Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under President Clinton. had an interesting commentary on patience this morning on NPR.

“After what seemed like an interminable wait on the phone the other day for a service representative to help me fix a holiday gift that wouldn’t work, I heard the dreaded words: “Thank you for your patience.”

I heard them again after sitting on a plane that was stuck on a runway for over an hour. “Thank you for your patience.” Again, at a hotel that had misplaced my luggage. “Thank you for your patience.” A few days ago, at a restaurant where I thought I had made a reservation but somehow didn’t have a table, “Thank you for your patience.”

Again and again — it seems more this past holiday season than ever before — I’m being thanked for giving something I did not give and I don’t have, especially at that particular moment, and that’s patience.

What’s galling is that the thankers know I have no choice in the matter. Whether it’s on the phone or on a runway or in a lobby or in a restaurant, I’m stuck, because I’ve already committed myself to their service, flight, hotel room, or table for two. What I’m really being thanked for is not going ballistic.

The old saw says time is money. But now that most of us are working and commuting longer hours than ever, our time is worth more than money. Time is the most precious thing we have.

And if the market worked like it does in textbooks, we’d penalize companies. We’d pay them for their product and we’d bill them for our time. That way, they’d have an incentive to staff up when they need to, or devise backup systems for when something goes, or give customers better notice of delays — even though these steps might cost them more.

But the market isn’t working, because we rarely connect the price we pay for something with the time we lose waiting for it. Maybe there should be a truth in labeling law requiring companies to disclose not just prices, but also average waiting times.

Of course, given how backed-up Congress is, we’ll be waiting for years. In the meantime, I’d settle for a law banning the use of the phrase, “Thank you for your patience.”

For those of you who have been waiting months for me to post on this site, thank you for your patience.

The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.
  – Horace Walpole


I am no war-hawk, but I do like to keep up on the latest trends in high-tech weaponry.  I have been watching the Army’s Silent Guardian project with keen interest.  A review of this new ‘wave of agony’ weapon was posted here:

Non-lethal force to break up anti-war protests, riots, neo-Nazis, desert raves, high school proms, and bio-physicists conventions.  I love it.

Or a step into the more lethal side of things, researchers at the University of California Riverside are trying to create an annihilation gamma ray laser.  This new laser is made by combining electrons with their anti-partical positron to create a laser one million times more powerful than existing lasers.  Read all about it here:

Seems like just what we need to finish off the war in Iraq.

By way of an introduction

“Foolish boy” I said to myself.  How can you be _____________ and so stupid?  Fill in the blank – a father, a working professional, more than 10,000 days old, a husband, a friend….  I’ve been telling people for a while that “I know things,” but on the inside the only thing I know is that I don’t know squat about myself.    And that’s why we’re here (here, as in this blog, and not in some metaphorical/philosophical sense): to gawk, laugh, and wonder in amusement as I prove how much I don’t know, and just maybe to learn something as we explore what I do know together.

My interests are diverse, so hang in there if I post on something that is of no interest to you.  Heck, I might even write on something that is of no interest to me.  This should be interesting for everyone…..

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