Sunday, December 21, 2008

Two things that make us say Grrrr

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Some of the WB staff have been gone from the office for quite some time, during which voicemail, scourge of modern workplaces everywhere, built up. And while voicemail can be a pain just on a regular personal cell phone, especially with lots of messages interrupted by Ms. Robovoice's narrative — e.g. "Fourth message, sent today at 8:15 p.m." — it's a complete horrorshow on a business system.

"You have 29 new messages that have not been heard. To hear these 29 new messages, press 1-1."

"The following 29 messages have not been heard. First unheard message, sent blah blah blah at blah blah blah blah...."

Okay, so how many times does someone need to hear that a message is new before understanding that it's, like, not old? And if a message is new, doesn't it stand to pure and absolute reason that it has never been heard before? And why is it necessary to count the messages and identify each one by its number? For that matter, why the big formal introduction for each one before just... playing it? Would a quick "29 messages; here they are" be wrong?

And the cruelest part: while there are ways to bypass a message after a few seconds and delete it without hearing the rest, there is no way to bypass Ms. Robovoice doing any of her infuriating song and dance along the way. It's like the FBI warning on a DVD with no way to fast forward. She is just that essential.

On a totally unrelated note (although we wrote about this country's former leader the other day) there's also no way to pardon the American refusal to pronounce the name of a country it took over in 2003 as anything but "Eye-rack." You'd think it might be important, with over four thousand U.S. soldiers killed there and another 30,000 maimed, not to mention the nearly 100,000 Iraqi (eye-rack-ee) citizens and soldiers killed. But no.

There've been theories that it's Iraq's fault Americans can't pronounce its name, because the "I" shows up at the beginning and the "raq" has an "A" in it. This allegedly makes the U.S. brain automatically say eye like in "Iceland" and aah like in "bad."

Right, and this is why we pronounce Raquel Welch's first name as Rack-well (no bustline jokes; the former pinup is nearly 70 now), the word "aqua" as ack-wah, and these countries in these ways:

• Indonesia: eye-ndosesia
• India: eye-ndia
• Israel: eyez-ree-el
• Italy: eye-tullee

See? Theories of "we can't" don't hold up. The simple truth is, we don't want to. Every country whose name starts with the letter "I" has that name pronounced correctly by the American tongue, except for two: Iraq and Iran. True, we go through lots of eye-talian dressing at Olive Garden, and it might even be made by genuine eye-talians, but they don't live in eye-tullee.

Nope, it's just those two Oil Gulf nations, Eye-rack and Eye-ran, both of whom have rattled their sabers at the U.S., so what the hell do we care how they say their names. They're enemies, and that's pronounced eh-neh-meez, which is all that really matters.

Grrrr.
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