Monday, 30 November 2015

Hey, guys, it's nearly 2016!

Warburton's sandwich thins

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol

Hey guys – it’s nearly 2016 and people are still trophy hunting?

The UK doesn’t have a classic movies cable TV channel.

It’s OK to make fun of grannies and opera singers. See the Advertising Standards Authority advert about Irene and her bridge partner. And Carbuyer's “Would you ask your neighbour Petulia?” (She says that hybrid cars are good for azaleas and whales - and this is supposed to be hilarious.)

It’s OK to make jokes about ugly spinsters (that ad for Warburton's Sandwich Thins).

‏And there are still some people who think rape just never happens.
And another lot who think women claim to have been raped to gain attention, and for the “excitement”.
And those who accuse the famous of abusing them as children just want attention and money.
And there are still some people who think brown people should go somewhere else.
And another lot of people who think feminists have nothing to worry about.
And yet another lot who don’t understand racism and think slaves in the South were well-treated. And some who think black people or “foreigners” aren't Americans.
And any refugees who aren’t from Syria are economic migrants (who just happen to be fleeing war zones in Libya and Eritrea).
And some people are still complaining that “a kid is a baby goat – it’s ‘children’ not ‘kids’”.
And people still think biodynamics is organic farming, and homeopathy is herbalism.
And they think living together gives you legal and financial rights. It hasn’t since 1753. Yes, 1753.

It's nearly 2016 and there’s an evil worldwide cabal persuading the unfortunate that the answer lies within themselves and that pointing the finger at recessions, wars and unequal societies is just failing to stand on your own two feet and blaming others for your problems. Think positive! Or we’ll take your benefits away!

And I get personal abuse and bullying online if I say I’ve been bullied in the past, if I criticise British private schools, if I suggest that we should be kind to children, if I suggest that lying is wrong – and just for being a socialist, a feminist and a woman. (I’m pathetic, pretentious and paranoid and blame all my problems on others, apparently.) Oh, and for talking back and calling people Tories and mansplainers. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

Asked to explain his gender parity promise, Justin Trudeau answered: "Because it’s 2015".

In 2015... Mum thrown out of Grays Job Centre for breastfeeding her 13-week-old daughter (Nov, @imajsaclaimant)

American bishop says gay people should be sentenced to 10 years hard labour – in 2014! 2014, guys!

That in 2015 Lindsey Graham has to explain that he's not a "defective person" for being single is madness. (M. v. Aufschnaiter ‏@mva_1000)

A paediatrician was locked out of a women’s changing room at a gym because everyone with the title Dr was automatically registered as male. [She was told] “the system couldn’t be changed and she’d have to drop her title”. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is 2015!... (stefano mariani ‏@stefanako71)

Welcome to 2015, folks! Ohio class teaches children that men think, women feel. (‏@JessicaValenti )

It's 2015 why are things like "gay" and "lesbian" used as insults? (@BewitchingMind)

I've said it before but I'll say it again, if you can't or don't want to be monogamous then you don't have to pretend to be, it's 2015. (Amy ‏@bottrill Feb 23)

It's 2015 and straight people use the word "gay" as an insult. Get a time machine and step your ignorant asses out of the 1970s. (@OutrageousBSFan Feb 21)

Yes, yes, sometimes women propose, but it's pretty much always the guys (happy 2015 everyone). (

Rick Santorum arguing that religious prejudice should be protected in law. #CNNDebate It's 2015 in the most advanced country in the world. (Matt D ‏@EyesSkyward)

From today's Daily Mail. Actual, proper, racist blackface cartoon faces. In other news, it's 2015. (@pointlesslettrs)

It's 2015. Why am I having to explain to people that falsely attributing words to a Rothschild to explain the Greek crisis is anti-Semitic? (Damian Counsell ‏@DamCou)

Gawd, I hate that as a 45 year old man, living in 2015, I STILL have to be concerned about race and some "them -vs- us" bullshit. (FB)

Chelsea racist abuse victim: 'It's 2015 and we are talking about black and white skin. Why?'

It's 2015 and let's face it, we really haven't solved the problem of wobbly cafe tables. (@MarkSReynolds Mar 29)

Miss France visits the Lille stand at Mipim. What decade is this? March 2015 (@_SamJacob)

It's 2015 and I'm watching a sewing contest on television. This is basically stuff we'd joke about being on telly in the 16th century. (@djplastician)

It's 2015 and the word "autistic" is still a novelty in the speech of morons everywhere. (@alexthesmart_)

There’s a café in Wolverhampton that won’t let you take coffee out.

Optimise for tablet, pessimise for desktop. It's nearly 2016 and technology is going backwards – and some people haven't caught up with the 21st century.

Improvements that aren’t: Web pages no longer have print-friendly (no ads, no comments) versions. And they make it very hard to select the text of an article (so that you can cut and paste it into a Word doc and print that). And some pages aren't printable at all. There’s no point giving us “content” if we can’t read it.

There’s no way of adding a note to a photo on camera or phone.

And why does “shuffle” not shuffle my tracks randomly? Instead, it picks out the ones I’ve played recently.

If you want to review a book in Goodreads, you have to rate it. There is no button saying "Write a review".

Google have “updated” maps so that they are less useful than the classic version, and won’t give us access to the classic version. The map with the yellow dude is too small – though it is easier to move the him around now. When you look for a street it comes up in the centre of the map – but there’s no arrow pointing to it. And not all the streets are labelled. How do you find your street? They obviously don’t want you to.

Twitter returns me to the top of my timeline if I retweet, or click on a commented tweet. Why don’t commented tweets open in a new tab, like everything else? And why can’t I select the text to cut and paste? And why can’t I select the text if someone has posted a positive affirmation as a picture? Why am I having to retype it? Why am I retyping anything - in 2015? And why doesn’t Twitter have an edit button? And automatic emojis?

How can Twitter not know that a timeline is chronological?

Oh and Facebook, I want to see latest, not top stories. I don’t want to see “top stories” ever. Couldn’t I make it stick at “latest”? Somehow?

If I’m not careful, Spotlight opens the last file I searched for, instead of the one it just found for me.

Could you give us a little more time to get to the phone before it goes to voicemail, or count out our change before feeding it into the self-checkout? Where’s my robot pavement cleaner? Where’s my key combo to take me to the top/bottom of a web page?

And my clock radio is too quiet.

And no, I don’t want to search for the words I just searched for – I want to change them slightly. And when I search for a picture of Grays bus station I don’t want the train station...

And where's the online version of the Fortean Times?

And Word, I never want to default to “Times”. Ever, ever, ever. Why can’t cut and paste adopt the style of the document I am pasting to, rather than the one I’ve taken the words from? And why does that darned Times font keep appearing no matter how often I change the default font to Trebuchet? (Will setting it as a new style work?)

And please open files where they were when I last worked on them, like you used to. And I used to be able to move to another file by clicking on it anywhere – now I can only click on the top bar. And the new file opens underneath the one I'm working on, so that I can't even see it. I opened that file because I want to use it. I want to use both files at once.

Is there any way I can search in French AND English in Google Chrome? And is there some way I can stop it translating my French results into English? Do I have to tell it I’m in Paris?

Nurse at hospital says she “can’t” email my GP but must send them a letter. And if I have the blood test done at the GP’s surgery they “can’t” send the results to the hospital.

It used to be easy to follow a blog – there was a button at the top saying “follow”. Now everyone uses a different system and puts the button in a different place. But I can't unfollow anybody.

And I have just downloaded 40 MP3s from Amazon one by one, because if I batch download them they turn into a Zip file that I can’t open.

Many organisations have an email address but have failed to employ anyone to read, filter and answer emails.

I can’t log into my Gmail account, and apparently neither can anyone else. (Sept 2015)

And my new Virgin Media TV remote doesn’t have page up/page down buttons.

And you can’t sort columns alphabetically in Woodwing.

Changing your address or personal details for your account is easy. Just download the form below, fill it in, sign it and post it to your local branch. (RBS)

Unfortunately we cannot accept emailed copies of the form, you will need to post it to us using the Freepost address which can be found on page 5.

Just had the raw urge to cancel an appearance because they want me to mail in the contract in the year of our lord 2000 and 15. (Daniel José Older ‏@djolder)

 2015 UPDATE: Still takes 1.5 hours to install a printer and print a test page. Even with WPS. We'll try again next year, shall we? (Cormac ‏@Cormputer)

PayPal allows 10 (!) days to process my unsubscription from their newsletters (which I never subscribed to in the 1st place). It's 2015! Also, I was yet again baffled that ticket vending machines for Berlin's public transport don't accept credit cards in 2015. Ach, Germany. (M. v. Aufschnaiter ‏@mva_1000)

It's 2015 why do I still need to charge my phone three times a day? (@TmarTn Feb 23)

Guildford has got rid of the pay by phone system at its car parks. Welcome to the 20th century! (Keith Judge ‏@KeefJudge)

Come on ‪#‎eastmidlandstrains‬ surely it is time all your trains had plug sockets for charging mobile phones‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬? (Steve Rogerson)

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Buzz Words of 2015

Where'd they go?
Buzz words and things of 2015

We shouldn’t imprison people for Twitter rape and death threats because free speech and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. "Since #CharlieHebdo I keep seeing people being arseholes/racists and generalising large groups of people in the name of free speech #stop" Jan 17 (@BeckyMccerery)

curate (the verb) is everywhere.

The Stephen Fry “taking offence” meme is back in force. And everybody saying it as if they’re the first person to have thought of it.

Why is there no white history month? (Again. Again, everybody saying it as if they’re the first person to have thought of it. Twitter troll farm? PS International Men's Day is 19 Nov.)

kalettes or flower sprouts “trending”

The language of objectification, misogyny, sexism and other isms is back.

on fleek (something like “on top form”)

Lots of “panic” about snow “panic” in New York City, 27 Jan. (Think they mean “media reports, weather forecasts” as usual. It is snowing quite hard there.)

More and more people complaining about email as if there were no solutions (and as if they were the first to think of it). Hire a secretary or virtual assistant to slim your inbox (or learn how to do it yourself), learn to touch type. Remember the days before email and how much time was taken up writing letters and answering the phone.

Twitter is full of middle-class people handling the words “Super” and “Bowl” with tongs, while Americans complain about the ad breaks. (Feb 1)

It’s hard to say that you couldn’t learn the times tables, in a week when the Ed Sec says that all kids should know them or the head will be sacked. (“If you can learn poetry, you can learn the times tables!”, says a liberal educationist, after claiming three times that I could learn them if I wanted to. Well, no.)

We “panic” about snow, and then when it arrives it’s “pathetic”! (Feb 2 2015)

bobbins (means "rubbish", apaz)
bantz and haterz have gone

Anti-Vax and Climate Change Denial are now religions. Membership tells people who you are, and is about faith, not evidence.

Ritual whingeing about Valentine’s Day inflation. (Someone called the whingers “left-wing Puritans”.)

concept café
“Restores my faith in humanity” and “giving up on humanity” are both still popular, though ill-defined.

Many ask “why isn’t there a None of the Above” option and are surprised to discover that there is a NOTA movement.

People are coming up with 100 reasons for not voting (We are powerless tools of a global corporate conspiracy, politics never changed anything. And look what happened.)

Welcome back “yah boo” and “No kidding.”

You can get a doll of practically anybody.

smash: speed records etc

The three schoolgirls who have gone to Syria are jihadi devil women/Why is there all this media coverage of three schoolgirls who have gone to Syria?

BBC celebrating Holi festival. Why stop there?

Wait, what?
Bracing self for “It’s MOTHERING SUNDAY! Mother’s Day is an American invention to make people spend money and they celebrate it on the WRONG DAY!”

People affecting detached world-weariness about the eclipse. (OK, it was pretty underwhelming.) And “nanny state” over eclipse glasses.

Scarfolk (The 70s were funny enough as they were.)
meff (lame, dim, wears the wrong brands)
vidya (videogames, me lud)

Assistant social media editor is now a job title. (Firms have realised that it’s like marketing, you have to pay someone to do it instead of leaving it to an intern.)

Bizarre reasons why transsexuals shouldn't use female toilets.

There isn’t really a gender pay gap because [reason]. (I think they’ve all read the same paperback. Oh, it’s because men and women’s pay isn’t comparable because there are few women in top, high-paying jobs.)

Several people (like Tim Lott and the governor of Indiana) are genuinely baffled by the furious response to their reactionary ideas. (“I just don’t understand why they’re angry.”)

GRIL: gonna read it later.
fakery (around for a while)

“Why aren’t we allowed to talk about immigration?” (Means “Why aren’t we allowed to complain about immigration?”)

confusion about what "racist" means

Depressing number of people whingeing that they are bored of the election already, and wheeling out the old “But I want my vote to count”, and “none of the above” memes. Oh, give them PR, if only to shut them up.

Election coverage being referred to as “the horror”: "Thankfully we're usually spared the full horror - only a few minutes on the news." (The same people like to complain that we are “sleep-walking into a police state”.)

Reasons for not voting become more and more baroque. Middle-aged middle-class people furious that their one and only vote is no more or less influential than anybody else’s.

Party leaders campaign on “Vote for US! We’ll give you money, the others will only take it away!”

I’m all about the...

(Global property developer org. Abhumans from the pit of hell.)

In 3, 2, 1.
When did people stop writing “He said he wouldn’t stand again, but he’s doing just that”? It drove me mad, but “he’s doing so” is worse, far worse.

Preparing for outbreak of “fawning” when Kate has her baby.

deepen for worsen

Everybody going on about movie trailers and critiquing them as if they were the movie itself. (And now we get "teasers for the trailer" before the trailer. And "notifications" of the teaser...)

In case you’re concerned about our rapid transit to Hell via handcart, an expert on college slang writes: “Only about 10% of the slang terms used survive a year”.

Gamergate and the meninists have quietened down – but they’ll be back.

Kate’s gone into labour, here comes the “fawning”:

Here we go. Royal baby blanket news coverage ahead. Forget about the election, a week of fawning over some kid born into sickening wealth. (PAB C Nesbitt ‏@PAB190968)

Nothing the Tories will like better than a Royal birth with just a few days left till elections, millions cooing, fawning & doffing. :-( (Alan Wylie ‏@wylie_alan)

tribal”used to mean “my party right or wrong”

People complaining about being .@-ed. (Meanwhile rape and death threats continue.)

American press using “dignity” a lot re equal marriage and riots in Baltimore. “these riots aren’t a black or white thing – they’re a humanity thing, a dignity thing”. (Tavis Smiley in Time)

tectonic plates (politics) May 2015

spiralising (device for creating green smoothies) (Looks like Pippa Middleton is flogging them. And there must be some device for turning courgettes into green spaghetti.)

Miniature fairy gardens are a thing.

lots of “smashing” as Picasso reaches record price (Do paintings by women “smash” records?)

Republicans/Conservatives accusing Democrats/socialists of “always blaming someone else for their failures”.

“God I’m bored of this election run-up” has morphed into “Can you all shut up about it now?” It’s your country, your government – couldn’t you at least try to be interested? 2015-05-13

The Labour Party isn’t socialist, you poor fool! (Also works with “Green Party”.)

Has “metrosexual” lost its original meaning (think it was “heterosexual man who uses grooming products”) to become code for those “metropolitan elites”? Oooh, now “metroliberal values”!

Chuka Umunna has been in a “very bad place”.

coasting schools (as undefined as “slums”, someone points out)

Impossible to mention “unions” without “ransom”, “barons” and “paymasters”.

wealth creators for workers – or for the firms that employ them?

aspiration (end of May. Parties all want to offer aspiration and appeal to the aspirant. They mean “aspire to social mobility”, by which they mean “get richer”.)

champagne socialists (lots of “joking” about prosecco, which has morphed into real venom) Because the better-off can’t possibly care about the poor or want to help them. Metropolitan elites are this week’s hate figures for people who don’t approve of other people having hate figures.

asymmetrical warfare (same old Cold War)

said nobody anywhere ever

I am shocked – shocked! – to find... (Quote from Casablanca)

badum-tish (when nobody has done this for years – I mean using actual drum sticks and cymbals)

neoliberalism (whatever that is)

leftwit, leftard
I love my office! (over picture of beach, forest, mountains etc)

On the anniversary of Magna Carta, a lot of sniping about its provisions (only benefits landowners, all about eel traps, doesn’t mention women). And it was repealed immediately. You can read it here.

videos of your child’s sports day on FB

Looks as if Stephen Fry was right about the plague of “taking offence” – but it’s happening in US academia. (Spread here October.)

ghosting: quitting a relationship without warning, taking all your stuff and leaving no contact details

phrogging: pretending to leave, but continuing to live in the attic

trigger being used for “bring back painful memories” and also “start” or “cause” pretty much anything. Seems to come from hacker speak (computer programming language).

Nobody complaining about “silence inflation” over the two-minutes silence for the Tunisian shooting victims.

Latest anti-hipster slur is that they “photograph their food instead of eating it”.
Tories claiming that NHS is paid for by “taxpayers” and not by the people who use it. Also claiming that poor people cause all their own diseases by “bad choices” – smoking, eating and drinking too much, and being couch potatoes. Yes, that’s how I broke my leg and contracted Lyme disease.

Refoulement means the expulsion of persons who have the right to be recognised as refugees. The principle of non-refoulement was laid out in 1954 in the UN-Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. (Unesco)

pro: a meaningless syllable that makes your product sound better

Have we stopped thinking that we can all mysteriously make money from the internet?

dollar for money early July

Some people are still getting very upset over some aspect of pop cult that’s been around for years and that is not going to go away now (like LOL!).

silo for clique, cabal or bubble

First instance of “Christmas starts earlier every year” (in response to a BACK TO SCHOOL banner on the last day of term), spotted July.

We don’t design products or write books but “develop” them.

Writers have stopped calling everything “major”, but “key” is still with us. (What’s the difference between “key stage three” and “stage three”? Is “key” different from “core”?)

witch hunt, lynch mob – in the context of historic sex crime allegations (All accusers are in it for the money and fame, the media gangs up on prominent people as usual. And refugees are all in search of the good life, they’re all “economic migrants”.)

If I read the words “Tony B. Liar” once more I shall scream.

What’s happened to those journalists who wrote sneering articles about Twitter and Facebook without joining either (full of silly “likes”, pictures of your dinner, Stephen Fry has a cup of coffee)? They always predicted socmed’s imminent demise, too. (“Radio is here to stay!” Fred Allen circa 1935)

journey now ubiquitous

Padrón peppers (They’re hotter, of course, gaining them extra middle-class points.)

vape now means “smoke an electronic cigarette”, not vapourise or vapourware

teachable moment
bake, bite, thin (Low-calorie snacks aimed at women and sold as “tasty!”. You’re supposed to eat them with those “creamy” spreads that are 0% fat because they’re mainly methyl cellulose.)

Lot of Banksy-hating after he opened a theme park called Dismaland.

Today the Queen becomes the longest-reigning British monarch – look out for “fawning”! Only spotted “vomit-inducing monarchist sycophancy” so far.

hysteria about hysteria about snow has started (in the US): “The hysterical forecasts for world-ending snow every winter...” FB

Everybody hates “reach out to” for “contact” all of a sudden. It’s been around for years. And wasn’t there a similar fuss about “contact”? (But perhaps its meaning now shades into "market to".)

And now people are attacking the father of the two boys who were washed up on a beach. Lived the high life in a resort in Turkey, was actually a people trafficker...

Corbyn, refugees – wave of bile from Daily Mail commenters. And instant urban legends. And catastrophising. Yes, Corbyn will turn Britain into a Stalinist dictatorship and if you let in Muslim refugees your country will become a satellite of ISIS.

“Refugees? They are economic invaders and they want to impose Sharia Law on the UK...” Letter to Sheffield Star

“Young people are using technology at a very granular level.” (BBC Breakfast)

OK, stick a fork in me.
(What on earth mean? Gone again, October.)

Usual poppy whingeing starts early due to Corbyn wearing a white one (in previous years). (2015-09-15)

Endless articles re Agatha Christie (she’s cosy, her murders are bloodless and all set in country villages) by people who have never read her books or her autobiography. Some writers seem surprised that she wasn't Miss Marple (She roller skated! She surfed!)

Death of blogging announced, again.

Are adblockers the end of journalism as we know it? late Sept 2015

People are still complaining about “liking” things on social media. In 2015.

Annual poppy whingefest, Oct 2. Boris wore a poppy during a tug-of-war! How dare the BBC issue a directive and force interviewees to wear poppies....? (BBC representative issues denial.) Now combined with Halloweenophobia: Didn’t start here, shouldn’t happen here! (It started here.) There are 101 reasons for not wearing a poppy, and 101 reasons for disapproving of Halloween.

“Cohesion” popular week of the Tory conference.

They looked from man to pig and from pig to man.... Popular week of the Tory conference. And nobody can let Diane Abbott forget that she sent her son to a private school.

Tories quite querulous about being called “vile”. You’d have thought they could have seen that coming.

immersive experience (What every museum or exhibition has to be. Especially when they haven’t got many – or any – actual objects. Does it mean “It’s dark and there’s an intrusive, inappropriate soundtrack”?)

Churches the new Airbnb as 'champing' proves popular (Yes, camping overnight in a church.)

smize: smile with your eyes (October 15 2015)

plum for fool

flu vaccine conspiracy theories spotted late October

Suddenly there are hundreds of articles about procrastination. October

engagement shoot
Luvvies are the new champagne socialists. And how dare socialists have been to private school and then have the gall to er er er

Audiences shocked by Suffragettes. "Men were so beastly! And women didn’t have the vote!”

First “Xmas starts too early” moan. (

identity politics
Chorus of moans about the John Lewis ad.

People using social media to explain that they loathe social media, science is wrong, and the earth is flat.

hopey, changey endings are back (The Hunt - bitey and killy)

chiselled now means ripped abs

Resilience” takes on a sinister new meaning in the light of college protests in Missouri. Black students should be “resilient” to racism, while white students can go to Halloween parties in blackface because “free speech”. I think. It’s hard to tell, thanks to the heavy rain of academic doublespeak. Apparently now black people in America have created all their own problems, and shouldn’t blame anybody else! (Nov 2015)

virtue signalling (Like champagne socialists. If the virtue signallers are insincere, surely the Tories have nothing to worry about? As you were, chaps, nobody really cares about anybody else.)

Atrocities in Paris, and the twittersphere is all about blaming others for having the wrong attitude.

cultural appropriation
ritual whingeing about Black Friday – it’s American, you know. But is it cultural appropriation?

tiny violins now stand in for “my heart bleeds!” (Originally a street musician playing melancholy tunes.)

US Twitter is full of feeble jokes about turkeys.

Photographing road markings is now a thing.

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Outrageous Excuses of 2015

A man accused of taking photographs up women’s skirts at a wedding reception near London Bridge has said his suspicious-seeming behaviour was just his nervous twitch. (London 24)

We were advised that period shows work better if they are set within living memory, so that’s why we updated it. We wanted the TV show to be anchored in a time and a place – unlike the stories. My feeling was that the stories had a timeless feel to them anyway. (Producer of Father Brown)

Once in an exam analysis meeting, a school leader who taught in a particular department said that the reasons the exam results of that department were so poor was because of their outstanding teaching. They concentrated on independent learning and refused to ‘spoon feed’. This obviously meant kids did less well in the test. (quoted by David Didau on

BBC is cancelling the Tommy and Tuppence series because of “David Walliams’ busy schedule”. "It was the right building on the wrong site" – architect’s defence. (Rob Cowan ‏@cowanrob )

The Hungarian PM says that Hungary can’t accommodate any refugees from Syria because, unlike Germany, “Hungary isn’t used to foreign religions”. (Hungary was pagan until 1000CE and used to have a large Jewish population.)

IT pro child porn arrestee has a story about how he was helping the Feds by working as a vigilante: THAT's how it got on his computer. Ok. "I had all the child porn on my computer because I was working with the LAW and I didn't delete bc it was EVIDENCE!" Ok. Bye now. (Brienne of Snarth ‏@femme_esq)

Our alleged sexist remark was “probably out of context, probably self-deprecating, probably misreported”. (via Adam Rutherford)

In September 2012 Superintendent Andrew Parker, then a member of Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board, told the Rotherham Advertiser that the leak was “disloyal”. “The consequence is that victims will be less trustful of giving us access to their lives and concerns. It’s completely destructive to the confidence we are trying to build and it’s exploitation in itself.

You can't just ask people to behave ethically just like that. (Sepp Blatter)

@NickyMorgan01 and @TristramHuntMP both say that they are against compulsory governor training as it would put off volunteers.

We have to oppress women because they are weaker than us and have babies. (You don’t hear that one so much any more.)

Police union: "Appalled and frustrated" with charges against officers, which they say are a "rush to judgment". (re the case of Freddie Gray, who died in custody)

Kylie Jenner (17) at last admits she has had lip filler: “I have temporary lip fillers. It’s just an insecurity of mine, and it’s what I wanted to do. I’m just not ready to talk to reporters about my lips yet, because everyone always picks us apart.” (Earlier she claimed it was all done with makeup.)

“I’ve always had a problem when it comes to telling the truth on the internet, to be honest. After realising the effect my bravery in my illness had on people, I then used it as a vehicle to try and get some of the idiot emo kids on LJ [LiveJournal] to buck up and realise they don’t really have it all that bad … the lie was worth something, wasn’t it? How bad is a lie if it helps?” Said “Limeybean” who faked illness and death from TB on the internet.

It was all a long time ago.
Just saw someone saying they’re not voting because ‘voting gives legitimacy to politicians’. (Tom Hatfield ‏@WordMercenary) April 2015

In 2 meetings this week, developer says we love streets but planners stop us & London planners say we love streets but developers won't build. (@createstreets)

Judge caught driving defendant's car says he was "Just looking after it”.

It has been argued that releasing Prince Charles’s "black spider memos" would undermine his neutral political status. (BBC)

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Virtue Signalling

We all know that “prejudice” means “making sweeping assertions without supplying evidence”. People on benefits are all scroungers, immigrants are all fit young men in search of the good life, women aren’t funny - these are clearly prejudiced views. But, mysteriously, "champagne socialists expressing concern about global tragedies are just virtue signallers who fail to live up to their ideals" doesn't count as prejudice.

How can you prove that all those expressing concern for victims of a global tragedy on social media are merely "virtue signalling" and "failing to live up to their ideals"?

You’d need to convince the court that expressing concern is useless, and that there is such a thing as "virtue signalling".

Assuming that there is, who are these people? What did they say? What are their ideals? What would “living up to them” consist of? We would need to agree on a standard of “living up to ideals”, and have their actions judged by a neutral observer.

OK, so this isn't a court of law. But are you saying that in real life it’s OK to make assertions, allegations and accusations without evidence? Of course, you’re free to present no evidence. And I’m free to disbelieve you. Or you could name and shame some “virtue signallers”, and they can sue you, and then we WILL be in a court of law.

But how are you going to convince anybody without evidence? What made you think it was possible? And why would you base your opinions on no evidence?

Even if they are just “virtue signalling”, and not helping, does it help to carp about the way others respond to a tragedy?

I put it to you that you are merely repeating an accusation you have heard or read - on social media, and using a tragedy to put others in the wrong.

And finally, do rightwingers accuse lefties of “virtue signalling” because they suspect that their own mean-minded views don’t show them in a terribly good light?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Howlers 13

Had the contingencies of history and geography been different? We might be eating a lot more rabbit these days. ( Needs a comma, not a question mark, after "different".)

It’s really clicking all the boxes. (Escape to the Country Well, when did you last tick a box with a pen?)

Highly prized as a symbol of political power: an C18th spectre made in the reign of the Chinese Qianlong Emperor. (‏@WallaceMuseum)

It places the actions and motivations firmly on this earthly plain. ( plane)

What spurned me to write this? (Dean Burnett spurred)

I might write a book about train conductor's English. Today we had apologies for the "sincere delay" that we "incrued". (@NickThornsby severe, incurred)

normative for normal, typology for type, seismological for seismic, methodology for method (Hugh Pearman)

I think it’s quite simple – obviously in a quite flamboyant style. (Antiques Roadshow)

Will such justice be metered out to our teams? (Tim Wonnacott meted)

Painting of Ophelia Recreated as Mural on Boat Roof (Murals go on the walls – les murs.)

fighting a dual (New Scientist duel)

Does Renoir’s pallet hold the clue? (Philip Mould palette)

missed guided: misguided
well-healed: rich (well-heeled)
gin up on: gen up on

blight: plight (Iris’s blight is interesting.)
cellulite: celluloid (Bargain Hunt)

laughing historically: hysterically
Bruce Brainsfather: Bairnsfather (Bargain Hunt)
crapulous: crapey

monasteries were raised to the ground: razed
amphibious: for ambidextrous
please bare with me: bear

art décor:
art deco
upper nova garage door: up and over
deep-seeded: deep-seated (say it in an American accent)

Miss Marples:
Miss Marple
withdrawl: withdrawal
ball out: bawl out

And nobody knows what “cognitive dissonance” means. They use it to mean “denial”. (People go into denial to avoid cognitive dissonance – holding two contradictory ideas at once. Dissonance is the opposite of harmony.)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

At Macdonalds

OK, I'm a bit deaf. Especially when there's a lot of background noise.

Me: Filet of fish and a milk, please.

Server: MIL?

Me: Yes.

Server: MIL?

Me: Yes, I said milk.

Server: DRINK?

Me: What?

Server: DRINK?

Me: I said MILK.

Server: Huh?


Server: Like this? [Gets kids' bottle of milk out of fridge.]

Me: Yes, fine.

Server: SOS?

Me: Eh?


Me: Oh, no thanks.

[She hands over the food.]

Me: You've given me fries - I didn't ask for fries.

Server: You said "IN A MIL".

[Removes fries, fiddles with till, calls over supervisor, explains problem. After about 5 minutes I'm refunded £1.01.]

So "In a meal?" means "Do you want fries with that?"

Monday, 2 November 2015

Inspirational Quotes 78

Shortage of comfortable ruts

It’s what’s on the inside that counts, we make our own reality, you'll be stronger on your own and the earth is flat.
He had no home, no car, no job, few friends. (Amanda Burton)

The present is apt to be parochial.
(Agatha Christie)

There are some people who will never see you as being good enough. That is their short-coming not yours. Be merciful enough to yourself to cut them out of your life. (Steve Maraboli)

There’s a terrible shortage of comfortable ruts. (Web commenter)

Cherry had never realized before how isolated one could feel in a  big city. (West End People by Peter Wildeblood)

Some people just want a nice life. They want to bring up their kids, have a job – that’s winning for them. (Alastair Campbell, BBC Breakfast)

Religion is full of poetry and magic. (David Baddiel)

My morality? Consequentialist moral philosophy, in which acts are moral or immoral depending on their consequences, for example whether they cause pain or bring happiness. (Richard Dawkins)

As [Barbara Ehrenreich] points out, [positive thinking] must ultimately be founded on the preposterous idea that your state of mind can change the world and overcome the contingencies of life... This is superstition, as is the entire positive thinking industry... More preposterously, there was the supreme expression of positive thinking that was The Secret (2006), a book by Rhonda Byrne. This exposed the superstitious roots of positive thinking by openly saying that there was a “law of attraction”, whereby the universe would materially reward your positive thoughts. (New Statesman)

When a celeb goes to a party “everything you would want from a party – love, sex, work, contacts, drugs and friends – they can find.” (Cosmo Landesman, Starstruck – on his parents' lifelong struggle to be celebs)

"Have you got one wish for the coming year, Sam Smith?" "I’d like a boyfriend."

Everyone must keep in mind that his personal behaviour reflects very much on his parents. (The Talmud gives a useful clue to your parents' odd opinion of your behaviour.)

We’ve spent years trying to harden lines that are actually quite blurred. (Subject on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates)

What could be more romantic than making long-term plans together? (Advert)

Next time your spouse is getting shouty, why not tell them to calm down? It won’t have occurred to them & they will appreciate the advice! (Sanjeev Kohli ‏@govindajeggy )

It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It’s called living. (Terry Pratchett)

Females are placed under a lot of pressure to fit in, and I think that drives us to develop coping mechanisms... Female brains are better than male ones at storing up scripts in social situations.... I would observe people around me, see how they were behaving, and develop a script to get myself through it. (Hannah Belcher, a woman with Asperger’s, New Scientist 2015)

Modern enquiry... falls away into confusion... religiosity (virtually everything to do with consciousness), and cant... (New Scientist 2015)

In the countryside it’s much worse: people see you as a social pariah. You get the lunch slot: people don’t ask you to dinner because it’s all about place settings, and being single just doesn’t work. Besides, they’re scared you’re after their husbands. (Daily Mail)

Books and movies always highlight the big dramatic moments of our lives, but it’s in the stupid meaningless details where grief lives. (@KristenePerron)

Does over-prescription of CBT “as a treatment for distress” reflect “the misplaced assumption that the causes of distress are to be found within the person?" (Peter McKenna and Keith Laws in a Maudsley debate)

The thing that always gets me is the assumption that depression means that something’s automatically wrong with you and that it needs to be “cured” or “treated” or “therapied” until you’re some kind of 24/7 grinning loon, rather than a signal that there’s probably something not right about your situation and what’s happening to you. All the focus seems to be on eliminating the feeling, and not on whether or not the person’s actually got something to be depressed about. (Web)

One might argue that the assumptions of behaviourism are still alive and well within contemporary cognitive approaches. (The Psychologist)

Power relations are a feature of every workplace, particularly those with formal ranks and explicit hierarchies. Holding power means greater freedom to act, and this can have consequences on behaviour such as ignoring societal norms. As an example, one wonderful experiment revealed that powerful people are more likely than others to take more biscuits from a plate, eat with their mouths open and spread crumbs. (BPS Occupational Digest)

"College dropouts [which she is] always end up in either McDonald’s, KFC, or if they’re in America, Taco Bell,” she says. “Unless you’re really really clever, and you’ll still probably end up in Pizza Hut. Do you know what I mean?” (Sam Wollaston in the Guardian, March 2015, quotes a KFC worker)

[Murderesses] tended to be above average in physical attractiveness, which may have helped to engender trust in their victims. (BPS Research Digest)

It’s so weird wearing a suit on the train. I’m suddenly aware of the businessmen giving me a “one of us” nod. (@greg_jenner)

This will bring back into play that old Protestant meaning in the word (economy), overlaid with ideas of delayed gratification, moderation and self-sacrifice being goodly, godly and rewarding in themselves. (Michael Rosen in the New Humanist)

More here, and links to the rest.