And we’re back.

After an intense fight with Verizon in which I canceled my service and then was convinced to go back to them at a discounted rate for my troubles and then having to fight the same fight all over again, which included another three hours on the phone with them, I finally succeeded in a. dumping Verizon completely* and b. getting set up with another company.

I ordered my equipment from Clear during a 15 minute phone call at 4pm yesterday. At noon today, it was delivered and 10 minutes later, I was online. It took Clear one 15-minute phone conversation and 20 hours from order to delivery to get done what Verizon couldn’t accomplish in 20 days and about 8 total hours of going around in circles on the phone with their people.

The moral of the story: do not get Verizon.

Anyway, a new lesson will be posted today. It’ll be about England’s timber castles.

*After I discovered that at some point in yesterday’s conversations, I had been signed up for home phone service starting tomorrow, which was perplexing to me as I have neither owned, nor used in my own place, an actual telephone in more than a decade.


Looks like it’s going to be a while…

I spent an hour and a half going around in circles (literally) with the people at Verizon about my internet today.  And still got nothing resolved. I couldn’t even have my (as of yet not set up) internet canceled in that time. Because I was being passed around in circles. I ended up having to get off the phone with the last woman I spoke with because I was very close to losing my cool. Anyway, I’m doing this all on my phone, which is a huge hassle and I hate it. Needless to say, there will not be any new lessons until I can get this all sorted — with a new internet company.

Lesson #255: How Far You Can See

I’m visiting my grandmother on the way down to the Mid-Atlantic city I’m moving to and the discussion of how far one can see standing on flat land came up. The average answer is around 3 miles and it’s figured out with this equation:

(r+h)squared = r squared + d squared

Solving for me at 5’7″, that’s…

(3961.301)2 = (3961.3)2 +d2

15691905.612601 = 15691897.69 +d2

7.922601= d2

d = 2.81471

So standing on flat ground at no elevation, I can see about 2.8 miles.

An Addendum to Lesson #249: Rhymes With Jaywalk

Last weekend, I wrote a post about the etymology of the word jaywalker and noted that Merriam-Webster, for whatever reason, provided me with words that rhyme with jaywalk. I didn’t think one would ever need to know that information.

Until today.

My dashboard this morning had a search query that brought someone to this blog that said “rhymes with jaywalk.” So apparently there are points in ones life where that information may be necessary. I stand corrected.

Lesson #254: The Last Three World Series

I was talking to my friend in the Texas capital today and, as so often does with us, sports came up. Since the baseball postseason started yesterday, that was (for the most part) our sports topic today.

He was watching the Braves/Giants game while I was watching Hockey Night in Canada and flipping back to the baseball during the commercials (it’s opening day for hockey today and not a deciding game day for baseball; hockey wins). At some point in the conversation he says, “Did you know Eric Hinske has been in each of the last three World Series?”

Of course I didn’t know that. Hinske is a journeyman with a career .254 average and 101 OPS.

But it is, in fact, true. Eric Hinske has played in each of the last three World Series (and won twice). He was with the Red Sox in 2007, the Rays in 2008 and the Yankees in 2009. I think it bears mentioning, though, that in those three series, he played four games and had three at bats — he was 0-1 with the Red Sox, 1-2 (a solo home run) with the Rays and was walked and scored a run with the Yankees.*

An interesting aside: In 2002, he was the AL Rookie of the Year with the Blue Jays. In 2003, he committed the second-most number of errors (22, which was also the league high for errors by a third baseman) in the AL. He followed this by being first in the AL in fielding percentage as a third baseman in 2004 (.978).

*If you want to see his lifetime stats, see here.

Lesson #253: A Kentucky Duel

A quick note before today’s lesson: Sometimes, my lessons pay off. There was a question on Jeopardy! yesterday to which the answer was Spartacus. I knew the answer because he was the subject of a lesson back in April.

My cousin in a major Canadian city* sent me a link today to a book she thought I’d enjoy. I need to get my hands on it. It’s a book of recent legal oddities written by a lawyer. My favourite of the examples deals with duels in Kentucky.

First of all, awesomely, under the Constitution of the state of Kentucky, all lawyers must swear an oath that they will not, nor have they ever, engaged in any duel with a deadly weapon, nor acted as a second.** It also bars anyone who has participated in a duel from holding “a state office of honor or profit.”

Now, that part is actually fairly reasonable given when it was adopted (presumably sometime around the end of the 18th century), but in 1998 an amendment was added to make it law for first responders and members of disaster and emergency response organizations to swear the same oath.  The best part of this, though, is that Kentucky (like probably most other states) has mutual aid pacts with other states and a 2004 report for Congress notes that during an emergency, state officials can “waive procedures and formalities otherwise required by law.”

What does this mean? I’ll let the author take it away…

“Thus, during times of disaster, a rogue Kentucky official can repeal the anti-dueling law for Kentucky employees and thereby create a loophole that allows Kentucky workers to duel with disaster aid workers from neighboring states that themselves don’t renounce dueling, all this at a delicate time when teamwork, not the settling of old scores, is vital to citizen health and welfare.”***

*I actually have four cousins living in major Canadian cities, five if you count Winnipeg, which is up for debate.

**A second, in that context, was actually a question on Jeopardy! recently that I only knew the answer to because I’ve seen the duel episode of Firefly about a dozen times. And they say television rots the brain!

***All information and quoted text can be read here. And presumably in the book, which can be purchased here.

As an aside: I do not know this author, nor do I have any vested interest, financial or otherwise, in whether you purchase a copy of his book. It’s just something I found interesting.