Archive for April, 2007

Migrant ‘underclass’ to be probed

April 26th, 2007

Migrant ‘underclass’ to be probed

Phnar! As if the migrant underclass don’t have enough problems.


April 23rd, 2007

The abuse of the verb “decimate” has annoyed me over the years but its misuse in an article about eBay on the BBC news website today made me chuckle:

“Peter Jones says his business has been ‘decimated’, with sales down 90%.”

Mr. Jones has made the common mistake of equating decimation with annihilation, with the sense of “destroying a considerable part of”.

The verb “to decimate” means to reduce by 10%, so there is a poetic asymmetry in his misuse. The concept of decimation comes from the ancient Roman army, where it was used as a means of punishing the soldiers. It basically involved every tenth man, chosen by lottery, being clubbed to death by the other nine.

Brings a whole new meaning to the National Lottery’s old catch phrase: “It could be you!”

So from now on, please don’t misuse the verb “to decimate”.

Handy Household Hint

April 22nd, 2007

So when you decide to freshen up the house in anticipation of visits, remember to check that you are holding a bottle of Fabreze in your hand before you starting spraying the whole house, rather than after you finish.

Just in case it’s actually a bottle of stainless steel cleaner.


Musing #11

April 20th, 2007

Since parachutes are quite expensive, we should use a paradox instead in the event of an aeroplane losing the power of all its engines or even for recreation and fund-raising. The paradox is simply this: the closer you get to the ground, the slower you fall.


April 9th, 2007

I’ve just been to see the film 300.

I must say I really enjoyed it. The photography was magnificent and the battle choreography stylish and gruesome. A visual feast (unless you are afraid of the sight of theatrical blood). However, my attention to detail bordering on the pedantic way it does (as was once pointed out by a colleague whose attention to detail bordered on the myopic), I thought I would make a few points.

I didn’t really see the need to portray the Immortals as deformed ninjas; although, in fairness, Herodotus never said they weren’t deformed ninjas.

I’m not really sure why Xerxes was portrayed as a giant, gay underwear model.

I also don’t see why Ephialtes needed to be portrayed as a Welsh Quasimodo. I’m sure Herodotus would have mentioned if he was either Welsh or a hunchback.

We got to see the Arcadians. Leonidas does mention the Thespians but we didn’t get to see them. I guess they were at the back rehearsing.

All the Spartans in the film wear what is known nowadays as a “Corinthian” helmet. In reality the Spartans didn’t wear helmets. They wore a sort of cloth cap, but I guess that wouldn’t look so good in a movie, especially if Leonidas said: “Eeeeh, ere’s thi chance fert learn them Perrrsians a reet lesson!”

I think it’s a bit sad that despite making the supreme sacrifice, Leonidas is mainly commemorated with hand-made Belgian chocolates (not even hand-made Greek chocolates).

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I’m glad I’m leaving this country

April 2nd, 2007

So I’m moving to Spain, as many of you already know. Despite the title of this post, I’m moving for personal reasons, not because I don’t like this country. The UK and its people have been very good to me over the past few years and I have shown my gratitude by being a good citizen and by making a positive contribution to the economy and my local community.

However, I do think this country is going to the dogs.

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Musing #10

April 1st, 2007

Why do police sirens sound so camp? You’d think they’d have a more macho sound for the emergency services, instead of something that sounds like someone going: “Oooooooooooh, hark at her!” I think a more appropriate sound would be reminiscent of an East End of London diamond geezer growling: “Move it, you slag!”