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linkity, linkity, link link, laroo

As Your Humble Blogger has a moment, but not much more:

  • Arnold Zwicky at Language Log notes today's annoying bureaucratic noun-noun compound: Newsrack Ordinance Compliance Violation Warning and Impoundment Notice: Corrective Action Required. This is pretty impressive. Although really there are only five consecutive nouns, it gets compounded with a double-noun and then the writer appended a three word phrase where all the words are really verbs at heart. The thing is, is the thing headed by this phrase a warning and a notice? Or is it a warning notice? Is warning a separate noun (modified by violation, which is modified by compliance (well, it isn’t actually modified since there isn’t really anything a violation could be a violation of other than compliance, or at least should somebody violate non-compliance with the ordinance in question (the newsrack one), I doubt that it would require either a warning or a notice)) or is it just the kind of notice this is?
  • More seriously, Media Matters for America notes that while the country has moved to the right since Justice Bader Ginsberg was confirmed in office, at the time she was scarcely considered a lefty. Any comparison between the upcoming conversation about Our Only President’s nomination and the conversation in 1993 should really take that into account. It isn’t just that her name was suggested by Senator Hatch (R-UT), either. There was a (possibly apocryphal) story that when Justice Scalia was asked, in one of those jolly semi-public chats which the Justice thinks are good for the court and which I think are very bad for it indeed, which Justice he would most prefer to have with him on a desert island, he answered “Ruth Bader Ginsberg”. She was not on the Supreme Court at the time, of course, but had served with him on the Appellate Court, and they had got on famously. Anyway, I’m not saying that she isn’t to the left of the political mainstream at the moment, but she wasn’t (or at least wasn’t much) at the time. This has less to do with how much she has changed than with where the stream has flowed, but whichever, the idea that her relatively quiet process was due to Senatorial restraint is bosh. Oh, and while I’m at it, can we stop saying that modern confirmation battles started when the Democrats defeated Robert Bork’s nomination? The battles started when President Reagan nominated Mr. Bork. Again, it may be hard to remember this, but eighteen years ago, Mr. Bork’s views were not in the mainstream.
  • John McGowan, over at Michael Berubé’s blog, has another one of the long, provocative posts that I’ve come to expect from him. This one, on the rhetorics of violence, contains a variety of interesting takes on how violence and rhetoric interact. In particular, although violence can act as rhetoric (by “sending a message”), by privileging the rhetorical nature over the physical, we set up conditions for eliding violence and rhetoric, possibly to the point where we will commit violence to “send a message” without regard to the violence itself and our actual, rather than rhetorical, victims. Also, though he doesn’t make a point of it, it’s important to point out that the nature of rhetorical symbolism is such that the message we send is not necessarily the message they receive, and vice versa, so we should be particularly careful when using or interpreting actions as symbols for messages. Mr. McGowan, by the way, was a guest blogger for Mr. Berubé (to go back to a previous topic); he and his siblings have an interesting blog called Public Intelligence, which now appears to have fixed the vicious anti-Firefox problem, so I’ve added them to my read-this list.
  • It’s not a link to anything, but boy is airline travel annoying. I’m still, in general, against federal law to define some Passengers’ Bill O’Rights, but I am reconsidering my opposition to putting the executives of American, United, Delta, Continental, Southwest, Northwest, America West, Midwest, Skywest, and British West India all in one burlap sack with all their database architects, customer service trainers, operations managers and web designers, and deregulating that sack with a lead pipe until it squishes. You know, just to send a message.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


You'd leave out USAir?

Though I heartily agree with the inclusion of United. And disagree with the inclusion of Southwest, but maybe that was just the beginning of an...um...Homoeoteleuton? (thank you, wikipedia).

Ah. I take it you were travelling this past week, too?

Why is bad weather a destabilizing emergency to our flight network? I mean, summer electrical storms aren't exactly new-for-2005.

I would have called it epistrophe, or even ploce, but homoioteleuton seems more or less accurate, depending on whether "west" in "Southwest" is considered a full word or a syllable.

And leaving out USAir was an oversight. Southwest, though, can get in the sack for all of me, although I understand that if it gets to drafting legislation, compromise is important.

And it wasn't me who was travelling, nor was the destabilizing emergency something so external to the competence of the airline industry as bad weather. I agree, bad weather should by now be expected, at least to the point of marking a shift to well-prepared contingency plans (with full resources), but at least the airlines neither create the bad weather nor exacerbate it. Insufficient staffing, chronic and deliberate, is where the lead pipe comes in.

"If G-d had intended us to fly, he would never have given us the railroad." --Flanders & Swann

I'm so glad someone brought up Flanders & Swann.

Also, I very nearly did send United a message of just the variety you bring up, armed only with tooth and claw. And a virulent anger so powerful that it was eventually sated only by driving a rental car from Pittsburg to Laurel, MD, at about 100 mph with a load of (presumably terrified) passengers. I could have killed that so-called "customer service" rep. My fangs still extend in righteous hunger at the very thought of him.

At the least, I will never fly United ever again.

So, i swear it only takes four hours, max, to get from Pittsburgh to Silver Spring. Everyone says it should take longer, but, in my experience, it does not, and i don't drive all that fast. How long did it take you to get to Laurel, which i'd expect to be even shorter, going 100 mph? The historical record is curious.

"a virulent anger so powerful that it was eventually sated only by driving a rental car from Pittsburg to Laurel, MD..."

Funny, I've had to drive a rental car from Newark to Syracuse as a result of United's general incompetence. I sense a trend here...

Yeah, this was at the tail end of a trip, right? At the start of the trip, United forced us to drive from Chicago to Madison (I think) Wisconsin. Then, at the tail end of the trip, they forced us to drive from Pittsburg to Laurel. Pissed off doesn't even begin to describe my emotional state. One of my passengers accused me of having learned to drive in New Jersey...

As for how long it took, IIRC I it was less than 4 hours. I'm thinking about 3. Don't remember for sure.

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