Wednesday, January 26, 2005


It’s funny how words work. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is as simple as choosing the right word. Marketing folks know this. You might have the best product since the invention of dirt, but if you give it the wrong name it won’t ever get noticed or be successful. Something called “Glorp” just isn’t going to fly off the shelves, if you know what I mean, unless of course you’re trying to sell to juvenile boys (redundant), in which case it will be a smash hit. Conversely, you might have an average product, but if you give it the right name, folks will be more attracted to it. “Cheer” laundry detergent comes to mind. I mean, who couldn’t use a little cheer in their lives? Why, if you buy “Cheer” you’re getting more than a detergent, you’re getting happiness in a box!

Sometimes things start out with one name and then get switched to another. (CingulaVerizoSprint can’t be more than a few years away, can it?) This happens for a variety of reasons, but mostly to create a new identity for the same old product. A different name allows the consumer to think it’s “new and improved” even if it isn’t. (And if you think about it, it’s impossible for something to be both “new” and “improved” at the same time) Sometimes, this happens with people too.

Mrs. K. used to be the principal of the elementary school my kids attended. She was ditzy and pushy at the same time - a dangerous combination. You always got the feeling that she thought she knew how things should be done better than anyone else, and if you didn’t agree it’s because you just weren’t bright enough to “get it”. As a result, she tended to be a little condescending in her tone and manner. Even the kids picked up on this. By the time the Youngest Aardvark Child “graduated” from the elementary school, Mrs. K. had managed to get her PhD. She insisted that everyone refer to her as “Dr. K.”. Now, I understand being proud of your accomplishments and all, but she wore her degree like a 3 carat diamond on a newly engaged girl. Her title may have changed, but she was still the same ditzy, condescending woman. (Now with Extra Irritating Power!) I probably should avoid the “lipstick on a pig” analogy. (Oops! How did that get in here?)

Anyway, what got me to thinking about this was one of the afternoon talk shows I sometimes tune in on the radio. KLIF 570’s afternoon drive-time personality is a guy by the name of Greg Knapp. He’s an ok guy. He's sometimes given to hyperbole, but that’s the nature of the beast. He’s there to inform and entertain, and while some folks think the former should be predominant, in reality it’s the latter that keeps him on the air. Sometime in the last few months when I’ve been working late (and so have missed his show), he’s changed the name of the show from “The Greg Knapp Show” to “The Greg Knapp Experience”. Same topics, same format, same show, different name. I’m sure the reason for the change was to give his show a little extra hook. Some pop. Some pizzazz. For some reason, this change has had the opposite effect on me. If I tune in, I find myself changing the station as soon as I hear, “Thank you for being part of the Greg Knapp Experience.” Dude, I don’t WANT an experience, ok? You’re not that important. It’s a radio program, not performance art. Being part of the “Experience” makes it sound like I’m a groupie or something. Ewww. Not what I’m looking for in a talk show, thanks anyway. It's a completely emotional response, I know.

It’s funny how changing one little word can have such an impact on how we view things. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s important to understand the impact of how words are used to define the hot-button issues of our times. Like the definition of “marriage” or whether someone is “Pro-Life” or “Anti-Abortion”, or whether someone is an “undocumented worker” or an “illegal alien”. The terminology is important, because we react differently depending on which word is used.

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    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    The blog ate my homework

    Why is it that when you're in a hurry and don't type up your blog entry into Word, or Outlook, or whatever, that THAT is the time that Blogger chooses to go kablooey?

    So, anyway, THIS is the entry I was trying to post.


    Well, I finally broke down and did it. I shaved that pathetic excuse for a beard that had attached itself to my face. (Dang! I forgot to use my freeby Quattro razor when I did it, too!) I did keep the goatee part, though.

    Just in case you didn't notice the holes, here's an illustrated version. And that's the side of my face that has the most hair. The other side is even sparser.

    I did look pretty scroungy, that's true. And people were starting to ask if I had the mange. But neither of those are the reason I shaved. The real reason is that this week I'm supposed to start interviewing candidates for my new position. (Help is on the way...or so I've heard) I figured there was no reason to lose a good prospect because they were scared their new boss lived under a bridge or something.

    Anyway, just for grins I cut and pasted some hair into the holes to see what it would look like. (Mrs. A says the squares are what does it for her)

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    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Discussions with Dory

    Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

    So, we're sitting at the dinner table last night (first meal I've eaten with the family in weeks), and the Eldest Aardvark Child turns to me and says,

    "Did you hear that Johnny Carson died?"

    LittleA: "Yes, I did."

    EAC: "That's sad, huh?



    Who's Johnny Carson?"

    Mrs. A (laughing): "She probably doesn't know who Ed McMahan is either!"

    EAC: "Who?"

    LittleA: "Ed McMahon. He was the announcer and sort of emcee for the Tonight Show."

    EAC: "..."

    LittleA: "He was the guy who always started the show by saying 'Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny'!"

    EAC: "Johnny who?"

    I tell you, I can't make this stuff up.

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    Grand Re-Opening of the Aardvark Disco, Daycare and Plumbing Supply

    The day has finally arrived.

    I don't know whether you view it as a promise or a threat, but either way I'm baaaaack.

    My 1/20 deadline was pushed due to some outside influences and so my new deadline was today. I wrapped things up about 6:00 last night. I am so excited that I'll actually get to go home while it's still daylight. The rest of the family is still just a little skeptical, and rightly so, preferring to believe it when they see it.

    And to top off the greatness that is today, it's the first day of my boss' three month leave of absence. She's delivering a boy by C-section this afternoon. So that leaves me with very little oversight and even less motivation.

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    Monday, January 17, 2005

    More Beard-blogging

    Day 10 and from 15 feet away, it just looks like I have a dirty face. (My plan is working!) In addition to the blank spots in my "beard", much of it is red or blond, which doesn't do much to improve the look, especially when it's short.

    Yesterday was the first day that it felt like it might start laying down instead of poking straight out. (Key word: "Might".)

    Anyway here's the picture.

    This is either my "Was that my outside voice?" look or my "Your standing on my foot!" look.

    Or maybe my "What are you looking for in a used car?" look. I don't know.

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    Friday, January 14, 2005

    Still popular in Atlanta, I'm sure

    William Tecumseh Aardvark

    Thanks to Dave Helton via Big Daddy Possum. (Who else?)

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    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Proving once again

    The old axiom: Be Careful What You Ask For.

    As we all know, you just might get it.

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    Monday, January 10, 2005

    [insert title here]

    Well, let's see ...

    I figure I'm about due to post something just so you folks will have something different to stare at at the top of the page.

    I'm still alive.

    And still under a 1/20/05 deadline. Let's just say if I don't make some spectacular progress tomorrow, that date could be in jeopardy.

    I plan on making spectacular progress.

    You know how some athletes (and other assorted odd-balls) set a goal and say that if they meet it they'll shave their heads? Or maybe how sometimes they'll refuse to bathe until they meet the goal? (the 1978 MASH episode "The Smell of Music" with Charles' French Horn, for instance)

    Yeah, well I'm not doing either of those.

    What I have decided to do is to try to grow a full beard. I sported a moustache for many years, and then I had about a four or five year stretch with the obligatory goatee. (expressing my individuality by looking like everyone else, naturally) But I've never had a full beard. I tried once before, but only made it about two weeks before I got so scruffy that even I couldn't stand looking at me. (and that's saying something)

    But that's not the biggest obstacle. The biggest obstacle is that I have a round spot on both cheeks (on the face folks, stay with me here) that doesn't contain but just a handful of those manly-beard-type follicles necessary to grow something that doesn't look like you had a shaving accident, or like an alien put crop circles in your beard while you were sleeping, or, well, just plain stupid. (like those mutton-chop sideburn thingies that were all the rage for a while back in the 70s. What were they thinking?)

    Every time I try to picture my face with a beard, those two blank spots on my face have always gotten in the way. Unless I want to get real creative, but then I'd wind up with something effete or pretentious or affected or just plain stupid. (It always comes back to that, doesn't it?) Or worse yet, all of the above.

    Anyway, I figure as long as I'm working so many hours, I might as well extract some oblique passive-aggressive revenge on my co-workers. Why should I be the only one to suffer? That plus I was just too lazy to shave this weekend. This morning I had a choice of battling four days of growth or just saying "Eh, whatever." It will come as no surprise to those who know me best that I selected the second option.

    I guess I could get Mrs. A to take a picture every four or five days so y'all could track the progress, but then that would require downloading and copying and uploading and that sounds an awful lot like work to me. (Maynard G. Krebbs lives!)

    We'll see.

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    Tuesday, January 04, 2005

    This Space For Rent

    Okay, not really.

    (Unless I get a really great offer, that is)

    As you were.

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