Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hair clogs...

This morning started off with me utilizing a hanger to remove a large hair clog from the bathroom sink.  Pay close attention.  I used the word "utilize".  I rarely do that because most of the time, the word "use" will suffice when I'm trying to express myself.  But today, I truly did utilize a wire hanger for a job it was not originally intended to do.  Hangers are meant to hang clothes, not dislodge hair clogs.

I notice a lot of people will employ the word "utilize" when they really could just use the word "use".  Apparently, words with three or more syllables gives some folks the impression that a writer is more intelligent and educated than they might actually be.  To some people, a multi-syllabic fifty cent word sounds loftier and more impressive than a lowly one syllable word.  To me, it also sounds like you're trying too hard to sound substantial.

Frankly, I am a big proponent of the word "use" over "utilize".  Why?  Because "use" is more useful and can be used correctly in most situations.  You can use the word "use" for almost anything.  You can use a frying pan to cook your breakfast or you could use it to beat a home intruder over the head.  However, you would not necessarily be correct if you utilized a frying pan to cook breakfast.  A frying pan is meant for cooking, you see.  It is not meant to brain people who break into your home.  Technically, the word utilize is properly employed when one makes use of something in a way other than its intended purpose.  You use a knife for cutting stuff.  You utilize a knife to pry open a can of paint.  

While it's generally accepted that the word "utilize" is now perfectly acceptable as a synonym to the word "use", the question is, what is the motive for employing a three syllable word when a one syllable word works just fine?  I find that when a writer overuses "utilize", it's usually when he or she hopes to sound smarter.  I also think that's a strategy that often backfires.

I usually cringe when I see someone using the word "utilize" when they could be using "use".  But then, most people don't care if I'm cringing and I'm not so arrogant to think they would care about that.  Chances are, though, that if it makes me cringe, it probably makes more important people cringe, too.  Copy editors are among the first to get annoyed by the misuse of the word utilize.

Anyway... just thought I'd share that with you today.  I'm trying not to write too much trash this morning.  I think I was inspired to check the sink drain because I got up in the middle of the night to pee and noticed the smell of dog food.  Not long ago, Arran threw up and I rinsed out the corner of one of the dog beds in the bathroom sink.  When I noticed that lingering smell today, it occurred to me that some of the vomit I rinsed must not have gone down all the way down the drain.  Thanks to the wire hanger, I was able to fix the problem with little trouble.

I spent most of yesterday in a bit of a daze, not feeling very well and thinking about the future.  And then I got the wild idea to look up my former neighbor.  I hadn't thought of him in years.  I probably shouldn't be surprised that he's become a blogging guru who produces a lot of junk posts that say and mean little.  He always struck me as the type of person who was looking for an easy way to get over.  The one thing Shithead has going for him is that he's somewhat handsome and looks okay on camera.  However, having met the man in person and experienced his lack of consideration for other people, I don't have a lot of esteem for him.

It's not that I think blogging for cash is easy.  It's just that I don't think he's blogging because he enjoys writing or really wants to engage people.  I think he's putting a lot of crap out there for the masses-- click bait, which can potentially translate into advertising revenue.  I have my doubts that his venture is very successful, but what do I know?  Besides, it's not my business.  Sometimes, I let my curiosity take me to places I shouldn't go.

On the other hand, sometimes curiosity can lead to good things.  On Friday night, Bill and I were at a restaurant and we started talking about an investment we've been contributing to for the last few years.  I initially invested in it because it didn't require a large initial contribution.  Until recently, we enjoyed some modest dividends and had made a little money.  Lately, stocks have sucked, though, and we were losing money.  We're not talking a lot of money-- it was about $300-- but not long ago, that $300 would have been substantial money for us.  I had been thinking about diversifying our portfolio for some time, but I wanted to wait until we had a little more money invested in the first venture.

Sunday afternoon, Bill and I decided to take $3000 out of the first investment and put it in a new mutual fund.  We set up the account so that we make regular contributions on a monthly basis.  Less than 48 hours later, Google reorganized, causing the new fund to go up in value.  We have already made back some of the money we lost with the first investment we had going.  Of course, stocks can always go back down and probably will, but I get a little thrill from the knowledge that curiosity and taking a risk has led to an increase in funds.

By the way... I know very little about investing and/or the stock market.  I've just been somewhat lucky so far.

This post is a whole lot of rambling.  I guess I better stop with the bullshit and get on with the day's business.

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