Foiled and Contaminated

January 3rd, 2006

My determination to return from the holiday and start the new year off right by buckling down to tasks at hand at work this morning got off to a decent start this morning about 9:15 am after checking all my email, greeting coworkers, a trip to the ice machine in the lunchroom, and a bit more discussion with coworkers.

And it ran swimmingly for approximately an hour. Then one of the critical servers on our network got its digital knickers in a twist and work was suspended… for the rest of the day.

Now normally this wouldn’t be too much of a problem for me. Especially since the Internet was working just fine, but today I actually wanted to get something done. Unfortunately, there was nothing for me to do but muddle through.

Did you know that Edward Heimberger AKA Eddie Albert, the guy who played Oliver Wendell Douglas from Green Acres was a spy and a war hero during WWII? It’s true! He worked in the circus in Mexico as a clown and trapeze artist as a cover that allowed him to keep track on Nazi activities in the area and later earned a Bronze Star for rescuing wounded soldiers in the Battle of Tarawa.

They say you learn something new every day and when you have all day to surf the Internet this easily comes true. It does not, however, gaurantee that what you learn will be useful in general situations of life.

On the way home from work today I happened to hear a story on the news that described a certain element of an environment as being “contaminated”. My personal opinion is that using this word in such a way is just stupid. To say something is contaminated without elaboration is as useful as saying it’s “yukky”.

I suppose it’s not totally valueless. For instance no one is going to swim in a “contaminated” stream without a second thought. On the other hand I live about two miles from the Mississippi River which supplies the water I drink. There are two power plants and numerous industries also nearby and the river, they say, has been drunk three times by the time it arrives here in Alton. These facts combined with it’s brown, opaque appearance could surely qualify it as “contaminated” yet people swim in it, drink it (after processing) and eat the fish they pull out of it.

Without details, qualification, or quantification the word “contaminated” is pretty empty. Now “contaminated with flourocycloblabboflabbin to about fifteen parts per million which is three times the level the EPA considers toxic” feeds my naturally curious and technical mind with enough details to be satisfied. But hearing somebody on national radio news say “the lake is contaminated” just makes me think they are dumb.

But that’s probly just me.