Toll roads – no more cash “tolling”

Beginning May 2014, the local toll roads no longer accept cash.  Drivers can either have a FasTrack transponder, or sign up for an ExpressAccount.  One-time visitors can use the toll roads but must visit the website within 48 hours to pay.

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What’s so inane about that you ask?  In the months prior to this event, TheTollRoads was advertising “Cash tolling ends in X days”.  Tolling.  A toll is a fee that you pay.  Toll as a verb is what a bell does when you ring it.  You cannot just add “ing” to the end of a noun and “create” a verb.  An easy test (if you are too lazy to use a dictionary) is to try adding “ing” to a synonym (word that means the same).  Toll is a fee.  So, does it make any sense to say “Cash feeing ends in X days”?  Hmm… seems awkward, doesn’t it?  The toll levied is also the price for passage, so let’s try that: “Cash pricing ends in X days”.  Nope, that doesn’t work either, does it?

Just in case you are curious, the toll roads (133, 241 and 261) were built with loans that can only be paid back by tolls.  For the fiscal year 2013, operating revenues were $129.4 million representing 56,173,061 transactions.  As of December 2013, the outstanding bond debt was $2.3 billion.  Just doing some basic math shows that (not including interest), the principal will take 17.8 years to repay at current usage levels (2031).  Interest will push this out several more years, and the debt is now due in 2053, but with no pre-payment penalty.  It will be interesting to see if the toll collection system is dismantled (as one would hope) when the loans are paid.  Government does have a nasty habit of keeping revenue collection going even when it’s no longer needed, and they are simply making a profit with it.

Weird old tip

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Hmm – perhaps that “weird old tip” is EAT LESS and EXERCISE, ya think?  These ads just kill me, do they think that by saying they have a “weird tip” or “clever trick” that people will really think “oh wow, I just have to know what that is”

Trending – completely inane, even in windows 8

Trend is a noun.  It means “A general direction in which something is developing or changing”.  You can’t add “ing” to the end of a noun and pretend it’s a verb.  So the non-word “trending” is just that; a non-word.  Now Microsoft is computering this in Windows 8, with a “trending” tile on the start screen (see how stupid it is adding “ing” to a noun?)

Inane gas pump signage; drive-off with hose attached

Here’s a good one I ran across yesterday:  The local Shell station near work has a nice sign glued to their pumps advising motorists not to drive off with the pump hose still attached to the gas tank.  To underscore how serious they are about this, they wrote “violators will be liable to pay the cause of damages”.   Yea, I had to read it twice too.  Wow!  Somebody wrote that, then somebody else approved it, then it went out to the printer… by the time it arrived at the station for the owner to affix to the pumps, dozens of people had seen it.  Yet nobody said “um, what?”

Double letters in an attempt to be clever

This annoying habit seems to be more prevalent in the restricted-vocabulary circles, so I suppose this is their only way of standing out in a crowd (yes, this is a snooty post).

My gripe this time is people who add consonants in an attempt to add emphasis (I’m assuming that because they don’t have a very wide vocabulary, alternate word-choice is not an option, but that may well be presumptuous on my part).

Examples would be: Hott, Starr, Raddical, Sexxy, Dogg, Rockking

Encouraging news from spam

Looking at an inbox full of spam is annoying, but if you tilt your head right, you can brighten your day with it’s encouragement!

For example, today I find that “There has been a change to your Experian score”, and if I’m “stressed over bills you can’t pay”, that’s okay because I’m “pre-approved for loan”, so that must be good.  To find that “President reduces amount homeowners owe” is always welcome news.  I can get pills to “burn fat fast”, I can learn to “speak a new language like a pro”, and to top it off, “Subway is giving away sandwiches for a week”!  Given that diet, I’ll probably need to take advantage of the “25k Life policy for $1 per month”.  I still haven’t figured out where to go on vacation but “Southwest Airlines is giving away 2 roundtrip tickets”

All of these spam offers seem to adhere to a single common thread: Yes, the vendor is losing money on the individual transaction, but they make it up in volume! :-p

Conformation!

Saw this in an email today: “I will be sending out a conformation email…“

Now, given that conformation generally means a “structural arrangement” I can only assume that this much anticipated email will contain details on how we’re going to get together.  LOL!

Net New vs Frog New

Here’s some techie Inane for you.  The phrase “Net new” has become very popular, and is now being flogged to death in high tech marketing materials and presentations.  The beef I have with this silly phrase is that “Net” contributes absolutely nothing and is simply a trendy fluff-word.  I propose substituting an equally worthless word such as “frog”.  So you would say “We will be installing a frog new server setup”.  See?  It’s much more colorful, and equally worthless.  I used this improved phrase in a meeting with a vendor the other day, and it did a great job of breaking his stride – always fun with vendors.