As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
It was a surprise to me for several reasons:
If you look through this website, you'll see more than just swing dancing. I started including information on a number of dance studios many years ago because they included what they called "swing dancing". It was not my place to tell my readers whether or not it was really "swing dancing"; I leave it up up to the marketplace to decide whether a venue's swing activities should be supported. Those same dance studios also offered other kinds of dancing, especially ballroom and Latin.
"Swing" dancing comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Unlike the ballroom world, there is no certification of the "swing" syllabus. Who's to say that "swing" dancing is what we might call "East Coast Swing", "West Coast Swing", and/or Lindy Hop? (not to mention "Rock 'n' Roll", Jive and other variants of swing dancing). Unlike the ballroom syllabus, Swing dancing is a living organism. It's an evolving art form. Many of us (myself included) remember the movement of West Coast Swing from its original R&B roots into Hip Hop, Funk, and Disco. I remember making up a move in Hustle by using something I learned in Swing. Some of changes to the various dance forms are a result of the introduction of other dances, such as Swing Rueda and "Swango". We should not instinctively rule out other dance forms as being "non-applicable" just because we aren't able to see beyond our own narrow view of the world.
I can understand why a dance studio would refuse to allow flyers from other teachers at their own dance party, but there's no competition issue here. A dance teacher and a dancing venue can only help each other by letting their respective customers know about the other non-competing venues. This *grows* the community and helps all dance businesses: a dance teacher can send his or her students to a dancing venue while a dancing venue can send new students to a dance teacher. This is a beneficial symbiotic relationship.
While I believe that every dance business has a right to their own policy concerning the placement of flyers at their own venue, restricting the placement of some of those flyers is a bad business policy and destroys the feeling of partnership and support with other dance businesses, especially if other dance venues use that same location. Collecting and putting out flyers at a dance should be considered a service contribution to promoting the entire dance community.
Mr. Clarke was invited to speak to the students and alumnae of the Boston Latin School (Mr. Clarke graduated in 1968) to relate his years of public service in national security under four different presidents. The school's alumnae association encourages graduates to continue the school's long history of "giving back" to the school and their community. This history includes a good number of judges, ambassadors, governors, and congressmen, not to mention 5 signers of the Declaration of Independence and composer Leonard Bernstein (I like telling people that I graduated and Benjamin Franklin *didn't*).
I started going to book signings over the last year to hear some of the background material that went into the authors' books. In this case, we were expecting a "book reading". Mr. Clarke figured that the students and graduates of his alma mater were quite capable of reading his books on their own (after 4-6 years of a great education at BLS) so he decided to talk about his past experiences, his career, and how he came to write his books. This was once-in-a-life conversation that you wouldn't get in a news clipping.
One of the most interesting tidbits we got out of the session was hearing about the behind-the-door negotiations that went on with the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission to present a final report. They wanted one unanimous report, not a majority report and a minority report. Unfortunately, they couldn't exactly publish the one obvious conclusion from their investigation and still get a unanimous report, that the current US administration did nothing about terrorism before 9/11. The commission did write the report that stated the facts, in a way that those who could understand the material would eventually come to that conclusion. The one thing that Mr. Clarke would have preferred was if they had said that "Richard Clarke was right and George W. Bush was wrong".
It was time well spent. Mr. Clarke was the first of a long line of speakers in a planned series of presentations of BLS graduates coming in to speak about their (interesting) life experiences. It was nice that he made the journey from his home in Virginia to speak to us. I found Mr. Clarke to be an individual of great integrity, courage, and intellect, and it was a great loss to our country that he left government service.
As a side note, I use these book signings to get books for Christmas presents. An ordinary book instantly becomes a collectible, especially if personalized for the recipient. I covered a lot of bases that night: I took care of some Christmas presents, got some great books to read, and I got to hear and meet a great individual who has dedicated a huge portion of his life protecting the security of this country.
I had been taught that the proper response to "Thank You" was "You're welcome" so I was surprised when i realized that a lot of people were saying "No problem". I don't know if parents just aren't teaching their kids the same thing these days or if kids just picked it up on their own.
I was thinking about the unintended message each phrase implied.
When you say "You're welcome", you're really saying that it was a pleasure to be of service and there was nothing else that you would have rather done.
"No problem" tells me that it was not "inconvenient" for you. It leaves unsaid what they would have done if something more enjoyable had come up.
While I doubt if most people will make the differentiation, it would seem to me that not giving the other person a chance to assume the worse is the proper path to follow. You might want to think about it as the holiday gift-giving season approaches.
While it's not unreasonable to start treating these anniversaries of one's birth as just another day, there's no reason not to take advantage of them.
For that competitive edge, some businesses will try to win you over as a regular customer by making note of your birthday. For instance, Hollywood Video will give you a free rental when you show up on your birthday. I'm almost sure that car wash in Allston will give you a free car wash on your birthday (I always forget). If you're on their mailing list, the restaurant chain Not Your Average Joe's will send you coupon for a free entree (even if someone else is buying) while Bugaboo Creek sends you a postcard with a coupon for a free dessert (I assume candles are included).
It kinda reminds me of people who retire. They're usually the ones in the checkout line saying "Gimme my senior citizen discount!". If getting older is mandatory, make the most of it. On your birthday, visit every store you can and ask them if they do anything special for customers' birthdays (except for the entire kitchen coming out to sing Happy Birthday, of course!).