Reading

Processes

Ditto the last post, except with “processes,” and also the caveat that it’s technically become acceptable just because educated people have been doing it so much.

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Biases

The word “biases” came up repeatedly in a talk from the Being Human conference I watched, and the pronunciation seemed a bit off. A quick search led to a few pages confirming my suspicion, including this entry in The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations: The Complete Opinionated Guide for the Careful Speaker (which, based on the Google Books preview, seems like an amusing book):

biases BY-uh-siz. Do not say BY-uh-seez.

The overeducated but underinformed speaker, straining for effect, overpronounces the plural of “bias” as “bias ease” or “bias seize.” But “biases” is an English plural (like “houses” or “boxes”), not a Greek one (like “theses” or “crises”). The proper pronunciations is the natural one, like “bias” is.

It’s obviously a minor issue, and it seems unlikely that anyone mentioned it to the speaker afterward, but just imagining myself in a similar situation with other words makes me want to give this book a look.

The most stressful pronunciation situation for me was my college DJ days, where not only were the artist names and song titles often strange and new to me, but there was no easily accessible definitive guide (or video warning). I was always a little worried that an offended listener would call in to complain (only a little, though, because my mom’s too nice to correct me and my other listener only called to request Kraftwerk.)

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Cleaning

In Jenny Blake’s Life After College, the following quote is attributed to Paul Carvel:

 “He who wants to change the world should begin by cleaning the dishes.”

I haven’t been able to verify the original quote, and in the search results, sometimes there’s an “already” before “begin,” but let’s just accept it for the moment.

There are certainly benefits to having a clean space, including clean dishes. I feel calmer, happier, and more motivated when my space is clean. I also think of that inspiring scene in Limitless where one of the first decisions made by the guy’s new super mind is to clean his apartment.

I have heard other discussions, especially in Buddhist contexts, about mindfully washing the dishes, not rushing through the task just to get it done, but actually appreciating the process.

So, on one hand, we have support for cleaning.

However, there’s this other valid viewpoint I’ve encountered. One of my computer science professors said that whenever he was cleaning his floors, he was avoiding doing some other more important work. I don’t think he was implying there was anything wrong with cleaning, just that it was a distraction from something more important.

Author Talane Miedaner has written,

“The danger of cleaning your own house is that it may give you the illusion that you are accomplishing something when in reality your time would be better spent working on your big goals and dreams.”

She also says that cleanliness is important, though, so her suggestion is to hire a housekeeper, which she argues is not as extravagant as people may believe.

When I find myself vacuuming the ceilings (not crazy—there are sometimes cobwebs!), I think of all these conflicting viewpoints. Maybe I am wasting my time or maybe I am clearing the way for exciting new things or maybe I am meditating.

Until I convince myself to hire a housekeeper, though, I guess I’ll keep doing it, as long as I can still make time for the fun world-changing stuff.

 

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Misplaced Modifiers

I saw this fun little passage today:

“Posterized on my bedroom walls and drooled upon in my favorite car magazines, I was acutely familiar with the Lamborghini…”

I’m picturing a guy with posters and drool-covered pictures of himself.

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Reading Lunch Alone

In The Priceless Gift, Cornelius Hirschberg talks about one time management strategy for self-education through reading:

”I never eat lunch with the people I work with, not because I don’t like the company but because you can’t have everything, and I need that lunch hour.”

I was so happy to read that because in the past, I’ve felt a little guilty not going out to lunch with my coworkers, but my reason is the same as Hirschberg’s, and I don’t think there’s really a problem with it. Even in high school, I would often go to the library during lunch to study.

Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone would probably deem such a practice unwise, but hey, there’s always happy hour.

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