June 21st, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Softball

Most years, there's only one softball team that I follow in the summer. The Centre for Medieval Studies always has a team, the Papal Bulls. They don't always win, but there're a lot of them, and they're a great deal of fun to cheer for, in part because so many other hangers-on show up too to cheer along with.

Two years ago or thereabouts, my own department got its act together and fielded a team: the Fig Newtonians. They had just a few more than necessary for the team, which was good for rotation, but lousy for having a cheering section. Really, this means they need a cheering section more than the Papal Bulls do. This year, they have a team together, and there are lots more people who look like they'll be involved than last time.

But four years ago, following summer softball with the Papal Bulls was what pulled me into Centre social circles. I have a much longer history, therefore, of attending their games since they've been around more often for me to cheer for. Either way, I'm not going to play, and either way, there's be pub nights afterwards. Either way, dissertation writing takes priority, but it sure is an easy way to go see my friends. Some of the games will be played at the same time. The more games I go to, the more of my time they'll suck up.

And this summer, I have two teams to cheer for.
Fishy Circumstances

Pet peeve of the moment

The phrase "vast majority" is overused to the point of cliché. I'm tired of reading it in essays and posts and newspaper articles. It's everywhere. I don't mind clichés per se, but I do mind their thoughtless sprinkling through texts which are clearly not using them in any way other than the most literal.

There are all sorts of useful phrases and adjectives you can use instead of this phrase. There's "most" and simply "the majority". You might consider "nearly all" or "Almost without exception". To leave ambivalence around the edges, try "many", "quite a few", or "a large proportion".

If the vast majority of those who use "the vast majority" the vast majority of the time stopped it, these essays and posts and newspaper articles would be more enjoyable for me.