X is for Xylonite

I’m running out of people whose names begin with X for my ABC Wednesday contributions and so this week I will be writing about a something, rather than a someone, and that something is Xylonite.

In 1967, Mr McGuire had ‘just one word’ for Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and that one word was ‘plastics’, the implication being that these manmade materials were the future for success in business, but in fact plastics had already been around for more than a century, thanks to Alexander Parkes and his invention of Xylonite, the first thermoplastic, in 1856. Read more ›››

Jo Cox

Yorkie chided me for not mentioning Jo Cox in the brief lives section of my Sunday Round-up. He’s probably right, although my own view was that her death – her murder – didn’t quite sit right with the frivolous nature of that post.

What happened last Thursday, the stabbing and shooting of an elected representative of the people, was truly shocking and symptomatic of the malaise affecting the country. Read more ›››

In out, in out, shake it all about

It has been a busy week, what with one thing and another, and I can’t believe that I have written virtually nothing about the great Brexit referendum, or Doomsday or Independence Day depending on whose soundbites you’re listening to.

The problem is that, like most people, I haven’t a clue what the future might hold should we stay in the EU or go our own way. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

A rose by any other name: These posters have been appearing all over the country. If you want to take the bizarre pseudo-legal advice of those who say you’re committing legal name fraud by using your own name.

Lead balloon of the week: Worcester City Council is to impose a £70 fine on anyone releasing a helium filled balloon which surprisingly was supported by 54% of the Wordcester News. Read more ›››

W is for William Walker

The word filibuster is usually used to refer to someone obstructs a legislative assembly by talking too much, but it has an earlier meaning – a person engaging in unauthorized warfare against a foreign state.

And the greatest filibuster of them all by this definition was the American, William Walker, regarded by some as a hero, for others he is a symbol of American imperialism. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Performance of the week: Meryl Streep took on her most challenging role when she ‘oranged-up’ to play Donald Trump at the annual Shakespeare in the Park Public Theatre Gala in New York.

And speaking of oranged-up: A seagull was dyed orange after being rescued from a container of chicken tikka masala at an undisclosed food factory in Wales. Read more ›››

And Ignorance is Bliss

I happened to be watching Pointless the other evening and had to shake my head in disbelief at the sheer effrontery of ignorance. Two English Literature students who couldn’t name the obvious.

The subject was books with missing adjectives and student A couldn’t even hazard a guess at ‘The — Curiosity Shop’ author initials CD. Read more ›››