Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Buzzwords (Issue #139)

I like buzzwords. You know, those words that define some newish concept that makes a splash when it enters our culture. But I’m the kind of guy who is often unclear on the meaning of newish concepts. They’re usually related to technology or business, areas in which my knowledge is somewhat behind the curve (<—buzzphrase!).

When hi-tech or business pioneers blaze a new buzzword-worthy path, I’m the guy waiting at the juncture where it diverged from the old path. I’m content to hang around until the paving crew comes by to turn it into a serviceable road.

In the meantime, most of society is whizzing along those paths, using wonderful-sounding words like “synergy” and “paradigm shift” and “scalability.”

Now, I could stop one of those people and ask them what the heck those words mean but that would mean entering into a conversation with a geek. Big words would start filling up the thought balloons in my head and before you know it, I’d begin tipping over and have to go lie down. No sirree Bob.

My solution is to make up the meanings. I find it comforting to use words that mean what you want them to mean. (But for the life of me, I don’t get why shifting a couple of dimes from one pocket to another became such a radical concept. We used to call it “pocket pool” and we didn’t need money to play.)

When I got the idea that this column is (eventually) going to be about, I just knew there was a buzzword out there to describe it. But for the longest time, the word balanced on the tip of my brain, jiggling and wiggling just out of reach, like a cherry on a bowl of jello in old Aunt Edna’s hands.

I knew it meant “come together” and jotted down the word “confluence”- but with a question mark beside it because it didn’t feel right.

I wanted the word that meant what’s happening all around me, in various aspects of my world. Like this:

Many of the stores I’m used to shopping in are changing. They’re selling all kinds of stuff they never used to sell before. Zellers and Wal-Mart, department stores, now sell groceries and pharmaceuticals. Shoppers Drug Mart, a pharmacy, now sells CDs, as well as some groceries and snacks and books.

Every store is starting to sell every thing. Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell them apart. It’s kind of scary but it seems to be the way of things.

Another example that illustrates the word I was seeking:

Cell phones have become cameras and music players. Or vice versa. One remote control turns on your tv and your microwave and your computer and makes your bed. Pretty soon one giant...thing - humming with electricity - will cook, clean, raise our children, entertain us and do our taxes.

And suddenly, the word occurred to me.


Things that were once separate, becoming one. Like marriage but without the anguish.

For several months now, I’d jot down ideas and then decide if I should do a column or a blog. You’d think such decisions would be easy. And for a person whose thought balloons aren’t easily filled and tippy, they probably are easy. But I’d wrestle with them and fret until I got the idea that you’ve probably figured out by now.

Yep, I’m going to merge my column and blog and that’s going to mean some (hopefully not-too-scary) changes.

Those of you who prefer to read me via email will still be able to do so. I know there are quite a few of you who read the column at work where email is okay but surfing the net (to read a blog) is not. Those of you who read my column but not my blog, may be somewhat dismayed to find that my percentage of non-humourous jottings will increase. I tend to cover more bases in my blog, though most of the time I keep it on the light side too.

Instead of arriving in your mailbox on Thursdays, the new, converged me may arrive any day, at any time. Some columns may be longer than the usual 800-ish words, many will be shorter. I’ll be getting back to approximately a weekly schedule again and may sometimes send off a couple in a week.

Because the blog lends itself to showing photographs much more easily than an email, I will still be including the link with every issue. (Occasionally, I do a blog entry that’s almost entirely photographs.) I’ll give a heads-up in email when there’s something visible at the blog site that isn’t in the mailed version. And, of course, those of you on the email list will be able to marvel at the spiffy banners designed by Hilary at Dejablues Designs while blog readers, alas, will just have to look at the same darn pic every single time.

As always, I welcome comments, via email or on the blog itself. I’m going to be away from a computer for the next three or four days though, so please forgive my delayed replies.

I’m going to be empowering myself while converging with nature and offshoring with my fishing rod.


jessie said...

Well, hot damn, I didn't even know you had a blog, Frank! I will be reading regularly.

My column (Around the Bend) is still in the paper but my website/newsletter is languishing because it doesn't work right and half the subscribers don't receive it.

But I do have a blog of my own....

poetinahat said...

You had me at 'pocket pool' (but boy, did THAT not come out right!).

Okay, I need to be collecting those back issues of your column before they disappear. I like laughing.

I hope the convergence doesn't result in too many 'teething problems'. Maybe a soft launch will ease the transitional pain?

HELP... I'm doing it too!

Nice read - as always!

Spidey said...

I like buzzwords too.

Dawno said...

Your post, it's deja vu all over again! :-)

I've always appreciated getting your humorous IP via Gmail. This 2.0 approach will undoubtedly optimize your branding bandwidth and propel your blog from the long tail into Technorati-buzzworthy rankings.

So, when will the podcast or vlogs begin? I think a vlog of you talking about your fishing trip would be cool.

Dawn said...

I'm confused! What are you going to do? Yeah, yeah, I know you're going fishing - but do I keep coming here or will I end up staring at the same image for a month? I dare say someone will tell me what to do - while you're away fishing!

Enjoy the fishing, Frank! I'll reread the post. I probably miseed a vital clue.

Unique Material said...


More Random Access Moments!

Bernita said...

You're "naturing," Frank...

Crabby McSlacker said...

Hmmm, I'm with you Dawn, I need further instructions.

If we are Blog readers who never did figure out the whole email column thing, will you still be appearing here? Possibly more frequently? (Yay!)

Or does it mean we need to figure out the newsletter dealy in order to enjoy your keen observations and wit? (Not so yay).

Crabby resists change as it is in her nature to do so, but if this means More of a Good thing, then she's all for it.

Stace said...

"Buzzword" itself is a buzzword. Yay! My country won't have buzzwords. Except maybe "Socialist utopia". Actually my country currently only exists in the blogosphere. But one day, Frank, ONE DAY!

Bhaswati said...

Not a bad idea, I would say. This way we--your regular blog readers--get to read your columns. Not a bad deal at all!

Thanks for the funny post. ;)

Frank Baron said...

Hiya Jessie. Nice to hear from you again. I was wondering about your column and will certainly check out your blog.

Thanks poet. I'm hoping you'll be able to get (as in "buy") a collection of those columns before too long. ;)

Spidey, I'm not surprised. You look to be an intelligent, thoughtful man who is hep to today's jive.

Dawno, I can only hope that by occasionally sitting near your Sparkliness, some of your techno-genius will rub off on me. :)

Dawn, my emailed column has been in existence for about 3 years now. It and my blog were always separate entities - as were my readerships (although there was some overlap, like Dawno and some others). I simply got tired of trying to decide whether such-n-such a topic would be better for a column or a blog. Now, I'm just going to post the same stuff that I'm going to be emailing. Folks will have a choice of format but the content will largely be the same in both. (But those who receive the email version get to see some spiffy banners.) Sorry for the confusion and hope that explanation helps. :)

Godblessya Unique. :)

Bernita, I hope the meaning of that is as benign as it sounds. But I think I should mebbe look it up....

Crabby, I hope the above explanation to Dawn works for you too. Let me know. If not, I'll try again. This communicating via the written word thing can be darn tricksy at times....

Stace, I have little doubt about that "one day" becoming reality. :)

Thanks Bhaswati. You're a peach. :)

lee said...

Hey, I want want one of those "things"that will make the bed and do everything else ;).But having said that, I can't even operate a mobile phone.

Bibi said...

I work with a hi tech org that makes up the weirdest words ... you could say they converge a couple of words to make one nonsensical word.

May your convergence go well ... and enjoy your convergence with nature!

Frank Baron said...

lee, we may be twins separated at birth. Not only do I not know how to use my cell phone - I'm afraid of it.

Thanks bibi. It was a terrific convergence. :)