Saturday, June 25, 2005

Neologisms: nep

Halfway between nope and yep.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Proverbs: It's better to do one thing well than many or all

Humor: Toothpaste for Dinner

Salon discovered the minimalist yet acerbic cartoon Toothpaste for Dinner. You may find certain lines memorable but all quirky, like "If I had a dollar for every time I had 60 cents, I would be Canada."

Music: Bette Midler - I'm Beautiful

I'm not too short, I'm not too tall,
I'm not too big, I'm not too small. [...]
I'm not too white, I'm not too black,
I'm not too this, I'm not too that.
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, dammit!

Email: Worried about your looks? [VI]

This was an interesting article that covers all the bases: Resist the pressure to try to be physically perfect, since women (at least) exist who want more than physical perfection -- and ballroom dancing is one alternative to bodybuilding at the gym. However, while this is all excellent theory, it is not how the real world pans out (for the most part).

It would be interesting to do a test as in the book Black Like Me (if it were possible): Seek and go on dates when a person is overweight, and later, when buff. AD told me she weighed 300 pounds and was ignored on planes as she struggled to place her carryon in the overhead compartment; yet men fell over themselves to help her after surgery brought her to a slim 110. Go figure, indeed!

Email: That's weird [SD]

Look for a counselor's professional certification: LCSW and the like. It's important to know that any medical doctor or therapeutic counselor is qualified to address the things you need addressed. There is a Christian counseling clinic on the corner of I-10 and Corbindale. They give the Divorce Recovery seminars at Second Baptist. I'm glad you stood up to your previous counselor, who besides acting so unprofessionally, seems to have some kind of a methodological axe to grind.

Weird is from Old English, not Latin; so yes, it is an exception to the i-before-e rule.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Quotes: Christian Fundamentalism defined (erikc)

Christian Fundamentalism: The doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe-spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about my sex life. -- erikc (

Quotes: Leadership is reason and cooperation (Woodrow T. Wilson)

Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation. -- Woodrow T. Wilson

Quotes: Fools are certain but the wise doubt (Bertrand Russell)

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell

Quotes: "nobody need wait" (Anne Frank)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -- Anne Frank

Quotes: Happiness is integrity (Mahatma Gandhi)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Musings: Women talk

I realize it may sound chauvinistic, but I think it is a fair question raised by men's frequent experience, even in the workplace: Why do men often find themselves fording a gauntlet of women discussing gynecological issues at length and in public? Do women have to listen to men discussing their urological concerns while getting themselves a cup of coffee? Your comments, experiences and suggestions are welcome.

Nostalgia: Mr. Natural and Flakey Foont

Psycho-American: "Mr. Natural's foil is Flakey Foont, a befuddled everyman who is Crumb's most scathing -- and yet most endearing -- portrait of Middle-American cluelessness. Foont is always searching for spiritual answers from Mr. Natural, but he doesn't like what he hears. And on the rare occasions when he does, his cynical impatience or his obsessive sex drive obstructs any attempt to achieve true understanding. [...] the episodes with Foont are like low-rent zen koans [...]"

Remember Mr. Natural and "Keep on Truckin'"? I ran across the back story to Mr. Natural while researching a reference to the word "foont" from my high school and college days.

Email: Keeping house [AS]

I am glad you have a sense of humor about your hopes and dreams! I think a couple that can laugh at their troubles together, can stay together.

Email: Pencil drawings [DD]

Linda's drawings are beautiful all right! I have always known (believed) that Jesus laughed. He was fully human! I do not know where people got the idea he was so solemn all the time (he is positively catatonic in Zeffirelli's film), unless they just can't conceive of him being two things at once -- but since he was fully human and fully divine, a little thing like emotional balance would have been part of that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Quotes: why vs. how we live (Friedrich Nietzsche)

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Quotes: great spirits vs. mediocre minds (Albert Einstein)

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. -- Albert Einstein

Quotes: convenience vs. catastrophe (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Great people aren't those who are happy at times of convenience and content, but of how they are in times of catastrophy and controversy. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quotes: "A right heart exceeds all" (Benjamin Franklin)

Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all. -- Benjamin Franklin

Quotes: "To live gratitude is to touch heaven" (Johannes A. Gaertner)

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, to live gratitude is to touch heaven. -- Johannes A. Gaertner

Gibberwocky: elipheny

Gibberwocky: ephemy

Gibberwocky: baunt

Gibberwocky: squaunt

Peeves: beverage ads

To the tune of "I would do anything for love," a young man demonstrates devotion to his girlfriend by a making a tampon run (complete with price check) and other sacrificial gestures; then she tries to steal a sip from his Dr Pepper and he leaves her.

After newlyweds enter their "just married" limousine, the bride confesses to an indiscretion involving photos and a website, but it's no biggie to the groom; then she claims Miller tastes better than Bud, and he yells at her to "Get out!"

Commercial makers typically demonstrate inordinate hubris in their enthusiasm for mundane products; but to smear the institutions of romantic devotion and marital commitment to shill those products seems reprehensible -- it feels dirtier than usual, anyway.

Humor: Horoscope - The Onion 2056

The Onion 2056: "LeGuin (Jan. 3-Mar. 14)
Your attempt to build a peaceful, agrarian matriarchy in the former northern-Californian archipelago fails miserably when the thousands of cat-fights breaking out amongst the basket-weaving lodgers are traced back to overexposure to winsome folk music."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

News: The Media on the Iraq War

The inevitable partisans on Fox News banter about how the media is at fault for how the war in Iraq is going badly in the field and in public opinion. Any statement of fact or opinion that seems critical of the Bush administration is taken as an attack against patriotism and a failure to support our troops. (I disagree with the liberals who say "Supporting our troops means bringing them home" before accomplishing their mission.) This is like Bill Clinton saying the press, and not his own words and actions, tainted his reputation and drew his detractors.

When the media says the administration has not yet demonstrated sufficient resolve, resources and a winning exit strategy in Iraq ... they are advocating for a coalition win! What could be more patriotic than that? They are not negating the Bush strategy (whatever the real reason for why we invaded Iraq in the first place) but calling for more in the form of a sufficient and definitive strategy. At the same time, Bush and company have had years as the ones responsible for capping the influx of foreign combatants, protecting the infrastructure, capturing and containing the insurgency and so on. Has this been done sufficiently? Using Bush's own declaration of the cessation of hostilities, it is fair to say no.

It is also fair and patriotic to discuss the subject. It is a contradiction of patriotism to blindly take the administration's assurances at face value (and for the adminsitration to tell us to do so). This is a participatory democracy, not an oligarchy where we kowtow to our leaders' wishes.

George Bush and kingmaker Karl Rove do not get to make every decision themselves. Listen. Discuss. Decide together. This is the definition of democracy.

Email: Unrealistic expectations [VI]

You are right that idealizing one's partner and relationship leads to disillusionment and often anger. Of course, the solution, while at the same time being romantic, is to be realistic. I see three possible scenarios: Idealizing both partner and relationship yet becoming inevitably disillusioned; expecting normalcy in both partner and relationship yet being frustrated by core incompatibilities; or settling for less than what is healthy in both by failing to address the question.

Quotes: "To endure is ... greatness" (William Thackeray)

To endure is greater than to dare; to tire out hostile fortune; to be daunted by no difficulty; to keep heart when all have lost it; to go through intrigue spotless; to forego even ambition when the end is gained -- who can say this is not greatness? -- William Makepeace Thackeray

Quotes: "Go into the wilderness of your intuition" (Alan Alda)

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself. -- Alan Alda

Quotes: "Be not angry..." (Thomas a Kempis)

Be not angry that you cannot make another what you wish them to be; since you cannot make yourself what you wish to be. -- Thomas a Kempis

Quotes: "Be the living expression of God's kindness" (Mother Teresa)

Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. -- Mother Teresa

Quotes: conviction vs. sacrifice (Pat Benatar)

With the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice. -- Pat Benetar

Quotes: "Finish each day" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words: chunder (Aus.)

World Wide Words has a good exploration of the probable origins of the Australian word chunder (spew or vomit).

Neologisms: javarie, javerie


Puzzles: decaf coffee

Intellectually, I understand the premise behind decaffeinated coffee (and Diet Coke and so on); but decaf java seems blasphemous to me. I can't drink coffee "just for the taste" (which is inferior in decaf) or out of habit or addiction (hence needing to ameliorate its attendant caffeine-induced symptoms). Yes, I practice moderation when it comes to coffee, but I love how my heartbeat accelerates just by walking into a coffeehouse and smelling the fresh roast. If you are ever in St. Paul, Minnesota, by the way, visit the family javerie Jerabek's New Bohemian Coffeehouse and Bakery, up on the bluffs south of downtown. Tell them Steve sent you.

Puzzles: workplace air conditioning

While I was editor of ComputerUser magazine, we moved to nicer corporate digs. In the pre-move briefing, building management told us the air conditioning replaced entire building's air supply "every 30 minutes." After the move (and in most other buildings where I have worked), I found the air conditioning in the men's room to be not only less robust than the halls and suites, but noxious odors remained for hours. (Ladies, you don't want to know what men do in men's rooms.) When I asked if the AC could be stepped up in what would seem to be the most important place, management said it couldn't be altered. Why is that?

I am generally of the opinion that anything can be done, if we want it to be done. So the real answer is that management often is not willing to put forth the effort it promised to deliver in order to get you to begin making payments.

I say this because almost everyone I know has experienced being chilled to the bone by workplace air conditioning at various times of the year. While it is laudable to have a facility manager in the first place, one hopes not only for more efficient building design and management, or for building managers who can carry out their jobs with minimal competence, but for management that can actually deliver a comfortable, humane workplace day in and day out. Soldiers on the field are paid for accomplishing the objective, not for missing the target nearly as often as hitting it.


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Whimsy: She's a twerp all right...

Without the usual rush today, I let Molley poke around the front yard for 10 minutes before I was to leave for work... So when I opened the door and called her to come in, she looked guiltily at me... Turned around and crept slowly in the opposite direction... Sat down... Looked guiltily (if remorsefully) at me...

I finally called her sternly... Even stamped my foot hard... She eventually ambled up to the step, but stood there looking in the opposite direction... I finally had to scoot her up the step and indoors...

I am sure the concept of time just confuses the heck out of our pets: “But you said I could snoop around outdoors... What, now I have to go in...? But I thought I’d get to stay outside all day...!”

Monday, June 20, 2005

Whimsy: Tickle-Me-Yoda doll

Bad products we'd like to see but shouldn't:
Tickle-Me-Yoda for Kids ("So ticklish are you, hm? Oorh-hrh-hrh-hrh!")
Tickle-Me-Yoda for Adults ("Who your daddy is, erh? Tell me it you want, you will!")

Links: Bartleby's

Bartleby's has a good selection of searchable reference, poetry, fiction and nonfiction works, including one of my two favorite dictionaries, the American Heritage English Dictionary (AHED). (My other favorite is the OED, or Oxford English Dictionary.)

Gibberwocky: fallurid, follurid

Gibberwocky: hopadop

Gibberwocky: barnescence, barnescent

Gibberwocky: squavid

Gibberwocky: sphinky

Gibberwocky: campertenic

Gibberwocky: harrugulence, harrugulent

Gibberwocky: quervid

Gibberwocky: vasquid

Gibberwocky: trask, trasker

Gibberwocky: plask, plasker

Gibberwocky: plint

Gibberwocky: plont

Gibberwocky: perasset

Gibberwocky: porgue

Gibberwocky: plinket

Gibberwocky: plaff

Gibberwocky: dobble

Neologisms: parbrained


Neologisms: flaccoid

Alternately flaccid and non-flaccid.

Neologisms: quincy

Reminiscent of the quince fruit.
Main Entry: quince
Etymology: Middle English quynce quinces, plural of coyn, quyn quince, from Middle French coin, from Latin cotoneum, alteration cydonium, from Greek kydOnion
1 : the fruit of a central Asian tree (Cydonia oblonga) of the rose family that resembles a hard-fleshed yellow apple and is used especially in preserves
2 : a tree that bears quinces

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Quotes: "Simplify, simplify" (Henry David Thoreau)

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. -- Henry David Thoreau

Quotes: Saints are... (Robert Louis Stevenson)

The saints are the sinners who keep going. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Quotes: A Puritan is... (Unknown)

A Puritan is a person who fears that somebody, somewhere, might be having fun -- and must be stopped. (Unknown)

2006-09-13: "[Puritanism is] the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." -- H.L. Mencken

Quotes: a good life (Leo Tolstoy)

There never has been, and cannot be, a good life without self-control. -- Leo Tolstoy

Quotes: Perfect happiness (Henry F. Amiel)

Perfect happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness. -- Henry F. Amiel

Quotes: chasing happiness (Bertolt Brecht)

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is at their heels. -- Bertolt Brecht

Quotes: The purpose of life (Richard Leider)

The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. -- Richard Leider