It’s Going to be 90, So…

Sunrise over tobacco field

The cooler overnight temps are bringing interesting sunrises.

When I left for work today, our weather station was showing an outside temperature of 66.6 f – perhaps not the best time to head out into traffic. Then again, Hell hath no fury like New England drivers on a Monday morning, so I took my chances. Hang onto that last phrase, it’s going to be important.

I was planning to write about the ways in which some companies seem to ignore technology, even the technology that they sell, in order to frustrate their customers. It’s a good topic. I have several real examples which are on-point. I have a draft of that, but I’m not sure enough time has passed since my last technical post. So then I decided to write about how summer is coming to a close: 66.6f, the last week of “wear jeans this summer” at work, back to school shopping and the neighbor’s tree is starting to turn. That tree is always the first to go. I wasn’t sure. Maybe it’s too early to be emotional about the changing seasons.

Maple St Exit

Exits on Rt-2

On the way into work, the guy on the radio said “blah blah blah, foggy start, blah blah a high of 90 degrees today, blah blah.” 90. That’s still summer. Somewhere in the next few minutes, a voice in a commercial said that some blah-blah-business was walking distance from some blah-blah-well-known-place. Shortly after that, I was getting off Route 2 in Glastonbury, CT at the Maple Street exit, and I couldn’t help but think of “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” and “Walking Distance,” two of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

Since it’s still summer, let’s talk about words, phrases and scenes that spike our memory back to a particular scene in a movie or TV show, or a song.

That does happen to you, doesn’t it?

Come on, it can’t just be me.

The above mentioned “I’ll take my chances” for example, is forever glued in my head to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s campy song by the same name where she pushes back at fate. I don’t know why these connections are there, it just works that way. I can be in a serious as heck business meeting but if someone says something about “taking chances” Mary is playing in my head.

Other associations I am quick to make include:

Sorry” – not “I’m sorry” or “Sorry, I…” – just “Sorry” – short and cynical, the way John Belushi’s character Bluto said it in Animal House after smashing the folk singer’s guitar. Say it like that and I’m watching that scene in my mind.

Put your hand down” – Actually, I haven’t heard this very often since graduating from high school, but I was stuck in my dentist’s office last week when Judge Judy was on and she says that a lot. The link probably won’t last long (they keep taking it down for copyright issues) but if I hear that, or even “you’re sure?” I am reminded of team meeting scene from “Remember the Titans”

Football is Fun

In case the link is broken, but it’s better on video

Fine” – By itself, “fine” might bring back a teenage daughter moment, but two other variants take me to the movies. “It’s fine” will put me at the bottom of the escalator in RED when Helen Mirren’s character Victoria responds to the Secret Service agent who tells her she can’t come down. She says “Oh it’s fine, it’s fine” and then she renders him unconscious.

Frank Moses: Sarah, this is Victoria. Best wet work asset in the business and a true artist with an an RPN. Sarah Ross: Oh, wow. Um, what's that? Victoria: [smiling] I kill people, dear.Victoria: [pleasantly] In all the years I've known Francis, I've never seen him like this. So if you break his heart, I will kill you. And bury your body in the woods. Sarah Ross: Wow. Okay.

The other variation is “That’ll be fine” or anything close, which instantly puts me at the table with Jake and Elwood when Jake is ordering Champagne in the upper-crusty Chez Paul restaurant as they are trying to recruit Mr. Fabulous back into The Blues Brothers.

So, hear us now, we ain't wastin' time no more 'Cause time rolls by like hurricanes Runnin' after the subway train Don't forget the pourin' rainThe end of summer does bring one of these associations to mind. Here on the east coast, the forecast often includes a reference to a hurricane and that puts the Alman Brothers playing in my head. The song is “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and it’s a very uplifting tribute to a couple of band members who died. A very good friend of mine used to like the line about “hurricanes – Runnin’ after subway trains” but I like the verse being sung to Miss Sally the best:

Lord, lord Miss Sally, why all your cryin’?
Been around here three long days, you’re lookin’ like you’re dyin’.
Just step yourself outside, and look up at the stars above
Go on downtown baby, find somebody to love.”

I can’t help but associate that verse with the south where people are able to move sentence parts around with impunity. I studied German in school and I imagine that: “step yourself outside” would send a German speaker (who normally see the verb at the end of a sentence) into spasms, and it makes me smile.

That’s what it’s all about, right? Finding a way to smile as August slides into September and we all start getting serious again. Do you have words or phrases that send you into a movie scene or start a tune playing in your head? Tell me about them.

Posted in Inspiration, Music, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Tales from an Empty Bar

For the love of beer

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, we would both be enjoying the music for a change while we waited for the bartender. Tom Petty – “The Waiting” is playing. I ask you if you remember the Simpson’s episode when Homer wanted to buy a gun.

Where is she?

Huh?

The bartender, where is she?”

She’s outside. She has to cover the patio, the lounge and the bar on Saturday afternoons.

But I’m thirsty now.”

So you do remember the episode.”

What?

The Simpson’s episode, you do remember it.”

No, I don’t watch the Simpson’s

That’s weird, ‘cuz In the episode, the gun store owner told Homer that he had to wait five days to buy a gun. Homer replied ‘But I’m mad now’ and then they did this little sequence with Tom Petty playing in the background.”

Didn’t see it. Anyway, what made you think of that?

The song. That was Tom Petty. Remember?

I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Like I said, I’m thirsty.”

Sorry boys, I was outside. Pinot Noir and a Yuengling coming right up.”

You put a twenty on the bar to start our tab and then you ask the bartender why she has to cover all three areas. She explains that Saturday afternoons are slow in the summer and the owner doesn’t want to pay for a waitress.

Maybe he should spice it up a bit to attract some more customers. You could add some TV trivia. Apparently some people like that kind of stuff.” Pointing at me.

It will pick up once college football starts.” She pushes your twenty back to you. “This round’s on me. Sorry for making you wait.”

You pocket the twenty.

“Since I offered to pay, the next round is on you.”

Fine. You know it’s funny, a blogger that I follow just wrote about pub quizzes in England. It seems they have a thing for them”.

Is that where you got interested in them?

What, no. I wasn’t trying to start a quiz, I just thought you might have seen that Simpson’s episode. I’ll tell you though, my English friend David bagged me twice on triva quizzes.”

Twice? What were they?

Name the Seven Dwarfs.”

That’s easy.”

So, name them. If you can name them all, I’ll get the next round.”

“You’re already getting the next round.”

“Waiting…”

Waiting might be the hardest part, but your quiz is easy. Everybody always forgets Doc. I remember him, and Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy and the guy who’s buying the next round, Dopey.”

Nicely done. People do usually forget Doc.”

So, what was the other quiz?

Huh?

You said your friend bagged you on two quizzes. What was the second one, the colors in the rainbow?

What’s that supposed to mean?

Nothing, Dopey.

Sigh, the second quiz was to name the actors in The Magnificent Seven.

Oh, I can do that. Double or nothing?

Um, I’m already buying the next round, but sure. Double or nothing.”

This is easy, I love that movie. Chris, Lee, Chico, everybody forgets Chico. Chico was the young Mexican kid that tags along behind Chris. Then there’s Britt…

No! Not the characters, the actors who played the characters.”

Pffft, that’s even easier. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter, everybody forgets Brad Dexter, and Eli Wallach.”

You lose.”

What? No, that’s them. I know you thought I’d forget Brad Dexter, but he was in it, look it up if you want.”

Eli Wallach played Calvera, the leader of the Mexican outlaws. You forgot the same guy that I forgot, Horst Buchholz.”

Horst Buchholz? You’re making that up.”

Nope, he was in the movie. Do you know who he played? …Chico.”

D’oh.”

So, not a Simpson’s fan, huh?

OK, you got me. The drinks are on me. But tell me, how does a guy from England know so much about the The Magnificent Seven? I mean, it’s a movie about seven American gunfighters fighting a bunch of Mexican bandits? And another thing, who names their kid Horst?

Note: If you like the Simpson’s, you may enjoy these two videos: Homer brings a gun to dinner. And, Waiting.

Posted in Friends, Humor, If having a beer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Thursday Doors–First Church in Windsor

First Church in Windsor

First Church in Windsor

One of the first people I met after moving to Connecticut was my best friend John. One of the first places he took me was a local hot dog stand called Bart’s for a dinner of hot dogs and burgers. I was a lot younger then, so plurals are appropriate. From the counter at Bart’s, you can look north across the Farmington River and see the profile of The First Church in Windsor. The fact that it is across the river figures prominently in the church’s history. At one point, due to the frequent flooding of that river, the settlers actually built a second church, to serve the community living south of the river.

John was born and raised in Windsor, which claims to be Connecticut’s first town. Wethersfield also claims that title. Numerically, things fall in Windsor’s favor. The Plymouth Trading Company in Massachusetts established a settlement in Windsor in 1633. Wethersfield was formed in 1634. Pretty simple huh? Well, Wethersfield adds a snarky little caveat to their claim:

“…depending on one’s interpretation of when a remote settlement qualifies as a town

I’m going with Windsor. Congregations and towns were pretty much the same thing in the 1630s. By 1635, they had built a permanent Meeting House. In 2005, the church in Windsor celebrated its 375th anniversary.

There aren’t many things in this country that date back beyond the early 1600s, because the Native American population lived closer to the land, leaving fewer artifacts. They also had some difficulty keeping records as the European settlers forcibly moved them from place to place.

The Church (not the current building) is the oldest Congregational church in Connecticut and the fourth oldest Congregational Church in the world. Its history is well documented on the church’s website and in the records of the Windsor Historical Society. The current church building, which was the fourth meetinghouse to serve the congregation was completed in 1794.

According to the history on the church’s website, this congregation was associated with one other noteworthy “first” in America. They were instrumental in hanging the first witch in America.

375 years is a long time and I won’t dwell on the fact that the congregation was associated with that incident. I am not personally familiar with this church, but in reading the history that is available, I would rather focus on the fact that the church has long been known for its community outreach and service to the people in the surrounding area, including non-residents who happen to have found themselves in Windsor and in need of support.

The church established a Family Service Agency in the 1940s to help migrant tobacco workers and young people employed in the textile industry. They also sponsored a refugee family from East Germany after the end of World War II. In the 1960s, First Church created offices and programs to help wrestle with the growing number of social problems and to support the Civil Rights Movement. According to the history published on the church’s website:

In 1963 the First Church Council passed a resolution stating that membership in First Church was open to all without restrictions of race or ethnic origin.”

If you lived through the 60s, you understand the significance of that small bit of history.

Map of recently featured doors

Recently featured doors

In case you’re wondering about First Church in relation to the other Windsor Doors I’ve featured, Elm Grove Cemetery is about three miles to the northwest, and Tunxis Grill lies about a mile beyond that. Both are also alongside the Farmington River. The tobacco barns are in the same area, but on the north side of the river. First Church is about a mile and a half from the Connecticut River (if you floated down the Farmington River). If you headed north along the Connecticut River, you would run into Denslow house after a few miles.

Since Windsor is such a historic town in Connecticut, and since I drive through it twice each day, there will likely be many Thursdays that feature a Windsor door.

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s wonderfully entertaining Thursday Doors series. Please consider snapping a door photo and joining us on any given Thursday

Posted in History, New England Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

The Internet of Married Things

Last week, a post written by Amanda Headlee reminded me of a post I wrote a little over a year ago called The Internet of Snarky Things. The two posts don’t have much in common, but there’s mention of an underlying thread: the problems that might be caused when everything is connected to everything. I was trying to be funny, but I think Amanda is more interested in the fear factor.

By the way, if you are a writer, want to be a writer or are easily amused by writers, you should visit The Sarcastic Muse.

As things are moving very, very fast these days in the world of technology and communications, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more of a reality than a pipe dream. Things are talking to other things. Sometimes they talk to each other on our behalf, sometimes they talk among themselves without our knowing, and sometimes they tell on us the way young siblings do. Unfortunately, mom isn’t there to say “nobody likes a tattletale.” The people who built that last group of things love tattletales.

One of the way things (OK, not really things but it’s a good example) talk to each other that I like, is demonstrated by a service called If This Then That, (IFTTT, said to be pronounced like “gift” without the “g”). I signed up for IFTTT so I could link two services that I use together.

I use Evernote and Trello in support of this blog (see Blogging Geek Style). Evernote is a great place to keep notes. Probably why they put “note” in the name. Trello is a great place to schedule stuff. Trello is a lightweight task/project management system. That’s a good thing, because heavyweight project management systems were invented for people who are building bridges. Who needs that for publishing a blog?

Blog Project Plan

This is the typical progression of one of my blog posts.

While both of these services handle note-taking, artifact-storing and task-scheduling, Evernote is better at the first two and Trello is awesome at the third. What I really wanted was a way to link Evernote to Trello.

Now I have that.

IFTTT is a service that lets you link applications/Apps/Services/etc. to one another by building simple rules that invoke actions that are published in the various products’ APIs (application programming interfaces). APIs are things that applications know how to do that are publicly understood.

It’s like telling your nephew from Boise to set the table. You may not have seen him since the day he was baptized, but he’s 11 and he should know how to set a table.

Your nephew might put the fork on the right, maybe that’s how they do it in Boise, or maybe he forgot, or maybe he’s bored, but APIs don’t forget. APIs are reliable and they never get bored.

I created a link in IFTTT that lets me click something in Evernote and have the blog idea I have squirreled away there be added to a schedule I have in Trello. I can also schedule a new blog post in Trello and have a note page setup in Evernote to remind me to do the necessary research. I think that is very cool.

As for products that talk to other products, a wide range of devices are currently hitting the market. For example: a thermostat that talks to all the phones in your house and knows when the last person leaves the house and when the first person to return is close enough to crank down the AC. That product is doomed in our house. My wife reigns over the thermostat and woe be unto the human or artificially intelligent device that gets in her way.

Another product can be set to control all the lights in your house and to vary them in conjunction with the Earth’s rotation to keep you in a good mental frame of mind. This product would automatically wake you with bright simulated sunlight. Again, that product is D.O.A. at our address. The Mrs. follows me around, turning off every light as I go light switch to light switch moving them into the On position when I wake up. Turning a light on to make her happy is like bleeding in front of a shark to make it go away.

The category of snitchy things includes things like devices that talk to the electric company and shut things (like lights) off or turn things (like the AC) up or down or schedule appliances like washers and dishwashers to run or not run based on conditions on the grid. Also in this category are the things you can plug into your car’s diagnostic port that will tell your insurance company how you are driving, and devices, apps and toilet seats that will tell your doctor that you did, apparently, have a second slice of pie last night.

I don’t think these that the “things” in the Internet of Things are going to truly be useful until they can marry other things and learn a few things about peaceful coexistence. Things like: “do not turn the dishwasher on at 2:00 am” – “do not turn the thermostat up when it’s hot and humid” – “do not tell my doctor I had two beers” and, of course: “turn that darn light off!

Posted in Blogging, Family, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Would You Mind?

socs-badge-2015What to write on any given day for me is like what I imagine what to wear to a social gathering is to women. Social gatherings are easy for men. Casual – anything that doesn’t garner a “you’re not wearing that” from your wife. Business causal, khakis and your blue blazer. Kinda-sorta formal or black tie optional, dark gray suit. Social gatherings for women – I don’t know where to start but it will end with “I don’t have the right shoes!

I have lots of ideas tucked away in EverNote. Some are nothing more than a few words, some are practically a working draft, but I have to be in the mood to finish them. I look forward to Saturdays because I know that if I can’t figure out what to write, Linda will nudge me with the SoCS prompt.

Except this week she hit us with:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “mind.” Use it any way you think to. Have fun!

Mind? Seriously? Sigh.

As fast as I could think of subjects, my mind cut me off at the proverbial pass. The way people ask “do you mind?” to disarm you from saying no to a request. I don’t want to write about that because I usually don’t mind at all. Then I thought of the times I do mind. It struck me that there’s a range of “mindiness” that I could talk about and even draw a diagram to illustrate. I liked that because I love drawing those diagrams. I wish I could draw better, but…

One of the least mindy things that happens to me is when people ask if I can take their picture. When Faith and I climbed Mt. Monadnock recently, a guy asked if I could take a picture (with his camera) of him and his wife. No problem. How could you mind? Later, I asked a different guy if he would take a picture of Faith and me – he didn’t mind either.

My favorite story about these types of photos is when Faith and I were on a ferry across Puget Sound from Whidbey Island to the Olympic Peninsula. I took a picture of Faith and a German man asked me if I wanted him to take a picture of both of us. Faith was a little grumpy about having had to get up extra early for the ferry (I’ll let her tell that story). The guy was trying to get us to smile, and finally asked: “you two are traveling together aren’t you?

Staying with photos, I don’t usually mind when people ask me if they can use a photo of mine in a blog, or even in a presentation. I absolutely mind when they use them without asking. I once asked a used equipment dealer if I could use a photo in a blog post called “Redefining Impossible.” He was very nice and agreed, didn’t seem to mind at all.

Next up in the scale, staying away from any questions I might get from my wife (I never mind doing those things) we come to the questions around seats. “Do you mind if I squeeze in here?” at a crowded bar. “Would you mind moving down one so we could sit together?” at not quite as crowded a bar but with only single stools available. Switching seats on an airplane so couples can sit together. I wrote about this before.

Next in line, I would put giving someone a ride. Depending on how close the ride is to my destination, my response would vary from not minding at all to minding-a-tiny-little-bit-but-not-really. I give people visiting our office rides to the airport all the time. I live in the town with the airport. I have walked home from the airport. Nothing to mind there. Actually, I don’t mind giving people rides almost anywhere.

I once picked up a hitchhiker on an on ramp to I-91. I was only going one exit, but he only had one leg, it was raining and he was standing next to a broken-down van. I ended up giving him a ride to New Haven, CT, about 45 minutes away because, you know, one leg, rain, sad story and everything.

One other time, I got off the train in Windsor Locks and the woman in front of me turned and asked: “where are the cabs?” I almost laughed. There are no cabs. Windsor Locks is a sleepy little town with nothing to attract tourists. Her flight out of New York had been canceled and they put her on a train to BDL (the airport in Windsor Locks) so she assumed there would be a way to get from the train station to the airport. I mentioned that my wife was picking me up and that we could give her a ride. Happy tourist.

So far, nothing in my illustration gives it any sense of scale. I don’t seem to mind anything. Wait, in that post about switching seats on a plane is a story about when a guy tried to get me to take the middle seat instead of my aisle seat. Yeah, I mind that. That’s over the red line for sure.

Mind Scale

Essentially, I don’t mind a lot of things people might ask me to do.

Posted in Perspective, SoCS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Thursday Doors–Webster Memorial Building

Webster Memorial Building

It’s hard to get a photo of the door, since it sits back in the entrance and is often protected by the iron gate when I am passing through.

I drive by this building a lot, and even before I was on the lookout for interesting doors, I liked this one. It’s on the corner of the street that my barber’s shop is on and it’s only a few doors down. I took this photo on my way to get my hair cut. I’m not sure if the ironwork is original or if it was added during one of the crime sprees that seems to periodically plague Hartford. The city has already surpassed last year’s murder rate, but that’s another story for sure.

Despite its small size, Hartford has a very rich history. We celebrate Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Colt Firearms, the first Woolen Mill in America, as well as the fact that sewing machines, bicycles and machine tools were invented, or manufactured or innovated here. Insurance has enough history to let me form a subset of Insurance Company Doors and, to the point, Hartford has over 400 properties listed on the National Register, including 21 National Historic Landmarks. For a city of about 125,000 people, there’s a lot going on. OK, maybe I should say “a lot has gone on in the past” but I’ll cut the city some slack.

The Webster Memorial Building sits at the one of the prominent entrances to Hartford’s signature Bushnell Park, and the fact that this building hasn’t been blown up or torn down is a testament to someone’s foresight and appreciation of history. Sadly, both the interior and the exterior of the building have been renovated to the point that many of the original architectural details are gone from sight. The saddest part, according to the National Register application, is the fact the ceilings were lowered. I don’t know if that was a cosmetic lowering or if it involved the destruction of what I am guessing were beautiful works of plaster.

One of the things I learned while researching this little building is how much you can learn by reading the Nomination Form for inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Places. I learned, for instance that:

The building’s brick walls, laid in common bond with Flemish variation, rest on fieldstone underpinnings which are concealed above grade with brownstone facing. Brownstone also forms the simple lintels and sills of the rectangular window openings, now fitted with six-over-six double-hung sash.”

I also learned that the building was built as a three-family residence and that the three families included a tobacconist, a confectioner and a toolmaker. Until very recently, there was a tobacconist across from my barber’s former location in the city. I’m guessing there may still be a confectioner working in the downtown area, but there are no tool makers in downtown Hartford.

This building later served as home to Hartford’s Charity Organization Society, a private relief organization. The formation of this organization is said (in the nomination form) to have been one of the key developments of the Progressive Period. The idea was to streamline private giving into combined charities…hmm, that seems oddly familiar to the organization that dips into my paycheck week after week. You can read all about this in the nomination form, but I will leave you with one more extract that caught my attention:

On its 20th anniversary, the Society took pride in the fact that it had steadily reduced private charity outlays from $33,000 in 1890 to a little over $3,000 in 1910. By thoroughly investigating and counseling its clients, is felt it had largely eliminated the ‘imposition, indolence and debauchery connected with the pauperism of that time (the 1890s)’.

1890 seems like it was a tough time to be poor. Hartford still has a significant population in poverty today. I would like to think that the city and its surrounding suburbs have a better attitude toward the poor today, but I don’t think that’s really the case.

This post is part of the amazing and fun series of Thursday Doors started by Norm Frampton. You can join us on any given Thursday.

Posted in History, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Wipe Those Feets

Spellcheck hoghlight feets

Yes, I know you think it’s a spelling error.

Every morning that I get stuck with the duty have the privilege of taking Maddie out to make morning rounds, when we return to the porch I will tell her: “we have to wipe those feets.” Yes, Microsoft, I understand that “feet” is the plural of foot, but Maddie has four feet so I don’t think “feet” goes far enough. Feets is plural for feet in my book, which, by the way, is not the book you want to read if you’re trying to learn proper English. Also in the “by the way” category, I didn’t misuse “make morning rounds” nor was I searching for a comical metaphor. Maddie makes morning rounds.

Specifically, she walks the perimeter of the yard.

I was told by a friend who had both a male and a female Doberman that females check the perimeter of their property, whereas a male wanders about randomly. I’m sure that my editor is shaking her head at the male part and thinking “what, we needed to study animal behavior to figure that out?” He said that in the military, guards walking the fence will have female dogs while males are used to intercept.

Maddie – walks – the – fence.

Maddie walks the fence before she pees! Seriously, we take her out for the last time at night around 7:30 – 8:00 and we take her out in the morning around 6:00, and she spends 1-2 minutes walking the fence before peeing. I would be…sorry, I digress. I wanted to talk about plurals. I guess I went off-track. Wandering randomly if you will.

In addition to feet, I don’t like the so-called-correct plural forms of other words and I tend to not use them. I’ve mentioned before that I prefer ‘jacki’ to jackasses and croci to crocuses. What I didn’t mention is that some dictionaries list ‘croci’ as an acceptable plural form of crocus. None seem to list jacki as being acceptable. Still, I’m sure the people around me understand me, especially in the context in which I use that word, i.e. when referring to a large group of jacki as opposed to a herd or a pace of jackasses. Yep, a pace of jackasses is a thing.

Another word whose plural I don’t like is data, because it doesn’t have one. Data is plural. That is, if you’re old enough to remember the word datum, or if you took Latin in school or if you’re anal about such things. Because data is technically plural, the way feet technically can mean two, three or four feet, we’re supposed to say things like “the data used for this chart were out of date.” I would tend to say “was out of date” but some jackass someone in the room would interrupt to point out that “data is plural so you should say were out of date.” Who cares? “were out of date” sounds dumb. I’m going to go with the walks-like-a-duck theory here and say if it sounds dumb, it is dumb.

Actually, my way is gaining favor, if you give any credence to the folks at onlinegrammar.com – I just heard my editor scream – “are those the same people who said you can begin a sentence with ‘but’?” They might be. In any case, they say that ‘data was’ is acceptable when the data is non-countable, i.e. where it might be referring to information rather than a series of numbers. I know, “if you mean information, say information and then you can feel free to use ‘was’

I would rather go for being understood than being grammatically correct. Whenever I say “the data was something” everybody understands me. It’s only the jacki word-nerds in the room who immediately think “ooh, I should correct him ‘cuz data is plural…” Yes, I know those people wouldn’t say ‘cuz and I know that I am walking a fine line between having this post edited and having it wadded up and thrown at my head because I am insinuating that my editor belongs in a group of…I’m not going to say it…not even going to say it and strike it out. Nope, smarter than that.

But, (sorry) I would argue that, even if I wrote it, the reference shouldn’t be implied. Jackass, and its non-acceptable-plural ‘jacki’ is a gender-specific term. Jack is a male donkey, a female is a Jenny. So there.

The plurals that I try to get right are Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The Pirates are a great baseball team and I am a Pirates fan. While I do also like individual Pirates like A.J. Burnett and Andrew McCutchen, I am a fan of the team, the organization and I appreciate the regional significance of the Pirates. And, (sorry) since I’m thinking in Pittsburgh terms now, yinz have a nice day.

Posted in Humor, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments