Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Week That Was, #1 (#atozchallenge)

I want to take a minute and thank all of you who stopped by my blog and left comments this week. I’ll try and get to all of you this week. I need to catch up on my visits; now that I have all my A to Z entries written and lined up in the queue, I can devote most of my time to that.

I thought it might be fun, since Sunday is a “day off for good behavior,” to summarize the week and continue some of the conversations we had in the comment section. So, let’s get started…

It seems that I forgot one diamond in my A to Z Challenge post from yesterday: Neil Diamond. I write so much about music on the blog, you’d think I’d have thought of that. Oh, well, since everyone who noticed my omission said something about “hot August night,” here’s “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show,” from 1969.

Some trivia for you: Neil Diamond wrote the song “I’m a Believer,” which was a #1 hit for the Monkees for seven weeks beginning December 31, 1966.

  • Nilanjana, when she pointed out my omission, said “At the risk of sounding totally ancient…” Hey, I remember when it came out, too.

  • Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, whose most recent book, Scattered Seasons (The Season Avatars Book 2), will be coming out April 28 and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes for 99¢ (price goes up to $2.99 May 6), mentioned another Diamond, Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and “several other interesting books useful for world-building.”

  • Alex Hurst and I had an interesting conversation this morning about baseball diamonds. She said there are some educational posters that call it a rhombus. Technically, that’s correct: the “diamond” is a square turned 45°, and a square is a specific type of rhombus. But if you walk up to a baseball fan (e.g. me) and tell them it’s a rhombus, they’ll likely tell you “no, it’s a diamond.” It is what it is.

  • Also on the subject of baseball diamonds, Louise Behiel, a long-time faithful reader who I met while doing my first A to Z Challenge (2012), said “Yay for baseball diamonds regularly on tv again. It’s been forever…or so it seems.” I couldn’t agree more, Louise.

  • My favorite comment, though, was from my minion, Dixie: Did you know, John, now they can take your body (after you pass on), and compress it into a diamond. Your wife can have the ring she’s always wanted. Ooh, that didn’t sound right. Actually, Mary, who has a birthday this month and whose birthstone is therefore a diamond, would prefer yarn.

Friday, we talked about choleric traits, and I mentioned offhand that, in the Chinese Zodiac, I’m a Monkey, and Monkeys need to stay away from Tigers. Of course, I got lots of comments from Tigers on that one. I was just pointing out what the place mats in Chinese restaurants say. Did you ever notice that, in some Chinese restaurants, the place mats are under a plastic sheet that covers the table? Saves them time with clean-up, I’m sure, and considering Chinese food has a lot of sticky sauces and small bits of rice and food that tend to get knocked off a plate, they need all the time they can get.

As long as I’m talking about tigers, though, I want to take a minute and note the passing of John Imlay, the guy who rescued a company named Management Science America from bankruptcy and turned it into one of the powerhouses of the software business, and turned Atlanta into a technology center. He was the author of Jungle Rules: How to Be a Tiger in Business , and tigers figured heavily into the culture of MSA. I went to work for them in July 1984, and they made it possible for me to move to Atlanta in 1987. Each of us who worked for MSA was given a silver Tiffany key when we started; it signified that “People Are The Key,” John’s motto and the principle under which we worked. After five years, you received a gold key, and, after ten, a gold key with a diamond in it (hey, diamond!). I received my gold key about three months before the company was sold to Dun & Bradstreet, who merged us with McCormack & Dodge, our biggest competitor. It was an awkward merger, to say the least, and we were quietly told to stop wearing the key to avoid antagonizing our new comrades. I put mine away, and it was lost. Oh well. John was the kind of guy who, if you called him “Mr. Imlay,” would say, “Mr. Imlay is my father. Call me John.” Godspeed, John.

Thursday, the word was “blob,” and I was surprised to see that so many comments were from people who have never seen the movie. Then I realized, I haven’t seen it, either. Guess we’ll have to find a copy of it and watch it sometime. A couple of commenters said that it scared them. I believe it; kids can be scared by things that aren’t generally thought of as scary. Mary and a friend of hers used to be scared by the original 13 Ghosts that starred Margaret Hamilton, who had a history of scaring kids (she was the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz). My brother said the scariest thing he ever saw was “The Jar” episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour . I don’t blame him, it was creepy. It was based on a short story by Ray Bradbury, and had a cast that included Pat Buttram, James Best, George Lindsey, Slim Pickens, and Billy Barty. Emergency Broadcast System tests would make me run, screaming, from the room.

Wednesday, the word was a’a, the Hawai’ian word for one type of lava, the other being pahoehoe. I think I found that word given as a clue in a crossword puzzle years ago, so I wasn’t surprised that a lot of people hadn’t heard the term before. I had never heard pahoehoe, either. Several people remarked that it was like the Inuit, who have 15 different words for snow.

So, that’s all for now. I look forward to this coming week!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing


  1. Hey john!! Oh Neil you never disappoint. Love that you're doing the A to Z and I get to meet you!!