6-28-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Word of the Week

Via Word Spy:

time confetti n. Brief scraps of leisure time scattered throughout a person's day.
As a part-time stay-at-home parent, I find the days I am watching my two very young children to be littered with such scraps of time. It is challenging for many reasons to make good use of them even when not disinclined by tiredness or the need to relax for a moment. As the earliest citation puts it:
Fairly quickly, I discovered that my anxiety is fueled by the fact that I do very little in chunks of concentrated time. Instead, my days are chopped up like little bits of time confetti.
As the baby starts sleeping more, my writing time is increasing, but it is clear that I will have to find a way to piece together more of these scraps if I am to get as much out of it as I'd like.

Weekend Reading

"The fact that we can't control traffic doesn't automatically mean that we still don't have control over ourselves." -- Michael Hurd, in "Road Rage … or Just Bad Manners?" at The Delaware Wave

"I like to refer to dreams as 'day residue' where the mind seizes onto a particular trigger event encountered during our waking hours." -- Michael Hurd, in "Top Ten Dream Themes" at The Delaware Coast Press

"In the legalese known to patent lawyers and inventors, this is what is known as a 'cross license." -- Adam Mossoff, in "Tesla's Patent Policy an Example of Exercising Patent Rights" at Investors Business Daily

"Of the 8 main Star Trek technologies listed above, the universal translator, PADDs, tricorders (and related medical technologies), and directed energy weapons are the closest to becoming reality." -- Paul Hsieh, in "8 Star Trek Technologies Moving From Science Fiction to Science Fact" at Forbes

My Two Cents

If some of the stories I see linked on Hacker News are any indication, an astounding percentage of people whose livings depend on intellectual property protection believe that patents are a bad thing. Such people also imagine that Tesla has renounced its own patents. I am glad to see Adam Mossoff taking the time to debunk such nonsense.

Critical Analysis of a Children's Song

As a former English major, I found "Found a Peanut: Deconstructing a Universal American Tragedy" at McSweeney's quite amusing:
Who hasn't gone off to camp singing this simple children's song to while away the hours spent in car or bus? Yet, as this story moves inexorably toward its shocking climax, a number of universal themes emerge. As in the Iliad, Macbeth and other classics, an uninformed act leads to a tragic fate. The song is actually an epic of compulsive risk-taking, child neglect, food adulteration, medical malpractice and premature death--indeed, even death does not end this forced march toward that dreaded terminus, "The Other Place." In this case, the phrase "God knows where it's been" takes on a singularly portentous shading.
Incidentally, the article caused me to learn that the version of the song on a popular CD we play for the kids in our car is -- like several others -- somewhat bowdlerized.



Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,
I thought I'd try my hand at a little deconstructionism with a Leftist bent.

c. andrew

99 bottles of beer on the wall
99 bottles of beer!
Take one down, pass it around,
98 bottles of beer on the wall.
(repeat ad nauseaum)

The first is the same as the last. [1] To await the pleasure of the capitalist [2] beast (hung on a wall, no less!) to be taken down and passed around, exploited and then discarded; THIS is a metaphor of individual alienation in this obscurantist mass production capitalist world.

[1] Some of these same obscurantist capitalists will argue a marginal decrease in value with each unit consumed. As if this exonerates them of the charge. To suffer a decrease in value through no fault of your own whilst awaiting the pleasure of the capitalist exploiter is simply another economic crime to be brought to the indictment!

[2] As we all know, the word "capital" comes from the Latin "caput" meaning "head." Beer has a "head" which appeals to the "tastes" of the classist abusers of the working class, who, through psychological transference (see Stockholm Syndrome), imbibe the beverage that is just another symbol of their class oppressors!

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! This call for regulation might cause a like-minded critic to note that caput sounds like kaput.