Little Things That Irk Me

051a7f4322c133732035d16f87f39445c8c92“Irk”: Great word.

When I was at university I was considered laid back, easy going, accepting, slow to warm up, just a real nice guy. During several varieties of psychological tests (a common way for starving students to make a few bucks) I was calm, never got rattled, avoided panic and often ending up winning the “game.” Then  went to grad school and became much more confrontational.

Through the years I have encountered little things that, if only momentarily, shatter my calm acceptance. In popular parlance I believe these would be considered “pet peeves.” Unfortunately, the term “pet peeve” is possibly my biggest “pet peeve.” A peeve is an annoyance, something that irks someone, but the use of the word “pet” to (presumably) denote something personal, possibly uniquely held, I balk.

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Focus

download.jpgI have long been aware that one’s ability to read books at a steady pace and to get ‘er done is not dependent on the speed of your eye movement or the amount of text you can take in at one time but rather is is directly related to how well you can focus your concentration. Naturally your comprehension and memory are also enhances by staying focused.

I was a senior in High School when I began to experiment with various methods of improving my reading speed. They even had a reading lab where you could pace your reading by having a mechanical shutter close-off sentences at controllable speeds. Everyone cheated, of course, the winner being the person attesting to the fastest reading speed. If I recall, there was a rumor that someone had reached supersonic speeds … but that was just for a paragraph or two that the machine presented in a limited fashion.

I remember trying to calculate the speed at which the pages would have to be turned in order to make such astronomical speeds possible.

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Beware of Republicans Bearing Gifts

images.jpgElayne Boosler once described the near-empty interior of her refrigerator noting the foods that were possibly beyond their freshness date. She asked one pointed question: How can you tell if yoghurt is spoiled?

Today I read an even more head-scratching comment: How can you tell if the Federal government is sh*t down?

In both cases, I’m stumped. But if I had to guess I would say that the yoghurt was okay but the Federal government was definitely spoiled.

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Lady Macbeth Cocks an Eyebrow

This comment by Marianne Schaefer Trench posted at The Daily Beast caught my eye and forced me to arch a curious eyebrow of my own. 🤨

The Raised Eyebrow Is the Lazy Writer’s Favorite Cliché

You rarely see a raised eyebrow in real life, but in fiction they are rising, knitting, and furrowing everywhere, or at least if you’re looking at truly crappy novels and stories.

images.jpgI have developed a severe allergy to hyperactive eyebrows in fiction. They have become writers’ go-to lazy shorthand for pretty much any emotion. In novels, eyebrows do all kinds of things. Most commonly they “rise.” Sometimes a single eyebrow rises all by itself, but often both eyebrows rise in unison. Slightly more creative writers make the eyebrows “knit” or “furrow” or “hike” or “tighten” or “pinch” or “wiggle”—or any other verb that might describe a mobile eyebrow (or two).

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