participating in the process

Good Shepherd Hemet logoYou may recall that I am part of the profile committee at Good Shepherd Episcopal, which is responsible for the first step in calling our new rector. I thought perhaps I had been dropped from the committee, as a member of the vestry (the governing board) announced a few weeks ago that the vestry had approved the members of that committee and I had heard nothing. But on a recent Sunday the Senior Warden (board president) asked me what days worked and what days didn’t for me to meet. We had our first meeting last week. It was a video meeting with the Canon (clergy assistant to the bishop) for Transitional Ministries.

The process is very clear and set out. I thought there might be nothing for me to do on the committee, as the other four members are all long-time members with strong personalities. But as it turns out, my role is to be the point person for access to the online Church Assessment Tool (CAT), which is a survey of the parish. That’s a good role for me, computer geek that I am.

It will be an interesting process.

Sacred Music Friday: Psalm 150

The Saint Paul Cathedral Choir, Psalm 150 at Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

using necessity to enhance convenience

ice dispenserWe bought a new refrigerator last October as the thermostat on the one that came with the house gave out and the refrigerator was running nonstop. The ice dispenser on the new fridge has always been wonky, behaving in erratic ways. I have often thought about calling for service on this, but never did.

Recently the door latch on our dryer disintegrated so I had to call for service. Since they were going to be here anyway I asked them to look at the ice dispenser as well. It was still under warranty, and they  replaced the whole module in the freezer door.

The ice dispenser now is responsive and works well. Should have done that a long time ago.



I joined Pinterest. I know, Pinterest is not supposed to be a guy thing, and in fact I did not actively go to the Pinterest web site and sign up.

What happened is this. I was looking on Google for something very specific. I wanted to know the proper cooking time for kabobs on my NuWave oven. I was on Google because there are no kabob recipes in my NuWave cookbook. I found exactly what I was looking for and clicked the link. Google took me to Pinterest, which demanded that I sign up. Since they allowed sign-up via Facebook I did so. Only to discover that the recipe wasn’t there.

However, when I signed up for Pinterest it wanted me to specify my interests. I focused on food and cooking topics. So now when I go to the Pinterest home page I am met with all kinds of interesting recipes.

Given the nature of the current election cycle, I am greatly reducing the amount of time I spend on Facebook, not to mention following the news. Despite my attempts to adjust Facebook settings to avoid posts about the angry hamster, I see those posts far more often than I would like. The only solution is to spend less time on Facebook.

I can spend that time on Pinterest instead looking at interesting, intriguing recipes.

My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.



we’re a welcoming group

One of the things I love about my Toastmasters group is that we’re a welcoming bunch. Visitors are received with open arms.

Often visitors are asked to come up and speak in the Table Topics impromptu part of the meeting. We tend to give visitors preference in voting for best Table Topics. Last week a visitor gave a very nice Table Topics speech and indeed got best Table Topics.

ToastmastersThe week before, we had a speech contest – different from our usual format. I managed and hosted the contest. We had Table Topics, but there were no ballots to vote for the best. However, our president, Hans, did leave out a ribbon for Best Table Topics.

A visitor gave a great Table Topics speech. Al, our Table Topics manager for the day, said “We don’t have ballots or ribbons today, but we wanted to show you what Table Topics was about.”

I came back up to the front and said, “We don’t have ballots today, but we do have ribbons,” and gave the best Table Topics ribbon to our visitor. Our president said to me, “Good job.”

I love my Toastmasters club.

“we don’t have nothing to hide” or double negatives, part 2

Not long ago I wrote about double negatives. I said that we usually think double negatives cancel each other out, but that there is a school of thought that says that a double negative can be used for emphasis. I didn’t remember my source, but after I had written that blog entry and had it queued up for publication I began a course from The Great Courses entitled English Grammar Boot Camp. The instructor, Anne Curzan, discusses this in detail.

Curzan says that while there are sentences in English where the negatives do in fact cancel each other out, a double, or multiple, negative is also frequently used for emphasis. Similar to my “I didn’t do nuthin’” example, she uses the example, “We don’t have nothing to hide.” She says it is clear that the meaning is “We have nothing to hide,” and not “We have something to hide.”

multiple negationShe points out that double negatives used for emphasis can be found in Chaucer. She tells us that you can find double negatives for emphasis in Shakespeare. In As You Like It, Celia says: “I cannot go no further.”

Curzan says that she has two answers when someone says, “But when you multiply two negatives you get a positive,” to support the idea that two negatives in a sentence cancel each other out.

  1. “Language is not math.”
  2. “OK fine, let’s do math. If you have two negatives in math and you add them, what do you get? You actually get a bigger negative.”

So if we listen to the defendant on the witness stand saying “I didn’t do nuthin’” in that cartoon, I guess we’re going to have to acquit.


Sacred Music Friday: Gloria

David Thorne, Gloria, the choir of St Albans Cathedral, from Mass of St Thomas

that’s a brand?

I wrote a while back about a Hispanic-focused food company called FUD. I said that such a company name looked odd in the Anglo world of business and marketing. That’s because in that context FUD means “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” It’s what your competitors want to instill in your customers about your products. But in the world of Hispanic food products, FUD = food, and that’s how it’s pronounced.

bimboSimilarly, if you live in an area with a large Hispanic population, such as we have here in Southern California, you will see delivery trucks with the label “Bimbo Breads.”

Say what?

The name of the company comes from the combination of the words “bingo” and “Bambi” (at least according to Wikipedia) and the mascot is a cute (I suppose) white bear that slightly resembles the Pillsbury Doughboy. “The English word bimbo, with its negative connotations, has no cognate in Spanish,” says Wikipedia.

Bimbo is now the largest bakery company in the United States. The actual Bimbo brand is only marketed to the Hispanic community. But Bimbo Bakeries USA brands include:

  • EarthGrains breads
  • Nature’s Harvest breads
  • D’ Italiano breads
  • Ballpark hot dog buns
  • Entenmann’s pastries
  • Francisco breads
  • Oroweat breads
  • Sara Lee breads and products
  • Thomas English muffins and bagels

You have to read the fine print on the product Web sites to see that these brands are part of the  Bimbo family. And in fact Bimbo does not manufacture all of those brands in every region. As part of the purchase of Sara Lee in 2011, Bimbo had to sell brands in certain regions. For example, in 2013 Bimbo licensed the Sara Lee and EarthGrains brands in California to Flowers Foods.

It’s a weird, weird world of marketing today.


Food Network conventions

Food Network logoCooking shows on Food Network generally have a particular convention. There has to be some kind of plot or story. Someone is coming over to visit, or there is some sort of activity, or whatever. For example, on Valerie’s Home Cooking friends and/or relatives are coming over for dinner. Or on Pioneer Woman the boys have a football game or the girls have soccer. On Farmhouse Rules Nancy is organizing a community dinner.

Recently Guy Fieri’s show, Guy’s Big Bites, started its new season. He’s just cooking. He’s just demonstrating recipes. No plot line. He may talk and chatter with a guest, but it’s all about cooking. It’s all about that day’s menu.

That’s the way it should be done.

much ado about nothing

I spent the greater part of a recent morning getting my knickers in a knot over nothing.

I had just started a new course from The Great Courses entitled English Grammar Boot Camp. The instructor displayed a sentence which the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary sent to their usage panel to get panel member views as to whether the construction was acceptable. The sentence read:

Aptitude is essential; but equally as important is the desire to learn.

The question revolved around the use of “equally as important” in the sentence, the idea being that it might be better to streamline the sentence by writing “equally important.” However, I fixated on the words after the semicolon, thinking that they did not constitute an independent clause. I composed a rant for the blog on my business web site, describing how that bothered me, and citing the Chicago Manual of Style chapter and verse. Chicago takes the position that the phrase to the right of a semicolon must be an independent clause.

But wait. There’s a problem here. “equally as important is the desire to learn” is an independent clause. It is a sort of backwards Yoda English (“Much to learn you still have.”) that does not stand well on its own, but it is an independent clause nonetheless. Remove the “as.” “Equally important is the desire to learn.”

Subject the desire to learn
Verb is
Predicate equally important

Now there is a comparative (“equally important”) that does not have a referent, which is not good syntax, but grammatically this is an independent clause.

I wasted a morning on a rant I was wrong about.

In the words of Miss Emily Latella, “Oh, that’s very different. Never mind.”