Pre…? Sunday, Jul 22 2012 


For some years I’ve had a nagging sense of wrongness about a sign on a office supplies seller. Finally put my finger on it today.

“Pre-used furniture”

PRE used?

Surely that is is ‘used’ then? Pre used would be new.

My wife compounded this by refering to her payment card she had been sent for her travel costs as ‘pre-loaded’ with cash.

No that would be loaded (note I am not getting upset with the evolution of the word loaded, that is just using physical imagery for an electronic idea – makes sense in context).

My correction of her was met with a sour face, despite her laughing agreement earlier.

I have a new mission in life – ridicule the misuse of ‘Pre’

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Red or Black – What a load of crap Sunday, Sep 4 2011 


Ant and Dec’s latest vehicle is “Red or Black” – a ‘game’ (in the loosest sense of the word) show that has just started on ITV in Britain.  It definately suffers from “LOOK AT THIS – THIS IS AWESOME!”  Hint- No it isn’t.

Take 256 audience members, and have them guess red or black in a series of contests that are 50/50 between the ‘red’ option and the ‘black’ (although the need to lose exactly half every time means those at the back of the queue get no choice).  The last contestent then guesses Red or Black on a giant proto roulette wheel to win “ONE MILLION POUNDS”!  There is no skill – each challenge is as close to 50/50 as the producers can get (One show included jousting on top of cars, tightrope walker race, top golfers Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood trying to hit a gong in a lake, and picking a place at a table set for 32. Each had a hidden jelly/jello, and on the word they all lifted the cloches to reveal if it was red or black). 

Yet each round is turned into an Olympian contest – the winning colour jelly was revealed by the colour of the table top.  The cloth was removed by ATTACHING IT TO A MOTORBIKE AND PULLING! AWESOME!  Cue interviews with tearful members of the losing half, people upset at being knocked out in round two – you’d think they had just lost their life savings, and then asking the survivors what their strategy is in the next round.  And do these epic contests take place in a normal studio? NO, THIS IS AWESOME, so it starts in Wembley arena (USians – think Madison Square Gardens) before the remaining 128 are bussed to a Stately Home for games in the grounds. 

This all takes an hour, to whittle down from 256 to 8.  That is 5 rounds.  There is then a half hour break while they show another programme, then we return for THE GRAND FINALE!!1!11 (more…)

Carnival of The Elitist Bastards Sails Again Friday, Jan 8 2010 


“Arrrrgh, you be late.”  The Admiral had obviously had a good Christmas, waving a brand new cutlass in one hand, and a half empty bottle of rum in the other. “We should have been set sail these 8 days hence, you scurvy dog”.

“A number of points there, Admiral”  Hussar said. “One- I had to get a new uniform made.  I refuse to captain the ship looking anything other than absolutely spiffing. Two- there are other battles to be fought, by land as well as sea.  I have just been part of a lengthy campaign as part of a multi-national force giving unreason a good kicking”

And Three- you decided to sail just before Christmas.  Like many other northern Europeans I was engaged in rituals to remind the sun to stop going to bed early.  That, and I had some fine wines in.”

“Ye cur, that bain’t be no way to talk to an Admiral.”

“And that’s another thing.  For this voyage at least we are not going to be having with all this pirate nonsense.” The admiral spat a mouthful of rum out. “Instead I have a letter of Marque signed by a servant of the Crown, instructing us to fight ignorance and pigheadishness where ever we find it.”

“And this Servant of the Crown, would he be standin’ before me in a brand new, and rather foppish, uniform?”

“Might be”

“And could we infer that neither Her Majesty, nor her government know anything about said letter?”

“Ah, but at least it’s officially unofficial!”

At that point the discussion was interrupted by Decrepit Old Fool waving from the gangplank.  “Have I missed the sailing?”

“Well as you seem to be standing on the gangplank, it is safe to assume we are still moored.  You seem anxious to get aboard.”

“Save me from Liberals.”

“We are Liberals.”

“But you don’t put ideology ahead of rational thought like this lot

Ropes were hauled, cutlasses were placed in scabbards with satisfying ‘snick’ noises, and meaningful looks were exchanged as the wind filled the sails, and “HMS Elitist Bastard” pulled away from the quay. Winter clouds scudded across the sky as the ship pushed its way through leaden seas.

“Make a signal Bo’sun – ‘England Expects Every Man Shall Stand His Round.'”

Suddenly from the Crows Nest the lookout ***Dave gave a cry.  He passed a link down, how the Global Warming deniers had accused a childrens website of politicising the debate

“Run out the Carronades, I intend to give them a shot across the bows ” barked Captain Hussar

“I think the The International Conspiracy of Mad Scientists are going to want more that that Captain.”

 The Captain looked at ICMS. “What you got in mind?”  ICMS indicated the fully loaded cannons.  The Captain smiled “Make Ready for Action. Drummer-boy; Beat To Quarters.  Run out the cannons.  Mr ICMS, fire your broadside.”

 “Oh Huzzar!”

 “Cap’n.  They’re making a signal”.

 “Pass me your spy-glass, let me read it – ‘Ha. Ha. Did. Not. Hurt. Us. In. Fact. You. Like. Us. More. Now. Than. You. Used. To.’  What in the name of all that is provable under reasonable controlled conditions are they talking about?  Every one can see the anti-science stand of the American Right is in tatters!”

“Sir, If may have a word” said the maths-geek standing by the ship’s biggest gun, nicknamed ‘Correct Methodology’.

 “Speak up Mr Ecstathy.”

 “I believe they are using an old ploy known as ‘selective statistics’.  Permission to blow a hole in it sir?”

Fire away“.

“Mr Cujo, do you have some shot and shell to add to this little fracas?”

“No Captain, but I know a man who has some tactics worth listening to

Suddenly Captain Hussar fell to the deck, grasping his chest.  “Kiss me Hunter” He gasped.

“Nice try sunshine.  That one isn’t going to sail.  Faking your death isn’t going to get me to kiss you, or disguise the fact you’ve written yourself into a corner.  Do you know how we are going to end this?”

Hussar stood up.  “We could offer them Tim Minchin’s wife.” 

“Don’t seem to be able to rise to that challenge Captain” confirmed a lookout.  “They are retreating while they argue about it”

“The problem is they are like zombie ships. No matter how often you fill them full of holes, and sink the arguments, they keep coming back, having learnt nothing.  What we need is some entertainment.  Lud In The Mist- see if you can get together some kind of Guitar Group.  Something that pisses off the “War, War” crowd.  Tonight we party!”

Elitest Bastard (aka Hussar goes off on one) Tuesday, Mar 10 2009 


See that blue button with Richard Dawkins on it?  Click on it (not yet- I haven’t finished ranting at you) and you will go to the Carnival of the Elitist Bastards.  Who?  A bunch of bloggers generally pissed off with everything being so damn stupid.

Why am I proud to be an elitist?  The question should be why are you so unconcerned not to be?

We are people who are just annoyed that there is a movement against intellectualism.  I am sick and tired of being clever being seen as somehow a bad thing.  Someone who can kick, throw or hit a ball gets paid millions of pounds, while those who actually work worry about the recession.

People revel in not being good at maths.It’s seen as something funny.  I know I’m good at day to day maths, but I am amazed how many people don’t understand basic principles.

“How does this affect you?”  you say “why should you care?” Because a dumbed down population affects the economy and the planet.

People who don’t understand basic maths GET TO VOTE, often based on what they think will be best for the economy.  They can’t do percentages, for FSM’s sake, how are they supposed to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of a Keynsian solution?

It is a fact that people, all of us, even Stephen Hawkins, are stupid to one degree or another.   We are very good at ignoring evidence that doesn’t back up our personal beliefs.  Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like the fact that cars are contributing to destroying the planet. Solution? Insult environmentalists.  Republicans don’t like the fact that Neo-Con ideas have screwed up the market. Call Obama a socialist. The Religious Right don’t like the fact that science shows the Bible isn’t literally true. Solution? Attack anyone who relies on evidence rather than 4000 year old fairy-stories.

And where does it leave us? Click on the break, and I’ll tell you. Forcefully. (more…)

I’m sorry Jade, I don’t care (and it may be my readers fault). Sunday, Mar 8 2009 


In recent weeks much has been published about Jade Goody and her terminal cancer.

I’m sorry. I really don’t care that much.

It’s not that I’m a heartless bastard, but she is a stranger to me. Yes it is sad that she is so young- in her twenties- and that she leaves two small children. But lots of people die young, leaving children. We do not get the wall to wall coverage of them.

You may be surprised that the one person I DON’T blame for this over-exposure is Jade herself. She has been making as much money as possible from the media (Wedding in “OK” etc) as possible, so as to leave as much money as possible for he boys.  Given her career as a ‘C’ list celeb, some have suggested she probably has more money than most, though if it was me I would still worry.

No I blame the idiots in the media (obviously) who think that we want to see it, that parasite Max Clifford, her ‘publicist’ (who will no doubt say he’s just helping her ‘secure her childrens’  future- to him I say “On what percentage?”) and people like you, dear reader. (more…)

All hail the Geek Friday, Sep 26 2008 


This on the BBC website in response to news of the return of “The Krypton Factor”, which used a “K” as its symbol.

I’m excited about TV’s toughest quiz, The Krypton Factor, coming back, next year. Or The Potassium Factor, as I and my friends used to call it, K being the symbol for potassium, not krypton.
Bob Peters, Leeds, UK

 

I love a bit of scientist geekery.

In support of elitism Sunday, Apr 13 2008 


I am sick of people whining ‘elitest’.  I want the best people in charge. Bush was incapabable of running an oil company.  If you can’t turn a profit with an oil company then should you really be in charge of anything outside of SimCity?

I am sick of a culture that says ‘too middle class’, ‘not accessable’, ‘too highbrow’.  Well some of us want something to think about, not soaps, ‘celebs’ and ‘gossip’.  I don’t care who’s sleeping with who, unless it actully affects me.

I want news from trained journalists, not from any idiot with a mobile phone with camera.  Jeremy Paxman was called elitest when he sneered at being toldto ask for viewers news stories on video clip.  I’m with him.

When boarding an aeroplane the pilot isn’t someone who the rest of the passengers like, its someone that has been trained.  Why do we assume that anyone can run a country?

I will not mourn Diana Saturday, Aug 25 2007 


This week sees the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana, self styled “People’s Princess”.  No doubt we will be expected to all shriek and indulge in self flagellation, emotionally if not physically, and all say how much we miss her, and how much she meant to us all personally.

 I do not miss her. (more…)