Bugbear #1

I, I, I must be getting old
There’s a fire and a fury
driven deep into my soul
It’s the helplessness that comes
from being under your control

Roger Taylor, The Unblinking Eye.

Anytime something bad happens the politicians bring out their sympathetic faces and they all read from the same script. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard them gravely say “This is a terrible tragedy.”

I’m racking my brain to think of any other kind of tragedy. A good tragedy? A funny tragedy? A favourable tragedy? Sooner or later some MP will utter “a tragic tragedy”. Can see it coming.

A mystery in Hundred-acre Wood

I happened upon the trailer to ‘Christopher Robin’ the other day;  a film (as my reader knows) about the denizens of Ashdown Forest, just down the road from here – which I can see as I write.

So just imagine my mystification when I heard my little ursine friend speak! Wasn’t that a Transatlantic accent? Yes, of course, he is ‘spoken’ by Jim Cummings, who is Disney’s go-to voice for their animal animations.

But then, said I to m’self, said I: the Bear of Very Little Brain (and his friends) are well-known polyglots, talking to their readers all over the world. Even to Romans, in the 1960 best-seller. Salve, Pooh!

Cringe from the Fringe

I’ve got a job at the Water Company and it’s well boring.

My job at the Job Centre is OK but if I’m fired I’ll have to come in the next day to talk to my colleagues.

“Never Apologise! Never Explain!” – Sorry, that’s my motto.

I recently found out that I am genetically connected to a Native American tribe. The first thing I thought was “How?”

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/culture/50-best-jokes-edinburgh-fringe-2018/

Quentin’s beef

He has a strange name. He should be a diarist* with a name like that. He is? Oh, sorry, Q. Anyway, he rang a few of my bells with his thoughts in today’s DM.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5503019/QUENTIN-LETTS-lists-linguistic-pet-hates.html.

I’d add a common pleonasm people employ,as follows: ‘They both attended the same school.’ Just one will do, dear.

I bet my reader seethes over a few common malapropisms too.

* Didn’t you have a Letts diary as a youngster?

Very hot under the collar

That’s me.

I’ve had it up to here with transcrap, gender assignment and neutrality, pregnant persons, lady boys and all the associated PC balderdash. Such character defects should be identified and treated, not encouraged and catered for. Boys must be boys and girls must be girls. Take your pick – it”s an easy choice, almost exclusively assisted by your body parts as observed at birth. No, you can’t change your sex, however bonkers you are and society shouldn’t let you try. And if you prefer same-sex relationships, fine. But don’t call them marriage or pretend to be competent as parents.

So there.

Sam’s the man!

My reader may have noticed on his/her cyber-trek that Google has just celebrated the anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday. He was undoubtedly its predecessor – lexicographically speaking – before the more modern encyclopedias appeared. And his dictionary reflected his character as a poet, wit and literary compiler. Continue reading “Sam’s the man!”

Pardon?

It can be dangerous to seize the moral or social high-ground. But it’s what institutions and their representatives do for a living.

Take the venerable Church of England. It gets its ecclesiastical underwear in a tangle every time a social norm is challenged, trying valiantly to remain relevant. Divorce, same-sex partnerships, gender-switching – and now women’s rights. Guess what! Equal pay is a distant dream for female staff at Head Office! Come on, Justin.

And on the day when British society’s top dog conducts his final public duty, the top people’s handbook flies in the face of decency and established principle. How? By declaring that the cognoscenti now accept the long-outlawed retort, ‘Pardon?’ when one mishears or seeks clarification. The Murican interrogative alternative, ‘Excuse me?’ has never gained acceptance in the face of the patrician, ‘What?’ and is now firmly removed from the contest by the plebeian and not-a-little-Gallic, ‘Pardon?’.

Both of these faux pas will acquire legs, I fear. Two referenda will be needed to help us decide what to do.

Shooting from the lip

A nice phrase from the Beeb today, asking if it’s snobbishness that makes us hate Don the One. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39849073

So I’ve asked myself the question. Do I react against him because he can hardly string three words together? And when he does, the words often fly in the face of the facts? Yes and yes.

No, I don’t expect heads of state to be academic icons, intellectual leaders; but I do expect them to have some grasp of their language, some awareness of the key issues facing them and some respect (yes, respect) for their peers’ qualities as heads of state. A quick jibe and a quick u-turn won’t do.

What’s your take on the soon-to-be-lame Donald duck?

A good read

I frequent the English/American section of the local public library, which offers an apparently random selection of novels of every genre. And a couple of weeks ago I spotted this – not a name I recognised -and gave it a try.

The story reveals the complications arising from the young lives of two brothers brought up near Calcutta; one of whom moves to New England.

I particularly enjoyed the author’s insights into relationships, expressed fluently and never dull, each character revealing their take on the dramatic events they experience.

I’ll be looking out for Jhumpa’s other titles.