Re: Introspecty.

1

Oh, man, yes. I notice this more from the other end -- my job involves a lot of touchy interactions, and softsoap is cheap. I placate my ass off where it doesn't cost me anything, and am completely confused by people who make trouble for themselves by not doing so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:16 AM
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I remember somebody commenting to me, off-hand, that it's really important to have other people validate your sense of reality because otherwise you feel like you're going crazy -- it's an observation that stuck with me.

. . . and am completely confused by people who make trouble for themselves by not doing so.

Me too. I have a casual theory that a significant portion of people spend most of their time sleep-deprived. I don't know if it's true or not, but when I see people being irrationally cranky/defensive/inflexible, I am aware that I behave like that when I'm really low on sleep.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:24 AM
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Is it harder for men to placate because of cultural norms that it's unmanly to apologize all the time?

NickS, I agree with your theory too.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:31 AM
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Isn't this what the entire "Customer Relations" industry exists to do?

There's a meme out there at the moment that sending "thank you" emails is bad netiquette because it just fills up people's in boxes. On the contrary, Mrs y says she can wrap cow orkers round her little finger by the elementary expedient of sending them fulsomely appreciative notes whenever they actually do their job right, and she can't understand why other people haven't caught onto this simple trick.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:31 AM
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My head would explode if I rented a house with a pool I expected to swim in and the rental person was like, "Oh, the pool mentioned as an amenity in the ad? You expected to swim in it? Gosh!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:41 AM
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I have to admit to having a massive chip on my shoulder about being 'disrespected'. It's only normally triggered when people who should be peers (esp. at work) do it,* or when people are actively rude when it costs them nothing to be normally/disinterestedly polite. Ordinary normal grumpiness from, say, shop assistants or call centre workers doesn't register, though.

re: 3

Not if you are British.

* it's for that reason -- a few posh dick-heads behaving like colossal arseholes -- that I've started signing work emails with my job title: 'Dr ttaM nattarGcM, High Poobah and Grand Mufti of Dept. X, Z Specialist'; even though that's a bit dickish in itself. The key point being, 'I am not your fucking monkey.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:42 AM
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Interesting. I'm generally placate-y and apologetic by nature, and very recently I've come to the conclusion that it often doesn't work well for me, and have decided to be more careful about how I come across.

For example, for the past year I've been working with a new (to me) secretary, and have had no end of trouble with her. In the past, I've always gotten along really well with my secretaries -- I go out of my way to make their lives easy, and they return the favor by working really hard and being awesome. My new secretary has been awful. She deprioritizes my work, she's rude, and sometimes she straight-up refuses to get things done. Once, I was at her desk explaining the changes I needed her to make to a document, and she seriously stood up and walked away. It regularly takes her a month or more to submit my expenses and timesheets.

It took me over a year to figure it out, but I realized that 1) she's used to working with bullies; 2) she's a bully herself; and 3) she disrespects me because I'm not demanding enough. So a couple months ago I made a conscious decision to eliminate the word "sorry" from my vocabulary, and to reduce my use of the words "please" and "thank you" by at least 50%. I've also just been generally more unreasonable, i.e., by demanding things be done within a shorter deadline than necessary. And you know what? It's worked like a charm.

It kind of sucks to have to be slightly unpleasant all the time, and acting like I'm perpetually in a bad mood actually puts me in a perpetually bad mood, but you would not believe the difference in terms of how quickly and efficiently my work gets taken care of, and for now it's totally worth it.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:43 AM
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Also, the two times some strange man has threatened to kill me, it's been in a situation where: 1) he was a jerk in some way, but the situation was ambiguous enough that 2) I apologized, because that's what I do, and 3) he got more upset, which made me 4) apologize even more, and then 5) he threatened to kill me. Some people really hate apologies, I guess.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:45 AM
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5: I was pretty mad when we arrived. That was the reason we'd picked that house. Highs were in the 80s and I was totally looking forward to spending the weekend in and out of the pool.

I still cannot figure out how on earth she didn't think to mention that the pool would be shut down. Actually, she said "I would have been happy to get it cleaned! It just didn't occur to me you might want to swim!" which is so nonsensical.

But also, after properly placating me, she then refunded $100, so I really don't feel animosity for them at this point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 10:46 AM
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acting like I'm perpetually in a bad mood actually puts me in a perpetually bad mood, but you would not believe the difference in terms of how quickly and efficiently my work gets taken care of

That's kind of tragic. You wouldn't want your face to stick that way, as granny might have said. Can you shuffle secretaries?

it's really important to have other people validate your sense of reality because otherwise you feel like you're going crazy

Also destabilizing: having been right when the authority figures wouldn't believe you. Given that one has also been wrong, one is all uncalibrated.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 11:27 AM
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7, 8: Yeah, you're right that being affirming doesn't work for everyone in all situations; it just works enough that I'm surprised by people who don't seem to do it at all.

Also, my perspective on this is shaped by the fact that while I don't see it myself and don't intend to project it, people call me scary all the time -- I think I may need an extra layer of being consciously kind at people just so they don't flee in fear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 11:33 AM
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Oh gosh, yes. Had a stupid example of it the other evening, where I was in London all day with Kid D, and knew we were getting home late, and at least one other child was getting home early, and god knows what C was doing, so I'd left a pile of pizzas in the freezer for them to cook as necessary. So Kid D and I got home even later than expected, looking forward to chucking some pizzas in the oven and relaxing, and arrived to find that the other 3 kids had cooked all the pizzas, eaten what they wanted and left the rest in the oven so we had nearly-cold, slightly-burnt, dry pizza for dinner. Which was not what we were expecting. I was so pissed off. Kid A said, oh sorry, that was stupid of us = conversation over, no hard feelings. Kid B argued and argued and tried to say it was my own fault for not letting them know when I'd be home, etc = me really losing my temper. Argh!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 11:37 AM
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(er, at least one other child was going out for the evening early)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 11:38 AM
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Also destabilizing: having been right when the authority figures wouldn't believe you.

This is such a vivid childhood memory that I bet is shared by everyone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:18 PM
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So, combined with sleep deprivation, just about everyone is irrational all the time and can't tell whether they are or not. This is consistent with observations.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:32 PM
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I've been doing some volunteer work at a public facility that's shortstaffed and difficult to navigate in many ways. They train you in AIDET, and after some trial and error, using it (often including apologies) seems to work much better than being weaselly or vague about waiting times.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:37 PM
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7: I have the same problem of not getting good work product if I'm too nice at work. I have a paralegal that I have to be short with to get the work done. If I'm too friendly with her she thinks we're best friends, starts incessantly asking questions about obvious things and stops doing a good job on the work. I think she needs more friends to chat with.

And I hate being this cranky person so I wind up being friendly one day, short the next when it causes problems, and repeat.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:44 PM
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16: Huh. I was thinking that things like

you will be seeing Dr. Hoegrefe today. He is an excellent physician. He is very good at listening and answering patient questions. You are fortunate that he is your physician

seem kind of stilted and vaguely creepy. But then I realized if you rewrite it as

you'll be seeing Dr. Hoegrefe today. He's excellent. He's really good at listening and answering patients' questions. You're lucky to be seeing him.

It sounds fairly natural and maybe even reassuring.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:50 PM
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I showed up for my appointment to get a shit ton of blood drawn yesterday, and after she looked at all my ordered tests, the receptionist said "did you eat?". I said "...yes?". She said "You can't eat. Fast 10-12 hours before." and handed me back my stack of paperwork & insurance card.*

Then when I showed up today, very hungry, I got "oh, I don't know if we can do all these tests. I'll have to check."**

I would have been far less irate about both these things if they had been accompanied by an apologetic smile.

*The doctor did not mention this at all when she gave me the order.
**WHY DIDN'T YOU CHECK YESTERDAY? But then it turned out they could.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 12:57 PM
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D and E are the biggest parts for me. Something like:

"So I have to let you know that today they're only seeing people with appointments for the full-on sessions. You can put your name on the sign-in sheet if you'd like to make an appointment for later, or maybe get a quick question resolved. That might be a half-hour or hour wait. If you don't want to wait around today, you can call this number here and make an appointment over the phone, but either way your actual session will be some other day. I'm sorry, I know you were told to just come here, but they don't have the staffing to take drop-ins anymore."

There's much less rage than you'd think, even though rage would nearly be appropriate. I think it's partly that nobody I see is new to the system; almost all have gone through wait-time gauntlets already. But they know when they're being fed lines.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:02 PM
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LizSpigot, would it work to be brisk -- or even brusque -- all day and then chatty briefly on the way out, or at the last pickup, or something?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:05 PM
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I don't think of it as "placating" at all -- because that suggests it is unreasonable to expect an explanation and basic courtesy. It takes about a quarter of a second for my colleagues to hear from me if I overhear bad customer service, and I expect to receive it as well.

But then, I am also the weirdo who is fine with drafting total strangers to help when it will make life easier and more efficient. (Getting on the train in a rainstorm: "Sir in the red jacket! Will you help lift this lady's stroller so we can all get going here?")


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:06 PM
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I have just had a dizzy minute imagining my last really incompatible authority figure practicing AIDET on me. Oh, that would have been so nice. I might even have managed to do what he wanted done. (I might have known what it was.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:09 PM
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21: I can try that. The timing is tricky because she leaves about three hours earlier than me so her leaving time is my prime working hour. But at least then I'm not sucked into having to talk for too long.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:14 PM
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23: Oh, man. I would appreciate the same kind of stroking I hand out so much (and would work better for getting it). Emotionally, I'm pretty much a large dog: I bring you a stick, I want a scratch behind the ears and some praise for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:22 PM
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Once I am in a collaborative working context / ongoing working relationship, I actually prefer that all parties drop the niceties and just tell each other what they need by when, what's working, what's not, etc.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:29 PM
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Seriously? I could see that you wouldn't do it so much as a matter of politeness, but instead more naturally, but do you mean that you seriously don't praise/thank collaborators/coworkers for doing whatever it is you're working with them on? I'd be surly and depressed instantly. (Wait, I am surly and depressed.)

(Of course, this has drifted away from the OP topic a bit.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:34 PM
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25: Good comment, LB!

I write and say thank you constantly here at work. I figured out that I'm thanking people for the privilege of doing something for them. Or maybe it's a less whiny way of saying "Please don't fire me!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:35 PM
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do you mean that you seriously don't praise/thank collaborators/coworkers for doing whatever it is you're working with them on? I'd be surly and depressed instantly. (Wait, I am surly and depressed.)

I spent much of the last six months finding out what happens if, whenever I do something that needs to be done as part of a collaboration, one of my collaborators shouts at me and acts upset that I usurped her authority, then complains that what I did was incompetent. Surliness and depression followed pretty quickly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:41 PM
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26: And you can't add some praise when you say something's working? Not even a side-channel Boo-yah!

I say this as one who, like LB, runs well on praise. OK w/conflict & criticism, but praise is like a supercharger.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:41 PM
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We had a faculty meeting not long ago when the results of a survey of departmental staff were discussed. We were told "some of the staff say they don't feel very appreciated and they would like for you to say 'thank you' more often". About half the people in the room seemed to react like "well, yeah, of course", and the other half responded with disbelief and derision.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 1:47 PM
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No, I'm not a inhuman robot. I do say "please", "thank you", "that widget looks awesome", etc.

I had more in mind emails that start off with a whole paragraph of "Hi there, I know your time is stretched, but, if you think you could squeeze in an hour or two this afternoon, then maybe you wouldn't mind reviewing this document before I pass it on to so-so? If not, I totally understand. I just really value your perspective on these issues."

I'd rather have 30 second gchat goes,

A:Hey, do you have an hour to look over this document I'm preparing?
B:Is it high priority?
A:Not super, but it could use your eye.
B. Getting it back to you by 6 ok?
A. That'd be great.
B.Alright send it to me.
A. Thanks!


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:03 PM
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Clearly my preference for gchat means I can't write complete sentences.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:05 PM
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32: I think that works better between people of equal rank. A lot of the discussion above is about people needing affirmation from a superior.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:07 PM
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So you like the other person to have to type some of the words?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:08 PM
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Which is to say, I can't figure out how 32.2 has less affirmation-y agreeableness than 32.1 does. It's just interactive and possibly less hedgy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:09 PM
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And in fact the person in 32.1 never actually said thanks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:10 PM
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What Sifu said. It's less formal, but not less agreeable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:10 PM
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I could paste some really great examples of what disagreeable interactions look like, but I probably shouldn't. Roughly it's along the lines of "why didnt you look over documnt ysterday I am giving talk in 3 hrs need your info STOP IGNORING MY EMAISL" [note: 'documnt' was never sent]


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:14 PM
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I could paste some really great examples of what disagreeable interactions look like

Don't worry, we'll always have TFA.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:15 PM
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Compared to the much nicer interactions I was having last summer, which were more along the lines of "sorry I'm asking you to do so much, but I have to plan my vacation to Greece and it's just so much work so I can't help out right now".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:15 PM
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why didnt you look over documnt ysterday I am giving talk in 3 hrs need your info STOP IGNORING MY EMAISL

Needs angry emoticons.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:16 PM
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Where a collaboration is between people possesed of informed trust, 32 sounds great. But people misunderstand. "I can do x" can have an implied "in most cases, with a fuzzy boundary" to one person, while the other hears "x will always work."

Extra words can help clarify scope of work between people who do not think the same way. Along with differences in style, where more communication is always better, differences in incentives-- short term vs long term most usually. These are just as important but people rationally are less open about them.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:17 PM
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40: I guess I have written more than enough incriminating comments if my cow-orkers were to find this place. Oh well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:19 PM
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For extra points, document in 39 should be posted somewhere, but backdated.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 2:19 PM
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I usually get along pretty well with secretaries, but there have definitely been times when I've gotten lousy treatment at first, that suddenly improved after the boss wrote my performance evaluation and the secretary read it.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 3:23 PM
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39

I could paste some really great examples of what disagreeable interactions look like, ...

So life among the elect has some drawbacks?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 3:37 PM
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47: Are you new here?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 3:39 PM
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For extra points, the comment in 47 could be backdated.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 5:51 PM
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Wait, essear had to get elected to his job? Man, academia is so weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-13 5:53 PM
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"I am a person who likes to be placated."

Me too! I'm all about the indulgence. Almost nothing about the actual outcome.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 3:54 AM
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Personally, unless the person is offering an actual solution/reparation, I'd rather not be placated. It makes me feel like I'm being manipulated.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:24 AM
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||

Proposed: in a capitalized phrase, when a preposition is being used as the predicate, it should be capitalized regardless of its length.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:30 AM
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53: I couldn't make it past the first three paragraphs of that article. Stab stab stab.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:54 AM
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||

we babyploded yesterday! 9 lbs 3.3 oz., induced labor, a scare at the start with some aspirated meconium but now she's super alert and strong, holding up her head and eating constantly. No pseud yet, she'll have to be b-by k-sky til further notice. Flickr pool soon. |>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:15 AM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:15 AM
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and eating constantly.

Poor mama. Owwww.

But congratulations!!!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:17 AM
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holding up her head
They can do that?
Congratulations!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:18 AM
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It's kind of crazy. She was late and big, but we didn't expect her to be a one month old.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:25 AM
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re: 55

Congratulations!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:25 AM
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Congratulations k-sky and family!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:27 AM
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Baby baby baby! Hooray!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:30 AM
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This is less like a babysplosion and more like a baby-fireworks-display, going off one after the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:31 AM
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Aaaaaah! B-by! Y-y!!!!!!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:32 AM
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Great, now I have the 1812 Overture going in my head.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:33 AM
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Holy crap, holding up her head already? Careful, she'll be walking within days.

I couldn't make it past the first three paragraphs of that article. Stab stab stab.

I reached for my knife at "Dr. Parkinson said proudly, seated next to a Ping-Pong table and a shaggy goldendoodle."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:47 AM
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Hip hip h-ray b-by k-sky!

The linked article just gets stabbier as one goes on: goldendoodle dude is a doctor who doesn't see patients because it's `really stressful for him', so he's running an avoiding-patient-contact putative health service that's really popular with the companies who buy it because it's cheaper than the usual. Well, no shit.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 9:57 AM
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Babies! Congratulations, pops.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:20 AM
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53: I don't see why not.

Otherwise, gag. And how is that guy going to avoid the inevitable malpractice claims when someone fucks up and fails to accurately diagnose a patient? Is there some sort of release from liability form that patients have to sign, like 'I acknowledge that you are not actually my doctor and you are not actually giving me medical advice'?

Lastly: When did the NYT fire its editors? "I knew I didn't want to join a private practice," he said. "I'd be the low man on the totem poll ...."

Gosh that article makes me grumpy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:22 AM
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Congrats, k-sky. So awesome.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:23 AM
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Oops, I hadn't refreshed to see the news: congratulations, k-skies!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:25 AM
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Congratulations K-sky!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:28 AM
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Congratulations! The 'splosion continues. ttaM's up next!

Holy crap, holding up her head already? Careful, she'll be walking within days.

My sister learned to roll over in her first week. The doctor didn't believe my mom for a good while, until they got her to do it in the doctor's office.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:40 AM
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Re:73.1

We are 6 days past the due date. So hopefully soon!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:49 AM
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All successfully registered at the birthing center?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:50 AM
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Mazel tov!


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 10:52 AM
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55: Mazel tov!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:03 AM
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Nice one Mrs k-sky!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:08 AM
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Re 75

Yes. All done. Just waiting for the event.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:12 AM
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I would be so relieved to skip right past the floppy neck stage. I'm still mystified, though, as to how those muscles developed in utero. Headbutting the ribs?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:14 AM
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Oh, I don't care if the neck's floppy. As long as they hunker down and cuddle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:17 AM
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That probably comes with more experience. I'm not confidant I can hold them without injury. It's really hard to scruff them.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:20 AM
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Yeah, not enough loose neck skin for scruffing. You can palm their little heads like basketballs for one-handed lifting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:23 AM
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Well sure, if you have a free hand. It's so much more convenient if you can get enough skin between your teeth.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:28 AM
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In my youth, B-by K-sky announced to the 'net,
     I butted her ribs from inside;
And now that I'm loud and she cannot forget
    I hold up my head with fat pride.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:31 AM
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Eggplant is a mohel.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:33 AM
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"Headbutting the ribs" is exactly right, and 85 is delightful.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 12:27 PM
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"Headbutting the ribs" is exactly right, and 85 is delightful.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 12:27 PM
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And B-by K-sky joins the flickr pool.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 1:03 PM
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Hoor-y!!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 1:54 PM
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Welcome little k-sky! So beautiful and so strong.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 2:12 PM
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H-W -S B-BBY M-D-


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 2:41 PM
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B-BBY -S F-RM-D N-T M-D-. KN-W Y--R M-M-!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 4:47 PM
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I'd like to request good vibes that my kid stays in another week, as my body appears to be thinking about serving him an early eviction notice.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:35 PM
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94: Gravid vibes heading your way!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:37 PM
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Good luck, Cala!! My ex was on bed rest in the hospital for a month trying to keep our son inside longer. sending good thoughts.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:39 PM
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Thanks. We would call them Braxton-Hicks contractions, except that they seem to be productive and coming every three minutes. Bodies apparently do not read pregnancy books.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:49 PM
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Hang in there, Calababy! One more week and you're full term.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:49 PM
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(Doc says no point to bed rest, but to anticipate sooner rather than later, and we're now talking about making it to the end of March rather than the due date.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:50 PM
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I can't possibly do better than "gravid vibes," so I won't try. Good thoughts, gravid vibes, and schemas of containment all headed your way.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:50 PM
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101

What's a productive contraction?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:52 PM
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Drink more water to slow down contractions.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:55 PM
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When a contraction affects the cervix, it is considered productive.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:55 PM
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Effacement + dilation, in this case. But they're not particularly painful. That plus position described as "if his head were any lower, he'd be on his way out" is making us think sooner rather than later.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 5:59 PM
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Time to get all your contingency plans ready! And install the baby carseat!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:08 PM
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My contingency plans were only for April!!!!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:10 PM
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107

Paint the nursery! Assemble crib!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:10 PM
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108

Think of all the grading you can skip out on!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:11 PM
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Oh boy. Hang in there a little longer, Calbunny!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:12 PM
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gravidity waves, if levity won't get you through.

Also, calming dolphin noises.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:12 PM
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Plagairise a birth plan! Steal a Sophie the Giraffe! Grease the runway! Scramble all grandparents!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:12 PM
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Grease the runway!

A bit personal, no?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:15 PM
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Yeah Sifu, don't embarrass the cervix, it's very self-effacing.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:22 PM
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Esta embarazada.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:31 PM
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She's beautiful, k-sky! Sending happy thoughts of the hurry up/slow down variety to expectant others!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 6:57 PM
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Congrats, k-sky!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 7:12 PM
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And hurray for the b-by, and all the babies!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 7:13 PM
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118

Nothing, no one opposes your writing. You can carry on a wild social life and still write 100,000 words a month. Your writing has a deep hypnotic effect on people. You will make fortunes writing. You will live to be two hundred years old. You will always look young. You are not a coward. You have no fear of what any woman may think of your bed conduct. You know you are a master. You know they will be thrilled. You have no fear if they conceive. What if they do? You do not care. Pour it into them and let fate decide. You are a magnificent writer who has thrilled millions. You are psychic. You do not masturbate. Snakes are not dangerous to you.

Too good not to link.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 7:18 PM
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118: that book is 100% nuts. Which is to say, it's exhaustively and accurately reported.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 7:28 PM
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Relevant tweet (via Felix Gilman): shoutout to babies. youre the closest thing to bugs that humans can be. thanks for living the dream


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 7:52 PM
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||
[R]unning list that we keep in [Washington Post] Outlook of words and phrases we should avoid.

Prompted by this great note apparently sent by the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

George Stanley to Newsroom

Folks,

It has been brought to my attention that we are seriously over-using the word "iconic."

I could provide examples but would rather not.

It's not a bad word but it is becoming a cliche. Let's try not to use it unless it is truly the best possible word for that sentence.

Thank you!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:10 PM
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|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:10 PM
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I could provide examples but would rather not.

Awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:13 PM
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On the other hand "in journalism, all paradigms are shifting" is actually less meaningful than the cliche.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:13 PM
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Oh wait, now I get it. Hello!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:22 PM
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Oh, hey, congrats on the baby!


Posted by: X.Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 8:25 PM
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Stay put, Calababy!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-20-13 11:25 PM
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128

Speaking of babies, this looks interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:23 AM
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From the list of avoided words:

Effort (as a verb)

What? I mean, I avoid using effort as a verb too, but that's because it's not a real word.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 4:31 AM
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Don't use molybdenum as an adverb.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 5:06 AM
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Nor "molybdenum."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 5:07 AM
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129: Typo for "effect" as a verb?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 5:29 AM
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From a Merriam-Webster "New Words and Slang" website:

effort (verb) : to try or to make an effort at achieving something
British diplomats have efforted Johnson's release. --CNN, June 1, 2007

But I can't imagine it is at all common. Maybe a preëmptive strike.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 5:43 AM
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Gift as a verb ought to go too. Give works just fine.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 6:12 AM
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Wolfson also recently mentioned his disgust with "gift" as a verb. I don't use it regularly, but it doesn't bother me at all. Its use that way has parallels in at least a couple of other languages.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 6:35 AM
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I also hate certain uses of 'grow' as a verb. So:

'Bob told me he's always wanted to grow carrots.'

Fine. But:

'We really need to hit the 3rd quarter sales targets if we want to grow our business.'

Not.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 8:09 AM
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On the other hand combining them you have "grift" which is a terrific verb.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 8:16 AM
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'We really need to hit the 3rd quarter sales targets if we want to grow our business bury our business in the dirt and throw water and chemicals over it from time to time in the hope that it'll reappear.'


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 8:48 AM
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Gift and grow annoy me as well, but I gift seems like it conveys a more elaborate process and I've never been satisfied with substitutes for grow. Just what did Clinton want to do to the economy?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 8:53 AM
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139. Made/Helped it grow:

Well the telephone was ringing and it would not stop-
President Kennedy calling me up.
He said, "My friend Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?"


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 8:59 AM
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So one can grow vegetables and make an economy grow, but one can't grow an economy? Can one make vegetables grow? What is it about the analogy between vegetables and economies that allows for one use but not the other?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:06 AM
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I suppose I shouldn't ask grammar questions for fear of looking more idiotic than usual, but WHY DON"T YOU MAKE SENSE, ENGLISH?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:08 AM
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143

Maybe the problem is Bob can't grow carrots. Transitive uses of grow are right out.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:12 AM
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144

I don't think this is a grammatical issue, so much as a 'not writing like an arse' issue.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:13 AM
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145

140: Brigitte Bardot.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:17 AM
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This is reaching a bit because fundamentally to me it's just that "grow vegetables" sounds natural and "grow our business" sounds moronic, but I think the sense in which "grow" is used for vegetables is actually different. If you say someone "grew carrots," you mean they planted seeds that later became carrots, not that they took existing carrots and made them larger. If a man grows a beard, it doesn't mean he had a beard and it became longer; it means he didn't have one before, and now he does. So the usage is fundamentally different from "grow a business".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:19 AM
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The problem with "grow a business" or "grow the economy" is that businesses or economies are not, in fact, vegetables, right? You generally don't say you're going to "grow [ thing ]" if thing has agency. You don't grow rabbits, for instance, or a child. So the implication of growing a business or growing an economy is that the people who do the work of the business or act in the economy are basically automata.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:23 AM
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I guess essear and I have to battle now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:23 AM
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But neither of our explanations are complete. People don't talk about growing an office building or a sculpture, either, but neither of us have explained why not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:26 AM
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I should really go grow a paper instead of growing comment threads.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:27 AM
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Can one raise a beard?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:28 AM
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Also, 146 suggests that you can grow a child.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:31 AM
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Also you wouldn't talk about "growing a bank account" (unless you wanted to sound like a moron), but of course bank accounts don't have agency, and bank accounts can grow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:31 AM
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The problem with "grow a business" or "grow the economy" is that businesses or economies are not, in fact, vegetables, right?

Ours will be by the time Osborne's finished with it.

I'm with 144.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:44 AM
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"Gift" has more legalistic connotations than "give." My mother "gives" Christmas presents to the grandchildren, but she "gifts" us small sums from the estate of her parents.

Normally I'm in favor of keeping words and phrases if they have subtle differences is meaning. I support saying "I was like," in some cases instead of "I said" because "I was like" implies a paraphrase. On the other hand, I'm opposed to "utilize" because it adds absolutely nothing to the word "use."

I'm not sure that principle applies to "gift" and "give," though.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 9:44 AM
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On the other hand, I'm opposed to "utilize" because it adds absolutely nothing to the word "use."

What, "use" means "fuck", now?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:01 AM
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Hm, somewhat combining 146 and 147, hypothesis: "to grow" properly applies to things which actually grow themselves, on their own. That is, while you may *initiate* the growing of a beard or carrots, once begun, they themselves do the growing (they do the true work, they have the power, they're latent). This is why you don't, e.g. "make" a carrot/beard grow.

Hrm. I'm wondering what to do with something like "I'm about to grow angry." Different sort of usage altogether, rather idiomatic? Or does it work because the anger is latent?

But wait, this doesn't explain why you don't 'grow' a baby, which, once started, obviously grows itself, so according to the reasoning above, should be something you can grow. Dang!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:24 AM
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I've actually seen/heard "growing a baby" with respect to what a pregnant woman is doing. "No wonder you're tired, you're growing a baby in there," or similar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:26 AM
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155 is interesting, in that I believe "gift" as a verb may plausibly have started with tax/t&e lawyers using a shorthand for amounts subject to the gift tax.

I suspect "grow a business" is a metaphor traceable to a specific management book, but I don't have proof.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:30 AM
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If Clinton hadn't been so beholden to the neoliberals, he could've built the economy.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:31 AM
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`Gift' may have legalistic connotation, but does it have any legal meaning? If not, to be grand or formal, bestow something. Nice old word, deserves an airing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:32 AM
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Somebody has just sent me an e-mail in which "calendar" is used as a verb: "I'd like to get this meeting calendared as soon as possible."


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:33 AM
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""When you build a company, you have to choose between two very different ways of growing."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:34 AM
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162 -- also a legalistic term! We're taking over everything, bitches!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:34 AM
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162: yeah people have talked about "Calendaring" applications for years. That might even be what it's explicitly called in Outlook.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:36 AM
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"Calendar" as a verb is no good. I don't want a verb that ends with two unaccented syllables, because when you add "ing" you end the word with three unaccented syllables, which is no good.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:40 AM
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I'd like to get this meeting calendared as soon as possible

Good god. It's a legalistic term? If this just means that it's used by the legal community, okay, but I'm not seeing how it has legal ramifications. Why wouldn't "scheduled" suffice?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:58 AM
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"Gift" as a verb encroaching from the legal world sounds plausible, but I suspect the usage had some life breathed into it as a back-formation from "re-gift," which appears to have taken off in popularity after a Seinfeld episode.

I kind of hate myself whenever I succumb to these kinds of usage pet peeves, but I do get a little stabby when I see (or, even worse, hear) nominalized "spend" and "ask", standing in for "spending" and "request".


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:03 AM
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Nominalized "spend" and "ask"?

"I have an ask?"
"What's your ask?"
"My spend on this is -blah-" ??


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:18 AM
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169: More or less; things like, "we have to watch our spend on this project", or, "I've read your memo and know you want something, but what exactly is the ask here?"

And to 167: not sure what you mean by "legalistic", but "calendar" as a very is often used especially in a courtroom context to stand in for "put $foo on the calendar." The court might calendar a motion for next Tuesday, for example. But I certainly hear (and probably use) it in more generic contexts, calendaring a meeting for a particular day, etc.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:23 AM
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170.2: Halford said in 164 that it was a legalistic term. I just wasn't seeing how it had legal ramifications, rather than just being a term used by legal types for no particular reason (since "put on the calendar" carries exactly the same sense).

Honestly, it was just making me giggle to envision a courtroom exchange like:

"And did you calendar a meeting?"

"Yes, we scheduled it for Monday 3 p.m."

"Oho! You scheduled it. But did you calendar it? If not, I don't think you have a case."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:52 AM
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"What's your ask?"

This is a useful coinage in discussions about negotiation strategy, occupying the semantic space between "request" and "demand". AFAIK it is derived from a long-standing linguistic convention in brokered markets (cf. the "bid-ask spread").

Ergo, "What's your ask?" is a sensible and useful phrase in the proper context, while "I have an ask" is always and everywhere abhorent.

"Spend" can also be defended on utilitarian grounds (it fills a particular semantic niche in the vocabulary of procurement specialists), but I'm not going to put my hand in the fire over that one.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:02 PM
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This is very important.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:41 PM
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173: there are some of us for whoo the time to move on has long since arrive.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 4:56 PM
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I'm wondering what to do with something like "I'm about to grow angry." Different sort of usage altogether, rather idiomatic? Or does it work because the anger is latent?

In that usage, "grow" has the same meaning as "become". I suppose it still indicates an increase in something, but I don't think the usage is much related to the discussion above.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 4:57 PM
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153: and bank accounts can grow.

If someone wants to giftgrow my bank account have at it!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 7:55 PM
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I'm wondering what to do with something like "I'm about to grow angry."

Wax wroth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 7:58 PM
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