Friday Four

Friday, January 02, 2015

1. Have you made -- or are you thinking about making -- a new year's resolution? If so, Jean Moroney of Thinking Directions offers some excellent advice in that department:

Do not make any New Year's Resolutions this year. At least, not unless you're mentally ready for the commitment. How can you tell? Here are three tests... [format edits]
Moroney's subsequent advice reminds me of the general goal-setting acronym, S.M.A.R.T., as well as of why, until recent years, I regarded the whole practice of making such resolutions with a jaundiced eye.

Most people get caught up in an emotion and basically wish some problem away in the form of a resolution. But real change takes planning, which requires attention to specifics informed by one's actual values. Once I contrasted the usual approach with occasionally taking stock, and adjusting one's actions accordingly, I realized that New Year's resolutions could have real value.

2. One of the more bizarre exports of American pop culture that I have ever heard of is how Colonel Sanders became Father Christmas in Japan:
"The prevailing wisdom here is that Americans eat chicken on the 25th," a friend wrote from Tokyo last week. He said he has "blown countless Japanese minds" by suggesting that Western KFCs may even close on Christmas. In Japan, where only a tiny fraction of the population is Christian and the holiday is a secular-slash-commercial affair, yuletide cheer goes hand in hand with a Christmas-branded bucket of chicken -- or, as the Japanese call KFC, simply "Kentucky." The Japanese version of the Colonel is grandfatherly and at times kawaii-cute. There are anime-eyed mascot costumes styled in his likeness, and service employees of KFC Japan wear uniforms loosely modeled after his signature white suit and long black ribbon tie. [links in original]
Once I got over the strangeness of this, I marveled at what a marketing success this has been for KFC.

3. This is an oldie, but a goodie: Signature of a Medieval Illiterate.

4. I enjoy the Q&A sessions podcast by Leonard Peikoff, but my routine makes it difficult for me to follow podcasts. That's why I was excited to learn recently that there is now a searchable index to these podcasts.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, Happy New Year to you and yours!

You write, "One of the more bizarre exports of American pop culture that I have ever heard of is how Colonel Sanders became Father Christmas in Japan..."

The story they used to tell and that amused the heck out of me when I first heard it was the supposed Christmas display with Santa Claus on the crucifix. It's probably not true, turns out, though it's been done as a knowing joke.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yeah, but bad philosophy trumps mere ignorance every time: Yesterday, I was behind a pickup truck with the following image, in the form of a bumper sticker, plastered on its rear window: One of those crosses stylized to look hyper-masculine, but with a gift bow hanging on it.

One man's greatest gift is another's massacre of the basis for good will.

Gus Van Horn said...

Oh, also: Happy holidays! Between travel and an entire lost week of daycare due to rotating illnesses, I'm having to unbury myself from a backlog of delayed obligations.