Just Some Pet Peeves. No Big Whoop.

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Ever notice how some words seemingly all of a sudden become buzz words, and everyone is using them? For example, “utilize” was a perfectly respectable word years ago, but in the late 1980s or thereabouts, it suddenly became the ubiquitous replacement for the less flashy “use.” You couldn’t just “use” a tool or a software program, no, you had to utilize it.

The same thing happens, now and then, with pronunciations of words. I remember when CNN led the charge of showing how enlightned, sophisticated people pronounce “negotiate.” The traditional ne-go-shee-ate didn’t cut it anymore. Now, it was ne-go-see-ate. Nego-see-ations replaced negotiations, etc.

Well, I was just sitting here, apropos of nothing, thinking about the latest crop of buzzwords, catchphrases, and whatnot that I don’t like and try like heck not to use, just out of principle. Here are some that come to mind. I’ll add more as I think of them:

Having said that . . .
It seems that very few people these days can string two sentences together, in print or verbally, and not use this one. They seem to forget that
everything you say after the first thing you say includes the reality that you said what came before.

If you will . . . is another broadcast news-driven catchphrase that has crept into the popular discourse where it has no place. I hear television and radio reporters sprinkle “if you will” so liberally into their reports, that I’m convinced that it’s just another “ummm” or “ahhh” to fill space between thoughts. It’s the equivalent of saying “as it were.” Just imagine how quickly annoying it would become if everyone on TV, and then everyone else, started saying things like, “Well, my opinion about this, as it were, is that we need to rebuild New Orleans, as it were, as quickly as possible.” Our heads would all explode. Ditto for this particular catchphrase. It’s lame and unnecessary, if you will. 

Don’t even go there . . . or its abbreviated version: “don’t go there.” Everyone uses this stilted phrase, and I mean everyone. It’s cute when a Southern-type person employs this bit of homespun charm, but when anyone else trys it on, it just doesn’t work (think Robert Bork’s beard or Richard Reich’s political philosophy). It’s about as lame as “You go, girl!” and for the exact same reasons.

You go, girl! . . . See above. This is always and everywhere lame. No exceptions.

Dude . . . I can understand why my 11 year old son Theodore and his cronies use “dude” hundreds of times a day in their 11-year old discourse. No problem. When I was his age, we employed “boss” and “tough,” and other slangisms with abandon. But the difference is, our parents didn’t.Those words belonged to the world of adolescents. Everyone understood that, and any adult who, back then, made a habit of saying things like, “Hey, Herb, that new sports jacket you have on today is really boss,” would be unlikely to succeed in the world of adults. The problem with “dude” today, as with “cool,” is that although these are completely good and useful words for kids, teens and even to some extent young adults, they sound lame coming out of the mouth of a 50 year old. Any 50 year old uttering phrases such as, “Dude! How cool is that!” when the office’s new color copier has been installed is just a middle-aged hipster wannabe. Pretty much like the 50 year old woman who dresses like she’s 17. It doesn’t work.

How cool is that! . . . see above.

Sort of . . . This one, I am pretty sure, filtered into parts of the American mainstream via highbrow British actors and celebrities who appear on TV here in the States. I’m not talking about “Benny Hill” or “The Office” (the latter show I really, really enjoyed). I’m talking about the Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson types — beautiful British people with good teeth and nice clothing — musing about this or that while being interviewed by Larry King or Charlie Rose. “Well, Larry, I got this sort of inspiration for my role as I was watching this sort of BBC documentary of . . . .” Whatever. When I hear U.S. celebrities like Tom Cruise or Katie Couric affect this Britishism, I laugh. It’s okay when Emma Thompson says it, but it’s lame in the extreme when coming out of pretentious American mouths.

He (she) just doesn’t get it. . . . This is code for “he (she) just doesn’t agree with me.” And it seems the biggest offenders with this catch phrase tend to be political commentators. The claim that so-and-so just doesn’t get it, in addition to being an insult to so-and-so’s intelligence, also comes across as a smug reassurance to the reader that, although so-and-so is too dense to get it, I, on the other hand, (and here the blogger’s nose rises an inch or two higher) am sufficiently enlightened and sophisticated to ‘get it.'” And if you disagree with me, well, then you just don’t get it. Got it? :)


On the Phenomenon of False Compassion

November 25, 2008 by  
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And so, this is Christmas

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Our culture, commandeered as it has been by the vehement forces of consumerism and secularism, has robbed us of the true meaning of this great feast, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us.

Makes me sad.


Follow You, Follow Me

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This is one of my all-time favorite songs. It evokes in me so many good, happy, Southern-California memories, each time I hear it. “Follow You Follow Me,” by Genesis is practically the soundtrack of my life in 1979-1980, as I fell in love with, wooed, and then married, my lovely Nancy.


Enjoy . . .

Oh Good Lord, No

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

One can just imagine the gloating among all those Catholics of a certain variety as our new Líder Maximo selects a Catholic — Tom Daschle, who countenances abortion with weasle words — for his cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services. Now comes word from the Jesuit publication America — read into that what you will — that some voices on the Catholic left are clamoring for another kind of appointment. And I wouldn’t be surprised if their wish comes to pass. 


In another display of smug condescencion from the far-left political fringe, someone named Michael Sean Winters elbows his way into the discussion with asseverations (emphasis added) such as these in his article “Kmiec for Vatican Ambassador”

Obama deserves his own person at the post and, in the event, there is a perfect candidate: Professor Douglas Kmiec. . . .  Despite his Republican credentials, Kmiec endorsed Barack Obama this year and penned a thoughtful book, ‘Can a Catholic Support Him? The question is ridiculous to most ears and, in the event, most Catholics did support him. But for some extremists on the right, there was a firm conviction that no Catholic could vote for Obama. A Dominican priest even denied Kmiec communion at a Mass in May. (The priest was later reprimanded by Cardinal Mahoney.) [N.B. see Ezekiel 34:1-10] Longtime associates of Professor Kmiec denounced him, often in ways that lacked all charity, suggesting bad logic or bad motives or both. There is no better way to answer those who argued that no Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience than to see the man who wrote the book (literally!) defending the proposition that Catholics can and should vote for Obama being received in the Sala Clementina by Pope Benedict XVI! . . . In truth, Kmiec’s pro-life credentials, despite some carping from the far right political fringe, are impeccable. . .” et cetrera, et cetera, et cetera.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Winters and those who agree with him on this issue enjoy their day in the sun. I really don’t think the nice weather is going to last all that long.  

A Psychological Analysis of Surprised by Truth

November 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


This is interesting. Although the book has been reviewed all over the place in the last 14 years, since it came out, this is the first review to consider it from a psychological perspective. Those of you who’ve read it may find this helpful.


“Surprised by Conversion: The Patterns of Faith”
By Peter E. Martin 

Yowza

November 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I heard about this meteorite in Canada a few days ago, but I had no idea it was this spectacular.

Back From California

November 24, 2008 by  
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I’m back from a great, if brief, visit to my homeland, a.k.a Southern California. I was speaking at San Secondo D’Asti Parish in Ontario,  but I had enough time on Friday to make a swing through some of my old haunts and was able to have lunch and visit with my mom and dad. It was really good to see them, but my dad’s health is precarious, which makes me sad. And he’s kind of depressed about it, which makes him sad. So, please pray for them that God will strengthen and encourage them both during this time in their life together (more than 50 happy years of marriage) that’s proving to be difficult health-wise, and not the peaceful “golden years” they had anticipated. God is good, and he will provide.


The seminar went well, and I was delighted to see several old friends in the audience. That’s one of the excellent fringe benefits of traveling the country giving talks on Catholic themes. Having these kinds of opportunities to see far-flung friends is always a treat.

I had some odd and interesting experiences while flying to and fro, which I will recount for you in another post. For now, though, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who keep me in your prayers.  

Masters of Persuasion

November 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This is a curious little experiment on how susceptible we are to subliminal suggestions in advertising. The concept of “hidden messages” in ads isn’t new, but this video shows how it works from an angle I have not seen before.


Update: The embedded link doesn’t seem to work anymore, so try this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQjr1YL0zg

 

Señor Quintero Asks a Rhetorical Question

November 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

“Are Cardinal Stafford and Cardinal Mahony in the same Church?” He is prompted to ask after hearing Cardinal Stafford’s recent eyebrow-raising remarks (with which I totally concur) that our newly elected Líder Maximo is “aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic” in his implacable extremism in promoting abortion.


Watch the video and then check Quintero’s blog to see how he juxtaposes Cardinal Stafford’s message with Cardinal Mahony’s quite different message to our new Jéfe. I’d say there’s quite a difference, indeed. What do you think?

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