Friday, April 30, 2010

To smack or not to smack?

If this commenter had been a politician who put forward these views (click on this link to read his comment) on smacking children (or the ban on smacking children which some people think is important to implement), I would TOTALLY vote for him! Reasonable, logical, and sensible.

Yes, I'm not a parent (does step count?) and I certainly dont advocate hitting a child - but a smack is so very very very much less than a "hit" or a "thump" or a "slap"... and I would only ever, ever, EVER smack a small child if I needed to emphasise the danger of something where reasoned explanations would be useless because of the child's age and corresponding inability to understand: 1. The explanation and 2. The degree of danger involved.

Does that make sense?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

These are a few of my favourite spring things

- Trees that explode overnight into bloom – mainly cherry trees with their tight bunches of gorgeous pink flowers, and another species of tree (no idea what they are) that are completely covered in tiny white blossom

- Drifts of swirling white petals that lift off into the air like minute snowflakes (from the aforementioned unknown trees with the white blossom) when there’s a sudden gust of wind

- Fresh light green leaves on the plants and trees which don’t have blossom to show off

- Green, green grass in the fields, looking so glossy and juicy that it makes me wish I could be a cow or a sheep, just so I could get my chompers around them

- Springy little lambs that gambol away from the moving cars on the road, even though they (the lambs and their maa-maas) are safely behind fences in the meadows

- Curious little lambs that nose their way to the fence to see who you are and what you might have for them – but only if you squat patiently and quietly near the fence for a while...

- Forsythia trees whose branches disappear completely under sunshiny, cheerful yellow blossom... or are they really leaves which start out yellow and turn green?

- Daffodils – golden yellow ones, cream ones, double-petalled ones, orange-centred ones – growing in clumps everywhere ... regimented in gardens, scattered by the roadside or bunched together in grassy roundabouts to make a sea of waving gold.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vous êtes très stupide, monsieur

It’s not unheard-of for a teacher to help a favoured pupil or two to cheat in exams. But I think that for a teacher to blame “inexperience and a lack of guidance” for his actions does not just border on the ridiculous – as far as I’m concerned, not only has it crossed the borders, destroying everything in its way, but it has reached right into the heart of the territory and crowned itself the undisputed emperor of ridiculous!

This man is 51 years old, and if he, as he claims, doesn’t know that secretly giving help to only SOME students is most definitely cheating (helping ALL students is what’s otherwise known as an “open book exam”), he is unfit to be a teacher on two counts: For being pig-ignorant, and for being quite spectacularly stupid as well.

On a slightly off-piste note – why do tribunals and committees and courts and judges have to be seen to give any consideration to the most blatantly stupid arguments/explanations from clients (or their lawyers) as a defence? Why don’t they just laugh in the face of such explanations and pass sentence on the accused right away? Nobody dismisses even the most specious puerile defence, but they SHOULD, if only because the lawyers obviously consider the judges to be hobbled by political correctness, if not outright stupidity.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The comedy "roast" - overdone and tough to swallow

I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed with any comedy programme as I have with the “comedy roasts” I’ve seen recently on TV.

As I understood it, a “roast” was the opportunity for comedians/actors to make fun of a famous colleague in public, telling tall tales or truthful ones - with the roastee’s fans, family, well-wishers and other colleagues also being present to both take and give insults in return. But basically the roastee has to grin and bear it in good humour. I also thought it was an American thing, so didn’t really expect to see it over here – especially as comedy roasts hadn’t shown up on the comedy channels.
So when I saw advertisements for comedy roasts of three British celebrities, I was thrilled! I thought it would be fun to watch other famous people, especially those in the comedy circuit, use humour and wit to mock, praise or tell anecdotes about the roastee, as it were. I was really, really looking forward to it.

I missed the first show, where the guest of honour was Bruce Forsyth (I understand from reviews that it was a pretty tame affair, with very little bad language), because I was on holiday. But I did manage to watch Sharon Osbourne being roasted - and what a disappointment it mostly was, being funny only mildly, and that only seldom. It seemed to be mostly a chance for the very worst of vulgar language to be aired, which seemed to amuse everybody hugely. Of wit and actual humour there was very little evidence, especially from the so-called comedians. Why do modern comedians think that filthy language is a good substitute for actual humour? And why oh why are there people who find them funny? I can only think there far too many people who remain potty-brained little 9-year-old boys in outlook and intelligence, despite being grown adults. Why else would you think calling someone a "f*cking c**t", for no reason, is something to laugh at?

Back to the roasts, though... I can understand why the roastee had to be seen to laugh loudly – it was either that or be considered a bad sport. What I couldn’t understand was why everybody else was rocking with laughter at what was essentially just a stream of nasty words and disgusting comparisons. There was nothing at all intelligent or witty to laugh at. The funniest part of the evening was when Sharon Osbourne handed it out to the roasters at the end - and I must say she gave wayyyy better than she got! Good for her!

Thinking that perhaps it was a one-off, I waited for the roasting of Chris Tarrant. Again, plenty of nasty language and vulgar suggestions, but at least some of the roasters were funny some of the time (Jack Dee not being one of them). And yet again, in my opinion Tarrant was much better at insulting those who tried to insult him. I’m not particularly fond of the guy, but I have to admit I respected him a bit more at the end of the programme.

So now I was wondering if the Brits hadn’t quite got the idea of what a comedy roast was, it being an American invention. Last night I watched an American roast that Pete had recorded – the roastee was Captain James Tiberius Kirk of Star Trek fame, or in other words William Shatner. Ugh, if I thought the British stars had used bad language, they were as stately as the Pope compared to the Americans. To a man (and a woman), they were light years ahead in coming up with the most appallingly foul things to say. And not much of it funny. I liked Sandra Bullock’s gentle insinuations and fake sad-faced insults in a pretend-tribute to Shatner. She was genuinely funny, ironic and goodhumoured, and best of all she was not potty-mouthed. And for the third time in a row, the roastee did the best roasting of the programme – William Shatner was very clever and pretty damn funny.

Despite these disappointing experiences, I don’t know if I’ll refrain from watching other comedy roasts if they come my way... I mean, who knows - somebody might, possibly without intending it, actually turn out entertaining and witty. Is 40 minutes of absolute dross worth 5 minutes of purest comedy gold? I still think it is...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just because they're so pretty and delicate


Things that irritate me, especially when I’m feeling intolerant

If I’ve mentioned any or all of these before, in other unprompted “things that annoy me” lists, let’s just say these things are still happening, and they’re still irritating!

- When I get a comment on my food blog that asks me how to make something I’ve posted, but in a totally different way. If I’ve put up a post on baking a cake - a carrot cake, say – using eggs in the recipe, and in a regular gas oven, and the commenter says “Can you tell me how to make this without eggs and in a microwave and can I leave out the carrots because my daughter doesn’t like them?” Arrgh!

- People who call and say “I had a survey done on my property last year, and I need an updated valuation. Can the surveyor come tomorrow to look at the property?” Sure he/she can! Don’t bother telling me who you are or when the survey was done or which surveyor did it or even where/what the property is, I’ll just guess at the information and send all our surveyors out on a jolly jaunt in every direction tomorrow. Numpties...

- No matter where I park in a supermarket parking lot, even if my car is surrounded by rows of empty parking spaces in every direction, there will always be somebody who parks:
a. So close that I have to wriggle my way back into the driver’s seat, holding my breath or
b. Right behind me, up close, so that I can’t open the door to the boot (to put the shopping in) without moving my car forward first.
c. Sometimes, but very rarely, both.
To such people, I can only say - If you do this because you're jealous of the Range Rover I drive, kindly go and irritate my husband, because it is HIS car!

- Skinny women, with or without babies, who know they look great no matter what they wear and yet put up photographs to “prove” to admirers how “fat” they look in this or that outfit... and continue insisting, despite their own photographic evidence and despite the comments from breathless admirers to say how great they look, that they ARE fat and need to go on a diet because they can’t get into the jeans they wore when they were 6 years old and their husband is calling them fat (even though of course their husband loves them no matter what size they are, naturally). ENOUGH ALREADY!

- People (99.99% women) who use Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) like a fashion accessory and think it’s cute to claim to be “a little OCD” – sic - because they’re so careful about being the perfect housewife/mother even after working a full day. Real OCD sufferers find it very, very difficult to have a normal life. This trivialisation of a real malady by women who are just showing off “modestly” about their perfect selves is something that instantly raises my hackles.