Posts from January 2012

Age Old Story

I have been sat by the phone all morning, but it has remained silent, apart from someone called Andy from a call centre in India trying to sell me something that I couldn’t understand due to his impenetrable accent.

I’m sure it would have been worth my while persevering with the conversation, but I had to cut him short because I was waiting for The Call. Read more ›››

Reverse Technology

The digital camera has revolutionised photography in as much as we can now take as many photos as we want, view them instantly on screen and then completely lose them in the depths of our computer hard drive.

When I was younger, my mum would occasionally the family treasure chest of photos. This was a large tin box crammed with black and white and colour snaps, some recent and some dating back to the 19th century. This was our family. Read more ›››


I like to think that I’m not too much of a language snob, but suspect that I am really. I certainly feel my hackles rise when words are used incorrectly, but especially by people who should know better.

I was in our local supermarket this morning and decided to browse the paperbacks, picking up The Map by T S Learner. It looked like the typical conspiracy thriller that I enjoy, but I nearly didn’t buy it after reading the blurb on the back cover. Read more ›››

Job Lottery

The BBC ran a story yesterday about three street cleaners in Edinburgh who have been temporarily reinstated after they were chosen for redundancy by drawing names out of a cereal bowl.

Edinburgh Council needed to get rid of seven of their 13 agency staff. They managed to select four based on their performance, but couldn’t separate the remaining nine, so a manager decided that drawing lots was the fairest solution. Read more ›››

Although I mean to focus on interesting individuals from the past for this round of ABC Wednesday, this post is about an entire nation who briefly joined the I’m Backing Britain campaign of 1968.

It was a time with echoes of today − the economy was weak, the national debt was high and Britain was a country full of anxiety and despondency. Read more ›››

Lost in Translation

Tower of Babel

The Babel fish is one of the great literary devices; a fish that ‘feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain.’

Douglas Adams created it for H2G2 as a universal translator since ‘the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language’. Read more ›››

Please Be Offended

Isn’t life dull at the moment? You can tell that there isn’t much of interest going on when the Telegraph headlines complaints about a Jay Leno joke. Read more ›››

By and Large

One of the things that has struck me watching the US primaries and caucuses is the way the word ‘republican’ has different connotations on either side of the Atlantic.

If you’re a US Republican with a capital R, it means that you are rather conservative, religious and believe in traditional values (click the graphic), whereas in the UK, being a republican with a lower case R marks you as a lefty liberal rebel. Read more ›››

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