Get the name right.

I may have a boring job that’s not tremendously important, but I do work in an office.  And despite how great my boss might be, and how much we can joke around, it’s still a professional environment.  As such, I expect the people who are communicating with me will act professionally.  In particular, any written communications including email should be carefully written.  All too often, this is nto the case, due to the informality of email as a medium.

In particular I’ve noticed other’s inability to type my name correctly.  True, my name has various common spellings, but that should not make any difference.  If you are responding to my email directly, you should be able to verify and re-type the name correctly.  If not, you should at least be able to copy and paste it into the reply.  Still, countless people mess it up.  There’s one ‘e’, people, and only one!  However, this slight spelling error doesn’t get to me like the range of errors perpetrated against me this morning.

Let’s use an example to illustrate.  Let’s say your name is Shawn Smyth.  It’s a pretty common name, with maybe a bit of unusual spelling, but still something most English speakers would be highly familar with.  So, someone writes an email to ‘dear Sean’.  Honest mistake, people make it all the time, even though your first name (spelled correctly) is embedded in your email address.  Fine, whatever, you ‘reply all’.

Then another person on the email list responds, mangling your last name into ‘Smith’.  Again, it’s an honest mistake, but really?  What can they mess up next (because you know, someone on this email list is going to make you want to hurt puppies soon)?

Next email: ‘Dear Stan Smith’.  Really?  That’s not even close.

C’mon people.  Get it together!

The Codex Sinaiticus

Technology is cool. History is cool. Old and rare books are cool. Really really old historically significant books that get put online are supa-cool.  Add a name like Sinai onto that, and you have just about the coolest thing I can think of.

I’m a big fan of reading.  I love libraries and other institutions that provide books for free.  All the electronic programs like Google Books I think are pretty amazing.  I want access to as much ‘printed’ material as possible, and the growth of that access excites me.  But what is more powerful in this particular case is the book itself.  Looking at these pages in the original Greek is a window into a bygone age.  It’s like looking at a Mayan codex, or hieratic writing on a sheet of papyrus.  It may be unintelligible to the casual reader, but there’s still an attraction there.  And even though I’d have to travel to four different places to actually see the book with my own eyes and actually touch it like I’d want, online imaging is the next best thing.  The eye can carry some of the power of the text, preserved and unchanged, over centuries.


Yesterday was a dark day.  I don’t mean a depressing or upsetting day – I mean physically dark.  The clouds got so heavy in the early evening that it was almost black outside when I left work.  The air was heavy and oppressive, the rain alternating between a cloying mist and heavy droplets.  Sure, there was lightning and thunder as well, and that’s always exciting.  But mostly, it was just dark.

Today started off just about the same – a gray morning, plenty of rain hanging over my head.  But something shifted.  The clouds are still pretty heavy, but the sun is just blasting right through anyway.  The rain is still falling pretty hard, but it’s beautiful – a million tiny shards of glowing refraction.  Everything glistens with wet, but it is the refreshing wet of spring and summer, rather than the cold and dismal rain of fall.

It makes me want to run outside, throw my head back, and scan the sky for rainbows, though I’m not sure why.  Is it is my desire to say ‘ooooh, pretty!’ and mean it?  Is it some hunger for renewed vibrancy and color in a world that was earlier bleak and gray?  Is it hope?  Is it enjoyment of the sunshine, in all its forms?  Regardless, the color and the light still fill me in a way an ordinary day of sunshine won’t.