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“Teachers say children are confused by made-up words,” was the extraordinary allegation The Independent made this week. Now personally, I think that children are the experts in made-up words – ‘goo goo ga ga’ springs to mind – but apparently they were confused when words such as voo, terg and strom appeared in a reading exam (although ‘Strom’ isn’t as made-up as they may think…)
The exam, for five- and six-year-olds (!), was set by the Department for Education, who have a long history of outputting meaningless drivel. For example, their guidance to teachers on confiscating inappropriate items reads:
The Sussex library has seen some changes over the summer. Its space is now divided into areas for “quiet group work” (clear enough), “silent individual study” and “quiet individual study.”
But my question is, why would an individual – as in, one single person – need the choice of studying silently or quietly? What sort of noises might they make while studying on their own in the quiet zone…?
And now for the ‘we really shouldn’t laugh at this story’ story
BBC News on Tuesday: “Authorities are investigating how a farmer in the US state of Oregon was devoured by his pigs.” The article went on, “Terry Vance Garner, 69, went to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm in Oregon, but never returned. His dentures and pieces of his body were found in the pig enclosure, but the rest of his remains had been consumed.”
Bulletin from Bulawayo: flushed with success
In the past, this blog may have portrayed Zimbabwe as a near-failed state, a misgoverned land ruled by an insane autocrat with no idea of how to run a country. However, we have now come to realise that the Zimbabwean government is, in fact, a deeply sensible institution imbued with sensitivity and common sense.
How else could they have come up with the idea of fining people who refuse to take part in twice-weekly synchronised toilet flushes? Yes, this is a plan hatched by the mayor of Bulawayo to prevent the local pipes from becoming clogged up; it presumably hasn’t occurred to him that a simpler solution would be for him to stop spending public money on chauffeur-driven cars and start investing in proper sewage systems.
According to the BBC, “The synchronised flush will take place at the same time on Mondays and Thursdays, though residents will of course be able to flush their toilets at other times too.” Well that’s reassuring.
SAY GOODBYE TO MISOGYNY
Meanwhile, their beloved Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has “publicly apologised to a coterie of women he inconvenienced through his escapades.” What a beautiful euphemism – and it being an African country, perhaps he and these women were even discussing Uganda. (Maybe Nick Clegg should also apologise.)
AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT…
There’s actually a very good book about African governance and the problems it presents, entitled:
[Tutor presses lightswitch. Nothing happens.] “Are you f***ing sh**ting me? Excuse my French: sometimes you just have to use barbarisms.”
“I have probably the most difficult-to-pronounce name of anyone in the University, but also probably the highest Scrabble score.” — Prof. Aleks Szczerbiak
“A world with loads of nuclear weapons: what does that become? A collectively sub-optimal outcome.” [Or, ‘A Bad Thing’ in English?]
“We all want glory. We all want to become famous rock stars, famous footballers, famous… professors…”
“I made a schoolboy mistake… schoolgirl mistake… I hate this PC language.”
“It won’t let you log in? Bastards!”
[Very detailed summary of capitalism…] “People get paid on Friday, go out, get p*ssed so they can forget how miserable their life is, then same crap again on Monday.”