Monday, January 31, 2005


Alert Reader "S" recently posted this comment to my Odds and Ends entry:

Well said Rob and my sentiments exactly. There have been a few times that I have not understood the connection Jamie's comments make to your blog article (or for that matter understood his comment.) That being said, however, I applaud Jamie in providing to you comments. He is the only one I have seen make comments, for it's an indication that people are reading your blogs. Hopefully the number of people writing comments is not indicative of the number of people reading them. It's a shame more people aren't writing comments and showing you they are informed about your writing. I find your blogs amusing, informative and a great learning experience. Well, "great" may be a little too strong a word. But I do learn new words when I read the blogs. I never new there was such a word as glitterati so I went to Webster's on-line dictionary and lo and behold, there it was. However, when I went to the Questeria Online Library, I could not find the origins of the word. Can you help me out, do you know the origins of glitterati?


Well, S, if that is your real name, you bring up several excellent points (and no, excellent is not too strong a word). First, Jamie deserves to be mocked. He just does. Second, he also deserves praise. It sort of twists the mind a bit to owe both praise and mockery at once - although a good back-handed compliment might serve both ends: "Jamie is much cooler once you get to know him." I think I'll leave it at that for now.

The points I would like to address are the comments and "glitterati." I'll start with comments. Thanks for noticing and posting (that goes for Jamie, too). I do read them and I do appreciate them. Same goes for the comments on Leaves. I don't necessarily think everyone else should be ashamed of not commenting, though, maybe just a little chagrined. If you see something worth remarking upon, do so, if not eh, I'll keep talking to a silent audience just as much as to a responsive one. I like praise (thank you for that, S), I appreciate criticism (really), but I'm also fond of the sound of my own voice and don't need much more than that to keep me going (your call as to whether that's a strength or a fault).

And now, "Glitterati"
Unfortunately S, I do not know the history of the word. I know what it means and how to use it, but I don't know who coined it or when. The gist, for those of you who did not look it up, is that it's a combination of Glitter and Literati. "Literati" is a term used to apply to the intellectual elite. Glitterati refers to the glittering elite. Not the well read so much as the well seen. Also referred to as the jet-set crowd. The earliest uses seem to have occurred in the 1950's (The Online Etymology Dictionary claims 1956, but does not provide any further information) and for some reason several entries quoted the following line: “private parties on Park Avenue and Central Park West, where the literati mingled with glitterati” (Skylines). I don't know where or when that came from (or even what Skylines is). So I'm really not all that helpful.

I'm adding your references to my bookmarks. At the moment, when I do my research, I tend to start with the Wikipedia. It's an encyclopedia based on the idea that anyone can edit a page, and anyone can undo another person's edits. Well, that's the extremely simplified version anyway. Sounds ripe for chaos and trouble, but the collaboration proves more effective and is hijacked less often than one would initially expect. It's a fascinating idea and maybe I'll write about it on its own someday. For now, the important thing (relatively speaking) is that the wikipedia, like many web sources, can be suspect at times, but is usually an excellent informal source of information. Except in this case, where it really wasn't all that useful. Although I did learn that "glitterati" is a portmanteau and that a "portmanteau" is a word made from combining two or more words. So there's that at least...

I apologize for not being able to fully answer your question, but I'll keep my eyes open. Maybe next time I'm bored I'll spend some serious time tracking this down and will write my own entry for the wikipedia (posted here first, of course). In the meantime if anyone else knows where the word Glitterati originated, or a good reference site that does, let the rest of us know. . . put it in a comment.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Here are a few observations I've been meaning to make but which are not really worthy of their own individual entry. So I'm grouping them together, even though they really don't have much to do with each other

My car, a Honda Civic, is equipped with a few features specifically designed to foil valets attempting to get into my trunk without my permission. I received, with my regular key, a valet key that will not work to open my trunk. I appreciate the concerns of the designers, those valets can be a crafty and nefarious bunch. I would like to point out, however, something they may have missed, namely that it's a Honda Civic. I have nothing against the car itself, I am actually quite fond of it and intend (and can reasonably expect) to drive it for a long long time. But it's not exactly the car of the glitterati. The people who prefer valets to do their parking for them do not drive anything so sensible as a Civic. The people frugal enough to buy a Civic in the first place are not likely to spend the money they save in mileage on valets. So, as a Civic owner, I'm not really afraid of valets and do not believe the security measures (and the few frustrations they cause) are necessary. Unless you're talking about the roving bands of valets who sometimes stalk the streets at night. Those valets I am afraid of.

This is an interesting concept and one that proves a lot of people really have more time than they know what to do with. Basically, it is a form of animation using game engines. Manipulate the characters on screen, record the result, cut and edit, throw in the sounds you want, and you've got your own puppet show made with digital puppets. The best known example of this (at least in my world) is Red vs. Blue which uses the game Halo (and more recently Halo 2) to perform skits. It's absolutely hilarious. Jamie (the fellow who posts comments long enough to make you wonder whether he thinks this is his own blog site) introduced me to the first season and I couldn't stop laughing. But beyond the hilarity, its form is fascinating to me (a recent reintroduction to RvB is what brought this topic to my mind). There are people who have used various games like Balder's Gate to recreate movies and plays or to make up their own stories. Greg Kostikyan talked about it in his blog some time ago. It's an example of the many ways we find to entertain ourselves with tools and games well beyond their original intended use (think kids and cardboard boxes).

No really, I have nothing else to say today.