Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Slash and Backslash: Finally, Clarification

This is a slash: /

This is a backslash: \

A slash leans its head forward: /

A backslash leans its head BACK: \ It is called a backslash because it leans its head back.

Slash: / lives in the lowercase of the question mark key. It is easy to reach and more commonly used.

Backslash: \ lives in the lowercase above the enter key. It is a bit up and out of the way and less commonly used.

A slash is called a slash because it was the first of the slashes to arrive on the scene. When the backslash arrived, someone said, "Ah, I see there is another type of slash!" And someone else said, "Yes, but that one is leaning its head back. Let us call it the 'backslash'."

As computers came into being, the lexicon supporting their coding included the slash, and less commonly, its slightly daunted sibling, the backslash.

Sometimes people announcing URL's (radio, conversation, instruction) make the mistake of calling a slash a backslash. They think they are showing off how much they know about slashes; they feel very official - you can hear it in their voices.

They are mistaken.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


"War is Hell!" said the man.
He'd been there.
He said it in a time when the only witnesses to war
were participants,
in some way or another,
so the naive
really were.

Now in the world
cameras everywhere enough to make us all witnesses
Hell expands to ever greater territory
as each and more of us
defer concern,
delay action,
pretend ignorance.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Simple Notes for Job Interviewers

1) Ask questions of the interviewee. She may be interviewing you, too, but you invited her into your workplace to ask her about her professional experience. That means you need to let her answer the few questions you have come up with in between rants about your properties, your furniture, all the people you fired when you started being the boss, how it's tough that to build your new empire you have had to "break bones" but that you are such a good leader when you "set them."

2) Don't badmouth the places you've worked before or the people you fired when you started your new job. Don't keep the interviewee in your office listening to your rambling babble for one hour and forty five minutes, making her struggle extra hard to maintain decorum for that last fifteen minutes fearing her car might be towed before she gets out (time limit posted at the parking spot you reserved for her).

3) Don't have everything in your office either black or grey and then wear a dark blue suit and pearls (what century is this?!) so the only vivid colors in the room are your pink face and yellow hair.

4) When someone knocks on the door and interrupts with some important papers you had asked them for, introduce the interviewee to the person. When the worker behaves pleasantly and like a "normal" person, do not shun the worker, who, by the way, stayed late to give you the papers you asked for.

5) Remember: the interviewee is there because you were recommended by a colleague. Out of respect for the mutual colleague, the interviewee will stay til you end the meeting. Do not abuse her patience.

6) Do not yawn while you're talking, repeatedly, apologize, yawn again, apologize some more, and take sips of your water, especially if you have failed to offer the interviewee some water.

7) Do not try to minimize the rudeness of your yawning by explaining that you woke up at midnight the night before and couldn't get back to sleep. Next time you have insomnia, drink a nice warm cup of tea and at least lay down and watch TVLand and relax so you are rested and ready to be respectful to the person who took off work, lost pay, and spent gas money to see you.

8) The interviewee may answer your questions and then choose to back up her statements with examples of ways she implemented the decisions she made as a professional. These little images she creates in your mind are not meant to send you off on lengthy tangents about your commute, your stereotypes about what ethnicity uses the bathroom stalls as phone booths most, or what type of rabble may live on the other side of the mountains where you would never buy property because there are - god knows what color you're afraid of - apparently not dark blue or pearl - people living there who are so stupid they accepted Adjusted Rate Mortgages and now they can't afford their houses but you wouldn't even want to buy them up because the neighborhood is just not as good as the one where you have two houses already and are thinking of buying a third but are just perched waiting for the real estate crash to get worse in about five years.

8a) While stating the above, do not form your little hand into the shape of a cresting wave, first knuckle bent on each of the four fingers. This just shows off your apparent disdain for manicures.

9) When notifying the interviewee of your call-back schedule, do not insult her by telling her a second interview will consist of a writing test, especially if you are holding the following items in your lap:

  • her three professional writing samples;
  • her resume showing that she has a Master's Degree in English/Writing and specific professional training in the style of writing required for the position in question.

Further, do not drive the point home by explaining that others turned in writing samples as good as hers but failed the writing test, thereby accusing the interviewee of plagiarism.

10) When you finally see your way clear to letting the interviewee leave, do not walk her to the door of the building. She will be grateful to have you say goodbye at the office door.

Note to the interviewee: If such as the above ever happens to you: at about the twenty minute mark it is okay to stand up, say, "sorry, my time is up," and leave. No matter how much you like the colleague who sent you here, remember: she sent you here!

Monday, October 08, 2007


These are some of my friends. Someone did something to the settings on their camera that slowed the shutter speed. When I took the photo, I thought I got nothing worth saving. Ah, but non! C'est magnifique, oui!?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Open and Shut Case

Radio commercial: obnoxious fast shouting SFX something jarring
I am making a left turn
with respectful concern
for the pedestrian why am I
allowing this voice to shout throughout my car?!

Push of a button:
"Shut up!"
stops the assault
the young man in the crosswalk safely out of my path
I drive on.

Shut up...
shut down
shut out
shut in.

Shut over?
Shut under?
Shut across?
Shut sideways?
Shut othersideways?
Shut through?
Shut away.

Shut back
Shut forward.

My buddy would have laughed
and come up with a shut-combo
I haven't figured out yet.
This makes me laugh
and laugh for laughing
at the conversation I didn't have
but did.
Open and shut case.
Shuttle cock.