Monthly Archives: December 2008

Which is greater — soil or seed?

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “Outliers”, is filled with eurekas. He contradicts popular beliefs that exceptional individual accomplishments are explained by personal characteristics. Instead, he demonstrates how cultural and calendar phenomena account for outliers. Metaphorically, this pits seed against soil. But soil without seed is barren. And seed without soil is dead. Neither is greater.

Flickr Stalkr?

Paula Abdul recently revealed that the woman who committed suicide near the star’s home had been stalking her for nearly two decades. Scary how long obsession lasts. With the open access the www offers everyone, through sites like Flickr, stalkers can lurk furtively. Heads up.

Wonder Winterland?

Hey! Winter doesn’t start for a few more days. But you’d never know it looking out the window right now. With half a foot of white snow blanketing everything, you have to wonder if autumn has gone to sleep early.

The Art of Listening to the Unspoken

Neuroscientists posit that over 80% of human communication is body language. If our movements speak more loudly than words, then we should study others in silence, to hear them clearly. This is why we have two eyes and one mouth. So let’s hold our tongues to let our eyes help our ears.

Is Garfield Grumpy?

Media pundit Bob Garfield often carps about ads he hates. Occasionally he praises media he loves. Here’s a recent gem: “Branded widgets are the refrigerator magnets of the Brave New World.” So sometimes Garfield sounds more like one of the other seven dwarves.

What is metaphorical mulching?

My friend Peter is also known as Metaphor Man. He is always planting thought-provoking sound bites, to see where they spread. Here’s one I particularly like: “A weed is a flower where it’s not wanted.” This is a metaphor for unloved ideas that thrive nonetheless.

Got any other metaphorical mulch you’d like to grow in people’s minds?

Who May Play Rasputin To The Car Czar?

Any day, some government big wig will be anointed as Car Czar to rule over a beleaguered US automotive industry. You have to wonder: There may be a mystical healer who gains the ear of this all-powerful leader. Will that lead to a resurgence? Or untimely death? Or mystery?

Gotta Love Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe strove to live his life to the full, day by day:

“A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God implanted in the human soul.”

Let’s Change Mass Self Talk

News media define us. In NY, people who read the Post have different world views than Times readers. But these days, all news media inundate us with bad news. So we become bad news, because we’re all telling ourselves we’re victims. Listen up, people. Let’s change our national self talk. We shall overcome!

Don’t forget the man who couldn’t remember

How often do you see an obituary for someone you’ve never heard of on the front page of the New York Times? Read today’s story of Henry Molaison, a man with profound amnesia. Then, be grateful that you can remember his life, even though he couldn’t.