We interrupt your cluttered inbox for some photographs of NYC in the spring:
Speaking of new things, you might know that my dad was an inorganic chemist. This may or may not have contributed to my love of ridiculously long words, arcane words, specific words, and…well…words in general.
He worked with covalent bonds. (pronounced co-VAY-lent, in case you were wondering, at least in Texas.)
Today I came across the root of that word, valence, in this freaky scientific study of pleasant smells, which was attempting to determine whether nice smells were the same across cultures. (spoiler alert: the answer is yes. Here’s the study.)
Valence is the ability of something to combine. I would like very much to know why we do not use some iteration of this very cool and useful word to describe people.
“Bob swept the party speaking at length to the hostess, then to her bored teenager, then made three of the high-end caterers laugh uproariously, and finally, proving his high valence, he ended up going home with Mikey, who hates everyone!”
Non sequitur: I’m cleaning because it’s a holiday weekend for me (Celebrations are tied closely with extra work. I don’t love this.) and while I was cleaning I noticed the superscripts on this cleaning product:
so…. a few things come to mind.
why are the numbers not consecutive?
why do the numbers not begin at one?
where do the footnotes lead? I examined the entire package, front and back and there’s no list of footnotes anywhere on the tub, nor is there text anywhere that makes reference to these numbers.
Anyway - here’s hoping that your weekend was full of clean spaces and vibrant celebrations.
Not a lot going on, though I’m so grateful for all of you who signed up to follow me on Medium. That’s a lot of MM in your inbox, and that’s very kind of you. Newest piece is a very very short piece that describes a new $7000 unrestricted grant for writers. You just have to be over 18 to apply. The application process is….weirdly easy. Check it out here.
I’ve spent the week writing very hard grants for Pen Parentis and doing some book doctor work for a client. I do not like grant-writing. So, I read some other stuff that I wouldn’t normally read instead—like part of a business book that someone handed me at an art opening.
Question: what is it with these business books and blogs that all suddenly started using the word “superpower” in terms of ordinary business acumen? “My superpower is communication” said the first chapter of this book and okay, it is a book about team-building and communication, but if it is the author’s superpower, shouldn’t the book be irrelevant? I should have received all the communicable information from a handshake with the author. Or psychically. Superpowers are supposed to exceed normal powers. If someone’s good at fundraising, that’s not a superpower. It’s a talent.
(now, if the guy can raise funds without donors, sponsors or writing a single grant—that’s a superpower I would love to have!)
Oh and while we’re at it, the moral of the whole chemistry story up there was that if you can’t communicate with another person, you can always bake them cinnamon stuff and you can be certain that they’ll at least like the scent. Because according to science, good smells transcend cultures.
Perhaps this is why traditional dishes from the Old Country are appealing, even to the neighborhood kids.
Happy Springtime Holidays everyone!