Denise-ism #49

Denise is reading Ben Jones’ blog & laughing uproariously every minute or so. Then she finds a post that really kills her.

Denise (laughing): Listen to this one: “People make fun of the fact that I wear a Speedo when I swim.”

Scott: Like you are now.

Denise (outraged): I’m not wearing a speedo!

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The inevitability of taxation

From Giampaolo Garzarelli’s Open Source Software and the Economics of Organization:

Whenever organizational forms present rapid change because of their strong ties to technology, public policy issues are always thornier than usual. Indeed, historically, it seems that every time that there’s the development of a new technology or production process, the government has to intervene in some fashion to regulate it or to extract rents from it. This point is well- encapsulated in the well-known catch-phrase attributed to Faraday. After Faraday was asked by a politician the purpose of his recently discovered principle of magnetic induction in 1831, he replied: “Sir, I do not know what it is good for. However, of one thing I am quite certain, some day you will tax it”.

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Nothin’ like nerdy Microsoft humor

In January 2002, I was running for the position of Vice President of the St. Louis Unix Users Group. On the SLUUG listserv, someone proposed that those running for office come clean on any ethical lapses. Here’s what I wrote:

Fine … I’ll go first and admit my ethical lapses.

I used to use Windows. A lot. All the time. It was really hard to stop. I mean, it came free with my computer. The guy at the store said, “Hey, try it. It’s free. Everyone else is doing it. You’ll feel good.” So I did. I gave in. I was weak. And then it got really hard to just say no. I kept giving more and more money to Microsoft, and Microsoft had me in its claws. I’d come to it every couple of days: “Hey, Microsoft, got anything else for me?” I sold things to buy more Microsoft products. I withdrew from my family, my friends, other people. Finally, one day I hit bottom … I looked around, and saw little multi-colored flags everywhere on my computer. I knew I was powerless. And that’s when I knew things had to change. I came to a LUG meeting, and I stood up, and I said, “Hi. My name is Scott, and I’m a Windows user.” Everyone was really nice … a lot of them had been in the same situation I was. Since then, the group has helped me gain the strength to get the Microsoft monkey off my back, and now I’m happier and more fulfilled than I ever was. Thank you, St. Louis Unix Users Group!

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The spirit of the real Texas Rangers

I rather like this, even if it’s probably not true:

The story goes that Captain Jack Hayes and his men, the fabled Texas Rangers, were surrounded and vastly outnumbered during one of the many skirmishes of the Mexican War. He made the following prayer, certainly one of the most colorful ever made before battle: “Oh Lord, we are about to join battle with vastly superior numbers of the enemy, and, Heavenly Father, we would like for you to be on our side and help us; but if you can’t do it, for Christ’s sake don’t go over to the enemy, but just lie low and keep dark, and you’ll see one of the damndest fights you ever saw in all your born days. Amen.”

As I said, probably apocryphal, but a great story nonetheless.

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The strictest of teachers

From Nat Friedman:

For twelve months in 1998 and 1999, I went through this phase of trying to “diversify my interests,” and signed up to take piano lessons. My teacher’s name was Peter, this rigid Eastern European math major who instructed piano to idiots like me on the side. In our first lesson, I was showing off that I knew a few notes of Fur Elise, when he abruptly interrupted, shouting: “What? Beethoven? Do not try to express what you cannot understand!”

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She’s a poet and don’t know it

So I’m listening to Car Talk on NPR, hosted by Tom and Ray, AKA Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and this woman calls in, and she says this:

Well hello, Click and Clack,
My name’s Mary Mack,
And I’m from Portland, Oregon.

And I thought, my God, but that scans really well. Try it — her meter really flows well. Very impressive.

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Jans clarifies it for us

Back in November 2002, a bunch of us went camping in a cabin in the woods. Around midnight, we were sitting around the fire, talking. The subject of crime came up, specifically the statute of limitations.

Scott: I think the statute of limitations doesn’t apply only in cases of murder and rape.

Denise: That’s right.

Scott: What about terrorism? Is there no statute of limitations on that?

Paul: Well, usually terrorism includes murder.

Jans: If there’s no murder, then it’s just scaryism.

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A man who loves his feet

From Ben Jones’ Benblog, in February 2003:

My friend Ben Jones talks about his feet, back when he was a waiter: “My feet are my lifeblood. Even after I’m done waiting, I don’t think I’ll ever think of my feet the same way. They have been my best friends over the last year, suffering through miles of abuse and experimentation. Now, I know them better. I know what they like. They’re less like the strange reptilian appendages they sometimes seemed and more like mongoose, cute and furry and sleek, but capable of turning it on when danger is near. Riki-tiki-tavi. I love my feet.”

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Ben Jones on primal fears

From Ben Jones’ Benblog:

I wonder if, the same way we possibly have a residual ancestral memory of snakes eating early hominids that makes certain people fearful of snakes, if the inexplicable fear that some of us have for clowns and realistic dolls and marionettes and that horror of horror a realistic looking clown marionette, which provides so much latitude for interpretation, and hence, ubiquitous, unmitigated terror, is a residual future perception, of a world where clown marionettes eat our progeny.

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Great Freudian slip story

From Plastic:

When my son was about 4, I took him to the swimming pool at the local YMCA. In the locker room was a one-legged man getting dressed. He was sitting right next to where my locker was so we had to share the bench.

My son was naturally curious about his missing leg and kept staring at the man. My son’s curiosity made me nervous. The man might not like being scrutinized so closely (though, in hindsight, it was probably no big deal and he might have even enjoyed the wonder in the eyes of a 4-year old).

To distract my son I started chattering away with him as I was dialing the combination to open my lock. The lock was old and cranky and it wouldn’t open on the first try. With absolutely no planning or intention, I blurted out, ‘This lock is on its last leg.’

I could have sank though the floor.

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