Jumping the Cactus

No matter how often I’ve seen it, this 2017 Progressive Insurance commercial always makes me laugh. I’m reminded what the commercial says about human nature. More to the point, it demonstrates the human propensity to ignore the old adage:  speak less, listen hard. When someone mentions taking the kids to soccer practice and you’re willing and ready to jump the cactus, there’s a definite failure to communicate.

This week’s news didn’t highlight the failure to communicate, but it did cause people to re-think their understanding about what it means “to hear.” Yes, I’m referring to the Laurel/Yanny debate initiated by a Reddit user posing a simple question:  what do you hear? Continue reading “Jumping the Cactus”

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Sweeping Away the Old

Goodbye to 2017. Was it a good year for you? Or a bad one? Either way, it’s done and we have a whole new year on the horizon.Time for making a fresh start, beginning tomorrow. Make the most of every opportunity! See you in 2018.

My Days Are Numbered

Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth:  my days are numbered.

Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?

Bad-temper seems incompatible with ushering in a New Year. Usually, it’s celebrations, parties, champagne and fireworks, plus people flocking to New York City for the Times Square Ball Drop. But this year, people expressed open animosity toward the waning year. A headline from WIRED proclaimed:  Goodbye, 2016. We Couldn’t Take It Anymore. Continue reading “My Days Are Numbered”

Between Friends

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. You’ve probably heard a version of this message from the Ad Council, a gentle caution for drivers and passengers alike.Friends-Dont-Let-406606-web

I’ve decided a similar message should apply with respect to social media. Maybe something like this:  Friends don’t let friends contrive junk. I know, I know! It’s clunky and doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as the Ad Council declaration. But the meaning should resonate.

The sterile contrivance that is social media purports to keep us “connected” to friends and family. In truth, it’s a time-consuming distraction that draws us away from numerous activities and human interactions which once occupied our time and attention.

Social media in its varied applications also tends to work as an echo chamber … a mishmash of individual posts to which others respond by clicking share or like. But for me, the dreaded copy, paste and post if you agree is most exasperating. What if I agree with a post but choose not to copy, paste and post? Is my non-compliance misconstrued? (Oh, dear! What will people think if I don’t comply?) Continue reading “Between Friends”

The Fragrance of Life

Southern Living has long been one of my favorite magazines, one of the few print magazines to which I steadfastly subscribe. While leafing through a recent issue newly retrieved from my mailbox, one full-page ad (pictured below) caught my eye. Now you might assume the radiant, air-brushed smile is what drew my attention … but no.Happiness-1b

Maybe it was the fragrance ? If you’ve thumbed through a print magazine lately, you may have noticed an uptick in scent strip promos for perfume and cologne products. Scent strips can be helpful. They provide fragrance samples so you won’t plunk down a substantial sum just to learn the scent is awful. But the multiple competing scents in a magazine’s single issue might easily lead to sensory overload!

So, no, it wasn’t the toothy expression nor the unexpectedly subtle fragrance, both of which are skillfully designed to generate interest and drive sales. Surprisingly, the text drew me in!

Take a closer look at the tag line:  Life is beautiful. The Fragrance of Happiness.

With a simple search, I learned there were other tag-lines attached to Lancôme’s La vie est belle advertising. The overall theme of Life is beautiful extends naturally from the French phrase. One tag-line declared Life is beautiful. Live It Your Way. Another:  Life is beautiful. Choose Your Own Path to Happiness.

Notwithstanding its variations, Lancôme appears to have settled on The Fragrance of Happiness as its primary tag-line. Continue reading “The Fragrance of Life”

Supreme Poetaster

Here’s a word that doesn’t get much use these days: Poetaster. One of the memorable ways to define this word – as well as to remember its pronunciation – is to take the word Poet, marry to it the last two syllables of disaster, and you have Poetaster.poetaster-n-s

A Poetaster is simply “an inferior poet, a writer of indifferent verse.” There’s some latitude in the word I think. A Poetaster might be someone who fancies himself (or herself) a fine poet because of a perceived ability to witness flowery and inane rhetoric flowing from his or her pen. By definition, what flows from a poetaster‘s pen is insipid, even foolish. Hence, my personal mnemonic, explained in the first paragraph. Continue reading “Supreme Poetaster”

An Elisabeth Elliot Smile

Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.eliot

In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue reading “An Elisabeth Elliot Smile”

The Right to Define

UPDATE:  Yesterday (6/17/15) on the World Magazine website, Editor Marvin Olasky made a similar comparison to this post, also citing the quote below.

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If you’re not familiar with this quote, you may find it to be an interesting statement. I have. (I’ll wait a bit before I tell you who said it.)Liberty

If ever this statement applied to our culture, I think it would be today. At first blush, the statement carries the veneer of ringing true. Liberty, one of the lofty concepts on which our country was founded, has become the cry of many … and seemingly understood only by the few. Continue reading “The Right to Define”

Sat-Your-Day

You may be geared like me. No matter what the rest of the week brings my way, Saturdays are usually a day of ambition for me. All the tasks still on my list (because I failed to complete them during the week) get shuffled into Saturday!happy-saturdayOf course that means I have to get an early start on the day, so I rarely take the opportunity to sleep in. Given that “Your” (or technically “UR“) lies smack dab in the middle of Saturday, it seems logical to conclude it’s your day, right? A day to do the things you want to do. Continue reading “Sat-Your-Day”

Quest For A Crown

Watching American Pharoah win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park today,  I was reminded of an article I read early in the day. The headline said:  Science Says American Pharoah Won’t Win the Triple Crown.

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Photo Credit: © Steve Queen

So much for prognostications, huh? The spectacle surrounding a horse race, particularly at this elite level, is striking. First off, there’s the beauty and grace of these splendid horses. I can’t help but be in awe. There’s the pageantry, some 90,000 people gathered to cheer on their favorites … and perhaps to witness history being made, which in this case is exactly what happened.

Continue reading “Quest For A Crown”