Archive for November, 2009

Rules for life. Number four in an occasional series

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

As a game of Trivial Pursuit continues, the probability of a player accusing another of getting “all the easy questions” approaches 1.

(With apologies to Mike Godwin, author of Godwin’s Law.)

Guess Who (3)

Monday, November 16, 2009

By popular request, I have a new poll related to Prejudicial Guess Who. Again, I’ll hide my own thoughts on the matter so as to avoid bias.

I had a difference of opinion with H, the girl I’ve been going out with for almost nine months, over the age and tastes of Anita, the wide-eyed blonde of the Guess Who line-up. I asked whether she would prefer The X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing. H said that she would like both, but would lean towards one of them. I think she would have a clear preference for one of them, and it is not the same one that H suggested.

Guess Who Anita


Cast your votes, and I’ll let you know what I think in a week or two.

UPDATE:  The people have spoken, although God only knows what was going through their minds. A majority thought that Anita would prefer to watch Strictly Come Dancing than The X-Factor. Really? Come on – she’s about 15 years old. She’d have posters of Jedward on her bedroom door.

However, I must accept the result. Anita officially would prefer Brucie to Simon.

Guess Who? (2)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The results to the Prejudice Guess Who poll are in, and I’m happy to report that the results vindicate my view in all three cases, although not necessarily by the margin I expected.




Charles, by a majority of 54 per cent, would confront a burglar rather than hide and wait for the police.







Albert, by a majority of 80 per cent, prefers vinyl to digital as a medium for listening to music.







And Sally, by a majority of  76 per cent, says “Byeee!” in a high-pitched voice at the end of phone calls.




The result for Albert is jolly heartening, and the one for Sally far more clear cut than I dared hope, but my moment of trousers-down-buttock-slapping triumph has been marred by a gallingly narrow victory for Charles.

Not only would he confront a burglar, I maintain, he would do so with a walking stick and a shout of: “I didn’t fight the Hun to have my house burgled by the likes of you.” He would beat the hapless burglar, possibly to death, and the local press would run a picture of him with his medals under the headline: “War hero gives youth stick.”

Some friends have claimed that his sad eyes suggest a pensioner too weary to put up a fight, but I would contend that this is more than offset by his moustache, and that any antipathy towards violence would be immediately quashed upon sight of his quasi-antique carriage clock in the hands of some hoodie.

Still, the people have spoken, and I accept the result because to reject it would turn the game from Prejudicial Guess Who into Bigoted Guess Who. And, besides, the majority still agreed with me. Hah.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I may have mistranscribed some of this, but here is what was written as the second story on the front of today’s Evening Standard:

Gordon Brown today vowed to “get tough” on equestrianism as he insisted the Government was right to sack a scientist who said horse riding was as dangerous as ecstasy. The Prime Minister warned against the danger of giving “mixed messages” to young people targeted by dealers. Mr Brown said: “A tough policy on equestrianism is essential and it is what the public want. I’ve seen the damage that equestriansim can do and people can see it in estates in London.”

This is almost exactly what it said, although I may have mixed up the word “drugs” with “equestrianism”. Still, they’re as dangerous as each other, statistcially, so it probably doesn’t make any difference.


Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band

Monday, November 2, 2009

Alberto FrogAbout 25 years ago I was watching an episode of the children’s television programme Bod when my older sister walked through the room. It was the Alberto Frog section of the show, in which an amphibious orchestra leader and his Amazing Animal Band performed favours for distressed creatures who, overcome with gratitude, would offer him a reward. (Alberto Frog, it occurs to me now, was a cartoon version of Hannibal from the A-Team, or Don Corleone from The Godfather. I digress.)

Alberto would always respond to such offers with the line: “I wouldn’t say no to a milkshake.”

The grateful citizen would say: “Any particular flavour?”

And the Amazing Animal Band would ponder aloud, listing a series of flavours that, to my recollection, were usually chocolate, strawberry or vanilla, but perhaps I am just confusing his choices with the flavours one used to get in “Neapolitan” ice cream tubs.

My sister, who is eight years older than me and who was something of an antagonist during my childhood,  said: “It’ll be chocolate.”

I disagreed, naturally, and insisted that it must be strawberry, or one of the other flavours. She was right, and it wasn’t just luck. This happened on several occasions, and her predictions always rang true.

I never knew how she did it until I brought it up about two decades later. I assumed that there must have been a subtle clue in the way he spoke that gave away the answer, or a mildly complicated algorithm. Would she at last tell me the secret?

“Oh,” she said. “It was always chocolate.”