Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Prejudice for the Day

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So, number one: any message in which a word has been replaced by a number (eg Happy Birthday 2 U) is probably not worth reading.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.

Open letter to sweet manufacturers

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.



It’s creepy.


Please stop.


Yours faithfully, 


Le Poulet Noir

Days of Christmas

Monday, August 19, 2013

02 lords not leaping picture owned by ukhouseoflordsThe 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.

Notes from Seoul

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.”

Of Thee I Vomit

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Barack Obama’s latest book, Of Thee I Sing, an inspirational story that will appeal to the hope of every child, or a jingoistic schmaltz-bath that will leave non-Americans heaving into their hats? It’s somewhere between the two, I’d say, but sufficiently close to the second for me not to want to give my free copy to any of my nieces or nephews. Anyhow, I don’t imagine anyone comes here for reviews of presidential children’s books. (My visitor stats suggest that almost everyone comes here looking for Love Is… cartoons, in fact.)

What struck me is that one of the role models Obama lionises is Georgia O’Keeffe, who “moved to the desert and painted petals, bone, bark. She helped us see big beauty in what is small: the hardness of stone and the softness of feather”. And, he could have added, vaginas in flowers. Maybe in his next book.

Top 5 unexploited fashion trends

Thursday, December 2, 2010

If fashion is anything*, it is the triumph of novelty over aesthetics. The newer an idea, the better, which is why the fashion conscious frequently find themselves gulled into wearing things like snoods and mid-calf boots.

Neither of these items are new, of course. They are merely old enough to ensure that no one who remembers their last appearance is young enough for their opinion to matter.

I can do better. Here are five items that are so new that I expect them to be foisted upon the credulous imminently.

Wishnets: any fashion designer could come up with tights attached to boots (although I’m not sure anyone has) but to date no one has had the wit to combine fishnets with waders. These could also be known as faders.

Pit stops: shirts once had detachable collars so that they could be washed separately. A capital idea, but half-baked. They should also have detachable armpits. Not only would they be novel, but economical. It’s only really the collar and armpits that need washing on a shirt. The environment thanks you.

Shocks: combined shoes and socks, with detachable lining to facilitate washing.

Scoves: everyone has fond memories of mittens connected, through the sleeves of one’s coat, with a piece of string. But string? Am I a conker? (No.) Join the gloves with a woollen scarf. It would be warm, and only carry a slight risk of strangulation in the event of sudden arm movements, such as might happen during a snowball fight. (There will have to be a warning label.)

Sock-bra (working title): the halterneck bra is a commendable deviation from the shoulder-strap tyranny, but it needs an ally. My friend B suggested a bra with straps that go over the shoulders and connect to a pair of socks at the back. This would have the added function of lifting the wearer’s breasts while seated and indeed exercising them when walking.

*I’m willing to listen to arguments that fashion is actually nothing.