The Wordslinger – Blog

A Revelation About Disclaimers

I’m starting to feel that, in a perfect world, not only would every blog have a disclaimer but every site would have one as well. I’m not talking about the sort of typically cowardly disclaimer that often goes along with businesses, about not being responsible for anything under the sun, and generally granting them the power to do whatever they want, whenever the want. Those are no fun. I’m talking about genuinely useful disclaimers.

I suppose that the disclaimer I put on this site partially falls under that categorization; however, being that I’m not directly selling anything through this blog, it is not as if I have to cover my tail out of fear from all sorts of future indemnities and other lawsuits that would arise out of misuse of my product.

I wrote that disclaimer to be polite because not everyone is an open minded as they could be and as understanding of other people’s opinions as they should be.

I also wrote it because I realized that in the event that someone stumbles upon this site and has absolutely no idea what’s going on, then at least they could have an idea of what this is all about, thanks to my handy disclaimer.

That’s what got me thinking.

Wouldn’t it be nice (Brian Wilson) if every site out there had an equally informative, truthful and marginally inoffensive disclaimer as the one I wrote for my blog? I feel that this would be especially useful in this day and age considering that any jackass with a mythical university degree and a laptop can sit in a coffee shop and write articles on Wikipedia which will then be read by countless undergrads and unintentionally used to humourous extent in their term papers.

Having a very readable, and truthful, disclaimer would cause untold amounts of good in the world. Just imagine:

After having lived under a rock for the past 15 years, you emerge from your subterranean lair and by some cosmic misfortune the first website you visit to find out what you missed happens to be Fox News. Reading article after article you discover that the world is a terrible place, everyone is attacking North American values, Hitler has re-incarnated himself in the form of a Black President and God hates Democrats. You’re just about to return to your rock home for another 15 years when you notice the big, red button that says “Disclaimer” and you click on it. Immediately you realize that life outside of the cave isn’t so bad, because Fox News isn’t actually a news group that gives you factual news, but wildly distorted medieval right-wing evangelical fantasies. You have a good laugh, and decide to stay on the surface. Welcome back!

Disclaimers like this would also be especially for less-than-reputable sites. Say you land on a sketchy Russian website in search of a torrent containing your favourite Friends season: check the disclaimer. Yup, this site will give you a virus, and then hack into your email account and steal your identity. Thanks for the warning, you’re welcome.

As well, I feel quite certain that it would help countless businesses, myself included. Disclaimers rightfully identifying the frauds, scams and charlatans amongst the countless myriads of portfolios and business sites out there, would be an invaluable service to the honest, learned and genuine professionals among us.

It’s really quite ridiculous how often I speak with a client and hear them tell me that some other guy is promising twice as much for a quarter of the amount.  In situations like this I could simply ask the client if they read that person’s disclaimer or not. As well, I could always read the handy disclaimer that client keeps in their pocket to know if they genuinely plan on paying me once the work is complete.

Books I Read in 2011

At some point over the December holidays I found myself sitting down with a tiny notebook that I received as a gift and began making a list of all the books I read over the past year. It was the first time I ever bothered to do so, and it was largely at the urgings of several friends who have done the same. In the past I’ve always shied away from counting how many books I read in my spare time because I always feared that if I did and someone asked me how many I read over the course of a year that it would somehow seem like I was bragging or exaggerating.

Well, this year I’ve decided not to hide from the fact that I’m a rather avid reader. Making a list like this isn’t all about the numbers, it actually has a lot to do with simply remembering what books I read this year. I realized the importance of this latter bit when a friend of mine recently asked me if I read any good books lately and if I had any recommendations. I named a few titles, but going further back than two or three books caused me to draw a blank; I simply couldn’t remember what I read.

So, in order to avoid future embarrassment of the same sort, I’ll now be keeping track of what I read. For clarity’s sake, I will only be keeping track of books that I read in their entirety (sorry Moby Dick) and in my own spare time. Textbooks and chapters of compilations that are assigned to me in my Grad seminar will be excluded, but novellas, anthologies and monographs will make the grade.

Over the course of 2011, I read a total of 19 books. It was a bit of a slow year where reading was concerned, especially compared to the previous year when I discovered the works of George R. R. Martin and found myself diving into Stephen King for the first time , but I’m nevertheless pleased with the titles I was able to finish.

The list is as follows (grouped by author):

  1. Rage by Stephen King
  2. The Long Walk by Stephen King
  3. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
  4. The Shining by Stephen King
  5. The Stand by Stephen King
  6. Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert
  7. The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  8. The Girl who Stirred the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  9. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  10. Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson
  11. Casino Royale by Ian Flemming
  12. From Russia with Love by Ian Flemming
  13. I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane
  14. Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  15. The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein
  16. The Cult of the Saints by Peter Brown
  17. Saints Alive by David Williams
  18. Red Sands by A. Sauliere
  19. Plato and a Platypus by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Disclaimer

Okay, every blog probably needs one of these, so here goes:

The Wordslinger is both a professional blog and a personal blog. This means that some of what I blog about will be purely professional in nature, related to my business and the craft of writing in general, while other posts will be random thoughts, creative musings and the odd opinion piece.

If something sounds like an opinion, then please keep in mind that it probably is an opinion. If you feel offended: stop reading. Free will brought you here, it can just as easily help you escape if you’ve had enough.

Everything you find here, in this Blog, is, unless otherwise stated, of my own creation, and thus my intellectual property. Don’t copy anything without asking, if you quote me then please cite me, and if you like me then please comment and look me up over LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media that I sometimes use.