Wednesday, January 21, 2009

 

The News In January, By Noreen

Old, fat women in fleeces, London spinsters in their uniform, "statement" red coats, young men with their knickers hanging out of their trousers and the smell of dusty heaters puffing out their smothering warmth in shops and offices, while the wicked cold rips the air from the lungs of those who venture outside.

I have always loathed January - it's a shitty month with nothing to recommend it, and before any of you Antipodeans start up "I'm eating mangoes in cancerous heat, it's bonza" I would still hate January, even if it were hot. Not as much as I hate it cold, I'll give you that, but still a reasonable level of hatred - say as much as I hate eating quinoa, but not as much as I hate eating snails.

The Americans have tried to liven the start of this year up by putting that idiot and his wife all over the news. I can't fucking stand either of them already and they haven't even done a stroke of work yet. The news was all "He used hawaiian dialect in a speech, to show his interesting upbringing". Well I use coarse invective to show mine, so stick that up your cunt Obama.

When I spell check Obama - it gives Osama, which amuses me, until I think about the effect that might have on those lunatic Yank conspiracy theorists - we don't need them spell checking your man the president, and then getting the big idea about manufactured terrorism and world domination. I've heard some real shite about Osama bin Laden either being an invented enemy, dead or an American spy - it would be the absolute nadgers for the lunatic vote if they could make out that he was the President of the US. So get on it, Microsoft - fix the spellchecker - do your country proud.

British journalists tried to draw the eye away from the doings of the White House by announcing that 19th January was "Officially The Most Depressing Day Of The Year", ensuring that anyone whose brain had emerged from Christmas hibernation in search of newsworthy sustenance, would collapse back into a stagnant pit of self hatred, fractured resolutions and bitter chill winds, thereby allowing the British writers hanging around DC to go out on the lash, have a skinful, and write utter bollocks that no one will be able to read through their tears of misery.
January can fuck off.
Noreen

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

 

You Are Not The Most Eccentric Person In The Framing Shop

So I have two African Tree Frogs. I thought they would be interesting pets but all they do is sit about in a sweaty glass box, staring balefully into the middle distance. Sometimes they eat a live cricket, but not with a great long tongue flicking out there, and catching the thing - they just gulp quickly. I've tried to liven them up by knocking on the glass (something that is always banned in zoos - so I figured it must have some kind of an effect on the animals) but nothing. They just sit there, fatly, the only sign of life a light pulse on the translucent skin of their necks.

Anyway - the lid of their cage thing broke and it's important that they have a proper lid to keep the humidity in. I did wonder if leaving the lid off would perk the frogs up a bit, but apparently all they will do in dry conditions, is the same as they do at the moment, but without the pulse and the crickets. The old lid was made of thickened glass, so I decided to go to the local picture framing shop, to see if they could make me a new one.

Like many women in their thirties, I suppose I have an idea of myself as being quite an interesting and exotic figure, and I was looking forward to seeing the framing man's face when I walked in and gave him his unusual commission. "Good morning" I said "I'm afraid I have a very strange request".

The man in the framing shop looked up from his desk, smiled and put down his stanley knife. "There's nothing you can say to us in here that sounds strange," he said. You see, I had forgotten that this is England, land of the nutter, where "individuality" and borderline madness is a matter of national heritage. The words "strange", "unusual" or "bizarre" make the English very, very happy.

"I have just got pet African Tree Frogs and I need a new lid for their cage. I was wondering if you could make me another one just like this".

The framing man looked at the piece of toughened glass and shrugged. "No problem," he said and turned and yelled into a back room. A large man with tattoos and a goattee beard appeared and looked at me shyly. The boss man gestured to him. "This is Robert".

Robert stood quietly in the doorway of the back room, examining the backs of his hands for small cuts - a hazard, I imagine of the framing business. After a few seconds he looked up at me and gave me a small grin. "I've got a seven foot boa constrictor, a load of corn snakes and a tarantula at home". he informed me.

It's not the first time that a small attempt at idiosyncracy on my part, has been roundly trumped by a local enthusiast in this country. God, they wear their lunacy on their sleeves, especially where animals are concerned. It's like a constant game of "mental health whist" is underway. "I have a weird pet," "Oh do you, that's nice. I have an entire zoo in my trousers," "Well I have an entire zoo in my trousers and I only wear bedroom slippers in the street" "Well, I do wear my bedroom slippers in Tesco, but I have to spend quite a lot of time walking my six pet otters, and slippers aren't really sensible footwear for that." "Oh how lovely, well I am off to write to the paper as I am outraged that local horses aren't going to be allowed to walk in the indoor shopping mall" "Good for you, and I am going to email the local paper, and tell them about how my pet parrot can speak in tongues".

It's worrying that I care about how boring I appear, compared to the English. I have definitely been here too long.

Noreen

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

 

Doing My Duty By Wikipedia

I've always disliked democratically written, pub-quiz trivia reference work Wikipedia, because it has a "knowing" tone, despite having huge gaps in its knowledge. So I have decided to transform Wikipedia from the inside, by writing an entry that it lacks, on "The Middle Voice In Ancient Greek". I'm actually finding it a challenge not to be judgemental about the Middle Voice because I think it is a rather jumped up piece of grammatical crap, but I realise that, despite Wikipedia being an amateurish bag of shite, personal opinion really ought not to come into an informative entry to the work. Here's what I have so far:

"Most languages are satisfied with simply an Active and a Passive voice . In the majority of situations that use a verb to describe them, a person is either doing something to someone, or having something done to them. X is doing Y to Z = Active Voice. Z is having y done to him by X =Passive Voice. Even in an intransitive situation, where the subject of the sentence isn't actually doing anything to anyone else at all - the subject of the sentence is, nonetheless, still doing something, and therefore ought to be spoken about in the Active Voice of the verb. The clearest example of an intrasitive verb, is the verb to be : John is at home "ho Ioannees oikoi" -( I can't find the correct font so fuck off). In the same vein, an example of the Passive Voice "to kreas esthietai" (meat is eaten) does not necessarily require clarification as to by whom or what exactly, it has been eaten. It's just passive meat, sitting there, being eaten by someone or something we are not interested in.

When someone is doing something to themselves, rather than to someone or something else, most languages are content to leave it at a reflexive verb: je me lave le visage, I pick myself up, Ich frage mich ob du wirklich noch 'was Kuchen brauchst, dicke Kuh. However, Ancient Greek prefers to add another voice to the more mainstream Active and Passive - the Middle Voice. So where the verb used in English is reflexive, Greek would use the verb in its Middle form.

If the Subject of the verb both initates the action, and participates in its outcome the verb will be in the Middle voice. In addition to this, when there is some confusion as to whether the supposed nominative of the sentence was really taking an active or passive part in the proceedings, Greek uses the Middle Voice to blur the boundaries of precision. That is why Greek was used in the New testament, as the Middle Voice was required, both to get around Voice-predictingly difficult concepts like "rising" (from the dead) or "being raised" (from the dead), AND the challenges presented by the nominative of a sentence being part of a Trinity, making it hard to tell exactly which of the three possibilities is actually carrying out, or benefiting from the verb. So there you have it -the Middle Voice in Greek. Look in your Abbot and Mansfield for how to create it, and learn your principal parts."

Suggestions for amendment in the comments please.



Noreen

Saturday, January 10, 2009

 

The Holy Land Can Fuck Off

Under their cheap, Christmas scarves, British people are frightened - not so much by the precarity of their situations, but by the relentless pursuit in the media, of boring, yawny- yawny crap about the Middle East. I hate the whole of the Middle East, apart from the food, and even that has an exception - felafel. I loathe felafel - dirty -tasting, mealy, old owl pellets, made from dried Broad Beans. Disgusting.

As a Catholic, I know I ought to think the Holy Land is great, but I have no desire to hang around there praying at all. When I was about seven, and had been forced to go to a Protestant school, my mother used to take me to the local convent, for weekly religious instruction. One kind nun gave me a rosary she had brought back from Jerusalem. The beads were made of wood, and there was a bit of red oily stuff set into a filagree metal disc, at the point just after you announce the first mystery. The oily matter in the disc, apparently, had touched the cross of Our Lord.

The Holy Land leaves me entirely cold - the Christian part is full of rather dodgy Orthodox people, rubbing away at stones and doing peculiar Byzantine stuff - it's not half as good as Rome. And the rest of the Holy Land can really fuck off - it's full of frightful, ranting, mad faced loonies who like killing and yelling about their respective Gods

I think Mormons are utterly insane - but I have to hand it to them for creating their own Holy Land in the US of A - it takes some of the religious pressure off the Other Holy Land I guess. And all those Far Eastern religions - thank you for being relatively self contained over there - although the Dalai Lama can fuck off as well "Tibet this, Tibet that"- he gets on my nerves.

I have never understood why people are all "Don't talk about religion - it's a taboo subject" It is not a taboo subject - but getting all hot under the collar about it is a gay subject, like knowing all the words to showtunes or liking Audrey Hepburn.

Noreen

 

The Art Of Conversation In January

"Well how would you feel if people started lobbing grenades at London - hmm? That's right - You'd bomb the fuck out of them too"

"I've decided to avoid wheat because I just feel it makes me lethargic, and my tummy gets all hard, like an hour after I've eaten bread, and my doctor thinks I have IBS maybe or like PRE IBS and it's so weird because since I stopped eating wheat I have loads of energy and I bought a new skirt and seriously - it's like the twelve is almost loose"

"I mean, it's not unreasonable to feel the need to STAMP on anti-semitism as soon as even a slight whiff of it is in the air - god I mean you can understand it, can't you"

"I've been thinking for a while that dairy and I don't get on either? You know - I mean I'm not exactly allergic but it definitely makes more mucous and I just feel, well, congested and sort of inflamed, and like my insides are inflamed and I really do notice how much lighter and more energetic i feel since I have been cutting it out"

"Anyway Hillary Clinton is going to be Secretary of State and she is very pro Israel"

"This year is definitely going to be the year where I listen to my body"

Noreen

 

Choices, Choices

All the choices available to people in life will have their advantages and disadvantages. Even very violent practices will have their pros and cons. Some people like being strangled, as it has an erotic effect on the body. I imagine the first few seconds of being disembowelled might have a similar frisson. Obviously too much strangling or too much disembowelling is going too far and results in death. But a little strangulation/bottom foraging can be fun.

I think I've been in England too long..

Noreen

Friday, January 09, 2009

 

Thumbs Up For The English Language

When the English needed words for dried fruits, they took the French words for fresh fruits and used them. So the English word for dried plum is a "prune" (which is the French for a fresh plum - an English prune is "prune seche" in French) and a dried grape is called a "raisin" (an English raisin in French is a "raisin sec").

A Neuro Linguistic Programming Master would probably start on saying: "The reason for that particular choice of the French word, is to embed the suggestion into English peoples' minds, that French fresh fruits are actually wrinkly and shrivelled up and not worth importing". And they would be absolutely right.
Noreen

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