Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Orts and a Blurb

I am ever striving to improve myself. As part of this striving, because I am busy, busy, busy, this morning I decided to multitask and stir up my steelcut oats at the same time I frothed the milk for my cappuccino. After all, I have two hands, why not cut my breakfast prep time in half? This turned out to be not such a good idea, because while I do have two hands, I do not have two brains, and my puny single brain could not remind my right hand to hold onto the oats container while I also held onto the mug of frothing milk with my left hand.

I guess I'm glad my brain didn't decide to drop the milk and hold on to the (relatively) easy-to-clean-up oats.

Have you read this fascinating story about how to detect when someone is lying? If you think someone is lying because they are acting all jumpy, you may be wrong. It turns out the best liars are not so much given away by outward nervousness (shifty eyes, general state of flusteration) as they are by indications of "cognitive load." Lying is hard work and that means the liar has to concentrate to keep the story straight, so he actually fidgets less in deceptive situations. So who are the best liars? This author says the best liars are the smartest, most creative people.

It's the new brag point for competitive parents--"Oh, sure, your kid gets straight A's, but my kid is a LIAR."

I'm working with a new software company that is going to provide Small College with the latest in whiz-bang, and this week I had to contact that company's customer service rep. She replied by forwarding my message to Natasha, who is going to answer all my questions. "Hello Natasha," she wrote, "Please do the needful." 

Is that not the most elegant turn of phrase you've heard this week?

Amazon image
I was shocked to hear that Boy#2 had not yet discovered the author Jasper Fforde. (That's correct--Fforde with two effs. How would that be prounounced? Fuh-ford? Fuhhhhord?) Anyway, Mr. Ff. has been one of my ffavorite authors since I read The Eyre Affair several years ago. Eyre is a grammatical fantasy mystery, or at least that's the closest I can come to describing it. It has elements of time travel, and a passage on the overuse of apostrophes that made me laugh out loud, and a whodunit, and I recommended it to everyone I knew.

Now I've discovered that the author also has written the Kazam series for young readers. Amazon says these books are for ages 10-14, which is exactly my mental age when I'm puffing and sweating on the elliptical. The Last Dragonslayer is charming and whimsical and kind of Harry Potter-ish without the angst. It's just what I need to take my mind off those last 400 steps.

Tthumbs up for Jasper Fforde.

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