What Was Your Question?

January 29, 1999

Earlier this week I heard a science show on the radio that was so amazingly informative I had to share it with you. So, for something a little different this week, here’s a transcript of some of the best programming public radio can offer: (Begin catchy, repetitive, synthetic theme music) Direct from the radio, it’s the Write In A Science Question And A Retired High School Science Teacher Will Answer It. This week our question is from Jim in North Dakota, who wants to know if he can find satellite pictures of his house on the internet. Well Jim, for our listeners who might not be familiar with satellites, here’s a little background information: from the dawn of time people have looked to the sky and wondered what those little bright dots were, and why the sun and moon moved around in the sky. Wacky! The Mayans and Egyptians were among the earliest people to track the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, but, for the most part, people remained completely ignorant about everything, and burned anyone who discovered anything relevant. Even in the twentieth century, people believed space was filled with a substance they called ether. This is not to be confused with the stuff Freud and other medieval doctors used to give patients until they found out it was bad for you. Wait, that’s cocaine. Well, earlier in this century the Wright Brothers actually developed a machine that could fly. Then in 1926 Robert Goddard launched a liquid-fuel powered rocket. This started the Space Race. Well, I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for today. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll answer questions about attention deficit disorder. (Begin catchy, repetitive, synthetic theme music.)

Enjoy this week’s slightly more educational offerings.


Excerpts from actual letters sent to landlords

  1. "The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is cleared."

  2. "I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfired and burnt my knob off."

  3. "This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door."

  4. "I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall."

  5. "I request your permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen."

  6. "Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces."

  7. "Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk. Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant."

  8. "Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny color and not fit to drink."

  9. "Would you please send a man to repair my downspout. I am an old page pensioner and need it straight away."

  10. "When the workmen were here they put their tools in my wife’s new drawers and made a mess. Please send men with clean tools to finish the job and keep my wife happy."


(Note: I’m forwarding the following before it’s too late and I have to update the title to "You Know You Work In The 00’s", although for most of us this is already true.)

You Know You Work In the ’90s When….

20. Cleaning up the dining area means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.

19. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e-mail addresses.

18. Keeping up with sports entails adding ESPN’s homepage to your bookmarks.

17. You have actually faxed your Christmas list to your parents.

16. Pick up lines now include a reference to liquid assets and capital gains.

15. You consider 2nd day Air Delivery and Inter-office Mail painfully slow.

14. You assume any question about whether to valet park or not is rhetorical.

13. You refer to your dining room table as the flat filing cabinet.

12. Your idea of being organized is multiple colored post-it notes.

11. Your grocery list has been on your refrigerator so long some of the products don’t even exist anymore.

10. You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their process.

9. You get all excited when it’s Saturday so you can wear sweats to work.

8. You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as "deliverables."

7. You find you really need PowerPoint to explain what you do for a living.

6. You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.

5. You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.

4. You know the people at the airport hotels better than your next door neighbors.

3. You ask your friends to "think out of the box" when making Friday night plans.

2. You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.

And, the number one sign you work in the nineties…

1. You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o’clock.

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