Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anyone for Dessert?

I am not much for fine dining. Sure, I've had (limited) experience with it; dinner at the Capitol Grille, tea at the Four Seasons, Double Double Monster style at In-N-Out, and yes, I appreciate the food and the atmosphere, but honestly, I never saw what the big deal was. Yeah, I like presentation, but I also like food. If I have a choice between a big ass burrito in tinfoil and a skimpy, yet beautiful piece of artwork on a plate, I'm taking the burrito. Make no mistake, I appreciate the experience, and certainly realize there are times when ordering up a burnt ends sandwich to go is not appropriate, but I also have a two year old's palette. If I order steak, I'd like it cooked, and preferably cut into tiny little pieces while I watch, so it's easily manageable. Corn? Sure... can you mash it up? Maybe after, if I'm messy, I'll ask my date to lick her hand and then clean off my face with spit.

Think I'm getting carried away? Think again. Oh.... fine. I'd have her use a napkin instead. Seriously, although I am not a connoisseur of finer restaurants I can usually act the part. I know to wear nice clothes when going to Locke Ober, and I know that my napkin immediately goes on my lap. I have my father to thank for my current table ettiquette (which, if you'll allow me, can be fairly good if I'm paying attention) and the civility with which I try to present when I'm dining out. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don't. But, at least put forth the effort.

You'd be surprised how many people don't. New York Times food critic Frank Bruni spent a week as an "undercover" waiter at the East Coast Grille in Boston (a PHENOMENAL restaurant, by the way - I really have been to that one) and wrote an article about it. Much of what he went through I found fascinating, although not entirely surprising. I've known quite a few waiters/waitresses in my day and I have heard all sorts of stories regarding the bullshit that the average one has to put up with. Further, having worked in retail for four years I know the sense of entitlement many customers have by virtue of walking in the door. This in a way makes sense. They're (potentially) spending good money at a certain establishment, and they should be treated with respect. In fact, they should be treated with respect regardless. They're people. Too often though, it's not reciprocated. Yes, there's truth in the old adage that the customer is always right. Unfortunately though, the customer can also be a rigorous asshole. Too many customers (and we are ALL customers) equate good service with nothing less than a bootlicking, and that's a shame. Thankfully, I tend not to hang around with such riff-raff.

I do have several friends who hate wait staff though. At least I think they do. Any act other than the taking of an order and the serving of food is tantamount to obscene intrusion in the minds of these pals o' mine and they often let their server know - which I think is just dumb. First, it will accomplish nothing except get the server angry, and I can't think of anything more unpleasant while dining out than an angry server - particularly if your food hasn't been served yet. It's a great way to increase the probability of your getting a nice big wad of pus in place of a demiglaze. Secondly, if the service was that bad (and it probably wasn't), it should be reflected in the tip, although you should NEVER not tip your server. If you're unhappy, give them something lower than expected, but leaving nothing is equivalent to theft as far as I'm concerned.

This is all just my opinion, of course and there are exceptions to everything. Some wait staff really do suck. In fact, it's not terribly uncommon but..... er, what the hell am I trying to say? I don't know. Just read the article...... and be nicer to each other. It makes things better. Them there's my two cents.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

John Hancock's Blues

From 1996 to 2001 I worked at a classic rock radio station here in Boston. I had lots of different responsibilities, but my primary job was that of a production grunt. Basically, I created, dubbed and recorded various materials that would air on the station, whether they be studio commercials ("All Jordan's Furniture stores, including the fabulous Natick store, are open tonight until 10!'), public service announcements, or "bumps" - which are those small 30 second pieces you hear advertising the actual radio station and which are almost always played going into/out of music. When I was there, there was a fair amount of consistency to the content of the bumps. They all started out by saying the stations name and call letters and then in a down low, I mean business type of voice, "This is who we are." This was then followed by 15 seconds of music snippets from Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, The Doors, The Who, etc. After that time elapsed, the I mean business voice came back and said, "This is what we do," and then yet more snippets were played until the bump ended with the frequency, call letters and station slogan. All very simple, but the important thing to keep in mind when creating them was to carefully choose music that was representative of the station. We had to include snippets of songs that were easily recognizable and that tested well with the audience. Given that this was a classic rock station that repeated the same tunes ad nauseum this wasn't difficult, but regardless, it wouldn't do to say "This is who we are" and then follow that up with Beethoven's 4th. In a sense, you might say the bumps served as the stations signature. They let you know exactly what type of music the station played and what you could expect to hear.

Now, imagine how cool it would be if you could create a signature bump for yourself. Well, a gentleman (genius) named Jason Freeman has written a web based program called the iTunes Signature Maker allowing you to do just that. Best of all, it requires little to no effort. In fact, the program does all the work for you and in about 30 - 60 seconds. The way it works is simple, yet ingenious. Launch the program (as I said, it's all web based. No installation is necessary, although you will have to grant the java applet access to your iTunes music library by clicking yes at the prompt) and after selecting some small criteria, it will scan your library and make a music signature file for you based on what it finds. It chooses the snippets based on what tunes you play most, how high you rate them, etc... You cannot select the tracks. It will do this on its own based on the popularity of the songs in the library. Obviously, for this to work you have to have iTunes installed (and anyone who has an iPod, of course, does) as well as Java (should be installed by default, but if not your web browser will prompt you to install it once it sees it isn't there.) Other than that, you're golden.

I let the program run and it spit out a result I was absolutely thrilled with. It did a swell job with the mix, and the juxtaposition of tunes was interesting, to say the least. Upon hearing it I thought, "Perfect! This is me!! This is who I am!! This is what I do!!" Of course, all the songs in it were instantly recognizable.... to me. Almost anyone else listening to it would probably think, "Huh? What the hell? This guy's on crack." Still, have a listen and see how many of the tracks you can recognize:

Eric's iTunes Signature

(Hint: There are 17 different snippets in there and they are loosely layered - another great feature. Having somewhat obscure musical tastes won't help matters, but there's definitely
a good amount of pop. Answers at the bottom of the post.)

I'd love to hear the signatures that you guys come up with. Go ahead and throw a link up in the comments if you can host files. If you can't (and you're feeling bold) attach the file to an email and send it to eric@murkywords.com I can post it up here for all the world to see... or not. Have fun.

Signature Song List
(Note: All songs listed in the order in which they appear)

Song Title - Artist

Montana - Venus Hum
Pacific State - 808 State
Rhubarb - Aphex Twin (barely detectable)
Police On My Back - The Clash
The Worm - Jimmy McGriff
Dark & Long (Dark Train Mix) - Underworld
Brownsville Turnaround on the Tex-Mex Border - The KLF (barely detectable)
Do It Clean - Echo and the Bunnymen
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing - Garbage
Spooky - Dusty Springfield
Next Millenium - Radar
The Third Planet - Biosphere
It Could Be Sweet - Portishead (barely detectable)
Risingson - Massive Attack
Cascade - The Future Sound of London
Doin' It - LL Cool J
Nei Mari del Sud. Musica en Secca - Walter Marchetti

Monday, January 23, 2006

Wanna Do A Line?

One of these days I'll get back to the business of writing rambling and meaningless blog posts again. I'm not short on inspiration; simply time. Lots of shit going down at the moment, and plenty of it is stuff I'll hopefully be writing about in the near future. In the meantime, trust me when I say things are simply nifty... really.

So, since I'm short on time these days I figured I'd write about something which has saved me lots of it. A few posts ago, I adjusted the font size (made it larger.... obviously) and mentioned that I'd explain why in an upcoming post. That time has finally arrived. I'm sure the suspense was overwhelming. Anyway, as many of you may have guessed by my Friday link posts, I am a rather prolific web surfer. Actually, prolific is the wrong word. So, come to think of it, is surfer. Let's start again.

As many of you may have guessed by my Friday link posts, I am a rather lethargic web addict. I think I've read the Internet. Much of it sucked. But there are a few sites that I visit regularly to get my daily dose of news, pop culture, music happenings, weather reports, etc.. In days of yore, this took ages. I've never been one to bookmark my sites because they quickly get out of control and because, frankly, I've never been good at organizing them. Too often, I'd bookmark an article telling myself I'd get back to it when I had more time to read it, and then forget about it entirely. Months later, it's still in there as a bookmark even though the link goes nowhere. So, each morning, I'd go through the ritual of checking the three sites that were easy to remember (boston.com, cnn.com, espn.com) and then spend the rest of the time trying to think of what other sites I like to visit and their accompanying URL's. If I couldn't remember, I'd have to go to Google and do a search. Not terribly inconvenient, but it occurred often enough that it started to get irritating. Plus, I'd spend a lot of time going back to the pages I could remember simply to see if any new content had been posted. Yawn to the third.

Enter Bloglines, a fantastic and free service which consolidates all my favorite sites on one page and keeps them far more organized than I could ever do myself. Essentially, Bloglines is nothing more than a glorified news reader....

"OK, I'll bite. What's a news reader?"

Very good question, Farmer Dan! Let's see... what's an awful metaphor I can use to explain this? A news reader (or RSS reader if you prefer the term) is a car radio with unlimited preset buttons. Further, most websites out there broadcast a signal (an RSS feed) which your news reader can tune into and assign a preset number - so you can go back to it whenever you like without having to remember the call letters or frequency and then fiddling around the dial to get to it. The only difference between how they operate? On a real radio, you're limited to one station at a time. On a news reader, you're able to see all your feeds simultaneously, and select which one to listen to (or read.) Bloglines takes this one step further by allowing you to organize your feeds in any manner you choose, plus it keeps track of which feeds you've visited and lists the feeds with new content in bold text. So, let's say for example, I subscribe to the Salon.com feed (which I do) and I check the feed for stories on Monday morning. If I go back again on Wednesday and there is no new content on the site, Bloglines will give me nothing to read when I select it. But if there is, say, two new articles posted, Bloglines will list that feed in bold text with a (2) next to it indicating that there are two new articles that I haven't read. When I select that feed, both articles are right there and I can read them then. Further, if I like an article enough and I want to save it, I merely have to check the "Keep As New" box next to the article in question. It will be listed as new the next time I log in. So - not only is it a radio with unlimited presets. It's a radio that only plays the newest and most current songs released. If I would like it to play golden oldies however, I can do so by selecting the song and keeping it part of the repertoire. Lastly, the service is entirely web based, so not only is there nothing to install, but I can access it from any computer and it remembers my settings regardless of where I am. Now THAT'S swell.

Are there drawbacks? Of course. It's a little to quick to get rid of the information it gives you. Today I logged on and went to the ESPN feed, then without thinking clicked on the Salon feed before I was finished. When I went back to ESPN there was nothing listed because Bloglines had assumed I'd read all the new content. It's easy enough to get it back however. I just chose to have it list all the content on ESPN within the last 24 hours, but it's still kind of an annoyance to have to sift through it. Also, not all websites broadcast signals (publish feeds.) So there maybe some sites you like to visit, but because they don't publish an RSS feed, Bloglines can't add them to your list (By the way, you don't need to know the feed address in order to add it. Bloglines has a nifty search feature where you simply input the website in question and it will bring back the rss feed if it has one - the vast majority of them do.) Lastly, it doesn't include a lot of the stuff on the periphery of the site. For example, this blog has a sidebar which features links to other sites, as well as links to downloadable music files and such. Bloglines doesn't include that information. It will only show you the content of the new posts. So if you want to see if I've written anything new and read it, Bloglines is awesome. If you want to download the available MP3 file or search for a particular post, you're better off going to the site itself. Lastly, everything is kind of uniform. A site's design is not copied over along with the articles or posts, and it modifies the text a little. This is why I adjusted the font size. When I was writing in small text, Bloglines made it look miniscule. I'm sure the whopping 3 people who subscribe to the feed were pissed.

All of this is very confusing, I know, and half of the people who started reading this post have surfed elsewhere by this point. However, I wouldn't make you suffer through all of this and not provide an example of what I was talking about. That would just be cruel. So, in an effort to give you guys a better understanding, I've made my list of feeds public. This way you can see the layout, get a good idea of what web feeds you can subscribe too, etc.. You can also delve into my warped little mind and see what types of things make me tick (notice the huge amount of feeds in the Music folder. No, I don't read all of them all the time. And sorry about the Netflix queue. For whatever reason, it lists only some of the movies in my queue - not all - and it lists them in no particular order. I can't figure it out.) Special thank you's go out to my friends Chris & Sean who not only turned me on to the service, but also allowed me to wantonly steal feeds off their own public lists and add them to my own. So - here you go:

Eric's Public Bloglines Page

(Note: Because this is my public feed and not your own subscription, it won't show you only the new content. It will merely display everything in each feed that was posted within a certain time frame. Secondly, the feeds don't come all alphabetized and sorted into appropriate folders automatically. I did that myself when I originally set up the account. It makes it much easier to use if you keep it somewhat organized, but there's certainly nothing wrong with just subscribing to a bunch of feeds and then using the hunt and peck approach.)

So..... there is the long answer to a question that you never really asked. However, I know enough of you are obsessive enough web surfers that you may appreciate this gem of a web application. If any of you are using Google Reader or use the incorporated news reader through Safari, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on how they compare. I've never used them meself. And for those of you who don't care and were hoping to read more about my exploits with swear words and tarot cards? Well, look at the feed and make up your own blog entry... or whatever.... Later folks. See you in a bit.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I'm back!

Yes indeed, and here are some more stories about my ear wax.


I'm feeling much better, thank you. Still got a bit of a hack and a wheeze, but otherwise things are in good shape and functioning normally.

But hey, have you noticed that the posts have taken on a decidedly more negative tone as of late?

"I hate this phrase", "These people can't spell their name correctly - they're dumbasses", "I'm sick, and I have too much post nasal drip. Poor me", "My personality test tells me I suck."

From me to you - an apology. I'm really not this bad. It's all part of a shtick, I swear. The real man behind the curtain is a kind, caring, sensitive type who hums musicals and makes little children laugh with ease. Yeah, I can come across as a little callous at times, but it's only out of a sense of compassion and a desire to help others. Is there love missing from the blog? Absolutely, and with any luck, I'll be able to inject it into my future posts and you can all walk away feeling gooey. Let the love shine, people!!!

But not today. You see, today's all about the expletives.

I've heard it said by many a wordsmith that those who utter swear words regularly are doing nothing but showing off their lack of a vocabulary, and under most circumstances I would agree. Swear words are interjected into sentences where they clearly don't belong, and in instances way too numerous in number - often multiple times in the same sentence. We have somehow gotten into the habit of using them as normal nouns and adjectives instead of the exclamations they're supposed to be. I catch myself doing this all the time. I use the "f" word when there are so many better options - 99% of them inoffensive.

But man, I love swearing. Well, I love words in general, really, but a swear when it's used properly and to good effect? Magic. Fewer words have the ability to convey such raw emotion and feeling, and make me laugh to boot. Yeah - on the surface, some are derogatory and pretty offensive but really, they're just words. Sticks and stones, folks. Sticks and stones.

Anyway, enough with all this pretext. If you're a regular reader of this space, you'll recognize that all the writing above was merely subterfuge and that all I really have to say is that I have another neat link for you to click on. But not just any link, oh no. This one features lots of swears. In fact, it features nothing but, and all of them uttered by some of your favorite celebrities. Before we go any further, however, some words of warning:

Reasons you should not click the following link:
  • You are offended by swear words - and we're not talking about the piddly everyday kind, like shit and asshole. No, we're talking hardcore, here - like the word that will get any male's left eye gouged out by any American female around to hear its utterance.
  • You are at work and anyone whom you don't want to piss off is within earshot of the speakers.
  • There are little ones running about.
  • You are an ethereal, sentient being at one with the loving energies of the infinite universe and tuning into such low level frequency would forever damage your chi.
If none of that applies - well then, have fun. This made me laugh loudly, and at great length, which I guess says oodles about my maturity level. The idea behind it is simple. In March of 2004 BBC Channel 4 in England launched a new marketing campaign called "Twenty Questions" in which the stars of some of their more popular shows (many of which were American imports - The West Wing, ER, Scrubs, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, etc...) were filmed responding to unheard questions. Some of the questions were fairly tame, such as, "What is the one thing you would like to do before you die?" Others were a lot more raunchy, such as "When did you lose your virginity?" As it says in the link I'm about to post, this particular commercial was supposed to have originally aired in movie theatres and be seen with the release of Kill Bill: Volume 2, as they thought it would be impossible to offend those who had seen the first installment and decided to come back for the second round. It met with some disapproval however, so it was instead aired on FilmFour - which to the best of my knowledge is a pay cable channel. As you'll soon see, you won't have to think too hard to find out which question it was they asked these folks. So without further ado:

Oh no! My ears!! My virgin ears!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Speak Up Son

As you may have gathered from my previous post, I'm ill. Quite a few people I know actually are too - my father, my roommate, folks at work... I'm not sure which one of them I can blame for my current bout with the dreaded mucus monster (although the folks at work will probably end up getting pinned for it. They shall face my eternal wrath. I am the Devil, you know) but the battle rages on.

I know, I know, I know... I'm the same guy who has boasted in previous posts about how I don't often get colds due to echinacea, good hygiene, a more hearty constitution than the sickly masses and blah, blah, blah... Surely you must realize those comments were made in jest, my good fellow. Let me assure you however that this particular cold is a mere sneeze compared to those I had when I was but a lad. 'Tis nothing but an irritant.

OK - that's not entirely true. A cold is a cold but this one doesn't seem to have the same full-on force that I've had during previous visits to rhinovirus land. I credit this to two things. 1) The echinacea, of course and 2) Cold-Eeze - I can't say it enough, folks. At the first sign of a cold, head to CVS, pick some of this stuff up and follow the directions to the letter (not because you'll overdose, but because it's not as effective if you miss one.) It works wonders, I'm telling you. Fine, call me a sucker who's fallen for a placebo... all I know is that by and large my colds were much worse before I was using it.

This is not to say I'm without symptoms, however. I still feel worn out, have a scratchy throat and a phlegm filled cough (should've seen what I hacked up this morning - yummy!) No sneezing thankfully, but I do have plenty of blockage - in several orifices. That sounded really bad, actually... but really, I just mean my nose and, oddly enough, my ears. They keep popping as if I were in aeroplane or something. I keep forcefully swallowing spit and moving my jaw in an attempt to get them unpopped. That solves the problem some of the time, but I don’t think pressure is the only problem. I think excessive wax buildup is to blame as well. (By the way, ladies..... did I mention I'm available?) Yes, I think this damned cold has caused earwax to accumulate in significant enough amounts so as to obstruct large portions of my ear canals and therefore lessen my hearing considerably.

This has happened before, most noticeably when I was around 10 or 11 years old. When I complained about it to my mother, a nurse, she improvised and tried to clean it out with a Water-Pik waterjet dental flosser, resulting in a nearly punctured ear drum (which actually still hurts from time to time.) I've been hesitant to stick anything in my ears since.... not that this is a common problem, mind you. You can imagine my shock however, when reading Boing Boing today I discovered a story about a man with a similar problem (hell, it was ten times worse), and solved it using a super soaker squirt gun. The results were so impressive that he wrote about them in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. You can click the link provided for one of the most amusing medical articles I've ever read, but I thought I'd share these two quotes directly as they made me cackle:

"Midway through the second load's stream, wax particles began to run out of the ear. Just after starting the third load, a large plug of wax burst forth from the patient's ear. The 3 generations of family members present took turns admiring (or recoiling from) the specimen. The patient exclaimed in joy, 'I can hear again!'"

"We feel that prospective randomized trials are warranted to evaluate the utility of the Super Soaker Max-D 5000 in clinical settings."

So, if any of you folks out there are currently suffering from "excessive ear cerumen" *ahem* ... like myself - here's a possible solution for you. And if you feel like reading up some more on colds, what causes them, and possible solutions/placebos, here are some more links for you courtesy of Ask Yahoo and The Straight Dope:

Is it true that catching a cold has nothing to do with being out in the cold?
Why is winter the season for colds/flu's etc?
Will Vitamin C cure the common cold?
Can zinc lozenges cure the common cold?

As for me... well, I'll catch you a little later this week when I'm feeling better. Right now though, I'm off to find a squirt gun... or maybe a hammer and chisel. Toodles.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Making Sure We're On The Same Page

Hola folks. Hope you enjoy the larger typeface. I'm messing around with different fonts and font sizes purposely, for reasons I will explain in a future post. In the meantime, please feel free to leave comments indicating your approval or disgust.

Now then... I was having a discussion with several people the other day when someone actually used the phrase, "Think outside the box." The fact that we were arguing politics was bad enough (Sorry - they were arguing. I was keeping my mouth shut and trying to remember the lyrics to "Bust A Move.") Upon hearing this little vulgarism however, I nearly retched. What a horrid expression. I don't even know what "Think outside the Box" means. When did I start thinking inside the box? Is the box made of cardboard or wood? Is it square or rectangle? What kind of thinking falls outside it?

Alright - so I lied. I have SOME idea of what it means... I think. 'Be more creative in your thought process in order to achieve a more favorable result.' Fine. Couldn't you say something more along those lines? It doesn't have to be that wordy, of course, but could you please do us all a favor and stop trying to sound "hip" by quoting the latest (or last years) buzzword or catch phrase? You don't sound hip. You sound like a jackass.

Thankfully, I work in a place where these types of phrases are rarely uttered. I wasn't always so lucky though. I've worked in enough bigwiggy corporate environments to have heard some gems. Through a little research (Google), I ran across this link, which is quite simply, a master list of the um... undesirables. Take a look and see if you've ever used any.

Today, because I'm in a whiny sort of mood (as if you hadn't guessed - never underestimate the power of sleep deprivation) I've decided to "take this one step further" and list some of the expressions I most loathe. Some are business related, and some are just unfortunately burned into the very fabric of the language. Who knows? With any luck, you'll think enough of me to stop using them in my presence. If not... well, we can’t be friends. Sorry.

So, without further ado.....

(Some of these appear on the linked list. Some don't. Can't take credit for everything. I'm not that original.)

At The End Of The Day: Basically means "when things are reduced to their simplest forms" - or something like that.... What's so special about the end of the day? I find I'm at my most simple and vulnerable in the beginning, to be quite honest. What about the middle? Perhaps lunchtime or bathroom break? Things are really simple in the bathroom, you know. This phrase can be made infinitesimally worse when used in conjunction with, "when all is said and done", like so:

"But when all is said and done, at the end of the day, I have a preschooler’s command of the English language."

Terms (Concrete & No Uncertain):
Are terms not simply terms? Why are we allowed to qualify them with adjectives? Can they be "solid" or "plaster? Am I asking too many questions? The answer to all of these questions is yes. There is such a thing as "certain terms." They tend to be those that can't be manipulated or worked around. Too often it's used in situations where it shouldn't be though. Plus, it's annoying. Tough guy laying down the concrete terms. Grrrrr...

In My Heart of Hearts: So....... you have more than one, then? One heart to rule them all. One heart to find them.... Something like that?

All Things Being Equal: Again, a phrase that makes sense, but one that is often used incorrectly. When used properly it means, 'If there are no other influencing factors.'

"All things being equal, Choice A is better than Choice B."

Too often though, people use the expression when things are clearly not "equal", or when there are unlimited external factors or when the comparison makes no sense. This is especially noticeable in sports radio.

"All things being equal, baseball is a more enjoyable sport than football." Huh?

Having Said That: Yeah, we heard what you said, sir. No need to tell us you just said it.

Let's Touch Base: I run into an ex-girlfriend in the supermarket. This is someone I haven't seen in a long time - we're talking years here. We go through the usual "How Are You, What Have You Been Up To" banter (Oh nothing... just doing some grocery shopping. Heh..... Hehheh) and chat for about five minutes before we both look for some sort of way to end this awkward conversation. Finally she says, "Well... it was really good to see you. Give me a call soon! We'll touch base."

I suddenly envision the two of us in full Red Sox regalia at an empty Fenway Park. She's over by the tarp near Canvas Alley. I'm on the top step of the visitors’ dugout. In slow motion, we run towards each other. Daydream Believer from The Monkees blares through the loudspeakers as we, our eyes locked on each other, arms open wide, get closer... ever... closer. To the second white square at the infield's apex, whence we meet, I grab her hand in mine and, looking at her longingly, we both reach down and touch, touch, touch the smooth white surface. We feel the loose dirt scrape the tips of our fingers as the hidden foam underneath provides a sensual cushion. Together. Together, amidst the dirt and the grass and the grounds crew. Together, atop the brightest of bright white squares. We are together, once again. Together we have, truly, touched base.

Oh, my Lord, my Lord, my LORD! It isn't the concept I have a problem with. Closure is resolution, and people often need resolution in their lives before they can "move on." After all, they don't like to leave things "open-ended." But within the last, oh... I'd say five years or so, closure has become some sort of trendy cure-all. You hear it everywhere:

"I hope they catch the guy who robbed my house. I need closure."

"This argument has been going on for way too long. We need some sort of closure here."

"I'm glad Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees. At least now I have some sort of closure on the situation."

Absurd. In the absence of any sort of knowledgeable assessment of psychological need, people play pop-psychologist with themselves and become convinced "closure" will fix everything. And yeah, sometimes it will. Just stop telling everyone, would you please? It grates on the ears.

Oh, and speaking of closure....