29 June 2010

This is where the term "political spectrum" is originally from

by Cecily
Constitution City is notorious for its high numbers of monuments, presidential ghosts, politicians in suits, and chicken bones on the sidewalks. A lesser-known phenomenon in Our Nation's Fine Capital is the interesting and unusual election process.

The rule is simple: if you want to run for City Council or Mayor, you have to change your name. You can keep your old name for private and tax purposes, but your new politician name must follow this format:
[Vincent] [optional middle initial/nickname] [color term of your choice].

During the campaign season, rallies are held at which supporters wear the candidate's color (usually garments, but face and body paint are becoming more and more popular). Occasionally an especially fervent supporter will paint her house to match a candidate's promotional material. Finally, on election day, each DC resident finds an item of the appropriate hue and brings it to the voting booth, where an instant photograph is taken of the object. Many residents take this opportunity to once again wear colorful clothing and face paint to show their support, but any object (napkin, pencil, earring, bottle of nail polish, power tool, etc) is acceptable, as long as at least 80% of the surface area is a candidate's color. When the photo booths close, the Spectrum Committee sets to work creating a portrait of each candidate from the votes. In each race, the candidate with the largest photomosaic wins.

Choice of last name is a complicated tactical matter; most candidates hire teams including psychologists and linguists to find colors that are perceptually salient but not too common, and color names that balance the distinctive with the familiar. Color terms can win or lose elections- analysts believe that the outcomes of several races have been influenced by candidates' choices of color words that were not well-known (Vincent Viridian lost to Vincent Rose in a landslide in 1992; exit polls indicated that only 12% of voters could identify viridian on a color wheel) or have unclear referents (the 1978 three-way race between Turquoise, Green and Grey took three extra months to decide. In the end, Grey was declared the council member for Ward 5, but controversy continued around reports of vicious arguments in the Spectrum Committee Chambers over whether some 6,000 votes were turquoise or green. Several committee members resigned amidst rumors and accusations that they had called the race for Grey purely in order to end the bickering about the turquoise/green votes).

Once elected, the DC Spectrum Committee provides each council member with a wardrobe and a vehicle in the correct color scheme. Pictured below is the current council.

(standing) Vincent Periwinkle, Vincent Plum, Vincent Pewter, Vincent Blue, Vincent Red, Vincent Marionberry, Vincent "Phil" Brown, Vincent Mustard.
(seated) Vincent Black, Vincent Kelly, Vincent Gray, Vincent Navy, Vincent "Kwame" Brown.

The current election season is especially exciting, because it involves the first-ever Vincent Orange! Orange is challenging Vincent "Kwame" Brown for Vincent Gray's Council Chair seat (Gray and Vincent "Michael" Green are challenging incumbent Vincent "Fenty" Red for the mayor's seat). Historically, council photographs have been dominated by Browns, Greens, and Grays, with an occasional marionberry suit in the back row or the Mayor's office. It would be nice to get some brighter colors in there, although Orange may have a tough time with the electorate, as orange is not a flattering color on many people.

26 June 2010

Do I ever encourage a near party atmosphere because of my comfort with using humor?

by Cecily
Probably! Well, I'd like to think so, at least. Could I start my next meeting, presentation, or conversation by telling a funny story? Why, yes, yes I could!

I feel confident, therefore, that I am an Expert at Humor, one of many Competencies in which I am all-too-rarely evaluated or praised. Although, I have to admit that the fact that I am not psychic has left me a little behind the field on Strategic Ability and Innovation Management ("Creates highly effective strategic vision and has an uncanny sense of how situations can unfold; prepares well in advance to take fullest advantage of the changing environment") and Managing Vision and Purpose ("Is a gifted visionary, anticipating future trends and artfully crafting a broad vision incorporating many groups and organizations"). Who knew Microsoft liked hilarious prophets so much?

A Competency I did not even know existed is Managerial Courage. Someone who is an expert in this area "Has a commanding but undaunting presence" and "Forcefully and definitively takes negative action to quench trouble", which sounds more like Being a Superhero to me, except, what does "negative action" mean? So maybe a Supervillain instead.

The best part of the Humor page is the recommended readings. Dilbert! Is this a complicated joke involving several levels of meta-humor? I can't tell! Which just makes it funnier. Good job, Humor Competency Writers!

Summary: if you want a cubicle job in today's economy, you should be a clairvoyant stand-up comedian with superpowers. It is your choice whether to use the superpowers for good or evil, but you should probably replace the words "good" and "evil" with "positive" and "negative" on your resume if you want to be called for an interview.

14 June 2010


by Cecily
I spent the weekend watching the superbowl with some Australians. It got sort of depressing on Sunday afternoon, but then again, there was a keg, so. Every cloud, or whatever.

Elizabeth spent a lot of time writhing around on the floor screaming, to show us how Italians play soccer. Ben spent a lot of time screaming at the refs, because they hated justice and beauty. I spent a lot of time refilling my cup, because it kept getting empty. The children spent a lot of time taking their clothes off, because that is how they do.

Tomorrow I'm going on vacation in Minnesota, because Constitution City hasn't been humid or mosquito-y enough for me lately. It's barely even like a swamp at all. Twin Cities here I come!

01 June 2010

Gog versus Magog, take 2

by Cecily
Update!!! New extra evidence!!

  1. The earth is disintegrating beneath our very houses.