Friday, May 26, 2017

The Boys, the Sea, and the Little Fishes

So, I've been reading Terry Pratchett's The Sea And The Little Fishes to the boys at bedtime.

Secondborn really enjoys it. He's seven, and he likes being read to sleep. I think it's partly just having the sound of words all around him -- he's an intensely auditory child -- and partly knowing that there's nothing happening without him, that everything important that's happening is happening right there on his bed. But he'll listen to me read and pass out in, I don't know, ten or fifteen minutes. Left on his own, by contrast, he can easily take an hour or more to fall asleep.

Firstborn, of course, gets it in some ways that his younger brother doesn't yet. He's ten, and cultivating his own deadpan, sardonic approach to humor.

So I'm reading along in the story, and I get to this part:
Letice had what Nanny thought of as a deliberate walk. It had been wrong to judge her by the floppy jowls and the overfussy hair and the silly way she waggled her hands as she talked. She was a witch, after all. Scratch any witch and…well, you’d be facing a witch you’d just scratched.
At this point I notice that Secondborn has fallen asleep, so I stop there and close the book.

Firstborn looks over at me from the top bunk. "Scratch any witch, and you'd be facing a witch you'd just scratched," he repeats. Then he adds: "Probably as a chicken. Or a frog."

Yup. This one's coming along nicely.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Real Work Conversations: Under Warranty?

Me:
Can you tell if by any miraculous chance, the iPad with Serial # XXXXXXXXXXXX is still under warranty?

Apple Store:
Coverage has run out on this item. Is there an issue we can help with?

Me (knowing that it's an iPad 4 that was bought back in 2013 or thereabouts):
I am wholly, entirely, completely, utterly, and in all other ways unsurprised by that, but thank you for checking.

There isn't what I'd call an issue. I think the only thing that can be done for the device at this point is to give it a decent burial, and (after a suitable period of mourning) replace it with something less... mangled.

Apple Store:
I’m so sorry that is happening. Please let us know if you need anything else as we are here to help always.

Me:
It's okay. I have it on good authority that iPad brought this terrible fate on itself through a life of reckless extravagance and poor moral judgement. It seems inevitable that it would have come to such a bad end.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Conjuration in the Real World

I realize that most people don't believe in magic, or at least think they don't; to convince you that it's real, I'd like to present you with a spell I cast successfully just this past weekend:

Me: {admiring nice, clean, shiny car}
Me: "Yep, sure is a good thing I got the car washed."
The Sky: {Rumbles Ominously}
The Sky: {Loud Crack of Thunder}
The Sky: {Begins Raining}

Monday, May 22, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Financial Transparency in Municipal Government

Heh. You ready for another personal theory? Here goes:

The biggest bar to financial transparency for a municipal government isn't the desire to keep the public (or even the self-appointed watchdogs thereamong) from knowing what their employees make. Government employees -- especially at the city and county level -- really don't make that much.

No, the biggest bar to financial transparency for a municipal government is the desire to keep the employees from knowing what the other employees are making.