Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Musette

I can do the innuendo...

As a former baseball team owner, is George W. Bush connected to the use of illegal steroids by players? Where's the Dick Pound when we really need him?

I can dance and sing...

And I stumbled across this:

I have to assume this is written in bureaucratese, but I'm not entirely sure I'd want to have a bike that shifted in response to my physiological changes. For one thing, there wold be a lag between inreased load and increased heart rate, something I can anticipate in normal riding. And since I break things with depressing regularity, I have to wonder what happens in the event of a power loss in the physiological monitoring unit (assuming this is a heart rate monitor) or the bike's receiver.

An automatic speed setting system is adapted for use with a bicycle that includes a gearing mechanism having gear ratios. The automatic speed setting system includes a physiological parameter detecting unit adapted for detecting a physiological parameter of a cyclist riding the bicycle, a physiological parameter processing unit coupled to the physiological parameter detecting unit and operable so as to calculate physiological parameter data of the cyclist with reference to the physiological parameter, a signal generating unit coupled to the physiological parameter processing unit and operable so as to generate a drive signal with reference to the physiological parameter data, and an automatic shifting unit coupled to the signal generating unit and adapted to operate the gearing mechanism of the bicycle in a selected one of the gear ratios in response to the drive signal. Inventors: Jwo, Star (Miaoli Hsien, TW)

When it's said and done I haven't told you a thing...

Cue Monty Python:

This charming bit of spammery showed up on a couple of local e-lists:

Dear Sir/Mrs, I want sell (wholesale) miniature bicycle. This product unique and good shape. Made by skilled person. For more information please contact me. Thank You. Best Regads, (Name removed)

Normally I'd go off on a rant about using spammers as test subjects in an investigation into whether water boarding is indeed torture. Something about testicles, electrical wiring, and bench vises comes to mind, too. But this example is so pathetic I almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost. But not enough to contact him about buying miniature bicycles.

And finally...

...some minor peeves.

I read No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. I have to assume it's based on his novel The Road, but I haven't received a copy for comparison yet. Regardless, No Country for Old Men is one hell of a story. But it includes a few things about the dialog that I find annoying. First, there are no apostrophes used in contractions, so can't is spelled cant. That's minor. But the other annoying bit is the omission of quotation marks, making dialog harder to read. Honestly, these are like speed bumps forcing me to slow down.

They sat in the little diningroom and ate.

She'd put on music, a violin concerto.

The phone didnt ring.

Did you take it off the hook?

No, she said.

Wires must be down.

In longer pieces of dialog, it's difficult to determine who is speaking. On balance, though, this book is a real page turner. I'll see the movie, eventually.

But there's one other writing peeve to include today, and that's the annoying habit some have of putting too many quotation marks into a sentence.

They sat in the little "diningroom" and "ate".

She'd put on "music", a violin "concerto".

The phone didnt "ring".

Did you take it off the "hook"?

No, she said.

Wires must be "down".

I have occasional correspondence with someone who writes like that, and again, it's difficult to read quickly. Worse, since this implies sarcasm or skepticism, it's hard to determine the writer's genuine intent. Since much of this is shared with others, I've light-heartedly threatened to put quotation marks around every noun in my replies. Brian Potter, an English instructor, begged me not to do so. "That would give me a headache. You don't want to know about the papers I have to grade!"

As if that would stop me.



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