Thursday, May 31, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
I don't get it. I'm green enough as it is. And don't you think I'm pretty enough as is? Don't answer that.
Tattoo actually has several meanings, just like me.
b. A military march accompanied by music and other sound effects such as volleys of gunfire.c. A continuous tapping or drumming sound.
2. A permanent design made on the skin by injecting dyes beneath the skin.
You didn't know that, did you?
There are, in fact, two words tattoo, as the meanings above and word history below indicate, the linguist Robert Beard writes at his excellent site, alphaDictionary.
This implies that there are, as well, two verbs tattoo. The first means to drum or thump successively, as to tattoo the table nervously with your fingers. The second verb tattoo means simply to implant a graphic tattoo under the skin. A person who makes such implantations is a tattooist. In the following sentence, it is difficult to tell which of the two tattoos is intended: "When the rear wheel of Harley's motorcycle spun in the mire, it tattooed his back with mud spatters.
History: Tattoo in the first sense comes from Dutch taptoe "tap-shut", where taprefers to the beer spigot in a tavern. The Dutch bugle call, therefore, not only calls soldiers back to camp, but lets tavern owners know that it is time to halt the flow of beer. That same Dutch word tap is the origin of the final bugle call of the evening or the one played at military funerals, known as taps. The second tattoo, like the like-sounding taboo, is a Marquesan word brought to England from the Polynesian islands by Captain James Cook. This is why tattooing was first seen in the West on sailors. Today, of course, the craze to imitate the Polynesians has spread pretty much throughout the entire industrialized world.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Iconic businessman and original “Mad Man” David Ogilvy sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”:
The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.
Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification,attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
"Until recently, we’ve only been able to guess about the actual psychological effects of fiction on individuals and society. But new research in psychology and broad-based literary analysis is finally taking questions about morality out of the realm of speculation.
"This research consistently shows that fiction does mold us. The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape.
"But perhaps the most impressive finding is just how fiction shapes us: mainly for the better, not for the worse. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds. More peculiarly, fiction’s happy endings seem to warp our sense of reality. They make us believe in a lie: that the world is more just than it actually is. But believing that lie has important effects for society — and it may even help explain why humans tell stories in the first place."