows exactly what he's doing. And he thinks, because I haven't unloaded on him, that he's getting away with it.

Sadly, my manager is spine-challenged and insists that I just "ignore" Mueller. (Oddly, that path is less work for my manager. What a coincidence.) But that just stresses me out. I "ignored" abuse for a couple of decades; there's no way in hell I'm going to ignore it again. But my manager keeps getting in the way, not to defend me from Mueller, but to defend Mueller from me. "Just one more month" he tells me last week. The problem is I've heard that "just one more month" before from Mueller's project.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm afraid that if I force the issue, my manager will feel betrayed and exact his revenge. But I'm afraid that if I don't do something, the stress is going to sabotage my health.

The Malefactor
15 September, 2004

I tivod a bit of the opening episode of The Benefactor. The premise of the show is that this billionaire, Mark Cuban, has sixteen people compete for $1,000,000 of his money. The gimmick is that there is no voting, there are no contests, there is no race. Cuban, and Cuban alone, picks the winner.

During the introductory piece on Cuban that contained sound bites from him I began to get an "uh-oh" feeling. Cuban is quite enamored with himself. Despite his claims that he has remained grounded by his roots even after his wealth, he comes off as a self-centered, spoiled rich guy. I found it obvious from the half of the first episode that he views the show as his personal game and the contestants as his personal playthings.

Would I enjoy the opportunity to give $1,000,000 to someone that I judged deserving? Of course I would. But I know that I would give every candidate a fair chance, not dismissing twenty percent of them in the first couple of hours. Using first impressions and how they met his expectations as the criteria for dismissal certainly reflects poorly on Cuban's character.

He may be a billionaire. He may be generous with his wealth. But he sure as hell isn't a benefactor.

SP Stands for Sucker Patch
14 September, 2004

Without realizing what it would be, I clicked on the little dialog box on the kids' computer that said it would download and install updates to Windows. Heaven knows Windows is so crappy that it needs weekly updates to patch its rampant security holes.

The problem is that the patch in question was Service Patch 2 for Windows XP Home. Even with broadband, it took an hour and a half to download the whole thing and quite some additional time to install. I noticed immediately that the UI had changed; it looked like they had changed fonts.

Sadly, SP2 also added another, not so welcome, feature: it corrupted a system file when we restarted the computer.

So now, after installing SP2, the computer is completely secure. Of course, those idiots from Redmond accomplished that by turning the computer into a paper weight. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

Needless to say, this little episode has eroded my spouse's lingering resistance to switching the household to a real operating system. So the idiots from Redmond cost me the price of a new Mac with their "free" patch to their crappy operating system.

Ahh… Redux
7 September, 2004

Apparently I need another dose or two. Sigh.