Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bye, Punk

If you're ever in Wicker Park, I recommend the Alliance Bakery on Division Street, near Paulina. I believe I prefer the coffee there over anywhere else.

It's always busy, but always quiet. A great place to be creative, perhaps jotting notes in your Moleskine or on your MacBook. God help you if your cell phone rings in that place. You'd go all wrinkly from the withering stares.

Plus, they have a sense of humor I appreciate:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quirky Blends

Last night I referred to an acquaintance's rantings about The Shack as indignorant. (No, I wasn't referring to Tiffany Eberle Kriner. She actually read the book.) Indignorant is one of those terrific and rare blend words that is instantly understandable. It's a compound whose meaning is transparent rather than opaque. A coworker introduced me to the term; she came up with it independently, although it already existed on the web.

Mrs. Chaka offered up a similar blend this morning. She grew up in a border state (Wisconsin) and as a result, has an irresistable urge to make fun of Canadians. (Another example of regional bigotry, of course.) "I have to surpress it at work, because one of the owners of my company is Canadian. I just assume that all Canadians wish they were Americans. I have canimosity."

This looks like a genuine coinage (though probably not transparent without the story attached). A Google search provided one relevant hit, which oddly enough, seems to be a website devoted to neologisms such as indignorant. (That looks worthy of the RSS feed.) I can't tell what words √úbermaniam meant to blend, though. "Can" as in "I can do it" and "animosity"?

To listen to a delightful story about some brave Canadians and their delightful accents, click here. Ruben Giles also deserves a profile on Art of Manliness. McKay, get on the ball, already!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A John Piper Quote

I'm not one of those people who hang on John Piper's every word, but this is a great excerpt.

Though I would have said, "It's a duty the way pirates look for booty." I wonder if that was in the first draft and he chickened out.

No More Junk Lunch

Several months ago, I linked to a long article suggesting massive changes in U.S. food policy. The basic idea is to shift subsidies from high-calorie, agribusiness-grown food products to healthier, locally grown food. (Of course, the agribusiness will follow the money and start competing to grow healthier food, but that's a benefit, not a detriment.) Some things would become more expensive: soda (corn syrup), meat (raised on cheap feed), and unfortunately, my daily cornflakes and my wife's daily soymilk. But the overall impact would be to make it easier to eat healthy.

A new NYTimes op-ed argues along the same lines, focusing on the School Lunch programs. I have to say, I really like the idea. Several months ago I prepared and served food for a senior citizen lunch. We made a hotdish of chicken, cheese, and potatoes that was very cheap (probably because of subsidies: corn feed for the chicken and the cow, soybean oil holding the hash browns together). Meanwhile, in the same kitchen at the community center, two women were cooking lunch for the kids in a Head Start program. They were roasting meat, making rice, preparing vegetables. They were creating actual meals. They had actual skills.

To get all pretentious, the food they were making was more humanizing, both to them and to the kids they would serve it to. Now, I love hotdish as much as the next Minnesotan. But wouldn't it be great if our schools at least, if not the culture as a whole, could take a few steps toward actual meals?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gas Taxes and Hezekiah

The elevator today smelled like it had been hosed down with cologne. Very spicy cologne.

I enjoyed seeing this line in an article about taxation in Illinois: "Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die."

This calls for some Loretta:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln Turns 200

In honor of Lincoln's 200th birthday, I will now attempt to type from memory the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We are now engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of its ground as a final resting place for those who [. . .] the cause of liberty. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow these grounds. The brave men, living and dead, who fought here have already consecrated it far beyond our small power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it cannot forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated to the task for which these honored dead gave the last full measure of devotion. [. . .] new birth of freedom, and government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

That's all I got.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Tiffany Eberle Kriner Reviews The Shack

I don't think I ever got around to talking about The Shack on this blog. Oh well. Fortunately, I have smarter, more dedicated friends to do that kind of thing. Why'd she have to go dissing my employer, though?

I truly admire anyone who can come up with a good title, and "What If God Were Three of Us" is about as good as they come. It also makes me think of this:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Business Jargon Sacrilege

I give you two holy texts profaned by contemporary business jargon for comedic effect. The first is Gen 1:1-8. (HT: Better Bibles Blog, Kouya Chronicle.)

1. At the outset, God’s agenda was to basically focus on his core deliverables, namely two leading-edge products, (a) heaven and (b) earth.
2. However, the earth lacked an overall concept, and had a low profile in terms of its key audiences. Obviously the Spirit of God had to step back and benchmark the existing waters before his game plan could get the green light.
3. And God’s key message was that light was a strategic objective, and it was covered-off.
4. And God’s perception of the light was that it was fit for purpose. However, his desired goal was that light and darkness should be differentiated in the marketplace.
5. So God branded the light ‘Day’, and the darkness he branded ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Light’. And the evening session and morning session made up Day One.
6. Then God set out with the object of factoring-in a firmament to interface with the existing generic waters, to bring to the party two segmented brands.
7. So God tasked himself with the job of rolling-out a firmament, to supply a proactive vehicle for launching his two distinct waters products, and it was up and running.
8. And God branded the firmament ‘heaven’. And at close of play, the prioritised actions for Day Two were ticked off.

The second, the Gettysburg Address (HT: Adam Graber).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Golden Booty

I recently read Till We Have Faces. (See J. L. S.'s reflections on it here.) For several days I've been meaning to read the myth of Cupid and Psyche on which it is based. That myth is part of a work by Apuleius called The Golden Ass.

Every time the book came to mind, I would start thinking of the Age of Exploration. Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake would come unbidden into my thoughts. Why, you ask? Well, I wasn't sure myself. But today as I rode the slowest elevator in the world, I suddenly realized that I was playing an unconscious word association game. The missing link was, of course, The Golden Hind.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Neglected Virtue

So, is it only in Bangalore that entrepreneurs make puns in the names of their establishments? Seriously? I would have thought it more widespread.

Remember Blast from the Past? A cheerful, earnest young man emerges from the bomb shelter that his family entered in the early sixties and confronts our crazed present. I am reminded of that movie every time I hear another story about Captain Chelsey Sullenberger. His name, his nickname, his profession, his professionalism--they all harken to another era. As does the fact that you're allowed to call him a hero with a straight face. The latest news is that he wrote to his library to let them know that one of their books went down with the plane (HT: Kouya Chronicle). When was the last time a public figure was described as "conscientious"? There's a neglected virtue. I'm still waiting for Art of Manliness to write a "Lessons in Manliness" about him.

By the way, Mrs. Chaka has been noted for her extraordinary conscientiousness.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Hair Pun Turn

Anatoly Liberman says that it's harder to pun in German than in French or English (scroll down to "English versus German"). Yet Strange Maps has a great post up about German puns in the names of hair salons. Mrs. Chaka reports that French hair salons feel no need to make puns.

I believe my sister got her hair done at Shear Expressions before her wedding. Which isn't much of a pun, but "shear" has to be intended to suggest "sheer." Mrs. Chaka remembers a local place called Hair We Are.

What punning establishments exist where you're from? Special K, have you noted the phenomenon in any Spanish-speaking communities?