Archive for February, 2012

Good Riddance Swear Jar (Hello Elegance)

Awhile back (before Christmas) I was in a store and I overheard a conversation between a customer and the cashier. I was surprised how many times I heard the word sh*t used by both of them. Waiting for a bus I heard a couple guys standing outside a restaurant (one of them worked there not sure about the other one) and the part of their conversation I overheard consisted of: G-d bleep that mother bleep John is the most laid back bleeper in this whole bleeping town. On the bus on the way home, I heard several more words (F-word, N-word, B-word, and a few others).

I don’t consider myself a prude when it comes to foul language but there are times when it should be avoided: if you are representing a business or company, in mixed company (any situation that you don’t know everyone present) or in front of children. (as with any “rules” I’m sure there are exceptions).

We (Deb and I) were thinking that maybe certain words were slipping into our causal conversations. Like many other people, we thought about using a cuss jar (every time you swear you have to put money in the jar). Problem with a cuss jar is that you don’t carry it about with you all day and by the time you get home you can’t remember if you should toss in a quarter or your whole paycheck…

So we came up with a better solution than a jar (that is never around when you need it). We call it the ELEGANT SOLUTION. We simply let friends and family know that if they catch us using an offensive word all they have to do is say ELEGANCE and upon hearing that word we have to rephrase the entire sentence that contained the offending word. It’s that simple, seems everyone enjoys saying elegance. We do have exceptions that we can call to keep from rephrasing, example: stubbing my toe on the coffee table, or the guy really was an A$$H*LE! (as long as it wasn’t in front of kids).

We have been doing this for a few months now and we have noticed a few things, we catch ourselves (often before an offense has been made, and we don’t really swear as much as we thought (or it’s become so casual that we never catch it).

When someone says elegance we don’t have rephrase the sentence using big, fancy or sophisticated words, we just have to lose the offending word or words. The whole idea is just to get you to thinking about what you are saying.

So good riddance swear jar and hello elegance.

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Lanark by Alasdair Gray

Lanark: A Life in 4 BooksLanark: A Life in 4 Books by Alasdair Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(NOT A CAUSAL LIGHT READ!)

I often compare books to food, some are snacks, meals, a feast, etc. Lanark: A Life in 4 Books is a carnivores dream, this book is all meat. It’s 560 pages of metaphors, similes, and a twisted reality that will give your brain plenty to chew on for a long time. Lanark is part fantasy and part biography that took Alasdair Gray nearly 30 years to write. The story is told out of order (book 3 is at the beginning), and the Epilogue comes before the last 4 chapters, yet the story flows perfectly.

Alasdair Gray has masterfully created a bizarre fantasy world that is so tightly wrapped around reality that the two become one. I found the story totally unpredictable.. It has a dark, and bleak feel to it, but somehow it manages to keep a spark of hope throughout the book.

The main character isn’t very likable, but I found myself caring for him (or at least what happens to him) and understanding him. As for the other characters it’s more about understanding what they represented. The fact is everything in this book is a representation of some aspect of life. I’m still having Ah-ha moments where I’m putting it all together. I won’t give details simply because I don’t want to ruin any of it.

Lanark: A Life In 4 Books is one of the best novels of our time. The title says it all (this book is about life).

View all my reviews