26 May 2009

I tried to think of a clever acronym for this post, but it was too much work

So I wandered off on a bit of a tangent at work today (just for a couple of minutes, I wasn’t squandering your tax dollars or anything). It started when I was trying to find some information about a bill someone mentioned in an email. The legislation was supposed to be about open textbooks and educational resources, which is related to a project I am working on. I found the bill (H.R. 1464, if you are interested). I also discovered that its official title is Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks which acronym-philes will note spells out LOW COST. Clever.

This took me back to the day a while back when I stumbled across the fact that the
Patriot Act is also an acronym (did you know that? I was shocked.) It's actually the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) So, in additional to any other problems I have with the Patriot Act (and there are many), I am now also really annoyed that they bent over backwards to make the title spell out something cute.

So I then poked around a little more and discovered that
this is a thing. Apparently, your bill sucks unless the title spells out a cute acronym related to the content. (Talk about squandering your tax dollars. Someone has to think these things up, people. Isn't this what supervillians do in comic books and spy novels? Come up with catchy acronyms for their organizations of evil? SPECTRE, anyone?) For example: Electricity Needs Rules and Oversight Now Act (ENRON Act), Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM Act), Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices (PUMP Act), Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates and Posting Act (CLEAN UP Act).

That last one is apparently from Sen. Barack Obama. Say it isn't so. No one is immune.

22 May 2009

Hooray for proper grammar!

Kudos to Publix for their grammatically correct express lane. "10 items or less" is just wrong.  This is one of my biggest grammar pet peeves because it is one of the easiest to figure out.  To wit: use fewer when it is a measureable (i.e. countable) amout. Think "less money, fewer dollars." 

(Or if you prefer more detail, see what Grammar Girl has to say.)  

20 May 2009

Leonard Bernstein

No point, other than to say, "how hot is Leonard Bernstein in these pics?"

Found this in the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress American Memory, which is awesome. There's some cool stuff up in there.  

Actually, all the American Memory Collections are worth a look.  Old baseball cards, Lincolniana, the Florida Folklife Collection from the WPA, and this cool Aero-view of Tallahassee  in 1926, among much, much more.  Libraries are cool, kids!

13 May 2009

word verification

I seem to have gotten a lot of interesting verification words lately when I posted comments on blogs or ordered stuff online. I decided that they needed definitions:

  • The person who is the second runner-up in a game of eeny, meny, miny, moe. (variant spelling: meeineman)

    "I wanted to be "it" in our game of hide-and-seek, so I was hoping to be moe. Unfortunately, I was just the menyman. We should have done one potato, two potato."

  • The variety of awe that occurs just below the level of regular awe. (i.e. when something is awesome, but not that awesome)

    "That painting is beautiful. I'm awestruck"
    "Eh, it's ok. It only fills me with subawe"

  • 1. common plumbing problem

    "What's the matter with the sink?"
    "The drain has a clogin"

    2. Type of folk dancing

    "What are those people with the stompy, tappy shoes doing?"
    "Clogin' "

  • Type of person who can convince people to do things. People who posses a wheedling, cajoling personality.

    "Somehow Jake convinced me to drive him to the store today"
    "Yeah, I lent him $20 to spend there. He's quite the slystor"

07 May 2009

An open letter to my cats

Dear Beta, 

I give you plenty of food.  So when Sid throws up, you really don't need to eat it.  Thanks.