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Friday, February 29, 2008

Spell Check Over-ride

A was perusing Paul's blog profile the other day. (OK- that even sounds weird to me) The truth is, I have become interested in the movies and books that friends of mine enjoy. Anyway, in looking at Paul's favorite books I ran across an intriguing title: "The Price of Tides". Hmmmm. I immediately wrote Paul a note asking exactly how much Tide cost these days. After all, I may be the next contestant on the Price is Right. What fascinates me is that Paul is just the kind of guy to deliberately misspell a word in a title for effect. In fact, Charlotte pointed out that there were several other bloggers who listed the "Price of Tides" as a personal favorite. Interesting.
It occurs to me, that whether deliberate or by accident, the devices that we employ to make us appear smarter are not without their limitations. If I were writing my friend the following sentences, all would check out as correct:
"Let's attend the meet together"
"Let's tend the meat together"
One is apparently an invitation to the track, while the other is clearly an excuse to burn meat over an open flame while consuming cold beer. Both sound like fun no matter how they are spelled.
What is your misspelling story?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brief Glimpses

For you parents of daughters, see if you have experienced anything like this. My 11 year old, Meredith, walked into the room last night and looked like a young lady. It was not her clothing or hair or anything on the surface. Rather it was a dignified poise that gave her a certain air of maturity. And in my mind, for a moment, she was all grown up. Then she turn around, bumped into the door jam and fell on the floor.

We laughed together, and my brief premonition was gone. And thank God. I'm not ready for her to grow up, just yet.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Letters From Dad

I recently joined a project team. No, not at the office, working on some meaningless plan to reduce interoffice mail. Or to create an award system for employees who keep their desk in order and monitors clean. This is actually a project team through my church, with the intention of building a written legacy for my family.

Letters From Dad is a movement that was started in Texas several years back by Greg Vaughn. He poses the question to men everywhere, "If you died today, what could your children hold in their hands that would let them know that they were the treasure of your heart?" Wow, a powerful and slightly morose question. However, think about it. What do you have, which is tangible and lasting, that tells you how your father feels about you and what was/is most important in his life? His expectations, his dreams, his faith. My father is still with us but even so, if you are like me, I have memories of distant conversations and nothing more. That's the power of letters from Dad.

I have been given four assignments:
  1. Write a letter to my wife (I just completed this and it was a Valentines hit, I tell you)
  2. Write a letter to each of my children
  3. Write a letter to my parents
  4. Write a "legacy" letter, only to be opened upon my death

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress. With my first assignment completed, I'm now focusing my efforts on the letters to each of the girls. The point is not to stop with the letters above, but to keep it going for a lifetime. As a man, I find it frightening to completely lay myself out there in a letter, but if the results are anything like Leslie's response last week, then I'll continue to do just that.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Children Succeed Despite Us

I am convinced that despite my best effort to be a misguided parent, my children will succeed. As for a recent example, Jenna was given an assignment to create a solar system which was to be 3-dimensional and show movement of the planets. Now, I suppose that's a great project for a 9 year old. I, however, didn't have to build a solar system until I was in 7th grade. And even then, my project amounted to nothing more than a shoebox with some rubber balls in it. To top it off, that year George Nicholson created the coolest science project ever! A guide to "Edible Plants of SC". George would go on to take top honors for that project and live off the land for the remainder of middle school! So I suppose in a way, Jenna's project was my chance to make things right with the universe and to redeem myself for creating such a cut-rate project.

So, as all parents sometimes do, I went into take charge mode. I strongly suggested several ways that we could get things started. All of my ideas centered around a complex system of pulleys, strings and paint. Sort of a big mobile with planets and moons. To keep this story reasonably short, suffice it to say that my youngest daughter had her own ideas. It didn't involve paint (she preferred paper mache), it didn't involve string (she preferred wires), and it didn't involve a mobile (she preferred a stand). Upon the insistance of my very wise wife, I finally listened to Jenna and we followed her plan. And if the truth be known, her idea was absolutely the best. The paper mached balls looked like asteroid pummeled planets and the stand and wires displayed their position wonderfully. She could even rotate the planets with her little finger while it was on the display stand.

And so, I stand humbled and quite pleased with the whole affair. For despite my own ideas regarding this assignment, Jenna's were better. Not too unlike the "Edible Plants" project of so long ago.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The "Your name" is Challenge

OK. I've been tagged to participate in a challenge. The game is simple: Do an internet search on my name, including the word "is". (ie: "Alan is") Then report a few of the captions that come up, and include a picture from the search. So here is the nonsense that I got back from this effort. Mmmmmm, Frankfurters...
  • Alan is Ai's pattern-matching chatbot, presented here to demonstrate the limitations of current conversational technology.

  • Alan is a fictional character on the ABC Network television series Boston Legal, played by James Spader.

  • Alan is the Felix Frankfurter Professor at Harvard Law School.

I'd especially like to see Jay Kirk and Todd Vick do this one.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What's in a name?

As someone who goes by my middle name, I am very aware of the difficulties that can arise because of a name. For example, I have a friend named Gregory Lloyd. As you can guess, often his name is inverted to Lloyd Gregory, which I suppose would be fine. However, the name Lloyd is up there on the popularity scale of, say, Larry. Or perhaps, Rupert.

Whatever your personal preference, names often add complexity to our professional lives. Nobody can find Richard A. Green in a phonemail system when they only knew you as the blonde guy named Alan. So, a quick switch of the name, Alan.R.Green, and well- there you go. Now I have ensured that anyone who actually knows my real name (in the correct order) will never find me. What's a feller to do?

I suppose I can just be glad my name isn't Lloyd. ( apologies to my old friend Rev. Brewer. You'll always be the best of the Lloyds, to me)