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Monday: September 6, 2010

Shakespearean Riddle

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:36 PM GMT-0500

A very easy one, I’m afraid. Which play did I see at the Blackfriars Playhouse tonight? One that reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in many years. Back in 1985 or so, I was working for a ‘beltway bandit’ at Tysons Corner, and one of the other companies in the same mid-rise office building had an executive who always parked her car diagonally in the far corner of the parking lot so she could take up two spaces and avoid ‘dings’ without offense (though not without envy). After all these years, I don’t recall whether it was a Porsche or an MG or what, but it was a very shiny and very expensive-looking red convertible with vanity plates. What message best befits an executive on her way to the top, already far along but with quite some distance left to go, and willing to do almost anything to get there? Select the parentheses to see the answer, which will also tell you the play I saw tonight: (CAWDOR). It’s been a quarter of a century, and I never met the owner of the car, so my analysis of her reasons is pure speculation, but it seems plausible. What else could such a license plate reasonably imply?

Sunday: September 5, 2010

How Original Is This?

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:55 PM GMT-0500

Staunton, Virginia has a one-unit hotel, The Storefront, “a very small hotel”. Is this sort of thing found in other cities as well? It’s certainly a clever idea. Guests receive a certificate good for breakfast at either of two eateries less than a block away. Presumably the owner or a representative comes by once a day to change the bedclothes and restock the refrigerator. If I didn’t already live in Staunton, I would certainly try it out.

Friday: September 3, 2010

Worldwide Fame?

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:19 AM GMT-0500

I’ve just been profiled – the good kind of profiling – over at Normblog. Go over there to see what he asked and what I answered, then come back here if you have any comments on either. Comments are moderated, and I have a day job, so they may not appear for up to eight hours.

Thursday: September 2, 2010

Further Discrimination Needed For This Hypothesis?

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:41 PM GMT-0500

A recent study purports to show that resumes with ‘black’ names on them are less likely to lead to an interview than those with ‘white’ names. I won’t quibble with the selection of names, other than to note that both of the Leroys I know (one first name, one middle) are white.

What bothers me about the study is how one-dimensional it is. I have a strong hunch that the prejudice is not so much against ‘black’ names as against unusual names of any kind. It would have been easy enough to rule out my hypothesis if the scholars involved had widened their selection of names to more than the two lists, ‘white’ and ‘black’.

To be specific, I strongly suspect that stereotypically southern (white) names like Bubba, Zeke, Elmer, Vernon, Bettie Lou, and Lou Ann are at least as discriminated against by prospective employers as Jamal and Takesha, at least in northern cities. Any non-standard Biblical name probably doesn’t help: David and Benjamin are (I imagine) OK, Jeremiah and Hezekiah far less so. I also suspect that really old-fashioned non-Southern names are also harmful: Mildred, Millicent, Gertrude, Agnes, Henrietta, Cyril, Barnaby, Julius, Clyde. The comments are open (though moderated) for further suggestions.

If the authors of the original study are looking for a topic for a sequel, they are welcome to this one. All I ask is a laudatory mention in the first footnote.