Sunday, October 29, 2017

Strategic Steps in Preventing the Zombie Apocalypse...

Top of the evening everyone.

There has been much ado over the last several years about the impending zombie apocalypse.  We are duly concerned here at the Gorman residence.  I purchased a few extra cans of tuna fish.  Not since the Y2K hysteria have we had such a reaction.  When that was in process, again, Jennifer and I were prepared.  Not only did we have extra tuna.  We also filled the gas tank.  We thought about maxing out on our credit cards, hoping that the bill would go 'poof' on January 1st, but decided that it could be a bad idea if nothing happened.

Anyway, there has been a significant first step in preventing the zombie apocalypse.  This significant step was taken in Honolulu.  What was it?  I am glad that you asked.

The City of Honolulu has banned what has come to be know as 'zombie walking.'  For those of you who do not know, zombie walking is when a person crosses the street while looking at a cell phone.  It is dangerous.

Now, with this law, the planners of the zombie apocalypse will have to think twice before invading Oahu.  It will be very difficult for the zombies to gain control of the city when zombies are not allowed in the crosswalks.  Jaywalking has already been forbidden.  We can only hope that other municipalities will make similar laws.  This is not just about pedestrian safety in Waikiki.  It is a strategic step for the safety of humanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you good evening, and remind you all to look both ways before crossing the street.  This is a good law that was passed in Honolulu.

R/SCG

Friday, October 27, 2017

Addendum to Totally Amazing!!!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

The Italian Sports Minister comments that next year's Giro is to honour the memory of Gino Bartoli.

Gino Bartoli is a two-time winner of the Tour de France, once prior to WWII, and once after.  During the war, he ostensibly still trained.  During his training rides, he smuggled false identification papers in the frame of his bicycle.  Those papers helped rescue Italy's Jews from the scourge that had made them a target.

About five years ago, a book entitled "Road to Valour" was published detailing what he did.

Bartoli has a tree in his honour along the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles at Yad VaShem.

Have I mentioned that I really want to go?

Shabbat Shalom.

R/SCG


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Totally Amazing!!!

Top of the evening everyone.

I do not know if you all know this about me.  I like to ride my bicycle.  In fact, I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride my bike.  I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride it where I like.

(With thanks to Freddie Mercury and Queen)

Professional cycling has three major races a year.  Most people know about the Tour de France.  One of the other prestigious races is the Vuelta a Espana.  The third one, second in prestige to the Tour and placed last because it is the subject of this blog entry, is the Giro d'Italia.

The Giro is about 100 years old.  As its name suggests, the ride takes place primarily in Italy.  It has begun outside of Italy about 10 times.

In 2018, it is starting outside Europe for the first time.  Stage 1 will be a 10-kilometre time trial around the city of Jerusalem.  Stage 2 will start up in Haifa, head north to Acco, and then come back south to Tel Aviv.  Stage 3 will start in Be'er Sheva and go south to Eilat.  They will then head over to Europe to complete the race.

As the title of this blog entry says, this is totally amazing.

I am thinking about going.

Have a great evening.

R/SCG

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Serial Serial Comma Removal...

Top of the evening ladies and gentlemen.

There was an article in the National Post on Saturday.  The title of the article was "Bicyclists Are Not Angels".  The author raises several points with which I generally agree.  

Cyclists should be polite.  I agree.  While I firmly believe that cyclists have rights to the road no less than cars, cyclists also have rights to the road no more than cars.  Being polite recognizes those equal rights.

Cyclists should face consequences when breaking the law.  Again, he is right, and that is codified as law in every province and in every state.  I remind everyone though that the selective enforcement of law will lead to the selective observance of law.

I wrote a letter to the editor in response to this article.  In my letter, I pointed out all the wonderful ways bicyclists might do a little better in taking their rightful place on the road.  I also pointed out the ways that cars might do the same.  And because no one is above criticism, it might shock all of you to know that pedestrians are a problem also.

I wrote that drivers/cyclists/pedestrians should be actively visible.  I wrote that they should not be wearing earbuds.  I wrote that they should be predictable.  It applies to everyone.

To pedestrians, I specifically wrote the following:

Entering the crosswalk with six seconds on the countdown is illegal, dangerous, and prevents cars from turning.

They printed my letter as such: 

Entering the crosswalk with six seconds on the countdown is illegal, dangerous and prevents cars from turning.

I put the original text and the editor's change in bold print.

The editor removed my serial comma.  Given that the editor probably makes a habit of this, I am forced to conclude that said editor regularly removes serial commas.  Thus, the editor is a serial remover of the serial comma, leading to the title of this blog entry.

Admittedly, there is some dispute.  When there is a list of three or more items, MLA rules of grammar dictate that there be a comma after each item.  Thus, one would have this, that, and the other thing.  AP rules of grammar state that it is not necessary, yielding this, that and the other thing.  This dispute is long running.  In researching this, I found an article in that venerable news source, The Onion.  The last line of the article states that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

I maintain that the serial comma, sometimes known as the Oxford comma, and sometimes known as the Queen's comma is necessary.  Failure to have it can lead to ambiguity.  For example...

I would like to thank my parents, Burger King, and Dairy Queen.  I have thus thanked three separate elements.  This differs from...

I would like to thank my parents, Burger King and Dairy Queen.  The absence of the comma in this case makes the phrase with Burger King and Dairy Queen an appositive specifically identifying my parents, and further proves that meat and dairy can mix under certain circumstances.

Have a good evening everyone.

R/SCG

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This Is NOT about Me...


Top of the evening to all, and especially to my readers from the United States.

It is impossible to miss the craziness going on in the US right now.  I fear for the country.  I have never been witness to the social fabric being so torn asunder.

One of the topics of overblown discussion is athletes from the NFL taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner.  It is their way of protesting police brutality.  Due to the President's response, it has also become the standard (pun intended) for demonstrating anti-Trump sentiments.

On one level, it is a free speech issue.  All those who refuse to stand for the national anthem are well within their legal rights to do so.  It must be noted though that football teams are private businesses.  Players are generally required to meet certain standards of demeanour within their contracts.  The New York Yankees require their players to maintain certain grooming standards.  It is in every contract.  For a team to fire a player over taking a knee is not a Constitutional matter of free speech.

Those who are taking a stand against kneeling and otherwise avoiding the anthem keep pointing to the military members who have put their lives on the line and sometimes paid the ultimate price in the defense of the nation.  Please do not make this about me.  It is not about the military.  It is not about those who have paid that ultimate price.  Those who take that risk did so out of love of country.  I also believe that those who would take a knee believe in America no less than those who have taken that risk.

And thus, love of country is the only thing that is relevant in this discussion.  If those who take a knee feel that the country they love needs to be called to task for its behaviour, then so be it.  Their love of country is no less than those who insist on standing.   I flatly disagree with those who take a knee, and am happy to discuss it with them, but perhaps they are bringing up issues that need to be considered.

Whatever the reasons for not taking a bow might be, please do not make me one of them.  This has nothing to do with veterans.  This has to do with the country.  Leave me out of it.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie....

Top of the evening to all...

Most of the folks who have raised children in the last 25 years are familiar with the book by that title.  It tells us that if we give a mouse a cookie, he will want a glass of milk.  Then he will want something else, and something else, and something else.  The last page then says that the mouse will want a cookie.

Why did I choose that title?  I will tell you why.

If you wish to give a mouse a cookie, you will require an oven in which to bake that cookie.  By the way, for all that cookbooks will offer, and they offer plenty, Nestle's Toll House cookies are always the favourite around here.  Anyway, you will require an oven.

A year and a half ago, the oven died.  We replaced it.

The mouse will then want a glass of milk.  Earlier this year, I noticed that the light in the fridge did not go out when I closed the door.  The fridge light did, but it did not look like the door was sealing properly.  I put a flashlight in the fridge, and I was still able to see the light after closing the fridge.  Now the fridge has been replaced.

Then it was the cooktop.  We had an old cooktop.  It still had coils.  Two out of four coils did not work.  Batting .500 is great in baseball.  It does not work when cooking for Rosh HaShanah.  The cooktop went.  It has been replaced with a black, smooth appliance.

Our countertop is beige-y ivory, according to my beloved bride.  It does not match the cooktop.  Also, the fan on the oven hood often does not seal correctly, so cold air blows in from the outside.

I need a cookie.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Concepts and Language


Top of the evening everyone...

Several years back, we visited the Diefen-bunker outside of Ottawa.  It is a bunker designed for senior government officials to hide in the event of a nuclear attack.  Here, they would be able to run the country in some element of safety.

In the Diefen-bunker, there were telephones.  These were the old-style phones, with one line, and a dial.  This is the source of the idea of dialing a telephone.  The kids, much younger then, did not know what it was.  I have not dialed a phone in years.  Yet, on my cordless phone, the option exists to redial a number.  Clearly, the concept of dialing a phone could not go away.

The next generation will not fully understand what it means to sound like a broken record.

Another change...I came home last week for lunch.  I drank my lunch.  In days of old, that would have meant lunch at a bar with coworkers.  I would have meant martinis or scotch.  I had a smoothie. It had protein and fruit in it.

Over the last couple of years, I have been changing the light bulbs in the house.  Incandescant bulbs are no longer available for sale in Ontario.  We have had CFLs.  Now, we are changing them over to LEDs.  The LED bulbs will last for years.  What will happen to light bulb jokes?  

Above, you see the things that occupy my mind when Jennifer is in New Jersey.

Have a good evening.

R/SCG