Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Around the Word

We hope you're hungry, because we've got hints on presentation-openers and a few fun, food-related tidbits for your lunch break today:
  • "Snap!" Did we get your attention? Presentations need an effective opening to crackle and pop—whether you start with a laugh, as the late great speechwriter Liz Carpenter advises, or with a dynamic visual effect, as urged by The Eloquent Woman. A "dynamic" start can be as simple as walking across the stage or moving through the audience to keep their attention fresh and keyed into your presence. We wonder: what tactics do you use to grab an audience from the get-go?
  • Writing is hungry work, and unlike baking a cake, it never seems to be quite done. The Guardian's Books Blog explores two editions of MFK Fisher's guide to frugal feeding, How to Cook a Wolf, which was released in 1941 and again in 1952—with her comments and edits printed in the margins. Like many writers, Fisher suffered from the unwillingness to declare her book finished and release it to the wolves. We turn to you—without a toothpick to slide into the center of your literary loaf, how do you test for doneness?
  • The language police are patrolling your local grocery store—in particular, the frozen foods aisle. Ben and Jerry's has decided to omit the phrase "all-natural" from their ice cream cartons, reports the Washington Post, in recognition of its, well, meaninglessness. Good's language columnist Mark Peters salutes the emperors of ice cream for questioning the accuracy of the adjective, which is a pet catch-phrase for food marketers across the board. Peters notes that "natural" has long been the cherry on top of false advertising—after all, what does the "natural" in "natural causes" and "natural numbers" mean, exactly?
  • Step into the hall of mirrors: in honor of 10/10/10 (this past Sunday), the L.A. Times's Jacket Copy blog is hosting a "Best of "Best of" Books," with their top ten books that separate the wheat from the chaff. Find the crème de la crème in technology writing, food writing, comics, and poetry. Dave Eggers's omnivorous "Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010" even includes the best lists, which tell a story in their own way. We anticipate there might be more fun in bewailing what's been left off the rosters—though the entertainment promised by such outliers as "Best American Gun Magazine Headlines" and "Best American Sentences on Page 50 of Books Published in 2009" will be hard to pass up.

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