Monday, January 16, 2012

A new record in Non-Self-Awareness

It is, quite simply, psychologically impossible for Froma Harrod to imagine the possibility that her own behavior might be inappropriate. I have rarely seen anything that amused me this much. Of course, I have a special interest in the psychology of self-deception; so maybe this won't be as funny to my General Readers as it is to me. But I think it ought to be pretty funny to just about anybody other than Froma Harrop. Or her hypothetical sister.

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Link to the original here. Hat tip: Ace (standard warning: Ace, while frequently funny, is also frequently unsuitable for family gatherings, and is always bitterly anti-liberal).

Merry exercises tact

So the kids and I are in the car as I take the girls back to Katy for today's custody swap, and the Josh Groban version of "You Lift Me Up" is rolling along through the minivan's sound system. He swings into the high notes of the chorus, and I start singing along. And after about one phrase of the duet, Merry observes, "I just love Josh Groban's voice..."

Finagled a sort of extra day with the kids

I'm not working in the office today, even though MLK Day is not an official BG holiday. That's because I was able to finagle an extra day off of school for Merry and Sally. It was pretty east to talk the school into excusing them for MLK Day, after all -- I just convinced the school that Merry and Sally are African-American. They bought it straight away for Merry, but I had a heckuva time convincing them that Sally isn't Mexican...

Advice for Americans about to attempt driving in the U.K.

I have to go to London next week on business, which will be my first time to visit the BG Group offices in Reading. Naturally I'm renting a car, which means that I will spend a week making full use of the UK's "roundabouts," which are a very highly efficient way to process as many drivers as possible through an intersection without having anybody have to slow down very much, without traffic lights, without stop signs -- just an outstanding bit of design. Of course this means that when I get back home I will spend the next six months feeling a strong urge to use VERY bad language every time I get to a four-way stop sign.

At any rate, having driven a lot in the U.K., I try to point out to Americans who are heading over there the two biggest adjustments for American drivers. Driving on the left, by the way, is not one of those two, because every American knows about that already.

#1. When you're coming up on roundabouts, it's absolutely critical to look at the sign that has the schematic diagram and decide where you're going to exit the roundabout. British drivers can always tell American drivers because they're the ones who have already made three complete circles around the roundabout and show no signs of exiting before completing a fourth. Once you are actually in the roundabout there are often NO SIGNS to tell you how to get out because they told you how to get out before you got in.

#2. There's no point in knowing whether you're going north, south, east or west, because there's no such thing as a sign saying "North M-1" or "East A-25". Instead, Britain's signpainters assume that you always know which small town is the next town you expect to go through, and that's what they put on the sign. Thus if you are driving through Wales and you are trying to get to the town of Llwwedatgyfa, which is ten miles from the roundabout you're about to enter and has a population of 20,000, but two miles before you get to Llwwedatgyfa there is a village called Wm in which there are three houses inhabited by five persons, six sheep and a cat, the sign will refer to Wm and not Llwwedatgyfa.

I remember having to make a different adjustment when I first started driving in Australia, down around Melbourne and the Snowy River country. I kept getting lost there because I would look on the map, and it would say I was supposed to head north on highway #51...but there were never any signs telling me which way to go for highway #51. Eventually with the help of the hotel concierge I realized that, on the map, highway #51 and its peers all also had names, such as, say, "Prince Edward Highway." And the signs all referred to the names, not the numbers. Once I knew that, suddenly it was easy to find my way.

Now that we have iPhones and GPS's, of course, all of this may be moot anyway...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Criminal Mastermind of the Day Month Year -- oh, heck, the new all-time champ

If one is engaged in the act of robbing of a bank, and one is about to hand over the swag bag to the teller so that said teller can put money in it, then it is best to remember which hand is holding the swag bag and which hand is holding the gun.

And you know what's even stupider? The clerk let him have it back!

And then, having gotten his gun back...the robber fled empty-handed, speeding away in his getaway car...oh, no, wait, he forgot to provide himself with a getaway car. So he sped away on one of the bank employees' bicycles.

And how -- I hear you cry -- did he pick the bike lock so fast? Well, apparently the employee hadn't locked his bike up.

England: Land of Genius.

HT: Mr. Barry. (Warning: the comments there can be thought-provoking but are not necessarily family-friendly.)

Criminal Defendant Mastermind of the Day

So what do you think you, Gentle Reader, would choose to wear to your trial on charges of drug trafficking?

As Dave (or in this case actually Judi) put it, "He probably came straight from work."