The Sky is Falling

For the record, I am neither religious nor superstitious. However, enough things have gone wrong today to make me wonder if I shouldn’t at least be knocking on wood my house is still standing and (obviously) my fingers are still working.

The first thing to go on the fritz was our only service/tool I would consider a social tool where I work. We’ve had our IT folks and support from the vendor look at everything and each one of them, so far (time to put the hammer down), is looking at the machine logs and – seeing nothing untoward – shifting responsibility. The problem, however, remains and needs to be dealt with immediately, if not sooner.

So . . . then Twitter suffers a denial of service attack and is either down or clunky for hours on end. I was going through double withdrawal and it was beginning to make me twitch a little bit. Something had to be done.

Well, not much I can do about Twitter but, as the project manager for our internal social tool, I could raise a ruckus and get people doing something – collectively – to help fix this problem. So we get the vendor rep on the phone and he is always helpful and knowledgeable and we work with him frequently to resolve minor issues and discuss feature upgrades, etc.

The conversation starts out just fine but suddenly his phone starts distorting and cutting out. He tries using his cell phone and, after a couple of minutes, it drops from the call. He calls back and, again after a few minutes, it starts distorting again. As of now, we’ve been on and off the phone for over an hour, the problem still exists internally, Twitter stills seem famischt, but at least the phones kinda worked.

I’m wondering, the Perseid meteor shower is only six days away. Maybe Comet Swift-Tuttle is returning to slam us and we’ve just missed it. Maybe its the end-of-days, maybe the Mayan calendar is right or Nostrildamus hit it “on the nose”. Stay tuned.

About Rick Ladd

I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining. Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence. I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind. View all posts by Rick Ladd

6 responses to “The Sky is Falling

  • Danny Bloom

    And Rick, thanks for note, and neither place published it, natch, par for the course, here I come with a great STOP THE PRESSES story, and nobody will publish it anywhere. it remains a blog and comment phenon only. SIGH.


    Danny le BLoom,


  • Rick Ladd

    Danny – Thanks for this. The likelihood of my seeing it at either of the sites you sent it to (whether they print it or not) is the same as the likelihood of my winning the lottery, which I don’t indulge in. So I’m glad you sent it here.



  • danny bloomele

    I wrote a new news story on this too and sent it to the JTA offices in NYC and also to the San Diego Jewish World newspaper in California. If they don’t use it, and you don’t see it, here it is: ENJOY!

    Syndicated cartoon gets its Yiddish inflections wrong — and guilty
    cartoonist says : “OOPS!”

    by Dan E. Bloom

    Bill Griffith is one of America’s most famous newspaper cartoonists,
    and his comic strip called ZIPPY is syndicated in newspapers around
    the country, and overseas as well. You can view his website at

    Griffith’s cartoons have been called surreal, intellectual, zany,
    goofy, underground, catchy, you name it. He is a brilliant satirizer
    of American culture, and he takes aim at almost everyone, VIP
    personages to celebrities to, well, to everyone. Griffith has an eye
    for what’s happening in American culture, and he’s been doing this for
    years. His fan base in legion.

    Now to the Yididsh story.

    The August 15 edition of ZIPPY, published already in newspapers around
    the nation, was a pointed jab at how technology is often taking over
    our lives, and the very first panel of the strip began with one of the
    characters reading a book and saying to his pal, who was watchiing TV:
    “Kindle, schwindle….I still like a real page-turner with pages you can

    To which his pal replies: “Twitter, schwitter….I still like network
    TV ….where commercials rule!”

    Spot the mistake? See the gaffe? Read the dialog phrases above again.

    Of course, the cartoonist meant to write “Kindle, schmindle” and
    Twitter, schmitter” … but he absentmindedly mixed up the schm sound
    with the schw sound, and of course, in Yiddish, the schm sound rules!
    As in “Cancer, schmancer, as long as you’re healthy!” and other
    Yiddish sayings. Actually, the “schw” sound does not mean anything in
    Yiddish-inflected English or even in Yiddish. It’s the “schm” sound
    that packs the comic punch.

    See the cartoon here.

    When the cartoonist was contacted at his home office in Connecticut,
    the Long Island native — who was actually born in Levittown; yes,
    that famous Levittown — and who actually knows very well how
    Yiddish-English should be inflected for best comic results, replied:

    But it’s too late to change the comic strip. It’s already in print in
    over 500 newspapers worldwide and online as well. The good news? It’s
    now a collector’s item!


  • Danny Bloom

    “Zippy strikes me as the kind of guy who might eat a blueberry bagel with melted emmenthaler …” — good one! I think it was a totally unconcious mistake on the cartoonist’s part, he grew up among Jewish people as a kid and has many Jewish friends in his circle of acquaintances, and he probably knows more Yiddish vocabulary than many young Jewish kids today. I think his brain misfired, and he didn’t catch the mistake even as he was inking in the cartoon 6 weeks ago to prepare it for publication this August. When I wrote to him, to tell him about the, er, gaffe, pardon my French, he actually wrote back, in a humorous way with just two words: “Bloom! Schmoom!”

    He gets it. He will never make that mistake again. I loved it. A teachable moment, as Leo Rosen would have said.


  • Rick Ladd


    Gut yontiff? Is there a whole month’s difference on the other side of the International Dateline now? Not sure what you’re asking me. I don’t think I can top what you’ve written. I did, of course, notice the mistake immediately. It was so obvious I was afraid I was missing something. Zippy strikes me as the kind of guy who might eat a blueberry bagel with melted emmenthaler and kvell over his Yiddishosity. Thanks for the comment and the compliment.



  • danny bloom

    Gut yontif,,,could you do a blog post about this Yididsh gaffe in a recent popular USA cartoon? danny bloom in Taiwan asks

    can you spot the mistake right away>?

    DANNY aged 60

    love yr blog


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