March 09, 2012

Various & Sundry

Collected a couple of ever-familiar yet ever-new corporatisms yesterday: "task" used as a verb, as in "She tasked me with...". This gets away from the more harsh, "She made me do," the too soft, "she asked me to...." the too banal, "she had me do...". Task is one of those crisp and authoritative English words that people like to say; they like the way it trips off the tongue.

The other instance was the odd use of "space", as in "I was in the brokerage space last year..". In other words, you don't say, "I worked in Brokerage," for that would broker your future away. No, you say that you worked in some space, because it adds an extra syllable and extra syllables are always helpful when giving talks.

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What's fascinating to me about some of the anti-Romney attitude is what one expects of a president. Franklin Roosevelt was so beloved, according to John Updike, because people thought he cared. Many economists say FDR made the depression worse and longer, but people loved him because they related to him (despite his wealth!). Updike basically said people would prefer a leader from whom they feel compassion rather than one who can make things actually on-the-ground better.

I tend to figure what does it benefit me if someone in D.C. feels my pain since the president can't get me a job? I guess, for good or ill, I tend to look less at the person than his policies. Should we expect love from our leader? “Love to be true has to hurt," said Mother Teresa. And, in the liturgy of the hours, we hear from the Leader of leaders: "Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us."

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Yesterday was a dray, a gray mare of a day, a windblown tide of steady rain with a zinc-like dusk that comes early in these parts, as early as two, three in the afternoon. It seems a fitting postscript to Wednesday's irrational sun-zuberance, telling the tale that everything that goes up must come down.

The concrete face of a nearby building is half taupe, half white, with a jagged stock-market line showing where the rain soaked in. A pink banner urges, "PARK, PARK, PARK" and seems forlorn on the gloom-struck day, like a dandelion in December. Parking garages like these seem to make no attempt at beauty or elegance, they are pure functionaries, the architects having drawn them up early and played golf in the afternoon. Ugliness in search of function is no virtue.

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I find it oddly entertaining to watch the policeman out in the street directing traffic. Basically all he does is force people to make a right when coming out of the parking garage. Facing the cars, his left arm will go up, perfectly parallel to the ground. Sometimes he'll wave drives to hurry a bit, by waving his right hand. Some very few drivers will wave and he'll wave back.

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One of the things I like about evangelical Christianity is their love of the Bible, often shown by copious margin notes. There are "moleskin" bibles with especially generous margins that encourage this sort of extensive note-taking/defacing. I've never been much of a note-taker, in the Bible or in any other books. I once started to take notes in an NRSV I had but I switch Bibles too frequently which defeats the purpose since you want all your notes in one place. I'm at a loss as to how to write anything meaningful in the typically tiny spaces most bibles allow for note-taking. It seems you can hardly jot down more than a phrase. I'd like to see what people are writing and whether they can read it later.

Many folks praise Logos, but I like using the OliveTree Bible Reader software on my iPad. It has the NRSV, Douay and NABre available, though not the New Jerusalem. And one of its supposedly neat features is this ability to type notes. And sure enough, it helpfully adds a little note icon to the verse which when later touched will bring up said note. My first note was on today's reading of Jeremiah and all I could write was basically a rephrase of the Scripture. Which is what some bible commentaries do - they just tell you the obvious, like, "Jesus here is demonstrating how we are to behave as Christians." Duh. But now that I'm a note-writer too, I see it's not so easy.

4 comments:

Fred Kaffenberger said...

space is useful in a business development marketing context: i.e. I saw this article on commercial credit for the parts industry and I thought of you because it's in your space.

TS said...

Makes sense!

Bill White said...

I used to take notes in my Bibles half-heartedly back when I was an Ev. Prot., but I finally realized I didn't like having my old ad-hoc notes shouting at me and demanding attention when I read afresh. I don't even highlight any books anymore - I don't want my old emphases to interfere with whatever I might find in the current reading.

Bob the Ape said...

I just checked my Webster's (1975 edition), and it seems that "task" in that sense is plain English, not a corporate neologism.

On the other hand, the next time someone tasks you, you get to reply, "From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!"