Tuesday 13 April 2010

CNN caught using Onion headlines!

Official: Al Qaeda hasn't gotten far in getting nuclear weapons
04/13/10 04:02 AM, EDT
The president's top counterterrorism adviser says there is indisputable evidence that dozens of terrorist groups have sought weapons of mass destruction. But a U.S. intelligence official who is not authorized to speak for attribution said although al Qaeda clearly wants a nuclear weapons capability, it hasn't gotten very far.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Small talk

Me: I don't drink white wine.
KR: You're sitting in front of a painting writing a classical music review.

Copyright (for Mother)

Contra my own literary blunders, Wendy Cope's views on copyright are actually a matter of record. Oops.

Intriguing copy, just in

(CNN) -- Outside court a few blacks watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Outside court a few blacks watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Outside court a few blacks watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Outside court a few blacks in South Africa watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Video: The promise of black gold

Outside court a few blacks watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Outside court a few blacks watched nervously, one of them telling CNN they are scared.

Anita Davis contributed to this report.

Sent out at 6pm, Sri Lankan time: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/04/06/test/index.html

Found on the internet today

Got a question about Smyth?
Get your answer with Help.com

Carl (F.) Orff (in context)

"si puer cum puellula... then her father will come after him. So to speak."

Sunday 28 March 2010

Best of Bowra

"I expect to pass through this world but once and therefore if there is anybody I want to kick in the crotch I had better kick them in the crotch now, for I do not expect to pass this way again."
- Maurice Bowra, Professor of Poetry, University of Oxford

Articles of faith (= you can't make it up)

Vienna Boys' Choir caught up in sex abuse scandals

by Roger Boyes

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Amnesiac Texts - IX

Dom: Our newspapers are beyond a joke. Jermaine Defoe has a column. We don't.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Dictionary.com - bizarre stats

Common Misspellings of 'dictionary'*
* in order of decreasing regularity/idiocy, apparently.

I'm sorry, but I feel I have to ask: who's looking up 'dictionary'? And when someone types in 'diction', how do They know it's a typo?

InDefinition - 14

ohmigod, n. unit of measurement for adolescent enthusiasm (rare)

Leather Fair Draws International Community

The three-day long All African Leather Fair (AALF), organised by the Ethiopian Leather Industries Association (ELIF), ended on a note of satisfaction.
- Ethiopian News, February 2010

Monday 15 March 2010

My new photoblog

is here.


The wise man asks many questions

... as I'd tell my class if the buggers'd put their hands down for just a second.

Wednesday 3 March 2010


"The BBC has stated that it plans to do fewer things better"
- BBC announcement, BBC news.

Monday 1 February 2010

Here's hoping...

The older and crankier he got, the more convinced he was that in the end all writers get pretty much what’s coming to them: the destructive praise and flattery, the killing attention and appreciation.
(New Yorker)

From the horse's face

"It’s a funny thing about life that, when you put it in a novel, it’s dead."
- Martin Amis, in Prospect

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Indefinition - 13

slowlights, n. Real-time test-match footage, as shown on Day 5, to fill broadcast schedule in light of humiliating defeat.

Boswell vs Johnson - LIVE!

ASH: Diary idea a cracker. My biographer (i.e. I) will be so gutted when I reach 70 and have never got round to it.

Dom: You'll have to busy yourself editing mine... X

ASH: You are a total Johnson x

Tuesday 19 January 2010


(Thanks to RL)

From Cairo

Pretty sure that, while I'm trying to finish my book over some lunch, there is a woman in a burkha breast-feeding a baby.
- JRHS, brother and A-rabist

Sunday 17 January 2010

The death of humour

Dear all,

It pains me to admit that I have just deleted an Amnesiac post(-it), at the request of a lawyer.

The lawyer in question (you may or may not recall) had, last April 1st, executed a superb prank on his colleagues, prompting an increasingly absurd correspondence between him and several office juniors about a non-existent all-expenses trip to the Caribbean and the young French counterpart they might have to share a room with.

Alas, he writes to tell me that killjoy types have given him shit about it, so would I take it down? Since I didn't get the FWD'd e-mails from him in the first place, this seemed fair. The only thing worse than seeing this splendid joke deleted would be seeing the joker fired.




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Saturday 16 January 2010

Friday 8 January 2010

Pour mon camarade

How did they command such deference - English teachers? Compared to the men who taught physics or biology, what did they really know of the world? It seemed to me, and not only to me, that they knew exactly what was most worth knowing. Unlike our math and science teachers, who modestly stuck to their subjects, they tended to be polymaths. Adept as they were at dissection, they would never leave a poem or a novel strewn about in pieces like some butchered frog reeking of formaldehyde. They'd stitch it back together with history and psychology, philosophy, religion, and even, on occasion, science. Without pandering to your presumed desire to identify with the hero of a story, they made you feel that what mattered to the writer had consequence for you, too.
- Tobias Wolff, Old School

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Not lost in transLaportation

No-one carries the English in their hearts.
- Bernard Laporte

Monday 7 December 2009

Thursday 3 December 2009

Five-and-a-bit Dials

Numero huit-b.


Feeling the Roth (p.3)

They decided to avail themselves of the facility reserved to people in our own century when they don't know what to do - they went to the cinema.
- The Legend of the Holy Drinker

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Feeling the Roth (p.2)

The nuts and bolts of a miracle have nothing miraculous about them.
- The Legend of the Holy Drinker

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Feeling the Roth (p.1)

'I see,' said the clochard, 'that you have understood me and my sense of honour perfectly. I give my word that I will keep my word.'
- The Legend of the Holy Drinker

Tuesday 24 November 2009

'****ed' are the meek

Any idea of freedom must include the freedom to be poor.
- Rana Dasgupta

Herod rides again!

Cribs recalled for Christmas

Ethiopians vs the World (Service)

Ethiopian tour operators tear it up in Docklands in anger at the BBC.

One sympathises.

Lateran thinking

Yr 7 History exam

Source B: Peter Connolly, 1978

Hannibal tried to bring 34 elephants to Italy. All but one died crossing the Alps.

Source C: Mike Corbishley, 1989

Hannibal astonished his enemies by marching to Italy across the Alps. His huge army of 40,000 men also had 37 war-elephants with them. Hannibal reached Italy with 26,000 men and 12 elephants.
Q5 Sources B and C were both written by experts on Roman history. Do the differences mean that one of them must be wrong?

[A Of course not. They could both be wrong.]

Sunday 22 November 2009