Tuesday, April 7, 2015
If I had the discipline, I’d write a Prejudice for the Day post daily. It would be like BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day during the Today programme, but without the attempt to shoehorn a political issue into an unrelated religious doctrine. I expect, however, that this will be the only one.
I sometimes think that my accumulation of life experience is merely a set of prejudices. I don’t mean racial or sexual bigotry. I mean smaller shortcuts to prevent me from having to think everything through from first principles. If you don’t think you do it then you’re probably just comfortable with it.
So, number one: any message in which a word has been replaced by a number (eg Happy Birthday 2 U) is probably not worth reading. The same goes for using the @ symbol in anything other than an e-mail address.
There seems to be two purposes for this – to make something more visually striking or to alleviate the writer’s need to type two or three more characters. The first betrays a lack of confidence that the message has substance. The second is just vogueish laziness. The sum is that the message is harder to read, and I’m snobby enough not to bother.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Dear sweet manufacturers,
No one cuts the top off their bag of sweets in the way that people apparently do in your advertisements.
Le Poulet Noir
Monday, August 19, 2013
The 12 Days of Christmas is all very well as a song, but why is the narrator so coy about what happened on the 13th day of Christmas? Or, indeed, the days after that? Assuming that the first Christmas was on Christ’s birth (on December 25, 1 AD, obviously), there are a maximum of 734,742 days of Christmas to fill. This may be tricky, but not impossible.
On the 734,742nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
734,742 grains of sand
734,741 bits of lint
A la-a-arge bag of rice…
The main issue is that the true love presumably has to keep giving the gifts he has given on previous days. By the end of the 12 days he has given 12 drummers drumming, 22 pipers piping, 30 lords a-leaping, 36 ladies dancing, 40 maids a-milking, 42 swans a-swimming, 42 geese a-laying, 40 gold rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves and 12 partridges in 12 pear trees.
If the gift giving carried on long term, which gift would be the limiting factor? Geese do not lay all year round, but usually they only lay in spring anyway, so the true love must already have found a way to overcome that. Without doing calculations for how many hens there are in France, I think it is reasonable to say that the lords are the problem. There are only 798 in Britain at the moment, so excluding foreign lords and people with the surname Lord, you would run out on day 88.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
1. The loo seat in my hotel room is heated.
2. The area around Incheon Airport looks like it was built in Sim City. There are flat islands only as big as the developments on them and vast bridges connecting apparently undeveloped land.
3. There are businessmen in the street on Friday night who are so drunk they can barely stand. One man in a suit sits on a bank’s steps wearing a carpet of vomit.
4. It is apparently okay to ride your moped on a pedestrian crossing.
5. My breakfast, obtained from Paris Bakery, can best be described as a chicken donut. It is delicious.
6. The shopping mall smells of cabbage.
7. The beggar in the subway does not ask for spare change, but kneels with his forehead on the floor.
8. In a sweet shop there is a packet of Muscat Gummy Candy, which features the blurb: “Its translucent color so alluring and taste and aroma so gentle and mellow offer admiring feelings of a graceful lady.”
Monday, March 12, 2012
It occurs to me that some of the excellent videos I’ve spotted from time to time and put on my Facebook feed are actually rather difficult to find. So, here they are:
Monday, February 27, 2012
A conference on mannequins? Ugh. Talk about the objectification of women.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Dear car manufacturers,
We’re not fooled by descriptions of cars as “five-door” when it is really four doors and a boot. All cars have boots. The boot is the vehicular equivalent of general studies A-level. Give it up.
Le Poulet Noir
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
1. Elisabeth Schwartzkopf is remembered by a handful of opera enthusiasts for her career as a soprano, but whatever singing ability she may have had is almost entirely eclipsed by her appearance in 1958 on Desert Island Discs, a BBC radio programme that requires interviewees to choose eight songs that would be their sole entertainment on a desert island. Seven of her choices featured her own voice, and the eighth was the instrumental prelude to an opera recording in which she was the star.
2. Norman Wisdom chose five of his own songs, including the appropriately titled Narcissus.
3. Rolf Harris, cartoonist, artist, pop singer and a national treasure who recently admitted that he’d never read any Shakespeare, has appeared on Desert Island Discs twice, so he cannot claim not to understand the concept. Nevertheless, for his second outing, in 1999, he chose three songs of his own.
4. Only two people have ever chosen Gary Glitter records to take with them, and one of them was Gary himself. Paul Gadd, to call him by his real name, was interviewed in 1981, 15 years before he was convicted of abusing two underage girls.
5. And finally, Engelbert Humperdinck, the ham-faced cheese-peddler who, if placed under a metaphor grill, would be a crooning croque monsieur. He only chose one of his own records, but earns his place with his spectacular choice of book to take with him to the island: his own autobiography.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
If anyone knows where I can buy this track (for reasons unfathomable, I cannot buy it from the MySpace site) then I’ll be as grateful as a cockney pensioner with a cup of tea.