Monday, 24 June 2013

Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 7


Do you remember the good old days? Shop staff were rude and unhelpful, and if you absolutely had to talk to a stranger you approached them with a frigid "Excuse me..." I do prefer today's friendly "Hello!", and cheerful shop staff.

“There’s still plenty of discrimination,” said Zachary. “But what’s changed was changed by law.” “And how does law get changed?” said Daffodil. “Social pressure.” (Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour)

1315 France prohibits slavery by royal edict
1794 French revolutionary government abolishes slavery
1802 Napoleon brings it back
1848 France abolishes slavery again

1822 Chinese Emperor Dao Guang bans acupuncture and moxibustion

1869 Tax on hair powder repealed

1885 Sir Nathaniel Rothschild made the first Jewish peer

1919 American women get the vote

1943 Nazi Germany demanded that Bulgaria deport its Jewish and Roma population to Nazi concentration camps. Tsar Boris III, then King of Bulgaria, refused, thus saving the lives of Bulgaria’s Roma and Jewish communities. (via Pipopotamus/Philip Borev)

1970s White Australia policy ended

1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act outlaws gin traps and killing wildlife with a bow and arrow

1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child “the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.” Unicef has the details.

1989 Law against fortune telling repealed (Part of the Vagrancy Act of 1824)

1990 Checkpoint Charlie dismantled

1990 Capital punishment abolished in Ireland
2002 Constitutional ban on death penalty in Ireland

LESS THAN CHEERFUL

1503 James IV and Margaret Tudor are married. A Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England lasts ten years. (@Suburbman/Hamish Thompson)

1965 Catholic cardinals cease to wear the galero (an elaborate red trilby)

2013 Putin outlaws gays, gay activists and “religion insulters”

Part 6 here, and links to the rest.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Whatever Happened To...? 23


American surrealist Philip C. Curtis
aquamusicals
ashtrays made of checkerboard marble

banshees (gone the way of throwing salt over your shoulder)
barrel organs
birettas and flat priests’ hats
bizarre courtesy of men half-rising when introduced to someone
black towels
blueprints 
brushing your baby’s hair into a quiff
burning stubble
butter knives (and butter curls and butter pats)

cabbage stalks
calling girls Sorrel, Bryony and Fern (replaced by Willow and…)
chain letters
chops
cocktail parties (not missed)
cold soup
confetti, defacing the bridal “going away” car with JUST MARRIED signs, throwing old shoes
cottage hospitals
cubbyholes (in public loos etc where functionaries made tea on gas rings)

dinner gongs (reborn as meditation aids)
Distressed Gentlefolks' Aid Association (still going as Elizabeth Finn Care)
Dvorak keyboard

electronic publishing
Ensor
executive information systems that worked through touch screens because executives were too grand to use keyboards

fatalism (Perhaps we don't need it any more.)
fear of draughts
Frankenfoods - oh, they're back.
French manicures (Haven't they gone yet?)
fruit salad with kirsch

gammon steaks (especially with pineapple)
Gauloises Disque Bleu
Greek dancing (Was assimilated by “contemporary dance”, which was assimilated by ballet.)
green cars (and orange, red, blue, ochre, brown…)

happenings
HEP (hydro-electric power – still there, but people don’t go on about it like they used to)
Hirondelle wine (70s)

information technology
itinerant knife-grinders
itinerant nuns selling handmade and embroidered baby clothes
itinerant onion sellers (dressed as “Frenchmen” on bicycles in stripy Breton jersey and Basque beret. 50s.)

Kilvert’s Diary (Boring diary by a 19th century parson, inexplicably popular in the 70s.)
laundry baskets
legitimate aspirations (of a union's members)

Meltonian Shoe Cream
monobrows
negative ions (given off by a water feature or indoor fountain, they were good for you)
official photographs of people talking on the telephone (holding a huge ancient handset to their ear)
old lady flower sellers

people who refused to leave messages on these newfangled answering machines
phrenology
pine essence
police dogs
proper French mustard
Rolodexes
rubber flooring

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
scrapbooks (You bought them in Woolworths and were supposed to stick in cheese labels, beer mats, newspaper clippings etc. What fun we had.)
self-control (became attention management)
serving hatches (some people are putting them back in – allegedly)
soapbox derbies (too dangerous)
sunbathing (became St Tropez tan)
synergy

Tab cola
telegraphic addresses
telling people their hair was in “rat’s tails”
terrible written imitations of Irish accents (hould for hold etc)
that occult shop opposite the British Museum
the magical “black box” (still around, unfortunately)
the Establishment
the human potential movement (Potential for what? Where did it move to?)
toile de Jouy
TVP – texturized vegetable protein

unions with names like NUPE
vaulting horses
video links (now Skype)
Viewmasters
watercress

When did people start serving grapes with cheese?
Where did “cava” come from?


More here, and links to the rest.

Inspirational Quotes Part 37

Proper love should be utterly supportive and comfortable, like a raincoat or a jacket potato. (Olivia Colman, G May 2013)

When you make me hurt you I'm doing it because I love you and want you to learn to behave. (Rosa Rubicondior)

Appearances are everything if one is clinging onto one’s dignity. (Woman at French food bank, BBC)

Never held down a relationship. (Alcoholic at soup kitchen, BBC)

We are wired to seek a romantic partner in such a powerful, fundamental way that we even get a considerable kick out of doing it by proxy. (tvtropes)

Even tiny, seemingly silly arguments can have the most cumulatively corrosive effect. (India Knight 2013-05-05)

Social cognition research has shown how we adopt mental "scripts" for different aspects of our lives (BPS Digest May 2013)

I had to listen while my manager told one of my holiday stories as his own. (BBC Breakfast May 2013 )

And yet loneliness is made as well as given, and at a very early age. Deprive us of the attention of a loving, reliable parent, and, if nothing happens to make up for that lack, we’ll tend toward loneliness for the rest of our lives. Not only that, but our loneliness will probably make us moody, self-doubting, angry, pessimistic, shy, and hypersensitive to criticism. Recently, it has become clear that some of these problems reflect how our brains are shaped from our first moments of life… It’s tempting to say that the lonely were born that way—it’d let the rest of us off the hook. … Care for a pet or start believing in a supernatural being and your score on the UCLA Loneliness Scale will go down. Even an act as simple as joining an athletic team or a church can lead to... “molecular remodeling.” newrepublic.com

The media industry is high-status, but, at least early on, very low pay. (atlanticwire.com)

Second marriages don’t have to happen at all. The clocks have ticked, the children have appeared and all societal pressure has been removed — giving you a better chance at a union that happens because you really want it to, rather than because of duty or mores. India Knight 2013-05-05

I was in a bedsit in North London working at a book shop. No money, no girlfriend and not many friends. (Psychotherapist James Davies, Times May 2013 He sent his SOAS dissertation to Oxford, was accepted there and “my life changed”. That’s right, he didn’t change his attitude, he didn't try to change himself, he didn’t try to be happy with what he had, he did something that changed his life.)

These women won’t know your past, your dreadful indiscretions, your previous girlfriends, your wretched dating history. They won’t be able to place you socially, and your mother and friends will struggle to rate them… They are outside the system, and, in their eyes, you are a blank slate, able to rewrite your past, even your own character. And the longer you keep them away from your friends, the more you can reinvent yourself and your life. If all goes well, you become exotic by proxy… (Philip Delves Broughton in the Daily Telegraph on why Englishmen marry foreigners)

Rumsfeld’s speech was not gobbledegook but a lucid, even brilliant, exposition of a complex idea: (Oliver Kamm, Times May 2013)

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.


Part 37 here, and links to the rest.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Avoid the Scourge of the Tautology Plague

Karl Marx started it off with: “A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of communism.” And now people write “the spectre of AIDS” when they just mean “AIDS”.


[Erotic puppeteer] Mr. Binkster has sought to teach the people of Puerto Rico to confront their inner demons, to love and not fear the miasma of sexual energy... (Fox News)

In this sort of auction, one never needs to fear the miasma of bankruptcy or foreclosure. (borhanns.blogspot.com) (It's bankruptcy that one fears.)

Although 7,853,787 bunnies have been destroyed in Australia since the Rabbit Nuisance Act passed, the rabbit plague is on the increase. (Rabbits are on the increase.)

The terrible scourge [the Black Death] killed x million people (Fortean Times, October 2011, paraphrase) The Black Death/epidemic/plague killed etc We know a scourge is something terrible, you don’t need to point it out. And if you tell us that an epidemic killed X million people, you don’t need to say it was a “scourge”.

The rot of corruption went to the top. (Corruption went to the top – corruption is rot.)

Crisis argues that instead of doubling its efforts to end the "scandal" of homelessness, the government is in effect making it impossible for those on low incomes to pay their rent. Guardian August 31, 2011 (Crisis wants to end homelessness, which it thinks is a scandal.)

Save Aduga and her cubs from the threat of extinction. (They mean “from possible extinction”.)

The prospect of war could yet be avoided. (War could etc)

More tautology here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Too, too devastating



If you tell us how much destruction was caused by the flood, tornado or tsunami, there's no need to say it was "devastating".

Every tree has been stripped of its leaves, after a devastating tornado in April 2011. (Telegraph March 2012)

There was a catastrophic epidemic that killed 20,000 in Palermo alone.

The catastrophic fire of 1917, which razed much of the city… (Spectator Nov 2011)

devastating floods that left 1,000 acres of farmland unusable

The devastating crash of 2008 Robert Peston 27 Mar 2013

The "devastating explosion" on the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010 caused the worst offshore oil spill in US history and killed 11 men. (The Week)

a deadly battle in which 1,000 were killed


The brutal 1960-1996 civil war in which 200,000 people were killed. (And there are no gentle civil wars.)

More tautology here.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Yet More 70s Decor


Wearing a tweed solar topee and a denim smock,
you looked round your open plan living space and admired the:


pottery owls (They’re back.)
basketwork wallpaper in black and gold
decoy ducks
enamel advertising sign
East European folk art
Gingham (in brown, green and yellow)
crocheted fungi
mushroom guest towels
brass bedstead
stripped pine kitchen
cream tiles decorated with tureens, mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers
orange Le Creuset

More 70s decor here. And here.

Badly Dressed Boy II


1. trousers belted under a beer belly

2. sleeveless jersey

3. tight trousers on older men

4. short-sleeved clerical shirt

5. There is an upper age limit for shorts.

6. long hair with a suit

7. grey loafers

8. shortie overcoat

9. white nylon turtlenecks worn with sidewhiskers (late 60s)

10. frilly evening shirt with velvet bow tie (late 60s)

11. bottomless glasses

More fashion faux-pas here.