Archive for May, 2006

Get Behind Me, Mick Hucknall

I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone not born yesterday that Eurovision winners Lordi are not Satanists. But the story brought back memories of a former teacher of my acquaintance-a full blown mass junkie who managed to fit three masses and one stations of the cross into his day- who told his classes that Prince was a Satanist, as was Mick Hucknall. Perhaps ironically, he gave up his job to join one of those ultra-Catholic cults run by a charismatic leader with a down-to-earth name. Given the dwindling of such cults in recent years, I am left wondering to what ends such born leaders put their charisma nowadays. I’m betting they run ‘property abroad’ expos.


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I’m still trying to get a banner to brighten the place up a bit. I thought about using this picture above, which is one of the hostas from the garden. But I didn’t want to come over all Georgia O’Keefe.

Nation of Shopkeepers

The other day I was talking to a person who works as a shop assistant in a small town in Northern Ireland. She told me that those who work in the shop are asked by the management to make sure they are especially vigilant around foreigners, Eastern Europeans in particular. In a moment of sublime ignorance, one of the managers -whose favoured mode of vigilance is to stand glowering in silence at all non-locals who enter- complained to her the other day that Eastern Europeans were very unfriendly, because they never bothered to say hello on entering the shop.

A Bad Spell

Blog tip: if you’re going to get on your high horse about something, you better check your spelling before posting. Especially if the word is condescension. (See post below)

My spelling has gotten worse over the last ten years. Before it was immaculate. Now it’s slightly, ah, maculate.

‘Dumbing down’ fears expressed about ‘Dumbing down’

The Irish Independent has it on its front page today. I don’t understand how anyone who uses the term can expect to be taken seriously.

‘Dumbing down’ normally means mean doing away with important complexity so that the(presumably ignorant) masses can understand. As with many terms, the irony with which it was first delivered has dissipated with repeated usage, so much so that it is now inevitable, if you describe something as ‘dumbed down’, you are also guilty of ‘dumbing down’ yourself. As such, the use of the term demonstrates a certain lack of self-awareness, and a soupçon of condescenscion to boot.

Every Song Is A Howl Of Pain

Ireland has changed, and many things seem gone forever, like victories in Eurovision, and starving peasants at the roadside. There have been gains and losses, but some things are harder to classify. Whatever happened to the archetype of the big strapping fella, a bit of a brute to be sure, whose lovely voice would melt the hearts of assembled young ladies and nuns?

As Ireland sat on the cusp of its present economic boom, I knew one such buck whose party piece was to pummel the entire room into hushed awe with his rendition of ‘Rock and Roll Kids’. This lad was 18 or so, but many of his audience were lulled, such was the sincerity and plaintiveness of his song, into believing that he could indeed remember ’62, and that he was 16 then, which made him about 48. In fact, he was so good that most of the huddled teens and their grannies thought that they too were all 48. “Aww. Hasn’t he got a lovely voice?”

Meanwhile, the rest of us had to cope with the paralysis. The not knowing where to look. The simmering hatred.

On the cultural balance sheet, I think we can class this particular loss as a gain.

I’m gonna take it to the bridge…

Are they putting some sort of hormone in the water supply these days – one that tampers with people’s ability to find the right words for things? Here’s another malapropism I heard today:

“…and then there was this one time at this open air event in Sydney this punk band got up on stage and beat the shit out of an aperture of the Aussie PM.”

Now that sounds like a damn unpleasant punishment, even for someone as obnoxious as John Howard.

What the speaker meant to say, of course, was that they beat the shit out of an effigy of the Aussie PM. Yet there is too much of a difference between ‘effigy’ and ‘aperture’ for comfort: I suspect that this may have been a case of malapropism squared: that is, a malapropism of a malapropism. The best fit for the ‘bridge’ word seems to be ‘apogee’.

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May 2006
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