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Annoying, Now October 6, 2006

Posted by Andy in Grammar, improvement, soapbox.

Warning: Don’t Read This Post. I’m serious. It will make your life less enjoyable.

Years ago, I was enjoying a meal back in the college dining hall, when my friend pointed out that the register emitted a beep each time an ID card was swiped through it to pay for a meal. I’d never noticed this before, but once I was aware of it, I could no longer not-hear it, and it annoyed me for the rest of my meals in the dining hall.

If only there was some way for super selective amnesia to be induced, things like this would not have to be the thorns in the paw of our life experience.

Here are some other things that I wish I could un-know:

  • Grape gum tastes like raisins (thanks, Dave)
  • Stewart’s Orange n’ Cream soda tastes like baby aspirin (thanks, Gretch)
  • “try and…” is not right. Should be “try to…” (thanks, Shelley)

Ignorance really is bliss, I suppose. At the risk of becoming less blissful, I’ll ask if anyone else has something that was pointed out to them that now annoys them.  Let’s try and to make a nice list.

World Improvement July 12, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Grammar, improvement, soapbox.
1 comment so far

(from 1997)

When people talk about ways in which to improve the world they use phrases like “end world hunger” or “clean up the environment”. Those are all well and good I suppose, but are not easily implemented. Here I have a few suggestions that would not be that hard to put into place and would make the world a better place in which to live.

A New Word For A New World: I don’t know about you, but I am sick of having to use such written dictums as “he or she” when I am writing in the third person about someone who could be either male or female. For example, “The next time an Astronaut is thirsty, he or she should not feel like he or she must have Tang.” What we need is a word for third person neutral. I would propose the word “E”. You might thing that “E” is a strange choice, but there is a precedent for a single capitalized vowel, namely “I”. Also, “E” rhymes with both he and she. Think about it how cool this would be. If you met someone with a young child whose gender you could not determine you just say, “How old is E?” I know you probably think I am just trying to be funny, but this actually is a good idea.

Pick Your Own Name: In seeing what new parents are naming their kids these days, it seems obvious that they are running out of ideas. The reason for this is because they have to come up with two names for each kid. This is usually done before they even really get to know the kid. What often happens is that the kid usually gets at least one name that E is embarrassed about and tries to keep secret. This can lead to anxiety and other bad psychological things. What I propose is this: when the kid is born E gets just a first name and a last name. Then, when E turns 12 or so, E gets to pick their other name. (At first I thought it would be a good idea to let the kid’ friends pick their name, but then I remembered what my friends were like at 12). Your name is something you have to take around with you for your whole life, so why shouldn’t you get at least some say in what it is. Better for the parents, better for the kid, better for society.

Another Name Idea: I have always thought it was backwards that when you see someone you know, you greet them with their name. If I see Steve, I say something like “Hey Steve.” Why does Steve need me to remind him of what his name is. I think he knows it by now. What we should do instead is greet them with our own names. Then when I see Steve I would say “Hey Andy.” You may think this is crazy, but it does make sense. First of all, it would prevent that awkward situation where you see someone that you’ve met and whose name you should know but can’t remember. All you have to remember is your own name. Second, it would remind the people you meet what your name was in case they had forgotten.

A New Calendar: I think most people would agree with me that January is a relatively sucky month. It tends to be cold, gray and monotonous. What makes it worse is that it’s 31 days long. I propose that we make it only 28 days long. We could take those three extra days and give them to nicer months. I would say one for April, one for June, and one for November. The November one would give us all another day for Christmas shopping (if we put it at the end) which would help the economy. While we are at changing the calendar, I want to change leap day too. Who needs an extra day at the end of February anyway? Besides which, more times than not, it’s an extra weekday. What I would do with it is put it between December 31st and January 1st. I would not assign it a date though, or even a day of the week. It would just be Leap Day. Kind of like a free bonus day where each person could do whatever E wanted to. The next leap year is 2000. The way it would work is this: December 31st 1999 is a Friday. The next day would be Leap Day. Everyone could party or sleep or read or knit or whatever they wanted too for the whole day. The next day would then still be Saturday January 1st. Think about this, a free day every 4 years. I think it would work.

More Glow In The Dark Stuff: Not much to explain about this one. I just think we need more.
If you like these ideas, write your congress person or Oprah or someone, and if we all work together, maybe we can make a difference.

When There Are Not Enough Rocks July 11, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Grammar, improvement, soapbox.

(from ~1996)

I begin this installment of SoapBox without a clue as to what it will be. Read on, and discover with me what the subject will turn out to be. Perhaps this would be a good time to reflect on a quote by Forrest Gump: “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” To refresh your memory, he said that when he was talking about how Jenny was throwing rocks at the small house that she had spent a very unhappy childhood in. Here are some other times when there are just not enough rocks:

  • When someone feels the need to drive below the posted speed limit in the left most lane.
  • When the person in front of you at the grocery store pays by check.
  • When the weatherman is wrong.
  • When people misuse the word “literally” (i.e. It was literally raining cats and dogs.)
  • Actually, when anyone pays by check.
  • When people get overly concerned with wind chill.
  • When people confuse Macintoshes with computers.
  • When someone calls you by mistake then does not believe you when you tell them they have the wrong number.
  • When they interrupt a TV show to warn to you that it may go below freezing (this only happens in the south)
  • When the Coke machine does not like your dollar.