The New Yorker recently featured an article by Jonah Lehrer called “Groupthink,” subtitled “The brainstorming myth.” To some, it will come as no surprise to learn “It doesn’t work.” That’s the pronouncement from academia (Yale, Washington U, Northwestern, Berkeley, Harvard), which has studied the classic good-vibes-only brainstorm technique originated by Alex Osborn, a partner in […]
Ever since I won the weekly Vocabulary Bee four weeks running in fourth grade, I’ve been pretty smug about my conversance with lexical arcana. So, I was impressed when *Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus introduced me to a new and tasty word, velleity: Wishy-Washy Word of the Day: velleity You know all those things that you’ve always […]
You can’t swing a dead sprig of mistletoe these days without coming across a witty disquisition on holiday-season language (my favorite so far: see below*, but only after you’ve read mine). Never one to compete with the experts, I am taking, instead, very broad aim at a very broad term: tradition. And then, because nobody […]
My Mom is hanging in the Museum of Modern Art: the Monica Lane story from publicity glossies to Pop Art.
Seasonality is a big deal in Northern California. We greedily anticipate the first Gravenstein apples, the olive crush, the almond blossoms, the salmon runs, the chanterelles under the oaks. Perhaps because there’s not all that much of a change of seasons around the San Francisco Bay, we fetishize the farmer’s market as our connection to […]
Business-speak seems to spawn imaginative metaphorical meanings for compound words. We have turnkey solutions to bandwidth issues and roadmaps to implementing backend gateways; we have sales pipelines and streamlined workflows and software toolkits and downstream upsells. Lately, we have been seeing some compound word metaphors that leave even Content Bureau eggheads with a bit of a headache…
Is it a stretch to see parallels between shingling a wall and writing copy? You be the judge.
The summer solstice is upon us, and I am in drippy, humid New York City, visiting family. My nephew’s cologne sits on the bathroom sink, begging to be spritzed. Weekend by Burberry: it smells of cut grass and grapefruit and vodka tonics. Or is it vodka gimlets? I cast a gimlet eye on 21-year-olds feeling […]
How does the most elemental of foods become the stuff of specialty markets? A thriving California family farm has thoughtfully plotted that course for the past 75 years. “Rice has a very long history of supporting humanity,” says Grant Lundberg, third-generation rice farmer in northern California’s Sacramento Valley and CEO of Lundberg Family Farms. “About […]
Everybody who follows the news knows what a “levee” is nowadays, between Hurricane Katrina and the current flooding on the Mississippi, but it was once a prime example of regional language.