Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-20-2014: The Use and Abuse of Language [OregonMuse]


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Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.


What's Worse Than PoMo Writing?

Corporate writing, that's what. You wouldn't think anything would be worse than that pomo gobbledygook, but as you can see from the following e-mail I received last week, corporate gobbledygook comes pretty close.

I have substituted my company's name with the word 'Butterfly' to protect those responsible from all the giggles, snorts, and guffaws they so richly deserve:

Team,

We're moving fast on the Butterfly Business Optimization project and I'd like to share a quick update with you before the upcoming U.S. holiday.

I'm confident that we've created a solid program framework to help us effectively conduct analysis and explore the opportunities that will help us create a long-term GTM strategy. We're looking to simplify and establish global consistency and ensure that we have the right organizational structure in place to create a sustainable business that can contribute to the long-term growth of Butterfly.

As part of that, we've held a productive series of meetings with various teams from both Shared Services and the Butterfly BU to discuss opportunities and how we'll take advantage of them. This information, as well as the insights we gathered during a recent workshop with the sales and marketing leadership, will inform the adjustments we make to our GTM strategy and how we can work together more effectively to execute the strategy.

What our exploration of data and discussions have revealed so far is that we have overall alignment on Butterfly BU strategic priorities and the long-term value Butterfly provides. It has also shown us that:

" Adjusting our operating model to better deliver on customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key priority, and we'll be communicating more around CLV during the course of the project
" We have an intricate Go-To-Market approach that is fragmented across teams, adding complexities in executing on a coherent strategy. We are looking at ways to address this and simplify how we execute.
" To capitalize on our investments we need to ensure robust coverage across multiple channels and territories that are aligned with the GTM strategy and strategic priorities
" Delivering excellent results means we need to align on priorities, and continue working to achieve alignment around KPIs and incentives

These insights and other information that we gather will help us refine our strategy and accelerate execution on that strategy as a cohesive team.

We are currently on schedule to complete the GTM design by the end of August and are implementing incremental changes as we progress. We'll continue communicating along the way, including an update on the results of our next workshop happening in mid-July, where we will continue working through our GTM opportunities, organizational model, and the implementation plan...

And blah, blah, blah. The funny/sad part is, when you wade though all the gobbedlygook, you discover that this isn't really saying much. It's all a bunch of, "yeah, we're going to sell tons of product by doing a bunch of neat stuff, just you watch." It's like a politician's speech, fluff and vague generalities.

Emails like this, when they show up in my inbox, get sent directly to the crapper.

I was very tempted to reply by cutting and pasting a bunch of text generated by one of those online corporate bullshit generators, but for all I know, that is how the e-mail was written in the first place.

Maybe we should have read this book first, as a reference: The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk. I wonder if there's a similar lexicon of postmodern gobbledygook?


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More Language Abuse, Fake (But Accurate)

You all remember back in latter half of 2004 when CBS News made a last-ditch effort to get John Kerry elected, and how that news organization's partisan advocacy on behalf of the Democrat Party turned into Rathergate don't you? And what a huge embarrassment this was for CBS, right? There was a big independent investigation, names were named, fingers were pointed, people got fired, and even though Rather himself didn't get the boot directly as a result of this debacle, CBS sort of eased him out the door into "retirement" a short while later. The (fired) lead producer of this news story, Mary Mapes, then wrote an absolutely laughable defense of her collusion with Democrat Party operatives to defeat George Bush that they tried to disguise as "news reporting".

So what do you do when you're faced with a catastrophe of such epic proportions? Well, how about turning Mapes' execrable book into a movie and get Robert Redford to play Dan Rather and also cast Cate Blanchett as Mapes?

I wish I were making this up. But I'm not:

Mapes' memoir, Truth and Duty, was published in 2005...James Vanderbilt, the screenwriter behind The Amazing Spider-Man and White House Down, will adapt the screenplay, and make his directorial debut with the project, which Mythology Entertainment is producing. Brad Fischer, William Sherak, Vanderbilt and Mikkel Bondesen are producing.

So it looks like this project has been green-lighted and is moving forward. Wonderful. Just wonderful. And let me be the first to point out how appropriate it is that it's going to be produced by a company named "Mythology Entertainment"

On the one hand, this movie could backfire, because, face it, the progressives really got their heads handed to them on this one, and releasing a lying, partisan movie about it could just dredge it all up again and so they may wind up with their faces completely soaked with egg AGAIN. But on the other, I don't think most people outside of the internet know much about this story, or realize how just how badly CBS News made complete fools of themselves, and how obviously bogus the documents were. So the movie may be the LIVs' one and only exposure to this debacle. Remember what happened with the Tet offensive?

Want to see what a complete hack Mapes is? Read the transcript of this 2005 interview of Mapes given by ABC News' Brian Ross where she claims that, as a journalist, she is not obligated to authenticate the evidence she uses to support her story. Instead, the burden is on critics to prove her wrong.

If that has truly been her view all along, she should have been fired for incompetence years ago.


Firsties!

What do you suppose was the first book printed in English? I would've guessed the Bible or a psalter, or something along those lines, but no, it's actually the epic romance Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, which I had absolutely never heard of until I read that one of the 18 surviving copies went for over $1.8 million at auction:

"Troye" was originally a French work translated into English by William Caxton. Caxton was a leading merchant in 15th-century Britain, and became the first person to bring the printing press to Britain (though he did so a few years after printing "Troye" in Belgium). He started translating the French work (despite not having any prior translation experience) in 1468 and finished rendering the epic romance into his native English by 1471, according to the Express. The book was printed around 1474.


Books of Note

Over at The Other McCain, the cob-logger who goes by the nom de blog of Wombat-socho has come out with a new book, The Last Falangist: Essays on Culture and Politics in America:

A military history buff shares his perspective in The Last Falangist, a collection of essays and LiveJournal entries that encompass the period from 2004 to the present day.

The entries and essays are a slice of life by a former Army linguist who shares his thoughts on religion, society, science fiction, and affairs of the heart.

For more about this book, read Robert Stacy McCain's review.

Wombat-socho is also the author of several books on Buddhism.

Update: Wombat-socho informs me that he is, in fact, NOT the author of several books on Buddhism. Amazon just lumped another author with the same name together and I got fooled. Thanks for the correction.

___________

I just stumbled upon Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley.

Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back.

If the author is going to present this as a perplexing question ('why do efforts to help blacks always seem to end up hurting them?') I would suggest he would ask himself some hard questions about the "well-intentioned" part. The Democrats are only interested in making more Democrat voters, and they do this by swelling the ranks of the FSA. Once you see these "benign" welfare benefits as nothing more than parts of the FSA minority recruitment program, the mystery resolves.

___________

Here's a book I'm probably not going to read: Obama's Globe: A President's Abandonment of US Allies Around the World by Bruce Herschensohn. Don't get me wrong, it's probably a good read, and I'll tell you about the author in a bit, but with a title like that, I know it's just going to make me mad. Reading about Obama's multiple international derelictions will fill me with impotent rage, and send my blood pressure though the roof. So then I'll be really, really angry, but there's nothing I can do about it. America elected this malicious fool not once but twice and we're stuck with him until 2016. So for me, ignorance, if not exactly blissful, does serve to take some of the edge off.

I remember conservative Bruce Herschensohn from the 1992 election cycle when California Senator Alan 'The Cadaver' Cranston retired and his seat was up for grabs. Hershenshohn secured the Republican primary and he went up against Representative Barbara Boxer who was attracting media attention because of her involvement in the House banking scandal, and probably would would have been hounded from office if she wasn't a Democrat. She defeated Herschensohn by 4.9% after her campaign leaked to the press at the last minute that he had once went to a strip club. No, I'm not making up that last bit. All of Boxer's questionable dealings with the House bank were nothing, but it was of the utmost importance that Hershensohn once went to a sleazy bar.

These days of course, California has become so liberal that a conservative candidate like Herschensohn wouldn't stand a chance, but back in those days, he had a legitimate shot. Since then, he has been writing books, mostly on foreign policy.


What I'm Reading

Just picked up Jonah Goldberg's The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas which I've wanted to read for some time. I got a chuckle out of this bit in the intro:

There's a kind of argument-that-isn't-an-argument that vexes me. I first started to notice it on university campuses. I've spoken to a lot of college audiences. Often, I will encounter an earnest student, much more serious looking than the typical hippie with open-toed shoes and a closed mind. During the Q&A session after my speech he will say something like "Mr. Goldberg, I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Then he will sit down, and the audience will applaud. Faculty will nod proudly at this wiser-than-his-years hatchling under their wings. What a glorious moment for everybody. Blessed are the bridge builders.

My response? Who gives a rat's ass?

Ha. Other than the hipster being a complete dufus, Goldberg points out some problems with this:

First of all, my right to speak never was in doubt...Second, the kid is almost surely lying. He'll take a bullet for me? Really?

This is going to be fun.

Yeah, I know that the last letter in the word "cliche" is actually not an 'e', but rather an 'e' with an accent, but minx.cc seems to have problems displaying any characters over 128 in the ascii table, and I wanted to avoid peppering the thread with black diamonds.


___________

So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:03 AM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 How liberals cheat is that they don't care about anything but advancing their ideology. Anyone that cares about anything else is at an automatic disadvantage. It's like fighting people who are willing to hide behind civilians and children when you don't want to hurt civilians and children.

I love language by the way. We should have a weekly language post.

Posted by: The Mega Independent at July 20, 2014 10:08 AM (QCo5R)

2 RE: the Corporate BS Generator

My company has one of those!!!

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 10:09 AM (60Vyp)

3 Corporate values are inherent in service to the customer. On the other hand, the notion of level of grammaticalness is unspecified with respect to a parasitic gap construction. We will bring evidence in favor of the following thesis: the theory of syntactic features developed earlier appears to correlate rather closely with nondistinctness in the sense of distinctive feature theory. By combining adjunctions and certain deformations, the descriptive power of the base component is not to be considered in determining a stipulation to place the constructions into these various categories. Comparing these examples with their parasitic gap counterparts in (96) and (97), we see that the natural general principle that will subsume this case is rather different from an abstract underlying order. To provide a constituent structure for T(Z,K), the fundamental error of regarding functional notions as categorial raises serious doubts about a corpus of utterance tokens upon which conformity has been defined by the paired utterance test.

Posted by: chomskybot at July 20, 2014 10:10 AM (bY8X4)

4 Re: your march of the Butterfly email, Orwell's "Politics In The English Language" is always a good read.

"Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."

And his six rules of writing are sublime.

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

Posted by: major major major major at July 20, 2014 10:12 AM (oAu07)

5 And here I thought you'd be including "Word Crimes," OregonMuse... though that's partly because I currently have it stuck in my head. Three cheers for Weird Al--and if you ever want to drive home the point of how "literally" ought to be used, find the video of "Literally (The Viking Song)" from Horrible Histories.

Two weeks into my new "Literature You Should Know" column at Smash Cut Culture (http://smashcutculture.com). Up next: C. S. Lewis' On Stories and Other Essays. After that... maybe Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse.

Posted by: Elisabeth G. Wolfe at July 20, 2014 10:12 AM (dpszv)

6 I'd bet my truck that movie bombs.

Posted by: Adam at July 20, 2014 10:13 AM (G8ga7)

7 Shattered, the most recent Iron Druid book by Hearne.
Sixth Grave on the Edge, a Charley Davidson story by Jones
Both Witch Central books by Deborah Geary. Wish I knew when the third was coming out. The website said June, but that has come and passed...

Posted by: Flash to Bang at July 20, 2014 10:14 AM (p7LQY)

8 What does everyone think about Kindle Unlimited? You pay $10 a month for all the books you want to read that are available on kindle unlimited but you don't own any of the books. I guess it gets around the fact you can only borrow one prime book a month but still I wonder how many people will shell out 10 a month for unlimited library books.

Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:15 AM (+0txR)

9 Just wanted to let the Moron Nation know that my book The Last Mage Guardian is now available for a mere $1.99! http://amzn.to/QVTicy (all the sites, actually, but that is a link to Amazon only because Pixy Hates Me.)

This is to help promote my *new* book, Dragonhunters (the sequel) which should be up on Amazon and B ampersand N Monday. With extra comma herding from our own Anachronda!

I second the call for a language post. I used to love reading Safire's column "On Language". We could collect weird words and stuff.

Posted by: Sabrina Chase at July 20, 2014 10:16 AM (2buaQ)

10 I would she'll it out if it had the books I liked or needed. But I am probably too picky for something like that.

Posted by: Flash to Bang at July 20, 2014 10:16 AM (p7LQY)

11 I'm a recovered technical writer. If I had to use the word "leverage" as a verb one more time, I'd just have to kill someone. Got into a shouting match once because I insisted on using "use" instead of "utilize."

Posted by: wisenheimer at July 20, 2014 10:16 AM (qnhj2)

12 What other entity has corporate gobbledygook? The government, and certainly the military. The military has honed this style to a fine art.

Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:18 AM (rbjTB)

13 At a previous job I worked beside a ton of Anderson consultants (the co. was still named Andersen Consulting), and while there were fun and interesting people individually, as a group? Gah, it was like stepford employees, always wanting to "table" this, identify the "value-add," "synch-up", put together a "tiger team", etc. Just no.

Posted by: Lizzy at July 20, 2014 10:18 AM (D/504)

14 Oh, my ... that email makes me feel like I am wading in intellectual PoMo goo up to my waist. Now, academic PoMo goo is all the way up to your shoulders ... and military PoMo goo is mercifully, only up to your knees or so. And yep, there must be automatic generators of this stuff in use.

I so remember that Dan Rather disaster - a naked attempt to sink GWB on election eve and hand the race to John F*king Kerry. I got madder and madder, every time I thought about it, and even madder when I wondered how many other 60 Minutes stories over the years had been based on forged docs. And I had my own particular reason for being pretty certain they were forged. The AF long had a system in place for organizing official files; I don't know if it went all the way back to the 60ies, but I suspect that it did, knowing how regulations and the military bureaucracy works. The files are numbered, and documents in those files must be annotated in the upper right-hand corner with the file number where it belongs, the date the document was filed, and the initials of the person filing them. The documents that 60 Minutes put up for review didn't have anything of the sort in the corners. Just another small reason for me to doubt their authenticity.

Still working my way through The Victorian City. Mountains and mountains of detail, just they way I like my histories.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at July 20, 2014 10:19 AM (Asjr7)

15 Include me in on the call for a language post, please. I love learning about words, learning new words, the whole subject of linguistics.

Posted by: Empire1 at July 20, 2014 10:19 AM (+GpPB)

16 We're "stuck with [Obama] until 2016"? No, we're stuck with him until January 20, 2017, unless he quits or dies or kills himself or goes so far around the bend that he has to be committed. When noon Eastern time rolls around, he will have exactly 2 1/2 years left in his second term. That means we're only 3/8ths of the way through his second term, and 11/16ths of the way through both terms - less than two-thirds. How's that for depressing? Then again, chances of him making it through the next two and a half years are not all that high. If he ever realizes just how few non-stupid and non-ignorant people do NOT utterly despise him, quitting or suicide become fairly likely. And if he can't figure it out in thirty more months of catastrophic incompetence, he will be so far out of touch with reality that he may have to be removed using the 25th Amendment, if only to keep the Democratic party from going the way of the Whigs.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil at July 20, 2014 10:21 AM (oap2x)

17 8>> What does everyone think about Kindle Unlimited?

Seems like a lot of money to pay for a library card.

Just kidding PGS Seriously, if you're into reading the most current stuff, its a pretty good deal unless like me, you need to have the book in your hands. I find going to 1/2 price books on the weekends is the way to go.

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 10:21 AM (60Vyp)

18 @ #2, I've asked the occasional person if he utilizes tissue to blow his nose. I feel your pain.

Posted by: major major major major at July 20, 2014 10:21 AM (oAu07)

19 opps, meant to say @11.

Posted by: major major major major at July 20, 2014 10:22 AM (oAu07)

20 Posted by: Flash to Bang at July 20, 2014 10:14 AM (p7LQY)


Have you read All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness? The last one came out a few days ago.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 10:22 AM (kwDTQ)

21 Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:15 AM (+0txR)

I'm doing the 30 day free trial. I'm pretty sure I won't keep it up, but there are several YA and Urban Fantasy books I want to read along with my nieces that I have no interest in paying for, since I'm sure they're awful.

Of course, a lot of them weren't on the list of available books, but a few are.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 10:26 AM (kwDTQ)

22 Edwin Newman -- Strictly Speaking and A Civil Tongue -- wrote just about all that needed to be written about commonsense English and how same has been debased. He loved the English language and it showed in every sentence he wrote.

Perhaps he was not a True Conservative Icon like Jonah Goldberg, but he knew his stuff.


Posted by: MrScribbler at July 20, 2014 10:27 AM (dDzOj)

23 I wondered about the All Souls Trilogy. Have you read any of it? Did you like it? I am nursing my cat back to health after two serious surgeries so my brains and emotions can't take much...

Posted by: Flash to Bang at July 20, 2014 10:27 AM (p7LQY)

24 The destruction of our language is being spearheaded by sportscasters.

They torture tenses, have never actually used a dictionary to discover the real meaning of the words they use, and think that flowery grammatical constructions are better than regular English.

If Vin Scully wouldn't say it, nobody else should!

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:28 AM (QFxY5)

25 It certainly seems to me that Corporate BS Language is a symptom of bureaucracy. Every company trying to justify it's bloated management structure, and/or their lack of ability to get product out the door or it's services accomplished in a timely and efficient manner employs that kind of language. Its a language of failure.

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (60Vyp)

26 I promised I would read The Skeleton Crew by Derborah Halber and get back to y'all.

The book is about "amateur sleuths" who might better be termed obsessive dilettantes, who haunt the Internet, trying to find solutions to old, cold cases of human remains that remain unidentified, looking for matches with missing persons cases.

The writing style itself is along the lines of "I am trying really hard to sound literary". There are lots of tortured metaphors, to wit:

"Livingston, Tennessee, is plopped like the yolk of a sunny-side-up egg in a valley roughly midway between Nashville, home of country music, and Knoxville, birthplace of Mountain Dew and the Dempster Dumpster."


The author can't help herself from injecting a healthy dose of condescension towards Middle America, but that's neither here, nor there.

The statistics are overstated in a number of ways, but I won't dwell on that.

The substance of the book I think hinges and ultimately fails on the disconnect between the notion that these amateur sleuths are somehow doing amazing things, when in fact the "solve" rate is incredibly low, given the huge number of tips these amateurs submit to authorities. One more quote-

"She was elated, she told me later. She was happy to help out the police, the family. And Greg May was her first solve. She'd been web sleuthing for six years. So, yeah, she said, after the thousands of possible matches she'd put in over the years, to finally get one was a good feeling." {emphasis added}

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.


Overall assessment: A few interesting cases, overhyped, overwritten, overpriced at $11+ on the Kindle.

Posted by: S. Muldoon at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (NeFrd)

27 11 I'm a recovered technical writer. If I had to use the word "leverage" as a verb one more time, I'd just have to kill someone. Got into a shouting match once because I insisted on using "use" instead of "utilize."
Posted by: wisenheimer at July 20, 2014 10:16 AM (qnhj2)

Hoo boy, I've been fighting the Utilize War since the mid-'90s and have been steadily losing ground. People convince themselves that a word sounds strong and will use it no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

Posted by: joncelli at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (/AYWV)

28 The guy never mentioned Silos or Inverting Pyramids so he obviously knows nothing and will fail miserably. Just sayin.

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (VwjGX)

29 I finished "Red Fortress" by Catherine Merridale this week, a very good and informative book about the history of the Kremlin. I enjoyed it a great deal but sometimes got somewhat frustrated with it because it sometimes veered away from the more complete explication of the time in history to concentrate specifically on how it impacted the Kremlin. That aside, Merridale writes in a very readable style as I initially discovered in "Ivan's War" which was one of the most engaging works of history I've ever read. In the latter part of the book I got a real appreciation with just how financially corrupt Yeltsin and Putin have been, and that was just in matters of them skimming stuff from work on the Kremlin. Merridale also drolly noted that some of the terms used to describe Putin when he first came into power were similar to how Stalin was described.


I and my book group finished "Life after Life" by Kate Atkinson, a good book about a person who keeps dying and being reborn to continue her life in a manner in which she can avoid whatever caused her death; she's always having deja vu moments about which a shrink she sees seems to have some understanding near the end. There was one thing in particular which was wildly implausible but other than that it was well written and full of well developed characters. The group is now on to "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" which was my choice by default after I stated I wanted to read August 1914 and everybody else whined it was too long. Twats.

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 20, 2014 10:30 AM (jI/HE)

30 Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:15 AM (+0txR)

The selection is limited, otherwise I would jump at it.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:31 AM (QFxY5)

31 12 What other entity has corporate gobbledygook? The government, and certainly the military. The military has honed this style to a fine art.
Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:18 AM (rbjTB)


Oh, Dear Lord. The military and gen Gov to a slightly lesser extent have their own PLUS they add whatever is in vogue in the "corporate" arena. Deming management (Total Quality Leadership), 7 habits, Six-fucking-Sigma. You name it, they've got it, until the next shiny object.

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at July 20, 2014 10:31 AM (Nk6GS)

32 "(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
"



Betcha' Stephen King has a few words to say about that...

Posted by: HH at July 20, 2014 10:31 AM (XXwdv)

33 Tammy, I thought about doing the free trial for the same reason, that way I can borrow the two books my son needs to read for summer reading for school without paying for them. But the books he needs aren't on the program.


I don't know it feels weird to pay 10 a month to borrow books for "free". But then again Netflix built a successful business with movies that way.

Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:31 AM (+0txR)

34 11 I'm a recovered technical writer. If I had to use the word "leverage" as a verb one more time, I'd just have to kill someone. Got into a shouting match once because I insisted on using "use" instead of "utilize."
Posted by: wisenheimer at July 20, 2014 10:16 AM (qnhj2)



-----------------------


The same can be said about "probems" vs "issues". Corporations hate problems. They prefer issues. You can talk about issues until the cows come home, but problems demand a corrective action. No one wants to discuss corrective action. A "problem" also means someone is at fault and must be blamed. No one wants to be blamed.

Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:31 AM (rbjTB)

35 What other entity has corporate gobbledygook?

****


Medicine has it's own.

Posted by: S. Muldoon at July 20, 2014 10:32 AM (NeFrd)

36 Posted by: joncelli at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (/AYWV)

I learned a long time ago that when in doubt, use the shorter word.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:32 AM (QFxY5)

37 cast Cate Blanchett as Mapes?

Sorry; to me, Linda Hunt will always be the Shadout Mapes.

Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 20, 2014 10:34 AM (o78gS)

38 36 Posted by: joncelli at July 20, 2014 10:29 AM (/AYWV)

I learned a long time ago that when in doubt, use the shorter word.
Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:32 AM (QFxY5)

Fully agree, but I'm coming at this as an editor and so I have to convince people that the shorter word is better. If they think that the longer word is cooler or makes them sound smarter, though, they will fight tooth and nail to keep it.

Posted by: joncelli at July 20, 2014 10:35 AM (/AYWV)

39 The sad part is, middle management of most corporations is dominated by human gobbledygook generators, writing reports to one another about what the producers are doing, and holding meetings where they discuss same and then write more reports. They seem to outnumber the producers by approximately 3-1.

This is what our vaunted educational system has been cranking out for 5 decades now: Language manipulators/destroyers.

Posted by: Hot Air F*ckin Genius at July 20, 2014 10:35 AM (+kznc)

40 >>What does everyone think about Kindle Unlimited?

I thought it might be kinda cool, because I do read books that once read, will never be touched again (so why own them?). But after ruminating on it a while, I'm intrigued (and maybe suspicious?) that Amazon wants to switch to a paradigm of having us rent information instead of owning it (kind of similar to Adobe's paradigm shift of leasing the software license instead of owning it).
I know, I know, we do this with the library already, so it's not really different. But there are some books worth owning, especially history, reference. If you get in the habit of maintaining this Kindle Unlimited, assuming these sorts of books will always be there and then they become unavailable....? That does give Amazon a lot of power if, down the road, publishing houses sharply reduce print publications. I dunno, just attempting to see all of the angles - likely overthinking this....

Posted by: Lizzy at July 20, 2014 10:35 AM (D/504)

41 Much of starting a new career is learning the jargon. Teaching has so much I want to stick chopsticks in my ears and refuse to eat my lunch with other teachers. That and most are libtards.

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 10:36 AM (VwjGX)

42 "Lingo" or "jargon" is a simple and effective way for groups or organizations to self identify. Nothing more.

Posted by: anon a mouse at July 20, 2014 10:37 AM (gXRIG)

43 The wife's in finance. Oy vay.

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 10:39 AM (VwjGX)

44 Ever play Lingo Bingo at a corporate meeting or conference?

Posted by: S. Muldoon at July 20, 2014 10:39 AM (NeFrd)

45 If Vin Scully wouldn't say it, nobody else should!


Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:28 AM


Not just sportscasters, but every damnfool blow-dried, wet-brained yahoo that has an on-air gig in teevee news.

I alternate between total despair and profane disgust watching those fuckwits. Did any of them ever get an education of any kind? If it isn't "The mayor, he..." or similar ignorance of the basics, it's a delivery that sounds as if the overpaid newsreader is slogging through their text phonetically. And don't even bother counting the ummms, ahs, or spoken paragraphs starting with "So a shark was spotted...."

One of my faves was a Boston weather reporter who was talking about lower temperature caused by "a sea breeze off the ocean."

It has gotten to the point where I have to leave the room when my girlfriend or her mother turns on the news.

Posted by: MrScribbler at July 20, 2014 10:40 AM (dDzOj)

46 For those would-be authors with a predilection towards the grandiose use of words when a more pithy and shorter use of words suffice, always ask them would their character speak that way.

Unless that character is Lord Useless of Lower Underwater, probably not.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 10:41 AM (BIjAL)

47 Infrastructure.

This word used to be a hot, hot, hot item in corporate communications.

Posted by: Joey "Two-Infrastructures" Biden at July 20, 2014 10:41 AM (MjNgY)

48 For you smart military blog readers I highly recommend David L. Robbins new(ish) action thriller 'The Devil's Waters'. The book centers around a team of Air Force pararescue men and it is a fun, intelligent read with a nice twist to the Special Forces genre.

Robbins invests a good bit of effort in building his characters, even the bad guys and the story has a nice pace while providing plenty of juicy detail on a lesser known group of American bad asses who save lives as well as take them. The training it takes to become a PJ is phenomenal, rivaling or even topping their fellow Special Forces.

I enjoyed it so much I bought the second in the series before I finished the first.

Posted by: whatmeworry? at July 20, 2014 10:42 AM (dZGNV)

49 9
This is to help promote my *new* book, Dragonhunters (the sequel)
which should be up on Amazon and B ampersand N Monday. With extra comma
herding from our own Anachronda!


I made *one* whole comment about commas!

Seriously, folks, the new book is awesome and the plot revolves around a moron-friendly aspect of dragon life that is completely overlooked in other literature, but is face-palmingly obvious once you realize what is going on.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 20, 2014 10:42 AM (o78gS)

50 And here I thought you'd be including "Word Crimes," OregonMuse

There's actually a song on Weird Al's new album about corporate memos- "Mission Statement", which is a bunch of corporate-speak cliches in the style of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. It might be my favorite song on there.

Posted by: The Lost Dutchman at July 20, 2014 10:42 AM (9F2c1)

51 Lizzy that is an interesting thought. Amazon has already proven that they will pull back and alter books on kindle that you have paid for, so I am sure they will have no qualms about doing what you suggest. I was saying to my son yesterday that it feels like Amazon and Google are locked in a battle to see who will be crowned most evil corporation.

Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:43 AM (+0txR)

52 My Gramma lived in a house with a gas kindling fireplace. Toward the end, as she got loopy, she took to just burning her trash in it. She would dump her kitchen trash can into the fireplace, turn on the gas, hunt around for her taper, lean in and light it.

The gas would ignite a with big WHOOOSH right into gramma's face. Sometimes you could actually see her hair and and sleeves flutter in the breeze as the flames displaced the air in the fireplace. Sometimes, Gramma would be around with her hair and dress a little singed and the house would smell vaguely of burnt hair.

Not much of that before Mom put her in a home.

That's CBS News.

Posted by: Roscoe at July 20, 2014 10:44 AM (4HYng)

53 42 "Lingo" or "jargon" is a simple and effective way for groups or organizations to self identify. Nothing more.
Posted by: anon a mouse at July 20, 2014 10:37 AM (gXRIG)



-----------------------



For the insecure management types only. The people that actually crank out the product just want to know what to do in the simplest terms possible. Corp-speak is one of the befoulments of American industriousness.

Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:47 AM (rbjTB)

54 Oops. Posted that to the wrong thread. (Must run in the family.)

Posted by: Roscoe at July 20, 2014 10:47 AM (4HYng)

55 Oops. Posted that to the wrong thread. (Must run in the family.)

Posted by: Roscoe at July 20, 2014 10:47 AM (4HYng)

56 Orwell in Action!

I'm a parent-side special ed advocate. As such I spend a great deal of time reading Tortured English. The goals for the individual education plan never actually say anything, despite the words being arranged in a compound-complex-fully subluxated-sentence.

I was at a meeting where we were discussing the student's goal for Language Arts. The goal was

"Student will exhibit achievement across a range of writing genres to include persuasive essay, poetry, short story, and other styles as appropriate while meeting or exceeding the requirements for the assignment based on the rubric..."

and it went on for another couple of sentences.

Being thoroughly familiar with the regulations and requirements for the plan, I said: Why don't we do this:

The goal for the student: Write Well.

The short term learning outcomes: List each genre as separate bullet points.

The specially designed instruction: The rubric and any other technical documentation.


Because the goal, after all, is that the student write well. The rest are details.


The English teacher looked at me incredulously and said: We can write a goal like that? Write well?

I said 'sure'

Man, she looked happy.

Turns out she was a closet Strunk & White/Orwell fan. The good ones, teachers, usually are.
















Posted by: BumperStickerist at July 20, 2014 10:48 AM (4CVLy)

57 46>> Is it fair to say that in technical/scientific writing, there is a fine line between grandiose use of words and being technically accurate and precise?

It seems to me that a lot of times, people throw the terms grandiose and verbose out there because they don't really stop and think about what is actually being said; they're just reacting to what they think ought to be said or what they expect to hear on a given subject.

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 10:48 AM (60Vyp)

58 "You are all invited to a mandatory meeting."

Oh yeah and we'll "socialize" your ideas to other "stakeholders ". Aaaaahhhhh!!!

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (VwjGX)

59 The same can be said about "probems" vs "issues". Corporations hate problems. They prefer issues. You can talk about issues until the cows come home, but problems demand a corrective action.

I remember one time a number of years ago hearing one of our customers reaming out our VP over this: "No, I don't have issues with your software, it doesn't work, and that is a problem."

He was right, too. We oversold a software package that didn't work. The VP well deserved the reaming.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (yRdR4)

60 Thanks for reaching out to us with this thread. Did you partner with someone on it?

Posted by: Dang at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (MNq6o)

61 The funny/sad part is, when you wade though all the gobbedlygook, you discover that this isn't really saying much.

-
Isn't this really the story of Obama?

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (Mogjf)

62 To give Butterfly credit, I would have written about the business review they conducted in the same way. Writing in plainer English would have been a bit more grim. My translation of their email:

'We need to start making/doing stuff that our customers actually want, and stop giving them the runaround when they contact us (ie, we don't have that access/information, let me connect you with a different department on the other side of the country who might, but I don't really know).'

Shorter translation: 'we need to figure out what we're doing here'.

Posted by: London ex-pat at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (E+Bka)

63 Strunk White

Posted by: BumperStickerist at July 20, 2014 10:48 AM (4CVLy)

Thank you Mr. Gerstell* for introducing me to this book, and forcing me to embrace it!

*Tied for best English teacher on the planet.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:53 AM (QFxY5)

64 And thank you Mnx 0.7 alpha for editing my comment.

Strunk and White.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 10:54 AM (QFxY5)

65 Contraction's. How does it work?

Posted by: yellow elongated fruit of doom at July 20, 2014 10:54 AM (68O4K)

66 Dang..funny!! and Great White...you beat me to it!! Lol!!'

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 10:54 AM (VwjGX)

67 Elements of Style is a classic. Re-read it from time to time to get myself straight....

Posted by: backhoe at July 20, 2014 10:55 AM (ULH4o)

68 60 Thanks for reaching out to us with this thread. Did you partner with someone on it?
Posted by: Dang at July 20, 2014 10:50 AM (MNq6o)



---------------------


Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:55 AM (rbjTB)

69 62>> My translation of that would be: Management has not done it's job and needs to be canned.

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 10:55 AM (60Vyp)

70 Maybe they'll make a movie entitled Smart with Jim Carey starring as Joe Biden.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 20, 2014 10:57 AM (Mogjf)

71 Or - "Management has not done it's job and needs to be caned."

Amusing what typos can do to change a sentence. Or lack of punctuation.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 10:58 AM (BIjAL)

72 Elements of Style is a classic. Re-read it from time to time to get myself straight....

-
Elements of Style was written by John Boy Walton.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 20, 2014 10:58 AM (Mogjf)

73 I've been reading Steven Ambrose's book "Citizen Soldier." I know he sometimes slouches into cheerleader territory but I've not yet read a book by him that was not profoundly educational, informative, and yet easy to read and entertaining. He clearly loved America and had no shame or hesitation in making that clear, even while showing its mistakes and flaws. His book on the transcontinental railroad was amazing.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at July 20, 2014 10:58 AM (zfY+H)

74 Crotchety. Sad but that's what management devolves to. Obfuscation. Now someone tell me what I said.

Posted by: Guido 'loves the ukulele' at July 20, 2014 11:00 AM (VwjGX)

75 71>> BAM! Seems like it works both ways to me

Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead at July 20, 2014 11:00 AM (60Vyp)

76 I don't know if I was over anticipating World of Trouble (final book in The Last Policeman trilogy) but so far some of it has come across as tedious.

Posted by: Adam at July 20, 2014 11:00 AM (G8ga7)

77 Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet.

Spice

The spice must flow!

Posted by: Fox 2! at July 20, 2014 11:01 AM (cHwSy)

78 "For those would-be authors with a predilection towards the grandiose use of words when a more pithy and shorter use of words suffice, always ask them would their character speak that way."

The problem with using bigger words instead of smaller, easier ones is that the writers who do so rarely have a firm grasp on what these words mean so they come across like the prison lawyer on In Living Color. "your honor allow me to fumigate my wisdom on the court!"

It is fun to have at least one character with a vast and complex vocabulary that few understand though.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at July 20, 2014 11:04 AM (zfY+H)

79 Don't pass on the "educational" establishment as a contributor of much of arcane verbosity in existence. What a crock!

Posted by: Libra at July 20, 2014 11:05 AM (GblmV)

80 OT: Visual snark over at WZ. A story about how Warren is putting the fear of God into Hillary is illustrated with a photo of Indians attacking circled wagons.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 20, 2014 11:07 AM (Mogjf)

81 Mornin' morons.

Sounds like Butterfly Bullshit Bingo to me

Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at July 20, 2014 11:08 AM (HVff2)

82 Still reading Rutherford's Sarum. It's good but I don't love it, but I'm only one-third in to the book.

John McWhorter was linked in one of this week's ONT, which reminded me of a book of his I read ten years ago, "Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should Like Care". His basic premise is that we used to respect high rhetoric (and other cultures still do) but somewhere along the line we stopped caring about it. An interesting book - one that I still think about from time to time.

Still 426 books to go.

Posted by: biancaneve at July 20, 2014 11:09 AM (6Turu)

83 I'm currently wading through Kali's Children. I can't pinpoint anything *wrong* with it as far as writing or plot go, but it simply doesn't hold my interest. It could be I'm just not in the mood, and should try again later rather than force myself to finish it now.

And I just got The Last Mage Guardian.

Posted by: Empire1 at July 20, 2014 11:09 AM (+GpPB)

84 Paradigm

Posted by: The Mega Independent at July 20, 2014 11:10 AM (QCo5R)

85 If Vin Scully wouldn't say it, nobody else should!-CBD

Or old man Buck, Bob Uecker, the old guard baseball play by play men could put you at the game, even if you were thousands of miles away

Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at July 20, 2014 11:13 AM (HVff2)

86
Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.

--Winston Churchill

Posted by: Retread at July 20, 2014 11:13 AM (l7hog)

87 One major advantage a real book has over an e-book is the ability to open to a random page in a book and see what pops-out. Hence when I did that Glendon Swarthout's The Tin Lizzie Troop just now, I was greeted with the following fragment:

"Oh Conchita!" he choked.
"Oh, mi General!" she gasped.
"Beh-heh-heh!" bleated the libidinous goat.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 11:14 AM (BIjAL)

88 illustrated with a photo of Indians attacking circled wagons.

Oh, Calcutta!

Posted by: Apu at July 20, 2014 11:14 AM (MjNgY)

89 Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at July 20, 2014 11:13 AM (HVff2)

And yet Buck's kid is awful...just awful.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 20, 2014 11:14 AM (QFxY5)

90 Please tell me Robert Redford gets shot in the face in the the Dan Rather movie. Cuz that wuz like my favoritest thing in Captain America 2 ever.

Also, will they be getting Lexa Doig to reprise her role as Detective Lucy Ramirez, the TV detective who allegedly passed the incriminating documents to Burkett.

(for those of you too young to remember, Detective Ramirez was a character on the Gene Roddenberry series Earth: Final Conflict. For the liberals in the audience, that means she was a fictional creation...)

Posted by: richard mcenroe at July 20, 2014 11:15 AM (XO6WW)

91 I still have some fun with the "fake but accurate" bullshit. The claim that the evidence is accurate implies that there is other evidence supporting the theory and that evidence is sufficiently compelling. My question to my lib friends is this: If there was compelling evidence why bother to make a bunch of shit up? Why invent "Lucy Rameriz"?

Posted by: The Poster Formerly Known as Mr. Barky at July 20, 2014 11:15 AM (ndSrL)

92 More gobbledy-gook: Years ago I had a second job as a salesclerk at a department store. Management loved to talk to us about 'servicing the customer' which always made me cringe and feel kind of dirty. Ugh - how I hated that phrase. It was all I could do to not climb up on my soapbox and rant about the dignity of 'serving' the customers. People are served; machines are serviced. If we're servicing the customers, we're either engaged in an illegal activity or we're treating the customers like an impersonal part of the sales process.

Posted by: biancaneve at July 20, 2014 11:15 AM (6Turu)

93
Maybe they'll make a movie entitled Smart with Jim Carey starring as Joe Biden.

They already did. Though it was titled Dumb and Dumber.

Posted by: Sticky Wicket at July 20, 2014 11:17 AM (0IhFx)

94 I'm a Dilbertarian because Scot Adams describes the real world - including corporate bafflegab - better than anyone else I can think of.

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at July 20, 2014 11:18 AM (EDprM)

95 12 What other entity has corporate gobbledygook? The government, and certainly the military. The military has honed this style to a fine art.
Posted by: Soona at July 20, 2014 10:18 AM (rbjTB)

Yep. In the USAF, you are not allowed to write an EPR (Enlisted Performance Report) without using the canned phrases. I tried to write an original one once and it was kicked back hard for re-write. After that, I bowed to the beast.

Posted by: baldilocks at July 20, 2014 11:18 AM (36Rjy)

96 @93 "Machines are serviced."
Nah. Mares are serviced. By stallions.
Funny, when I'd bring that up editorially, everybody would act like it was me making the dirty joke.

"Tell that to Mrs Coolidge..."

Posted by: Stringer Davis at July 20, 2014 11:19 AM (xq1UY)

97 84 Paradigm
Posted by: The Mega Independent at July 20, 2014 11:10 AM (QCo5R)

I hate this word.

Posted by: baldilocks at July 20, 2014 11:22 AM (36Rjy)

98 The files are numbered, and documents in those files must be annotated in the upper right-hand corner with the file number where it belongs, the date the document was filed, and the initials of the person filing them. The documents that 60 Minutes put up for review didn't have anything of the sort in the corners. Just another small reason for me to doubt their authenticity.

You know how they got around this, don't you? After it was pretty much proven that the documents were of modern origin, suddenly Bill Burkett started claiming that he received the documents from "Lucy Ramirez", retyped them, then burned the originals.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 20, 2014 11:22 AM (yRdR4)

99 utilize is my least favorite corporate speak word. The only reason to employ it is that you think it sounds more impressive than "use."

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at July 20, 2014 11:24 AM (zfY+H)

100 An early one, against which I campaigned for decades, and lost:
"Access" (verb): "get to."
Universally accepted, and to my ear just as wooden as it was 40 years ago.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at July 20, 2014 11:28 AM (xq1UY)

101 utilize is my least favorite corporate speak word. The only reason to
employ it is that you think it sounds more impressive than "use."


"Short words are best..."

Posted by: Retread at July 20, 2014 11:30 AM (l7hog)

102 Does anyone have suggestions to a traditional publisher who might be looking for a fantasy short story to add to an anthology? While writing about Sluggor, another idea popped to mind and over 10,000 words later have this funny story my three alpha readers love looking for a published home.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 11:31 AM (BIjAL)

103 Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 11:31 AM (BIjAL)

If you'd have thought of it over 3 weeks ago, you could have submitted it to Baen for their contest.

http://www.baen.com/baenfantasyaward.asp

If they have one next year, you should be able to submit, if you cut it down about 20%.

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at July 20, 2014 11:37 AM (Nk6GS)

104 Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 11:31 AM (BIjAL)



Asimov?


Maybe start there.


Heck, why not?

Posted by: HH at July 20, 2014 11:40 AM (XXwdv)

105 You may remember that Dan Rather sued CBS a few years ago for firing him. However, the lawsuit was dismissed because CBS had not breached Rather's contract -- they had continued to pay him even after taking him off the air.

I was a little disappointed with that result. I had hoped that the lawsuit would get to the stage where CBS would have to prove that they were justified in firing him by proving that the Bill Burkett documents were false and Rather should have known that. It would have been fun to see CBS highly motivated to vindicate George W. Bush, with millions of dollars on the line if they failed to do so.

Posted by: Joshua at July 20, 2014 11:40 AM (pJN9L)

106 Hunted hi and lo ( given my limited mobility ) for Elements of Style- could not find it- odd. Ordered a used copy via Amazon....

Posted by: backhoe at July 20, 2014 11:42 AM (ULH4o)

107 83 I'm currently wading through Kali's Children. I can't pinpoint anything *wrong* with it as far as writing or plot go, but it simply doesn't hold my interest.

I found the bit about the frog things not credible. While I enjoyed the story, something in the back of my brain was going "yeah, right" through everything after the interlude.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 20, 2014 11:43 AM (o78gS)

108 I'll definitely be checking out Sabrina Chase's new book on Monday. 'The Last Mage Guardian' is my favorite book by her so far and at $1.99 is a great deal.

Some months back Oregon Muse suggested the book 'Black' by Russell Blake (Amazon prime library), a murder mystery set in L.A. Black is a down-on-his-luck PI who is hired by a movie star seeking to make a comeback when a string of murders of paparazzi seem to implicate him. Lots of humor, a fun quick read. Plan to check out the sequel 'Black is Back' and some of of the author's other books.

Currently reading The Last Policeman book #3, liking it so far. Expect SMOD will make an appearance in the end.

The fact Dan Rather and Mary Mapes have their defenders show just how far journalism has fallen, they're all left-wing activists. I fully expect that lying liar Jay Carney to get a high profile TV gig like Stephanopolis did with ABC.

The dumb emails I notice the most at work are celebrating Green Week, with suggestions to lower your energy usage. I like to repost especially stupid sections of them on Facebook, but change them around to say use more energy, turn more lights on, etc.

Posted by: waelse1 at July 20, 2014 11:45 AM (H54hE)

109 100 An early one, against which I campaigned for decades, and lost:
"Access" (verb): "get to."
Universally accepted, and to my ear just as wooden as it was 40 years ago.


Guess you'll just have to input that to the list of things up with which we are all efforting to put.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 20, 2014 11:45 AM (o78gS)

110 Anachronda 49:
I made *one* whole comment about commas!

But it was a really important and valuable comment!

... and the plot revolves around a moron-friendly aspect of dragon life that is completely overlooked in other literature, but is face-palmingly obvious once you realize what is going on.

As I once remarked to a friend, considering what breed (and size) of dog to get, "everything scales". Large animal, large amounts of... (looks up corporatespeak dictionary online) leveraged byproduct and it has to go somewhere.

Posted by: Sabrina Chase at July 20, 2014 11:47 AM (2buaQ)

111 http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
How and why the world no longer works properly, either on paper or in meetings. I rather suspect this team did Ocare.

Posted by: Old Guy at July 20, 2014 11:51 AM (aUwW4)

112 His basic premise is that we used to respect high rhetoric (and other cultures still do) but somewhere along the line we stopped caring about it.

-
I heard some where that in a healthy society, thrower classes imitate the upper classes and in a pathologIcal society the upper classes imitate the lower classes. We've gone full trailer park.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 20, 2014 11:57 AM (Mogjf)

113 Chop 20%? I admit I could possibly delete about 400 words as I am going through it a second time. Already deleted one scene during first rough draft as superfluous. Not sure if I could cut out 2,000 words and still retain the humor and flavor of story - 20% is massive pruning.

And only three weeks ago did a fellow writer plant the seed of this idea in my mind.

Asimov? Perhaps.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 11:59 AM (BIjAL)

114 Just finished The Grim Company by Luke Scull. I'd give it a B-. The usual sword and sorcery affair. There were a few characters I liked, but I guess I was supposed to because they survive, probably in order to wrap up their not-completely-resolved plotlines in the inevitable sequel.

Posted by: Gem at July 20, 2014 12:13 PM (zw+pb)

115 Corporate gobbledygook is gang-speak.

It unites the tribe.

I hate "learnings" as in "I gathered multiple learnings from that training."

See how stupid it is, how pompously stupid?

Notice how the word training is also misused?

For some reason "I learned a lot of things at that training session" just won't do anymore.

Posted by: eman at July 20, 2014 12:14 PM (MQEz6)

116 The dumb emails I notice the most at work are celebrating Green Week, with suggestions to lower your energy usage. I like to repost especially stupid sections of them on Facebook, but change them around to say use more energy, turn more lights on, etc.
Posted by: waelse1 at July 20, 2014 11:45 AM (H54hE)

Green Week in Berlin has a whole different, Moron-approved meaning.

Posted by: baldilocks at July 20, 2014 12:20 PM (36Rjy)

117 I can highly recommend the Post Apocalyptic series, The Breakers, by Edward W. Robertson. The writing was first rate. I am eagerly awaiting the final two books.

BTW, the first book can be borrowed for free on Amazon Prime, but, if you get into it and you are enjoying it, stop and go get the first 3 books set, because he went back and added a lot to that first book in the set version. I finished the first free book and started the second in the box set. I quickly figured out that I needed to find the point where the add-ons started.

Posted by: Sherry McEvil, We Be Proud to be an Amurrican at July 20, 2014 12:36 PM (kXoT0)

118 Down:
1) Richard Rhodes, __Arsenals of Folly__. I was lucky to have first read three other books by Rhodes: __Making Love__, __Why they Kill__, and __A Hole in the World__, all of which I recommend. Rhodes is a polished writer, almost on the level of V.S. Naipaul or John McPhee. He can tell a story against himself with painful (to the reader) objectivity. __Arsenals...__ disappoints. Rhodes selects his facts and sources (Max Blumenthal, Robert Scheer, etc.) to indict the US and the Reagan administration in particular and to exalt Mikhail Gorbachev.
2) Nicholas Wade, __A Troublesome Inheritance__. Readers who enjoy discussion of evolution and who despise S. J. Gould will enjoy Wade's work. I will follow this vein with Cochran and Harpening, __The 10,000 Year Explosion__.
Currently on the nightstand: Ayaan Hirsi Ali: __The Caged Virgin__. I'm half way through this, following her __Infidel__ and __Nomad__ and Wafa Sultan's __A God Who Hates__.

Posted by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick at July 20, 2014 12:40 PM (uHUBu)

119 "I'm intrigued (and maybe suspicious?) that Amazon wants to switch to a paradigm of having us rent information instead of owning it (kind of similar to Adobe's paradigm shift of leasing the software license instead of owning it). "

Posted by: Lizzy at July 20, 2014 10:35 AM (D/504)

I think that's what's going on. Once they have a significant number of folks on board, they get control (and no, this isn't a Black Helicopters thing talking). And then they can raise prices because there are few alternatives.

But the monkey wrench in that plan is software like Calibre that allows someone to easily remove the digital rights management from the Kindle copies and get an "own forever" copy. So I could easily see someone signing up for a limited time, downloading hundreds of books, and then cancelling. It happens now with Library ebooks.

The solution seems to be to price things so that it's just easier (and worth the hassle-reduction) to just buy a legit copy.

I'm dealing with that issue now because I'm putting together a series of videos that support a university intro finance course. I can make them secure, but it's such a hassle that it's easier to just price them low enough that students would rather just buy them than copy them.

Posted by: RightWingProf at July 20, 2014 12:41 PM (LOnHK)

120 What does everyone think about Kindle Unlimited? You pay $10 a month for all the books you want to read that are available on kindle unlimited but you don't own any of the books. I guess it gets around the fact you can only borrow one prime book a month but still I wonder how many people will shell out 10 a month for unlimited library books.
Posted by: ParanoidGirlinSeattle at July 20, 2014 10:15 AM (+0txR)

I am giving it a wait and see. The one book a month limit is a huge irritant and I do not feel like giving Amazon another $120 a year for Prime content. I honestly would rather pay for that second Prime book and have the author get some of the money than let Amazon have that money for content my Prime membership is already "sponsoring".

Posted by: Sherry McEvil, We Be Proud to be an Amurrican at July 20, 2014 12:41 PM (kXoT0)

121 #118 May I politely suggest not using a string of underscores to indicate a title. If that is an "undocumented feature" in your posting platform, I apologize for the gentle criticism.

Posted by: Sherry McEvil, We Be Proud to be an Amurrican at July 20, 2014 12:44 PM (kXoT0)

122 What does a large dragon eat?

I may have to read the book to find out.

..and then I'll have to rewrite my manuscripts about the large herd of semi autonomous self directing grazing fertilizer factories because everyone will think I stole the idea from Sabrina.

Posted by: Ignoble Minimust at July 20, 2014 12:44 PM (pvms6)

123 I think they should dig up Phyllis Diller's body to play Mapes; apologies to the deceases commedian who still has more upstairs than the journalistic hack. Plus Redford is just a revisionist idiot.


Speaking of revisionism, KC Johnson fought it as hard as anybody in the Duke Lacrosse case and is finally shutting down his blog "Durham in Wonderland" after doing stellar work documenting the case and the aftermath.

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 20, 2014 12:55 PM (xkpl4)

124 errrr deceased

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 20, 2014 12:57 PM (xkpl4)

125 Ignoble Minimust, or we will think you read some Niven Known Universe about the Slaver Empire and World of Ptaavs.

And speaking of writing. Catch everyone later.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 01:07 PM (BIjAL)

126 I wondered about the All Souls Trilogy. Have you read any of it? Did you like it?

I love it! I think it's a far cut above most of the urban fantasy stuff that is so popular now.

The first one took a bit of getting into, but I loved the series overall. There's a slight undercurrent of gay rights, but nothing overly obnoxious...kind of along the lines of the underlying prejudice them in the Harry Potter books.

It's also a little heavier on the romance than, say, the Iron Druid series, so if you're a dude that may wear thin, but I do not like romances as a rule and it didn't bother me any.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 01:17 PM (kwDTQ)

127 ugh, "theme' not "them", duh. My apologies!

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 01:18 PM (kwDTQ)

128 23
I enjoyed both books. Great fun. I just dropped what I was reading to start the third volume of the trilogy. I read somewhere(maybe it was here) that the trilogy was "Twilight" for adults.. Vampires, witches, demons, time travel.. Great escapist reads.

Posted by: Tuna at July 20, 2014 01:22 PM (7KPIw)

129 And Flash to Bang, I hope your sweet kitteh is on the mend!


PGiS, I am always so amazed at how well Netflix has done. Thor loves it.

I think the edge that Netflix has, though, is that people are most likely copying the movies; I'm not technically savvy, but I imagine that's much harder to do with Kindle books coming from Amazon.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 01:24 PM (kwDTQ)

130 One slight correction: I am not actually the professor at the University of Vermont with all the books on Buddhism. Nor am I the Irish actor who was in "Hellboy" (only 3/8 Irish; the remainder is mostly Crypto-Jew with trace elements of Basque, Franch and miscellaneous Canadian), the athletic director at the University of Arkansas, and I don't teach at the University of Illinois. All that kvetching aside, thanks for the plug!

Posted by: wombat-socho at July 20, 2014 01:26 PM (/J5x+)

131 Tuna, great way to put it! Harnesses' writing is much better than Stephanie Meyers and Charlaine Whosit ( Sookie Stackhouse lady)


I love me some vampire stuff and I can tolerate a lot, but my nieces have just put me through the gawt damned Morganville Vampire series and I am shell-shocked. Good lord.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 01:27 PM (kwDTQ)

132 121,
Sorry to offend. I was taught to underline book titles. I don't know the control characters to do that here. Help?

Posted by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick at July 20, 2014 01:28 PM (uHUBu)

133 Squeeeeeeeee about Sabrina's new book! I shall be purchasing it first thing tomorrow!

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 01:29 PM (kwDTQ)

134 #118

You might consider 'The Dead Hand' by David E. Hoffman as a counter to the Rhodes book.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 01:36 PM (NLEgK)

135 133,
I usually put titles in quotes. I'd rather use italics but don't want to spend time in the barrel for screwing it up.

Posted by: waelse1 at July 20, 2014 01:40 PM (H54hE)

136 I was taught to underline book titles. I don't know the control characters to do that here. Help?

Posted by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick at July 20, 2014 01:28 PM (uHUBu)


Limited
comment formatting is available on this site using BB code, the
instructions for which are easy to find using your favorite search
engine.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 01:41 PM (WbsS3)

137 I find going to 1/2 price books on the weekends is the way to go.
Posted by: CrotchetyOldJarhead

---------------

That place is like my mecca. Whenever I'm in a town that has a Half-Price Books, I find my way to it and leave with a pile of books that I've usually bought for under $20. So sad that they don't have them in Maryland.

Posted by: Mary at July 20, 2014 01:42 PM (2wZs/)

138 Malcolm, you can italicize book titles by surrounding them with italics tags. Like this:

<i>Book Title Here</i>

Posted by: jaed at July 20, 2014 01:43 PM (o9BrI)

139 Or [ i ]Book Title [ / i ] Remove all the spaces and voila - Book Title

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 01:47 PM (BIjAL)

140 Probably should plug a Jackson, MS local writer's first book. She has had a recent string of hard luck with an auto accident and her husband suffering diabetes related wounds refusing to heal.

Here is part one of Kindling Flames on Goodreads. It was split into two parts by the publisher due to length.

http://tinyurl.com/nz6hcak

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 01:50 PM (BIjAL)

141 Kindle Unlimited is Amazon's attempt to get around the high prices of e-books pushed by the major publishers. Just as there are many readers dependent on their local library for their material, Amazon wants to have a system whereby those on a limited budget can contribute to a viable business model. Libraries actually mean a lot to midlist authors as they can represent a major portion of their sales.

The problem here is that Amazon requires exclusivity to become a part of the KDP Select program. What Big Six publisher is going to agree to that? An independent author might say to themselves, "Amazon already makes up more than 80% of my revenue. It would be worth giving up what little I get from the other venues to take advantage of this additional source of Amazon revenue, plus it means less time managing my back end instead of writing." But for a Big Six publisher who does, say, $100 million in ebook sales annually, giving one retailer an exclusive and forsaking the more than $15 million they pull in from outlets other than Amazon is a unlikely choice.

It seems Amazon is trying to build a library system that only stocks the midlist. Some of those midlisters may becomes big names down the road and boost the library's appeal.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 01:51 PM (NLEgK)

142 132
I have no clue how to do that stuff either. I just put the title inside quotation marks.

Posted by: Tuna at July 20, 2014 01:58 PM (7KPIw)

143 I love to use "diversity and inclusiveness" .. against the Left
There is simply no comeback

Posted by: Islamic Rage Dude at July 20, 2014 02:01 PM (e8kgV)

144 #119

It has always been Amazon's stance that ebooks should be affordable and not follow traditional dead tree pricing. This is the core of their conflict with the Big Six publishers. The idea of Kindle Unlimited is to offer someone on a limited budget a reason to own a Kindle rather than depend on their local library. Even at $2.99 each, a heavy fiction reader, especially a retiree on a fixed income, could find themselves unable to purchase enough books per month to meet their needs.

At the same time, Amazon wants there to be compensation for authors to make low prices attractive. An all you can read service can help win exposure for an author and bring in some money, as even at a low $2.99 or less, it can be difficult to get readers to risk their money on your unknown name.

Ultimately, since the ebook does away with the appeal of having books on display in your home, there will be little reason for the average person to OWN a copy of a novel, much as only a fraction of people feel any need to own DVDs they can access at will from Netflix. Reference works are a different sales category for a reason. Which means there needs to be an infrastructure where creators can market their works on a rental basis.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 02:09 PM (NLEgK)

145 Okay. Let's see.

Posted by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick at July 20, 2014 02:18 PM (uHUBu)

146 My most recent non-fiction read is '1000 Years of Annoying The French.'
http://tinyurl.com/kmpnadp

Stephen Clarke is a Brit who has made a career in writing books, both novels and history, about France. In this case, the history of conflict between France and those island to the north, and more recently that rather big island to the West.

Clarke seeks to dispel a lot of myths and also examines how the same bits of history are interpreted differently depending on which side of the Channel you went to school as a child.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 02:19 PM (NLEgK)

147 Oooh, Epobirs, thanks, I just got that on my Unlimited.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 02:26 PM (kwDTQ)

148 The Great American Novel

If I knew it was that easy, I'd have written it long ago.

Posted by: waelse1 at July 20, 2014 02:54 PM (H54hE)

149 Speaking of Baen, e-ARC of short stories is out called Shattered Shields. http://www.baenebooks.com/p-2502-shattered-shields-earc.aspx

Works by Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Glen Cook, and Elizabeth Moon are in it.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at July 20, 2014 03:09 PM (BIjAL)

150 "Ultimately, since the ebook does away with the appeal of having books on display in your home, there will be little reason for the average person to OWN a copy of a novel, much as only a fraction of people feel any need to own DVDs they can access at will from Netflix. Reference works are a different sales category for a reason. Which means there needs to be an infrastructure where creators can market their works on a rental basis.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 02:09 PM (NLEgK)"


An interesting point. The impact on current fiction authors could be significant, although for paperbacks more than hardbacks. What percentage of total sales do they account for?

I also wonder why you think that ebooks will do away with the appeal of having books on display. It seems like you might be conflating utilitarian and esthetic effects.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 03:33 PM (WbsS3)

151 What other entity has corporate gobbledygook?



****

Education.

Gobbledygook AND the fad-of-the-year.

For us, this year's fad is to split grades between actual grades and behavior grades. If I grade something, item-by-item, I can count it as a grade. If I simply check it for being done, even if I do a quick scan that the work looks reasonable, then it is a behavior grade.

How quick will it be before students figure that out? And stop doing homework?

Posted by: LochLomondFarms at July 20, 2014 03:59 PM (GnPso)

152 This kinda crap is why I left the corporate world. Seemed like everyone but me talked that way I was the only one not in on the joke.

Posted by: Unclezeb at July 20, 2014 04:38 PM (fEDi9)

153 testing out italics

Posted by: biancaneve at July 20, 2014 05:15 PM (6Turu)

154 #150

How do you have the equivalent of bookshelves displaying your collection for ebooks? An LCD panel showing a slideshow of books you purchased? (In 'The Mote In God's Eye,' the lead character had a 'library' in his family mansion with holographic bookshelves and a handheld terminal connected to the household mainframe for displaying the actual text. Not bad for 1973.)

A major reason I was finally able to bring myself to part with my library, which had been costing me considerably in storage costs since I moved to a smaller home, was that I could have thousands of books in my possession on a single disc.

I really liked my loaded book cases but they were a luxury I don't expect to enjoy again in my lifetime. Which means I am very unmotivated to own any non-reference works if there is a more economically practical means to feed my reading habit.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 05:15 PM (NLEgK)

155 I also wonder why you think that ebooks will do away with the appeal of having books on display.


Most of the kids I know do not have any kind of attachment to having "real" books. (Or CDs or records, for that matter)

I can absolutely see where there will come a day when having bookcases full of books will be seen as freaky and hoarder-ish.

Then the fucking hipsters will glom on to it.


Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 05:47 PM (kwDTQ)

156 How do you have the equivalent of bookshelves displaying your collection for ebooks? An LCD panel showing a slideshow of books you purchased?

A major reason I was finally able to bring myself to part with my library, which had been costing me considerably in storage costs since I moved to a smaller home, was that I could have thousands of books in my possession on a single disc.

I really liked my loaded book cases but they were a luxury I don't expect to enjoy again in my lifetime. Which means I am very unmotivated to own any non-reference works if there is a more economically practical means to feed my reading habit.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 05:15 PM (NLEgK)


You made a transition that I cannot, probably because you are at heart a more practical person. Although I will also note that there are many maps, charts and tables that do not work in the ebook format, as well as a lot of works of classic literature (here I am talking about translation-specific versions) that are not making the jump. The same loss of data occurred in the "upgrades" from vinyl to CD, and from VHS to DVD. I no longer have a turntable or VHS player, and do miss some of my favorite conductors playing some of my favorite composers, and some of my favorite movies, because they were simply never reproduced in the new format.

Plus, and I know this identifies me as a Luddite, I just love the aroma of old books. Leatherbound yes, but to me there's also nothing like the smell of an old paperback. Although you have to be really careful so that they don't come apart in your hands. The first thing I do every time I walk into my library is take a deep breath.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 05:48 PM (WbsS3)

157 Late to the party as usual (sometimes night work is annoying), but:

For writing tips and rules, it would be hard to top James J. Kilpatrick's "The Writer's Art" and "Fine Print: Reflections on the Writing Art." They've been with me since I was but a newly minted RCE. They are, perhaps, angled more toward non-fiction, though.

Posted by: RovingCopyEditor at July 20, 2014 05:50 PM (UMsIr)

158 I'm doing ebook conversions of old paperbacks and the first step is removing the spine so I can run them through the scanner. The latest one was really tricky because the paper had become so fragile since it was printed in 1983. Fortunately, only one page jammed and had to be entered manually after reassembling it.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 05:52 PM (NLEgK)

159 I'm doing ebook conversions of old paperbacks and the first step is removing the spine so I can run them through the scanner. The latest one was really tricky because the paper had become so fragile since it was printed in 1983. Fortunately, only one page jammed and had to be entered manually after reassembling it.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 20, 2014 05:52 PM (NLEgK)


Two years ago I made the conscious decision to upgrade all of my classic SciFi to first edition paperbacks, most dating from the late 50's to early 70's. Boy do I have to be careful when handling them. Practical, no. Satisfying (and remarkably inexpensive), yes.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 06:12 PM (WbsS3)

160 Late to the party as usual (sometimes night work is annoying), but:

For writing tips and rules, it would be hard to top James J. Kilpatrick's "The Writer's Art" and "Fine Print: Reflections on the Writing Art." They've been with me since I was but a newly minted RCE. They are, perhaps, angled more toward non-fiction, though.

Posted by: RovingCopyEditor at July 20, 2014 05:50 PM (UMsIr)


I've always been a big fan of Strunk and White, but will definitely have to check these two out.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 06:28 PM (WbsS3)

161 Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 05:48 PM (WbsS3)

Fellow Luddite here, and I huff my books regularly!

I guess I'm not a total Luddite: I do have a Kindle. But 80% of the books on it are free versions of old classics, or very cheap versions of books I love and want with me when I travel.

I still buy far more "real" books than ebooks. And if I really love an ebook, I buy the real version of it, too.

But I do not miss the days of traveling with three totes full of books, or even going anywhere local and having a paperback or two in my purse. I carry the original cheapie Kindle ( it was a gift) instead, and have hundreds of books with me at all times. You cannot beat that!



Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 06:53 PM (kwDTQ)

162 Fellow Luddite here, and I huff my books regularly!

I guess I'm not a total Luddite: I do have a Kindle. But 80% of the books on it are free versions of old classics, or very cheap versions of books I love and want with me when I travel.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at July 20, 2014 06:53 PM (kwDTQ)


Agreed. One of the primary uses of my Kindle is to store "reading copies" of some of my oldest books, either for travel or just reading in bed. The originals stay in the library for "brandy, book and feet up by the wood stove" reading sessions.

Posted by: CQD at July 20, 2014 07:59 PM (WbsS3)

163 A big plus for the Kindle - increasing the type size when the light dims. I can't read a print book in bed any more.

Posted by: Ticklebee at July 20, 2014 08:19 PM (07NZK)

164 RE: The disgustingly-misnamed "Truth And Duty:..." - aka: "Massively-Mush-Headed Media Moron Mary Mapes' Mea Non-Culpa/Attempted-Apologia" - if it actually makes it through the process of being sloshed across a moom pitchur screen as rumored, that will simply make it simultaneously a) one more reason not to expend the exorbitant level of extortion attempted nowadays to enter a "big-screen" viewing of what passes for filmic "entertainment, and b) yet another Robert Redford film disaster of "epic" proportions to be avoided like his previous Left-slanted attempts at historic "reconstruction".

Once it lands - deservedly so - on the dollar-discount DVD rack, though, it might be "re-purposed" as a plinking target.

Surely it has to be regarded as a Liberal triumph of blind faith over logic, reason and actual intelligence that Mapes' absurd tome is still offered anywhere in print, no matter how discounted...ah, well - even cheaply-printed 30-year-old encyclopedias can be recycled into useful doorstops, they tell me...

Posted by: J.S.Bridges at July 20, 2014 09:22 PM (SNtFV)

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