Capn Jack's Flying Squirrels

Friday, December 29, 2006


I collect quadrophones. It's a word I made up to describe quadruple homophones--quartets of words with unique spelling and meaning but a shared pronunciation. They are pretty rare. Plain (double) and triple homophones are two subcategories that are too easy to find. The last sentence was full of them, from beginning to end.

This morning, I added my third set to my personal collection. I am sure I once had another, but forgot it before committing it to memory. Here are the ones I have:

Right, right, rite, write (the first I ever found)
Bye, buy, by, bi
Peak, peek, pique, peke (today's addition)

My self-imposed rules: no proper nouns, no contractions, must be in an accepted English dictionary--I use the official Scrabble dictionary.

Anyhow, I am interested in others that people turn up, as well as the as-yet-undiscovered quintophone.

Happy Gnu Year.

What a moment! Using Gnu in place of New prompted me to think of a fourth at this exact moment:
Nu, gnu, knew, new

This sounds vaguely familiar, maybe it's the one I had once found and forgotten. Still, with only two in the first four plus years of collecting, two more on one day is a windfall.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Career Planning

I've recently changed jobs at my company, so I've been thinking about career goals and job objectives. Everyone knows that section at the top of the resume labeled Employeement Objective. They usually say something like, "Seeking a position where I can use my superhuman abilities to contribute to a dynamic organization's business success while making the world a better place." Here's one I came up with:
  • I am looking for a job where if I get drunk while hunting and accidentally shoot someone, they apologize to me for any inconvenience they have caused me.

Fun at the Senate Gates Hearings

I try to limit my news intake to The Daily Show. However, I was in the car without my iPod the other day, and NPR was carrying the confirmation hearings for Robert Gates. Here are a couple observations.

It seemed during the hearing and the commentary afterward that Gates is seen as a an excellent nominee because when asked whether the war in Iraq was going well, he said no. I'm pretty sure that challenging question would only have tripped up about eleven people in the world--ten of them work at the White House, Tony Blair is the other.

I also enjoyed a pretty grueling line of questioning from one of the Republican senators that boiled down to this: "We want to spend more money on expensive defense programs. As Secretary, are you committed to spending more money?" I am not making that up.

I think the Rumsfeld legacy, which is really the Bush legacy, is that our standard for holding a cabinet post has become, "Does this individual have at least the intellectual capacity of a healthy chimpanzee and the moral integrity of a car salesman?"

Here is the most informative thing I got from my 15 minutes of paying attention. When asked whether he thought the Bush administration would act with urgency, Gates was quite sure they would. He's probably right, although I wouldn't insult the admninistration by expecting them to do the right thing with urgency, just something.

Consider the implications of this. We have been involved in this illegal, immoral and strategically ill-advised war for over three years. It has been getting steadily worse in every way for most of that time. Now there is a sense of urgency, but what changed? Has there been any significant change in the military situation? No. What about the political climate in Iraq or nearby countries. Definitely not. So what changed? The Senate changed hands and the Bush regime is getting blamed for it. There are only two conclusions you can draw from this. The first is that they knew they were full of crap the whole time, but didn't care until they got caught. The other is that they really thought they knew what they were doing. If that's true, to change now would be a sign of yielding their belief in what's best to political spin. Either one looks kind of icky to me.

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