Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Two cartoons today are related to speech titles















The December 6, 2023 F Minus cartoon by Tony Carrillo shows what might be a TED Talk speaker proclaiming:


“Hello, and welcome to my megahit sold-out lecture,

  ‘Everyone Who Disagrees with You Is a Liar or a Fool’.”






















And the December 6, 2023 Pearls Before Swine cartoon by Stephan Pastis has the following four frames:


Rat: [Sitting behind the counter with a sign advertising Good Advice for Losers]

Goat: Do you honestly expect to attract customers with a sign like that?

Rat: [rewrites the sign]

Rat: [Sitting behind the counter with a sign now saying Great Advice for Losers]


A superlative like great always is better than merely saying good.


The cartoon man was modified from this image at Wikimedia Commons.



Tuesday, December 5, 2023

I’m sorry, but you have reached the wrong number




















Back when I lived in Columbus, Ohio I had to change the message on my answering machine. An insurance company opened a drive-up center for handling automobile claims about a third of a mile from my apartment. They had a phone number almost identical to mine. Only the very last digit differed by one. Even so, I had one woman call again when I was home, and insisted that she had been told to call my number. I politely said, no, you were told to call a very similar number.


When I was in high school in Pittsburgh, one of my sister Ellen’s friends, had a similar problem – but no answering machine. Tammi did her homework at their kitchen table, near the wall phone. A pizza parlor had opened with a phone number that also only was one last digit different from her family’s. After a few days she quit trying to have a polite conversation and redirect those constant callers. Tammi just started ‘taking’ their pizza orders.      


The cartoon of a man on the phone came from Wikimedia Commons


Monday, December 4, 2023

Is the $30 FiVFIVGO Molecular Microwave Vehicle De-Icer (Heatwolf) just a $6 car air freshener?





















Yes. Sometimes a gadget seems too good to be true, and is. An article by Jonathan Jarry at the McGill Office for Science and Society on November 24, 2023  is titled Is this gadget a scam? He discusses a gadget called the Fivfigo PRO Electromagnetic Molecular Interference Antifreeze Snow Removal Instrument, which is described on this web page. Jonathan discusses how to look at the description and other information to see whether it is reasonable or not. He has sections titled:


Extraordinary claims

Birds of a feather

Insert business address here

Like and share

The one thing it doesn’t fail is the smell test


But they also sell another one described here, and here and shown above. It looks suspiciously like an air freshener that can sit in a cup holder.  Supposedly it works without being connected to any external source of power!


That web page for the Heatwolf says the following nonsense:


“A professional research and development team has found through experiments that microwaves with frequencies similar to the vibration and rotation frequencies of water molecules can affect the physical properties of water molecules. This means they can actively oscillate even at temperatures around freezing point.


In addition, our independently developed special energy substance, when exposed to microwave radiation, accelerates molecular diffusion, combines with the air molecules in the vehicle, promotes the intense movement of the air molecules and generates considerable energy, thereby achieving the remarkable phenomenon of ice formation, whether inside or outside the vehicle is avoided.


The University of Tokyo's Microwave and Radio Frequency Laboratory, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Molecular Materials Laboratory, has provided technical support for this research and its civil applications, making the technology originally developed for aerospace a reality is. I hope this cutting-edge science and technology can help everyone overcome the challenges of ice and snow and make travel more enjoyable.


The microwave defrosting instrument is not only practical, but also has an attractive and stylish appearance, which makes it an excellent decoration in the vehicle.


Not only does it add a touch of style to the car's interior, but it also fits perfectly with different models. Whether it is a luxury sedan, an off-road SUV or an economical vehicle, this defroster can be integrated into the vehicle and adds sophisticated decoration to the entire interior. Its design details and sleek lines complement the exterior design of modern vehicles and demonstrate attention to detail and sophisticated craftsmanship.”









































The web page also includes two completely different (and contradictory) exploded views of the Heatwolf, which are shown above.  The case has three pieces: a slotted lid, top, and bottom. But one view has a stack of seven more components inside, while the other just has a cylinder labeled ointment.


Another web page at Amazon says it costs just $6 and more believably that:


“It Can Simply And Quickly Freshen Your Air Without Any Adverse Effects On The Human Body.”  


There is also an article by Thomas Orsolya at MALWARETIPS on September 25, 2023 titled HEATWOLF Vehicle Deicing Instrument: Miracle or Scam?


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Talking on Eggshells by Sam Horn is an interesting and useful book





















I have been reading the 2023 book by Sam Horn titled Talking on Eggshells: Soft Skills for Hard Conversations There is a five-minute YouTube video by her about this book. It is both interesting and useful. At the end of each chapter there is a Reminder Card with Words to Lose and Words to Use. For example, the preview at Google Books lists these seven:


Page 18 What to Do When Talking on Eggshells

Page 31 Developing Interpersonal Situational Awareness

Page 43 Setting an Example of Proactive Grace

Page 50 P.L.A.N. for Challenging Conversations

Page 63 What to Do If People Are Being Rude

Page 75 What to Do When People Are Disagreeing

Page 83 What to Do When People Are Blaming and Shaming


P.L.A.N. is an abbreviation for:


P - Put Your Purpose in One Sentence

L- Learn their P.I.N.

A - Anticipate Resistance and Make It Moot

N - Name a New Direction




























Two more cards with examples not in the preview about being afraid to speak up and being nervous are shown above.


The drawing by Charles Garabed Atamian came from Wikimedia Commons.


Thursday, November 30, 2023

How NOT to be a Thought Leader
















At Medium on November 28, 2023 there is a silly article by Caroline Tran titled How To Create Differentiated Public Speaking Articles (And Stand Out As A Result). She claims that saying something different is one part of being a Thought Leader. Her example is:


“How to get rid of your ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’?

Give away $10 per ‘um.’ 5 ums? That’s $50. 10 ums? That’s $100. 15 ums? That’s $150. Make it physically painful to say ‘ums’ and ‘ahs.’ Notice how this instantly stands out from the crowd. Nobody has said it before. It’s completely novel. And because of that, you no longer occupy the category of a ‘follower’ saying the same things as everybody else – you’ve instead started to tap into the category of a ‘thought leader’ sharing unique ideas and shaping the industry itself.”


However, paying for having said filler words is neither new nor novel. And, it’s financially painful rather than physically painful (like a slap in the face). The only novel thing in Ms. Tran’s article is the large amount. Toastmaster club meetings have a role called the Ah Counter, which is discussed by Kate McClure in the June 2021 issue of Toastmaster magazine in an article on page 13 titled Counting on the Ah-Counter. Back on May 25, 2009 I blogged about Like, You-Know: Ah, Um, Er. In that post I stated that:


“…In our club the counter reports the results. Some clubs [like Hardhat Toastmasters] also levy a fine of 5 cents per filler word (with a maximum of 25 cents) to act as a friendly reminder.”


Another club, Encinitas Toastmasters, has a payment of twenty-five cents to their Piggy. And Madrid Toastmasters has a payment of a tenth of a Euro (currently eleven cents).


The LinkedIn profile for Carol Tran (with a thumbnail image matching one in that Medium article) says she is in Sydney Australia, and has been a Toastmaster since August 2020. If she had dug deeper, then she could have found those articles. How much is $150 Australian? About $99.20 U.S.


What do I have to say about the phrase “thought leader?” I thought I was a leader, but I’m not!


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Glossophobia might mean a fear of waxing your car to a high gloss










On May 6, 2022 I blogged about Who popularized the word glossophobia? What is a better Plain English alternative? In that post I said glossophobia was a pseudo-technical term better replaced with the plain English term speech fright.


Back on July 8, 2009 I blogged about how Glossophobia might as well mean the fear of waxing your car to a high gloss, and showed an image of a camouflaged car.


Earlier this month I saw another camouflaged car outside of the Union Station in Ogden, Utah. While I was photographing that Mercedes, a man told me his friend’s car previously had been painted black. Then he got tired of keeping that vehicle glossy, had a vinyl vehicle wrap put over it, and thus cured his glossophobia.   


Sunday, November 26, 2023

That sometimes just is a filler word











There is an interesting article by Sam Knight at Pikes Peak Writers on November 14, 2023 titled “That” as a Filler Word. He describes how that, which can be an adjective, adverb, definite article, or pronoun also can just be a filler word. Ask yourself whether taking it out of a sentence changes the meaning. The list shown above has five examples from articles or blog posts about filler words.


One came from a post by Jennifer Bartram at the UKBodyTalk blog on June 5, 2023 titled How filler words are barriers to effective communication:


“Estimates suggest that the average speaker uses a ‘filler word’ every 12 seconds, but overuse of ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and other words or sounds can be a real barrier to effective communication.”


A second came from an article at Indeed on November 21, 2022 titled What are filler words? (Examples and how to avoid them):


“Used as an alternative to silence, filler words let you know that you have more to say, even if you need a moment before you continue.”


A third came from another post by S. Colby at the Resound blog on March 18, 2022 titled What are filler words? (11 Super Common Words):


“In other words, there’s clear evidence that not all filler words are bad.”


And a fourth came from yet another article by Joel Schwatrzberg in the Toastmaster magazine on pages 14 and 15 of the February 2019 issue titled Drop Those Crutches:


“Like your sophomore year of high school, pauses are so uneventful that they are quickly forgotten.”


Fifth, that even is a filler word in a sentence in the Ah-Counter Script and Log (#675A) from Toastmasters International:


“Greetings Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and guests. The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note words and sounds that are used as a ‘crutch’ or ‘pause filler' by anyone who speaks. During the meeting, I will listen for overused words, including and, well, but, so, and you know. I will also listen for filler sounds, including ah, um, and er. I will also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase, such as ‘I, I’ or ‘This means, this means.’ At the end of the meeting, I will report the number of times that each speaker used these expressions…”  











There also are many occasions where that is useful, such as in metaphors. Eight examples shown above came from Chapter 5 of Dr. Mardy Gothe’s 2008 book I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like.