log (2007/09/28 to 2007/10/04)

All sorts of things going on in the world lately! I'll only talk about a smallish subset of them. *8)

Strange little phrases from business o' the day: "reach out to", and "going forward". The latter means roughly "starting now and into the future", which is moderately useful. But I've recently encountered people who use the former in place of things like "call", or "send email to". Which produces very odd and sort of scary results.

"Have you reached out to Marylynn for those slides?"

[shuddering] "Um, no, I just sent her email..."

Another search to try: "outsourcing intolerance". On the subject, of course, of them Anglicans an' Episcopalians an' US priests become Kenyan bishops in gay protest an' all.

I can't decide whether I'd prefer that the comparatively rational faction here schism away from the comparatively whacko-superstitious one or not; fortunately, they aren't asking my advice. I'd rather that we all gave up on the whole "thousand-year-old shepherd's tales as the literal word of a wrathful God" thing entirely, of course, but that's going to take longer.

I'm trying to think of interestingly analogous situations where the less mature and enlightened parts of the world have sort of reached up to (ooo! "reached out to") the more mature parts in an attempt to drag them back. Nothing really compelling springs to mind, but I'm sure they're out there.

(An' no, I don't think it's elitist an' snooty of me to consider fundamentalist homophobia as less mature an' enlightened than having gay bishops or whatever it is. Jes for the record...)

Quote o' the Week:

"You pay for the war by winning the war."
  --  Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-Mars)

Yeah! And I pay my mortgage by living in my house! Fish live in trees! If you buy kippers, it will not rain! Up is down! Yes is no!

Or to put it another way, what the fuck did he think he was saying?

Sadly utter irrationality doesn't matter that much. Some dialogue this morning in the car dealership service waiting room where I'm sitting writing this as the news plays on the TV:

Someone: "They wanted to tax us to pay for the war in Iraq. The Democrats. Thet wanted to tax us. Shut it down right away. Shut it down. They wanted to tax us. The Democrats."

Me (unable to restrain myself): "Unlike not paying for it at all, like Bush wanted."

Slightly confused smiles and nods.

Someone: "It's gonna be a long war. A long one. Long war."

Me: "An' someone's got to pay for it."

More nodding.

And maybe it's just that I'm cynical this morning, but I'm afraid that the main impression in these folks' minds will be "they wanted to tax us, those Democrats."


Interesting story on NPR the other day. Woman had been carrying around all the trash she generated in a big bag, to raise her consciousness about trash an' all. Person interviewing her asked if doing this had changed her buying habits at all, if she was buying stuff that produced less waste.

An' she said yes definitely; for instance at the grocery she'd been buying skinless boneless chicken.

.   .   .

That is, in order to keep bag smallish, she'd been buying stuff where someone else has already removed the waste parts, and put them into their own bags instead of hers.

Now at first I thought this was the height of irony or cluelessness or something, that the best example she could think of wasn't really waste reduction at all, but just waste shifting, to someone else less upscale and enlightened than she is.

But then I thought, actually, this is a great market-based example. (Would have loved it if NPR had followed up on that aspect.) By buying skinless boneless chicken, she's paying someone else to take care of the waste-disposal problem for her. Since that person specializes in it, they're probably better at it, more efficient, doing more for the money, than she is. In communal terms, they dispose of the waste using fewer of the available resources than she would, thus leaving more resources to be used for other things. Great stuff!

Under this reading, the amount of stuff in the bag represents the amount of stuff that she's had to think about disposing of herself, in her own inefficient way. (Although really she almost certainly hires a specialist to get rid of that stuff also, so it's probably not that interesting a measurement.)

How well we as a society handle our waste, in terms of producing less of it, disposing of it safely and efficiently, and so on, is a pretty hard thing to measure, in fact; and sadly that virtuous bag doesn't really tell us much about it.

And lastly, although it deserves lots more space than this, we all (we four and M's father who was out visiting) went into The City on The Train last weekend, an' wandered aroun' an' encountered a big nine-block-long street fair colorfully cluttering up Lexington, an' walked up to The Park an' watched breakdancers, an' walked down to Lincoln Center an' went to the Nintendo World store, an' generally had a great time.

So how's things? *8)