Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How far can you carry a metaphor?

This quote is from someone who calls himself Duke McGoo:

Our civic self-esteem has evaporated. The moral relativists have destroyed our pride and our will to continue as a high end society. Men like communist Pierre E. Trudeau lit these fires and filthy horn dogs like Bill Clinton turned up the heat allowing pigs like Michael Moore to roast weenies of despair.

Weenies of despair! I am speechless. With admiration. Or something.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Discouraging looters

The Economist magazine writes:

AFTER boarding up their windows and just before they fled, many New Orleans shopkeepers paused to write "Looters will be shot" on their premises. Some felt more detail was required. Painted on the front of Oriental Rugs on St Charles Avenue are the words: "Don't try. I am sleeping inside with a big dog, an ugly woman, two shotguns and a claw hammer." To the right is an update, added a few days later in the same hand: "Still here. Woman left Fri. Cooking a pot of dog gumbo." . . .

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A fellow sufferer in the apostrophe wars

A personal pet peeve of mine is the incorrect usage of “its” and “it’s.” It’s a simple distinction:
it’s = it is
its = a possessive form of “it”

One misplaced or missing apostrophe is all it takes to irritate me, but I’ve never claimed to be a patient person.


This sloppy misuse makes me crazy. Another thing that gets my goat is the confusion between there's and theirs.

Minnesota medical personnel pitch in in Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

A lot of what we're doing is building relationships that we can follow up with. We stopped here at the shelter and saw one patient with a bite - picked up on untreated hypertension, and felt like we had accomplished something. We're also connecting a lot of people with resources - whether it's cell phone psychiatric referrals, followup, or phoning in additional sites that should be followed up on.
The nurse from the American Red Cross told us that this shelter would be getting 150 more people later today when another shelter closes, and promises us we'll be busy when we return tomorrow.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Awful clothes

This man should have been a lampshade designer in the Victorian era.

Thanks to the manolo who I love passionately.

BTW--should you want to enter his contest--I plan on winning it. Shoes are my religion.

Wandering Jew stays put

One of the characters in Randall Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution remarks something like this: "We Jews don't have to worry about travel. We get chased around the world anyway." True, my people historically have traveled with vicious dogs and thugs armed with the latest in weaponry (for their times)in hot pursuit. If we are lucky, we have managed to sew a few diamonds in our underwear.

Well, my house deal fell through. On the day of closing. Or rather, they asked for more time--and maybe, just maybe--it would go through. They can't have more time. The sellers have had two lawyers, two or three prospective lenders, and I'm out of time. I'm sure I could spend the rest of 2005 and part of 2006 waiting for them, but I lost my house in Delaware. The sellers trust us like we trust our buyers. One thing I learned in life, is that you can't trust someone you can't trust.

Okay. So in my effort to be a nice guy and give them immediate possession, I had the movers in my house all day Wednesday and Thursday. The truck was just about loaded when I left to attend the closing, which, as I said, fell through. I went home and had the truck unloaded. Darrell, Byron, and Alex were very nice young men, but they discovered the radio and played rap music the entire time, so I have a headache which goes from my left big toe through the top of my head.

New Jersey and me, perfect together.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I led an impoverished youth

We didn't even have PMS in my day. It had not been invented, so no-one had it. We had cramps, but took aspirin and carried on.

Midlife crises had not been discovered either, so if some middle aged fool bought himself a sports car, combed his hair over his bald spot, and started dating chicks half his age, we called him a jerk and had no sympathy or understanding for him.

Those were the dark ages.

I'm going down the evolutionary scale fast

For two heady days I was a flappy bird; now I'm an adorable rodent, but frankly, the way the numbers are going, I think I'm going to be an amoeba any day now. What's with that?

I won't be blogging for a few days now--moving to Delaware. Yes! Back asap.

By that time, I will probably be primordial ooze, unclassifiable in the animal kingdom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Unfortunate choice of names

Johnny Virgil critiques a Chinese Communist Party bigwig's name:

The current committee chairman, Wang Gang, was quoted by Xinhua in a speech two years ago as stressing the need to "strengthen the building of laws, regulations, and systems on secrecy maintenance."

I forwarded this to Yort, since we share an affinity for effed-up names, and his only comment was "No way am I joining a Wang Gang." I had to wholeheartedly agree.

Personally, I think it would be a great name for a hip, new version of The Village People.

Also, I'm wondering -- On Saturday nights, do you think Wang Gang Bang Tang?


We once had a lovely Korean girl working in the library as a page. I don't know how her name was spelled, but it was pronounced "Young Jew." I never quite got used to it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Racy library stuff--just skip it unless you're a librarian

Libetiquette discusses ways to make meetings enjoyable.
Dealing with some of the dummies at libraries for dummies.

The ALA sides with Castro.

Cataloger discusses some, er, typical library patrons.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

An opinion poll critiques Bush

Sample answer from Dave Nalle:

Should the President have parachuted into New Orleans with a 30mm Machinegun and a backpack full of MREs and Evian?

48% No, he might have fallen on an innocent looter.
47% Yes, we want a president who's part Rambo and part Mother Theresa.
5% Not Sure, but where do I apply for a free $2000 debit card?


Read the whole thing.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Another Miriam has ideas--these are about God

What G-d wants us to learn from Hurricane Katrina

Rabbi Steinmetz has an excellent response to those claiming that the Hurricane was punishment for disengagement, or anything else:

These finger pointing explanations are not only deeply flawed, they are also deeply insensitive. The Talmud says that anyone who gives a grieving person an “interpretation” explaining that the victim’s sins caused his own suffering has violated the prohibition of verbal abuse. Many Jewish philosophers wrestle with the question of theodicy (why bad things happen to good people), and some explanations consider man’s culpability. However, what is misunderstood is that their explorations are meant to defend God’s goodness, not to torment victims of suffering by blaming them for the crime.
In fact, even the entire project of defending God’s goodness is suspect. First of all, God does not need a defense attorney; He can make a case for himself. And God continues to make a case for himself in every sunrise, every leaf, every breath we take...

Friday, September 09, 2005

What's compulsory car insurance all about?

Why do states mandate car insurance for everyone? People who have assets would naturally need car insurance to protect those assets. But people who have nothing-- Why take from them the little they have, and make them give it to an insurance company? Who benefits? Lawyers call people like that judgment proof, meaning you can't get blood from a stone.

The trial lawyers love it auto insurance, because insurance companies have deep pockets, which they are encouraged to ransack. The insurance companies don't defend their insured; they settle because it's cheaper and takes less time. It's a game that's profitable for the insurance companies and the lawyers, but if you look at it dispassionately it is an extortion racket. It's particularly hard on low income people.

If any accident takes place that costs less than $1,000, you would be well advised to shell out the dough yourself. Who told me that? The representative of my insurance company, that's who, when I suffered a small fender bender that cost $800 to fix. My cousin, the lawyer, told me the same thing.

Don't get me started on malpractice insurance.

What's Labor Day all about?

Alan K. Henderson doesn't understand the need for Labor Day:

Abolish Labor Day

(Reprinted from 2003)

The US Department of Labor has a webpage on the history of Labor Day. The DoL describes the spirit of the holiday thus:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce?


Why have Labor Day? So that Macy's can have a sale. That's all any of our national holidays mean, except possibly the 4th of July. All the department stores, etc., have a big sale. Sometimes, somewhere, someone has a parade. Everyone goes away for the weekend. The television stations mention Labor Day or whatever and give us traffic statistics and weather reports. People who work get a day of--unless they work for a retail establishment.
Ask anyone under 25 why we have Memorial Day. Odds are they won't know. Martin Luther King Day? Macy's is having a sale.

Why not just call these holidays Bank Holidays as they do in England, and recognize that everyone gets a day off? (Except the retail workers, as mentioned.) They have been drained of all meaning.

Contrast Labor Day with Thanksgiving, when families get together. Or Christmas--people have parties, there are decorations, presents, excitement. Those holidays still mean something.

End of sermon. Put the soapbox away.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Well, I'll be damned

Most scientific papers are probably wrong

* 02:00 30 August 2005
* NewScientist.com news service
* Kurt Kleiner


Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.


Well, who'd 'a thunk it? 50 percent! Why not just toss a coin?

Courtesy of chookyfuzzbang.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I get my first real hate mail

Wow! I got a really nasty hate mail, just like the big guys:

good jew bastard is jewish bastard dead!
rei Ubu [King Ubu] | Homepage | 09.07.05 - 5:16 pm


You think he hates me because I'm Jewish? Because Ben and Jerry are Jewish? (They no longer own the company.)

Anyway, even though the comment is rather poorly worded, I'm in the majors now! I get hate mail! I can play with the big kids!

If national and local news were as good as the sport news:

Stone city compares local and national news to sports news:

To understand how news reporting is so bad, we have to look at the sections of the newspaper where the news is actually good [i.e., of high quality]: sports and [to a lesser extent] business....
* If only games decided by over 10 runs (or 30 points) were mentioned, it would be like the local news.
* If each team's manager got all the credit or blame, regardless of what the players accomplished, it would be like the national news.
* If only personality clashes were described, never actual game results, it would be like the international news.
* If the paper mentioned only games which the Yankees lost, it would be like the war news.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream causes cancer

Or maybe not.

Librarian as bartender

The author writes, "at times, library users tend to treat librarians like bartenders and provide more information about their information needs and themselves than any librarian would hope--and perhaps care--to extract during a reference interview" (342). If only I could dispense drinks, I think a lot of my work, and theirs, might go along better....


Like a good librarian, she cites a source, so I will, too.

Librarianship can be so dramatic: see article from portal: Libraries and the Academy

Citation for the article:


Quinn, Brian. "A Dramaturgical Perspective on Academic Libraries." portal: Libraries and the Academy. 5.3 (2005): 329-352.

People who read my blog

I'm watching you! I happen to know that some of you are blogging from work--never mind how I know, I have my ways! But I would never turn you in, because, frankly, anyone who visits my site for more than 30 seconds is my friend.

All of you who find my site by googling naked I'll have you know, I'm not that kind of girl! I'm a respectable woman, I am! Get your minds out of the gutter.

However, I am gratified to find that people who have lingered on my site come from as far as the Phillipines, England, and India.

It's so nice to know that someone is out there.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Bush family's criminal history

Ever wonder where terrorists get their money?

Deep thoughts on British orthography

Some musings from L is for Law School.

I like the way the British spell wourds. Froum what I can tell, oune simply has to add a "U" aftre each "O." You alsou have tou reverse any "er" tou "re" at the end ouf a wourd as in "theatre" our "wifebeatre."


It's easy and fun, and classy, too. Think disastre, isn't that nicer? How about blougspout? Must remembre to do this. Hounestly, I like it.

Software upgrade

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance - particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as WWF 3.0. and Cricket 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail. What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate


Read the reply at Samishra's blog.

The Spanish American war is over? Why wasn't I informed?

Ever wonder what that Federal Excise Tax that shows up on your cell phone bill is?...

Apparently, the tax was imposed under President McKinley in 1898 to help fund the Spanish-American War. Many of you may not be aware, but as a student of history I can tell you that the Spanish-American War ended over one hundred years ago. As your cell phone bill will tell you, the tax did not.

Some Brits feel the hurricane didn't go far enough

The BBC asked for comments: Drinksoaked
doesn't care for the comments:

It seems some British people are a bit disappointed by the effect of Hurricane Katrina!
I do not feel it has changed the US citizens which is what was needed

That's David from Kent, otherwise I suspect he is a generally nice person. Probably rings up his mother on a weekly basis and says hello to his neighbours.

The US has to wise up and take a long hard look at itself

That ex-pat Steve in Prague. No doubt he is a thoroughly modern man at ease with himself as a cultured European, with its long history of peace and humanity.

A more humble voice is now required

K Webb, UK.

So, if the US does not change its foreign policy, its views on global warming, or any other policy some pampered wanker over here doesn't care for, no doubt we'll see calls for earthquakes in California to give a stronger message.

If you think I'm being a pro-American cheerleader here, let's just compare the sanctimonious puke written in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with what was written in the wake of the 2004 earthquakes in Iran.


A dissenting view: I am frankly revolted by the response of the Bush-Bashers; "Sorry chaps, but you did have it coming..." The plain fact is that Bush has a sight more in the way of common humanity than a great many of his detractors. At least he isn't using this disaster for cheap political point-scoring.
Mac, Nottingham


Thanks, Mac.

Ban doctors, not guns

The post is a hoot.
A comment from a4g gets right to the point:

California is not very gun friendly, so some time ago I took to carrying a doctor in a shoulder holster for personal protection. I've got a nice large caliber German gastroenterologist. My wife prefers to carry an obstetrician in her purse, which to me is a sissy doctor, but she says he's got enough stopping power to make her feel safe.

Both my kids have practiced with family doctors at the range, but I won't let them carry until they're 18.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Best of me is up

Rudi Giuliani, here's a job for you!

Sean Penn saves New Orleans all by himself

This is too good to be true, but is:

EFFORTS by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: "Whatever I can"

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"


Stolen from Tim Blair.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Infrastructure troubles

According to Baron Bodissey,, we are living in a Potemkin village:

All across the country are aging bridges, deteriorating highways, decaying cities, and an antiquated power grid. Additional refining capacity can’t be built because it would be Bad For The Environment. Nuclear power is a no-no because of Demon Radiation. New roads are bad because they produce Evil Urban Sprawl. No swamp can be drained because of the Lesser Crested Loon. And everything depends on the Federal Government, the be-all and end-all, which is more powerful than God, which causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine, which is simultaneously the Protector and Nemesis of every man, woman, and child in the country, if not the whole world. Remember the Tenth Postulate of PC: “There are no acts of God; there are only acts of Government.”


Read the whole thing. It's very well done.

Bush as Mayor of New Orleans

A comment on Greg Gutfield's post says it all.

I would have to say that as the mayor of New Orleans, President Bush has done a pretty lousy job. I mean the city has known about this problem and the best they could come up with was letting their police join the looting. Bush should be ashamed of the performance of his city. I mean Guiliani had a command center where he controlled stuff. Bush seems to almost have no direct control over the day to day operation of his own city.

Posted by: joeindc44 on September 2


What nasty comments he has elicited: if meanness could kill, he'd be a corpse ten times over.

What possible good would it do for Bush to be in New Orleans?

From Ace,
a protest against empty, meaningless gestures:

[T]he Angry Left has been demanding purely symbolic gestures by Bush for five days now-- cutting his "vacation" short, visiting the damaged areas, etc.

When he accedes to their demands for feel-good symbolism, they then claw him for doing so.
[]

Bush was quite capable of directing (to the extent needed) the releif efforts from Crawford. Most of the White House staff was with him throughout his "vacation." That's why they call it "the Western White House."

But you demanded he pull Clinton and Gore "feel your pain" stunt-appearances. He did so. Now you accuse him of pandering.
He was pandering. To you. To your demands for empty gestures.



It puts me in mind of the furor after Princess Diana was killed, demanding the Queen share their pain . All this righteous indignation over a perfectly synthetic emotion. Yes, a beautiful young woman had died, but she was a dope, had caused the royal family infinite grief, and the Queen did not like her much. It was sad, but so is the death of anyone who dies in their 30s. The people who carried on greiving were probably the same hooligans who had to be deported from Portugal for bad behavior during the World Cup.

Bush is no orator. I wish he were. I wish he could get people behind him as FDR did. I wish he could express himself as lucidly as Reagan did. It would be good for the country to have an orator like Tony Blair at the helm. Or Churchill. But we don't.

Stolen from Tinkerty Tonk.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The bright side of the New Orleans catastrophe

[A] lot of geoscientists were expecting something far, far worse to happen in the immediate future, destroying New Orleans and other cities in the area more completely, with less warning and with casualties in the millions throughout the Mississippi valley.

In the winter of 1811-1812 a fault line located in the Mississippi valley released a series of four powerful earthquakes - the strongest estimated at over 8.0 on the Richter Scale - which were reported in the small town of New Madrid in what is now Missouri. At that time very few people lived in the Mississippi valley, but there were multiple reports of giant tidal waves in the river, of the river reversing course in the upper Mississippi and its tributaries, of massive landslides along the banks, of entire islands disappearing, houses being swallowed whole in the town of New Madrid, entire lakes being drained and 150,000 acres of forrest being swallowed whole. The last and strongest of the earthquakes was felt as much as 1000 miles away where it rang church bells in Boston. Because so few people lived in the region the loss of life and property was minimal - and very hard to estimate, because those impacted likely disappeared in the flood waters or were swallowed whole, with no one really aware that they had ever been there. A much weaker magnitude 6.8 earthquake in 1895 caused substantial physical damage in New Madrid and surrounding towns, and again was felt up to 1000 miles away.

The New Madrid fault line is still there and still active. There are several small tremors registered there every week. Because it is an intraplatal fault burried under layers of sediment its behavior is unpredictable and the impact of earthquakes there is very different from what we are used to seeing in California. A quake of magnitude 6.0 in California is significant, but a quake of the same strength on the New Madrid fault line would be substantially more damaging. A full 8.0 earthquake like the 1812 event would produce almost unimaginable destruction all along the river.

Today there are large cities and millions of people along the Mississippi. A major New Madrid earthquake would cause damage in at least 20 states, with a massive tidal wave in the river, immediately destroy enormous amounts of river traffic and all the bridges. It would shut down power throughout the region, wipe out every small riverbank town, destroy every levee protecting New Orleans, virtually wiping the city off the map, it would likely cause a large portion of Memphis to be destroyed in massive landslides, and there would be major building damage and loss of life in St. Louis as well as short-term flooding. Because of the large cities now in the region, the likely result of such an earthquake would probably be millions of lives lost and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.

Geoscientists predict that there is likely to be at least a 6.0 quake on the New Madrid fault line by 2010, and that there is a 90% probability of an even more powerful quake before 2040. Detailed planning manuals have been written on how to prepare for the inevitable next earthquake in the region, and there are even a number of disaster novels which use a New Madrid earthquake as their theme. The governments of the states in the region have also formed a special commission to plan for disaster relief when the earthquake hits.

What's happened in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina is horrifying, but the state and local governments should have been better prepared to deal with it, because they've known for 200 years that disaster was coming - they just thought it was going to be a massive earthquake, not a hurricane.

The larger problem is that the earthquake is still coming - likely within our lifetimes - and in the aftermath of Katrina they should take a lesson from their failures and prepare for it properly. No new buildings should be allowed in the area which are not both earthquake and flood resistent. The city of New Orleans should be redesigned and perhaps even relocated in preparation for future disaster. And something has to be done about Memphis. Those famous picturesque neighborhoods located on bluffs above the Mississippi are literal death traps just waiting for an opportunity to slide into the water in complete destruction. They also need a real disaster plan, with a regional coordinating authority and permanently stocked emergency shelters in a stable and accessible region.

If you - like all of us - have been horrified by Katrina and the situation in New Orleans, remember that it could have been worse and more importantly, remember that the next major New Madrid earthquake is still coming and we need to prepare.

House of Lords debate taxonomy document

DDC
has a critique on library lingo from the House of Lords:

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether the time spent preparing the e-Government Unit's document Tomatoes are not the only fruit: A rough guide to taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies and the like, represents value for money.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, yes, the document was published in 2002 by the Office of the e-Envoy, at the request of technical users in government who were new to the subject. It was produced in-house at an estimated cost of less than £100.

Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that information. I ask him to congratulate the civil servants concerned on the diligence and speed with which they must have produced 12,000 words and four charts on the subject of Tomatoes are not the only fruit, containing such gems of information as: "How long has it been for many of us since the primary meaning of the word 'mouse' has been 'a small furry animal that frightens elephants?'," or the information that carrots can be either salad or root vegetables. That will no doubt come in very helpful in promoting e-government. Can we also congratulate the authors of the Guide to meta-tagging with the Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary, which gives another eight pages of valuable advice and information? It includes the information that the phrase "Common Agricultural Policy" may appear under the phrase "European Union" or under "Farming" but will mean the same under both. Given the diligence of the civil servants in the unit, can the Minister assure the House that the same energy and effectiveness is being applied to delivering information security throughout the public sector? ...

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I shall of course pass on my noble friend's congratulations. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that civil servants are as we speak listening carefully to his kind congratulations and warm words. ... The document, although it has attracted a certain levity, is I am sure most useful to those who work in government IT services.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, can the Minister not pass on congratulations to the civil servants on producing a document that is completely incomprehensible to a normal person and really does not make any sense at all? Why cannot they learn to write English?


Courtesy of cataloguer at work.

Libraries from the library employee point of view

From libraries for dummies, some horror stories about the dummies:

Much to my horror, I realized it was September 1, all too late to call in sick. For non-library folk, September is the month we designate National Library Card Sign-Up Month, and we go all-out to get new (and not-so-new) community members to come in and get a library card. To me, this is the same as inviting strangers with undiagnosed mental disorders to join an established group therapy session and hope that there aren’t any surprises. At least with our normal basket-cases, I know what to do and how to handle them. Whenever I see a new face, I try to analyze their behavior with my copy of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) under the desk, looking for symptoms and making a quick diagnosis so I know how to proceed.

You don’t know what an art it is to be able to successfully work with the public unless you do it. They do not teach this stuff in school! ....


As library director, I always got these people after they had been driven into a frenzy-by us, by themselves, or by some other library in our 60-libraries-and- counting system. The staff was super-nice, but some patrons were dropped on their heads several times before they got to me. They just had continual bad luck with us--the same people, over and over. The book they had reserved was not in; they had returned the book we were billing them for; they had trouble with the copy machine; they were sick and talking to us made them sicker.

I just sat there and let them empty their toxic wastes on my head; then I apologized and said I would look into it. Usually that sufficed.

Customer dis-service

a hint from Tinkerty Tonk:

Maybe it's not such a good idea to hire someone to man (in this case woman? person?) the phones who has a heavy accent. But if you do: How about teaching them not to mumble? And if that's out: Perhaps you should instruct them not to emit a(n audible!) sigh each time they are asked to repeat something?


Also, if I post $200, can I get out of Voice Mail Jail? I just had a nightmare experience with PayPal:
1) the commercial--how wonderful they are, and would you mind taking a brief survey?

2) voice mail with five selections, none of which had any bearing on the matter I was calling about. Rinse and repeat, five--yes five--times.

3) Somehow intuit that pressing the star button would connect me with a warm body, press same.

4) Music

5) Connect with humanoid, who moreover speaks English.

6) Get the job done (time elapsed: 10 seconds).

7) Tell the poor soul on the other end of the line, who has been efficient and helpful, that I hate PayPal and hope they go out of business. Not her fault, of course, poor thing.

8) She tells me to "have a great day."

9) Feel like worm, having been at the other end of such conversations many times at the library.

I hate PayPal.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Best of Me Carnival has something from, uh, the best of me

I can't do bloody trackbacks.

Here's another fringe benefit of being a librarian

We in the library profession may not make much money, but we get all the free umbrellas we can use, and then some. People, naturally enough, bring their umbrellas to the library if it is raining. If it stops before they leave, they forget to take their umbrellas. And since no-one can remember where they lost their umbrellas, they very rarely reclaimed them.

The floor of the coat closet we used was covered with umbrellas. Since I always left my umbrella in the car (so I wouldn't forget it somewhere), whenever I went to lunch or headed home and it was raining, I got my pick of umbrellas.