Posts from the “culture” Category

ELECTION DAY 2016 – don’t sit this one out!

courtesy: Patagonia.com

courtesy: Patagonia.com

Whichever side of the partisan fence we sit, it’s our duty and privilege to get out there and vote this Tuesday.

It’s the only way we can keep this democracy of ours chugging. It’s also the only way we can address what I believe is the most pressing threat to the planet: climate change.

 

Patagonia is saying Don’t Sit This One Out — and I couldn’t agree more.

Many issues demand our attention during an election year: foreign policy, immigration, jobs, health care and campaign finance. Yes, they’re important, but we’re missing the point: None of it matters on a dead planet. The health of our planet must be a strong foundation for everything else, not an afterthought.

Patagonia so deeply believes in civil democracy and environmental issues, they’re closing their retail stores, their headquarters in Ventura and their Reno distribution and customer service center this Election Day to encourage customers, employees and all citizens to head to the polls.

I feel honored to be working with a company that supports the environment as well as everyone’s right to exercise their rights – whether it’s voting, gender and racial equality, taking care of our families right, choosing organic and sustainable products, and enjoying the wild places left in nature.

Please mail your ballot today, or plan a hot date with a voting booth for November 8th.

Claim your part in history.

 

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UPGRADE YOUR VOCAB – new words for 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 5.10.49 PM

Bank of mom and dad ~ parental ATM

Locavore ~ one who eats local

Gramps ~ hipper than “grandfather”

These are just a few of the new words that officially entered the Oxford English Dictionary this year.

(The OED is the bible of dictionaries, so when a word finally makes it in, it’s a very big deal. The grammatical gatekeepers at the OED, the last bastion of linguistic propriety, have been dictating our diction since the late 1800s, and they take their responsibility very seriously.)

To be honest, I’m surprised at some of the words that made the cut, and wonder if they slipped in while the editors were busy inking their quills. Governmentalization? Way too syllablized. Lock-upable? Yikes. What other make-upable words are next?

But many others are meaty, satisfying words that I’m happy to see mainstreamed.

Not surprisingly, there’s a slew of tech-related words, like the hybrid phablet. (Bigger than a phone, smaller than a tablet.)

Other words reflect the latest cultural buzz. Haram, meaning “forbidden by Islam,” helps to clarify the conversation about religion, and the title Mx. helps to neutralize the conversation about gender identity. (Incidentally, the singular ‘they’  has now been approved by the Washington Post as ‘the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.’ Remember when we had to use the exclusive ‘he’ all the time, as in “Everyone has to bring his own lunch tomorrow”? Quel drag.)

Lord of the Rings fans might recognize waybread, “…a sustaining food made for eating before or during a long journey, typically in the form of flat bread or wafers.” The perfect snack during a jaunt through Middle Earth, or perhaps even during a Downton Abbey binge. A decent supply of waybread could carry you through all six seasons without so much as a visit to the loo.

And some of the words just plain sound cool, like the way trussler rolls off the tongue. Example: Marco is a trussler—he doesn’t let anybody give him shit. (FYI, this is not the official OED example, which is probably more: “Lord Grantham is quite a trussler; he finds it rather distasteful when his butler refuses to fetch adequate butter for the crumpets.”

If you like your crumpets a bit less buttered, ghetto upgrade your street cred with some new words from Urban Dictionary. (Parental discretion, however, is advised)

Phantom vibe is when you could swear you felt your phone go off in your pocket, but then upon checking, you discover your phone wasn’t even in your pocket. Example: That’s weird, I just got some Phantom vibes…but my phablet is in the car.

(Not to be confused with abc, ‘accidental booty call’, when your backside dials someone without your knowledge.)

What are your favorite new words for 2k16?

THE GREENEST GIFT OF ALL? two words

emilymcdowell.com

emilymcdowell.com

In past holiday blogs, I’ve waxed ecological about the Xmas tree (and whether faux is way to go) and I’ve given you tips for greener gift wrapping.

This year, I’d like to make the case for a simple gift that’s easy on the planet and good for everyone on your list:

A word of thanks.

Every year, we send loads of thank you cards for the loads of holiday presents we receive. (At least those of us, ahem, who are still practicing the antiquated art of the handwritten.)

Now, don’t get me wrong—thank yous are great. But instead of waiting to send thank yous for all the gifts we get, what if we pre-appreciated our friends and family?

Instead of waiting to thank them for all the material stuff, what if we thanked them now for all the other stuff, the intangibles like love, friendship, life (thanks, mom and dad!), a wise perspective, a good laugh, a reason to get up in the morning.

And you don’t need to take pen to paper to do a proper pre-appreciation. A quick call, email or text are good, too. In person is nice because you can seal it with a smile or squeeze.

Here’s why it’s good to gift gratitude:

  • Good for the planet Very few resources and very little waste involved. And because your gratitude is guaranteed to please, think of all the gas saved by reducing those pesky trips to the mall for returns or exchanges.
  • Shortens the shopping list  And the credit card bill.  Also guaranteed to reduce hours spent trolling the internet for elusive “perfect gift”.
  • Makes someone happy  No one doesn’t appreciate some appreciation.
  • Makes you happy, too! You make a deeper connection to someone you care about.

Let me just say that, although I’m fairly competent at expressing thanks when appropriate, I myself rarely take any formal approach to gratitude.

But this year I’m going to take my own advice and start pre-appreciating. (Dare I say ap-PRE-ciating? Get it?)

I’m even thinking about designing and selling pre-thank-you cards. Made locally with soy ink, from renewable corn husks or re-claimed elephant plop, of course.

What do you think—should we start a new holiday tradition? How about a global ap-PRE-ciation revolution?

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WOMEN HAVE TONS OF CONSUMER POWER so why don’t we have tons of power?

Screen shot 2015-09-02 at 11.24.19 AMYou may have noticed my September posts have a curiously recurring theme:

Why I didn’t blog all summer.

I usually have a pretty decent excuse, like editing a memoir manuscript. Or succumbing to the siren call of the pond.  (If you don’t think vacation is a valid use of time, you should read this and see this.)

Well, this summer I was doing my small part for the Feminine Renaissance (oh yes, it’s so ON—did you get the memo?) editing some choice content for viiv.tv.

shmoop.com

shmoop.com

One side effect of this work on my own psyche was the dusting off of my furled notions of feminism (they’d been taking a back seat to my eco-fervor, which happily is 100% compatible with feminine values like sustainability and everything-is-connected-ness) and asking new questions about women today—post-ERA, post-Feminine Mystique, post-Beauty Myth—in business, politics and the media.

  • What will it take to make a cultural, structural and ideological shift towards true gender equality?
  • Why is there such a gap between how we’re portrayed in the media and how we are (and aspire to be) in the real world?
  • When will “feminine” qualities like empathy, generosity, vulnerability, cooperation and contextualized “WEB” thinking be integrated into every successful venture in every corner of the world?
  • Women have tons of consumer power. So why don’t we have tons of power?

Are you wondering about this stuff, too?

So is viiv.tv. And they’re getting answers.

What viiv.tv is:

viiv.tv is a new-media platform serving the $20 trillion “Female Economy.” (Yes, it’s true. The “Male Economy”, in comparison, only drives $8 trillion annually across the globe).

viiv.tv aims to close the gap between women’s enormous economic power and their actual influence in shaping the world.

What they do:

  • curate, produce and publish media with a global worldview, designed to spark insight, innovation and social change
  • host a #FEMALEINFORMED salon-style think-tank series THE LIVING ROOM where the brightest and most curious minds explore the big, messy questions of global impact
  • hold POP-UP POPCORN PARTIES showcasing game-changing media in NYC, SF and LA by female filmmakers and producers from around the globe
  • shine the spotlight on businesses helping women in real, tangible ways like equal pay, flex-time, on-site childcare and C-suite representation
  • believe all consumers deserve to know which brands truly support women so they can support those brands right back—with their attention, loyalty and dollars (Imagine seeing the “pro-women” equivalent of an “organic” or “LEED” symbol on our favorite brands and products.)

Screen shot 2015-09-02 at 12.51.50 PMIn case you were wondering, you don’t have to be a woman to subscribe to viiv.tv (or the viiv philosophy).

You just have to be awake to the fact that valuing women—and “feminine” values—can make the world a richer, healthier, better place for everyone. After all, these values can be found anywhere, at any time, in businesses and organizations and people with all manner of X and Y chromosomal combinations!

Right now, we’re in the middle of intense prototyping at an incredible San Francisco incubator. If you’d like to be part of this important process, we have a few questions we’d love your thoughts on. Your time, candor and wisdom will help make viiv.tv more meaningful, useful and fun.

Want to know more?

Click here and subscribe, and send an email hello to: hello@viiv.tv


Then maybe think about where to go on your next vacation … Mexico is so nice this time of year.

 

hashslush.com

hashslush.com