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Today’s Announcements

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Remember when you were in elementary or middle school, and they used to read announcements over the loudspeaker at the beginning of each day? Well, in these modern times, those announcements are also e-mailed to the parents each day. Yesterday, a string of three items on the announcement list made me chuckle:

ITEM #1: DRESS CODE REMINDER
The warm weather is approaching quickly. All students are reminded of the dress code which is stated in the student handbook. Students violating the dress code will be asked to change. Please see the dress code below:

Clothing that unreasonably exposes the midriff or has an unreasonably low neckline is not permitted in the school building during school hours. The list of restricted items includes: backless to the waist tops and dresses, tube tops, and miniskirts/dresses or shorts that are shorter than mid-thigh. Undergarments must not be visible. Clothing which is not worn appropriately, not properly fastened, or with tears or holes that are indecent will not be permitted.

ITEM #2: CLOTHING DRIVE THIS SATURDAY!!!!!!
Time to Spring Clean-out those closets and bring it all to school!!! The Clothing Drive is to benefit the PTA
Date: Saturday, April 16th – Time: 9:00 to 3:00
Items Accepted: Clothing, shoes, linens, toys, and stuffed animals.

ITEM #3: WORD OF THE WEEK
The new Word of the Week is “arbitrary”, an adjective. According to Webster’s Dictionary, arbitrary means, “based on or determined by individual preference,”

So, just to review:

Classic…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

One of the Downsides of the Holiday Season…

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Two questions leap immediately to mind. First, can they sing better than he can? And second, will the Justin Bieber Singing & Fashion figures sell more or less than the Tickle Me, Elmo series? Somehow, having Elmo kick his ass would be strangely satisfying to me…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

The First Photograph of a Human

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Megan McArdle just pointed me to this picture, which purports to be the first picture ever taken of a human being:

According to the blog post it came from, the picture was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838. Louis Daguerre invented a process called Daguerreotype, which creates an image by exposing a chemically treated metal plate to light for ten minutes.

What’s really interesting about this picture (to me, anyway) is that the street was very crowded and busy when the picture was taken. But all of the people, horse-drawn carriages, etc. were moving, so they didn’t make any impression on the metal plate. Only the one gentleman, who appears to be having his boots shined, stood still enough for long enough to be captured. Everyone else around him was, unknowingly, a ghost – disappearing in the final daguerreotype. But this guy’s image was preserved forever – the first human being ever caught on film.

And, because the Internet can sometimes be as awesome as a daguerrotype from 1838, here is an image lifted from Google maps, showing the same street corner today (lifted from the same blog post:

(Click on either image above to enlarge it)

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 7 Comments »

Stephen Fry on Language

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

I like this very much, although I think loyal reader, Jason Bennion, will not be such a big fan. Or maybe I’ll be surprised…

Jason?

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 4 Comments »

Picture of the day: Water (no) Balloon

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Courtesy of NPR’s The Picture Show, here’s a sample of photographer, Edward Horsford’s high-speed work:

Using a complex system of lighting, sound-activated flash techniques and such, Mr. Horsford has managed to capture the water inside a water balloon just after the balloon breaks and just before the water loses the shape of the balloon and goes “splat” all over the floor.

It’s water balloons without the balloons!

Click here to see some other excellent shots…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

A tale of two bridges…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Someone at work pointed this out to me the other day.

Here is the world-famous Sydney Harbor bridge in Sydney, Australia, which people travel from all over the world to see, climb, and photograph the surrounding scenery from, particularly the famous opera house:

And here is the not-at-all famous Bayonne Bridge in Bayonne, New Jersey, which people typically only think about if it’s mentioned on the local traffic report, and wouldn’t climb it unless they worked for the State of New Jersey and were being paid to paint or repair it:

Odd how differently we treat these two structures, given that they are almost identical bridges.

Just goes to show: context is EVERYTHING…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

According to the Class of 2014…

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

It’s that time of year again – the new Beloit College Mindset List is out.

As in past years (2007, 2009), I direct you to the link above for the whole list, but will highlight my favorite items here:

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students…

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
58. Beethoven has always been a dog.
65. Michelangelo [has always been] a computer virus.
71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

Last year’s list didn’t have as much of the intended shock value for me, but some of these are truly eye-opening.

For instance, kids aren’t taught to write in cursive anymore? Now that I think about it, I was taught in second grade. My older son is entering fifth grade, and while I think he was taught, I haven’t seen him do it in ages (he either prints or types now). My younger son is entering second grade and, to my knowledge, has not been taught yet. I understand that it’s a dying skill, but how strange that one day, fairly soon, there won’t be any people in the country that can write in script…

Similarly, my kids had “toy” wristwatches for a while (“toy” in quotes because while they were adorned with cartoon characters and such, they actually did work as watches). Today, though, they both have iPod Touch devices, and would likely turn to them to get the time than to an archaic device that is strapped to their wrist and only doesn’t do anything but tell the time.

As for adhesive strips, I’ll only add that when I worked a part-time summer job at Johnson & Johnson many years ago, I saw hundreds of letters that people wrote in suggesting that J&J make band-aids in different skin colors. At the time, J&J’s response was to make clear band-aids, which still strikes me as a better idea than what Beloit is saying exists today.

Finally, if it really is true that Congress has an eighteen year streak with approval ratings below 50%, then I think it says as much about the usefulness of this particular opinion poll question as it does about Congress.

That’s my list of favorites. Check out the whole list and share your favorites in the comments below…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 9 Comments »

Can they *DO* that?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I came across a T-Mobile billboard ad the other day which contained a rather interesting disclaimer:

In case you can’t read it, here it is blown up:

…and in case you can’t read that, here’s what it says:

T-mobile and the magenta color are registered trademarks of Deutsche Telekom AG. (c) 2010 T-Mobile USA, Inc.

So, question: can they really trademark the color magenta? If so, I can see a class-action lawsuit against every kid who ever used a box of Crayola crayons coming. And you thought those RIAA folks were bad…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging, The World Wide Weird | 5 Comments »

Presidential Quotable Quotes

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Some kids memorize the words to Elmo’s World. Some kids know all of the Jonas Brothers’ names. Then there’s this kid, who’s parents have taught him to memorize some altogether different fun facts:

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

Greenberg’s Law

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

In the spirit of everyone from Moore to Godwin, I humbly present:

Greenberg’s Law: On the Internet, any discussion, no matter how substantial its subject matter, can be completely derailed by the presence of a typographical error. For example, regardless of the veracity of the previous sentence, no one would discuss the point it makes if there were an apostrophe in the word “its.”

Also:

Greenberg’s Corollary: The person who brings up the typo, at the exclusion of the subject being discussed, concedes the argument.

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 3 Comments »

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