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Showing posts from December, 2007

Goodbye, Mayor Peterson

Bart Peterson, the now-former (as of Jan. 1, 2008) mayor of Indianapolis, was interviewed by Brendan O'Shaughnessy of the Indianapolis Star today about his accomplishments and plans for the future. He was optimistic about the future, and not bitter about his time in office or his loss to Greg Ballard. But I think some of his true feelings leaked through in one of the interview questions:
Q: What's still to be done in the city?A: The greatest challenge facing the city, in my view, is that the legislature is about to reconvene.We'll miss you, Bart.

Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe in 2007

Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe in 2007
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

When I fled back to the private sector, after nearly 18 months of working for state government, I remembered how much I had not missed the business doublespeak that is the very lifeblood of Corporate America.

"In the coming calendar year, we shall endeavor to synergize clicks-and-mortar relationships by leveraging granular e-markets."

Sort of makes me miss the simple, easy-to-understand days of state government.

(I used the online BS generator at www.dack.com to create the above sentence. Unfortunately, real people talk this way too.)

But there are other people who feel my pain, like England's Plain English Campaign (PEC). The PEC is a language consulting company and gobbledygook watchdog that has railed against gobbledygook for 29 years. Each December, PEC gives out awards to people, companies, and government agencies who have used either poor or great communication. Awards include the …

Erik Deckers as a Simpsons character

Image
This is what I look like in the Simpson's Springfield. You can create one of these at the Simpsons Movie web site. Go to the main page, select Create Avatar, and then register. Click on the different characteristics you have, such as a dashing goatee and stylish glasses, and voila! You're a Simpsons character.

Pretty handsome, don't you think?

(Warning: If you use Mozilla Firefox, this is a time to pull out Internet Explorer instead. It has trouble with the Shockwave graphics. Even using IE Tab doesn't fully work.)

Please Excuse Erik From His Column This Week

I fired up the Way Back Machine for this one from March 2006. It's one of my favorites.

Please Excuse Erik From His Column This Week
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2006I wrote my first note to a teacher last week.This may not seem like such a big deal to most of you, but to me, it was the end of a 33-year wait.Ever since I walked into kindergarten with a note from my mother, I dreamed of writing a note to one of my children's teachers.My mother used to write my notes whenever I was sick or needed to be excused:"Dear Mr. Jenkins, Please excuse Erik from gym class today.He is still suffering blurred vision and a ringing in his ears from the last time they played dodgeball.I have spoken with little Melody's parents, and they apologized for her cheap shot.Imagine, hitting your own teammate in the back of the head!Please explain to the entire class how displeased I am, and ask them to remember that Erik is a sensitive boy whose feelings should be respected.&qu…

Things Not to Do in College

Things Not to Do in College
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

People who have known me for a couple years know me to be thoughtful and deliberate in my reactions to a situation. I carefully measure my response, weighing the pros and cons, before finally saying what I think.

People who have known me for several years just spit a mouthful of coffee all over their monitor.

I have not always been the careful, deliberate person I am today. I was more of the shoot-first-get-a-friend-to-apologize-later type. Although this approach usually got me into trouble, I could occasionally get a small victory. But nine times out of 10, it was the trouble thing.

One victory stands out in my memory though, not so much for its sweetness, but because I could have gotten thrown out of grad school. (Okay, it stands out more for its sweetness.)

I was in the Speech Communication program at Ball State University, studying interpersonal communication. It happened in one of the classes taught by my fa…

I Don't Believe in the Little Drummer Boy

I Don't Believe in the Little Drummer Boy
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Christmas is a time of traditions. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and Erik curled up in the corner in a fetal ball, sobbing "pa-rum pum pum pum." To help explain why he does this, we're doing another Laughing Stalk tradition, reprinting his annual Christmas column.


Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. My birthday, my anniversary, and any other time people give me presents are also big favorites.

To get myself into the Christmas spirit, I like to listen to Christmas music. So I hit the department stores around mid-August to hear "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bell Rock." But while I appreciate the Christmas cheer, I'm amazed the sales clerks haven't killed anyone by the middle of November.

I'm a big fan of the classics, "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night" and the Sex Pistols' "Have Yourself a Merry $…

Sit on Santa-bot's Lap

Sit on Santa-bot's Lap
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Microsoft killed Santa Claus.

Okay, they didn't kill the real Santa, but an automated Santa chat-bot they had set up last week. The Santa-bot was an agent on their Live Space website and MSN Messenger program. Children could ask Santa some questions and tell him what they wanted for Christmas, and an automated program would give the appropriate responses.

But according a story in to the London Register, the virtual Santa got into some real trouble when he was chatting with two girls, 11 and 13 years old, who offered him a piece of virtual pizza.

"Eat it!" they told him.

"You want me to eat what?!?" Santa-bot responded. "It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else..."

I promise I'm not making this up.

Microsoft tried to fix the Santa-bot earlier this week, but it didn't work. And so Microsoft, well, killed him. Sort of like the end of Old Yell…

Indianapolis Independent Coffee Shops website

Attention Indianapolis coffee lovers (that's anyone in Indy who loves coffee, as well as anyone who loves coffee from Indianapolis). There's a new way to find Indianapolis coffee shops online: www.indyindiecoffee.com. This is a Google interactive map that lists all of the independent coffee shops in the Indianapolis metro area. Special thanks to Doug Karr for helping me with this project. (He even created the cool logo.)

The map lists all independent and small chain coffee houses, and leaves out all Big Chain coffee shops. It even shows you which shops have free WiFi (green markers), and which ones don't (blue markers).

Eventually, we hope to add a community blog similar to I Choose Indy's, which is where this map first found voice. On our blog, people can write about their favorite coffee houses, an owners' section, where the different house owners can give out important information to their patrons, such as the price of a latte, whether they have live music, their …