Not The Target Market

Monthly Archive: February 2016

Maps and Apps

car-on-map_webThe scene: I am bent over the table with my glasses off – the better to see with – and my nose in a book of maps trying to trace a route. Why is it that no matter what I am looking for on a map, it is always in the spine or spilling off the edge. Never, ever can I remember my destination being smack in the middle of the page, clearly laid out and with lots of unobstructed detail. Never.

The Son walks up behind me and says: “You know, they make an app for that.”


Their Shame is their Glory


I was particularly struck by several of the lines in the second reading (St. Paul to the Philippians 3:17-4:1) at Mass this weekend. His words seem tailor-made for this strange and caustic political season:

For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is their destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is their “shame.” Their minds are occupied with earthly things.

I have always disliked politics. I seem to be disliking them a lot more this year. I couldn’t even bear to have any of the “real” candidates illustrate this post.  Red and blue, it’s all noise and egos. It is all politicians and no statesmen. And furthermore these politicians aren’t even very good at being politicians. (more…)

What Does a Smile Cost?

Models on CatwalkHad dinner with The Model last night. She asked my opinion on some detail of the charity fashion show she is arranging. I had to confess to her that I have never in my whole life been to a fashion show and while I have seen shots of some of the Paris or Milan shows, I didn’t think the country club she was using was going to run to that kind of stage. When she expressed surprise at the hole in my life experience, I said “Surely it’s obvious that I have no clue, no understanding whatsoever about fashion.”

“But you subscribe to Vogue,” she said.

Ah that. Well, thankfully I don’t subscribe any longer. I once subscribed because I had some frequent flier miles which were going to expire and I was offered the chance to get some magazines. There weren’t many to choose from that I was even vaguely interested in. They mostly appeared to be things like Cigar Collector or Money or Nascar Today, things which people who are convinced that they are about to lose their frequent flier milers and determined to get something for them, might be tempted to take. I already have armloads of paper to recycle at the dump each weekend without adding more to the pile, and was about to pass. Then I noticed that Vogue was on offer and it occurred to me that perhaps this was a chance to figure out the world of fashion at no cost. (more…)

Ring Around the Rosary?

Daisy Heart

There is absolutely no evidence for what I am about to explain. I repeat: as far I know, this is NOT true and you need to know that from the beginning. I hope you’ll want it to be true, that you’ll be amazed by both its simplicity and its logic, and feel that I must have overlooked something somewhere. The other possibility is that you will react just like my undergraduate students when I forced them to read something about linguistics: They complained bitterly that it all was ridiculously esoteric and had no application to “real life”. My standard answer for that is reality is highly overrated. (more…)

A Collision in Time

writing_womanSome years ago I mused on the idea of starting a column – this was in the days before blogs. I would call it “Musings of a Medieval Mind.” I ended up deciding against the column because, upon reflection, it seemed I would be accused of burning witches, hating my own sex, and ridiculing science. And all this before anyone read a word beyond the title.

I still could, and no doubt will, be completely misunderstood and accused of all of that and more in this new venture, but I am hopeful that it will happen a little farther into the project.
However, right here, upfront, let me state categorically that I think burning witches is the antithesis of what a civilized person does; that my best and dearest friends are women; and that while I don’t find science as fascinating, as say, someone smashing up particles in Cern would, I have no objection to it. In fact, far from objecting, I am very grateful for some of the results such as antibiotics, anesthetics and indoor plumbing. (more…)