April 2003 Archives

free lunch?

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I'm quite perturbed by a phone call I got today telling me I'd won a holiday. It's got a large number of the danger signs which suggest that I'm about to be reminded that there's no such thing as a free lunch. On the other hand they claim we only have to pay 34.50 each as a booking fee and then we get flights + car hire + 7 days self- catering accommodation all for nothing. We also have to go to Stevenage and have them tell us all about their holidays (this seems extremely suspicious to me and reminiscent of those timeshare scams which they claim they've got nothing to do with).

I'm deeply suspicious but it also comes at a time when we're desperate for a holiday. They claim to be working with Points of View and Watchdog on a piece about dodgy people ripping people off with scams like this. Maybe I'll give Watchdog a call. Hope I don't end up transferring loads of money into a Nigerian bank account.

B-}

you say eye-rack

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Karen Chung just sent this to LINGUIST:

NPR's Fresh Air Online has the following audio report:

Linguist Geoff Nunberg considers the way politicians and journalists are pronouncing place names associated with the war on Iraq.

Click on the appropriate link on this page:

http://freshair.npr.org/

B-)

i like oyl

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You couldn't call this subtle but what the hey. Also good to see from this that some people won't let esso lie.

B-)

field trip

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Yes, I've been away again. Manchester for the Massive Attack concert and then Sheffield for Linguistics conferencing, including a session on community languages. Found out that:

- 34% of the population of Leicester speak Gujerati

- Urdu is studied by more students for GCSE than Irish, Welsh or Italian

- 'linguisticism' is thriving in government policy (languages like French and Spanish are treated preferentially compared to languages like Urdu, Gujerati, Bengali, Kurdish, etc.)

- Sheffield seems to be built on seven hills like Rome (went for a cycle in the countryside and tired myself out just getting to the starting point)

- the USA spends 400 billion dollars a year on military hardware (Russia is in second place on 60 billion dollars a year)

- the Peak district is a good place to look at peewits

Here is a link on community languages.

B-)

moral dilemma

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Got a stupid blooming parking ticket last week even though I don't even drive (obviously).

I did a quick double-park outside Birte's house while picking up Kiloh and Susie and found a ticket on my windscreen when I got out. Obviously, it was a speedy moded-riding traffic enforcer who got me. If I'd just left the front door open while I was collecting the kids I would have probably been OK. So now there's a 50 pound bill to add to the best part of 400 I'd just spent on getting the car fixed.

The thing is, I've just noticed that the speedy moped person was hurrying so much that s/he's got one letter of my registration number wrong...

Do you think it's worth the gamble of not paying and waiting to see whether they track me down? If I do, I guess the least I could do would be to broadcast the story on the internet to give them a sporting chance?

B-)

an imitation of honesty

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Well, elephant is as good as they say, especially the one that sounds like they're hanging out on Lee Hazlewood's porch, but I've gone back to start listening to the first White Stripes album, which is very led zeppy. You know, I just didn't like this kind of music back in the day. I did try my hardest for a while before the punk revolution decreed that I wasn't meant to like it anyway.

I like their concept of not using anything that was made later than 1963. Now there's something you can't do on the internet.

Why 1963, I wonder? Could it be anything to do with that poem by Philip Larkin about the invention of sex?

B-)

street photos

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Jonathan told me about this collection of street photos from edinburgh (mainly) and glasgow. He particularly likes the ... anti-war postbox, which is on my street. Turning the infrastructure of State communication against itself'

B-)

bad dad

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Well, I've just discovered that Kiloh broke her arm 9 days ago.

She was pushed from a wall (not malicious - she was mistaken for someone who was asking to be pushed) and banged her elbow. As I watched her trampolining yesterday with her arm held constantly at a 90 degrees angle, I thought it might make sense to have it checked out. So I spent today in various waiting and medical rooms and we discovered there's a 'small # in L. radial + joint infusion'.

Not only did it take us 9 days to take her to a medical person but since it happened we've also watched her trampolining, playing football and drama games, and I even forced her to take her swimming lesson yesterday.

My final crime is that I was joking a couple of weeks ago about how lax it was of her not to have broken any arms yet (I had done two arms out of four by the time I was her age).

B-}

To the power of ten

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from jed:

Hullo Team!

I always loved the films of Ray and Charles Eames in the Sixties. (Do you know my favourite: 'Toccata for Toy Trains'?) One of them has now been updated to the computer age and it makes fascinating viewing whether you are nine or ninety. I thought it must have been made for you guys so I pass it on to you as a link:

powers of 10

I do hope it works

Looking forward to seeing you soon

Love Grandad

blooming homework

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On Friday I was working in a Northern university so I decided to make it worthwhile by going up a day early and spending half a day cycling in the countryside.

The cycling was great, but I'm paying for it now by having to stay at home to do my homework while Apoa suffers the same fate in the room next door.

One of my tasks is to write an exam paper. Part of the paper is textual analysis so I'm looking for interesting passages to use. While browsing around, I found these interesting pieces I won't be using:

(not online but) Tony Blair in February's Reader's Digest explaining why this war won't be about liberating the people of Iraq but instead about getting rid of Saddam's weapons of destruction. Glad he cleared that one up.

David Mamet on truth and the withholding of emotion in acting.

loads of stuff about censorship. This is especially relevant for me today as we followed Apoa's guitar exam yesterday with a trip to the West End to see Maid In Manhattan. It only scores 4.6 out of 10 on imdb but it's a good movie for our kind of family and had some nice relevant bits about coping with nerves (we all had to face this at exam time). It's a 12A which means we wouldn't have been able to take the kids a year ago.

Also on censorship, Welease Bwian is an interesting piece about the making and censoring of Monty Python's Life of Brian

Damn, Apoa's already finished the first part of her homework and is now enjoying the reward of 15 minutes on the trampoline. I'd better get back to work.

B-)

and there's more

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More on political weblogs:

Edward Davey

Tom Watson

about Tom Watson

Tim suggests that what's special about Tom Watson's blog is that he's the first politician to use a blog to tell us what he really thinks instead of just telling us what's in his diary.

B-)

remember Gary Hart?

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Gary Hart has a blog. B-)

vote jed

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Jed is standing for office. Dug has some interesting thoughts on it. I'm freaked out by the fact that election rules say that he's banned from buying anyone a drink. Jed is the last person I know who could cope with such an imposition. (Some people, on the other hand...)

B-)

are you talking to me?

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Here's the straight dope on ape communication. Well, that's what it says on the tin.

B-)

camping

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Had a really nice weekend last weekend camping with the Woodcraft Folk. We slept in a hostel rather than in tents. I have to admit I missed the rough edges that come with tent living.

B-)

deja eu ce deja vu

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Just picked up a newspaper I thought was today's but which turned out to be 8 days old. The headline was 'Battle For Baghdad Begins'

B-}

Billy on the beach