Thursday, December 17, 2009


I knew it. Bacon makes everything better. Including financial turmoil, apparently.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mysteries of the Kingdom

For the past 18 months or so, my job at church has been "the guy who puts together the ward bulletin/sacrament meeting program." It hasn't been a bad calling at all, especially considering some of the other jobs out there (i.e., Cub Scout Leader). It has even allowed me to have a bit of fun.
Last year I decided to put in a small tidbit about the outcome of the annual BYU-University of Utah football game. Since it wouldn't be appropriate to just announce a score, though, I made it in the form of a puzzle. I bolded letters throughout the program which, when put together, spelled "Utah beat BYU 48-24." Apparently, our then-second counselor found the puzzle so interesting that he completely zoned out during a bishopric meeting, staring at the program so intently that the bishop asked what was on his mind.
I couldn't exactly do the same this year, because I had to print up the program about 10 days early due to an out-of-state vacation. But when I got home, I already had a phrase ready to go, couresy of BYU Quarterback Max Hall.
I decided to be a bit more creative with my code this time around, however. Bolding would just be repetitive, so I misspelled words intentionally. Fourteen of them, in fact. Each mistake, in this case, was a clue. I'll post the answer in a couple of days, so if you want a crack at the puzzle, let me know in the comments and I'll send a copy of the program to you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Clinical Psychologists sometimes have their patients use puppets to act out scenes. The idea is that people will be more likely to say what they actually feel, since it's not "them" actually speaking, it's the puppets. (I know this because I watched "What About Bob?" several years ago.) They also sometimes have children draw pictures, again because they are sometimes more willing or able to draw about a traumatic event than they are to talk about it. (I know this because I regularly watch Law & Order: SVU.)

My son recently drew a picture for and about his cousin. I can only assume (based on the details) that communicating with her is somehow psychologically damaging, and that he decided to just treat himself. Click on the pic for full resolution - and make sure you read the text bubbles.

(From my sister's blog: Thanks, Velda!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Marriage Advice

I don't ordinarily re-post other people's work, but this one killed me. This is from Cake Wrecks, where some brilliant baker gave some lucky couple the best wedding-day advice EVER. On their cake. For everyone to see. Including their parents.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Question for all of you. What would make something "literally" petty? Or figuratively petty, for that matter?

I asked a coworker this question recently, and this is what she came up with. Nicki says it could be 'literally' petty if it was actually Tom Petty. That way, figuratively would be anything that is not actually Tom Petty.

I started wondering as TW was explaining to Richard about the government accountants that audit travel vouchers. He explained that some of the stuff they pull is "literally" petty.

This leads me to believe that Tom Petty was actually an auditor before he hit it big, and that some of those experiences made it onto his albums. For example:

I think if you listen really closely to "Don't Do Me Like That" (1979) it might mention overcharging the government for lodging rates.

And "You Tell Me," from the same album, is an obvious reference to ensuring full disclosure on an expense report.

"You Can Still Change Your Mind" (1981) clearly is a list of instructions to those whose expense reports were rejected.

Likewise, "All or Nothin" (1991) explains that reports cannot be only partly correct, or they will be rejected in their entirety.

Then there's "When a Kid Goes Bad," a ballad about a government employee who used his government card to charge thousands of dollars for alcohol and lap dances.)

I've also heard that his next album will have a song entitled "Fraud, Waste and Abuse Me." It's not quite grammatically correct, but hey, this is Tom Petty. He can do whatever he wants.

Did I miss anything?


TW: "We need to work faster."
Me: "I really don't know how we can, we're working full speed. There are limitations to how fast we can work. Like the laws of physics."
TW: "I don't want to hear about physics or any other animal."

I guess you have to watch out for those relativistic hippos.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Academic Paper EVER!!!

From Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress:


So many things to say in praise of this piece, but my favorite quote is probably "These equilibrium points show that, regardless of their stability, human-zombie coexistence is impossible."

I'm not even going to pretend to understand most of the mathematics involved (though I do grasp a very little bit), but you have to love a bibliography that includes

Brauer, F. Compartmental Models in Epidemiology. In: Brauer, F., van den Driessche,
P., Wu, J. (eds). Mathematical Epidemiology. Springer Berlin 2008.

along with

Brooks, Max, 2003 The Zombie Survival Guide - Complete Protection from the Living
Dead, Three Rivers Press, pp. 2-23.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Homophones are great, aren't they? I can't go an entire day without seeing someone use the wrong "to, too, or two" online. And who can forget how to "Pare a pear with a pair of scissors?" Well, the other day, I heard someone butchering a saying involving yet another set of phonic triplets.

We were discussing a business partner’s apparent lack of desire to help us on a project that is coming due within the next few weeks, followed by a sudden flurry of interest. Said increase in activity immediately followed some phone calls to higher-ups in the partner’s organization. At some point, I heard the phrase, “Well, at that point his disinterest must have piqued.”

What exactly does that mean?

My first thought was that he was trying to say that the phone calls Piqued our contact's interest, but the more I thought about it, the less sure I became. The degree to which the phrase was mauled made me wonder. It may have been the case that the speaker was going to say something about the contact's disinterest getting him in trouble, but then decided to change it to having his interest piqued (forcibly, I assume) by his superiors. By the time he decided to go with the latter, however, the first part of the former was already on its way out of his mouth. However, considering the speaker's remarkable ability to mangle idioms, I have to consider other options.

Perhaps this just another example of people trying to repeat sayings they didn’t really understand in the first place. In these cases, they use the phrase in the proper context, but they change one of the words to something more familiar to them. Take the phrase "Its a moot point." In that phrase, the key word is "moot," meaning "of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic." It seems straightforward, but I've heard the phrase pronounced “It’s a mute point” (because it can’t talk?), or, via Friends, a “Moo point” (because a cow’s opinions don’t matter).

I’m not sure about a lot of things surrounding this. How would the last word be spelled anyway? I went with “piqued” because that is what the original phrase uses. But I suspect that the speaker would just as quickly have spelled it “peaked” or even “peeked.” If we accept that we’re talking about one’s disinterest (rather than the interest in the conventional saying), it only makes sense to use another spelling. If something piques one’s disinterest, I can only guess that means he has been turned off by a subject - which was not the intent of the speaker. If, however, one’s disinterest “peaked,” I suppose it has reached a turning point – the highest it can reach – and it is therefore in decline, which means that the person is becoming more interested in something. In the same vein, he may have just been mispronouncing “peak-ed,” as in “his disinterest is a bit sickly, so maybe he wants to know more.” In either of those situations, the speaker must be given props for creating an entirely new and thought-provoking phrase.

I’m not sure what “disinterest was peeked” might mean, though. Maybe it’s a bit like being caught with your zipper down – something so embarrassing that you have to fix it immediately? “Son, your disinterest in calculus is peeking.” “Gosh, dad! Thanks for noticing. I sure would be heckled at school if anyone else saw that.”

I don’t know, though, really. I suppose you could say that the speaker piques/peeks/peaks my disinterest fairly often with his language usage. I'll keep posting his (and many others') non-standard uses of English here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Job Interview

Questions you never want to hear during a job interview for an IT manager position:
"So let's say - hypothetically - you were hired for this job. You do outstanding work for about two weeks and then you find out - hypothetically - that due to your predecessor's negligence, your supplier was never paid for the servers your engineers use to develop EVERYTHING and that the servers will be re-possessed the next day. Still speaking hypothetically, you have no budget to purchase new servers because your predecessor somehow made the entire hardware budget vanish.

The question is, how many times will you be able to beat FreeCell before you actually get your pink slip?"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unfortunate Linking

Awww... look at the cute kitties! Those three are soooo adorable, I want to go buy all the food at my grocery store and take it to the Humane Society RIGHT NOW!!! If there's anything cuter than one kitten, it's three! So I'm just gonna...


What does the link to the previous story say?

Ummm... I... never mind.

Quotes for the Day:

"If those guys were wolves, they'd be eating their young." Soooo... they're really hungry?

"The date this happened was some legacy year." As opposed to the futuristic years we have now?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quotes for the Day:

"We need to keep our crazy trains going on separate tracks, or else we'll get confused." Too late.

"If you get the chance, it's always better to stay at hotels with all the humanities." FREE LINGUISTICS SEMINAR WITH EARLY CHECK-IN!!!

"We need to be careful, or we'll just end up beating ourselves into a corner." Paint is for sissies.

"Make sure you culinize those lesson plans." Ummmm... I'm really confused. I guess that's what happens when you stop steering your crazy train.