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Have You Finished Your Home Work?


So, yesterday I "worked" from home. No, really. I did. I didn't go into the office. I "worked" from home. Dang, why can't I turn those quotation marks off? They make me look, I don't know, guilty or something, as if I spent the day surfing eBay and YouTube. I mean, I did, but I would have done that if I'd been at the office.

Wait, let me start again. Yesterday I telecommuted. There, that looks better. It looks official and high-tech. And if the truth is that my inspiration for, um, telecommuting came from looking out the window, seeing all the rain, and saying to myself, "Today's the perfect day for telecommuting," well that shouldn't diminish the contribution I made to saving energy and freeing up a seat on the Red Line. The wonder is that I don't do it more often.

There are reasons that I don't. My job often consists of making tons of phone calls and then waiting at my desk. I have a lot of notes at work that I don't feel like schlepping back and forth. Plus, I like being at the office. It makes me feel like a grown-up. I feel silly when I sit at home in a suit and tie. The main reason, though, is that I consider work and home separate spheres, as distinct as the sacred and the profane, the raw and the cooked. I like to keep them separate.

What about you? Do you have a job that allows you to work from home? Do you like it? Do you get as much done in one place as the other? Share your observations in the Commons Comments and take our insta-poll:

In Other News
I note that Belgian bank KBC still hasn't backed down. Is there anything Belgian that we can boycott? Suggestions appreciated. WMATA's Belgian problem came about as a result of AIG's collapse. Top execs at the insurance giant are in line to receive bonuses. According to Carol Leonig's story today, "AIG spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said yesterday that the company is desperately trying to keep top talent from leaving, and that giving them deferred compensation works as a carrot to keep them on board." To which I say: Let them go! These people didn't foresee that their own stupid actions would help bring down world finance--and have us beholden to the bloody Belgians? Forget the carrot, get the stick!

BritNews RoundUp
I peruse Fleet Street's finest so you don't have to. Researchers at Oxford University have compiled a list of the Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions. No. 10 is "It's not rocket science." No 9 is "24/7." Take a look and tell me if you agree with the rest.

A Cornwall woman divorced her husband after catching his character in the computer game Second Life having an affair. (Link may not be safe for work, depending on how your boss feels about topless avatars.) "I looked at the computer screen and could see his character having sex with a female character," said Amy Pollard, 28. "It's cheating as far as I'm concerned. But he didn't see it as a problem, and couldn't see why I was so upset." Said husband David: "Amy never did anything around the house. She just played World of Warcraft all the time."

From our science desk: Scientists have determined what makes the perfect Yorkshire pudding. According to the Times, "The Royal Society of Chemistry has decreed that a Yorkshire pudding must be no less than four inches (10cm) if it is to be worthy of the name; any less, and the dish cannot be properly said to have risen." There's a recipe too, which I'll have to try.

And for anyone who ever said to themselves, "My life is lacking. If only I were able to gaze upon the facial hair of the man who wrote 'The Origin of Species,'" your prayers have been answered. Bits of Charles Darwin's beard are going on display at London's Natural History Museum.

It's Friday, which means it's chat day. Join me at noon for my weekly online discussion. Post your questions and comments now or drop by then.

By John Kelly  |  November 14, 2008; 10:12 AM ET
 | Tags: Belgium, work  
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Next: Fall Guise: Or, a Rake's Progress


Belgian Waffles and Belgian Blocks come immediately to mind, though neither are made in Belgium. I guess we could seek out bars or package stores that stock Belgian beer and then refuse to buy said beer (but isn't that really taking this a step too far, what did that poor beer ever do to us). I say no more holidays in Brugges and no more quick trips to Brussels to view the European Union in action (or is it the European Union inaction?)

Posted by: mfromalexva | November 14, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I would much rather stay late at the office to finish up work than take it home to finish. I really like having the two places separate.

Oh and "fairly unique" bugs me to no end. Something is either unique or not, there is no in between. Keep those Fleet St hooligans in line!

Posted by: TerpPhysicist | November 14, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I hate it when people say "I could care less." If you "could" care less, it means that you care to some degree. The correct expression is "I couldn't care less." Some people argue that the incorrect version is somehow "ironic," but the original version was already sarcastic enough. People who use the wrong one are just lazy or ignorant.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 14, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if Belgium was asking ME for the money. I'm not giving up chocolate.

Posted by: capecodner424 | November 14, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

This is totally off the subject, but Mr. Kelly could really use a new sofa.

Posted by: TerryMcT | November 14, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

From today's chat:

"Butt naked?!?!?: It's 'buck naked' people!!

"John Kelly: Perhaps, but: Why? What is it about bucks that calls to mind nakedness? More study is needed."

The phrase "buck naked" originated in regard to slavery. A "buck" once meant a dandy, a pretentious show-off, and people sarcastically referred to male Negroes as "bucks" in the context of slavery. Male slaves often toiled naked in the fields, hence the phrase "buck naked." Thus, "butt naked" might well be better. Or, for a word with a nice ring to it that's not offensive, use the British phrase "starkers."

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

After initially cringing, I have decided that "butt naked" is actually more accurate and descriptive. It focuses the listener on the subject condition. So to speak.

Posted by: reddragon1 | November 14, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

In current general understanding, "buck" might be more acceptable than "butt," because I believe that "buck naked" has come to mean completely without clothes and no longer has any racial connotation. I don't know what "butt naked" means. Since the former is all but an archaic usage today anyway and the latter seems meaningless (and "starkers" would probably sound awfully pretentious or precious coming from most of us), how about starting a new phrase: "naked as a Belgian banker."

Posted by: mfromalexva | November 14, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Over-use can certainly drain the life even out of expressions which were once vivid.
After reading Sophocles' "Oedipus the King" one would no longer use "at the end of the day" mindlessly. That phrase seemed ubiquitous during my years in England.

Posted by: cktirumalai | November 15, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Ban Belgian beer, chocolates (that means you, Godiva), autos, textiles, steel, and art.

I wish I could work from home but the Park Service won't even let me work a 5/4/9 work shift.

Posted by: SHELLY1234 | November 17, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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