Saturday, December 10, 2005

Weather: Lake Geneva, WI ice storm

It's times like these that Houston doesn't seem so bad.

Websites: Literary cartoons from Canada

Everyone's A Critic: Literary Crustism Through the Ages
Eve Corbel's Guide to Literary Accessories
A Guide to Literary Footwear
Who She Was [Mary Miegs]

Cartoons: "Never travel more than 500 miles..."

Cartoons: Ladies, down one partner

Eve Corbel's cartoon "Ladies, down one partner" explains dancing as a great metaphor for relationships, including the need to pay attention, persist through tension, and maintain passion.

Writing: Lesser-known editing and proofreading marks

(via Geist: Comix)

Websites: Free pint of Ben & Jerry's

Sign up to become a ChunkSpelunker and receive the newsletter and get a free pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Musings: eBay seller raises the bar

I'm sure that eventually cars sold on eBay will have gorgeous young women draped over the hood in the photos, but this seems like an amusing and affectionate way to start down the slope towards introducing models to e-commerce sites.

Press: Think twice before firing mom from your life

North County Times - Think twice before firing mom from your life: "'You know, mom,' I said. 'Just because I'm on my own doesn't mean you can't give your opinion about the things I tell you.'

'You're grown,' she said. 'You don't need me to tell you anything.'

'It's like this,' I said. 'My life is like a corporation. I'm CEO now, but you're not fired. I'm kicking you upstairs. You can be the President of the Board of Advisors. I expect to consult you on all important decisions. I'm the major stockholder, but I'll always at least listen to your opinion.'

She was thoughtful for a long moment, then said, 'When you get to Montreal, don't share a room with (so-and-so), and you stay with the group, you hear.'

I was tempted to laugh, wondering how she had held it in for so long.

'Yes ma'am,' I said. 'I'll be careful.'

My mom died 19 years ago. I'm making all my own decisions. Sometimes I desperately wish I could ask her to help me figure things out. One more bit of advice, one more time.

I should have paid closer attention. I should have given her a better salary and more benefits.

I hope they have golden parachutes in heaven.

Because she was my mother, that's why."

Press: The invisible woman

(I seem to have the same super power of invisibility.)

North County Times - The invisible woman: "A couple of times, it seemed I even channeled my hidden ability to my car, causing drivers to think they could pull into my lane without signals -- presumably because they didn't see me right before their eyes.

And then there was that time in a luxury department store when the sales associate waited on several people who came up to her after I did.

I said, 'Is there a particular reason that you are taking those people ahead of me?' and she said, 'Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you standing there.'

And another time when a clerk rushed over and offered to assist a woman who arrived well after me. I turned to the recent arrival and said, 'Excuse me, would you do me a favor, please? Would you look to your right and see if there's a tall, queen-sized black woman standing next to you?'"

Press: When the going gets scary, there are rules to be followed

North County Times - When the going gets scary, there are rules to be followed: "Well, laugh all you want to. But remember this:

There are three kinds of people in this world:

People who believe in werewolves.

People who don't believe in werewolves.

And werewolves."

Press: Erectile dysfunction ads elicit horror, humor

North County Times - Erectile dysfunction ads elicit horror, humor: "And let's not forget the ad that shows a man's jaunty progress to his office where he is questioned by several people along the way about whether he has had some sort of makeover. Apparently the little pill being advertised will make you appear prosperous, more handsome and better dressed to the extent that co-workers and friends will be amazed.

This flurry of attention to the subject makes me wonder how pervasive the problem really is.

And do other women find themselves gazing into the dating pool and wondering who are the sinkers and who are the floaters. So to speak.

Look, far be it for me to deny anyone the pleasures of life, but really, who comes up with this ad stuff?

There was a time when we were more discreet about our bodily functions, but it seems the privacy notion is circling the drain on its way out."

Press: The issue of undress must be addressed

(via Ballpoint Wren - Agnes Diggs [1949-2005]) North County Times - The issue of undress must be addressed: "So, there I was, being swept along in this herd of heifers who had dressed themselves to attract attention of any and all kinds. I have never seen so many Women wearing white dresses and no underwear in my life ---- and I have lived in Los Angeles. [...]

A colleague suggested that what I saw was a reflection of the current fascination with the fictional ladies on the HBO series 'Sex in the City.' Perhaps that's why so many of the Women in attendance traveled in groups of three or four. Cute, in the soap opera world of television; but once you pass 25, two is a friendship, four is a desperate cry for attention.

Hey, I think the women of this era are generally more beautiful than ever before. What with all the nipping and tucking and silicone and collagen, many of them look darned near perfect. However, these particular Women had squeezed their hopes and dreams into dresses that made them look like tubes of cake frosting. Apparently there was little room in there for class or old-fashioned good taste, intelligence, charm or grace."

Weblogs: Santa Baby

Ballpoint Wren - Santa Baby: "I only occasionally had to translate Christmas carols when they were little. They might have wanted to know what a figgy pudding was, or mistletoe, or frankincense, but for the most part they just accepted it all as it was: Christmas music, to be heard at Christmas time.

Of course, that was before they heard an Eartha Kitt Christmas carol."

Press: The chaos of that day isn't easily forgotten

(via Ballpoint Wren) San Diego Union-Tribune: The chaos of that day isn't easily forgotten: "Kawka remembers the Japanese planes zooming in so low he could see a pilot's face.

His ship was in dry dock for repairs and the guns on deck were out of commission. Instead, the sailors fought back with the only ammunition they had.

'We started throwing potatoes at them. We almost got them, too,' Kawka said."

Weblogs: - From Shane to old fart

Ballpoint Wren: "I do appreciate good customer service. It's good, old-fashioned customer service like this that will keep me coming back to Amazon again and ag—

Hey! Who is Raja calling 'old'?"

Friday, December 09, 2005

Email: As e-commerce churns [GDL]

Ah, e-commerce... Thy name is Schlub...

Proverbs: The sublime is in the details

Some say "the devil is in the details," but truly the sublime is in the particulars as opposed to the universals. Parental love is not deepest in the grand swoon of filial emotion, for example, but in savoring the sweet scent of an infant's breath as it is cradled sleeping in one's arms.

Politics: Sign the Kyoto Protocol already

Our pro-corporate, anti-environment president is dead set against signing the Kyoto Protocol, but the science is solid (except to the neocons' la-la-la-la mentality) and the carbon credits mechanism has been around since at least the late 1980s (when I edited an MBA unit that addressed it). Attaching a parallel economy to the environmental issues makes a great deal of sense, and the U.S. should brook no delay in signing on to fiscal, environmental and moral responsibility through the Kyoto Protocol. It's the right thing to do, George. Don't you always want to do the right thing?

Email: Feature vs. benefit [EKW]

I'd like to have a discussion with you about the semantics of features vs. benefits, because while I understand the words, I don't feel I've ever "clicked over" into becoming a native conversant in benefitese. For instance, we could discuss the semantic differences in the following what-it-is (or what-it-does) vs what-it-gives-you (or what-you-get) sentences:

+ Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (feature)
+ Saves your life even if you are trapped atop a tall building (benefit)
+ Able to save your life even if you are trapped atop a tall building (feature or benefit?)
+ Enables your life to be saved even if you are trapped atop a tall building (feature or benefit?)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Weblogs: Antisocial networking

(via stevenf) "As a general rule, I hate social networking sites. I feel awkward and egotistical writing autobiographies and then even more awkward when I inevitably end up with, like, 2 friends. Maybe the problem is it harkens me back to high school, but on an even huger scale. A worldwide popularity contest. I occasionally get an invitation email and bristle. I am shy in real life, and unlike a lot of folks, it extends to my online persona, sometimes more than I think is necessary.

But, in the spirit of growing and learning more about things and stuff, I'm going to try reversing my stance for a while. That's right, I'm fully embracing social networks. At least until it starts feeling awkward again."

(I've tried all the networking sites--since Six Degrees--and they work if you and your friends are (a) young and (b) motivated, or just organized. Since most people I know are no longer eligible for the Young Professionals local chapter (grr) and few are as organized, motivated and computer savvy, I end up with 2-8 friends on each such network.)

Ads: Follow the red cup

Starbucks has a great seasonal commercial.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Words: propinquity [MW]

Main Entry: pro·pin·qui·ty
Pronunciation: pr&-'pi[ng]-kw&-tE
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English propinquite, from Latin propinquitat-, propinquitas kinship, proximity, from propinquus near, akin, from prope near -- more at APPROACH
1 : nearness of blood : KINSHIP
2 : nearness in place or time : PROXIMITY

Words: corollary [MW]

(When a "tip" becomes an "inevitability"--where "it figures," "it follows"? Where death and taxes go, does customer service, as well as logic, follow?)

Main Entry: cor·ol·lary
Pronunciation: 'kor-&-"ler-E, 'kär-, British k&-'rä-l&-rE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -lar·ies
Etymology: Middle English corolarie, from Late Latin corollarium, from Latin, money paid for a garland, gratuity, from corolla
1 : a proposition inferred immediately from a proved proposition with little or no additional proof
2 a : something that naturally follows : RESULT b : something that incidentally or naturally accompanies or parallels
- corollary adjective

Words: cadge, cadger, codger [AHED]

INTRANSITIVE & TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: cadged, cadg·ing, cadg·es
To beg or get by begging.
ETYMOLOGY: Perhaps back-formation from obsolete cadger, peddler, from Middle English cadgear.

SYNONYMS: cadge, beg, bum, mooch, panhandle These verbs mean to ask for or obtain by charity: cadged a meal; begging for change; bum a ride; mooching food; homeless people forced to panhandle.
NOUN: Informal A somewhat eccentric man, especially an old one.
ETYMOLOGY: Perhaps alteration of obsolete cadger, peddler. See cadge.
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.


One who carries butter, eggs, and poultry to market; a packman or huckster. From cadge (to carry). Hence the frame on which hawks were carried was called "a cadge," and the man who carried it, a "cadger." A man of low degree.
"Every cadger thinks himself as good as an earl."—McDonald: Malcolm, part ix, chap. xlv. p. 183.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Running around like a chicken with your head cut off (RALACWYHCO).

Typos: intergrated

(In 12-point white-on-pink sans serif type, on top of a T-Mobile Motorola V330 cell phone package.)

Websites: Museum of Southern History

Sugar Land has a new building for its Museum of Southern History, even though its website is full of typos. Try the virtual tour of this museum, which I have never heard of before so will have to visit.

Websites: Grammar Slammer

This is a site to clarify correct grammar (for example, its vs. it's), clearly and simply.

Websites: Glossary of linguistic terms

I think I just died and went to heaven! Summer Institute in Linguistics has an online glossary of terminology. Boo-yah!

Slang: Plush!

When someone asks you "How's it going?" or "How's it hanging?" then your answer can be "Plush!" (as in "Smooth!" -- or better yet, the hip-hop "Smoothe!").

Proverbs: There's always hope... though sometimes not with technology...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Politics: Project Steve

Project Steve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to 'intelligent design,' to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools."

As of November 10, 2005, 662 scientists named Steve (Stephen, Stephanie, Stefan, etc.) have signed the Project Steve statement.