high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A punch in the face would be preferable

It's now official that my least favorite word in common usage is the word "vetted."  About a year or a year-and-a-half ago this word suddenly started coming up in the office vocabulary, and it rubbed me the wrong way from the start.  I don't know how words like this start getting used, but now everybody is vetting everything.  "Has this been vetted with the appropriate people yet?  We need to make sure this is fully vetted before communicating it to everyone.  What was the vetting process for that initiative?"  When words like this start getting used, I take a very hard line.  There is no compromising on such matters; the only acceptable course of action is utter refusal to use the word.  Furthermore, you have to subtly discourage people from using the word whenever possible.  If someone were to ask me "Have you vetted this with anyone?" I would respond by saying "Well, the way I look at it is that I talked with Bob about it and he didn't suggest any changes."  "So you did vet it with him?"  "No, not really.  It was more of a discussion."  People, words should not be like fashion.  Expanding your vocabulary is fine.  Trying to start a word trend deserves getting your nose bloodied.

You may have noticed that at about this point in my last two posts I've utilized the page break feature that prompts you to...
After months of blogging, I finally saw the light and realized the benefit of using a page break.  We use them for every post over on The Buckeye Battle Cry, and I admit I was unreasonably slow in making the mental leap and figuring out that I could use them on my own page as well.  The page break has numerous benefits.  First, it keeps the main page neat and clean by eliminating huge amounts of text and instead highlighting the titles of each post.  Second, it allows the people reading a post to see others' comments without having to follow a link for the sole purpose of seeing comments.  Third, it requires a decision on the part of the reader to continue reading the post.  No more blindly stumbling on through the paragraphs - now people are forced to say "Yes, I'm making the choice to read this."  Any psychology, sociology, human resources, political science, or communications class worth its salt will teach you that people naturally become more enthused about something after making a public commitment to it, and I expect that clicking the "read more" link has a similar effect of subconsciously making people feel like this blog really is something they want to spend time reading!  (I'm wavering between a burst of maniacal laughter and a more subdued evil chuckle here)

A final benefit of page breaks ties back to advertising the blog on Facebook.  I think that the available thumbnail images for a link posted on Facebook are limited to a certain number, and that Facebook "counts up" from the bottom of the linked page in identifying available images.  Thus, the image for the most recent post has seldom been available in the past, because the images from prior posts had not yet fallen off the main page.  With the page break, I expect the images from the most recent post will start to be available.

Believe it or not, immediately after typing that last paragraph I came to the crushing realization that my images are usually featured at the end of my posts, which will only come after the page break, thus not appearing on the main page, and likely not being available as thumbnail images on Facebook as a result...

Quick!!! Post an image before the page break!!!

Okay, if you reached this blog post via the link posted on Facebook, and if that link on Facebook had a thumbnail image of the picture at the beginning of this post, then chaos has been narrowly averted.

Wow, that was a real Back to the Future moment there.

I'm sure there's some way you can choose which image you want to post on Facebook.  Maybe I'll figure that out later.  Maybe.  Or somebody could post a comment about how to do it....


Returning to the topic of bloody noses, I saw the movie The Fighter over the weekend with Jordan and Sayak.  It was rather outstanding.  Great acting by Wahlberg and especially Bale, and the rest of the cast, too.  A movie like that is actually very thought-provoking for me because of the way it presents the life of a person (human resources background and all that, you know).  It inevitably leads to thoughts about what constitutes a worthwhile life, about personal satisfaction, and about values.

Start with the fact that being a professional fighter brings some amount of respect.  Top dog, natural selection, guys want to be you/girls want to be with you kind of stuff.  And if you're a guy, you want that for yourself, right?  Sure you do.  It's the reason you leave a James Bond film feeling like you can take on the world, and cast glances from side to side looking for the opportunity to do so as you exit the theater.  Eventually you return to reality and start to wonder why Bond never seems to need to brush his teeth or take a shit, but in The Fighter you're confronted with the fact that Mickey Ward is a real guy.  So if you're a guy, would you want Mickey Ward's life?  He accomplished something and had a big moment.  Sure, he might work on a road crew as depicted in the movie and not live in a very nice house, but he's not sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen every day either, and one big moment may be worth more than countless small moments that you could take or leave.

The bomb defuser character in The Hurt Locker prompts similar thoughts.  He can't function in everyday life, but he would immediately have the respect of those around him if they learned that he defused bombs for a living.  He's had experiences and has the stories to tell.  The performers in the Cirque du Soleil show I saw over the weekend are the same way.  Some kid spends every waking moment juggling; that is, wasting his time by most people's standards, until he's discovered by a Cirque talent scout and is suddenly traveling the globe.  Who would you rather talk to at the bar?  The guy who sat in his cubicle for another week out of the year, or this crazy guy who has the ability to juggle 7 balls at the same time and has been all over the world?  You can disagree with the activities of Julian Assange, but you can't say his life is without some intrigue.  Do you think the people in the thick of the revolution in Egypt would ever think about their experience and say "Meh, I could take it or leave it."  Not likely.  It's about being on the stage, at least for once, rather than perpetually being in the audience watching what other people do.

The thing is, in any of these examples you have people who pursue something that they feel is worth pursuing.  The risk is substantial, and so is the potential reward.  There's a balance to be achieved between trying to be somebody who pursues something like that - a boxing title, a highly specialized skill, a revolution - and accepting the fact that certain pursuits simply aren't for you.  I'd like to be the toughest guy in town like Mickey Ward (known as "Welsh" Jay Parry of course), but I think I have to accept the fact that it's not who I am, and not waste my time if I'm only going to make a feint at that life.  What to pursue then?  Clearly, if these last couple paragraphs demonstrate anything, it's that I can out-drivel the average challenger, so maybe I've got something going for me there.  Whether or not this blog takes off remains to be seen, but least I'm giving myself the best shot at it with the "read more" breaks.  

Speaking of finding personal satisfaction and a worthwhile life, I think this guy's got it figured out...

I shit you not - the image of the guy in the jetpack at the beginning of this post was the first image that came up when I typed "first image available" into Google Images

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly enough, the thing I think of when I'm asked if I've "vetted" an idea is the time we "vetted" our dog.

    It was received about as well as you'd expect.