Random Notes IV

October 06, 2005

Here is a collection of random observations with the uniting theme that they come from my business trip in Philidelphia. Think of it as four mini-blog posts, that you get for the low low price of one single post.

True story:

I was sitting on the plane, in my window seat, waiting for it to take off. There was a tall thin guy wedged into the center seat next to me.


I felt a little nasal tickle, and let out a couple of sneezes.

"Bless you," said the guy.


I paused for about ten seconds, and then added, "I just spread whatever germ I'm carrying to about 200 people."

He just nodded without smiling. He made no reply.

A Limerick

We can't get the sys to print docs
And for three days straight, I've worn socks
Being on site
Makes me feel much spite
For a living, I'd rather suck cocks

(no not really, but it's a good limerick, don't you think?)


We drove through a small Chinatown in downtown Philly the other night. It's interesting that big cities in the north and on the coasts all have a Chinatown, but as far as I know, there isn't one in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Memphis or any other big cities in the south. Why would that be?

I have known for some time that Chinese people usually spoke either Mandarin or Cantonese, and that speakers of each language could not understand each other.

But I recently learned that their writing is the same. So a Mandarin can read something written by a Cantonese, but they can't talk. I find this amazingly interesting.

What's the equivalent of that for English?

The best I could come up with would be if you dropped me in the neighborhood from the movie Trainspotting. Although that was (presumably) in English, I couldn't understand a word that they said.

They spoke in clipped, short fast British syllables so that sentences sounded something like, "ankh buh wot va lock."

I guess they might have trouble understanding me too. But we could have written notes to each other.

Perhaps with another couple hundred years of language evolution without pollution from phones, radio, TV and movies, and we would have had separate English languages like Mandarin and Cantonese.

Another true story

Earlier today, I was working in a conference room at a client's site. There was commotion that gradually increased in volume.

When I finally got up to explore, the people in the office were pointing at something "gross" out of the window. The office backs up to some woods, so was expecting to see a deer that had been hit by a car, or something like that.

Instead, there was a worker from a nearby road crew. He had walked down into the trees, dropped his pants, and was taking a big, steamy shit.

Here's the kicker: He was facing away from the building, in order to allow all of the ladies in the office could clearly see his turds drop.

Most of the people turned and left pretty quickly, but one lady couldn't make herself quit watching. One man in the office borrowed a camera phone and took a picture. I bet the owner won't lend that phone to the same man again any time soon.

When he finished up, he found something (couldn't tell what) with which to wipe himself, zipped up his pants, and walked up to the road. He rejoined his work crew without as much as a glance back toward the building.