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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Story: "What's that Sound?"
So, a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Mau and I took Mini Mau to see his Great-Grandmothers (That's all we have left.) Luckily, Mrs. Mau is from Augusta, GA, and my family is from North Augusta, SC (right across the state line, and the river), so we were able to kill two birds.

So, we're at my Grandmother's place. She lives in one of those apartment complexes for senior citizens? Right. One of those.

So, we're in there, and I hear this beep.

"What's that beep?" I say.

"What beep?" Says Grandma.

"I just heard a beep."
This is where it becomes a good story.

Grandma says: "Your mother was here a week or two ago, and she said she heard a beep, too. I ain't heard no beep."

Me: "Well, has anyone else heard it?"

"No. Ain't nobody else heard it."

A little background here. My father's family is from North Augusta, so that means that no less than FIVE of my aunts and uncles are probably back and forth through my Grandma's place on a regular basis. Perhaps even daily. And NONE of them have heard the beep.

So, during the time I'm there, I hear the beep several more times, and each time, I mention it. Maybe 15 minutes between beeps. My wife could hear it. My aunt that came by during our visit - couldn't hear it.


So...a week or two later, my parents, or maybe just my Mom, visit us.

My Mom says to me: "You heard that beeping at your Grandmother's house?"

"Yeah! I heard it a few times! Grandma said that you could hear it too. I was busy with Mini Mau, so I couldn't really look around for it, but it sounded like it was coming from the corner. Maybe even from next door."

This is what my mother tells me: Apparently, after both I AND my mother heard beeping, she decided there just might be something amiss. She called maintenance. The maintenance guy came. HE heard the beeping.

Okay, the beeping sounded like it was coming from right around her favorite spot to sit. Maybe even coming from somewhere on my Grandma. Now to eliminate possibilities. They took my grandmother outside. Still heard the beeping inside. Okay. One possibility eliminated.

Okay. Eliminate more. They cut the power to her unit. Still heard the beeping.

Still 15-20 minutes between beeps. So at this point, I'm thinking they were at it for the better part of the day.

Turns out that the beeping was coming from a prescription bottle. The beeping is to remind my grandmother to take her medication. Not to say that the pharmacist, or the physician didn't explain the bottle properly, but my grandmother is 95 years old! When it was all said and done, she seemed to remember the doctor mentioning something about a timer on the bottle, but that little 30 second tutorial clearly wasn't enough.

I'm glad I got my hearing from my mother's side of the family.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Thursday, July 03, 2008
R.I.F.: Shibboleth
Reading is Fundamental

I like to think that I'm a pretty bright M.F. One thing I think has helped with that is that I read a lot. More importantly, I read a lot during the formative years. A great side-affect of all that reading is that I've got a pretty decent vocabulary. It's not often that I come across a word I don't know, or at least can't comfortably figure out via context clues.

Well, today I was stumped, ladies and gentlemen.

I was reading this post on the Ideafestival website. The post talks about a magazine article, which discusses a book that submits a theory about video games being engaging, engrossing, entertaining, and perhaps even intellectual because they force players to solve complex logic and reasoning problems and players may even end up employing the scientific method in their quest to complete a game...rather than just being a mindless slack-jawed waste of time. It's a pretty decent read.

BUT, that's not the point. The point is that this quote from the magazine article:

Since the publication [of Everything Bad is Good for You] in 2005, [Steven] Johnson's argument in favour of what he labels the "Sleeper curve"—the steadily increasing intellectual sophistication of modern popular culture—has become something of a shibboleth for futurologists.

Like I said...stumped me.

What does "shibboleth" mean?

Well, we all know what I did next, right?

So, a shibboleth is something that a certain group of folks LOVES to talk about - that in the long run either doesn't mean anything or doesn't mean anything to any other groups of people, or both.

Like people who went to North Carolina A&T and this whole "Aggie Pride" thing, or George Bush supporters and the idea of his administration somehow being a good thing for this country.

Know What I'm Sayin'??