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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Did You Threaten to Overrule Him?

I've been noticing for a while now a tendency among some interviewers towards a somewhat combative attitude to their guests when I'm listening to or watching political programmes. It has its place, of course, and some of Jeremy Paxman's interviews are highly entertaining for that very reason. However, it seems that all too often the point is not to elicit information but to get the guest to say something -- anything -- he doesn't want to say. And I regret to inform you that RTÉ Radio's political discussion programme The Late Debate has joined the hallowed ranks of programmes that have me yelling at the presenter rather than the guests.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Nightmare is Over... For Now

At last it's passed. The annual irritation; the month of bemusement when your humble blogger must constantly check the calendar to see if something he's reading about has yet to happen or if it's already passed. It's a pain in the hole, and it takes up about ten percent of every damn year.

By now, gentle reader, you'll have inferred that I'm talking about the date. Or, to be more specific, the format in which the date is written down. Those who do the writing broadly fall into three categories, depending on which format they do the writing...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Rants or Less

I've alluded on previous occasions to the fact that I'm no longer annoyed by (most of) the lapses in grammar and punctuation that infest our daily lives. I'll give the occasional chortle when I see a particularly egregious example, but that's about it.

Try as I might, though, there's one thing that pisses me off. It's the ubiquity of the "Ten Items or Less" sign that one sees in every supermarket.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Devil Cites Scripture for His Own Purpose

I don't know whether it's arrogance or stupidity (or both), but ever since the Catholic church's kiddy-fucking proclivities became public knowledge, our clerical chums have shown a distinct lack of nous when it comes to their public statements. Most of these came from the lower ranks, but occasionally the higher-ups manage it too (this being my favourite from recent times). Even so, I was prepared (for some reason) to give the Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin the benefit of the doubt, and assumed he was the victim of lazy quoting by the Irish Times when they reported on his homily during the Law Mass yesterday. I was, it seems, a trifle naïve.

No way of determining, huh?

At first glance, this story looks like a victory for rationality. And, indeed, it is. But really...
The City Council says it will not be providing them with another property because it has no real way of determining if the claims are true.
I'd be a lot happier if this line read "The council told them not to be so fucking stupid, and to stop living in the middle ages."

They're right, of course; there is no way of proving the non-existence of ghosts. Just like there's no way of disproving the presence of gods, trolls or telepathic centipedes. But it'd be nice if they just told this hapless couple to cop the fuck on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Going to Coin Another Word

It can be argued that when someone such as I resorts to making up a word, it's due to deficiencies in his own vocabulary. With so many words in the English language, with so much nuance possible, there must surely be a word already for the concept our hapless neologificator is trying to convey. I don't deny it.

On the other hand, that's not going to stop me. If, as you read this, you find yourself muttering dark imprecations at my lack of erudition for not knowing x, then by all means add a comment. Be as abusive as you like (as long as you include the word).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Where to start?

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but I got distracted. Blame the Irish Times. Or the EU.

Actually, that's not fair. Maybe. I'll let you decide.

It all started, you see, when the Irish Times reported on, um, a report to the European Parliament on the future of e-commerce in this happy bloc of ours. I was, I confess, a trifle sceptical about some of the figures, and went off in search of the report. That took a while. Then I read the first half of the report. That took two minutes, plus scrolling time. Then I got to the human-readable part, which took another while. Then, er, I forgot to write this.