Get to Know Your Customer Day–July 18, 2019

According to National Day Calendar,

Get to Know Your Customers Day reminds businesses to reach out to patrons and get to know them better. The day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July, October).

So for this quarter, that is today!

I invite you  to let other readers of this blog and me  get to know  you better.  Here are two different options.

  1.  Tell us something about yourself and your blog (if you have one) in the comments section of today’s blog.
  2.   Submit a proposal for a guest blog.   The topic can be one of your chosing, but I do ask that it remain respectful and respectable (to at least the PG level)   If you decide you would like to do a guest blog, please send me an email with the proposed topic,

Are Adverbs Really Bad?

While reviewing several blogs recently, I found  a few articles badmouthing adverbs.

stephen king on adverbs

“An adverb is a word that changes the meaning of the verb, adjective or another adverb. Using the previous tip, your verb will annul the need for an adverb.”  From “My Golden Rules to ‘Show don’t Tell” by Leona Brigs in Medium.

“3. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… and adverbs.”  From “Five Super Easy Ways to Improve Your Blogs” by Christian Mihai in the Art of Blogging.

Are words ending in “ly” really ugly and totally worthless?

Barbara Baig offered a counter argument in an August 18, 2015 guest post for Writer’s Digest.

Not too long ago, on Facebook, aspiring MFAs were proudly announcing that they had spent entire revision sessions excising from their manuscripts every word ending in “-ly.” Quoting Stephen King (who was perhaps quoting Nathaniel Hawthorne), they assured each other that The Road to Hell is Paved with Adverbs. Well, with all due respect to Mr. King and Mr. Hawthorne, it just ain’t so.

To begin with, an adverb is not merely a word that happens to end in -ly. An adverb is one of the four content parts of speech (the others are nouns, verbs, and adjectives) which enable us to construct sentences. Every part of speech does something in a sentence: nouns name things, verbs provide action, adjectives and adverbs add to or limit or clarify the nouns and verbs. A writer determined to eliminate adverbs will be a seriously handicapped writer, for adverbs can make more specific, add information to, not only verbs, but also adjectives and other adverbs. Adverbs, like the other content parts of speech, are an essential for every writer’s toolkit; they can do things that the other parts of speech cannot.

Adverbs in dialog seem to be one of the favorite places for adverb haters.
From Brainpickings “Stephen King on Writing, Fear and the Atrocity of Adverbs

‘Put it down!’ she shouted.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said.

In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:

‘Put it down! she shouted menacingly.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded abjectly, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said contemptuously.

Oviously, adverbs are redundant to the strong verb.

How about as  the topic sentence for a paragraph?

When I saw the teenager and the young child approaching the pool, I mistakingly thought that the young child would be the problem.  The teenager splashed the younger child when ever the child lifted his head for air as he methodically swam back and forth and in the lane.  The child ignored the droplets that hit his face whenever he lifted it above the water.  Later at the hot tub’s edge, the younger child dangled his feet as the he sat quietly next to his father.  The teenager sat on the top step between the handles of the hot tub until his father told him to move.  He sidled under the handles to the oppostite side of the ladder before edging back to the middle of the steps.  As I exited the hot tub, his father grunted at him to move.  The teen ager did so reluctantly and sat back down almost immediately,  his back brushing  my calf before I could climb over the the top step.

Do you think that adverbs should be vanquished like yesterday’s tunafish left too long in the sun?




Power of Manipulation

Last weekend I was in Cleveland, Ohio for the Special Libraries Association 2019 Conference.  On Sunday, June 16, our opening keynote speaker was Leon Legothetis.  He previously was a London stockbroker, but gave that up. From his website:

 He used to be a broker in the city of London where he felt uninspired and chronically depressed. He gave it all up for a life on the road. This radical life change was inspired by the inspirational movie The Motorcycle Diaries.

Today, Leon is a motivational speaker. His initial presentation was upbeat and positive as he showed us slides and a video from his upcoming Netflix series,  The Kindness Dairies.

In the series he drives a yellow motorbike around the world.  He carries no money and has to get food, lodging, and gas for his bike, Love One, from strangers.  One memorable samaritan who gave him shelter was a homeless man.  The homeless man kept a spare clean bedroll, clean underwear, and clothes in a garbage bag stashed in some bushes.  In return for sharing  what little he had, Leon rewarded the man with an apartment and enrollment in a cooking program because school was where the homeless man felt the most loved.

How does a man without funds for food, gas, or lodging, and who is supposedly travelling around the world by himself, just happen to have a videographer on hand to capture his journey and enough resources to generously thank the people who give him lodging, food, and gas money?

One of the last parts of his talk was to ask anyone in the audience who had ever felt sad to come up on the stage and share their experience.  One lady raised her hand.  She just happened to be able to attend the conference because of a stipend from the local Cleveland SLA Chapter.  That stipend made her feel welcomed.

Leon asked us all to stand and face them, while he put his arm around the lady’s shoulders and asked if she felt loved because all of us stood clapping, per his instructions.  Both of them agreed it felt wonderful to bask in the support of the applauding audience.

Leon then asked us to turn our backs on them and face the rear of the hall.  He then asked the lady if she felt spurned and they both agreed it felt awful when we turned our backs on the two of them (again at Leon’s comand.)

When we were  told to turn around, the sun came back out and the two of them on the stage remarkably felt much better.

I felt manipulated.  Can I have a portion of my conference fee back?





Turning Points that Capture the Imagination

Since the first settlers landed in the 16th and 17th centuries, the United States has participated in dozens of named and unnamed wars.    Even the more familiar wars like the

  • American Revolution
  • War of 1812
  • Mexican War
  • Civil War,
  • Spanish- American War
  • World Wars I and II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Persian Gulf War
  • Wars in Afghan and Iraq

have countless known and unknown battles

Many of those wars have battles that stand out in people’s imaginations:  Valley  Forge, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal, and D-Day.  Which battles stand out in your mind?

Why do these battles stand out in our collective consciousness?

The U.S. Army still has staff rides of Gettysburg for new senior officers and students at some of the senior service colleges like the National Defense University in Washington, DC.  My husband was on a staff ride with some NATO officers and recounted that a Norwegian officer pointedly told a German officer that “We re-use our battle fields in Europe.”

I had an opportunity to do a couple of staff rides to Gettysburg.  On one occasion we re-enacted Pickett’s Charge.  By walking the battle field we experienced how the troops appeared and disappeared from sight by the lifts and dips of the terrain as we plodded up the hill.  (And we did not have to contend with the thick smoke of artillery fire.)

Many Americans are planning to visit Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6.  Some have already been to Omaha and Utah beaches.  Others will go on or after the actual anniversary date.  What is about these battle grounds that stir our imagination and call us to view them for ourselves?

My friend and shipmate from the USS Midway Carrier (CV-41) Museum library, Phil Eakin (Commander,  USN ret) recently toured France.  One of the highlights of his trip was touring Omaha and Utah beaches.   He was showing the Midway flag by carrying his Midway Magic on the Road sign.

What battlefields have you visited?  Which ones would you like to visit and why?

Ten Tips on How to Enjoy Yourself at a Winery

wine--monk sneaking a drink(Even if  nobody else does.)

We went to two local wineries on a rainy  Saturday afternoon.   We observed many of the following behaviors at both wineries.

1) Invite at least 8 or more of your BFFs.  (If your group is not large enough to reach critical mass, then why make the effort to show up?)

2)  While you are at the winery, make sure each of you enjoys every bit of wine to whichpour-wine large you are entitled. The whole purpose of tasting wine is to make sure you taste enough to know whether you like it or not.

3.  On a rainy afternoon where everyone wants to be inside or outside on the roofed patio, make sure you gather enough chairs and tables for your entire possee.  Then stare at  the people who arrive after you to let them know that they should have arrived earlier. (After all you did.)

4.  Since you elected to patronize the winery, make sure people know you are there.  Dress to be seen and speak loudly enough so that your entire group can hear your bon mots and witty asides.  Laugh frequently (preferably in loud, shrill tones) so that no one can miss out on this scintillating conversation.

5.  Since practice makes perfect, you need to visit several wineries to perfect you technique.

6. You are a responsible group, so it’s much better to arrive in a limo or a bus.  You are not driving while impared, take up fewer parking spaces, and arrive in a large group simultaneously, which makes it better to have your presence felt.

7.  Take as much space as you need when going tasting at the bar.  The other customers will notpouring wine into a glass mind crowding up to give you the space you deserve.

8.  Unless the winery, specifically prohibits it, bring lots of food to share with your possee.  Picnic baskets, plastic bags, large coolers, serving dishes and utensils, multiple courses with appropriate garnishes, and enough paperplates and plastic ware show that you know how to enjoy yourselves in style.

9.  When you leave, don’t bother to bus your tables.  That is what the winery staff is for and if the next people really want to sit there, they will clean the tables for you.

10.  Get back on the bus, complaining loudly how no one understands the effort your group has made to enjoy themselves on a rainy day.

Happy National Vietnam Veteran’s Day

Nationial Vietnam War Veterans Day

Vietnam was the war where WWII era military served with Baby Boomers.   Unlike WWII, it was never a declared war. When the troops returned, they were vilified–not treated like the conquering heroes who defeated the Nazis and the Japanese or the Thank you for you service with which we appropriately greet our veterans today.  They were the last troops to be drafted and the first of the All Volunteer military we have today.

Ironically, being a veteran has once again become a political asset–Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan are all treated with respect.

According to the  American War Library, on February 28, 2019:

As of this date The American War Library estimates that approximately 610,000 Americans who served on land in Vietnam or in the air over Vietnam between 1954 and 1975 are alive today. And approximately 164,000 Americans who served at sea in Vietnam waters are alive today.

Vietnam Vets die at a rate of 390 a day. So please thank a Vietnam Vet while there are still some left to thank.

Swimming Pool Etiquette: 5 Easy Things To Remember

please shower before entering pool1.  Take a Shower. We’re supposed to take a shower before the entering the pool.  Most of us know that but not everyone practices that behavior.   If you have just finished your gym workout, and going to the pool or the hot tub is your reward, then you need a shower.

2.  Wear a bathing suit or at least a clean substitute. Last week several co-eds took it one step further.  They not only didn’t shower, but they went into the jacuzzi  with their workout clothes still on.  One can only hope that the chlorine in the hot tub was strong enough 1) to kill the germs and 2)  eat through some of the lycra so that the girls got a lesson why this was not a good idea.

lanes in a swimming pool3.  Share a lane.  If the pool lanes are full and people are waiting, offer to share a lane with them.  Many pools have lanes that are wide enough to share.  However, you should be aware of the pool culture–some places you have to share, other places don’t encourage it, especially if there are more than two people per lane.  (I once belong to a gym that only had a few lanes and people had to swim the laps in circles based upon the self-decided pace of the swimmer.)

4.  If you are learning to swim and can safely stand in the lane you are in, please don’t ask someone to move so you can use the lane next to the side.  Obviously this rule does not apply it the water is too deep to safely stand up, or you are too afraid of the water if you can’t always keep one hand on the side of the pool.

5.  If you are not swimming  and are standing around chatting with some chums, people waiting at side of the poolplease don’t block the steps to the pool.  This is more  prevalent in outdoor pools than the one at the gym. Some pools have  designated loafers lane– hang out there.  A version of this is when you and your friend spend more time talking in side by side lanes than you do swimming.  If people are waiting, please be considerate and keep swimming or continue the conversation out of the water.


Happy National Spinach Day–March 26 , 2019

Strong to the finish

Popeye the Sailor Man is probably one of the most famous spinach eaters in the world.

National Spinach Day has a website dedicated to it.

If something is Florentine, Specifically, a dish prepared à la Florentine will feature some main ingredient, such as eggs, poultry or fish, served on a bed of spinach which has been cooked in butter, then topped with Mornay sauce and grated cheese, and finally browned under the broiler.

Have you tried spinach with Olive Oil? (Olive Oyl was Popeye’s sometime main squeeze in the comics  Most people don’t remember that she had a brother named Castor.)

Spinach is good raw in salads, cooked by itself, or mixed in Florentine dishes.

From Healthline:

By weight, spinach consists of 91.4% water, 3.6% carbs and 2.9% protein. There are 23 calories in 100 grams (3.5 oz) of spinach.

How do you eat your spinach?National Spinach Day

Aspiration Sunday

“Before you search for inspiration outside, dig for aspiration within.”

-The Little Mermaid, MMXIX

The Little Mermaid posted this on her blog today.

In Central Virginia, today is a bright sunny day with temps that will soar from the mid 30s to the mid  60s.  Spring is steadily advancing with birds singing, flowers blooming, and tree pollen rising (along with the temps).

What do you aspire to today?  I aspire for peace and contemplation.

Cardinal Point logoI want to sip wine outside in one of my favorite wineries, Cardinal Point.  Maybe their Green wine will be ready.  Green wine  is from the Portuguese Vinho Verde  (literally ‘green wine’)  that originated in the historic Minho Province in the far north of Portugal.  It is not a St. Patrick’s day wine (white wine colored green) but is wine made from young grapes. Picked before the regular wine harvest, it provides fresh wine that is drunk soon after bottling before the other wines are available.  It’s a perfect wine to sip on while enjoying the warm Spring sunshine.

If we have no love for ourselves then we have none to give others.  At what point does self love become hedonism? Is it when the ego rear’s its head, thumbs its chest and starts proclaiming how wonderful  it is?  Or is it when our love for ourselves or our needs tramples the love or concern we have for others?  Is spending the afternoon sipping a light wine  outside in a beautiful environment aspiration or hedonistic?

The day will evolve from soaking up the sun to soaking in some peace.  Our church is initiating a new service this evening, Taize Eucharest.  “A Taizé worship service involves sung and chanted prayers, meditation, a period of silence, liturgical readings, and icons. There is no preaching.”  It is ecumenical in nature.