The Longest Now


Readying the shovel : an operetta in two parts
Thursday February 26th 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I don’t like people who throw about new terms as though they were old. It has the smell of name-dropping without any of the potential for gossip. So I’ve downgraded my opinion of people I’ve found using the phrase “shovel-ready” in recent weeks. It has reached such a state of malaise that today I went in search of the origins of the term.

To my surprise (but not yours, astute reader), the term originated with the owners of shovelready.com,  who have used it for the past decade to refer to economic development projects in upstate new york that have “worked proactively with the State to address all major permitting issues, prior to a business expressing interest in the location“.

This became a designation used cross New York state, from where it no doubt came to the attention of its senators and later Obama.  One might also take its popularity as a reflection on the excellence of the site design at shovelready.com — which I would guess drew Clinton and Obama and their aides to discuss it.  So congratulations are in order to the underappreciated web designers at National Grid.


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