Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Adman, Writer John "Jack" Davis Made Words Count

My mom and I used to play a game "Ik zie, ik zie, wat jij niet ziet" or "I see what you don't see". 
Note that the verb is "don't" not "can't". In other words, it's not about what you can't see, but what you miss seeing. 
The clever ad for the (blue) Skoda (in the picture) makes use of the same principle. 

Admen and women sell products, and sometimes they sell more than that; the best among them sell ideas that are LIFE-CHANGING and sometimes a gift of life, or at least enhanced quality of life. 

The following letter from Mary Welborn, the widow of Gary's stepdad, our dear friend John "Jack" Davis, about her late husband and colleague runs that idea home. 

Please let me, Mary Welborn, share with you a moment to reflect on the passing of my husband, John (Jack) Freeman Davis.

There are few people born with the power to string together just the right words that set into motion the energy to overcome problems. John was one of those rare guys.

Words helped create the demand for a Magnet School Program that was so successful that temporary buildings had to be moved onsite to accomodate the massive student overflow coming into the inner city from the suburbs.
Those words, written by John Davis.
In my opinion, his finest hour was when he created the words that saved countless numbers of children's lives. There is much work to be done.

The words, "Nobody's going to shoot Southwest Airlines out of the sky for a lousy $13" set into motion the power to overcome Braniff crushing Southwest Airlines.
The words, "The best education money can't buy" set into motion the power to overcome complex issues in the '80's' with student bussing in Houston.
There are many more examples where John's writing saved companies from going out of business by creating increased demand for countless products and services.
Words yelled in fear, panic and anger in the echoing lobby of M.D. Anderson's Medical Center: "I don't know who to see or what I have to do, but I'm not leaving this damn place 'till my Granddaughter, John Henry Freeman's Great Granddaughter, gets the medicine she needs! He built this damn place and surely I can get the medicine that she has to have!"

Those words by John Davis set into motion the rushed FDA approval of a drug that continues to save countless number of children's lives. A deadly fungal infection on the liver of Childhood Leukemia patients was killing them while they sat waiting for this medicine to be approved.

John, you are one of the good guys with the rare power of persuasion. Mostly, you taught us that words matter. Resting in peace is not your style, may your spirit continue to kick-ass and take names! We won't have to miss you. Now, you are everywhere.
If anyone feels compelled to make a donation in memory of John (Jack) Freeman Davis, M.D. Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital Pediatric Center would be happy to accept donations. You can even make them online.
Thank you, God bless us all with the same power of persuasion. 
Amen to that Mary. I've got nothing to add to that. 
Although, if you came this far, you deserve to take the Nokia observation test. 

Note that Jack's grandfather John H. Freeman, the one mentioned in Mary's letter, appears in the second paragraph of this linked article. And note that it was Jordan Howell's sister Michelle who was in need of the medicine. 

If there's any message in this post, it's that we don't need to be in advertising to make our words count. 

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Treading on Thin Ice with Pumps - Free after Ralph Waldo Emerson

Symbols are all around us. We live among them, and we know when we are touching a sensitive spot. We know we're not supposed to burn flags, we know we can hurt people's feelings. At a time when nerves are exposed, do we really literally want to tread on sacred icons? 
That's what I see in the picture above, of Zoulikha Bouabdellah's installation "Silence": treading on something sacred, or something that refers to a sacred act with shoes. They may be dainty pumps, and never worn, the message is clear. 
Feet JvP photo The Seattle Times
I recall having a conversation with distinguished Tibet scholar Robert Thurman (aka father of Uma) when he visited the Seattle Central Public Library (designed by "our" Rem Koolhaas). We were looking at the floor designed by conceptual artist Ann Hamilton outside the Microsoft Auditorium. 
I recited my architectural tour guide bit: "7200 square feet of computer routed maple wood, showing 556 sentences in 11 languages."
"Not Tibetan," Thurman said, "You're not supposed to stand on words."
"No, indeed, but even if that language was represented, Ann Hamilton made sure patrons couldn't inadvertently commit blasphemy," I said. "None of the sentences contain words we're not supposed to put our feet on."
Thurman smiled at me and shook his head, "Tibetans consider all writing sacred, no standing on words."

A friend remarks on Facebook:
If there is no bridge of assimilation between the profane and sacred world, every religion is doomed to ashes. Or barren ground of ritual.
To which I answered: My friends and I take our shoes off when we enter someone's home. And, I would like to add here, we wouldn't walk on thin ice with stilettos, too easy to hurt ourselves, and others in the action of saving our ass.

But to get back to the installation in France, perhaps I read it all wrong, perhaps there's a feminist message about women not praying with the men?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Relax - It's Retrospection Time || Mercury Retrograde

image by
Prepare with the listed themes of Mercury Retrograde in mind, and:

- Be extra careful not to put both feet in your (or someone else's) mouth.
- Write down appointments with pen or pencil on paper.
- Double check not to spread myself to thin, can't be in two places at the same time.
- Stick to works in progress -->> Finish projects.

re-apply, re-birth, receive, redo, re-evaluate, re-fill, regain, re-hab, reinvent, rejuvenate, rekindle, relight, remember, rename, reopen, repossess, restore, retrieve, reuse, rev-it-up, rewind, re-xamine, re-yell, rez assured all will be fine
Before Mercury in Retrograde hits:
- See above +
- Write everything down now, make lists.
- Practise bouncing back, go to the gym, work on your abs.
- Don't just put the DVDs, CDs and thumb drives on your desk,  back up your files.
- Prep the coffee maker, lay out your clothes, pack your bag the night before. 
- Make sure your guests are entertaining if not entertainers, order pizza + ice-cream. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Meditating on Blue San Juan de Fuca

In need of calming down in these emotionally taxing times, 
I imagine the beach, the water, the waves licking my toes, 
the way my feet sink deeper into the cool sand, 
watching the ripple of the tide coming in, going out, 
the way the water connects us all, one body, one time.

This work by Judith van Praag writing as well as photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Confidentiality Disclaimer at End of Email

This morning I received an email addressed to me about about a patient's intake.  Since I have been corresponding with the sender I opened the email. The salutation was directed at the person who received a Cc, in other words a copy of the email directed at me. Clearly the message was not for me, but it could be that the sender had made a mistake, intending to copy me on the message she turned around addressee 1 and 2.

How does that happen, I wondered and checked similarities in name. There were none, unless you consider my name has a P, and so does the copied addressee. Yet, in fact, my name was spelled Vanpraag, so the P was not exposed the way it is in Van Praag.

So I read the email and scrolled down to see more. The original sender doesn't use a disclaimer, but the addressee does.The first is a supplier of medical, and physical aids equipment, the second a representative of a hospital's rehabilitation center. The latter's sign-off includes a disclaimer, that the material in the email is confidential and only meant for the recipient. Unfortunate wording since I am the recipient, even though not the intended one.

My curiosity was triggered, naturally I'll reply to all, and do what's further requested in the disclaimer, "to let the sender know and destroy the email and attachments".
Oh, yes, the attached PDF contained all personal information about the patient whose name I won't disclose. To be honest I did scan the documents to see if there was mention of a patient whom I do represent, but that was not the case.

I have no intention to use the received data. With an overload of information that comes my way on a daily basis the name of the person in the care of the two correspondents has already been deleted from my memory bank. Still, I'm concerned. Making a booboo is easily done. And what if. What if the message really is seen by people who shouldn't?

Is it a good idea to send confidential material by email? The author of the blog Clinical Lawyer discusses the value of a disclaimer, and what it really means for patient and caregiver (or any other supplier of services to a client or patient).

So if most email isn’t secure, and confidential information shouldn’t be sent via email, why bother including a warning that confidential information sent to the wrong address should be destroyed? Isn’t it pointless? Well, sort of. But there are some good reasons why people choose to do so:
One possibility is that people are actually sending confidential information via unsecured email. Bad idea (see above).
Another possibility is that they don’t intend to send confidential information via email, but in the event that they make a mistake and do transmit confidential information they want to make sure that they have some sort of instruction in case the message strays. Again, it’s just not a good idea to send confidential information via email at any time.
I highly recommend reading the whole blog post, it's enlightening.
As for the emails —yes, a thread was sent growing and growing without either sender or recipient noticing my name as the main addressee— I will reply to all addressed and send them a link of the Clinical Lawyer blog.

Conclusion: f snail mail is too slow to for your liking, use a courier service, or FAX confidential material. Do make sure beforehand that the FAX machine is not located next to the water fountain or in the common room.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gardening Restores Trust in Nature

Judith's P-Patch Landscape as Queen Anne Message Board 
The founder of DONA (Doulas of North America) Penny Simkin likened the effects of a traumatic delivery to PTSD

New in Seattle, a year after the death of our baby daughter during a vaginal breech delivery, I was seeing a Chinese doctor who stated I needed to start gardening. Planting seeds, seeing them germinate and growing into plants would restore my trust in nature, she said. 

I planted green beans in a pot outside our apartment door, and signed up for a plot at the P-Patch (after Picardo Farms) gardens in our neighborhood. The first months I could do nothing but sift soil, removing stones and pebbles. My husband had to come with me and made me plant the seeds in his presence, because I could not do so on my own.

That first year my fear of failure was immense, but the seedlings pushed through the topsoil and grew into flowers and after a 3-week vacation the radishes had grown the size of tennis balls, the flowers blossomed that summer, and bit-by-bit my trust in possibilities returned. And inspired by our harvest I started painting again, albeit at first just to make signs for the composting area, the above P-Patch landscape, and Russian kale.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Discovery of Nephew on Facebook and GiveForward

Click for Twitter ...
Right off the bat Jordan Howell, my new Facebook friend (and nephew by marriage) sent me the link to Everything is Peachy. Talk about a thorough introduction to someone you've never met before. Initially the aim of Danish Mumtaz and Przemyslaw Budziszewski, fellow students of Jordan's at the RTF department of the University of North Texas at Denton was to make a documentary about students with disabilities. After hearing Jordan's story, they decided to focus on just him; no wonder, there's been enough drama in his life for a feature film.
Jordan fulfilled his need for an extra credit that last semester before his graduation by participating as producer. He supplied the questions and answers that made up the story; the others were responsible for the filming, sound, post-production and editing.

Click for Updates to be Read on the GiveForward Site.

During our chats on Facebook I learned that Jordan, who was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia at age twelve, wants to spread awareness of FA, and where better to do that than Online? However, he only had a phone with Internet connection.
We figured a laptop would be good, but he needed more hardware, and speech recognition software.
A friend told me about GiveForward, an internet platform that helps people raise funds for friends and loved ones. So I set up a site called the Jordan Howell Wheelchair + Tech Fund.

While I was at it, I asked Jordan what else he needed. A new manual wheelchair, he said.
1500 Crunches a day may account for extreme abs, using the manual wheelchair will help him maintain his arm strength.

GiveForward makes it easy for people to donate money, becoming a team member is easy as well, and just showing support is done by merely hitting a button with a heart on the site, and/ or sharing the link on Facebook.  The more people learn about Jordan's needs and his wish to spread awareness for Friedreich's Ataxia aka #FA the better.

Making a donation on the GiveForward site is safe, and it would be such an affirmative boost for Jordan, and for other sponsors to literally see the amount of money raised!

However:If you're reluctant to make a donation on Online, you can make a donation by writing a check. Send an email to jhowell175 at gmail dot com to receive his snail mail address.

And for future reference, bookmark The Jordan Howell Project blog, and sign up for email notices while you're there. What you see is only the beginning.
There's more to come once Jordan has full access to the Internet with the right equipment.

this work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License