Explaining the world one sketch at a time

An unexpected surprise seeing a personal friend in a museum with exact replicas and free gifts


A pleonasm is the use of redundant words, often in established phrases or idioms. I tried to write something, but it's hard to beat this excellent excerpt by the comedian George Carlin from When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops — spot the pleonasms: "My fellow countrymen, I speak to you as coequals, knowing you are deserving of the honest truth. And let me warn you in advance, my subject matter concerns a serious crisis caused by an event in my past history...At that particular point in time, I found myself in a deep depression, making mental errors which seemed as though they might threaten my future plans. I am not over-exaggerating. I needed a new beginning, so I decided to pay a social visit to a personal friend with whom I share the same mutual objectives and who is one of the most unique individuals I have ever personally met. The end result was an un­expected surprise. When I reiterated again to her the fact that I needed a fresh start, she said I was exactly right; and, as an added plus, she came up with a fi­nal solution that was absolutely perfect. Based on her past experience, she felt we needed to join together in a com­mon bond for a combined total of twenty-four hours a day, in order to find some new initiatives. What a novel innovation! And, as an extra bonus, she presented me with the free gift of a tuna fish. Right away I noticed an immedi­ate positive improvement. And although my recovery is not totally complete, the sum total is I feel much better now knowing I am not uniquely alone.” More Sketchplanations about words.
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Two people on a desert island trying to find some privacy

It's easier to give privacy than to find it

Often, it's easier to give privacy than it is to find it. This is often true in the great outdoors. If you can't easily find privacy then it's good to have an attitude among your group to give privacy instead. When stopping a raft for lunch at the side of a river there may be no cover at all. A handy phrase for how to give some privacy when you needed to go pee was 'skirts up, pants down' — girls go upstream, boys go downstream. Or try finding some privacy when you're roped in a group of six walking up a glacier all day where you can't unrope — in that case, it's boys to one side of the rope, girls to the other. You can give privacy almost anywhere even when it's near impossible to find it. I was taught this by the excellent river guides at ROW.
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Someone explaining clear is kind and not being clear along the way

Clear is kind

Being clear is not only helpful, it's actually being kind. Being unclear about expectations, fuzzy on what you really need, or skirting around an issue, is actually unkind — it sets people up to fail, and creates problems in the future. If you don't give clear feedback then you're holding that person back from improving. If you say two weeks, but you're really expecting one week, then you'll resent it when it's not done in time. If you say it's really fine when it's not then you'll continue to be upset about how things are going. Clear is kind is a simple reminder, though by no means always easy, of how being clear in your communication is the generous, brave, helpful, and kind thing to do. I learned clear is kind, and unclear is unkind, from Brené Brown in Dare to Lead, and she said she first heard it in a 12-steps meeting. I borrowed the dancing emphasis from the always excellent Eva-Lotta Lamm. Static sketch of clear is kind.
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Comparison of typical goods selling by the box load at a retailer, and veblen goods — that have greater demand the more expensive they are — with people on a fancy yacht

Veblen goods

Most things increase in demand as they get cheaper — as the price of electric cars comes down we can expect more people to buy more of them. Veblen goods are the opposite. They thrive on exclusivity. Veblen goods are more desirable exactly because they are more expensive. If everyone could buy a Rolex, the vintage whisky, or that supercar, then they wouldn't seem so super anymore. Many luxury items are veblen goods. The I Am Rich iPhone app briefly sold for $999.99 and displayed only a glowing red gem and a mantra about being rich. Genius/madness. Veblen goods are named after Thorstein Veblen, coiner of the concept of conspicuous consumption.
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