Saturday, February 25, 2006

Arts: Sculpture in Austin

Sculpture by Arye Shapiro

Some fascinating sculptors were exhibiting in Austin last year:

Theresa Bayer (
Léonard A. du Castel (
Suzanne McBride (
Cat Quintanilla (
Marla Ripperda (
Arye Shapiro (
Laura Sturtz (
Vincent Villafranca (

One thing I've noticed by bringing Molley to various outdoor arts exhibits is that a great many people who frequent art shows seem to also be dachshund owners and lovers.

Email: A capital idea [AS]

I have to be more strict in writing emails at work (lest [others mis]take my failure to use strict style) but I actually favor the leveling of contractions, hyphenation and capitalization into all-lower-case prose -- and the prevalence of runon sentences -- in email. It feels more natural, you can type it one-handed and besides, email is meant to be fast and informal. I like e e cummings too.

Email: Civility in the City of God [AS]

[From your college and early career account, y]ou were a bit more of an overachiever than I was. Just a bit. But I was heavily involved in church (more so than most who are busy, that is to say).

Sag-ass-ity is what happens when we get old.

Yes, some people are clueless, both as to their implications and the human considerations (they are being stupid and rude).

I'm a big believer in free will too. Yeehah! So are many Catholics, actually -- but not generally the ones who believe in blame and punishment more than love and redemption.

I too prefer a challenging opinion to a lack of one (esp. if due to willful ignorance).

Websites: Church Ad Project

(I remember these groundbreakingly creative and authentic ads in the mid-1970s as I commuted to high school in St. Paul, Minnesota, developed by the Church Ad Project and still available 30 years later to any faith-based congregation via the Web.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Weblogs: Monster truck church ad

Church Marketing Sucks: Monster Truck Church Ad:

"'This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! It's a sacramental showdown at St. Andrew's Episcopal...'

So begins a 60-second ad that's making the rounds among Episcopalians. It advertises St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Ala. But it's not an official radio spot for the church."

(It's an over-the-top audio extravaganza, the kind of ad parody I wrote in college and still appreciate. It's a good proof-of-concept and discussion fodder, and you can listen to it via the CMS crosslink.)

Typos: snappu (snapper)

Piatto Di Santi Italian Grill listing on (should that be Dining-Duh?)

Lyrics: What A Wonderful World

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Words: disambiguation [MW]

Pronunciation: "di-sam-'bi-gy&-"wAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -at-ed; -at-ing
: to establish a single semantic or grammatical interpretation for

(You see this word on Wikipedia and similar sites, where multiple meanings for a word or name exist, so one page disambiguates or clarifies the subject by offering jumps or links leading to the proper subject pages.)

Proverbs: ...if you just need to be certain

It's not being a control freak if you just need to be certain. [This one is ironic, OK?]

Overheard: As if we had people

A: "I'll have my people call your people."
B: "As if we had people."

Proverbs: It's only sexist if someone disagrees.

Band Names: Gash

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Quotes: "To love at all is to be vulnerable" (C.S. Lewis)

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." -- C.S. Lewis

Press: Solving the mystery of mother-daughter speak

NPR - Solving the Mystery of Mother-Daughter Speak: "In her 1990 best-selling book, You Just Don't Understand, linguist Deborah Tannen argued that men and women speak different languages. In her new book, ['You're Wearing That?',] Tannen takes on the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Names: Dolomites and Gezonhites

(Two fictitious tribal names from the Old Testament.)

Email: Too Republican eh? [AS]

What does your republicanism have to do with his being professional and shutting the hell up? Does he think he can judge you ("you're too...") just because his boss is your client?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trivia: A tale of two Steves

Some dating site said this Steve and I were alike. Ri-i-ight... (That's me in the second photo.)

Press: Which cut is older? (It's a trick question) - NYT

Which Cut Is Older? (It's a Trick Question) - New York Times: "If some of the meat in supermarkets is looking rosier than it used to, the reason is that a growing number of markets are selling it in airtight packages treated with a touch of carbon monoxide to help the product stay red for weeks."

(Safeway, SuperTarget, Wal-Mart and others are selling factory-packed meat that stays fresh-looking -- even if it's gone bad -- for up to 34 days.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Words: jellico

Feline Colors and Patterns: "jellico is another name for a tuxedo cat, from T.S. Elliott’s poetry"

Words: grimalkin, malkin [MW]

Main Entry: gri·mal·kin
Pronunciation: gri-'mo(l)-k&n, -'mal-
Function: noun
Etymology: gray + malkin
: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat

Main Entry: mal·kin
Pronunciation: 'mo(l)-k&n, 'mal-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English malkyn servant woman, from Malkyn, diminutive of the name Maud
1 dialect chiefly British : an untidy woman : SLATTERN
2 dialect chiefly British a : CAT b : HARE

Trivia: If you were a liqueur

Which one would you be?

Email: Vice versa [AS]

Since I'm an editor, I'm usually quick to notice things. Or vice versa.

Email: Charlie Brown, überchild [AS]

I know the Charlie Brown reference is just a phrase, but it may be more autobiographical than you know (when I think about it). Besides, I grew up a stone's throw from the storefront where Charles Schultz's dad had his barber shop.

I don't mind that you say amusing. I'm big on the words whimsical, mischievous, and impish.

Words: bandy [MW]

Pronunciation: 'ban-dE
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): ban·died; ban·dy·ing
Etymology: probably from Middle French bander to be tight, to bandy, from bande strip -- more at BAND
transitive senses
1 : to bat (as a tennis ball) to and fro
2 a : to toss from side to side or pass about from one to another often in a careless or inappropriate manner b : EXCHANGE; especially : to exchange (words) argumentatively c : to discuss lightly or banteringly d : to use in a glib or offhand manner -- often used with about bandy these statistics about with considerable bravado -- Richard Pollak

Email: Success in life [AS]

Earning more money and working with reputable people for a stable company are always good things. Never take any alternatives to those.

I wouldn't complain about people not introducing themselves to me [at a networking venue], I'd introduce myself to them. I wouldn't complain about no one socializing at length with me, the purpose is to hit as many people as possible and to follow up later (next day is best or they forget you). People go to find business, not friends (unfortunately). It is about being approachable, affable, and a "pleasure to do business with." If one is too intense or humorless, they won't want to stay in touch. Yes, I think that if one expects (and complains about) negatives, then that is often all one finds. I always look for positives, and that is largely what I find. I would like to "read" people and offer advice on how to be more open in their communications; but for some, it's much more complicated than that (involving emotional trauma, depression, or some other clinical aspect that goes deeper than social or communication style). Social success through communication requires the opposite of conformance or passivity; it generally prefers originality and initiative (and cooperation and empathy). I suppose I would simply prequalify those I could work with, and accept that not everyone can be or wants to be helped.

I call it dating too. (What else? [As opposed to a couple] seeing each other--whatever that means, it probably implies the word naked.) In my proposed books on dating and relationships, I'd like to actually define all the terms people bandy about. For instance, what constitutes being in a relationship? Think about it; I'll bet everyone has a different definition. Seriously.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Email: Not a perfectionist [SL]

Oh, I know what to say, it's just finding the time to say it. (I can type nonstop all day, but only one thing at a time.)

I'm not a perfectionist, it's just that my level of quality and attention to detail is higher than most. I work fast and then throw work out the door, trusting to my abilities; and I generally work faster than most people do to accomplish the same things.

Email: Sagacity, he said [AS]

Does she add energy to your friendship? Do you add sagacity? ([A] big overblown word that means wisdom, maturity, sage advice--and can include hardassitude, if you'd like. Sag-ac-ity.)

I'm an education snob too then. Ignorance is not bliss.

You'd be amazed at the hundreds of people I've met via professional correspondence, email, and personal introductions. No one can keep up with everyone they meet, but we do so with the most interesting and serendipitous of persons, don't we?

Email: Good Samaritan ethic [AS]

Actually when I see all these people who make poor decisions for their lives, I think that being (as you put it) a hardass is the only way to go. Some call it tough love. Emotional involvements should not enable drama, codependence, and abuse. That's like staking yourself out in the desert with barbecue sauce slathered all over your skin (for the buzzards). On the other hand, I'm torn, because people who have been emotionally manipulated and excavitated (had the heart or core ripped out) don't see the abuse that is obvious to an emotionally balanced person (or someone who has gone through the abuse and come out armed for bear on the other side). I think the Good Samaritan ethic requires us to tell and exhort these people to get out of such relationships; but it may require someone who understands how to reach them, and even so, they may choose to remain in the comfort of their pain rather than to face the challenge of discovery and renewed growth. Their choice; but it can be presented to them.

Neologisms: excavitate

To core, gut; strip or remove the center, core, heart, gut, or viscera (literally or figuratively).

Email: Men and feelings [SL]

I think women know what their feelings are but men don't entirely know themselves. Men can talk based on facts and logic in nearly every circumstance, but we lack the lexicon for emotions in many instances. It's territory to reconnoiter and learn. So when a woman says "I wish men would talk about their feelings" they may as well say "I wish men would say whether they prefer fuchsia over gardenia." It's not likely to happen; we don't even know what those things are. (I care about such things, and I still don't know! BTW are they both plants, or colors, or one of each?)

I would like to write a humorous (but scary) book called The Awful Truth About Dating, Vol. I: Explaining Women to Men and Vol. II: Explaining Men to Women. Then another two-volume called The Awful Truth About Relationships. Trust me, there are things men think, say, and do that women do not want to know. Men are generally strategic--they will say or do whatever it takes to get what they want--while women are generally authentic--they say and do what they really think and feel. I have been saying such things for years, but I think these books would be the way to reach a broader audience.

Email: Getting the job done [AS]

I think about your question a lot: "How can some people just totally fail to have the computer skills to create useful documents?" I think it's usually due to a willful corner-cutting (personal and professional) in skills, budget, and resources. It's short-sightedness gone logistically awry. It makes for nightmares and angst among those of us who know how to do things right (i.e., what the heck we're doing).

Is it being a "hardass" if you are the one who ensures the accomplishment of the common goal? The warm fuzzies crowd (like any committee) loses sight of the big picture (which is ultimately the responsibility of those who perceive it). For all the corporate documents I've produced in my career, the contributions I've chiefly made are high quality and timeliness--esp. when I have had to announce or impose such factors on less attentive corporate minions. (Those are the sometimes thankless times when I'm most needed, but my favorite clients are those who have a like understanding of professionalism and quality.)

Divorcing people do need some help and support, but not the kind that enables them to fold in upon themselves and begin to surrender the initiative for their own responsibilities. They need to keep stepping up to the plate, not surrender in the arms of a surrogate caregiver. Her hints are fishing expeditions but you are wise to observe your boundaries.

Email: Building a nonprofit [AS]

Life is like that. Some stuff we do according to plan, some on autopilot, some by moment-by-moment interaction with others, some by sheer improvisation. The rest we do shooting from the hip or over the shoulder as we run from here to there. I like it when I get at least some time to size up a situation and come up with a plan, in order to be able to "do it right." Some things simply require thinking and acting on our feet though. I'm big on time slicing, multitasking, and improvisation myself (but mainly with things I already know I'm good at).

Life is an alternating mix between searching for and then finding clarity, isn't it? You probably project more confidence than you know, because you're willing to take on more than others. I think it's the same with me, however, I probably also project the opposite in ways I'm unaware of. I think most people have a better idea of their strengths than their weaknesses (esp. as the separation between the two grows more blurred with age and maturity).

I agree with your personal responsibility vs. warm fuzzies approach. The warm fuzzies crowd may not be aware that it [ha]s taken specific human beings to make everything happen in their lives; they so want to acknowledge God's primacy in everything that they choose to ignore God's instruments (their parents, their employers, etc.). What's wrong with faith plus practical, personal responsibility? It's about saying "Here's how much I can have the courage to do, and God will do the rest" (a biblical view), not "Oh, humans can't do anything apart from God, so why bother?" The practical believers plan the route and drive the train, but trust God for a safe track; the warm fuzzies people just wait for God to start the train so they can go along for the ride[--or they start driving the train without any idea of how or where to go, because that's "trusting God" too].

Yes, some offices pay people to do what you're doing for free (in addition to your main responsibilities). I think you're overkill for what they're prepared to pay for. You also have a sense of responsibility for your work, don't you? I am that same way, but have had to learn [the hard way] to only give as much loyalty as I am accorded. It's like any relationship: Respect has to be a two-way street; traffic starts piling up when it's predominantly one way.

Email: Bible studies by decade [AS]

I have a scripture degree so obviously I love Bible study, however, I will only attend one led by an ordained minister with a doctorate. I've heard nothing but 30 years of ignorance and error when attending Bible studies led by laypersons or nondenominational ministers.

I was looking for my 40-something Bible study group at Second Baptist once and found my way in[to] a room filled with people in their 50s and 60s with silver hair, and the air was redolent of Ben Gay. I told myself, "This is not my room!" and got out of there.

Email: Irreverence and tolerance [AS]

Irreverent is good! I have to work not to be so automatically. (At the ad agency, I saw a sign on the way to work that said Hoffart Construction, so after our staff meeting, I pulled one writer aside and told her the sign immediately made me think of a joke: "How do you make a Hoffart? Kick her in the c--t." Isn't that bad? Her response: "And you knew I was the only person in the company you could come and tell that joke to, didn't you?" to which I said "Yup!")

I think I know what you mean about having that good old Protestant tolerance thing going on. It's about respect, not the superiority thing that serious Catholics and Baptists seem to have going on.

Email: Daytime TV sucks [AS]

Oh I know we're missing nothing on daytime TV! Believe me! The demographic for daytime viewers must be "losers who have no income, life purpose or plan, and prefer to waste their days watching sensationalistic pap that a simpering moron would see through if he weren't restrained in an asylum and made to watch it day in and day out." I mean, think about it: The acting on daytime soap operas is soooo baaaad! The talk shows are nothing more than verbal (and often physical) wrestling matches. And all intentionally so! Can you tell I really hate poor programming? In its own way, it is responsible for the downfall of America--and perhaps even New Orleans.

Email: Ex-tequila drinkers [AS]

I think there are a lot of former tequila drinkers with that attitude: "I don't drink it any more because I used to."