The nature of things

My rental car astonishes me.  The doors lock by themselves when I pull out of the driveway, the windows come back up washed, the radio tells me what’s playing.  I finally get the jokes people were making ten years ago about cars that would make you breakfast.

I’m sure it’s been suggested before, but why doesn’t Toyota produce a car called the Retro?  It would look like today’s cars, and have all the features that are actually useful (I feel sure there must be some) but it wouldn’t do the things my rental does.  Because I can lock my own doors.  And I don’t want my radio to flash ANTONIO… VIVALDI…, since one of the pleasures of listening to KUSC is to test my knowledge of classical music.  Above all I want manually operated windows in case I drive into a canal and my electrical circuits stop working.

Another news item on the Welcome to the Twenty-First Century front.  My alma mater has subscribed to a program called Grammarly which promises to be able to check students’ writing better than their own computers, the advantage presumably being that it pops up a short grammar lesson every time it identifies a mistake (see? so it claims to be educating as it corrects, as if any student is going to read all that mush, come on).  But now get this.  One of the first sentences in the demo is, “The emphasis on nature, the supernatural, and superstitions were all part of Irving’s works.”  And Grammarly suggests changing “nature” to “the nature.”  Haw!

Check it!  See how many errors you can spot.  It’s quite fun.


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