Friday Four

Friday, May 06, 2016

1. Little Man has been insisting on doing as much of getting himself into his car seat as possible lately. Part of his procedure has consistently been to look for drinks in the front seat drink holder and, when they are present, give Pumpkin's to her first, then take his own. Perhaps I should have been calling him "Little Gentleman" all this time...

The boy has a new joke lately, calling me "Mommie" instead of "Daddy" (which comes out more like "Dah-yee" by the way).

Around bedtime, when Mrs. Van Horn must sometimes wonder how she ended up with three kids, there is a new favorite game: I grab a foot and pretend to take a call like it's a phone. I did that on a whim one day and after I did it for Little Man a few more times, Pumpkin demanded a turn.

2. Like many other fans of English Premier League soccer, I have enjoyed the improbable rise of the Leicester City Foxes to the summit this year. (Odds of this happening, 5000:1, were longer than the 2000:1 of the "miracle on ice" triumph of America's Olympic hockey team.) Reading about the accomplishment, I encountered a story about its architect, Claudio Ranieri, whom I'd seen described as "the shrewd, humorous Italian uncle you never had," and found past players remembering him fondly:

Leicester City's players were not the first to hear Claudio Ranieri ring his imaginary bell. Danny Drinkwater provoked much amusement among the British press corps last month, when he revealed the manager's technique of saying "dilly-ding, dilly-dong" to restore focus whenever energy levels start to dip during training.

Back in Italy, though, at least one observer had a different reaction. Ivo Pulga played for three seasons under Ranieri at Cagliari between 1988 and 1991. When he came across Drinkwater's comments, what he felt was a wave of nostalgia.

"You need to write that he invented this bell at Cagliari!" Pulga says. "As soon as I saw the story in England last month, my mind immediately went back to the training session where it happened. It was very early in the morning and us players were all a bit sleepy. [Ranieri] could see that mentally we were still in bed, so he shouted: 'Dilly-ding, dilly-dong! Training has started! Dilly-ding, dilly-dong!' After that, it became the calling card for our season. At Christmas, he gave us each a bell with 'Cagliari Calcio, dilly-ding, dilly-dong' and his name on it. I still have mine at home." [links removed]
If I recall correctly, Ranieri's entire squad was built with less money than it takes to acquire the services of some elite players.

3. Calling all railroad buffs! The title just about says it all: "'They Don't Make These Anymore': Maintaining the MBTA's 100-Year-Old Signals." Setting aside possible reasons for why such old technology is still in use, this was an interesting read.

4. For the last bit, we'll shift from technology that should have been retired long ago to technology that isn't quite ready yet, namely many so-called "smart home" devices, like internet-connected thermostats:
This weekend we learned that dozens of homes have become mini saunas after Hive, one of Britain's most popular internet-connected thermostats, has gone wrong and turned the dial up to 32°C.


The problem with many of these so-called "smart devices" is they lack a fall back facility. My Nest thermostat, which after some early teething problems I've come to like, falls flat on its face when my broadband connection goes down. No wifi, no heating in the house. [format edits, link dropped]
I noted this problem with our baby monitor long ago, and it still hasn't been fixed. I am a late adopter of things like this for a reason.

-- CAV

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