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blog archive

Words of Wisdom from an Unlikely Source

Last weekend—and, it turns out, for the first time in my life—I read a Sports Illustrated article from beginning to end. Written by Frank Deford, the man GQ called “the world’s greatest sportswriter,” the story is primarily a reminiscence; a look back at five decades in the trenches.

One line in particular struck me. Early in his career, Frank had wondered aloud to SI‘s managing editor, Andre Laguerre, whether writing about sports was really substantial.

“Frankie, it doesn’t matter what you write about,” said Laguerre. “All that matters is how well you write.”

An International Perspective

If you want to be inspired by design—or simply amused by it—check out It’s a great opportunity to visit, and comment on, interesting architecture, furniture, interiors, graphics, and more from around the world.

A Usage Note

So I was reading a news release from a reputable NYSE-listed corporation the other day, and I came across the phrase “was comprised of.” This, much like the use of “reference” as a verb, causes me no end of consternation. (“Comprise” means “to consist of” or “be composed of”; “was comprised of” is therefore redundant.)

Corporate communication is rife with bad writing, due in large part to simple ignorance—not to mention marketing types’ insatiable need to speak in jargon—which, in turn, leads to the unnecessary manipulation of the English language.

I’m all for celebrating the glorious mosaic of our diverse, dynamic, and living language, but c’mon. Change is only good when it’s needed. And you don’t need “of” when you write “comprised.”

On Business Cards


Greg Beato over at The Smart Set offers up a brief homage to the lowly business card. “Tweets fade into the ether and avatars are put out to pasture,” he writes, “but real paper business cards, these sturdy facsimiles of ourselves on custom-duplexed cardstock with metallic ink and die-cut rounded corners, are going to last forever…”

Is That a Ferret in Your Pants…?

A new world record was set recently in ferret legging—the “sport” in which contestants place a pair of live ferrets in their pants and, well…wait. The last man standing is declared the winner.

The rules are simple: no underwear, and your pants need to be loose enough “to allow easy ferret access between the legs.”

New record-holder Frank Bartlett, a 67-year-old retired teacher, lasted 5 hours, 30 minutes.

UPDATE! The definitive article on ferret legging was written by Donald Katz and appeared in Harper’s Magazine back in 1992. Click here for the story.

Introducing Apple’s Latest Venture: iSpokane

It’s true. Steve Jobs and his appleheads are coming to Spokane – in the form of a new Apple retail store! This is some of the most exciting news I’ve heard in quite some time. After setting up shop in larger US markets initially, Spokane’s name finally bubbled to the top of the list.

Bertrand Russell on Work

From “In Praise of Idleness” (1932):

Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.

“…we never asked the kids what they wanted.”

For anyone out there who stubbornly refuses to recognize the near-limitless power of branding, I share this story without further comment.

We’re All Winners!

According to this infographic, every country in the world is best at, or has the most of, something. Like Senegal and it’s gasoline bunkers, for example. Or Argentina’s horse meat production. I’ll let you see for yourself how the USA shines.

Pronouns Are Sexy

Jessica Love (seriously, that’s her name), a PhD candidate in cognitive psychology at Ohio State University, talks about how she’s fallen hard for pronouns. Me? I’m more of an adverb guy, but I totally see where she’s coming from.

Near Rosa Butte, West Plains

Spokane County does a great job maintaining a number of conservation and natural areas; some are even within a few minutes of downtown. This one—the James T. Slavin Conservation Area—is a favorite of the intrepid Lily, my 12-year-old border collie. I’m not cool enough to own an iPhone, so you’ll have to make do with this picture, captured with my lowly Droid.

Quote of the Week

From Tom Holt: “Count no man’s life wasted if there is a beautiful, mysterious woman weeping at his funeral.”

What the–?!?

Granted, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I honestly don’t get what this sign, on the corner of Sprague and Post, is trying to tell me. Has the City of Spokane generously set aside an entire district for “entertainment parking,” whatever that is? (Though, to be fair, watching certain individuals try to parallel park their ginormous SUVs does, in fact, qualify as entertainment…perhaps that’s what they mean.)

If, on the other hand, the City is trying to convince us that there is, in fact, a thriving entertainment district in the downtown area, and that this is the place to park if you’re going to partake of its many wonders, shouldn’t the sign read, “Entertainment District Parking”?

Then there’s the scary “TOW-AWAY ZONE” sign below. Kudos to whoever in the planning department remembered that compound modifiers generally require a hyphen, but still.

Somebody please explain this to me.

New Logo, Website Launched

Integrus Architecture launched its new website and brand identity today—both of which were created by the brilliant minds at AMD. Take a look.

Bonus Post!

The wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth continues at length over the dearth of posting of late. I blame CK; the truth is, we’ve all been busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Or is it simply another sign that the apocalypse is upon us?

Either way, it’s the first time we here at AMD Headquarters have offered two blog posts in one day. So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

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