Week notes: shiny metal balls

This week, I have had a cold. Some of the symptoms of a cold are also symptoms of hayfever, so it’s impossible to tell what’s what, but, either way, woe unto me.


One of my bicycle pedals has been unedifyingly stiff for a while. This week, I finally decided to act: removed the dust cap with some difficulty, took the thing apart, discovered the whole amazing world of ball bearings and grease inside, cleaned and inspected the shiny metal balls, smeared new grease in the relevant places, put it back together. I’m trying to convince myself that the pedal now spins with a glorious efficiency, putting its mate the other pedal on the bike to shame, but there’s a lingering doubt that it’s changed at all.


I haven’t been watching The Looming Tower, but I understand that it’s good, and I’ve been in the same room as a television showing it. The characters keep taking about “the bureau”, and all I can think of is “I’m closing the bureau… for an hour.”


The disgraced magazine Businessweek had an interview with the chief of WeWork, one of the bellwethers of the next economic crisis. I haven’t read it, but some people on Twitter poked fun at bloke’s highfalutin language:

at WeWork it's not profit, its "community-adjusted Ebitda." And it's not breakfast its "breaking my fast" https://t.co/ZWOA4YKGgI pic.twitter.com/MgkBD4oEnI

— Max Chafkin (@chafkin) 15 May 2019

But is that that alternative to the word “breakfast” really that bad? It does smell a bit like “methinks” – yuck – but really? Maybe it’s a Britishism. Wiktionary has some examples from Walter Scott and George Bernard Shaw. But I suppose neither of them used “community-adjusted EBITDA”.