February 29, 2008

Ah, Elbert, we hardly knew ye

"An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness." - Elbert Hubbard

Personally, I think there's a lot to be said for cleverness. But loyalty, that's an animal of another, far more rare, color.

I've always wondered why that is; why it's so difficult for people, friends in particular, to be loyal for the long haul. I don't mean friends of mine necessarily -- I think I've lucked out in that department and I would hope they might feel the same way -- but in the stories I've heard people tell about how so-called friends have back-stabbed, bad-mouthed, sold-out or otherwise been awful to someone close to them.

I've got no answers, but as we wrap up our little week of quotes from Mr. Hubbard, lets take a moment to be thankful for the loyal people we do have in our lives.

Then go borrow twenty bucks from them.

February 28, 2008


"Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." - Elbert Hubbard

Okay, the cynical little cloud over my head has dispersed, so I'm ready to lighten up and listen to today's words of wisdom. Do you see what I mean about his quotes so not seeming early 1900s?

February 27, 2008

What? You've got a problem with cynical?

"Life is just one damned thing after another." - Elbert Hubbard

I noticed that many of the quotes attributed to Mr. Hubbard on The Quotations Page are from a list of cynical quotations. Yep, sounds about right. Cynicism is like catnip to me. Maybe because a cynical outlook can be so wonderfully apt and on the mark, even if your more optimistic types don't see it that way.

Because, really, life is just one damned thing after another, isn't it? A whole bunch of damned boring, annoying, uninspiring, humdrum, unpalatable and sometimes downright bad things in a row, broken up once in a while, briefly, by a few bright moments.

But then, if we didn't have the unpleasant things coming at us all the time, we wouldn't appreciate those bright moments enough, would we?

February 26, 2008

If a quote falls on deaf ears in the Internet, is it really a quote at all?

"Get happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is." - Elbert Hubbard

I have a feeling this is going to be a long week, dear readers. All five of you. You're either as busy as I am or you're not feeling Quote Week here. Well, you'll just have to suck it up and deal...or let me know you don't like it then suck it up and deal.

I have only one thing to say about the above quote after a day like today, and it's the reason I picked it: If it's true, then I will not know what happiness is for a while yet.

February 25, 2008

Get your quote on, Elbert

I don't know exactly why this idea appealed to me so much today when I came up with it earlier today, but it did.

A little explanation: I have an iGoogle page with couple of different tabs and a bunch of various gadgets and widgets, mostly to amuse myself during the day when I don't have time to surf the Web but need a bit of a break. One of the gadgets is "Quotes of the Day" that, not surprisingly, has new quotes each day.

The quote that caught my eye today was: "No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one." - Elbert Hubbard

It got my attention primarily because I usually feel that way after a vacation, never more so than after getting back from Australia. What kept my attention was actually clicking on The Quotations Page for Elbert Hubbard. I'd never heard of Mr. Hubbard before (though I had heard of his most well-known essay, "A Message to Garcia") and I was surprised to see that he died in 1915 because many of the 17 quotes they have for him seem so current and relevant.

All that leads us to *drum roll, please* Elbert Hubbard Quote Week here at OPO. I'm going to pick one of the quotes each day this week, throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

I'd be interested to know if you feel that same way after a real vacation, where it almost, almost doesn't seem worth having had the time off, when you know what's waiting for you upon your return.

I think in the era of e-mail it's even worse. It's not like people called and left a couple voicemails, or talked to your assistant or co-worker and found out you weren't there and will call back sometime once you're back, or there's a stack of envelopes on your desk, half of which you can pitch out without a second thought. No, I think many of know that there are going to be 100+ emails waiting for us in our inbox, and every one of those people wanted to hear from you yesterday. And a least a dozen will have the ! next to it saying "Pick me, pick me, pick me first, I'm important!" I spend at least an entire day dealing with email after being gone from work for a week or longer. That doesn't even take into consideration all the work I had to do before leaving just to get ready to be gone because everything is nownownownow-I need it now-this is urgent and there's just no one else to do two-thirds of it in my absence.

I know some companies have instituted "E-mail-free Fridays" and I think there's some merit to it. However, even more than that, I'd like to see e-mail amnesty. Where we cut people a break after getting that ubiquitous "Out Of Office" auto-reply that says they're out for some longer period of time. Where we don't expect them to answer your e-mail the moment they get back to their desk...you and the other few dozen people who are clamoring for attention. Let the poor soul ease back into the hectic workaday world so that vacation actually meant something!

Nah. Never gonna happen. Next quote?

February 19, 2008

Shift my what?

My first car was a Datsun 280Z. It was a great car and I was heavy-hearted when it fell victim to northeast winters while I was in college. Most of my subsequent cars were Hondas, and I haven't really looked much at the Datsun/Nissan family of cars since then. No particular reason other than that none really sustained my interest during that "Hmm, what should I get?" phase of car shopping.

Not that you haven't already guessed where this is going, but I got myself a new car today. And yes, it's a Nissan. Thanks to the Best Brother in the Whole Wide World, who pointed me in a new direction when I found myself uninspired by the cars I'd decided to look at, I fell head over heels for the Altima. The way I described it after test driving it is that it gave me that "Yes!" feeling that the other cars hadn't.

For the more curious among you, it's dark slate, pretty much exactly like my last car. What can I say? I like gray cats, gray dogs and gray cars!

None of this is terribly relevant to anyone else, I know. However, the car search is what's been occupying my attention for the last several days so instead of just going another few days and falling out of the habit of checking in periodically, there you have it. The line for rides starts right below.

February 12, 2008

Why myrrh on her?

I've enjoyed watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the last two nights. I was excited tonight to see one of my favorite breeds, the Weimeraner, win its group and advance to the Best of Show competition, and sorry to see it lose to the Beagle. Don't get me wrong, I don't really dislike beagles. I'm just not as fond of them as many, many other breeds. Snoopy may be the most famous beagle, and I love him, but in my experience the actual dog has very little in common with that venerable icon.

I know that some people (brother-type people) didn't think watching a dog show was a worthwhile to spend an evening. But while I haven't owned a dog in a very long time, I enjoy watching all those beautifully groomed dogs each year. Dogs I don't have to walk, brush, wash, feed or pick up after!

You'll also have people who think these shows are an elitist bunch of crap that don't serve any purpose, blah blah blah. (If that's you, go away. I'm sure you can find a forum for your views, it's just not here.) But aside from the weird styles of grooming for certain dogs, it's all good. Woof, as they say.

February 07, 2008

To whom it may concern: Read this or you'll be sorry

The days keep slipping by again. Plus, I haven't had much to say. A few fleeting ideas that haven't coalesced into anything worthwhile. So I'll share a site that I found during my little hiatus and that I've made a habit of visiting.

Passive-Aggressive Notes is a collection of notes people see out in the world and send in, often with a backstory. As the site says, it's all about "painfully polite and hilariously hostile writings from shared spaces the world over." Whether they're truly passive-aggressive or not is open for debate, but some of the notes are just classic. The commentary for each note, or set of notes, by the person who runs the site is witty and insightful but usually it's the comments that make me laugh...or grimace...the most. The regular commenters are a smart but rather cutting group and can be merciless when someone makes a gaffe or poorly worded comment, to the point where I've personally never joined the fray because I don't need that kind of pressure, but it makes for good reading.

Leaving notes for people in lieu of personal confrontation has become such a way of life that I think there'll be enough fodder to keep this going for quite a while. Goodness knows I see enough of them around and, admittedly, have written a few in my day. They usually represent the tipping point for someone's frustration, and emotional writing is usually not someone's finest. The "spelling and grammar police" aspect to it alone is worth the price of admission, but then that's a pet peeve of mine and these kinds of notes are a gold mine for that.

Check it out if you're so inclined and let me know what you think.