Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Corporate America

An exchange between my brother and the marketing department in the nightmare part of his head as he concocts a greeting card.

Happy Birthday!
[Too simple. Needs more "pop" - VP Marketing]
We wish upon you a joyous anniversary of your birth!
[Lose "anniversary." Sounds too old-fashioned. - VP Marketing]
Joyous greetings to you on your birthday!
[I'd like to try not to use the word "birth" if possible. 
Possibly offensive. - VP Marketing]
Wishing you joy on this special day!
[I think we've gone too far -- sounds too generic. Needs to 
convey a personal touch. And more pop! - VP Marketing]
Blam! Pow! What a day! It's your day!
[Need to make them aware that it could be other's day as well. 
Let's not be exclusive. - VP Marketing]
Blam! Pow! What a day! Happy day to you!
[Sorry, should have mentioned this before. "Blam" and "pow" don't 
fit the mood. Keep it classy. - VP Marketing]
What a special day! Happy day to you!
[Thinking we've lost focus, this isn't a children's book. 
Let's go in a different direction. - VP Marketing]
We wish you a merry day, and all the best.
[Avoid "merry"--connotations with Christmas. Needs to be 
non-denominational. Little more "pop" - VP Marketing]
We wish you a happy day! All the best to you.
["You" is in there twice. Simplify. - VP Marketing]
Wishing you the best on this happy day!
[Talked with HR. They feel "birthday" is far enough removed 
from "birth" to not offend. Let's go back to that. - VP Marketing]
Wishing you the best on your birthday!
[Just thinking that this may need to be personalized and may 
not be "from" someone. Let's lose the "you" altogether. - VP Marketing]
Happy birthday!
[Perfect. Let me run it by the board and i'll get back to you. 
- VP Marketing]
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A modest proposal to reverse patronymics

There are a variety of different name endings used to denote a person as the son or daughter of their ancestor. For example, in the British Isles, O’Neill is the son of Neill, MacDonald is the son of Donald, and Danielson is the son of Daniel. In Russia, Ivanovich is the son of Ivan, and Ivanovna is the daughter of Ivan. In Denmark, Martasdatter would be the daughter of Marta.

The systems of ancestor naming – patronymics – around the world have one thing in common, which is the very thing that makes them obsolete today. That is, they append the parent’s name to the child’s name. You see, in “olden times”, ancestors were believed to be important – even moreso than the children themselves!

Now that we understand that the proper place of children as the object of worship in family life, and that a woman’s identity comes from her offspring, it is time to reverse the system of patronymics into a system of filinymics – the use of the child’s name to identify the mother.

People have already started using this system in limited ways. The suffix that has been chosen for this is “smom”. Filinymic email addresses abound:, or are examples (please don’t write to them though). You just append “smom” to your child’s name, to create your name, then grab that email address.

It’s time we converted to this system entirely. There are numerous advantages, such as having to remember fewer names. Next time you see Kayla’s mom, you can just say “Hey Kaylasmom! How’s it going?” You won’t have to remember her obsolete name. There will be no last names. In this memeverse, it is the younger generation, after all, who need shorter names to save time twixting their tumblbots. Their slower-moving pizza providers can use the longer filinymic form as a way to honor the young and maintain family ties.

Some critics of this system claim it can’t be done because they say you would need to change your name after having a child. That is so fail, for two reasons. For one, the entire lineage is simply reversed, so it works exactly the same, just in the other direction; the mother would always have the name of the child, and so on until the end of time – no name changes needed. Second, we’re not talking about people having names like this; we’re only saying that people’s mothers will have those names.


Possible marketing company

I’m always in the need for marketing help, and these guys seem pretty good…


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Fluff mia

Fluff mia, mi gato,

cuando tu miau, quieres decir que tienes problemas?

Tienes muchos problemas?

Son problemas grandes y eterna?

Son profundos y trĂ¡gicos?

Son horribles, dolororos, y muy grandes?

De verdad tienes problemas muy grandes, eterna, profundos, doloroses y trĂ¡gicos?


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Contributing to Meeting

Most people today report feeling overburdened with responsibilities, and when we are asked to take on a role at Meeting, feelings of guilt and impending exhaustion can bring us down. How can we as Friends stuff those negative feelings without having to face the underlying issues? Here is a list of guilt-free techniques you can use to quickly escape doing any more work for your Meeting.


  1. You can extend the period of “testing the waters”, and don’t take on any responsibilities until you are fully committed to membership. Tentativeness can be cultivated for years, even a lifetime.
  2. Do a half-asssed job in your current role, and hope that no one will ask you to bungle anything else.
  3. Use your limitations as excuses by saying “I’m not good at that.” Don’t try new things, because each new thing that you can do takes away a potential excuse not to do it.
  4. Say that you have already served on the committee (even if it was 10 years ago), and that you promised never to do it again. Show scars, or draw parallels between committee time and jail time.
  5. Rope others into the role that you are being asked to do. Target those who are susceptible to guilt trips; they usually cave in. It’s helpful to say you have a “leading”that the other person was “meant” to be in the role.
  6. If there is an upcoming meeting and you suspect that Friends will be dividing up the work for the upcoming year, try to arrange other commitments so that you can’t attend that meeting.
  7. Since Meeting probably owes you something, you can wait until you are paid up until you offer anything else.
  8. If you cave in and accept a role, attach conditions to the acceptance, such as “if you can’t find anyone else” or “if I don’t have to go to any meetings”.
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Ailanthus Meadows Intentional Community

(This is satire!!)

Purpose: The mission of Ailanthus Meadows Community (AMC) is to enhance global change through personal commitment to the peace, justice, and harmony.

History: AMC was founded in 2004 by Crystal and Ian. The community started out and has remained at four members since inception. The adult founding members participated in a Lifelong Commitment Ceremony (LCC), showing their solidarity with the Global Family by acting as a local reflection of global values. This laid the foundation for the future of AMC.

Lifestyle: All members of AMC share income as one economic unit, and live communally in one house. All adult members may have sexual relations with each other, unless one of them is having her period, in which case relations may be delayed by a few days. We currently practice nonserial monogamy, as opposed to serial mono-, poly-, and other forms of gamy. Work is shared according to Marxist principles. Decision making is by consensus.

Status: AMC is not accepting new members at this time, but welcomes intercommunity relationships with other communities and their members.

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