Notes from a LiteraryVixen

Snarks and Randoms for Your Enlightenment.

What’s the Buzz? Tell Me, What’s-a Happening? February 19, 2008

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 2:18 pm
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People, as a general rule, are pretty dumb.

Evidence: Buzzwords. These, of course, are trendy words/phrases that appear in the cultural lexicon and are glommed onto by media, motivational speakers, advertisers and the glib. Wikipedia states “Buzzwords are typically intended to impress one’s audience with the pretense of knowledge. For this reason, they are often universal. They typically make sentences difficult to dispute, on account of their cloudy meaning” Famous past examples include: “thinking outside the box”, ironic (thank you, Alanis Morissette), paradigm, synergy, iAnything, e-Anything, next-gen, etc.

Now, what bothers me is NOT that these words/phrases become popular, but the fact that people use them incorrectly . . . and sometimes to blatantly lie.

Case in point: Whole Grain – the latest buzzword to hit food marketing. Fruit Loops are now, apparently, whole grain. You can also get “whole grain” white bread, any oxymoron if I ever heard one. Now, I’m all for sneaking nutrition into foods, but seriously, bleached wheat flour is pretty much WHITE flour. And highly processed grain is certainly no better for you. People are kidding themselves if they think that Froot Loops, even if “made with real fruit juice!” is ever going to be a good alternative to, say, Kashi . . . or another “adult” cereal of your choice.

But cereal is not the reason behind this tirade. Popcorn, in fact, is. While fueling up with some afternoon caffeine from the vending machine at work, I noticed that the microwave popcorn sacks for sale were emblazoned with a little starburst containing the words “Made with Whole Grains!”.

Seriously? Do people not know that, by nature, popcorn IS a whole grain? That the little hull that, when popped, gets irritatingly stuck in your teeth is basically what constitutes it being “whole”? Come on, now.

Besides, this is just another prime example of the distraction factor of buzzwords. People see phrases like “whole grain” dangled before them and they automatically think “healthy!” But of course, perhaps the artificial butter and real sodium ATOP the whole grain is really what they should not be distracted from.

Buzzwords are essentially the linguistic equivalent of dangling something shiny in front of a baby. It’s our own fault for falling for it, really.


Get a (Vice) Grip. February 7, 2008

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 1:10 pm

NOTE: Yes, I am aware that it’s VISE grip, when speaking of the tool. And if you were going to point that out to me . . . you may be a tool yourself.

Anyhow, on to today’s topic.

A vice is defined as a moral weakness or character flaw; some habit recognized as “bad” that is rather unshakeable.

Everyone has vices. Some people smoke. Some people bite their nails. Some people gamble. Some people eat junk food. Some people drink too much. Some people watch reality television.

I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to have a vice. My problem, however, is that I have too many of them. And that’s just inviting weakness into my life, which I definitely don’t have enough time for.

I procrastinate, I smoke, I eat unhealthy things, I don’t fold my laundry right when it comes out of the dryer, I choose extra sleep rather than being fully prepared for the day, I watch too much television, I drink, I don’t keep in touch with family and friends who are far away, I close myself off emotionally, I . . . well, you get the point.

This is my year to tackle my vices. Of all people, I know how to recognize and confront issues – I should certainly be able to handle these trivial matters.  

Already, I have a three-step plan to quit smoking by my birthday (April 1). I folded every piece of laundry in the house last night. I don’t keep processed foods in the house. And TV is off by 11:00 p.m. on weeknights, to facilitate good sleep, starting this week. 2008 will be my year to take charge and kick my vices to the curb!

But, of course, my favorite and longest-standing vice is being a procrastinator.


Maybe 2009 sounds better?