Those Alien Europeans
|At least I think it's unintentional. When I visit
anything touristy, I usually photograph the large plaques that
are scattered around the grounds. These often take the
place of guides, and are very carefully written since they must
convey a lot of accurate, cogent information in only a few
words. For example, here's one with a very succinct
penguin summary. It's not "all you've ever wanted to know
about penguins" but at least you get an idea.
|By the same token, a park I visited this weekend (for a
splendid walk in lovely kite-flying weather), I spied this
plaque near an impressive—if a bit woodpecker-eaten—"totem
pole." Often I'll just glance at the plaque and take
a picture for later reading. This time, perhaps influenced
by the fine sunshine, I actually read it while I was there.
Which inspired me to take a close-up photograph.
|A paragraph explains how the first humans in
Connecticut were roving bands of hunters, living there 40 to 100k
years "B.P." or "Before Present" which nicely disposes of the
religiously inspired "B.C./A.D." controversy without insulting
anyone. They left, it seems, but returned 7,000 years B.P.
Or, as the text puts it, replacing religion with insult:
"Humans returned by 7,000 B.P. and were present up to the
arrival of Europeans."
|Knowing as I don't essentially anything about
workings of parks departments, historical societies, national
landmarks, etc., I can nonetheless practically guarantee that
these plaques are written by earnest students and carefully
reviewed and nitpicked to death by higher officials, most likely
arrayed in committees. It has got to be a badge of honor
for the student to sneak a double entendre past the Elders.
And, From the Same Park
||An entirely serious monument, an entirely serious sentiment,
well maintained, with flags proudly waving, both the ones at the
base and the one on the pole that was too high to get into the
I'm sure that "Anchor of Hope" has the appropriate
connotations, perhaps in a religious context, or perhaps in an
expression of which I'm unaware.
Even so, if I were designing a monument of hope and
remembrance, I think I'd choose a symbol other than an anchor.
Tragic Honesty from an Unexpected Source
A few days ago I belabored Verizon
about how frustrated I was with my BlackBerry Storm cellphone.
(With which I was still able to take the photos above.) I expected
the usual platitudinous answer about how "we're sorry sorry sorry and
please don't hate us, it will be taken care of." Instead, I
received this missive from a person who actually had a name. And a
Good Afternoon Mr.
Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless through our website. My name
is Terrence and I understand you are interested in when a software
release will become available for the Blackberry Storm.
I apologize for any inconvenience and can understand your interest in
correcting some of the known issues with the Storm.
Richard, as an owner
of the Blackberry Storm myself, I am very interested in the exact issues
you have been experiencing with your particular device. I will
admit, the device moves slow at times, or may take a few seconds to
initiate a command you have selected, or may even require a battery
reset however; all PDA's experience these lagging and freezing issues
from time to time. In my experience in troubleshooting these devices and
assisting customers, often times the device moves slowly and experiences
lots of issues with freezing because many applications and services are
running in the background without the end users knowledge. These devices
are mini PC's and require proper memory management.
I am in no way implying that you do not know how to use your device
however I happen to love my Storm and have had no real issues with it
once I took some time to get to learn how IT moves.
In regard to the employees in the store, I apologize for their sheepish
demeanor but we have to keep a tight lip about information that has not
been released publicly. I'll even admit that often times as employees,
we don't get the updates regarding new products and services until
they're ready to launch. It's not that we don't want you to know, we
just don't know ourselves, and you can't be upset with us over that.
Also, I can admit that I believe an updated version of the OS will be
released because I actually installed the version out there on the
Internet. Now in no way am I advising you to load this version onto your
device. I'm just saying there is a version out there, which means it is
being tested somewhere. Verizon Wireless will not release anything until
it has been thoroughly tested and has passed a slew of tests.
Again, I apologize for the lack of information, and I can't help but
feel if more users got used to how the device moves and were just a tad
more patient with using the Storm, they would grow to love it as much as
I do my own. I also notice this is your first PDA. This being your first
PDA along with this being RIM's first touch screen device warrants a
little time for both of you to get familiar with each other.
(Two "form letter" paragraphs deleted)
I debated with myself whether to show my reply to his reply. As
you can imagine, it expressed my reluctance to acquiesce to the notion that "often
times the device moves slowly and experiences lots of issues with
freezing" and that this is normal and expected. But rather than do
that, I thought I'd leave his words as an unusual monument to the
possibility that, whether intentional or not, "customer service" can
actually provide something other than a plea of nolo. My Storm is
still terribly frustrating, often brick-like except when it's being overly
sensitive, and something of a time sink. But at least I know that
there is a software version "out there" which is "being tested
somewhere." An "anchor of hope" indeed.
"Fast Buck Freddy"
"The Stinking Rose" is a garlic restaurant(!)
in San Francisco. Did you know that it's possible to grow
up without garlic? I've just made a note to tell that
story some day.