Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, November 03, 2017

Shall We Play a Game?

Lately, I've been bringing snack sacks of a brand-name, cheese flavored cracker to work, to help me hang on through that long period between breakfast and lunch.  The crackers are imprinted with letters because the packages have the licensed name of a popular game (involving letters on tiles, you know the one).  I pondered if I could actually make words with the crackers in a bag.

The first day I tried, I started pulling out D O T N...  Except that I pulled out the T and N at the same time, so I legally could switch them, and that looks like "don't".  The next letter was E...  Wouldn't it be funny if I spelled out "Don't eat me"?  That didn't work out.  Here are the letters I ate on two consecutive days.  I haven't been interested (or bored) enough to try rearranging them into any words.  Would you care to try?

Day 1:  D O T N E G F N Y W F R E S V R E M C L G E P I H G R E A C

Day 2:  I Y I Y N N R R I A L B R O I R X A A T B N I T I S X L E R

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

I Wouldn't Mind Candy on Date Night

I probably do this every year, but as I handed out Halloween candy last night, I reflected how some things have changed since I went trick-or-treating.

This year, there were a preponderance of skull masks of various sorts.  One's child looked like he had masking tape on his head.  It was an effective costume, but I hope there was a cap or something (a skullcap, perhaps?) between the tape and his hair.  Superhero costumes abounded, and Star Wars was a perennial favorite.  There was more face painting and fewer masks this year.  Store-bought costumes have gotten more elaborate (and probably more expensive), but it's amazing how effective a simple drape of cloth around a mask can be.

I wanted to say that there were more parents this year, but that would be a big "Duh!" because no parents accompanied their children when I was of the proper age.  Still, it was nice to see how many of the parents were in costume.  I have to give the prize for cleverness and effectiveness to the man whose toddler was dressed in a koala costume and riding on his father's back, as baby koalas do.  The father wasn't a big koala, but what sold me was the artificial branches & leaves that made it look like the boy was in a tree.

At one point early in the evening, I thought, "Gee, you're cute, but your son looks a little Goofy."

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Technology Fears Me

Our municipal election was held yesterday.  (It's non-partisan, so it can't be held on the same day as Republican vs. Democrat elections, but why just a month away from the other election?  Why not in April or something?)  The only items in my district were the mayoral contest (between eight candidates, so a run-off is likely), bond renewal questions (which usually pass overwhelmingly -- I mean, who's going to vote against funding libraries, fire departments, or senior citizens?), and a proposal to require sick leave for Albuquerque-based businesses (which was a 50/50 race as of the last time I saw the news last night).  In other words, I'd just have to go vote again for mayor, so why bother?  I did my duty, though.

The queue emerging from the school gymnasium wasn't very long, and it moved fairly consistently, and I had a book to keep me company.  (The people in front of me either were talking to each other or staring at their phones.)  An attentive poll worker efficiently directed us to the next registration station, of which there were eight.  As soon as I got in line behind the first voter at my station, I heard three slams.

No, this was not an active shooter situation.  This was the sound of three people opening then closing the covers of their printers, to make the toner last a little longer.  This included the poll worker who was going to enter me.  (Yes, "Uh-oh," would be an appropriate response from you.)

The poll worker found me in the system (without having to ask my middle initial, like the person next to me; it helps having a unique name like Captain Chlorophyll).  I signed the electronic pad confirming my address & birthdate.  The printer spit out my ballot -- and then stopped.  It did not print the second sheet, confirming that I was holding a real ballot and not one I had printed at home and brought with me.  It was out of toner.  I could not vote without that second sheet.  I was officially in limbo.  The poll worker apologized.  I said, "That's all right."  Internally, I smiled and thought, "It figures."

Apparently, my Weather Wizardry affected not just my printer, but two others, one of which also was caught in the middle of printing a ballot.  (It figures.)  There were no spare toner cartridges in the boxes of spare stuff.  (It figures.)  The poll supervisor phoned tech. support, but no one answered.  (It figures.)  After several minutes without a callback, the supervisor decided that our ballots would have to be voided, we'd have to be cancelled in the system, and then re-registered.

Who needs Russians to interfere allegedly with our elections when the equipment can screw itself up just fine, thank you?  (Alternatively, you could tie me up each election day to prevent me from interfering.  I suppose that's easier and cheaper.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

More French? Mais Oui!

I was having an idle moment this morning when a word popped into my head:  oubliette.  I couldn't think of what it meant, so I looked it up.  Now I can't think of how I came up with that word.  Are French words or phrases going to pop into my head every day this week?

Monday, September 25, 2017

I Don't Speak French, but I Do Kiss That Way

Our company subscribes to a website that posts construction jobs available in several states.  (We look for the ones with landscaping in our part of NM.)  I scroll through a lot of jobs out of our service area.  One I noticed today is in Thoreau, NM.  The locals pronounce it "tha-ROO", not "tha-ROE".  Don't ask me why; New Mexicans are weird like that.

That brought to mind the northern Georgia town not far from the Noog.  It's spelled Lafayette, like the Frenchman who helped the colonies in the American Revolution.  Most Americans (who haven't been trained in proper French) would pronounce it "la-fee-YET", but Georgians and Noogats say "luh-FAY-it".  Don't ask me why; Southerners are weird like that.

(I should give credit to the writer(s) of the movie Naked Gun 2-1/2 for putting those words into the mouth of Lt. Frank Drebin.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Only in Santa Fe

I heard this on the radio news this morning.  (I am not making this up.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beauty Is Only Bark Deep

My employer has been awarded the contract to install irrigation & landscaping outside a new business under construction, so I am reviewing our bid & the plan to make sure the project begins smoothly.

In the plan notes, the landscape architect specified, "Place plants upright and turned so that the most attractive side is viewed."  How exactly are we supposed to do that?  The plants can be driven around or walked around or even flown over (if you're a bird).  You can see them from all perspectives.  It's not like this is a Christmas tree set with it's least attractive side facing the wall.

The landscape architect also specified, "Shade trees shall be straight unless otherwise specified."  I never thought of plants like this before.  Can you have a gay tree?

Flowers can have both male (anther & filament) and female (stigma, style, and ovary) components.  These flowers are traditionally (though perhaps discriminatorily) called "perfect" flowers.  Alternatively, flowers can be male or female.  If male & female flowers are present on the same plant, the plant is referred to as monecious.  (This is commonly the case for cucumber or gourd plants, for example.)  If they're present on separate plants, the plants are called dioecious.

As far as I can tell, male flowers are equal-opportunity fertilizers, carelessly sharing their pollen as much as possible.  Pollination in plants most often occurs via insects or wind transporting the pollen from an anther to a stigma, either within the same flower or between different flowers.  (Wind-pollinated species such as Mulberry, Ash, Juniper, Oak, or Pecan are common problems for people who experience allergies.)

Sometimes, such as with many fruit species, a tree is not self-fertile; it requires a different tree (almost always of a different cultivar) to successfully produce fruit/seeds.  This means, for example, you'd have to plant a Bing Cherry and a Stella Cherry in order to get Bing fruit.  (Stella is self-fertile, as well as being a good pollinator.  Does that make her a hermaphrodite?)  Then you might have a problem because you don't have room for two trees, or maybe you just don't want that many cherries.  (Don't worry; the birds usually beat you to them, anyway.)  However, some clever horticulturist figured out thousands of years ago that he (and let's face it, it was probably a he because women were discriminated against more then than they are now) could graft part of one tree onto another, so two different varieties could grow on the same specimen (this must occur within a species), and one tree could successfully bear flowers & fruit from each cultivar.  Does this make the plant transgender?

One nursery we use offers a "six-way" Apple tree, with six cultivars grafted onto one plant.  Is that like a plant orgy?  Would watching bees pollinate the flowers be like watching porn?