Creative Use of Language Dept.

May 13, 2009

The Kansas City Star reports on local health code violations at area restaurants. The citations by the health department come in a sprightly variety, from

Found a dead roach under a display case.


Raw and cooked meat on the same tray


Kitchen manager failed to wash hands after throttling a busboy, then resumed preparing egg salad.

One of those may have been made up by me.

In the interest of fairness, the paper routinely asks a manager or owner for comment, and those comments generally come in two styles — a simple

The owner had no comment.

Or something a little more fancy-footworkish like

We take very seriously the safety and welfare of our customers, and we are confident that all the problems have been addressed, and we look forward to having the health inspector back in the restaurant as soon as she stops shaking.

In one case, the reporter said

A manager discontinued a call asking for comment.

I wasn’t in the room or anything, but I imagine that this was a polite — non-actionable — way of saying “The manager hung up on me.”

In these tense times, I have a feeling that an ever-larger portion of the nervous workforce is adopting a keep-your-head-down-and-cover-your-behind posture. I should point out that, depending on your job description, such a posture may be a violation of the health code. You do what you have to do.


Our friend television

May 10, 2009

Television is like a good friend who comes into your home and shows you wonderful things, teaches you about nature, shows you magic tricks, tells you captivating stories — and then, when you least expect it, pulls a brochure out of his pocket and tries to sell you pain killers, cheese, razor blades and cars.  And you don’t kick him out because you want to see how the story comes out.

Snark of the day

May 8, 2009


It’s opening weekend for the new “Star Trek” movie, so you better hope you don’t need any tech support for the next few days.

Swine flu nomenclature issue resolved

May 3, 2009

Since some people are getting pretty aerated about the proper label to put on the current flu outbreak, I have a suggestion.  If it does turn out to be some kind of weird amalgam of swine flu, bird flu and people flu, I propose we call it BrundleFlu.

If you don’t recognize the reference, don’t worry.  Just be afraid.  Very afraid.