Thursday, February 24, 2005

Jury Duty Haiku

Defendants, jurors,
A reckoning day for both;
I'll take the box, thanks.

Slumped forms, reading, bored.
Sunlight slants in the windows;
It, at least, is free.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Be the First Kid On Your Block to Try It

This may be old news to some people, but I just discovered a great new toy today: Google now has a maps feature. It's labeled "Beta," so I'm guessing it hasn't been around for long. The graphical presentation is very attractive, and the "steering" controls are far better than Mapquest or Yahoo! maps, since it does not reload the whole page every time you need to move the image around a little. I haven't asked it to provide a set of directions yet, but I never rely on text directions anyway. I can get lost just fine with the map alone.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Subliminal Midlife Crisis Tie-In?

Consider: the new Mercedes CLS, a swoopy sedan meant to evoke the spirit of a coupe, with all the luxury and sporting accouterments needed to satisfy the desires of the middle-aged man at whom this product is targeted. In other words, a stodgy, grown-up car that's trying to act younger than it is.

Now consider: Cialis (I'm not going to link it; I sure don't need that spam). A product intended to help the middle-aged man at whom this product is targeted satisfy his, um, desires. In other words, it lets a stodgy, grown-up man act younger than he is.

Say it with me, out loud: CLS. Cialis. CLS. Cialis.

Coincidence? I think not.

Speak Clearly, You Must

Sign on an apartment managment company:

"Free apt. rental info."

If I stopped in looking for gratis lodgings, would they show me to their stack of brochures, or laugh at me? As much as I love the English language for its daunting breadth of expression, the language is also subject to ambiguity due to the lack of rigid rules of structure. Mathematics can probably make better sense of this:

(free apt. rental) (info)? Nah. It's a possible result based upon the several rules of grammar applicable to the notice, but not reasonable in context. Most likely:

(free) (apt. rental info).

Okay, so it doesn't rank up there with "a farmer outstanding in his field," but these things give me something to think while stuck in traffic.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Tsunami Pictures

What an age in which we live. Satellites of various kinds give us incredible views of our world, and reveal truths about our surroundings that we are ordinarily too close to see ourselves.

Many satellite photos have been released of the areas of devastation created by the tsunami last December, but NASA keeps them coming. The destruction of Aceh is particularly stark. The second set of photos in this collection show how thoroughly the disturbed sea wiped out a small population center. These Landsat photos, also of Aceh, confirm how widespread and cruelly efficient the tsunamis were.

People from places other than California often are heard to say that they fear earthquakes above all other natural phenomena. As a Californian, I usually say I prefer the extremely infrequent and utterly unpredictable large earthquakes to yearly tornados or hurricanes, which are equally as distructive. The stealth of the tsunami's awful power, however, puts it at the top of my personal list of natural disasters I would be happy not to experience personally.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Cryin' Shame

If this car shows up in the classifieds with a "freshly detailed!" notation, stay away.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Day at the Races

Go here to see pictures of some of the fun Cheryl and I had at California Speedway this past weekend.

Note: the thumbnails do not work, for reasons that defy my limited grasp of webpage design principles. However, you should be able to see the pictures by clicking on them. I will accept any and all advice on how to solve the technical problems.