Picture This

In the latest Michael Chabon book, Moonglow, there is a beautiful sequence where a mother and a son are looking at a photo album without pictures. It is the old style album with the black tabs on the corners of the pictures, but the pictures had fallen out. The mother describes the pictures to her son and it is a lot like the memory of her childhood, as opposed to an objective record of her childhood.

Its Bark is Worse than its Bite

I saw a tree, a very skinny tree, with bark that peels off in big strips. The strips just pile up at the base of the tree. It is almost as if every day someone comes by, and in their boredom, they peel off a little more the bark. They don’t tear it up into small pieces. They just leave it on the ground. But this seems to happen naturally.

Web Content in Real Life

As website owners have been trying to find the right mix of content – or words that people would actually want to read – for their shopping sites, I encountered an example of this going in the other direction. I saw an in-store display of online content in the teen section of a department store. These short, helpful articles added to the shopping experience, and ideally convinced customers to buy the nearby products.

Pardon My French

Whenever someone utters some profanity – almost always words we have heard before – and follows it by “pardon my French,” my first thought is that what they said is not French. Sometimes I even say that. This is not just something that bugs me, but I wanted to know where it came from. It seems to have evolved from a general animosity between the English and the French. The context for this expression is that anything coarse or vulgar is French. But it makes no sense that Americans say this.

Naming Things 101

I came across a podcast with a name that someone thought was overly clever. It was from a Chamber of Commerce and someone was proud of their slightly punny name. There was one problem. They sacrificed meaning for the joke. A podcast is about sharing information to a broader audience than might otherwise hear from you. And what did they call it? The Echo Chamber.