Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Some random thoughts from the depths of winter

by Rick Blechta

It can get to be a pretty daunting task to sit down and write a blog post every week. I’ve been doing it here since 2006! Well, most weeks… Sometimes you’re fired up by something you’ve read or seen or responding to a fellow blogger’s post. Other times you sit down and think, “What the heck am I going to write about this week?”

Today is one of the latter.

So rather than cruise the internet for ideas or stare at an unforgivingly blank computer screen (or play a couple of hands of computer solitaire), I’m going to just bounce some of my pet rants around:

Why do we have the word “sometimes” (see first paragraph), a logical amalgam of two words, and not a word like “othertimes”? Seems to me it would be very handy and also logical. Anyone (See? There’s another one!) with me on using othertimes as much as possible to see if it catches on and the Oxford Dictionary notices and makes it an Official Word?

Why is it in this time of instant electronic communication that it takes several working days to transfer money from one bank to another? Does someone have to check over each transfer to make sure it’s legitimate and correct? Based on my experience, nobody looks over anything in banks these days.

Why do people caught in traffic on highways sit right on the bumper of the car in front of them instead of leaving adequate room to stop? Do they think those hundred or so feet are going to get them to where they’re going so much faster? Think of it this way: How long does it take to travel 100 feet at, say, 50 MPH? That’s how much faster you’re going to get to your destination. So you save about one second, but risk an accident. Is that a smart risk to take?

And finally my current forehead slapper: Why didn’t I go with my initial idea and title one of my novels (I’ll let you guess which one) Fire and Fury? A professor here in Canada did, and his book — all about the Allied bombing of German cities in WWII — has surprisingly wound up on the bestsellers list on Amazon ten years after its publication! (Damn! Missed another great opportunity — even though my novel eventually got what I thought was an excellent title.)

Now, loyal readers of Type M, I ask you to please add your random thought(s) and let’s expand this discussion.

Who knows? It might do some good. And at the very least, you’ll feel better for sharing your pet rant.


Sybil Johnson said...

I shall start using "othertimes" immediately!

Usually I have many random thoughts. None today. Too tired trying to finish "the book", I guess.

Susan D said...

Ah Rick, I often express the Traffic Conundrum another (an other?) way, aimed at the driver behind me: "Hey Einstein, tailgating ME is not going to make the line of traffic in front of me move any faster."

Rick Blechta said...

Yes, Susan, but there thought-process is probably that if they tailgate you, then you'll go faster and tailgate the next person who will also go faster and eventually (20 or 30 minutes later) the person at the front who's going to slow will start to speed up and Everyone Will Be Happy.

Or not.

Thanks for weighing in, both you and Sybil.

Anyone else?

Aline Templeton said...

Don't invite me to rant, Rick! It means I have to chose which one to go with, but it's 'may' and 'might'. It drives me mad when someone misuses these two. My favourite example is 'The Quenn may have married several people before Prince Philip.' No! No! we know she didn't, so it's 'The Queen MIGHT...' The interesting thing is, that if you're not sure, 'might' never leaves you open to this sort of ridiculous mistake. Surely you've heard that might is always right? (And it is!)

Anything else you'd like me to rant about?

Rick Blechta said...

I like that, Aline! Please feel free to rant on. It will make you feel much, much better when you have someone to share the weight.

Sybil Johnson said...

I admit, Aline, that I do not know the difference between may and might. I shall endeavor to use them properly in the future.

Re: traffic
Johnny Carson had an joke I always remember. It goes something like: You're supposed to have x car lengths between you and the car in front of you. In L.A., if you did that there would soon be x cars in front of you.
He told it much better, but it is very true here!

Rick Blechta said...


You should try driving in Toronto. The city is bandying about a new slogan. "Toronto. You can't here from there." And the drivers are pushy, pushy, pushy, same as you're describing for LA. I've taken to just driving at a moderate speed in the outside lane and watch everyone get frantic in the other lanes. Much safer too!

Vicki Delany said...

I'm thinking of calling my next cozy mystery "Fire and Furry"