Friday, February 01, 2008

Scenes Along A Snowy Road

Despite cleaning off my car 3 times yesterday (mid-day, 5:00 pm rush hour, and 11:30 pm), this is what my dirty car looked like this morning. (Yes, I know it should be in the garage!) The news reported that we received somewhere between 8 and 9 inches, and this morning it took me an hour to get out of my driveway and off my little street. (This end of the driveway was much better than the other end.) Thankfully, the main roads and highways were cleared off much more than my home territory so I could make my commute to work.

But, as soon as I exited the house and I looked into my beautiful back yard, I wanted to run out into the snow and make a snowman or throw snowballs.... or run back inside, hibernate all day and watch some movies while sipping hot cocoa within the warmth of my down blanket... OK. I need to stop day dreaming. There was work to be done, so I had to drive to the office. There were less cars on the highway than usual. It's funny to think that it took me less time to commute 35 + miles than it did to get 50 yards from my home.

This kind of weather always seems to generate conversation about driving. It happened here at the office after the first snowfall yesterday. Several employees called in to say they would be late for their shift because "we have to drive 20 mph on the highway because people just don't know how to drive in the snow." Then, we had other employees who got upset because of the "crazy people who are zooming past me and just don't know how to drive in the snow." I'm confused. Is it the fast folks or the slow moving folks who are the bad drivers in this kind of weather??? Or, is this just another example of us just wanting something about which to complain?

The huge signs along the interstate alerted us to upcoming accidents and expected ETAs at the next big highway. I wonder who types in those messages, because today's alerts were some doozies. I tried to take a picture of them, but it was difficult in the conditions. In an attempt to not be labeled as a "bad driver", I decided to promptly put away the camera and keep both hands on the wheel. The long, round-about poorly worded alert, however, reminded me of an interesting group and web site.

If you have time, check out the efforts of the Plain English Campaign. Here's is this group's purpose in its own words:

Since 1979, we have been campaigning against gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information. We have helped many government departments and other official organisations with their documents, reports and publications. We believe that everyone should have access to clear and concise information.

The group presents several awards each year, and my favorites are the Golden Bull (citing the worst examples of written word) and Foot in Mouth (citing the most confusing quotes made by public figures.)

Below are some of my favorite examples from my favorite awards categories:

2006 Foot in Mouth given to model Naomi Campbell for "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta."

2000 Foot in Mouth given to actress Alicia Silverstone for "I think that [the film] 'Clueless' was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

2003 Foot in Mouth given to former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for comments in a press briefing. "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know."

The following are a few Golden Bull winners for 2007:

BAA for a sign at Gatwick Airport
‘Passenger shoe repatriation area only’

Fastway Couriers for terms and conditions
‘The Carrier shall not be liable for injury or damage to or destruction or loss of the Goods or any other property arising out of or incidental to or in connection with or occurring during the provision of the Services or for the mis-delivery or nondelivery of the Goods and whether or not caused or contributed to by the default (including negligence) of the Carrier or any agent, servant or officer of the Carrier or any other person entitled to the benefit of these conditions.’

And, finally, here's one some of my co-workers would appreciate.
Nestle for a 'Project News Report'
‘“Green Sauces” are an important product group for Buitoni Pesto Basilico. Their quality and flavour profile are enhanced by the basil used in production. However, Buitoni faced sensory profile reproducibility problems due to heterogeneous raw material, challenging the production of uniform quality.’

We make life so complicated.

(REMINDER to those participating: RECIPE POSTING begins Monday. Post one recipe each weekday next week.)


Owl of the Desert said...

Wow, that's a lot of snow! We would seriously be shut down in Alabama, not able to leave our houses. :-) Hope you get to play in it some, and drink some cocoa.

Some of those quotes are really funny! I just don't understand where some of those things come from sometimes...

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the reminder about the recipe thing.

I'm not sure I've ever even seen 8-9 inches of snow. Nope, not in GA. It would probably be mayhem, since no one down here really does know how to drive in the snow.

The quotations were funny; talk about circular logic on some of those. It also makes me glad that no one bothers to write down some of the things I say. (Actually, a few people have, but overall...)

jsarber said...

I heard Donald's comment when he made it. I remember thinking, "Who let this man in front of a television camera?" My thoughts are similiar everytime I see George Bush on TV.

Elizabeth said...

Old George doesn't get points for his public speaking.

~*Rachel*~ said...

.:Sniffs:. I miss the snow...what beautiful pictures...

Kelly Spezzano said...

what beautiful snowy pics! We obviously don't have the problem of bad "snow" drivers, but we do experience people that when it starts raining, it's like they forget how to drive!

As for the quotes, I'm agree with Elizabeth, I am glad no one has kept a record of what I say... :)

Dani said...

Golden Bull


anything lawyers say or write!