Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Some Things That Annoy Me

* Croutons made out of raisin bread

* Self-flushing toilets

* People who answer questions with questions, like answering, “May I have your fax number, please?” with “What is your account number?”

* Automated phone systems that make you enter your account number before connecting you to an operator whose first question will be, “What is your account number?”

* Statements punctuated as questions. (“Guess what” is not a question.)

* Questions punctuated as statements. (“Can you believe it” is a question. Technically, you can punctuate it as a statement or an exclamation if that’s how you meant it. But I wish you wouldn’t.)

* Popular wisdom about nutrition – everything from “nuts and avocados are bad for you” to “Subway is good for you.”

*People who think that enjoying overcast or rainy days makes you deep

* Healthcare reporting that criticizes insurance companies for not covering the cost of an $800-a-month prescription without questioning why the hell any prescription costs $800 a month. (Ditto that for one-week hospital stays that cost $30,000.)

* Having to admit that, a week and a half after my last blog entry, I couldn’t come up with a more relevant entry idea than this


--Deb said...

Oh, I don't know. If you've ever have a child run up to you and say, "Guess what?" and then stand there, waiting for you to guess, it i kind of a question.

Or, being a child, I suppose it could be a command, like "Look at me," huh?


June Casagrande said...

You're right. And that's why I didn't come out and say it's wrong. It's not really wrong. It just violates my flimsy and capricious sense of order.

In my mind, a statement is only a question when the intonation becomes very high at the end. "That man was a WOMAN?"

But "guess what" is usually intoned more like a statement. That is, the "what" in "guess what" isn't delivered with the high pitch of "woman" in "that man was a woman?"

But you're with me on the crouton thing, right?

Temperance said...

Croutons need to be free of fruit. It’s that simple.

I agree with your stance against self-flushing toilets. I would add automatic faucets to your list. It’s a fine concept, but I always have to make spastic hand movements to trigger the water.

Unknown said...

The account number thing drives me nuts. I always say, what the hell I just typed it in. "This is to verify, " they say.

Nice going with the blog by the way. I found it hard to keep myself interested in writing my own blog.

Funny when you're a reporter you've got an issue to write about, but with a blog you're stuck with your thoughts...which oftentimes go nowhere on their own.

June Casagrande said...


Thanks for backing me up on the crouton thing. When I told that to my fiance he thought I was crazy -- that there's no such thing as a crouton made of raisin bread. But then, he only lunches in finer establishments -- places that shield their clientele from the horror combination of cinnamon and blue cheese.


Even harder for a reporter who wants to blog: You're not supposed to HAVE your own thoughts. To this day I struggle with my reporter training that says: Your opinions must be snuffed out and must always stay out of print. A lot of the stuff in my books is kind of like an exercise in overcoming that. In the next book, I have a little rant about so-called media bias that I really struggled to write.

Reporter's Stockholm syndrome?

Debbie Diesen said...

I've always wondered about the "Guess what" punctuation issue; but now that you've pointed it out as being a statement, that does make sense, and I rue all the question marks I've added to it over the years.

My son (and perhaps all kids his age) uses "Guess what" in conversation so much that I don't even hear it anymore. It's become equivalent to "um."

For your list of annoyances I would also suggest adding magazine subscription renewal notices that come approximately eight months before the end of your one-year subscription.

June Casagrande said...


That's a good one. We spend so much of our lives fending off sales pitches and marketing targeted right at us, that this kind of thing is exhausting. Like, "You JUST got my money. Must you start hounding me for more before you've even delivered what I bought?" Painful.

But almost as annoying to me are magazines themselves. For some reason I can't explain or justify, I despise magazines.

It's not even a rational thing. It's a visceral one. Something about the texture of the pages and the intensity of the pictures/graphics and the way the information is laid out -- it creates this really strange revulsion in me. Consumer magazines more so than news magazines. But even the highbrow ones have this effect on me to some degree. I try to read them, but I don't even really like to touch them. Weird, huh?


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