Monday 29 June 2015

Yet More Corny Old Jokes

Lecturer: I found your book very difficult to understand.
Philosopher: Oh, THANK you!

Philosopher: We have one solipsist in the department and he's elderly. We look out for him because, y'know: when he goes we all go... (Sam Leith ‏@questingvole)

An Oxford professor’s highest accolade was to mark an essay “B+++?+”.

Are you a genie?

I’m a genius!
Do you grant wishes?

I wish for grants.

Professor 1: I have some interesting conundra about pendula.
Professor 2: We have better things to do than sit on our ba doing sa.

Why are there no decent chemistry jokes? Because all the good ones argon.
(Michelle Martin ‏@m000sh)

I heard that Oxygen and Magnesium were going out, and I was like “OMg”.

What do grammarians want?
Government by, with or from the people, to or for the people.

You remind me of the sea.Wild and romantic?
No, you make me sick.
My wife's going to America. Which state?
Alaska. Don't bother, I was just making conversation.
(Dave Turner ‏@mrdaveturner)

Concerned onlooker to soldier back from Dunkirk: What was it like?
Soldier: My dear! The noise! And the people!

Diner: Waiter, waiter, this coffee tastes like mud!

Waiter: Well, sir, it was only ground this morning...

Customer: Waiter, do you serve crabs?

Waiter: We serve everyone, sir.

Q: What do you get if you cross an octopus with a chimpanzee?
A: A cessation of funding and a stern rebuke from the ethics committee.
(Geoff Robbins ‏@_TheGeoff)

Man to young lady who has fallen over: Can I help you – I saw your predicament?
Young lady: Well, if you were a gentleman you wouldn’t mention it!
(Donald McGill)

In the US Tax Court

Witness: As God is my judge, I do not owe this tax.

Judge: He’s not. I am. You do.

Counsel: You've a remarkable intelligence for someone of your background.

Witness: Thanks. I'd return the compliment, if I wasn't under oath.
(both from Gary Slapper ‏@garyslapper)

An incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for months or years.
A competent lawyer can delay one even longer.

A lawyer went swimming off the Australian coast and the sharks never touched him.
Why? Professional courtesy.

Why is the London Overground like a fish scale? Because it's a whale weigh!

Sign outside dancing school: GONE CHOPIN, BACH IN FIVE MINUETS


Get me a crocodile sandwich and make it snappy!
I like Waitrose.  It keeps the riff-raff out of Fortnum's.

Jokes about white sugar are rare, but brown sugar - Demerara.
Your teeth are like stars - they come out at night.
You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.

Doctor, doctor, I’ve got Bright’s Disease and he’s got mine!
Meetings: where people take hours to take minutes.

Why are there no horses in the Isle of Wight? They prefer Cowes to Ryde.
Why are there no aspirins in the jungle? Because the parrots et’em all.

Don’t trust atoms – they make up everything.
Euripides trousers? Eumenides trousers!!!
(Douglas Murphy ‏@entschwindet)

The train now standing at platforms 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 has come in sideways.
Will the passengers taking the train on Platform 9 please put it back.

My paper aeroplane won't fly. It's completely stationery.

Old demographers never die. They just get broken down by age and sex. (@conradhackett)

If it wasn’t for Venetian blinds it would be curtains for all of us. (efrog@cix

What do ghosts eat? Ghoulash!

Two silk worms have a race. It ended in a tie.
I phoned the local ramblers club today and this bloke just went on and on...
Aeroplane theft – it’s taking off.
Exit signs – they’re on their way out.
(from the MD of

Nathan Rothschild, of the legendary financial family, is at work at his desk in London. A peer of the realm is brought in. Rothschild, intent on his ledgers, invites him to take a seat. Offended, the visitor blusters about his high standing. "Take two seats," Rothschild says.

Queen Victoria is seated at a banquet next to a Russian dignitary.
Queen Victoria: And how do you like Britain?

Russian: I like it veeeeeery much. There’s just one thing. Your place names! They are so long!
Queen Victoria: So long???
Russian: Yes: Leeeeeeeds, Baaaaaaath! In Russia: Ekaterinoslav.
(Brahms and Simon)

One Christmas Day at Jesus College in Cambridge, staff have the day off, and the phone lines are all plugged through to the Master's Lodge. The phone rings:
Caller: Hello, is that Jesus?Master: Yes. Can I help you?
Caller: Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You...

Two elderly Victorian ladies exit a production of Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra: “How different, how very different from the home life of our own dear Queen.”


Our local theatre is threatened with closure. The director has asked the council to act. They say they will, as soon as they have finished looking into the holes that have appeared in the High Street.
And some burglars have taken all the loos from the local police station. The police say they have nothing to go on.

Egg left at crime scene. Police scramble resources.

A tall man and a midget are suspected: police are looking high and low.

In later news: A milk float and a lorry carrying eggs crashed in the High Street this evening. Police have taken both drivers into custody. (from RN and MB)

Two hippies harangue their school-uniformed son about banning the bomb, free love and saving the planet.
Small boy: Mother, father, must you go on so?
(Old Private Eye cartoon by Michael Heath)

More here, and links to the rest.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Grammar: Clichés 3

"One of the largest figures in politics today"

Can we stop saying politicians "toured" a flood-affected area? It's not a tourist attraction. It's a natural disaster. (Ryan Kessler @therkess)

Why is mercury always set to plummet and cold weather to sweep across the country in tabloid journalism? (Caroline Mansfield ‏@LadyofMisrule)

How are we entwined? Inextricably. What are our rows? Furious. Where are we teetering? On the brink. (Sam Leith @questingvole)

Faceless estates, suburban sprawl, soulless financial districts. (Feargus O'Sullivan ‏@FeargusOSull)
Modernist architecture is soulless and oppressive and ugly. (

Love way people turn into cod-Jane Austens when writing dating site profiles: 'Confess I have a penchant for exploring and am a tad flighty'. (@MarkOneinFour)

Why would anyone just "say" anything? Not when you can retort, argue, groan, sputter, question, posit, avow, crow, declare and implore. (Typical YA Heroine ‏@TypicalYAHero)

By law, every story about silly urban development schemes must quote some local booster dreaming of putting their neighborhood "on the map". (@davidjmadden Apr 5)

BAFTA tweets are all saying “X is the best at what he does”.

There should be a rule that you can only say 'This is where the magic happens' if you are literally gesturing at a wizard's lair. (Rebecca Davis ‏@becsplanb)

I'm all for free speech, but I would support an absolute and permanent ban on disgraced people saying "I'm not perfect" in speeches. (Derek Thompson ‏@DKThomp)

By the way, a footnote: not all 20-year-olds are "fresh-faced". (@DAaronovitch)

‘Symbolizing fertility’ is often scholar-speak for ‘not terribly sure what’s going on’ (see also: ‘apotropaic’ and ‘ritualistic’). (

'Talks'. There's either a 'breakthrough', or they 'collapse in acrimony'. (Hugh Pearman)

If “big” means “important”, how do you say something’s “large”?
There are significant pockets of people that have decided to forgo the immunisation process. (Skeptic March 2015): sizeable pockets

the water rises more: it rises higher

The Ringways awoke a great level of protest. People campaigned heavily against the destruction of their neighbourhoods, and the plans were abandoned in 1973. (Douglas Murphy in the Guardian April 2015): high level, campaigned strenuously

The number of objects is so big that... ( Numbers can be high or low.
Bones have a bigger story to tell. (Secrets of Bones): a more important story
London’s massive housing shortage: severe

Whether or not you like Hillary Clinton, it’s impossible to deny that she is one of the largest figures in politics today. ( most significant

This was a huge milestone. (Nature’s Miracle Orphans): significant
“We think it’s a very large milestone,” says Claudia Angeli of the University of Louisvillle [talking about the injured possibly re-learning to walk].

Some big things have been changing, however. (
Another big reason [for village desertion] is a change of farming. (Mick Aston)

Small-scale gold mining may be a big source (of mercury). (New Scientist Aug 2014: They mean “source of a large amount”.

There were big restrictions on the tube network: severe
He made some big points: important

a growing glut of contentious sites (Independent) Once you’ve got a glut, you’ve reached saturation – or surfeit. A glut can’t grow (and it certainly can’t deepen).

All that money comes at the heaviest possible price. (Prices rise or fall, are high or low – not heavy or light. Losses can be heavy, you can pay a heavy toll.)
That translates into greater access to heavily white neighbourhoods with good public schools. (Time, Jan 2014)

Interactive map shows how income inequality has deepened across the globe. (Andy Pakula ‏@apakula): The income gap widened.
The housing crisis continues to grow: worsen
It is 50 years ago that Dutch elm disease began to erupt here (Times Feb 2015): emerge, attack, spread, proliferate
London’s Urban Beekeeping Scene Is Exploding ( (expanding rapidly)

In 1536 Henry VIII's Parliament passed an act which saw the Dissolution of the Monasteries. (English Heritage): led to

a brutal duel, a brutal game of cat and mouse (Ben McIntyre on Kim Philby Both duels and games of cat and mouse are gentlemanly and refined, not brutal. How about “ruthless”?)
California is currently laboring under a brutal drought. (Jezebel Mar 2014): extreme, severe
a brutal winter storm: severe
Remember that Europe has just come out the other side of a world war and a brutal flu epidemic. ( Here’s a place for deadly or devastating.

Nature documentaries must say “teeming with life” at some point, and use Tennysonian phrases like “summer’s bounty”.

“Their most precious harvest” – someone turns over a piece of honeycomb slowly and reverently. “Harsh realities are never far away – even the summer nights hold an unwelcome chill.” “After dark, the village takes on a siege mentality. The villagers close themselves off from some very unwelcome visitors – Asian black bears. It’s not just bears on the prowl. Foxes take their pick… in the shadows an even more sinister presence is lurking.” “A devastating intensity – a botanical wonderland – coaxing new blooms from the rich glacial soil...” (All from Wild India. Nobody talks like this.)

End your nature or science doc with the words “…in ways we (or scientists) are only just beginning to understand”.
Don’t forget that dinosaurs “reigned” for 65 million years, or perhaps “ruled the earth”.

Science writers are still trying to make dramatic events more exciting.
Entities don’t take in, ingest or inhale, they suck or gulp. They don’t emit or exhale but belch, spew or burp.

Meanwhile, it sucks down Amazon adverts from the cloud. (Steven Poole, Guardian 2013)
Offshore wind farms could suck enough power from a hurricane to reduce its impact on land. (
This environmental catastrophe involves sucking millions of tons of small fish out of the sea and crushing them into fish oil and dry feed for farmed fish, pigs and chicken. (Isabel Oakeshott, Sunday Times Jan 2014) Try draw or extract.
Eruptions spew from these gashes.
The Lea then flows through a once heavily polluted former industrial area before belching its silt into the Thames in London’s old docklands. ( Try "discharging".

There’s a kind of mission-statement speak with a long list of aims that are utterly vague – all about people being “passionate” or “messianic” about what they do, and companies having a “flexible response”, instead of actually doing anything.

It's a bit of an outrage with new towers going up in London sitting empty. (Don’t towers “stand empty”?)
The stones of Stonehenge “and the wider landscape in which they sit”. (They stand. They’re standing stones.)

Dictators are toppled, markets tumble, plummet or plunge. Like “do battle” for “fight”, does it sound more dramatic than “fall” or “drop”?
There’s no need to smash or shatter a record – breaking a record is breaking a record, and it’s exciting enough. You might break it by miles, of course, but all you’ve done is break it.

Who are these people who say that romance is dead? Where is their research? And do we all need our faith in human nature restored? More restoration: anything to its former glory, your faith in anything. (The only one I hate more is “lulled into a false sense of security”.)

Why “unbridled” lust? “Bridle the incitements to lust.” (Origen, De Principiis. In Ireland, there’s a sculpture of lust wearing a bridle. About 800 years after Origen.)

Tender age doesn’t just mean “age”. You can die at the tender age of 5, or ironically at the tender age of 76.

If you want to be flowery, beginning writers and artists are “budding artists” etc. Their talent may “blossom”. “Blooming marvellous!” They may form a “burgeoning movement”, or a “flowering of talent”. If unlucky, they may “wither on the vine”.

If you want to sell toiletries to women, you must claim they are “gentle – not like harsh old-fashioned products”.

Many people remain mired in poverty.
Wars are brutal, civil wars are bloody, gaps yawn, abuse is hurled.
Destroyed buildings are “left a smoking ruin”.
Poor driving conditions are treacherous, ice grips or entombs.
Fortunately choirboys are “suitably” seraphic, angelic or cherubic.

How exactly does one shove a belief down another person's throat?

Why is it always "Armageddon" and never "Ragnarok"?

No, no pranks are “hilarious”. No pranks are even funny.

More here, and links to the rest.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
Review for the Past Offences 1934 challenge

According to Martin Edward’s Golden Age of Murder (which I’ve just reviewed), Agatha Christie once found herself on the Orient Express surrounded by minor European royalty, rich Americans, missionaries and others. When the train was stuck in a snowdrift, she had an opportunity to observe her fellow passengers.

She was fond of the Orient Express: after the break-up of her marriage she travelled many times to the Near East, falling in love with cities like Baghdad and becoming fascinated by archaeological digs. On one of these trips she met her second husband, Max Mallowan. (And as Martin Edwards points out, she later got her revenge on Katherine Woolley, the selfish, domineering queen bee wife of the head of the expedition, who – apart from making everyone’s lives a misery for miles around – refused to let Christie join Max on the dig after they were married. Christie paints a vivid picture of her in Murder in Mesopotamia, though I don’t agree that the narrator, Nurse Leatheran, is a portrait of Christie herself. Christie had been a nurse, so the background rings true, but Nurse L is brisk and down-to-earth, and the distant past leaves her cold. We hope she eventually finds happiness with one of the dig’s bright young men.)

Back to the Orient Express. I love the book, but also enjoy listening to the BBC dramatised version with John Moffatt as Poirot. (The Albert Finney all-star film version left ME cold.)

Poirot is at the Tokatlian Hotel, waiting to board the Orient Express back to London. He observes some of his fellow passengers. Among them are:

Mr Ratchett, an American with his secretary, Hector McQueen

Edward Masterman, Ratchett’s rather fey English valet, who has a taste for romantic novels with titles like “Love’s Captive”

Mary Debenham, a “lady”
Colonel Arbuthnot, a “pukka sahib”

Mrs Hubbard, a typically fussy American tourist who doesn’t trust anything about “abroad”
Greta Ohlsson, a Swedish missionary who chums up with Mrs Hubbard

Princess Dragomiroff, an elderly Russian

Hildegarde Schmidt, her apparently dim-witted maid

The Count and Countess Andrenyi, a young Hungarian couple

Cyrus Hardman, a brash American salesman

Antonio Foscarelli

Also on the train are:
Pierre Michel, the conductor
M. Bouc, the director of the wagons-lits who also happens to be aboard
Dr Constantine


A mysterious woman who flits about the corridors in a red silk kimono, and a small man with a high voice – are they the same person?

Yes, the first-class coach gets stuck in a snow drift, and Ratchett is found dead in his compartment with multiple stab wounds. Mrs Hubbard throws hysterics, the Princess calls for mineral water, and M. Bouc begs Poirot to hold an inquiry. Clues abound, including a lace handkerchief, a uniform button, and a half-burned piece of paper which Poirot reconstructs using an old-fashioned hat box.

Who can have done the deed? Ratchett was a gangster who went in fear of his life, reveals McQueen. One by one the passengers tell their stories, and Poirot quizzes them about their dressing gowns. Are any of them what they seem? Piece by piece the truth is revealed, and finally aeroplanes are spotted – help is on its way! Poirot sees that justice is done, and the passengers all continue their journey to London. It's one of Christie's cleverest puzzles.

And it's set neither in a country house nor in a cosy village full of thatched cottages, please note. The characters are seen from outside: all we know about them is what they tell us, and what they reveal by their accents, manners, clothes and luggage. Is this what people mean when they call her characters "cardboard"? We are only privy to Poirot's thoughts, usually when he reveals them to a Watson figure, in this case M. Bouc.

“About Miss Debenham," said Colonel Arbuthnot rather awkwardly. "You can take it from me that she's all right. She's a pukka sahib."

"What," asked Dr. Constantine with interest, "does a pukka sahib mean?"

"It means," said Poirot, "that Miss Debenham's father and brothers were at the same kind of school as Colonel Arbuthnot was."

"Oh!" said Dr. Constantine, disappointed. "Then it has nothing to do with the crime at all."

"Exactly," said Poirot.”

More mystery here.

The Golden Age of Murder

Review of The Golden Age of Murder (by blogger and detective story writer Martin Edwards)

I really enjoyed reading this book – such a change from books on the Golden Age of detective fiction that repeat the lazy clichés and slurs: “the thatched cottage and village green stereotype associated with Golden Age novels by people who seldom read them.” They are also accused of being snobbish and racist: “Social status still counted for a great deal. Dorothy Sayers made her detective an aristocrat, which has prompted accusations of snobbishness. This criticism, like so many made of Golden Age writers, is simplistic and unfair.” However, “the attempts of members of all political persuasions to render the dialogue of working class people phonetically make a modern reader cringe”. (“I shuddered every time a rustic came on the scene,” said PG Wodehouse of Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon.) But though, for instance, Sayers includes plenty about the horrors of the First World War, Golden Age “novels are often sneered at as ‘cosy’, and the claim that their characters were made from cardboard has become a lazy critical cliché”.

Edwards has researched the members and doings of the Detection Club, based in London in the 20th century between the wars. “Sometimes memories proved maddeningly vague or erroneously definite,” he says. And only a few scraps of documentation remain – much was lost in the Blitz, or hidden for safety in a cache now forgotten. He branches off, following the fascinating and sometimes scandalous lives of the members.

They were initiated in an awe-inspiring ceremony involving a skull whose eyes lit up, and had to swear never to write unfairly about untraceable poisons or Chinese gangs. (The full list is here.) They also had to forgo: “Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God.” I had no idea it was such a friendly club: they met for dinner in Soho several times a year. (Though I could have done with less chortling about the amount of alcohol consumed.) So Christie was friends with Sayers and Chesterton and...? It explains the in-jokes about each others’ books and detectives. (Odd to think of Chesterton writing Father Brown stories in the 30s – with their copper-haired women in peacock blue drapery, they belong to the 1900s.) I also had no idea the Clubbers took the ceremonial so seriously: “‘Excited torchbearers are apt to spill hot wax all over one while arguing about procedure’ before the initiation ritual”, related Sayers.

They also discussed their craft, which many of them had taken up as a means of making money. They seized on forms and themes that were currently popular. They also promoted their own and each others’ books, staying in the public eye with articles, competitions and “stunt” books where each chapter is written by a different author (no conferring). They all read reports of recent murder cases, and tried to solve cold cases. Many hints at these turn up in their books.

The Detection Clubbers loved “placing murders in worlds they knew”: Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise evokes the gossipy atmosphere of the advertising agency that reminded her of an Oxford student common room. Like her heroine Harriet Vane, she later found a way back to Oxford and the academic life. (Though Vane wonders if you can really go home again.) One critic called Vane “‘the least real of your characters. At times she is a rather common tom-boy”! Harriet goes on a walking tour alone, carrying a backpack and wearing shorts – could this be her crime? Sayers’ motives for not sleeping with her lover John Cournos strike us now as absurd: using a condom would have the “taint of the rubber shop”. The relationship, with marriage offered as a “bad-conduct prize”, turns up disguised in Strong Poison. She later had a child outside marriage, managing to conceal the birth from her advertising colleagues.

A lot of space is given to Anthony Berkeley Cox, remembered now mainly for his “back-to-front” mysteries like Before the Fact, written as Francis Iles (he also reviewed books under this name). A troubled (code for “alcoholic”) man with a doomed passion for a married woman (her identity is teasingly concealed until later chapters), he had what we, flattering ourselves, would call “forward-looking” political ideas: “He argued in favour of equal pay for women, a minimum wage, fairer rents and worker participation on company boards. He also forecast the creation of a League of European Nations.” And “he identified areas of unfairness towards women that should be put right: the power of a husband to disinherit a faithful wife; restrictions governing the employment of women; and unequal pay for equal work...”

Surely Chesterton must have been conservative, like the Catholic Church? But no: “In 1922, Chesterton published Eugenics and Other Evils (the title speaks for itself) in the face of a tide of contrary opinion. As the reality of Nazism became clear, ‘progressive’ backers of eugenics melted away, and Chesterton was vindicated.”

It was the era of the Depression – how much has changed? Men were finding they were too old at 40 to find another job; another character realises that he can never become a barrister without private means. “The medicine of job losses, means testing and higher income tax was harsh.” Agatha Christie has characters reduced to selling stockings, or poetry, door-to-door; and Edwards denigrates the “glib assumptions of critics who claim that social comment is absent from Golden Age detective novels”. He concludes: “The widespread consensus that Christie and company never questioned the status quo is wildly mistaken.”

Christie’s disappearance is still a genuine mystery. She staged what could have been a murder: her car was found beside a lake, containing her fur coat, handbag and passport. Detectives and crowds of amateur helpers searched the area without success. Meanwhile, she was hiding out in Harrogate, and later claimed to have lost her memory. Newspapers helpfully printed photographs of her “disguised” with spectacles, hats and different hairstyles. Later, her avatar Ariadne Oliver (Third Girl) puts her hair in a bun and dons horn-rims to stalk a young man around Swinging London. Yes, really. (I'm sure I've solved the mystery – read about it here. Update: Lucy Worsley's recent biography convinces me I was wrong. Agatha was devastated by her husband's infidelity, tried to make away with herself, and travelled to Harrogate in a fugue state. She checked into an expensive hotel, bought new clothes and lived it up for a couple of weeks, not knowing who she was. Her memory returned gradually.)

An excellent film, Agatha, was based on her disappearance. But did “Agatha” have electro-convulsive therapy for depression? Electro-therapy is involved in the movie plot, but I won’t spoil it for you. Christie’s brother, Monty, used to “shoot at people passing the family home in Torquay – a hobby Christie gave to a character, decades later, in her play The Unexpected Guest.” She also paints a vivid portrait of him in The Sittaford Mystery, as a damaged ex-army man living in a cottage on Dartmoor with an Indian servant. 

I was delighted to learn that Margery Allingham “once said that [her detective Mr Campion] gave up detection when he was crowned King George VI”, although of course we know he had a distinguished wartime career in the SOE, and continued to solve puzzles after the war for the government and others.

I have just started reading some of HC Bailey’s short stories, featuring podgy forensic pathologist Reggie Fortune. “Shrouded in a fog of literary mannerisms, Fortune moans, murmurs and mumbles along, sighing regularly and harping on so much about his ‘simple mind’ that he risks becoming tedious.” Fortune, like J.P. Marquand’s Mr Moto, also casually murders perpetrators if he thinks they may escape justice: “Even during the Twenties, a strong sense of evil had pervaded H. C. Bailey’s writing...” 

As with any kind of literature, it helps to set the work in context. I would have loved an analysis of fashionable ideas (“The Rushworths are all over glands!”) and outfits (“She was wearing one of the new collegiate hats”) as displayed in Golden Age mysteries. And ways of living: spiritualism, boarding houses, girls in "bachelor flats"... Detective stories give so much more social comment and history than straight novels, which are probably aiming to be “timeless classics”. Perhaps another book?

I can’t help pointing out a few flaws: the historian is Philip Guedalla, not Guedella. “She would have the fashionable coiffeur of the day” – that’s “coiffure”. Christie dug at Arpachiyah, not “Arpichiyah”. Frederick Bywaters and Edith Thompson discussed feeding her husband ground (powdered) glass in his food, not “shards of broken glass” – ground glass was thought to be poisonous. But these slips are minor. Edwards has lifted the lid off the Detection Club, revealing personalities, alliances and many sidelights on the work. What's more, he thoroughly trashes the lazy view of the "cosy mystery". It’s a wonderful read.

More mysteries here.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Portmanteaus and Malaprops 4


Some people think they’ve won the argument by giving their opponents a pejorative portmanteau monicker (lamestream media, randiproles):
fauxminism (Louise Mensch)
leftard (Sarah Vine)

But some deserve it:
(Sathnam Sanghera)
Artwash: when property developers fund art events on sites due for high-end flats in the near future, just for marketing purposes. (Matthew Whitfield)

They pack two meanings up in one word, said Humpty Dumpty.


braunch (brunch and launch)
bromidioms (Gellett Burgess)

creteprint: printed concrete


eelsperts (Sumit Paul-Choudhary)

gaberchino (fabric)
gellac (gel+shellac nail treatment)

maskitecture (façadism)
No WWII fakeumentary is complete without a brace of earnest typists in full retrogalia. (RI)

oligarchitectural (Ian Martin)

pornaments (Alex Polizzi)


slurk: Before, during, and after that time, Ramsey had slurked around the Boardwalk day and night. (, skulk + lurk)

snarkolepsy (Amy Dentata)


Victorgians (Lee Jackson)

volcaniclastics (whatever they are)

wackaging (Jay Rayner)

(Sathnam Sanghera on the Apple watch.)

Mistakes that improve on the original.

add insult to energy (It’s “injury”.)

Chocs away! (Chocks – wooden wedges that stopped an early plane moving.)

contrivery for controversy

escutcheon tubes (Eustachian tubes, in your ears)

fall by the wasteside (wayside, Bible)

Gabrielle legs (cabriole)

Heineken manoeuvre for Heimlich

larva lamps (lava)

Men like to put women on a pedalstool (pedestal).

midrift for midriff

penelope for panoply
(“I’d like to see the whole penelope of wolves, bears etc.” Sunday Morning Live)

Renumeration for remuneration is common – but that’s just metathesis.

rest bite for respite

typo on TV screen caption: TONY ABBOTT PRIME SINISTER

warm holes: At the time of the flight… there was another “ship” passing through our system exiting to another dimension. Warm holes are all around the planet but humans can’t see them. (Alex from Turkey, Daily Mail comments)

You’re all two-faced Hippocrates! (hypocrites)

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 5 June 2015

Quietist Proverbs, Part 5

It's funny how uplift never mentions political realities.
Even more problematic is the hectoring way mindfulness is being propagated. To learn how to live in the moment as an individual can be liberating, but when your employer encourages you to do it, it gets creepy — the sinister implication being that they don’t want you to think about past problems or future challenges, and just want you to accept things as they are. (Sathnam Sanghera, Times Aug 2014)

You can get anything you want as long as you want what you can get.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you may get what you need. (Rolling Stones)

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

You can have anything you want as long as you want it enough. (And this magic carpet will take you anywhere as long as you don’t think of a purple cow.)

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.

The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is instead of what you want it to be. (Might work for a romantic relationship, but not for being bullied.)

Don’t compare yourself to other people, it’ll only make you unhappy. Forget it and move on.

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. (Lao Tzu)

Happiness is a direction not a destination.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at but a manner of travelling.

We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds. (Warren Buffett)

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensible part of happiness. (Bertrand Russell)

You can’t change other people,
but you can change the way you react to them.

Valerie, dear, it’s more dignified to keep silent. (Valerie Trierweiler, ousted first lady of France, has written a kiss and tell memoir. She wasn’t married to the President, so can’t claim half the Elysée Palace, or any alimony. I hope she makes lots of money.)

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. (Will Durant)

When someone hurts you, cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it! (That's not what it says in the song.)

Funny how violence is never the answer when used by oppressed people, and always the answer when used by the state. (Week of Ferguson events, August 2014, BGD ‏@BlackGirlDanger)

There was a really meaningful question asked. "Why is this all about controlling the anger instead of fixing the issues?" (In the week of the Ferguson protests, Kate von Roeder ‏@ItsDamiya)

Success is not just the accumulation of things. It is being able to spend our life in our own way. (Oh, so success is measured by the accumulation of things?)

Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. (Abraham Lincoln - or Winston Churchill? And if "success" now means "failure" what are you going to call "achieving what you set out to do"?)

I’ve failed over and over in my life – this is why I succeed. (Mark Twain - or was it the Dalai Lama? Or Groucho Marx?)

More here, and links to the rest.