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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't go near the water

S heard this on a TV news tease this morning:

"Skin cancer is dramatically on the rise, and your risk is even greater if you enjoy the water."

Okay. I'll go to the beach with you, but I won't enjoy it. On the other hand, as S points out, it's good news for people who work on the water because everyone knows work's no fun.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I think yesterday I drank more fluid than I did yesterday.

I have to share this one with someone. It's in an article I'm editing.

"[If you] are excessively thirsty and drinking more than your daily amount of fluids, talk with your doctor."

Okay. Now I'm confused.

Could have been what?

I heard this on a rebroadcast of a football game from last November.

"Wow, that ball could have been almost intercepted."

You have to love sports announcers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I Would Do

It's my birthday, and I'd like to take the day off. But too many words are waiting to be fixed. Anyway, I'm not sure what I would do if I did take the day off.

Sit and read.
Walk on the Silver Comet Trail.
Go to the High.
Talk to Mommy's Nintendo about the synopsis of her novel that she sent me. (Which, by the way, has a lot of potential.)
Work on my poetry.
Arrange my books.
Play the harmonica.
Go to the Atlanta Historical Society Museum.
Visit some galleries.

I suppose I could find something to do.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One more time another time

Here's another one from a writer I'm editing:

You should always carry medication with you at all times.

Re: Missing Data

I got an envelope the other day in the mail from the credit union that holds our car loan. The outside of the envelope was marked "RE: MISSING DATA." When I took out the letter inside, bold print at the top said it was important that I "send the missing data indicated below before September 15." Then when I read the rest of the letter, it turned out the "missing data" was the name of a beneficiary and my authorization to activate a $1,500 accidental death insurance policy that the credit union had paid for and that was mine at no cost to me. I also had the option, of course, of increasing the amount of coverage "(see chart on back)." The envelope and the request for missing data looked and sounded official.

Have you ever had a conversation you thought you were paying attention to only to find out after you say "yes" to something that you have no idea exactly what you agreed to or realize that you just agreed to something totally opposite of what you think. It's the old three penny game. You're sitting at the bar and the guy next to you lays three pennies on the bar. "How many pennies do you see there?" he asks. You answer three. He says, "Are you sure?"


He moves the pennies around as if they are part of the old shell game. He asks you again how many and whether you are sure. He does this several times, and then says "I say there's two pennies there."

You know it's a trick, but you don't know what it is. You look puzzled and you concentrate very hard on the pennies to see what he's done because you don't want to be taken in. He asks again how many you see.


He takes his hands from the bar and says. "I'm not going to touch them. I say there's two. So how many do you see?"

He asks the question one or two more times and then he says, "Look. I'm not going to touch them. I say there's two. Now if I'm wrong will you give me a dollar?"

"I guess. Sure."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two for the road

Here are a couple of signs we spotted this past week. I saw this on a produce stand on a corner in Atlanta's Midtown:

"Home of the vine ripen tomato."

It almost sounds like cussing.

And Sandy saw this in a diner specializing in Southern cooking:

"2 meets and 3 sides"

What I want to know is do they arrange the meets for you or do you have to schedule them yourself?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Please Share

Please share this link with everyone who is concerned (or who should be concerned) about what's happening in the schools.

It's not on the test.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Care to take in a play, Mrs. Lincoln?

I'm impressed. We've been hearing a lot lately about just how bad a public image airlines have. Well I've been traveling the last couple of days, and it's clear they -- at least Delta -- are trying to do something about it.

First I booked my ticket for a flight from Atlanta to Tampa on line. No hassle, and not a bad price. I even got to choose the seat I wanted. On the day of the flight, the plane Left the gate in Atlanta exactly on time and landed in Tampa about 10 minutes early. Not bad.

But here's the rub. The day before the flight, I got an email from Delta telling me I could check in on line. I did. Even checked my bag on line. Printed out my boarding pass. I never had to speak to an employee, show an employee an id, reveal in any way I was who I claimed to be.

Then I got to the airport and took my bag to the curbside drop off. The employee at the counter printed out a new boarding pass and gave it to me. He said there'd been a gate change. Still no hassle. Except he never asked to see an id. Never took back the boarding pass I'd printed out the night before.

So there I was going through the airport with two valid boarding passes in my hand--only two although I could have printed the original boarding pass to PDF and had a ton of them in my pocket. And here's an interesting fact. To get through security at the airport in Atlanta, you don't need a picture id. Without one, you need two official(?) non picture ids.

It's interesting. The flight was on time leaving. The flight got in early. The airline did all it could to take the hassle out of flying. But just how secure are we supposed to feel?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Verbage -- it's worse than verbiage

Okay, here's another one. It's not exactly redundancy, but it is verbage. What's the word "especially" doing in the following sentence?

This is especially important because people with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

If it wasn't especially important, would it be important at all?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Novel starts

Mommy's Nintendo is looking for a beginning to her novel. So that's prompted me to think about beginnings. Beginnings are tricky. They're also exciting. They're tricky because they're elusive. Nothing's more daunting than a blank page, and nothing's harder to get down on that page than the opening scene. But there is a trick to it. Forget the scene; write the first sentence. The rest will follow.

Hemingway said he began by writing the truest sentence he knew. I'm not sure that's accurate. On the other hand, Hemingway revised constantly and slavishly. So who knows what really happened to that first "true" sentence? Did it eventually end up in the middle of the story? Did it simply get crossed out? But the point is, nothing follows until that sentence is written.

And that brings me to the exciting part. Once that sentence is down on the page, the possibilities are limitless. The story can go anywhere. But at the same time, the final inevitability that is the end of the story is already there. What lies ahead is the fascinating journey of getting to it, the exploration of limitless possibilities. Who wouldn't want to write? And what do we get when we're done exploring? T. S. Eliot told us at the end of "Little Gidding":

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I have a couple of suggestions for Mommy's Nintendo if she want to use them:

1) Everyone standing around me thought I was a vegetable.


2) I have become totally irrelevant.

Feel free to ignore those sentences or to take one or even both and run with them, MN.