Archive for the ‘wordweirdness’ Category

Scared by the Nav-Hag

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

So far I love almost everything about my new droid phone, and I’ve already written about my shock and awe over the Google-assisted navigation capabilities. But I have 2 rather humorous asides about that nav piece, or maybe about our tendency to tire of the things we once loved and our ability to turn the formerly miraculous into the increasingly mundane.

I was heading into Indy to go to a credit union I don’t typically use, and even though I’ve been there before, I looked it up on the droid and asked it to navigate me there. This was partly because it will estimate the driving time and I was on a tight schedule…ok, it was also because I still love to say things like “navigate to the credit union on West 56th street in Indianapolis, Indiana” and watch it do its thing. Yeah…still cool.

Anyway, I fired up the droid navigation thingy and got on my way. Well, about 10 minutes down I65, I was deep in thought and completely lost in my little mobile world when some awful-sounding woman, who seemed to be virtually sitting in my lap, shouted at me, “IN ONE AND ONE HALF MILES TAKE EXIT ONE TWENTY FOUR…” I nearly jumped off the seat, and it took me a second to realize it was the female synthesized navigation voice coming from my droid, which was literally sitting in my lap. I have to tell you, it really scared the crap out of me. Then I laughed at myself…I’d been scared by the voice I now refer to as the Nav-Hag.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let her scare me like that again, so I intentionally left the navigation on even as I got closer and closer to my destination, well past the point where I needed it anymore, just so I could get used to it. And as I got closer, and it kept telling me things I already knew (I even found myself talking to it irately…”yes, I know I need to turn right on Lafayette Rd! You think I didn’t know that!?! Shut up already!”), I came up with another name for it. I called it my Nagivator.

all in a name = inane llama = animal lane = La Alien Man = ???

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Does anyone else find it strange that a writer named Ina Fried is writing about a guy named Ian Freed?  No, there’s no other obvious connection besides their strangely, nearly anagrammatical names (Ina Fried is a writer for CNet, while Ian Freed is Vice President of Amazon) but still, Ina Fried…Ian Freed?  Wow.  Add to that the fact that Ina used to be an “Ian” herself…strange, indeed.

All that aside, the new Kindle 2 from Amazon does look cool.  I still think I’ll hang on to my old hard-backs, but these devices could start to get really interesting in another generation or 2.

Oh yeah, one more thing…any coincidence that Ian Freed’s name can be anagrammatized as “Read Fine?”

A Time for Spam

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I was deleting a typical round of spam in my Thunderbird junk folder this morning, and I saw a subject line that caught my eye.  Thunderbird does a pretty good job of filtering spam and other unwanted emails, so I typically don’t spend much time going through them.  But I can’t seem to just delete them without at least a brief glance to make sure there’s not a random mis-placed message from a long-lost friend mixed in with the myriad unwanted solicitations for drugs, investment schemes, all things porn, and, um, bodily enhancement products.

As a result, I’ve seen some pretty funny misspellings (most are intentional to try to get past filters) of key words and phrases in subject lines.  But one this morning looked odd to me.  The subject line read “Brand Names in Horology.”  I wasn’t sure what Horology was, and I stopped for a second to think about it.  I’m a pretty big reader, and I have a decent vocabulary, so anytime I come across a word I don’t know, I usually try to look it up.  Horology…it stumped me.  I thought they’d misspelled something (again with the porn?) or maybe combined horoscope and astrology to form a new word.  I was surprised to find out that horology is the study of time and includes the science of clock-making.  Someone was trying to sell me brand name watches.

OK, so what have I learned from this?  First, I should keep glancing through subject lines of spam before deleting them, not only to scan for old friends but now to learn new words.  Second, Thunderbird has a better vocabulary than I do.  It knew this spam was simply hawking fake Rolexes and TAG Heuers, no matter how intelligent the spammer was trying to sound.

Way to go Thunderbird…keep up the good work.  Or better yet: Maintain your excellence in garbology.

Happy Anniversaries

Friday, September 15th, 2006

A friend of mine told me yesterday that it was his 10th wedding anniversary and his 2nd anniversary of being a dad. 2 years ago yesterday, he and his wife went to China and adopted a beautiful little girl, and while they don’t necessarily celebrate that date as her birthday, he thinks of it as a special day for him (with good reason). I made a little word-joke out of it and told him happy anniversaries.

That made me wonder why we fathers and mothers don’t celebrate the day of a child’s birth as more than just their birthday, but also as a special kind of Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. For me, the “official” Father’s Day is just a Sunday in June, and I might get some special treatment from the kids and (maybe) the wife. But having one generic “Father’s Day” for all of us kind of robs it of any special meaning. None of my boys were born on that Sunday…my Father’s Days fall in December and March and October.

From now on, I’ll be celebrating their birthdays with a special prayer of thanks for making those days my Father’s Days as well.