Saturday, July 02, 2005

Email: Branding and dating [Lu]

Branding really is the be-all and end-all of marketing, esp. on the Internet. The trouble is it's being turned into a buzzword by people who are trying to sell it without understanding it. Any company, product or service name or logo can benefit from sound design and brand establishment; however, some ventures are just never going to be big enough to warrant the investment. The top five players (occupying the top 50-75% of a market) benefit most from brand identity; the bottom 50 players (occupying the bottom 25-50%) less so. Branding is about rising above the chaff and din; but most importantly, it's about business owners who understand (or are willing to learn) that name and reputation are everything, so they are also willing to pay for their gains in mind share and market share.

The Internet turns everyone onto a level playing field, so execution really has to be world-class to rise to the upper 1-10% (sharing 90% of market revenues); the bottom 90-99% (sharing 10% of revenues) prove to be hobbyists at best and dreck-ists (dreckies?) at worst. Weblogs make it even more Darwinian: The flog-the-blog crowd is electronic publishing on steroids.

Don't worry about others' (or esp. my) opinion of you regarding getting into better shape. Anyway, either do it for your own health or don't; if it's a gambit to win romance [but] won't be an ongoing lifestyle, is that honest? Either way, I look to people for what's inside not outside. In a way, I wouldn't want someone to date me in my best shape because if she is shallow, she would be disappointed when that goes away over the coming decades. In similar fashion, if I were a millionaire, I certainly wouldn't mention that fact, for fear of being pursued for my possessions rather than for my character.

I take the long view anyway: I'm not looking to rush into anything, and anyone who is, is not the one for me.

One more thing: I suggest you will be best prepared to meet your future mate when it's no longer an overriding desire, but a free and well-considered decision because you really could go either way.

Email: Friends and phones [JB]

A healthy mind is a curious mind? I love having a friend you enjoy conversation with so much that you never want to quit.

With my sense of humor, friends often tell me, "Oh, you're so bad!" and I just say, "Oh, but being bad can be so good!" ;-}

You should see the storms here! They are a good excuse to huddle under covers (or so I'm told).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Email: Faith and ministry [Su]

I am open to experiencing different denominational settings. I try to learn and experience as much as possible, since I don' believe any one denomination is it. (Jesus wasn't a Catholic or even a Lutheran, heh heh.)

I used to believe you couldn't have too much religion or Christian ministry in your life; now I realize there are limits and unless we are the Pope or Mother Teresa, our faith needs to be in balance or equilibrium with the rest of our life. Church should never cause us to shirk our own parental responsibilities and privileges. Family always comes first.

I may be different from many in that I [now] see a difference between (personal) faith life and (communal) church life; I believe the one informs and feeds the other. Just as you do not come to a potluck meal without bringing something from your home, I believe you find your strength in the Lord primarily through your personal relationship with him and come to church to share your life in the Lord with others; on the contrary, many Christians today attend church to receive an emotional (which some think spiritual) "battery charge" from attending weekly (or daily) worship services. I think these believers confuse "the herd mentality" with "the great cloud of witnesses." Our faith is only as strong as it has been tested, and generally our desert of trials comes in the form of solitary prayer and supplication before the Lord.

I can empathize with your feelings about wanting to understand and resolve a turning point in your life. I realize we need to seek a partner out of strength, not weakness; out of equanimity ("I could go either way") than need.

Houston is all right. It has a good arts and museum scene and a lot of wealth. It's near the ocean and has a tropical climate (palm trees too). No snow! ;-) The air isn't clean and the roads aren't well managed but I can wear a short-sleeve shirt and sandals outdoors almost every day of the year.

Humor: Does sushi warm your cockles?

The thought of eating sushi either warms your cockles or chills you to the bone. I like to mess with work teams by piping up: "Hey, gang! Let's go out for sushi!!" Half the room will grin and moan "Yu-u-um!" while the other half of the room will simultaneously shudder and bellow, "U-u-ugh!"

Email: Dating advice for women [VI]

I think these self-defeating behaviors in women (devotion to men who don't respect them) are learned from prior emotional frustrations or trauma. Have you ever seen a person who subconsciously sabotages their own chances for success at their job or career? Same thing but in love, methinks. And the weird thing about passive "victims" or "losers" is that "users" or "takers" (predators) can pick up on their signals.

Email: Women and self-esteem [VI]

Actually one of the principles of psychological development and personal boundaries teaching in particular is that the lower your self esteem, the more you focus on pleasing others to the neglect of your own needs. The solution is to be good to yourself ... not "pampering" but allowing yourself the simple needs and pleasures that anyone has good reason to expect.

Books: When A Man Loves A Walnut

Gavin Edwards has written a series of books quoting people's misheard lyrics. In When A Man Loves A Walnut, I just noticed this gem:

"Put it in your pants, you're with your cupcake"

Internet: What...?

The entire text of a PrimeSingles personal in Pasadena CA:

I search long relations about hereby male!
Further the marriage is possible.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


(Seen in Montrose)

Bumpers: Talk nerdy to me

(Seen today at Memorial City Mall.)

Note to non-nerds: Big Blue is IBM, not a Viagra sidekick.

Musings: Cold pizza diet

GM just presented me with evidence that eating cold pizza is a better diet than hot pizza: you have to burn more calories to heat it up and digest it. Scary but possibly true...

Humor: Chip and Dip

In my work posse, BP and MG have taken to calling CR and NN "Chip and Dip." (No one agrees who is which.) I'm pretty sure CM is Dip though.

Email: Healing [SD]

I'm pretty aware of my body. It's not about willpower or control, it's about awareness and cooperation. At our age, at least.

Faith: Do you believe in Satan?

There's nothing wrong with believing in the personification of evil that we call Satan (Hebrew for adversary, accuser or prosecuting attorney) and his legions of devils. It's scriptural, it's traditional and it sometimes can be inferred through experiences such as spiritual oppression or possession and the chief Christ-centered methods to combat them: intercession, spiritual warfare and exorcism. Most of us, believers or no, are never going to experience anything quite as vivid as a Frank Peretti novel come to life, however.

One problem, I think, is that so many Christians believe in Satan on hearsay or someone else's say-so. Many of those who think of themselves as true believers have little or no experience actually battling evil, because their lives are not truly courageous enough to be a threat to the enemy that would seek to counter their virtuous examples. (Please don't give Satan the credit for your car's breakdown as his personal attack on your virtue of patience.)

Another problem is believers who see Satan under every rock. This is not vigilance for battle, it's trepidation and fear. It's Chicken Little. It's overreaction, it's slapping your skin at every breeze because mosquitoes and flies drive you buggy. Spiritual courage comes from God, yes, but not in a vacuum; it requires two more things: Personal experience and spiritual discernment, or "seeing what is really going on."

A believer is not strong spiritually until he can face what he used to regard as temptation -- a realistic threat to his personal choice for holiness -- unflinching. Not by his own strength but by God's, grown knitted and suffused into his bones.

Humor: consumerism as IQ test

Every now and then, I run across a statement in an article or opinion piece, coined by some pundit or trend wonk or comedian, that zings a consumer trend like you know we all would if we'd thought of it first.

Remember Zubaz, that flash-in-the-pants fad that amounted to black zebra stripes on white athletic pants? A comedian said, "Wearing Zubaz is like carrying a big neon sign on your head that says 'I'm stupid'!"

I once ran across a pundit who posited, "We have an intelligence test: Put water in a bottle and see if anyone buys it."

Humor: "Can you hear me now?"

When I had Sprint cell phone service, I used to say "Can you hear me now? No? That's because I have Sprint!" (The line is a Verizon advertising schtick.)

Words: snit

I will pull together the etymology from AHED sometime, but while reading Richard Adams's delightful The Plague Dogs about 20 years ago, I researched the character's name Snitter and concluded that the words snow, snot and snit are all related, implying the concept of drizzle or spray (which is often the case when someone throws a snit). Coincidentally, they may be related to snicker and sneeze, which itself is related to the Greek word pneuma or "spirit" (but don't quote me on that).

Words: skew [MW]

(Skew is related to shy and shun.)

Main Entry: skew
Pronunciation: skyu
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, to escape, skew, from Old North French escuer to shun, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German sciuhen to frighten off -- more at SHY
intransitive senses
1 : to take an oblique course
2 : to look askance
transitive senses
1 : to make, set, or cut on the skew
2 : to distort especially from a true value or symmetrical form (skewed statistical data"

Music: Banana Slug String Band

Michael Johas Teener, a FireWire expert, has friends with a children's band called Banana Slug String Band that has a mess of albums, soon to be available in iTunes.

Words: fungible [MW]

(Another way to say "That's do-able.")

Main Entry: fungible
Function: adjective
Etymology: New Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungi to perform -- more at FUNCTION
1 : being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation (oil, wheat, and lumber are fungible commodities)

Email: Beauty inside and out [MA]

I don't put a great value on external qualities of a person vs. their internal qualities, which are very important to me. However I do appreciate beauty in life. I love fine arts museums -- and [my friends are] not only much better put together than a Picasso, but [they're] talking to me!

I am high and above interested in communication, humor, opinion, values, character, integrity, spirituality and faith. Why do you think I'm still single? ;-} Who do you think has all those qualities in spades, and doesn't throw in a good snit now and then for good measure?

That said, I don't think it has to be an either/or contest. Not all morally worthwhile people are butt-ugly. ;-P It is possible to be smart and nice-looking. Whew, huh?!

Email: Giving 100% [Ka]

I think people's uniqueness comes out when they are doing their best work -- at a time or season in their lives when they are maximally motivated, strong, skilled and experienced. The rest of the time we try to match (or exceed) our own highwater marks. I often say: It's a tough day when having a cup of coffee is your best idea of the day!

I used to feel (and still do in many ways) that time is our challenger, the sole competitor besides ourselves that we with our skills and dreams are racing against. As we get older though, I think we make more accommodations to the notion that (as you say) "time is on our side" or "there will always be time" -- and I don't think it's the gravity that's talking here.

I was discussing with CR last night about why we felt more productive (in the broad picture) when we were younger yet less so when we are older. I'm still not sure but I suspect we had greater focus and fewer responsibilities in our college and salad days, yet 10 to 100 times more responsibilities (and serious ones) as we mature.

The question is, at what point do we realize our need to simplify and streamline our involvements in order to remain effective -- and at what point do we begin the long slow downsizing of concerns that leads to twilight? For many people, retirement marks that dividing line; but I believe the mind can stay active for its own reasons, and doesn't need external ones (like a job or a spouse) to maintain or surrender its focus.

It's not love or kids or a job that keeps us young, so much as we choose to remain young at heart and in mind in the first place; that is what we then bring to the table of our responsibilities and commitments. We just need to remember that the table can only hold so much, and that a balanced diet is healthier than being a glutton for our own punishment.

Proverbs: It¹s a tough day when having a cup of coffee is your best idea of the day

Email: Giving 100% [Ka]

Yes I am vewwy intewwigent... Though you'd be amazed how little tolerance people actually have for that. ;-} Personally, I think it takes one to know one. Sense of humor always trumps in spades though, I tell ya. I'll take smarts for starts, but humor rocks!

Email: What denomination am I? [LT]

My favorite Baptist church in Houston is Tallowood: They truly are concerned for people not just numbers, and they are progressive enough to remain relevant (within reason) and not just adopt contemporary window-dressing. (I attended Second Baptist for a year, so I know of what I speak.)

I grew up Catholic, became "born again" at 17, [served in Catholic music ministry for 23 years until my divorce,] attended Lutheran church [for three years, then Baptist for one year], but now I've settled among Episcopals as the most traditional yet progressive denomination in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Proverbs: Too much twingin' an' twangin'

Proverbs: Another day, another 68.4 cents, seasonally adjusted for inflation

Dating: Mingle online dating sites

I highly recommend the well-designed Mingle online dating sites: Prime Singles (for those over 40), Single Parents Mingle, Catholic Mingle, Christian Mingle, Jewish Mingle and other flavors. The convenient dashboard interface lets you send free prewritten smiles or attractive e-cards and (during a trial period or after you pay) send email or instant message with anyone you like. They have Favorites and Friends lists, and you can Hide anyone from future match lists or Block anyone from communication. Multiple-choice questions are intelligently designed and essays allow no limits. (I saw one person's profile run on for several pages.) On the home page and each profile, a status bar shows which activities have been shared with others. (You can see who has put you on their Favorites list.)

The design is excellent and the operation smooth, but what gives these sites their "value added" is a color-coded temperament test of 45 questions that explains your core motivations, personality type and compatibility cues. How does a White (serenity and organization) interact with a Blue (emotional and verbal intimacy) or a Red (power and strategy) or a Yellow (fun and adventure)? (Customized analyses are available.) All these elements put the Mingle sites up in the same league as, Eharmony and anemic Yahoo Personals.

Musings: How do you have a discussion...?

How do you have a discussion with someone who has already made up their mind? How do you have a dialog with someone who has already decided you're going to hell? How do you speak of the human as well as the divine with someone who has decided that they speak for God? How do you speak of matters that are more complex than someone is willing to accept or able to understand, much less believe?

How does the scientist speak with the creationist? How does the theologian speak with the fundamentalist? How does the historical or literary criticism professor speak with the evangelical? How does the movie producer speak with the family values demagogue? How does the Democrat speak with the Republican?

Civil discourse means discussing ideas and not taking things personally or combatively. It means listening. It means loving your neighbor -- yes, even if you disagree with him or (admit it) don't like him. The world is not about all becoming cookie-cutter Christians; it is about quietly planting and nurturing God's truth -- which is far higher and deeper than any of us (esp. evangelical Christians) can imagine -- in every nook and cranny of the great garden of life.

Musings: scripture vs. tradition

Catholics believe that scripture plus thousands of years of history in its interpretation, called tradition, jointly convey God's revelation to the world. Most Protestants believe in Martin Luther's rubric of sola scriptura ("scripture only"). Yet if you accept that view, it contradicts itself, because nowhere in scripture does it say to accept only scripture... Even so, once a Protestant says "scripture only," it shuts out the Catholic's view, who is forced to backpedal by saying, "Now wait a minute..." (By the way, Anglicans and Episcopalians believe in scripture, tradition and reason.)

Musings: Nudity in movies

Nudity in movies is a big bugaboo with the family values crowd. (I speak of those who believe in family values as I do, but then got politically organized in order to demonize others and impose their values on everyone else. I should know; I used to run with this crowd in my college days.) They are absolutely right that impressionable children should not be exposed to morally objectionable material until they are mature enough to discuss the moral implications with their parents and church leaders. So parents: Don't let your kids see such movies or shows! Just stop trying to expunge them from the face of the earth for the rest of us who do (oh yes, we do) have a moral compass and can process these things without turning into slavering pedophiles.

No one wants peep shows on every street corner; the community defines its moral standards; amen and amen! But for the moral grownups among us, nudity in movies rarely lasts for more than a flash or a handful of seconds; in fact, actors and actresses do not like to expose themselves, and will negotiate to avoid it in almost every instance. (OK, Demi Moore had a few issues, but face it, she wasn't going to be 25 forever.) Nudity, violence and adult language are generally included in a film because it is integral to the story. (I do not approve of gratuitous nudity, violence and language. Because the film elevates the human spirit, I love The Killing Fields; for the opposite reason, I hate Born on the Fourth of July.)

You are free to choose to see any movie you approve, and to shun any you disapprove; do your homework before you go. Enough said. Our communities are doing a fine job of keeping the nudity down to a low roar. Finally, let's avoid igniting any witch hunts; in our postmodern world, this only brings publicity to the venues that small-town America wouldn't touch with a ten-foot anaconda anyway. Chastity, like charity, begins at home.

Email: Using God [MG]

Critics are not necessarily bad for an organization or interest, whether it's a corporation or an administration or a religion. Saying things intended to correct injustice is never wrong -- but only if those things are (a) true and (b) constructive. (For example, Bush's critics encourage having an "exit plan" for Iraq, which is not the same as an "exit timetable.") The only trouble is when those under fair and legal scrutiny refuse to allow discussion, to consider constructive criticism or even to recognize the truth because of ideology or emotion.

I am seriously concerned about the intellectual faculties and good sense of well-meaning "true believers" who lobby for clemency towards convicted murderers and robber barons when they claim to have "met the Lord" -- but the Christian God, not the Jewish or Muslim God! I could go on. God's truth is not circumstantial, nor does it apply differently from believers to non-believers. And as always throughout history, it is manipulative and wrong to try to use faith in God (real or feigned) as a "get out free" card.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Gibberwocky: merduille [French]

Puzzles: the marriage mixup

Does it help to keep in mind there will always be a lunatic fringe to
society, and just let your blood pressure simmer instead of boil?

+ "I am a man and I want to marry a man."
+ "I am a woman and I want to marry my dog."
+ "I am a dweeb and I want to marry my computer."

By the way, you have not "seen it all" until you have read Factsheet Five, a compendium of all the weird proclivities and publications that serve those proclivities. Factsheet Five will convince you of one of two things, depending on your temperament or prejudice:

+ The world is going to hell in a handbasket.
+ Things are not so bad, since something more pathetic or laughable is always around the corner (but still mercifully much in the minority and out of plain view).

Try to keep things in perspective. It is only extremists who lose their sense of perspective, objectivity -- and humor.

Music: Collective Soul - Run

Is there a cure among us
From this processed sanity
I weaken with each voice that sings
Now, in this world of purchase
I�m going to buy back memories
To awaken some old qualities

Have I got a long way to run
Have I got a long way to run
Yeah, I run
Yeah, I run

Words: slog [MW]

Main Entry: slog
Pronunciation: 'sl�g
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): slogged; slog-ging
Etymology: origin unknown
transitive senses
1 : to hit hard : BEAT
2 : to plod (one's way) perseveringly especially against difficulty
intransitive senses
1 : to plod heavily : TRAMP <slogged through the snow>
2 : to work hard and steadily

but see also: slough

Main Entry: slough
Pronunciation: 'slo, 'slau; in the US (exc New England) 'slo is usual for sense 1 with those to whom the sense is familiar; British usually 'slau for both senses
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English slogh, from Old English slOh; akin to Middle High German slouche ditch
1 a : a place of deep mud or mire
2 : a state of moral degradation or spiritual dejection

Gibberwocky: guillefoille [French]

Musings: "Don't work too hard!"

Possible responses to someone who says this to you:

"Too late!"
"So that's what we've been doing wrong!"
"(She's leaving at 9:15 pm! OK, bad example.)"
"Now she tells us!"

Email: Assurances [SD]

Basically, I am and have been doing exactly what you say. I suppose that is part of my problem: If you keep saying it, the implication is the opposite. Maybe as we apply the boundaries teachings more, we will learn how to say things like "I hear what you are saying, and I understand you have a concern for my health. However, I assure you that I am doing those very things and am taking good care of myself, no matter what your fears may be."

Whimsy: Does worker's comp apply if our butts fall off?

Email: Texas vs. Minnesota [Su]

Texas is the opposite of Minnesota as far as the environment and road construction: rapacious and messy. Jobs always come before stewardship. As they say in Minnesota: Ish!

Proverbs: Intelligence is adaptive

In the end, intelligence isn't about one way or the other being right (for example, always being frank and ethical vs. anticipating duplicity as a fact of life and negotating one's way through the rapids); it is about recognizing the smartest and shortest course of action and achievement, and following that path, no matter how varied, with agility and grace to its end.

Media: Futurama - When Aliens Attack

Leela: "Why not? It's clever, it's unexpected..."
Fry: "But that's not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared."

Email: A mix of things [JB]

I think any age I am is a good age.

I love [my work], or I wouldn't be doing it. It pays better than [teaching] and it uses my gifts. I just wish the economy were more settled. I used to appreciate uncertainty and the need for flexibility, but now stability and permanence are sounding better.

My passions in life are languages, communications (mass and interpersonal) and publishing (print and electronic), relationships, faith and spirituality, children, and music.

Yes, I am seeking [marriage]. I don't see myself at 80 having a "live-in girlfriend" and just because I had a bad meal doesn't mean I fear dining out (to stretch a bad metaphor).

Exercise is good! Though after tending my 25x25-foot garden in West St. Paul, I'm not sure that garden work is exercise, just work; it's not as aerobic as cycling or swimming anyway.

I would think there are more women than men on a religious [online personals] site (esp. one where probably all women believe in "waiting till marriage").

Email: Asking questions [KO]

Actually you may not have noticed it, but many men take a process-and-procedure approach to finding a woman. They will ask a litmus list of 30 questions and the first Raggedy Ann doll to meet their requirements (needs), becomes their choice. This is far different from treating you as a unique person and holding a conversation, even a dialog with you as an equal.

Email: Self esteem in relationships [VI]

It's true that we are all basically worried about acceptance and rejection. Women tend to have low self esteem while men tend to overcompensate by falsely inflating their self esteem. The key, I think, is whether you are ignoring or imagining the good things about you. A healthy self image is based on a realistic self assessment vis-à-vis a realistic understanding of others' regard as well.

Neologisms: blessing in surprise

As opposed to a blessing in disguise.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Words: putz [AHED]

NOUN: 1. Slang A fool; an idiot. 2. Vulgar Slang A penis.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: putzed, putz-ing, putz-es
Slang To behave in an idle manner; putter.
ETYMOLOGY Yiddish pots, penis, fool.

but see also: putter
VERB: Inflected forms: put-tered, put-ter-ing, put-ters
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To occupy oneself in an aimless or ineffective manner.
TRANSITIVE VERB: To waste (time) in idling: puttered away the hours in the garden.
ETYMOLOGY: Probably alteration of potter, probably frequentative of Middle English poten, to poke, push, from Old English potian.

Humor: High-tech suicide

How does a putzy high-tech worker commit suicide (or at least live dangerously)?

1. Seize an antidust air-spray bottle in both hands, place thin red spray tube in mouth, press button.
2. Install RAM without antistatic bracelet.
3. Lick battery terminals without regard to type (NiMH, NiCad, alkaline) or voltage -- the techie's Russian roulette.
4. Peer closely in front of a pre-Energy Star era computer display. (This one takes a long time.)
5. Attempt to get tie stuck in DVD or disk drive. (Requires owning a tie.)

How does an effective high-tech professional commit suicide (or at least live dangerously)?

1. Hack FBI database and paste own picture into "Most Wanted Criminals" list. Walk into bank and shout "You'll never take me alive, coppers!"
2. Hack mafia bank accounts and transfer all funds into personal bank account via PayPal using PIN of 1234 and leaving an unencrypted email trail.
3. Send mafia chief an email that says "Bite me."
4. Hack Al Qaeda website and leave a message involving a finger and the words "Bite me."
5. Chew through a power cable.

Proverbs: It's not a date till the teenager calls on the cell phone

Email: Love [Sz]

So you want someone to love? I want someone who can understand me (to me, that is love).

Proverbs: Even if you're smart, you can grow less stupid every day

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Proverbs: Reading is self-serve knowledge

Musings: The St. Peter Principle

How long, O Lord, willst thou stand by as the less qualified manage the more qualified? As the slothful allow the skilled to do all the work for less pay? (with apologies to Malachi)

Humor: Dogs have catdar