In Which I Am Very Petty About The Suez Canal


Yes, I understand that everyone is intrigued by that ship that’s blocked up the Suez Canal and messing up the weeks of so many logistics people. It’s all good harmless fun until it turns out everything you need is going across Antarctica by sled horse because that’s the least-bad alternative remaining. But this has got everybody going out and learning about containerized cargo and, dang it, I’ve been the nerd who knows things about Panamax and Malaccamax and all that.

Photograph of the front cover of Brian J Cudahy's _Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World_. It shows a container ship with stacks of boxes atop it, sitting in a harbor.
And, again, this is not my only book about containerized cargo. It’s just the only one I can get without having to stand up and walk to another room.

It’s not fair to have a bunch of johnny-come-latelies rushing in on my turf. If only there were some way to block them up somehow or delay their talking about TEUs and other intermodal transport terms.

Photograph of the back cover of Brian J Cudahy's _Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World_. It's full of the sort of cover press one might expect. It also has the price label from Borders Book Store, US$29.95.
And just to show you I’m completely in earnest, here’s the back cover of my personal copy of Brian J Cuday’s Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World. Yes, that is a price sticker from Borders Books, thank you, so you know I didn’t just grab this book off eBay twenty minutes ago, thank you.

Also The Alternative Was Fat-Free Shipping


But I would swear what I heard the commercial offer was “fact-free shipping”. And I’d like to see them meet take that challenge. I imagine it has to involve, like, fibbing about the postal code at minimum. Obviously a false customs declaration. Also a customs declaration included even though they’re only shipping from, say, Grand Rapids, Michigan, over to Lansing. I don’t know what else is involved but it should be this. In all it’s an idea worth developing, but not into 700 words for the long-form essay of any week.

The Delivery Respiral


I just realized I never gave an update on that dolly my father-in-law was having delivered somehow. Sorry. It turns out that he did get it, but there was some kind of problem and he had to ship it back. I was all ready to delight in working out how you re-deliver a dolly and it turned out that he got into some kind of dispute with UPS or an equivalent group over whether the returned dolly needed to be packed in a box or not. He’d gotten assurances that it should be returned un-boxed, and the UPS store was none too sure about this, and I can only say I am so very sorry that I didn’t get to see this scene, though I’m not sorry that it wasn’t me having the dispute about boxed dollies, and I’m even less sorry that it wasn’t me next in line while all this was being sorted out.

But What If I Can’t Stop Watching?


I use dental picks, as dental picks, because shut up I am not old and I like the smile that truthfully saying — and showing — that I’ve been picking grit out from between my teeth brings to my dentist’s face when I see him for this decade’s appointment. But I only just noticed that my bag of dental picks invites me not just to follow them on Facebook and Twitter but also to see their YouTube channel.

I like to think that I’m a curious fellow, by which I mean I’m open to learning about things other people would write off as dull and discover they’re deeply fascinating once you start thinking about them, by which I mean without any sarcasm or exaggeration that I own multiple popular histories of the containerized cargo industry and I would be willing to buy more. And I can imagine making an informational video about dental picks.

What I can’t imagine is making a whole series of informational videos about dental picks. After about halfway through the second I’d be reduced to standing there humming and maybe pointing out how any guinea pigs you have around the house could use them as slingshots, or how you could put a piece of wax paper across the prongs and give them to squirrels to use for lacrosse. They’re surely not going to be publishing that.

So now I’m doomed again: I’m curious to know how many different things of substance they could possibly have to say about dental picks, but, what if I find it all really interesting and just have to watch more?

Also I’m wondering how many tweets they could have about dental picks. This just makes it worse.

The Sign: The Business: The Something


The banner flying at the strip mall proclaimed that Accent Customer Relationship Partners was “Now Hiring!” This sounds exciting, since looking at the name and the logo and the strip mall I have not the faintest idea what they do. They could be marketeers. They could be the people who tell you how your call is very important to the corporation you’ve called which is why the corporation isn’t answering it. They could be a series of foreign-language instruction videos. What I realize is that the words can be rearranged in any order as long as you leave only the last one pluralized:

  • Customer Relationship Partner Accents
  • Partner Accent Relationship Customers
  • Customer Partner Accent Relationships
  • Relationship Accent Partner Customers
  • Customer Partner Accent Relationships
  • Partner Relationship Customer Accents

My love interrupted my glee at this by pointing out that “Accent Customer: Relationship Partners” is obviously no name for a shadowy organization that probably does something you really wish people weren’t paid to do. My love is right, of course, but now I know that Accent Customer: Relationship Partners is just the title to use for my next series of business slashfic.