Saturday, April 29, 2006

Email: Noncynical ministry [AS]

Yes, try not to pooh-pooh others who are facing less than you have. I first snickered inside at young married couples who were worried about not becoming pregnant within four months. I know in ministry it's best to meet people where they are at; it does no good to imply "You ain't seen nothin' till you've seen what I've been through, kiddo!"

Email: Mediocre organizations [AS]

It's all about which organization has the critical mass of brainpower and mind share, and adopts "best business practices." United Way has made a universe of investment in planning and people.

We always want the place we work to be significant enough to make a difference (particularly because of our own contributions), but in retrospect sometimes the places we work have dysfunctional business practices and are doomed to mediocrity.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Trivia: Most literate US cities

The top 10 most literate US cities are Seattle, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Paul. Austin is #16, New York is #32 (!), Chicago is #46, and Houston is #53. Tulsa is more literate than Houston. Dallas is more literate than Houston. New Orleans is more literate than Houston. Las Vegas and Fort Worth are more literate than Houston! Less literate than Houston: Arlington is #57, San Antonio is #64, Corpus Christi is #67, El Paso is #68, and Stockton is #69.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Email: Initiative and upgrades [DB]

I suspect women outnumber men 10-20:1 [on eharmony --] as they probably would on any religious site.

Men seem to have all the options they want... because women give them away (in the name of chivalry). I could not be a woman and give away all the initiative to men. I know women have certain kinds of initiative that are too mysterious for me to understand. ;-) I just find it slightly depressing if I don't have an outlet for a healthy amount of autonomy.

Upgrade your iMac if possible. I got rid of that crapware Internet Explorer long ago! Download Firefox and all your problems will go away. It's not Apple, it's Microsoft that's the problem.

Email: Summertime and the living is sizzling [S]

Houston is, well, tropical is a nice way to put it. Hot as blazes (but humid) between May and October is another way to put it! It's the nation's fourth-largest metro area with the entire population of Minnesota, I tell ya. Whee doh-gies!

Press: 100 most innovative companies - BW

BusinessWeek Online presents a special report on innovation that includes a list of the top 100 most innovative companies. Apple is #1, followed by Google, 3M, Toyota, Microsoft, General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, Nokia, Starbucks, and IBM. While all are notable, other companies I'll mention are #22 Target, #34 Pixar, #42 HP, and #60 TiVO.

Musings: Phantom cell phone

Growing older in a technological age might mean sensing a vibration in your leg or chest -- but realizing that your cell phone is not set on vibrate, nor is it in your pants or shirt pocket.

Email: Work that chills [AS]

I have experienced and I hear similar stories about dysfunctional management that hires but does not support its hires. No one can say how long you should have stayed but you, and I think that question is answered by how long you did stay. It's important that you cut things off at the point where the benefits to you (what management is willing to give) end. They take but do not give who think they can have free labor.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Neologisms: lousy-fair

A laissez-faire attitude turned devil-may-care.

Words: sward [MW]

Pronunciation: 'sword
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sweard, swearth skin, rind; akin to Middle High German swart skin, hide
1 : a portion of ground covered with grass
2 : the grassy surface of land

Words: scathe [MW]

Pronunciation: 'skA[th], 'skAth
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English skathe, from Old Norse skathi; akin to Old English sceatha injury, Greek askEthEs unharmed

Neologisms: queueteria

Corporate cafeterias where you spend more time in line than eating your food.

Law: 10,000 slaps for Ken Lay

I have a working proposal for how every organization can become more effective and responsive by replacing their vast misnomers known as Customer Service departments with smaller but personally staffed Slap-Upside-the-Head departments. In my proposal, every employee, from CEO on down, must staff the SUH counters or cubicles 24/7, providing a real place and person where customers with a complaint can go to physically strike (bitch-slap) a human scapegoat, who must not only listen to the complaint, but take personal and corporate responsibility for providing a solution. My (always admittedly impractical) theory holds that nowadays corporate intransigence has so grown that only when an executive or manager personally feels the sting of retribution in the flesh will an ethical response (people above profits) be seriously considered and provided.

Like his fellow lying snake Jeff Skilling, former Enron executive Ken Lay has no right or business protesting his innocence or declaiming how "devastated" he was by the fall of Enron and its financial empire. Like any other defendant in a federal trial, he must answer the prosecution's questions and let the jury decide for themselves, not try to weasel his way out of a conviction by presenting himself as a sympathetic victim. He can't be smart and dumb, devious and likable at the same time.

No, the only way Lay can earn the right to lament his losses is to allow every defrauded Enron victim to line up for weeks, and for eight hours a day, allow each one to slap him across the face, tell him how Enron's breach of faith damaged their dreams or destroyed their nest eggs, and spit in his face (this last step is optional). Maybe he can keep his beady-eyed composure for the first few thousand, but I doubt it. Only when he truly faces and understands the abhorrent harm he has done not only to thousands of American families but to the moral fabric of America itself, when he allows his coal glint of a heart to be touched, when he weeps more than crocodile tears, can he earn the right to bemoan his fate on an equal basis with the rest of us.

Web: Why I shut down my blog - Slate

"One morning last month, I woke early, finished a book I'd been reading, and shut down my blog. I had kept the blog for nearly five years, using it as a repository for personal anecdotes, travelogues, and the occasional flight of fiction—all of which I hoped, eventually, might lead to a novel. And then, somewhere between the bedsheets and 6 a.m., I realized something: Blogging wasn't helping me write; it was keeping me from it."

Web: Dating after 35 - expert advice

Q: Is it really bad for a woman to have sexual relations with a man when they’ve only gone out a couple of times?
Rachel: Absolutely! This is my big pet peeve. Here’s my proven Date/Sex Rule: you have to have a minimum of two dates per week, regularly, for two months (minimum 16 dates total) before having sex with a man. You must pace your relationship, and let it build steadily. If you rush into intense physical relationships too soon, they usually crash and burn. This rule may seem excruciatingly old-fashioned, but it ensures that your relationship is reasonably stable, because you have seen each other regularly over a substantial period of time. Also it encourages him to look at you as a possible wife and not a one-night stand. If he’s looking for casual sex, this Date/Sex Rule will screen him out, and that’s good news for you.

Typos: affulent (affluent)

(Tank cartoon strip, 23-Apr-06)