modern manners

While writing about the great new book by Julia Rothman, Farm Anatomy, another book on her website just happened to catch my eye.


Illustrated by Julia and written by etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson (who often appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show) and her actress granddaughter, Liv Tyler, Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top is the modern guide to good manners everywhere. “Developing good manners is an important investment in your future,” says the book’s back cover. “They allow you to feel at ease in any situation—and give you the polish and confidence to become a leader.”

Johnson’s advice addresses both modern and classic questions, including:

* acing job interviews
* giving confident handshakes
* making conversation
* proper business attire and meeting protocol
* e-mail etiquette, including what to post—or not—on social media
* how to deal with rude cell-phone users
* conducting a meeting at a restaurant
* attending business or social events
* table manners

“People are often surprised to learn that my grandmother is a world-renowned etiquette expert,” says co-author Liv Tyler. “I suppose that is because my family is known for being a little more rock-and-roll than Rockefeller.” (Liv’s father is Aerosmith front-man Steven Tyler.) “As my grandmother always told me, ‘It’s better to know it and not need it than to need it and not know it.'”





For your weekly dose of literary illumination, I offer you:

Flapdoodle, which refers to anything one might consider nonsense, drivel, gibberish, or gobbledygook.

As in: “Did you read MaryJane’s latest post? Apparently, some snooty scientists are claiming that sarcasm is an indicator of creativity. Do you believe it? Pure flapdoodle!”

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear, 1875 via Wikimedia Commons

Not to be confused with either of these:

  • Jiggery-pokery, which means trickery, hocus-pocus, fraud, or humbug
  • Bafflegab, meaning generally unintelligible jargon

But pretty much interchangeable with either of these:

  • Flumadiddle
  • Bosh

Utter at will!

sarcasm and creativity

If I say,

“Sarcasm is a reflection of a person’s creativity,”

and you reply,

“Oh, really? I didn’t know that from years of personal experience,”

then you’ll appreciate this entry.

If, however, you’re more inclined to dismiss this statement as flapdoodle (stay tuned tomorrow to see what that’s all about),

then you’ll probably just want to stop reading … here.

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