Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Archive for November, 2016

Time to Evaluate

An article in the November issue of Toastmaster magazine puts under a humourous light the normally unnerving experience of oneself under an evaluative microscope.

The author relates a traumatic instance of a job performance review. When he hears about the subjects he expects to be discussed, namely effective performance, efficient specializing, and exhibiting professionalism, what he hears his boss really talking about is ‘doing his job well x 3’. Focusing on strengths is still in vogue, but what used to be weaknesses are now potential improvements. (more…)

Green Buys & Cyber

(with apologies & deference to The Outlaws, ‘Green Grass & High Tides’)

In ‘honour’ of Cyber Monday

At a time we really count on

When the shipping may be free

Silver ear phones, golden earrings

Fill the orders, plain to see (more…)

Black Day in November

 (with apologies & deference to Gordon Lightfoot) 

 Black day in November

Friday deal madness has struck the world at large

And through malls and the internet

You can see it in their eyes

The cash and cards are flowing

And the browsers left aside (more…)

A Grade of B

Did you know there are eight versions of Vitamin B?

A mouth-opening article in the current issue of Psychology Today reveals the connection of these vitamins to the health of our brain. They all “influence brain function because they each contribute to energy operations in the brain”. (more…)

Trumped-Up Terms

As a heretofore regular word in the English language, ‘trump’ has some familiar, longstanding applications. While it can be both a verb and a noun, recent connotations seem to be putting it more frequently into the pro-active role as a verb.

Given the electoral earthquake in the U.S., it’s interesting to note how many of these meanings are open to being flavoured, or perhaps coloured, in the reflection of the (capitalized) eponymous President elect. (more…)

A Cute Story

According to a brief article in the current issue of Psychology Today, there are about one billion dogs in the world, but only about 15% are domesticated. (Many of the 85% in the wild don’t make it to their first birthday, due to being abandoned as pups.)

It would seem that a key point to a dog’s survival is “Tricking a person into taking care of it”. (more…)

Ode to Leonard Cohen

When I was a student at McGill in Montreal in the early 1970s, alumnus Leonard Cohen had already begun his journey as a balladeer and writer. He was known to pop by the university periodically, and I did see him once talking with someone on Sherbrooke St. at a corner of the campus.

For any of us from the Montreal area, he was in the forefront of exploring themes relating to love, death, freedom, and contemplation. (more…)

Vernacular Correctness

‘Vernacular’ refers to language commonly used in regions or countries. It seems that such a loose parameter allows for the use of words or expressions which, at times, can test the patience of lexophiles.

George Carlin, probably the best stand-up comedian ever, certainly the most observant about the foibles of language, spent much of his career pointing out glaring issues in our lexicon, often involving clever observations about human behaviour. (more…)

Permit Me to Evaluate

Often one of the most challenging exercises in dealing with presentations from others is providing feedback, AKA a ‘positive critique’.

How to word comments so that, on the one hand, one is not too critical of what’s been stated, and, on the other hand, not ‘whitewashing’ one’s response so as not to risk offending, is a tricky balancing act. The ultimate goal ideally is to focus on the message, not the messenger, with language which encourages the effort but suggests points that could make it more effective. (more…)