Wednesday 28 February 2018

Inspirational Quotes 93

He's such a nice man, he's a good person, it was out of character, it was an isolated incident, he does a lot of work for charity...
Abusive men have many years of experience conning and convincing not only their victims, but friends, family, teachers, childcare workers and health professionals. (Guardian Dec 2015)

Previous convictions are, in practice, such a good indicator of guilt
that, in the jury's thinking, they're likely to swamp other considerations. (WS)

The idea that the prominent should be treated specially and be apologised to for being arrested allowed Jimmy Savile to escape. (Noel McGivern ‏@Good_Beard)

Partners who go in for “low-level sniping” are more likely to break up. (Times 2015)

Tom Attenborough was three weeks into his first term at university when he saw his childhood ambition [to be an actor] turn to dust...The rest of the cast were talented, too. In fact, he soon realised that they were far too talented. All of a sudden, he was out of his league. “I just realised I wasn’t very good.” (Times 2016)

Holly Woodlawn had not managed to parlay her downtown credentials into a full-blown career the way other Factory people had... People lived by any number of schemes and scams. Most of those people were living on welfare... (Observer magazine Jan 2016 suggests some alternative career paths)

My Generation-X contemporaries thought for a while that we could make a living telling each other stories of groovy modern alienation and ennui. In the end, it turned out only Douglas Coupland could do this. Personally, I thought I could run photography galleries. (Daily Telegraph Dec 2015)

"There is a school of writing which is obsessed with style, and they have a few friends who feel as they do. I think they are much too conscious of hierarchy.” She also says the literary scene has got “too pompous” and that Martin thinks himself a “grand old man of letters”. (Elizabeth Jane Howard on her stepson Martin Amis)

Doris [Lessing, her foster mother] thought me older, perfectly able to cope with the world... A nice study group seemed just the thing. In the druggy world, I was part of something, really for the first time. [She got a job as a secretary.] Deference didn’t work for me... or having to pretend that I had a full day’s work, when actually it could all be done in two hours and the rest of the day had to be spent pretending to be busy. (Jenny Diski)

To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. (Oscar Wilde)

Insecure bosses less likely to employ handsome men:
Most studies show that good-looking men get better jobs and higher salaries. “Such men generally do better in life, being treated better everywhere from restaurants to work.” (Times Dec 2015)

BE YOURSELF Your daughter needs to learn how to operate within the parameters of normal expectation [and write that thankyou letter]. (Mariella Frostrup)

"If you wish to inquire about anything, do not do it by asking a question; but introduce the subject, and give the person an opportunity of saying as much as he finds it agreeable to impart. Do not even say, 'How is your brother today?' but 'I hope your brother is quite well.'” (Early 19th century etiquette book)

Those who behave rudely in the workplace experience stronger social support, which probably makes them less afraid of negative reactions to their behaviour from managers. (Eva Torkelson, Times Dec 2015) She says negative behaviour in the workplace spreads as people imitate each other (and cruel banter may make you more popular).

Always upsetting reading about the search for an autism 'cure'. 
That would be pretty much everyone in science, tech & engineering gone. (James Wong ‏@Botanygeek)

Just noticed how often mental health services are like Giles in Buffy S6: "I don't want to disempower u so will leave u to face apocalypse on your own". (@TheBeetleBox)

Mindfulness, i.e. a conditioning technique designed to help you accept unacceptable situations with a beatific smile. (@AlexPaknadel)

Wonder how many times people think someone is being rude or anti-social when really they are being anxious? (@matthaig1)

Most cargo cults in the South Sea died out fairly quickly because no cargo arrived: it was really hard to continue fooling themselves. (David Didau)

Lack real intelligence? Compensate with multiple intelligence! Always in psychology textbooks, because any comforting notion deserves mention. (James Thompson ‏@JamesPsychol)

I went with my children to Nando’s and they took on that air of importance that people have when they are introducing you to a ritual that they have mastered and you have not. (Daniel Finkelstein)

The one thing people on either side of the political spectrum all agree on is that the BBC is terribly biased against them. (Sam MacGregor ‏@samjustsamyeah)

I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books. (C.S. Lewis)

It’s safe to say I didn’t have a very good experience with the NHS. I was told no one would ever love me and I would be neither man nor woman. (Transgender woman who is training to be a ballet dancer, Times Feb 2016)

Nicola reminded me how she had first been to our family home as a 14-year-old schoolfriend in 1978. How, in a much colder, more uptight, less accepting time, our house had been a friendly, welcoming, tolerant place, full of fun and chat and debate among all manner of visitors. (Robert Crampton 2016 on the Good Old Days)

Loving the book "Party Animals" by @DAaronovitch. Turns out a communist upbringing is so like a Jehovahs Witness's. (@Tamethyst1)

Top tip: just because you aren’t ‘outraged’ by something, it doesn’t mean that anyone else’s outrage is false (faux, if you must). (@PaulbernalUK)

More here, and links to the rest.

Sunday 25 February 2018

Neologisms 19

privately educated mediocrities (Matthew Sweet)
crudifying (HP)
cultural taxidermy

electric vomiting (EK on thrash metal)
She’s about to get on my last nerve! (MI)
Critically speaking, I’m an onion in the petunia patch.
They’re not picking up their end of the plank.

I’m greener than the Hulk
(with envy).
I got phoned by the head honcho with his hair on fire.
Poser Nostra (from Conservative Woman)
Conseillers de l'ombre (Marine Le Pen has "shadowy counsellors".)

A moron of the first water
He was so cross he was dancing the berserker.Defence officials were summoned to the chief for a “chest-poking”.
The nervous meowing of Early Music on Radio 3. (CB)

South London suburb currently being throttled by turbo-gentrification (

parodistique, abracadabrant, hexagonal, polar (A “hexagonal” novel is a French novel – look at the map, the country is hexagonal, sort of… And a "polar" is a roman policier.)

I enjoy looking around a coffee shop at the ppl. What’re they thinking? Some look ready to cash their chips in, others are animated. And some are eating Bakewell slices with all the finesse of cement mixers. (@Archangel_One)

This lot would be trying to march on Berlin with a plastic fork while simultaneously offering Hitler Scotland in exchange for peace. (Alex Harrowell‏ @yorksranter)

Professor Helen King, who took apart such claims in the academic equivalent of a Vulcan death grip… (Whores of Yore)

Congrats to synthbod gothgod industrial noisenik Gary Numan on his 800th gig. (Rupert Goodwins‏ @rupertg)

Nature red in mandible and pincer! (of a giant crab eating a bird) (@theAliceRoberts)

Twitter is the world’s cheapest focus group. (Andy Bodle)

I’ll need to Corbyn your drainpipe a bit.’ - a builder earlier today, meaning ‘move to the left’. (@PadraigBelton)

Turned on the telly to find a half hr infomercial for a microwave gadget. Am horrified yet awed by the general air of smiley halfwittedness. At opp end of spectrum, started watching film that sounded vaguely intriguing only to find in first 3 mins it was terrible art-school toss. (@lucyfishwife)

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Bathos 6

Bathos – expect the unexpected. Confucius started it with his famous saying: "There is no spectacle more agreeable than to observe an old friend fall from a roof-top." 

I had a time machine soon.
Hit the nail right on the thumb.
It works in practice, but will it work in theory?
She plumbed the shallows.
If you aren't happy with what you have, be thankful for what you escaped.
It looks hauntingly unfamiliar
. (FE)

Opening this box will result in death by electrocution and a £20 fine.
When they think you're being deep, don't open your mouth until their cheques have cleared.
Learn to laugh at yourself – we have!
Good luck, young man, you have a great future behind you.
Thank you for your support – I shall always wear it. (Old joke.)

For those not blessed with knowledge of pre-decimal currency, sixpence is about half an inch. (FB)
I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be. (Joan Didion)

The thing about Wagner is, however much of it may be lost on the listener, there's always plenty more left. (RI)

Folklore facts – Demons make excellent chefs. Most folklore facts were made up, this one is not an exception. (Thomas Brown‏ @GothicalTomB)

It thrived for a short period until public high schools became more popular, offering the same education for the low price of zero dollars. (Atlas Obscura)

Just caught up with the famous Katie H piece. Whatever you think of her views you have to admit that the woman writes unbelievably badly. (@DAaronovitch)

Communism is good in theory, but in practice it usually just ends up being destroyed in a military coup financed by the CIA. (Existential Comics ‏@existentialcoms)

Remember, kids: A-levels aren't the be all and end all to succeeding in life. You need to be skinny and good looking too. (Jason‏ @NickMotown)

Rumours that the Flat Earth Society once announced it had members all around the globe are sure to have been exaggerated. (Guardian)

I’m going to sing a duet with Elaine Paige. It’ll be a career highlight for one of us! (Julian Clary)

Punshon’s books have, until recently, passed out of print and remained there.

I have no wish to be published and, if any publishers read these stories, that wish will almost certainly be granted. (BH)

His books never failed to disappoint.

Three boos, by the way, to Frank Muir for failing to include even a snippet from [Ernest Bramah’s Kai Lung stories] in his otherwise dreadfully exhaustive The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose. (Dave Langford)

Remember kids, if you follow your dreams anything can happen. Just as long as your dream is to be as useful as possible to the bourgeoisie, so they pay you a bit better. (@existentialcoms)

Just remembered I've had half a bar of chocolate in my bag since 4pm, which has gone about as well as you'd expect really. (@JonnElledge)

They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now. (Bob Monkhouse)

Toby Young. A difficult man to ignore but I'm told it's worth the effort. (Bob Cryer‏ @bobbicee)

The dining room, deep in the hotel, is a broad space of high ceilings and coving, with thick carpets to muffle the screams. (Jay Rayner, Guardian)

‏Not that I care much about Kanye, but if your hot take on whatever he's doing now spells him "Kayne" I will be ignoring it with enthusiasm. (@lucyfishwife)

If you believe money doesn't bring happiness, feel free to transfer it to my account. (LC)

Man Needs Emotional Support Only A Woman Can Feign (Onion headline)

Nero's sidekick Petronius managed to keep his integrity and his life for several years with barbed remarks like these:

Maxwell House coffee – tastes as good as it smells!
Primark makeup is definitely Primark standard.

This building is as well-built as it is beautiful. (Barnabas Calder on an ugly building in Liverpool whose brick cladding is already falling off.)

The Irish are famous for a kind of statement that makes sense on first reading, nonsense on the second, and then... It's called "Irish bull".

You can be sure to get fresh and homemade authentic English food, no matter what kind of snack you will order. But of course, you will find nothing more typical than fish'n'chips on our menu. (The Unbrexit pub in Germany. Order sauerkraut and get English food! Fish and chips is our only typical English dish!)

My daughter, Ivanka, just arrived in South Korea. We cannot have a better, or smarter, person representing our country. (@realDonaldTrump)

Mr Duncan Smith can speak with equal ignorance on a wide range of subjects. (Donald Peddie ‏@turbrech)

Irish Olympic gold-medal winners wish they could be at home celebrating with their families in Skibbereen.

I have prayed to Saint Orosia, and when the storm has passed the weather will get better.

The first note of Webern held us in thrall. (But the others? The rest of the review was favourable, however, while also leaving the reader in no doubt that the entire concert had been a form of refined torture. Times.)

I’d better stop while I’m behind.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Euphemisms (in Quotes) 9

I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool.
I am righteously indignant, you are annoyed, he is making a fuss over nothing.
I have reconsidered the matter, you have changed your mind, he has gone back on his word.
I have an independent mind, You are eccentric, He is round the twist.
I give confidential press briefings; you leak; he's being charged under section 2A of the Official Secrets Act.
(Bertrand Russell)

"Independent" is the new word for "extremely opaquely-funded". (@mrdavidwhitley)

I guess “overly offended” means not a racist, homophobic douche? (FB)

"We don’t know what the rules are” is always, always code for “your rules don’t matter to me”. (Charlotte Lydia Riley @lottelydia)

I used to describe him as exciting and dynamic, but now I feel flaky and selfish fits more. (

Why even bother using phrases like “the standing of western civilization and it’s classical roots”? By this point, we all know that’s thinly veiled code for “white supremacy.” (@donnazuck)

Now that my retirement is coming up, she has been making noises about “Grandma bonding with the grandbabies,” meaning they want to stop paying for their expensive day care by making me do it for free. (

Multilingual white children: oh so clever!
Multilingual brown & black children: a burden on schools etc.

I invested in @VirginCare to help transform the NHS for the better and to improve patient and employee experience. (Richard Branson He means “privatization”.)

God, tweeple today, you're a nasty bunch of moral fascists with no belief in redemption, shades of grey, irony or forgiveness! (Libby Purves on the Toby Young scandal. According to Andrew Lilico, Toby Young is “edgy” and “gauche”. He tweeted about w***ing over pictures of starving children.)

Consult: To perform a con trick that insults the people on the receiving end. (@cowanrob)

Alex Salmond to MP Mhairi Black: I’m sure Taz will take you out to go shopping or something at some point and you’ll find your own style. (Translation: Wear a skirt.)

How brands repurpose influencer content, Five unique ways brands can repurpose evergreen content, How to Repurpose Video Content Marketing Ideas for Brand Awareness… Is it anything like rebooting a franchise? Oh, “influencer content” is pix and videos by people you pay to boost your products in an apparently neutral forum like Instagram, Youtube etc.

Time to speak ill of the dead. I was once at a fundraiser dinner with Max Clifford. Having asked me if I was gay, he spent a few minutes being slightly old fashioned (well, massively homophobic). So I asked him “And what do you do?” and he got really cross that he had to explain. (Adam Kay‏ @amateuradam)

Stephen Ward, the society osteopath, introduced lucky young women into polite society, or in harsher terms procured girls like Christine Keeler for his rich clients such as Lord Astor. (Jane Kelly on Conservative Woman)

Executive Homes are never in Vibrant Areas. (Jaimie Shorten)

Dastyari says the tape of press conference “shocked me” because it didn’t match his recollection. (@PatsKarvelas)
Code for: 'I was shocked that someone recorded what I actually said so it hasn't allowed me to deny it.' (@RodgerShanahan)

I covered the campaign last year. Over and over men insinuated that women's analysis of HRC's candidacy were "biased," or "subjective," or "opinion." When women wrote about Hillary, it was a "feminist take." When men wrote about Hillary, it was "the truth." (@CharlotteAlter)

"I have some concerns" = I will vote yes
"I'm not yet satisfied with this bill" = I will vote yes
"I’m not opposed to tax reform, but we need to do it right" = I will vote yes
"I am currently a no vote" = I will vote yes

Business analyst Emma Sheldrick offers some useful translations. "Manage our stakeholders," she explains, means "placate the people who are asking the intelligent questions about why something is being done"; while "Update our stakeholder matrix" really signifies "we need to take off the people who disagree with the task at hand and find some new ones who agree." (Guardian Nov 2017)

Miss Markle is a very interesting person. (Sky News Royal Correspondent, adding that she’s biracial and anti-Trump.)
Meghan grew up in the Valley, a leafy middle-class area. (Sky News)
And here are the Daily Mail's euphemisms for "black" today... (Alex von Tunzelmann) “Gang-scarred home of Meghan’s mother revealed… gangs… bloods… territory… run-down area… social worker… gang-afflicted…”

If you’ve already seen a significant sample of “borderline-racist” (which is usually just racist) posts from her public profile… (Mallory Ortberg)

You really have to laugh at the Tories as they say we can have better employment rights, higher environmental standards, improved citizens rights when we leave EU. These Tories have been attacking these rights and standards for years calling them red-tape & burdens on business. (@AngelaRayner)

I have been called ‘bubbly’, ‘peppy’, ‘cheery’, ‘excitable’ by male academics. I do not think I am actually especially any of these things. (Charlotte Lydia Riley‏ @lottelydia Women were also told they “came across as abrupt” and “masculine”.)

No-one says "Islam isn't a race" unless they're trying to negotiate some points-free racism. (Keir Hardie‏ @scatterkeir)

“Layers of crude and distorting old overpaints were removed and losses were sensitively and minimally inpainted,” says Christie’s report on Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi. The restorer stabilised the picture, removed most of the later overpaint and fillings, and made cosmetic changes to bring it back closer to Leonardo’s original. (

Those who voted Leave largely didn’t do so for economic reasons. It was a question of values: a desire for steady work, family and community. The majority of people are quietly conservative. Labour won’t win until we understand that. @blue_labour (Family: heterosexual nuclear family. Community: white people. Perhaps.)

More here, and links to the rest.