August 4th, 2004

sharp, arrow, angry

Who's got 3-year-old intelligence?

On whtliberalmedia, a not-half-bad source for the alternative story, the link today is to the Common Dreams story pointing out that this week's terror scare is based on very old data.

What I found amusing about this was the headline in the group blog:
Bush is trying to scare people with 3-year old intelligence.

I read this in two different constructions before I found the correct one:
[Bush is trying to scare [people [with 3-year old intelligence]]]
"Bush is trying to scare people who have the intelligence of 3-year-olds"

[[Bush is trying to scare people] [with 3-year old intelligence]]
"Bush is trying to scare people, in the manner of someone with the intelligence of a 3-year-old"

It wasn't until my third read that I grasped that [3-year old intelligence] was being used in the sense of "data gathered by surveillance three years ago", and not in the sense of "the intelligence of a three-year old" along the lines of "Koko the chimp operates with a 12-year old intelligence"; then I was able to get the correct instrumental adjunct attachment:

[Bush is [trying to scare people] [with 3-year old intelligence]]
"Bush is trying to scare people, and he is using 3-year old intelligence to do so."

The 358 line

I saw you riding in the back of the 358, northbound all by yourself. I stumbled as I got in, and walked down the corridor of solitaries, each frowning, preserving their space.

But the back of the bus -- the bull pen, the lounge, the rowdy room usually full of young, shouting men and women, rollicking their way uptown -- the back of the bus was empty, except for you. May I join you? You had stretched your legs across from the back bench to the side bench; you had a spider tattoo on your left leg, just a few inches below your knee. Nice spider.

You smiled at me as I sat down on the starboard bench; yes, the bench with your legs, and the spider tattoo. You were beautiful. (You are beautiful). I scrambled in my bag for a book, and pretended to read, peeking over the book; I looked ahead in the bus so I could see your reflection in the glass panels next to me. Long days are nice, eh? I checked the streets we crossed, despite being forty blocks from my destination; I read billboards and casually glanced out the window at car dealerships and hubcap franchises, scrounging any excuse for a scrap of gazing in your direction. Man, is this bus slow today!

I helped you open your window, after you struggled for a minute; I defeated the window with wiggling, rather than force. I have no strength to offer; it's brains and a smart mouth, or nothing. And yet I was mute. I joked, feebly, about outsmarting hardware as I sat down again, and yet you seemed friendly, even so. I returned to my book.

And twice -- maybe three or four times before I got off at 100th Street -- I caught you looking back. And then you were watching me, from your private lounge in the back of the bus, as it pulled away. I smiled.

Hey, I don't say to the air.
What's your name?
Where are you going?
Where are you coming from?
Come here often?
Here's my card.

...Were you smiling at me?
  • Current Mood
    looking for the spider tattoo