The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A simple question

It's 12:30 AM on a Saturday, and it is not the Fourth of July. Who decides to go outside and set off half a dozen or so large fire crackers? And why? Choose one or more of the following reasons:
  • I am an inconsiderate prat.
  • My neighbors are getting too much sleep. I'm doing them a favor, really.
  • I'm trying to see how quickly the Ann Arbor Police can respond.
  • I don't agree with Michigan's recently liberalized fireworks law, and consequently I want to influence voters to lobby for more restrictive ordinances.
  • Those weren't firecrackers. I was shooting at kids to get them off my lawn.
Whichever of these reasons (except the last one; we're cool with that) motivate pyrotechnics enthusiasts, they should consider the following: when and where I grew up, we didn't pay for expensive fireworks. We just stepped out the back door and cranked off a few rounds of ammunition. Old habits die hard.

I know you're as crushed as I am

Thad McCotter has resigned for reasons of cluelessness, a first for incompetent politicians, whose reasons for bailing out are usually picked from a short list:
  • Having been indicted for something (or actually convicted, in extreme cases)
  • To spend more time with their families
  • To spend less time with their families
  • "Health"
  • The voices in their heads told them to

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Questions, always questions

For no good reason whatsoever, I was looking around the site (they collect and categorize dubious claims, urban myths, and other legends,) and ran across the list of probably apocryphal dumb questions asked by Olympics visitors in various locations through the years.

I say "probably apocryphal," partly to show off by using a big word and partly because the list is clearly just edited for different venues of the Olympics. However, it did cause me to think about our own upcoming influx of sun-addled imbeciles art fair, and how we might want to develop a similar list of our own. Here's a start:
  • How do you get to Zingerman's? Head east on Washtenaw and keep walking until you witness a drive-by shooting. Then ask.
  • Where can I park? Drive south on M-23 until you get to Cabela's. Or, if they're full up, here's an address on Berkley Avenue you can try.
  • Do they speak English in Ann Arbor? No, everyone here communicates by signal flags or in Latin.
  • What does it mean, "One Way?" I think you'll find that it doesn't matter.
  • How long is it? That's rather a personal question.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

DTE: threat or menace?

It's not often that when you hear a device malfunction described as "My system blew up," the phrase is meant literally. However, thanks (probably) to our beloved electrical futility, DTE Energy, we can say with complete candor, our air conditioning condenser exploded.

Shortly after a major power outage, caused by some malfunction or other in a transformer, our AC condenser (the large, noisy, ugly thing that sits outside and actually cools the air that your forced air furnace then flings around the inside of the house) stopped working. We were able to get a repair guy to come by early the next morning, and he shut off the power to the unit, and pulled off a sheet metal panel. When it came away, a large component fell out, never a good sign in my experience. The inside surface of the sheet metal was scarred and smoke blackened, and the piece that fell out was a beer-can sized capacitor which had blown itself out of its housing and into pieces.

The repairman had heard of another such incident from one of his colleagues, and had himself replaced a number of burnt-out motors in a flurry of post-outage overtime work.

Replacing the hand grenade capacitor solved the problem, and I've added the cost of the repair call to the growing list of items DTE owes us for, including a large Toshiba television set from a few years back, toasted by a brown out. All together now: Who works at DTE?