Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Inspirational Quotes 58

Looks don't matter
I wish common sense was more common. (@BarryNSmith79)

 I get more done by being pleasant, respecting others and candour than implementing any of the crap "management" books tell you to do. (Scarlet Wilde)

“Better-looking people really are happier. There is no question about that. As well as all the other direct effects, such as increased income and improving success in the marriage market, it also makes you happier, because you also feel better about yourself.” (Professor Hammermesh, author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful)

A young woman I know who works for a media company has just been taken to one side by her boss and told that although her work is entirely satisfactory, there is a problem. She doesn’t chat enough… If you don’t talk, people don’t like you much. My young acquaintance tells me she is now putting aside small amounts of time every day for dedicated chatter. She now treats talk as a type of work, and does it with the same conscientiousness she does everything. (ft.com Feb 2014)

It’s not just that Mormons have developed a “pioneer spirit” or that they believe that they can receive divine revelations, as Triple Package would have us believe. It’s more that the first Mormons started with enough money to buy a great deal of land in Missouri and Illinois. They then migrated to Utah, where Brigham Young and his followers essentially stole land from the Shoshone and Ute tribes, refusing to pay what the tribes demanded, and petitioning for the government to remove them. Beyond thousands of acres of free land, early political control over Utah was helpful. (Slate.com on The Triple Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rosenfeld)

A book like The Triple Package, even if it takes pains to argue in non-racial terms, is an example of this sort of ethnocentric thinking writ large. And it is only the latest in a long line of books – spanning more than a century – arguing for the superiority of this or that American group over others. The roots of alleged superiority have changed over time from race to class to IQ to religion and now to culture. (Suketu Mehta, Time, Jan 2014)

It’s not about being judged on how you look, it’s about presentation, getting a job and finding a partner.
(Presenter of My Tattoo Hell on BBC Breakfast, January 28, 2014 So it’s about being judged on how you look, then? It's a bit it like saying “we don’t have a class system any more, it has completely disappeared, but people are still terribly snobbish about what you eat, where you go on holiday and how you decorate your house.”)

Greenwich Village “became a sleazy theme park of itself.” (Maria Muldaur, Jan 2014)

I am from the 1950s. I like conversation and then I like going to bed early and then I like getting up and sitting with a family around breakfast. And I like singing and I like dancing and I like sitting in a garden and I like reading a book and – I dunno, is that old-fashioned? I think I am a product of my age and my upbringing. (Peter Mandelson July 11 10)

That’s another kind of conversation that many women engage in which baffles many men: talk about details of their daily lives, like the sweater they found on sale — details, you might say, as insignificant as those about last night’s ballgame which can baffle women when they overhear men talking. These seemingly pointless conversations are as comforting to some women as “troubles talk” conversations are to others. So maybe it’s true that talk is the reason having a sister makes you happier, but it needn’t be talk about emotions. (NYTimes)

Words of wisdom from an elder in the office: "People generally need three things in life. A mentor. A scapegoat. And someone to hate." (@CharlesCumming)

His existing dilemma is one that is rarely discussed: when do artists cut their losses and abandon their careers? (Guardian review of “failing folk singer” tale Inside Llewellyn Davies, Jan 2014)

Every age invents its own past. (Guardian Jan 2014)

Robbie Coltrane had been thumped about by his dad until the day he was big enough to thump him back. (Guardian Jan 2014 So much for “violence never solved anything”, “ignore bullies” – even “personality is more important than looks” - and even “size doesn’t matter”!)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Building Euphemisms


“In the 1960s, ‘Victorian’ and ‘monstrosity’ were two words that seemed to be inextricably linked... Victorian was fusty, excessive, old, impractical, self-indulgent, snobbish, aloof architecture, utterly opposed to the age of space travel.” (bbc.co.uk Feb 08)

“'Multi-utility diversionary solutions', say the signs. This appears to mean 'Digging up the road'.” (@hughpearman)

“They're 'upgrading' i.e adding more shops to the station.” (@entschwindet/Douglas Murphy)

“English Heritage once reported that the 200-year-old Dalston Terrace houses were ‘remarkable survivors of Georgian architecture’. Sadly, since the Council acquired them in 1984, their chances of survival diminished year on year. Hackney did nothing to preserve them despite its vacuous platitudes about "championing the historic environment" and wanting a "conservation-led scheme".” (opendalston.blogspot.co.uk)

“Hackney council is poised to knock down 16 houses in Dalston Lane thought to date from 1807 and replace them with new buildings in ‘heritage likeness’.” (Hackney Gazette, January 2014) After loud protests, the terrace is still there, and may be restored. (But of course protest never changed anything.)

“Oh please! Not another ‘business district with a riverside park lined with cafes and restaurants’.” (Twitter)

Gehry Scales Back Canadian Skyscraper to Be “More Realistic” Dezeen headline July 2014

“The epicentre of this scene is a fine deli. Nearby there's a place selling crepes, a great coffee shop, and very recently a high-end restaurant has just opened up. Even with all this, the area retains its character.” yelp.co.uk (Presumably meaning “a few relics of working-class life”.)

What a brilliant euphemism: some parts of Greenwich Park will be "preserved by record" – it means "destroyed"! (ND)

From dorisandbertie.com:
Well-presented: painted magnolia throughout
Truly well-presented: as above but with fake wooden flooring
This apartment also benefits from excellent proximity to the local first-rate amenities: This flat is next door to the Costcutter.
Charming: small.

Controversial Smithfield Market plans approved” BCOnline July 2013 (The Smithfield Market plans were a desecration of a historic building. They have been overturned.)

“This distinctly curvy (for Brutalism) and attractive building has been earmarked for redevelopment (i.e to be demolished).” londonist.com

“London’s skyline must evolve as our city grows.” (Boris Johnson 2014) He means “more skyscrapers”.

unnecessary burdens: “A typical euphemism for pesky safeguards and restrictions.” (Douglas Murphy/@entschwindet)

“Often a fancy term to describe how poor people are cleared from valuable land to make way for the rich.” (Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian May 2014)

improvement, regeneration: “The main shopping street had been pedestrianised and the Market Square had been turned into a kind of piazza with show-off paving and the usual array of cast-iron trimmings. The whole town centre seemed uncomfortably squeezed by busy, wide relief roads.” Bill Bryson returns to Dover after 20 years in Notes from a Small Island (1995). (When and why did this become What To Do With Town Centres?)

“Pushing the existing community out to neo-banlieues.” (New Statesman)

what we need in our streets:
“Gentrification, obviously.” (@owenhatherley, commenting on the Stirling Prize for architecture)

More euphemisms here, and links to more.