An ode to mediocrity

Meanwhile over at Dead Penguin Society, DScott writes about The spork, the pressure cooker, and the back burner… and it got me thinking about sporks.  Not quite a spoon and not quite a fork, these are the utensil apparently designed by cunning chopstick manufacturers to disappoint everyone equally.  I say it’s time for the lowly spork to take its rightful place in English-language pop culture by replacing the words “fork” and “spoon” figuratively in much the same way as it attempts to replace the physical utensils for which it is named: poorly and with connotations of low price and low value.  If along the way it replaces any other words that happen to rhyme, that’s fine too.

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Google Male

Tried Google Voice yet?  I use it as my primary business phone number and it’s an amazing service.  When a call comes in it simultaneously rings my cell phone, my desk phone, and any other phone I point it at.  If a caller leaves a message, Google Voice lets me retrieve it in an app, over the phone, or over the web.  They even make an automatic transcript and send it to your phone and your email.

And that’s where it gets…umm…interesting.  The transcripts are remarkably good considering they are machine generated but they aren’t 100% accurate.  Sometimes they are pure gibberish but other times the substituted words result in a message that is syntactically and grammatically correct but definitely NOT what your caller intended.

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Qualifications for the office of President

There’s an old maxim that journalists are supposed to report the news not become the news.  This was easier when the reporter was just a byline on their stories.  With radio and then television came the need to like certain aspects of the reporter in addition to their reporting.  Our trust and respect for the person had to survive hearing and seeing them deliver the news.  Walter Cronkite would never have become an icon if he’d had Mike Tyson’s voice, no matter how good he was as an investigator, writer or boss.

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Soul food with a side of “huh”?

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It has been a tradition in my family that everyone gets a birthday dinner at the restaurant of their choice.  For me it’s a chance to drag the family to some new restaurant they would probably not otherwise have tried.  Some of these are complete duds but some become new favorites.  Even the duds pay dividends depending on how insanely bad they are.  Years later we still laugh about the restaurant that brought straws with the wine.

Last weekend while out shopping my wife suggested we stop for lunch. Since it was my birthday I knew I’d be able to go someplace new but I hadn’t scoped out the choices so we just drove down Harris Boulevard looking for options.  The first place we stopped at was a Mexican restaurant but when we went inside it turned out to be fast food cleverly disguised on the outside as something more upscale.  We got back in the car and drove until we saw a sign for Bistro 60, an establishment which was hidden behind a hill with a cluster of other restaurants.  It turned out to be closed so we picked the restaurant next door: Rebecca’s Taste of the South.

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Suspending promises

A reader contacted me recently to ask why they are seeing ads on the blog now.  It wasn’t that many posts ago I proudly proclaimed the site to be ad-free, after all.  I have, so I have been told, broken a promise to my followers.  Well, yes and no.  After I explain I hope that you will support my plan.

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Insider trading and Schrödinger’s Law of Toxicity Attraction

I’m pretty sure it was Schrödinger who posited that the attractiveness to your cat of any food dropped on the floor is directly proportional to that food’s level of toxicity to your cat.  Our cats are all on special diets now because in cat-years they are all in their 100’s.  That means most foods we drop are toxic to them.

All three of our cats were young when we got them.  One from the shelter, one from our Vet’s rescue adoption program, and one literally off the street.  We had always understood that “rescue cat” referred to our having saved them from certain death in the shelter.  In due time we came to understand that “rescue” refers to our single-handedly keeping the specialty cat food company out of bankruptcy.  Every time we drop a piece of human-food on the floor, the Hills Science Diet company stock splits.

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Singularities you never live down

As you know if you are more than a year old, there are some things you can do or say which your colleagues, friends and loved ones will never let you forget.  You experience these things as a kind of singularity.  You spend your entire life up to that moment in blissful ignorance of the event, but understand in a flash of instantaneous horror what you’ve done in the exact moment you do it.  It’s an instant in which everything changes.

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