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.