September 18th, 2007


A post about work on my day off

We have very limited Internet access at work. We can get to our online storefront, and UPS, and the web pages of the various companies that provide our benefits, but nothing else. Which is a damn shame, because being able to run Google searches would make our jobs considerably easier. Yesterday, for example, a woman came into the store looking for two different books. One was a book that she thought had the word "Abandoned" in the title that was about a boy who turned into a cat in London. The other was a book about Mosby's Rangers by a local author named Something Carrington Smith. I poked around the database using our hignly inadequate search engine* but was unable to find any information about either title. But I took down the customer's information so I could look into it later.

So this morning I powered up the Google and searched on the phrase "abandoned boy turns into cat london." That didn't turn up anything that looked promising, so I modified it to "boy turned into cat," and about halfway down the page I found a link to an eBay auction for The Abandoned by Paul Gallico. A third search on "Paul Gallico Abandoned" proved that was the book she was looking for. It's out-of-print, but we should be able to get a used copy for her.

Turning to the other, I entered "mosby's rangers carrington smith" into the search field and found right at the top a book called Ranger Mosby by Virgil Carrington Jones. Close enough. It's also out of print, but again, used copies don't look to be hard to find.

Anyway, the point is that if I'd been able to do these searches at work I could have sold that customer two books, whereas under the current system I was able to sell her squat. I understand that the company doesn't want us wasting our time surfing the net when we should be working, but if they opened the firewall just to Google, that would still help us a lot.

* How inadequate? A keyword search on the words "halsey" and "typhoon" fails to return the recent title Halsey's Typhoon.

Ten random things: Reader Request Month, day 18

Ten favorite instances of cartoon or comic violence:

  1. "Duck season! Fire!" (Chuck Jones animated short Rabbit Fire)
  2. Matter-Eater Lad hits Polar Boy in the face with a yellow pie to prove he's powerless against the color yellow and thus a Green Lantern (Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) no. 11)
  3. Mysto the Magnificent uses his magical wand to disrupt a recital by the Great Poochini (Tex Avery animated short Magical Maestro)
  4. FWAM (Lio comic strip)
  5. Four horseshoes and a horse fall onto the head of a mean dog after a black cat crosses his path (Tex Avery animated short Bad Luck Blackie)
  6. Ignatz Mouse brains Krazy Kat with a brick (Krazy Kat comic strip)
  7. Godzilla steps on and crushes Bambi (Animated short Bambi Meets Godzilla)
  8. "We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff's Exhibit D. Selected fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date, no explanation has been found for this product's sudden and extreme malfunction. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high tensile strength and compressed in a tightly coiled position by a cocking device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase, when swift reflexes are at a premium.

    To increase the shoes' thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote's prey was known to frequent. Mr. Coyote put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness, his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time, Mr. Coyote's prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him. Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote, well within range of the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and proceeded to pull the lanyard release. At this point, Defendant's product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote. As the intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in the air. Then the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first collision with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters falling upon his lower extremities. The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, where upon Mr. Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote, or both came into contact with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for some time. The sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr. Coyote, viz., flattening of the cranium, sideways displacement of the tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper body, and compression of vertebrae from base of tail to head. Repetition of blows along a vertical axis produced a series of regular horizontal folds in Mr. Coyote's body tissues, a rare and painful condition which caused Mr. Coyote to expand upward and contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit an off-key, accordion-like wheezing with every step." (Unidentified Road Runner animated short, rendered into legalese by Ian Frazier)
  9. "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!" ("Judge Death Lives" from 2000 AD no. 228)
  10. Itchy rips Scratchy's heart out of his chest and gives it to him as a Valentine's Day present (The Simpsons episode "I Love Lisa")

Today's list is for fizzball, who wanted to see Ignatz Mouse mentioned in a list.