18 July 2008

A professional cynic at work; do not try this at home

Rank hypocrisy

By actual mostly scientific test today, I find that the Audi gets 21 miles per gallon going uphill into the mountains at Warp Factor 4.5. So when I complain about our profligate energy use, know that I’m part of the problem.

Ring tones & fire trucks

We just replaced our office cell phones (something like 10 phones) because of some hardware thing that I neither know nor care about. (Aside - one bad effect of Amy assuming a judgeship is that perhaps the Cell company will have to deal with me, and the business rep will have to learn how to call 911 and report a berserker-customer in his office with a tomahawk. I don’t deal well with the Cell company. The last time I went into their store, son Tim was with me, and he told me that I was a moron.) Let’s see, yeah, replacing cell phones. Anyway, son Tim asked what kind of ring tone I want. Well, we each have sounds that we immediately notice. A young mother (or a woman who has ever been a young mother) will instantly hear the sound of a little baby crying. A muscle car enthusiast will hear a V-8's rumble. A coal truck driver will hear the sound of a Jake Brake. And so forth. So I told Tim the sound that I would recognize immediately. A bell. As in a telephone. Don’t download a ringtone, no songs, nothing cute, a damn bell. At least I won’t have to listen to Amy’s ring tone much longer, at least not constantly. It’s the WVU fight song, and I would just slightly rather leave the room to avoid hearing it than rip the integrated circuits out of the phone and render them into dust.

He took that as a challenge, and he found something that is indeed attention getting to me. For years, much of my life revolved around listening to EMS dispatch “tones”, the sounds that activate radios, house sirens, etc. He found a ringtone that consisted of a dispatch, and in another paroxysm of hypocrisy, now I use a custom ringtone and not a bell. Of course, others who hear the phone ring ask me, “What the HELL is that?”

That reminds me of a study done 20+ years ago to find out what was the most noticeable color for fire trucks. By using cameras focused on peoples’ eyes to track movement, scientists studied how quickly people were attracted to different colors. They found that a color called “lime yellow” (the color of the T-shirts that highway workers have started wearing lately) edged out hot pink as the most noticeable color. Then they found the phenomenon of “social visibility.” They found that when a driver looked in his/her mirror at the sound of a siren and saw a big lime yellow truck with red lights, the mental process went something like “What the HELL is that? Damn! Could it be a fire truck? Could be! I’d better pull over.” When they saw the same truck in red, being used to red fire trucks, they reasoned “Fire truck! Pull over!” They think they validated this notion by finding other things that people noticed more quickly even though they were not large or brightly colored. They found that the most “socially” visible vehicle was a black Harley ridden by a big, hairy guy in motorcycle gang colors.

Book study tonight

Book study was tonight at the church, led by Pastor Josh. This was, I confess, a hard day. Had this been a meeting of the Amateur Cynics Society, I would have been asked to leave, because I’ve lost my amateur status.

Better humanness than lawyering, and I’ll take it

I took in a seemingly minor case last week which needed a simple petition and order this week. Last night around 6 PM, the case blew up badly. The other party was represented by dearest friend Vanessa Lynn Rodriguez, One option was to say hell with it, we’ll litigate over some months to come, makes lots of money on these people and let the havoc screw up their lives. Frankly, that kind of litigation takes a lot of time and skill, and generates zealous fees. But we worked into the night, and again pre-dawn this morning, got a hearing with Judge Born before his day officially started (which he didn’t have to do), patched together an order and got it entered (i.e., signed by the judge) to commit everyone to a solution. This is NOT to say that there was great lawyering. Like I say, the litigation process would have taken work and skill. This solution took humanity and a bit of subtlety, and was far better for everyone affected by this case. Vanessa's paralegal and fellow, who is a pleasant and sweet fellow, and also the biggest and strongest man I think I've ever seen, went over to monitor that what needed done by the people got done peacefully.

Trusting car guys

Do you trust the people who work on your car? Perhaps this is a small town thing, I don’t know. The Audi had a tire that had kept doing down. The tread on the read looked bad, and the tread on the front looked so-so. I took it to the guys I know at Gwynn Tire. I told them I wanted them to pretend that it was their car, their money, and to do whatever they would do in that case. Later in the day, I picked it up, 4 new radials, reasonable price, no problem. I have no hint of a suspicion that they did anything but give me good, honest service, and I’m glad of that.

Barbershop sell-out

For 30 years, I’ve been going to the same barbers. One of them retired, and Louie, the one left, has a small shop at the foot of Hospital Hill. I’ve talked about the old-fashioned male-bonding thing that goes on there. But the last two haircuts I’ve gotten have been at . . . at . . . jeez, this is embarassing . . . at WalMart. Pop in, tell them crew cut, use a #2, buzz, buzz, it’s done and I’m outta there. I’ve been seduced by the corporate king. Mother Mary, comfort me. Oh, I did wonder at the end of the haircut what crawling dog sprinkled all of the grey hair all over the cape thing they put on you.

Numb me? Nuts.

I have a new dentist, a young woman. She takes the time to explain what she is doing. Since the last time I had dental work done, they’ve started using some sort of white epoxy product instead of the metallic amalgam as the filling material. She expressed some surprise that I refused to be numbed. It’s dental work. It’ll hurt. Numbing is a pain in the ass, and not something to fear. Lest this be some sort of declaration of courage, it’s not. Let’s see, what is scary to me. Ok - Horses. Being around a 1,500 pound stupid animal that can kill you, THAT’S scary.

Goliath’s real nemesis

Pastor Josh is still doing the Jewish monarchy thing, and hit David & Goliath last week. I’m thinking that the guy who invented the slingshot isn’t getting NEAR enough credit here. After all, God made all men, but it was. Col. Colt who made all men equal.

Pippa passes.


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