Housekeeping

Today’s a housekeeping day. The dishes are in the dishwasher, there are clothes in the dryer, and we’re collecting estimates to replace our fence.

No, seriously. I know it’s hard to believe, but we actually do dishes occasionally and–what? Oh, yeah, that. Really:

So, that being the case, I might as well do a little electronic housekeeping and clear out the pile of stuff that’s been piling up because they’re not even long enough for a Short Attention Span Theater post.

But first, this commercial message:

On Sunday, I’ll be at Borderlands Books in San Francisco, pushing The RagTime Traveler. The plan is to cover the history of ragtime music and the history of TRTT before I sign copies. That’s darn ambitious for an hour, so if you’re into train wrecks, come watch this one develop!

Moving on.


I’ve griped about greengrocers’ apostrophes before (customer’s what?), so I’ll just note that this is the first time I’ve seen single quotes used instead of double for those darn useless quotes. But why didn’t they put quotes around “customer’s” and “manager”?

Ahem.

In the “you only had one job” category. If that qualifies as a rolled hose, I really want to look inside the bin and see how many scraps of paper, broken tools, and rotting vegetables qualify as not trash.

Sigh.

Back to grammar. The way I read this, it’s perfectly fine for me to play with the condiments for sanitation purposes. My kids will just have to watch. Or I can let them play with the condiments as long as it has nothing to do with sanitation. Hey, kids, how high can you stack the creamers? No, Billy, you can’t clean the spilled jelly off that container; that would be sanitary!

Argh.

OK, last one.

Lawyers have a strange view of what is necessary and appropriate.

Case in point: a few years ago, our local hospital closed. That’s a whole rant of its own, so I’ll spare you for now. But unwinding its affairs has been a protracted affair.

Earlier this week, both Maggie and I got letters from a law firm representing our county healthcare district informing us that the hospital’s patient records will be destroyed in a few months.

Frankly, that seems like a good idea to me, especially since they’re providing a way for former patients to claim their records if they need them for their new doctors.

But what struck me as odd is that the letters also informed us why we got them. It’s because each of us is either (1) a former patient; (2) a family member of a former patient; (3) an insurance company “known or believed” to have given insurance to a former patient; or (4) “the Attorney General of the State of California.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

They consider it appropriate to send these letters to insurers who might have had clients who were treated at the hospital. OK, so there are no names on the letter; it’s not a privacy violation. But where the heck did they get the names of those companies “believed” to have served former patients? If they were listed in the hospital records, shouldn’t they be considered “known” rather than “believed”? Or did they just send one to every insurance company they could find a name and address for?

The real kicker for me, though, is that this law firm apparently believes there’s a one in four chance that I’m the state attorney general.

Really, guys, it wouldn’t have cost that much more to send a separate letter to the AG? Heck, the savings in ink from not printing Item Four on those millions of letters would more than outweigh the cost of some clerk’s time.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Sideways

I suppose this could be considered a Short Attention Span Theater post, but I’m not caffeinated enough to think about that.

Step One: The Bay Bridge is still standi–no, wait, I’ve used that joke before. Never mind.

Seriously, the Bay Bridge did take a step forward this week. The bike path between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland is now open seven days a week. That’s actually a very big step.

Mind you, it doesn’t help would-be bike commuters. The path is only open from 6 AM to 8 PM. Any techies planning to bike in for their usual seventy-two hour week are likely to hit the barrier in one direction or the other.

Well, actually, they’re going to discover that there’s still no connection between San Francisco and Yerba Buena Island, so unless they’ve got an amphibious bike, they’re only going to get halfway to work. Of course, if they do have one of those gadgets, they don’t need the bike path in the first place. Never mind.

It’s unclear to me whether there’s a plan to open the path at night, and according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a bike path on the western span is at least a decade away. But a scenic ride that’s available seven days a week is a decided improvement over one that’s only open on weekends.

Step Two: I said Tuesday that I would be having signings outside of Seattle. I can now announce the second scheduled event.

On Sunday, July 16, I will be at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I’ll talk for a while about Scott Joplin and ragtime music, do a Q&A session, and then sign books.

This is breaking news, folks. Borderlands doesn’t even have it on their website yet.

But if you can’t make it to Sedalia or Seattle, I’ll look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.

And who knows, maybe I can arrange a signing in a city that doesn’t start with an “S”.

Step Minus One: Have you heard that McDonald’s has invented a new eating utensil? You probably have, but if not, the inevitable commercial is here.

Yeah. The “frork”.

As one might expect, the Internet is up in arms about this. To the extent that there’s ever a consensus online, it seems to be that this is the stupidest idea ever.

Having waded through more dumb Kickstarter projects than I can count, I disagree.

Seriously. I just can’t get upset about the frork. Come on, folks, it’s an advertising gimmick. It’s served it’s purpose: getting people talking about McDonald’s.

It doesn’t look like a frork uses any more plastic than the usual fast food restaurant’s plastic fork/spork/spoon, so where’s the harm?

Mind you, it is–as McDonald’s admits–completely superfluous. Toppings that drip out of a fast food burger (or even a slow food burger, IMNSHO) are meant to be scooped up with and licked off of an index finger. Preferably your own–or your date’s*, but whatever floats your boat. Personally, I think fries should be eaten with the fingers as well, but I’m not dogmatic about it.

* But not in a Tom Lehrer/”I Hold Your Hand In Mine” kind of way, please. Even if you’re a zombie, that sort of behavior doesn’t qualify as proper restaurant manners.

So, yeah, not the end of civilization. Not even a serious attempt at bread and circuses.