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15 October 2017
Welcome to The Cheshire Group eNewsletter

From The Cheshire Press (an imprint of The Cheshire Group)... One of our newest publications is a wonderful poetry book titled VIEWPOINTS by Barbara Bulova Brown,.. Not just for the poetry-lover, VIEWPOINTS is a collection of a quarter century of Ms Brown’s work, which includes black and white illustrations of her oil paintings, drawings and photographs. The author welcomesViewpoints - A Book of Poetry the reader to participate in her journey. The book features an honest account of various moments and thoughts describing an arc from youth through marriage and widowhood to the present. Ms Brown treats life’s rewards as well as its trials, from the irksome to the outrageous, via such topics as childhood, marriage, home-owning, politics, art, nature, aging, illness and death. In Dark Musings: In the early lightness of night/It is not and is a challenge/To see that which you cannot… Back in the thinning thick/Where woodpeckers knock beak on bark/Of hollowing over-watered trees…You can order a copy of this book for yourself or as a gift just click on this link.

This is the 79th issue of The Better Mousetrap. We have archived the most recent issues on our web site. It is easy to review them. Just click here for the list or go to the Cheshire Group web site and click on the link that says "Newsletter Archive."


The web has planted the expectation of instant gratification in the minds of consumers and information seekers. The web is faster than the [old] telephone book, a trip to the library or an order form traveling by USPS. If your company uses its site to invite communication via emai,then you'd better be sure to check that email and to respond to it promply. That means several times each day.
     Here's a tip. Don't underestimate the importance of human contact even in cybertimes. Include your regular phone numer or 800 number, not only on your contact page, but on every page for that important customer who has a need that can't be contained in the email fill-in form. And don't argue that you will be swamped with calls. (You should be so lucky.) This is just good customer service.
|     Check your site for vital statistics: make certain your phone and fax (if you still have one) numbers andyour street address are prominent.


I have a little problem. Actually it used to be a little problem, but lately it's become a big problem. It may be your problem too. The problem is "No problem."
     Forget about climate change.The real chage we need to worry about is language change. And unlike meteorological doomsayers, I don't need an apocalyptic documentary to prove my claim.
     No, esteemed language change denier, I will neither bludgeon you with sanctimony nor shame you with guilt, I merely entreat you to walk into your local coffee shop. Once that preternaturally perky barista hands over your order and you've said your perfunctory "Thank you," stand back, because here it comes, the trisyllabic phrase that's toppling a civilzation: "No problem."
     The phrase glides from the server's lips with the easiness of a Cary Grant pickup line. You walk out the door bewildered while the barista presses the next patron' s order, blithely oblivious of the affront just committed.
     "Youre welcome" has been replaced. This is 2017 and it's now "No problem" as far as the ear can hear.
     What's my problem with "No Problem"? Why do I pine so for "You're welcome"? Is it just sentimental nostalgia? Nothing of the kind. It's the informality!
     The polar ice caps of language and etiquette have been melting for decades, and the inconvenient truth is we've been too busy to care. Before the internet we opened our missives with a full heading and a salutation: Dear Mr. Smith—an epistolary Homeric herald announcing the arrival of an important guest. These days you're lucky to get a salutation at all. Or if you do , it's a dressed-down "Hey, Julie" or "Yo Bill.' Gone the formal "Dear," here to stay the casual "Hey." Familiarity thy name is email.
     There was a time that we addressed superiors in the workplace by there surnames. First-name usage rights were a privilege doled out only to company elites, like stock options. Egalitarians no doubt applaud this surnominal softening, yet not all companies can or should be run on a primus inter pares basis. Along with that last name vanishes a certain measure of respect and recognition. That first great English-language lyricist, Sir William Gilbert, sounded the alarm in "The Gondoliers" mopre than 120 years ago: "When everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody."
     This latest erosion of politeness is an ice cap too far. The rapid disappearance of "You're Welcome" goes beyond letter headings and corporate boardrooms.
     There is an implicit, albeit unintentional, condescension in the "No problem" comeback. As if to say "You're interrupting my busy life, but I'll make a lttile time for you because I'm just that magnanimous." Not to mention, it's negative.
     "You're welcome," on the other hand , is the picure of sunny benevolence. More than a mere affirmation (You are well come!"), it's an invitation where "No problem" hustles you out the back door, "Your welcome" opens its big, wide, friendly arms and says "Stay!"
     Language change with or without my permission. Still, if Justin Timberlake could do it with "sexy," maybe—just maybe—I can can bring "You're welcome" back.

Gregg Opelka
WSJ - 9/27/17


The word Kafkaesque is used loosely these days, but here's a true story that deserves the adjective. It's about a forty-year-old woman—my daughter—who applied for a New York [State] drivers license. The process began in June Three months later, she still has no license, owing to conflicting bureeaucratic regulations.
     Fifteen years ago my daughter lived in New York and had a [drivers] license there. She kept it when she went to Indiana for law school. But when she moved to Los Angeles after graduation, she got a California license. Last year she moved back to New York, but she had lost her California license, so she submitted documentation showing her driving record was unblemished. "I'm sorry," an employee at the New York Department of Motor Vehicles told her, "but we cannot issue you a New York drivers license."
     Why" She was told her New York license had been suspended a decade ago because she hadn't paid an Indiana speeding ticket. She thought she had paid the fine. "Why would California issue me a diver's license if my New York license was suspended?" she asked.
     "Some states talk to each other about driver's licenses, some don't," the employee replied,
     She called the Indiana court. It turned out she had sent a check for the fine, but the court accepted payments only by credit card. The court returned the check, but it never reached her, probably because it was sent to an old address.
     Now that the problem was diagnosed, it could easily be resolved, right? She paid the fine. The Indiana court reported this to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which sent a letter to the New York DMV saying that her case had cleared. Two weeks later she called the New York DMV about her application.
     "I'm sorry but your case has not cleared," she was told. "We received the letter but we are not allowed to accept letters—only faxes."
     She called Indiana and asked for a fax. "I'm sorry, but we are not allowed to send faxes—only letters."
     So the regulations of Indiana and New York conflict.
     It gets worse. The New York DMV suggested asking the Indiana court to send her an official document saying that the case has cleared. 'I'm sorry," the court said "but we can only send official documents to Indianapolis. You should ask the New York DMV to call us to confirm that your case has been cleared." The New York DMV—of course— said that wasn't an option: "We cannot make phone calls on diver's license questions."
     Many Americans, I'm certain, have had similar encounters with government bureaucracy, which suggests this is a great drag on American productivity.
     Though my daughter could not get an official document from the Indiana court, she did get a receipt listing the ticket number and confirming the fine was paid. Six weeks ago she faxed that to the New York DMV. So far no response. She plans to call but keeps putting it off. Kafka would have understood.

Stephen Miller
WSJ 9/18/17


8. Whwn trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often that person is crazy.

9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

10. Never lick a steak knife.

11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.

12. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

14. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardkess of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that deep down inside we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

15. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

16. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

17. Your friends love you anyway.



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Vital Statistic and Your Website.

"No Problem..." .
Kafka Goes to the DMV.
Advice Your Mother Didn't Give You But Probably Should Have Part 2.





Speaking of football, a coach once said of the forward pass, "Three things can happen, and two of them are bad."

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