Salon XXXIV—mental masturbation at its best…

~Saturday~ From Wikipedia: Salon (gathering): A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate" ("aut delectare aut prodesse est"). Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until quite recently in urban settings.

For us—a group of six associated with NC State University and/or the English Department and/or the Master's Degree in Technical Communication program at NC State—it's just a fun monthly (give or take a month here and there) gathering for some intellectual masturbation.

Tonight was Salon XXXIV, and Kim was in town (from Utah), so we all met at "Salon Headquarters" (a.k.a. "Mitch's Tavern"), where we covered these topics:

1. Any interesting wifi connection names in your locale? The rise of passive-aggressive wi-fi names

2. LinkedIn Endorsements–love them? hate them? What makes you endorse? Easier than writing a recommendation–so does it mean the same things?

2a. Article about endorsements:

3. If you were forced to pick one of these top ten lists to read, which one most appeals to you and why? Which one is of the least interest to you, and why? Caveat: I'm not sure how often the lists on this home page change, so we may be choosing from a different list depending on when we do this. Complete aside: It really bugs me that there are not only 10 lists on the home page of the Top 10 lists, even though all the lists on it are Top Ten lists.

4. Do you remember the last time, if ever, you thought this about a product or service? Uncompromising Promises: "Have you ever used a product or service and thought, "Damn, that experience was amazing?" It doesn't happen often, but when it does…"

5. Thoughts on piracy, downloading music, mixed tapes, and how much you pay for coffee…

NON STANDARD: Adding salon topic prompts from John's friends on Facebook:

Jay Cagle: The salon topic should be why do otherwise good people steal music without a thought. The problems with the music industry don't justify stealing. Given how easy it is to buy a song/album online today there's really no excuse for not doing it. If you feel that you can't afford to buy it then don't rip it — you don't have a *right* to any music you want for free.

6. If pot were to become legal in this state and if you would use it recreationally, with what audience, in what context, and for what purpose would you use it? (e.g., among certain close friends, during a salon meeting, and to make us feel even smarter than we are)

7. SpeedCon wrap up

8. Political signs and bumper stickers–what makes someone leave them up after the election? Laziness? Anger? "Told you so?" Don't blame me? Other?

9. Different versions of SELF. Which version of yourself do you share at work? with family? with friends? with Salon? with strangers? nspired by our interaction with the closing speaker at SpeedCon.

10. This article ( got me thinking about the best "bosses" I've had and the worst, and their various characteristics and "leadership" styles. Your experiences?

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