Coping: Symbolic Language Expansion

imageOdd conversations around the Ure household this weekend…perhaps it had something to do with all the rain passing through East Texas this weekend.  Although, come to think of it, that’s not a big deal because we only had a bit over 7-inches in the gauge and around here, that will do little more than keep the dust down.

The comment from Elaine pointed out a news item about how marketers are running out of words to use for new products.  To be sure, I hadn’t considered this previously, but a quick look at the problem should dispel all fears.

First, though, a word about the problem – because in some ways, it is already here.

A word that seems to be very high on the marketing-lingo circuit presently is the word “genesis.”

This has been spelled any number of ways now – including with a spurious y and whatever other ways marketers (with limited mental capacity) have in the way of typological trickster moves to make you think there is a new genysis or genesys around.

It’s even worst for pharmaceutical companies because they pour untold billions into getting you to “Tell your doctor” – so there is a market for familiar – yet customized – words.  The thinking is they stick in your mind better.

The thing is, though, there are tons of options available to “solve” the problem.  It’s just that fear and inertia are the main things slowing human progress.

Breaking words down into brandable name extensions is one way the problem is already being handled.  Say you have an electronics company and you’re looking for a branding mascot (seeing as you have been inoculated with the Geico gecko uncountable times).  You take the electronics extension “tronics” and add a frog in from of it forming “Frogtronics.”

But, as you can see over here, there are 860 Google hits on ”Frogtronics” so that would not be a good name.  More generalized, Petronics has more than 15,000 page references.

Not believing me when I tell you the obvious you go for a cat as your new Catronics logo, only to find there are 11,600 uses of that word ahead of you.   Dogtronics has a mere 2,300 hits, which must be telling us that while dogs may be man’s best friend, into today’s world of broad spectrum marketing, dogs are not the marketer’s best friend.  Cats are.

We are tying sexual orientation into everything, too.  There are many uses of “gaytronics” as well as bitronics.  Bitronics is an interesting one because it clearly illustrates the imprecision of modern language.  As you can see in our context here, our reference was to “bi” (as in sexual) not “bit” as in computer…but that’s how language rolls over time.  Meanings come into vogue and then roll out.

There are more than 7-thousand references to transtronics, too.  But again, it’s not the current marketing vogue use of the term “trans” (as in sexual).  It’s more like trans as in (transistor) and so on.

Still, the point about running out of name is real and it is becoming more difficult all the time to trademark and protect one’s space in the mass consumersphere. 

I’ve bitched uncountable times about all the rip-offs of the brand, founded in 1996.  People at a hyphen or the word “site” and believe that qualifies them to imitate a good, original brand.  And the hell of it is, it works.

Still, were not out of naming conventions yet.  There are more “last names for words” than “tronics” and “LLc.” 

But the change I am waiting for will be when marketers are reduced to using numbers integral to the brand.

This has been around for years – as you can sense from the several million hits for the term “1-a-day.”

Numbers have been big in the auto sector (409, 427, 440, 383, 327) and in consumer electronics (i5, i7, 4K) and so on.  But so far, the generic soup at the store is not 6Mushroom, 1221Broth, or any of the like..

But based on the data, eventually here in Babylon, II, we’re going to run out of ways to brand and when that happens, the tower marketing will begin to teeter.

I can hardly wait.

The Bank Between Your Ears

Ramble with me. I want to remind you of this quirky idea of mine. It goes like this:

People are energy. They come into this life – we’re not certain how. But each of us saddles up on a “body” and that is what we ride around in and on for the next xxx years.  It’s very much like riding a horse.  Brains on top.

There is probably some point to it, although the real reasons are fairly obscure and some creative humans have made a marvelous business model of it down throughout the pages of history.

Because there is no “audit trail” to Origination (which is why I follow, for example, and other tracks), we don’t know for sure what will be coming next.  Instead, we are asked to take a lot of things on “faith.”

I’m a wee bit suspicious of too much faith and not enough data.

The reason?  Absent good data, there are people with ideas different than yours, or mine: They think their ideas are better in some way – and should therefore replace what we have figured out from figuring out this horse ride on our own. 

In  cases of extreme idiocy, they will threaten to behead those who don’t adopt their way of thinking.  That’s well past crazy, but when the Tower of Babel falls (internet failure) we will all be back in  the Middle Ages and crazy again, so maybe this is all a weird way of prepping….

In Texas, things aren’t that complicated.  You see, the soul is the rider and the body is  like an old horse, putting it plainly.

At the moment we have about 7-billion horses, about that many riders (plus or minus current births, sun-setters, and people in vegetative states in comas).  Enough for a fair bit of diversity.

With so many wandering around in different states it is no wonder that humanity has forgotten we’re all on some kind of horse ride here.

For how long?  The ride lasts between one second and 120 years.  All of us face the same problem even though we try not to think about it often:  We’re going to have the horse we’re on come up lame by-and-by and we’ll have to unsaddle and go off to wherever the riders all congregate between “death” and their next 8-second to 120 year ride.  Just another event in the  cosmic Big Rodeo.

I keep reflecting on the why of this-here pony show..

There are lots of possibilities  why we saddle up Life and ride it: One of the possibilities is that we are here to “ride our horse” to all kinds of marvelous adventures. So when we get to the rider-meet up in the hereafter, post-horse going lame – we’ll all have different experiences and things to share.

“As above, so below” seems to fit.  Like a computer word adventure game, we seem to be able to collect “clue and keys” if we’re attentive.

Perhaps – and this sounds delightfully idealistic – the whole point is to do nothing but love better. In which case I’ve had more successes than failures, but some of my failures have been dandies. I expect you’ve got a few from Column A and a few from Column B yourself.

I may have mentioned why my youngest daughter is getting married on Monday November 16th: Why not on a Sunday or over a weekend?  It’s because she and the soon to be husband will be in Las Vegas to run in the World’s Toughest Mudder. for details of this sport.

She and the beau-fellow are as happy as though they had good sense. They don’t pay too much attention to the news, they try not to get overworked about work, and they come as close to normal as the mid 30s can be under current world conditions.

They key thing they are doing, which is right-living,  is they are collecting this stuff that goes between the ears (and from there it leaks into the heart) called shared experience.

Experience, particularly of the shared sort,  is like panning for gold. A couple can’t get too much of it.

Got to thinking about this Sunday and it was really nice. Just in the past year, Elaine and I have finished off the recording studio in the house, added the sun room, and made other equally important, just not at visible improvements. Some I may not have mentioned.  Like Panama, Elaine, and me wresting in a new low-flow super toilet.  M ay not seem like a big deal, but it was because of all the sharing involved in the project.

Hasn’t all been crap-work, though. This year (so far) we have been on two cruises, flown the airplane nearly a hundred hours, and we are still best of friends. I finished up the writing of my first real novel (soon come, patience).  At the moment, Elaine is going through it as a lay reader – someone who doesn’t know the torpedo tube size necessary for a sea-launch cruise missile off the top of her head (26” is about right).  She will finish up her proofing this week and then I’ll  one final pass through it…

It was while working in the shop, and cleaning my office, doing paperwork (the stuff that never ends, along with website work) that it occurred to me that lots of people have done more than they give themselves credit for in life.

When I started to add up all the things I have done, it got to be an incredibly long list and accomplishments that I’m quite proud of.

Some little ones…but they mean a lot to me. I’ve never thrown a first punch. Never spent a night in jail. Never held a grudge more than a day or two unless the wrong was recurring.

Point to this morning’s ramble is not to whine about the downside of life out here at the end of the string. But it is to remind you that just as soon as you think you’ve found paradise, the phone company will turn out to be liars, the county elders looking after interests other than the local property owners, and some damn out-of-county POS will start operating a rock crusher down the road ruining the enjoyment of an early morning cuppa bean in the peace and quiet that was once East Texas.  Civilization is coming – even here in the back woods.

Not unexpected, entirely – there are 7-billion horse riders and they need to go somewhere.

Seems in this life like there is always a spoiler around. Before the rock crusher we had seismic outfits wanting to blast to get a look at the oil they thing might be under our place. No thanks. Before that, we had the great Texas Drought.

The flip side of that blew through this weekend.

And as soon as the fly-by-night officials get themselves dis-elected, I’m sure some new curse on the land this pony rider used to enjoy quietly.

STILL it is worth the time to keep working on this list of things you’ve done and gotten something from. I still marvel at wandering around the hills of Machu Picchu.down in Peru. Feeding a semi-tame barracuda at 110 feet down out front of Sunset House down in the Cayman Islands, and floating through the salt water caves north of Tulum and south of Cancun down in Quintana Roo.

It’s the other oddities you remember, too. The kind that set you on edge as you go push the limits of life. Riding a dog sled. Sailing in a whole gale. Offshore at night in fog so thick you couldn’t see where to pee…that kind of thing.

Life’s an adventure is what came out of my Sunday reflections. We all die, sure. But the experiences and sensations that are forever locked between the ears is what makes the ride worth taking.

I think if you ever really want to prepare to die, the best way to do it is to sit back with a cup of coffee some time and ask – as a golfer would – “How would I have played this hole differently next time?

My biggest fear about growing old is that I will have chosen the wrong paradigm.  I use the concepts of horse ride and golf.  Move around a bit, collect adventures, take a swing hoping for the perfect tee-shot, but realizing we all end up in the rough now and then.

Thing that scares me most is learning after the face “No, you idiot, this was a game of Hearts!  All that other stuff was there to fool you….

Be that as it may:  There’s a book to finish, several more to write, a market to watch, a wedding to attend…all that grand and wonderful scenery we pass by, riding on the backs of a nag that will soon give out.

It’s another Monday morning. Another cup of coffee.  Time to ride…not a moment to waste.

Above all it’s a day to add a new accomplishment, another skill, or touch another heart and make a deposit in the only banks that matters.

The one that never runs a deficit and is open whenever you’re awake.  The bank between the ears.

Write when you break-even



Coping: Symbolic Language Expansion — 8 Comments

  1. Regarding branding, it seems that back in the ’80’s, IBM wanted to trademark the number 2.

    Poop to that. I think they eventually settled on the /2 thing, as in OS/2, PS/2, etc.

    In Beijing, “er”, meaning 2 in Mandarin, is a pejorative name for an idiot.

  2. Thank you for your insght & intention. A ‘stable’ technique for the long ride: Pranayama

    The antah pranayama (the internal breath-regulation) is as follows:

    • Naham chinta (I-am-not-the-body idea) is rechaka (exhalation).
    • Koham (who am I?) is puraka (inhalation).
    • Soham (I am He) is kumbhaka (retention of breath).

    Doing thus, the breath becomes automatically controlled.

    The mind is the rider and the breath the horse. Pranayama is a check on the horse. By that check the rider is checked.

    ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi; from Talk 54 (16th June, 1935)

  3. A fine western perspective on human existence. There are at least two billion people existing on less than $3 per day. The purpose of human life is the harvest of energy by a certain class of beings, said energy best produced by suffering and other negative emotions. It only takes a 2% success rate to keep humans sucked into a game, like 2% of small traders making money, or my favorite 2% looking like a pinup that sells billions in fashion and cosmetics. You might have fallen into that 2% in this lifetime, having the privilege of consuming at a level that causes at least 90 others to live a subsistence existence, but you will still come up periodically for harvest through grief, loss, disease, etc. for details, check this out.

  4. Well, George, this one got my attention. Your usual coping section is either about planes, power tools, or something motorized. And it’s informative to even me, a person not at all interested in these things. But todays was different.

    It’s a really good read. Thanks for that.

  5. Bravo! More of “this-here pony show..” rather than finance, anytime. You’re sure brilliant.

    Keep enjoying the ride, Bruno

  6. Treasury Secretary Lew Gives Strange Warning About a Terrible “Accident”

    In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday October 19, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned the U.S. Treasury will run out of money by Tuesday November 3, less than two weeks from now, unless the debt ceiling is raised.

    That’s a story we have all heard before as the debt ceiling has already been raised 74 times since 1962 (Source: Wikipedia). But Secretary Lew added a strange warning about a terrible accident:

    “Only Congress can act to raise the debt limit. I will have used all the tools that I have as of November 3rd, and then we’re operating on cash.”

    “I worry every time we hit this that sometime there could be an accident, and that would be terrible. Any time you wait until the last possible minute you are inviting a risk, and this is not a last minute that we can know with absolute certainty. I just wrote a letter last week to Congress telling them that the date is November 3, but a few weeks ago we thought the date was November 5.”

    “According to our best estimates November 3 is when we will exhaust what we call extraordinary measures, those are the things that we can do to manage things. I will run out of things I can manage on November 3. We will then have $30 billion of cash or less, and on any given day we can need as much as $60 billion, so the risk is real.” (S0urce: CNBC)

  7. The question I ask myself is – “Did I do the best I could with ‘what I had’ at the time?” Hopefully, most of the time the answer is ‘yes’, though admittedly sometimes the answer is ‘no’ or perhaps being kind, a ‘maybe’ . . .

    Remember – other people have ‘free will’ also, and a bad situation is often of their making too.