It is Friday the 13th.

We apply special significance to the 13th when it falls on a Friday; supposedly due to the rarity of this confluence.

Have you ever considered that Thursday the 12th occurs with equal regularity?

If you cannot locate me today, it is because I am:

  • Under a ladder
  • Sitting on a crack
  • Throwing salt over my shoulder
  • While repairing a mirror
  • That I broke when startled by a Black Cat crossing my path

Happy Superstition Day!

I have discussed this in the past

I have become increasingly aware of a trend in the English language that disturbs me. While reading an otherwise well written novel I found multiple occurrences of this phrase: “…should of known…”

The correct (intended) phrase is “should have” or, in contraction form, “should’ve”. The sound of the contracted form is most likely the cause of this common confusion.

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Tire Rotation AND Chiropractic Care

Larry can perform Back Alignment while you get an oil change?

Many similar grammar stumbles that I see far too often are:

‘Then’ confused for ‘than’

In a major magazine I read an advertisement that blatantly misused (rather confused) the two.

Affect and not Effect

This is a difficult one and I often find myself confused and puzzled on it. …

I know The Phone Company is not stupid. I spent the first 10+ years of my career working in the Telecommunications field, beginning at the cusp of The Great Divestiture, so I fully understand the technology. After all, many great technological advances came as a direct result of research performed by Bell Labs for telephone communications. The Unix operating system was developed for telephone switching systems. And C language (later growing into C++) and then fiber optic transmission of data were also created for and by The Telephone Industry.

With that incredible heritage it is even MORE FRUSTRATING to me when I use the public switched telephone network (in the USA) and encounter the following…

This has been troubling me for quite some time. Regardless of the socio-political implications of it, the label “African American” makes no sense.

Firstly, if you are born in America* then you are an AMERICAN. One of the outstanding things about America is the fact almost all of its people came from somewhere else.

As Bill Murray’s character (John Winger) states, “We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A’, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world.”

And, only if your mother and father were citizens of Africa (and you are born in America) would you be an African American. By the same token if (and only if) your parents were born in Australia you would be an Australian American. …

I was in a Two-Story building the other day and, when I entered the elevator it made me wonder:


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You have no choice where the elevator will take you, so why are there two buttons?

Regardless of which floor I enter from I have ONLY ONE CHOICE.
Why are there any buttons at all? {Except, perhaps, one that says “Go”}

This is a republished idea from 2014

“Why do we fill a form out by filling it in?” — ‘English is a crazy language’, Richard Lederer

I was at the doctor’s office. This was not my first time in a doctor’s office; but a first time at this doctor. So I was handed a clipboard with a stack of “questionnaires” to complete. I have no objection to filling out these forms. It helps to pass the time you spend waiting to be seen (I have no interest in any of the magazines they typically stock in a doctor’s waiting room).

There were a few things about these forms, though, that — although not atypical — caused me to…

Phishing is a bad thing

I have devised a simple approach to the ever-growing problem of Internet Phishing.

Having worked on the Internet since its birth, I have been keenly aware of this problem; watching it grow in a non-linear fashion in recent years. There are numerous technology solutions; some quite complex and annoying. But this is really not a technology problem. It is a human problem.

We need help, as human beings, in managing our Internet experience.

I have a solution. I ask you to bear with me — understand how this works — and indulge me in giving it a try. …

I have noticed a serious increase in impatience in the world around me.

And I am losing my ability to tolerate it!! < /sarcasm >

I acknowledge that, as human beings, we tend to be a bit ‘self focused’ and are often unwilling to “wait our turn”. But what disturbs me is the almost idiotic behavior reflected in the name of a lack of patience.

After spending 30 minutes or more browsing the store you can’t wait a minute (or two) at the checkout counter?

For example, when waiting in a line at the supermarket. If you were to actually time it, the average wait — when there are 2 or 3 people ahead of you, for example — is under 5 minutes. Yet, many people will search frantically for A SHORTER LINE or shift impatiently while waiting. What strikes me here is that they just spent 30 or 40 minutes (maybe more) browsing the store. …

The Magic Number Thirteen

In 2009, it was at least three times we saw a Friday the 13th. What seems like an even more startling coincidence is the fact that February and March both saw the 13th fall on a Friday.

Every Friday the 13th I update my voice mail greeting to:

“Hi. This is Thom. I am unable to take your call a the moment because I am

- Under a ladder

- Sitting on a crack

- repairing a mirror I broke

- while throwing salt over my shoulder

… there goes a black cat crossed my path!

Leave me a message and, WITH ANY LUCK, I will return your call…

“If it quacks like a duck…”

I received an interesting piece of [junk] mail the other day. It was from AT&T and an obvious attempt to convince me to buy more services.

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We all have received these letters with an attached check. Well, it is quite obvious it is not real check. But a common marketing technique to make you feel like you are getting money (which is really in the form of a ‘discount’ when you buy*)

In its aggressive marketing, AT&T had been sending promotional mail with what appeared to be a check. We all have received them. …


Thom Parkin

Lifelong ParaHacker and avid Logophile enjoying “old age”

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