Category: General

Acronyms Are No Better Than Gang Symbols

Angela Flashing a Hand Sign

Angela warns me she has a piece on her side.

The other day I was taking pictures of Angela and wanted to get one of her tiny hand. When I looked at the photos I captured, I noticed this one seems to indicate she was giving me a hand sign of some sort.

Was she trying to rally me to victory or prompt me for peace? According to Wikipedia regarding the V-Sign, she may have even been trying to give me the finger if we were living in the U.K.

Perhaps she was trying to tell me that she wanted to listen to Loverboy’s ‘Get Lucky‘ album. It’s doubtful she knows what any of those things are.

It’s possible she was telling me she had a gun on her side or even that she was a member of the Deuces gang.  She can barely roll on her side let alone strap a gat to it and the only thing she might know about a deuce is something she generally doesn’t need to tell us about. We already know.

This made me think about acronyms in the workplace.  Acronyms are often misunderstood since they almost always have more than one meaning. In this regard, they are like making a hand gesture that has different meaning in various cultural contexts.

What makes this worse are acronyms used within a company that also have common use outside the company and mean quite different things.  If you are new, then maybe you feel confused because the context tells you something needs to be explored. That’s the best case scenario.  The worst case is that you think you know what it means and take some action that is inappropriate.

I once heard of a story where an individual was told to put some data files on ‘the FTP server’ at a company he started at.  Apparently, at that company, in this context , FTP did not mean ‘File Transfer Protocol’ but ‘Financial Transaction Pre-processor’ or something similar. It turns out that the FTP server he put the files on was really supposed to receive files that had gone through this pre-processor where some other process would pick the files up and deal with them.

Without getting into even more boring technical details, I will summarize by saying this ended up being a very bad thing. It was the white collar equivalent of flashing the wrong gang symbol in the wrong alley.

What are the best stories resulting from misunderstood acronyms that you have?

Big Blue Bear

Big Blue Bear

Big Blue Bear

The Denver Convention Center is close to the hotel I am staying at this week.  While walking to work, this Big Blue Bear statue is one of the things I see — it definitely catches the eye. The statue is called ‘I See What You Mean’, but is more commonly known as the Big Blue Bear.

According to the artist, Lawrence Argent, one of the thoughts behind the piece was that residents in Denver are often curious about the conventions that are going on.  The Bear symbolizes the curious person trying to see what is going on.

While I am not a resident, I find myself curious about what event is going on during any given week that I am here.  The primary reason I am curious is how it relates to my ability to get a room for the week and what that experience will be like.  When the hotel is at full occupancy, the experience is almost always worse. Poor internet connectivity, less hot water for shower and problems with the elevator to name a few. For whatever reason, that makes me more interested in what event is going on.

This week, the big conference is the World Renewable Energy Forum. There is also an IDUG DB2 Tech Conference going on. I don’t think I’ve seen a single DB2 person, but the energy conference attendees are well represented on the street.

Katherine Is The Mean Witch

Katherine decided that she would role play that she was the mean witch from Dora the Explorer the other day. I must admit it was fairly convincing.

I was lucky enough to get some video of her doing this before she was done.

I am not sure what I like best about this video, but here are my favorite moments:

  • Her fist pump reminding me of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone
  • Her declaration that she is mean and nasty
  • Her choice of dipping bananas in ketchup


Don’t Drag Being A Woman Into It

Don't Drag Being A Woman Into It

Don't Drag Being A Woman Into It

While walking along 17th street in Denver last week, I happened upon the following marker and found it interesting.  It quotes her as saying, “I’m either a lawyer or I am not. Don’t drag being a woman into it.”

The marker then promptly goes on to acknowledge her being the first female attorney in Denver in 1896. Apparently the quote above was related to her not liking the term “lady lawyer”. We may never know if she would have bristled at her being referred to as the “first lady lawyer”.

Apparently, she holds a number of other female firsts:

  • First woman admitted to the Denver, Colorado and American Bar Associations
  • First woman to open a law practice in Denver
  • First woman to appear before the United States Court in Colorado
  • First woman to plead a case before the United States Supreme Court

Male or female, these are all fantastic achievements to be proud of whether it is 1896 or 2012.

The Girls Meet Buckeyes

Today, Rebecca took the girls to Tuttle Mall and stopped by a booth where former Buckeye football players Michael Wiley, Courtland Bullard and James Cotton were raising money for one of their charities.

They were very nice to the girls and were gracious enough to take some pictures with them.

Katherine and the Buckeyes

Katherine has been somewhat of a scaredy cat lately with these kinds of pictures. While she doesn’t look thrilled, she did better with them than she did the Easter Bunny, which is why we have no pictures of her with him this year.

Angela with the Buckeyes

Angela did better in this situation as expected. Then again, what could she have done? She really is exceptionally strong for a 3 month old, but I don’t think she’d be able to escape the clutches of Courtland Bullard:)

Love Me Tender

Our daughter Angela shares a birthday with Elvis Presley.  When I looked at a recent photo of her, I discovered that she has more in common with the King than her birthday.  She has a pretty mean lip curl going on a the tender age of 7 weeks.

Angela's Lip Curl

Angela's Lip Curl

Elvis' Lip Curl

Elvis' Lip Curl

Katherine and Angela

Katherine and Angela

When we brought Angela home from the hospital last week, we weren’t quite sure how Katherine would react.  So far, I’d say she has handled it really well.  She seems to love her new role as big sister and genuinely seems to adore Angela. I am still waiting to hear her say something along the lines of “Take her back to the hospital!”  That hasn’t happened yet.

So far, she has three basic statements/reactions to Angela crying:

  • “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you”
  • The stranger version: “Don’t worry, we’ll find your mommy and daddy.” ( Like many things, I am blaming Dora for this)
  • Laughing and saying, “The baby is silly.”

I know this will likely change as Angela becomes more demanding. But this is one picture I can use as evidence that they did indeed get along early on 🙂

Ralphie Meets Indiana Jones

At a recent birthday party, Katherine was playing on a slide. Over and over again she climbed up and slid back down. At one point, she dropped her sippy-cup just as she started down the slide. I happened to be recording and thought it was hilarious. It reminded me of something between Indiana Jones always going back for his hat and Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ trying to get back up the slide after he realized he hadn’t told Santa he wanted a Red Ryder BB Gun.

Ralphie stops sliding down the slide.

Recreation of the Indiana Jones hat grab stunt by joshua1878

Did I Imagine Brontosaurus?

Katherine is now enthralled with all thing dinosaur.  As we have gone through the various books and toy sets, I am reminded of most of my favorite dinosaurs from my childhood.

They are all there: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Brontosaurus. Actually, no, there is no mention of Brontosaurus in any of the books.  Did I imagine this dinosaur?

Tonight, I looked it up and sure enough, Brontosaurus is no more.  I found a lot of information about why in the article, The Brontosaurus Brouhaha.

In summary, it explains how the dinosaur named Apatosaurus was discovered and named before Brontosaurus and that later on it was determined that Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were really the same thing.  It’s actually a very interesting story to read.

So now I know why Brontosaurus isn’t in my daughter’s toys, but I have more questions now. Here are things that are still unanswered to me:

  1. Brontosaurus is really Apatosaurus, but why is it that none of the books I have seen mention a dinosaur by that name either? Is it too controversial? Or is it no longer the coolest sauropod?
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica declared Brontosaurus officially invalid in 1974, yet all of the books and toys I had still had him in them. I was born in 1974.  Were my books and toys that old?
  3. What other things are being made up with today’s dinosaurs? The story of Marsh and the Brontosaurus is one partly born of ego and of human fallacy. The human brain fills in gaps with patterns it is familiar with. I think this is partially why Marsh ended up with the version of the Brontosaurus head that he used.
  4. Is Diplodocus really just a visualization of Brachiosaurus that has poor posture?
  5. Do we actually have more concrete evidence about the existence of Barney the Dinosaur than T-Rex?