Sunday, May 22, 2005

Don't Boil the Ocean, Woot for Vocabularians

I love language. I love to paint with it. Play with it. I especially like making it up as I go along. So it is with absolute delight that I give you a choice selection of new words and idioms not currently found in the dictionary, but maybe well on their way.

For instance, you've heard 50 is the new 40; but have you heard that good enough is the new perfect? I'd always thought good enough wasn't; but since I am perfectly copacetic with holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time, I've also thought done is better than perfect. The new perfect refers to people who write elegant computer code when plain vanilla would work just fine, but I think it has legs. Et tu?

Also heard, the MFA is the new MBA. I'm all over that one.

The geek gods are an incredibly creative bunch. Jeffrey Veen channels Susan Price with these bon mots:

  • Boil the Ocean (v) Trying to solve too many problems with an overambitious project, typically resulting in a complete failure.
  • SME (n) Acronym for "Subject Matter Expert." Pronounced "smee".
  • S2BU (n) Acronym for "Sucks To Be You." In this context, a page with an error message but with a multitude of inherent possibilities.

And, from the linguists at Merriam-Webster comes the following:

  • vocabularians (n) persons who make up new words
  • lasterday (n) refers to any day before today
  • squinched (v) action required to fit something into a space that is slightly too small
  • flusterpated (adj) a state of being flustered that's so intense, one's actions and words become bound up
  • ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous
  • confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time
  • woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement
  • chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang with friends
  • cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway
  • gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."
  • phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number.
  • slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy (As an aside, when my daughter was little, she did a science project to prove Pantene Pro V would make cat hair more silkery than Suave. I only mention it because I think it's etymologically related to slickery.)
  • snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed

I suppose I am an aspiring SME vocabularian who woots for new words.

Pithify or perish

Oh, okay. Geez. Now I get it. Facts don't matter anymore at all. It's what can be told quickly, concisely, and re-told quickly and concisely. I get e-mails from folks proudly calling themselves members of the "Reality Based Community." But they really aren't getting it, are they?

Reality has a way of being messy and murky. Not the brand mantra's Adjective-Noun-Noun. That's why facts don't matter anymore. It's because they're difficult to tell. Now, if you boil those facts down into an essence, then we're talking turkey.

Help me out here. Authenticity? Doesn't that have something to do with being real? I'm not being snide here. Really. Is public discourse just so much blah-blah-blah unless it can be summed up in a few pithy statements that can be easily remembered and retold? I think you're right.

I am ashamed for all of us.

Going out on a limb

How often, as a creative professional, have you gone out on a limb only to have it break off?

How often, as a creative professional, have you gone out on a limb and have it not break off?

How often, as a creative professional have you gone out on a limb?

It doesn't take a genius to kill a good idea.