Curiosity, Irish history and the gombeens

Curiosity often gets the blame (or the credit, depending on your point of view) for killing cats, but more often it leads to learning.

Take this morning, for example, when I was fortunate enough to have Presidents’ Day* off and learned that someone named Eamon Loingsigh from New York had started following this blog. I’m not good at all about acknowledging this, but every new follower is a big deal. I look at their profiles and usually read a post or two – out of curiosity, of course.

This time I landed on Petition – Stop Calling it a Famine!

Having some ancestral ties to Ireland, and a photo of my mother visiting a hovel somewhere in County Donegal, I read Eamon’s piece and signed the petition. The words “potato famine” do not do justice to what they are used to describe.

Donegal Castle, 2004. B.J. Smith photo

I did not know such a discussion was ongoing. As a writer and editor, I support calling things what they are. (I was impressed by the polite back and forth in the comments on the blog post.)

I also learned a new word, which I hope to be able to use in a sentence someday and force the curious who’ve never seen it before to look it up:

gombeen

Always curious,

B.J.


* It certainly doesn’t mean what it used to, does it?

Gateway Arch a poor choice to symbolize this stark divide

Gateway Arch image
The Gateway Arch in 1965.

A family trip to St. Louis in the mid-1960s was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Meredith Talusan’s post about the December 8 cover of The New Yorker.

The Gateway Arch was not quite finished. Two graceful arcs of gleaming stainless steel reached into the muggy summer air toward a single point in the sky.

We may still be back there in 1965 in some sense, hoping for an end to division.

While the magazine cover works on one superficial level, though, the artist could have done better. As we all know, the two sides of the arch did meet 630 feet above the riverside.

The gap that has yet to close is far from unique to St. Louis and has nothing to do with the iconic arch.

Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia – NYTimes.com

A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a “culture of dependency”?

via Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia – NYTimes.com.

Save your company’s history: You’ve got the words

Brochure for the SS Noronic's 1942 season
Image via Wikipedia

Businesses run on words. Next to people, they may be your most important assets.

Think about everything you store or distribute in the form of words: Ads, brochures, news releases, web copy, tweets and blog posts are just a few examples.

Collectively, those words tell your company’s story. Think about organizing them now to save some time and effort later.

Download this article to get started: Write your small business history as it happens

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