Phillip's Personal Pet Peeves (a work in progress)
I'm not saying people really aren't busy (I'm sure they are)... but it seems to me that saying "I've been so busy..." in an attempt to boast is backwards. First, as any good slacker or hedonist knows, the goal in life is to have as much free time as possible. Second, if you really are so busy that you can't manage to do other stuff, then you must be really bad at planning. Either that or you're probably taking on more than you can handle and as a result failing to do a good job at it. When someone asks "what have you been up to?" don't say "I've been so busy"... instead say "I've been taking it easy, spending hours sitting around, etc.".
When someone takes the time to write a personal email, the least you can do is acknowledge it. I've probably forgotten to email back a few people... but I really try. Take the occasional reader of my books who writes an email to me. Sometimes they'll ask for something beyond the call of duty (like for me to program something for free)... but even then I try to reply. When you don't get a reply from someone it's not entirely unreasonable to consider the implied answer to be "get lost".
Chessboards are often set up wrong (turned 90 degrees) in displays and pictures. I don't even bother checking to see if the Queen is on a square that matches her color. Surprisingly, more than 50% of chessboards I see fail to position the white square at the bottom right corner (from a player view):
Calling the sky color blue.
I suppose sometimes it is actually blue... but just for the record:
Sloppy email. Please tell me who ever said that capitalization is unnecessary in email. It seems to me that written communication is already difficult enough. Why risk your message's meaning by skipping basic rules? I'm not sure of the cause--but quality written communication seems to be on the decline... right when it should be increasing!
There (e.g. "right over there")
Their (e.g. "for the those who can't spell...it's their own fault")
They're (same as "they are" as in "they're not listening to me")
Your (possessive: "your own fault")
You're (same as "you are": "you're all through dude")
Its (while you might expect an apostrophe-s for possessive, this one doesn't)
It's (means: it is)
1980s (for the decade... therefore: '80s is correct but 80's is most likely incorrect)
accommodate (two cs and two ms)
separate (there's "a rat" in separate)
i.e. can be translated: "that is".
e.g. can be translated "for example"
Check out: Elements of Style
It's sort of hard to explain this one. If you intentionally litter you're probably incapable of understanding. Just a tip: if you brought it to where you are, you can bring it to a trash receptacle. Consider placing your trash in your pocket until you find a trashcan. Question of the times: why would you place a flag on your car window but throw trash out the window?
Referring to the fallacy "Begging the question" incorrectly.
The meaning of this fallacy is specific. It's when you try to make an argument that is based on the assumption that some other question has been satisfied. For example, if I said "Because no one understands math, students should study math using slide rules". My main argument is that slide rules should be used... but I'm "begging the question" as to whether or not it's true that "no one understands math". It's a real fallacy... it does come up once in a while... but what bugs me is how people use it incorrectly! For example, "the price of movie tickets is so high it begs the question--what are we paying for?". That's just plain wrong. In these cases just say: "it raises the question".
There's an interestingly titled book (Really Bad Powerpoint) which I haven't read... but my gripe with Powerpoint has less to do with the content of presentations and more on the fact those making the presentations. The tool gives anyone the power to make a presentation. While this may sound empowering and a good thing it leads to problems. Specifically, I believe you should concentrate at the thing you're good at. Many business people are perfectly talented in their main gig. That doesn't mean they're graphics professionals... let alone motion graphics people. My point: stick to your main thing and let professionals do help you with presentations. Just because there's a button labeled "make document interactive web page and slide show" doesn't mean you should press it.
On the one hand, it's a personal choice with which I shouldn't complain. However, there are times I get a headache from perfume. Apparently some people get sick and have difficulty breathing.
Touching my monitor screen.
It's not that I'm a neatnik... but you don't have to touch to point.
... and a few that first appeared in my newsletter:
Honking your horn rather than getting up and walking to the door-it seems so lazy and inconsiderate
Loud cell phone talkers who think their voice volume needs to correspond to the distance to the person they're talking to.
Over-sensitivity to cell phone rings-sure, it can be annoying when a phone rings... but get used to it, it's part our world now. (Remember the travesty alarms on electronic watches caused when they first came out?)
Using the fallacy of discounting one argument because there's a more important problem. For example, saying people are being robbed so therefore police shouldn't waste time with jaywalkers.
Self-righteous environmentalists who feel compelled to tell me all the ways I can improve. All I ask is to wait until you've taken every measure to live a pure life before figuring out how I'm supposed to live.
Hypocrites who maintain pet-peeve lists.