Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Little Something for Davo

I was reading an article in The New Yorker about studies of language cognition in African gray parrots (see "Birdbrain" by Margaret Talbot in the May 12 issue) when I came across a little something my dear friend Davo would appreciate.

The author was discussing the results of ape-language studies and how the apes could not form complicated combinations of words when communicating. To illustrate her point: "And, when [the apes] produced a longer utterance, it tended to be a string of repetitions of the sort rarely encountered outside a Gertrude Stein poem. (A quote from Nim Chimpsky: 'Give orange give me eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you.')"

I'm not sure whose brain is harder to understand -- the chimp's or Stein's.

Most Smartest HR Quote of the Day #3

Truly, I would quit my job but for the sources of post-worthy material.

One of our manager's has some challenges when corresponding with customers and must submit letters to HR for approval. I nearly laughed so hard I fell out of my chair.

The premise: a transaction was completed incorrectly and the manager had to write a letter of explanation to the customer.

The result: muddled information with an enclosed "recite" for the transaction (rather than the "receipt" that most of us would want) and the priceless quote:

"...please except my apologies for any incontinence this may have caused."

I'm curious to know exactly what kind of transaction could cause me to wet my pants. Did it scare me? Surprise me? Excite me? I just can't imagine, but I'm pretty sure I would indeed take exception to whatever went on.