Friday, July 31, 2015

Laughter is the best medicine; Wonderland; Offensive whores; The EU; & Kurt Vonnegut.

You have to laugh 1: For some time now, the Russian RT TV station has been highlighting President Putin's claim that the Americans have satellite data which shows who really shot down the Malaysian airline over the Ukraine and so could prove it wasn't Russia or their surrogates in Eastern Ukraine. So, you'd expect Moscow to be delighted with the prospect of an international enquiry. But guess who's just vetoed this. I wonder what RT will make of this turn of events. Doubtless it will be plausible, if only marginally so.

You have to laugh 2: Mr Putin has opined that "Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel prize for his stewardship of Fifa". I'm an avid viewer of RT channel (largely for the unintentional laughs) but I've never heard anything this preposterous even there.

Only in Spain?: Another great use of the new 'Citizen Security Law? Well, no. Making prostitutes wear reflective jackets is being done under an existing law. But in Madrid the new law is being used to target prostitutes. Specifically those who commit an act of sexual provocation in a public place, such as an industrial estate. I wonder if this description includes truck parks. But, anyway, the law will also be used to 'crack down on prostitution in public places, such as near schools and children’s parks.' Sometimes I feel I'm living in Alicia en el País de las Maravillas. Am I alone?

Incidentally, the president of Venezuela is so horrified by the Citizen Security Law (commonly known as The Gag Law) that he's accused President Rajoy of being "the hitman of the Spanish people" for introducing tough penalties for public order offences. Slightly OTT, I think. But essentially true.

The EU: You want some reasons why it ain't working? Here's four. Recent developments have highlighted, of course, how tough national challenges can't be solved by a committee of 28 or even 19. For, no committee of any size ever solved a problem of any sort. Being comprised essentially, if not totally, of people who enjoy being on committees.

Finally . . . . Some nice quotes from Kurt Vonnegut's lovely little book A Man without a Country:
  • A lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semi-colons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they show is that you've been to college.
  • If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is to go into the arts.
  • The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon. [I guess he means Colin Powell]
  • It certainly helps to remember what the great socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw said about this planet: "I don't know if there are men on the moon but, if they are there, they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum."
  • I asked the graphic artist Saul Steinberg how I should feel about Picasso. Six seconds past and then he said: "God put him on earth to show us what it's like to be really rich."


Alfred B. Mittington said...

"It wasn't Russia or THEIR surrogates...."

I understand that not only They is a singular pronoun according to the Tolerant Grammar of Kamm & Colin, but Their is now a synonym of Its???


Colin Davies said...

It's a typo for 'her'. I'm surprised you couldn't figure this out. Then again - I'm not.

Kamm says it's perfectly OK to say something like - No man or woman can remember their birth". In fact, I think I've used it in the past couple of day, thinking of you as I typed it and yet another trifling comment . . . .

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Greetings Alfred. Here is one for you to ponder over. A line from one of my poems.
They saw the dawn, the break of day,
their life was gone at close of day.
Over to you for some grammatical enlightenment.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Dear Mike,

Two bulls charged in an angry fit
As such things go: their head they hit


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Dear Colin,

No Man or Woman would ever write such a sentence. Men and Women would write:

Nobody ever remembers his birth.

As for Her Russia: if the idea is that the reader substitutes the enormities and stupidities committed by authors by other words and expression, so as to turn a faulty or ugly phrase into a correct or beautiful one, then why don't we just let computers write and translate all texts?


Colin Davies said...

This is a joke, I assume. Don't you know any modern women?

Not a bad idea. Grateful if you could purchase such a computer and give up writing.

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Thank you PoeticAl. When I first wrote the above poem I did hesitate when I wrote their life as maybe it should have been lives but I decided on the singular. Your answer confirms singular rather than plural.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

You are welcome, dear Mike.

Of course, in poetry we should be as flexible and tolerant as in morals and grammar we ought to be strict and uncompromising. "Their lives were gone" would certainly not be as sonorous and forceful as your use of the singular.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Dear Colin,

I never said women do not exist or that they play no role in my life. I said that no man or woman would ever write such a sentence. You seem to think that everybody - men, women and children - is as awful a stylist as yourselves. They is not.

Yours, sincerely, GrammticAl

Colin Davies said...

And I didn't say you did.I asked whether you were familiar with the attitudes ot modern women to the use 'his' to cover them. I sometimes wonder whether you are a native speaker of English, Alfie.

Nowt to do with how many women you know or with style.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

In my day, the sentence "Do you not know any modern women?" was a question enquiring whether one knew any individuals who happened to be ladies. It was NOT a question asking after one's familiarity with the attitudes of modern women. There are better ways to do so. Much better ways. And many better ways.

But then, the Colin & Kamm New Modern Enlightened Liberal Grammar surely allows such undefined, unrefined, vague and sloppy formulations to stand in for correct use of the English language. And if no communication takes place, it is the fault of the Sticklers and the Pedants, right?


Colin Davies said...

That's it. I'm now convinced you're masquerading as a native speaker of English, bringing bizarre notions of correctness from whatever inadequate tongue it is you actually speak. Double Dutch, it looks like.

What on earth has it got to do with grammar?

Stop blaming my tongue when it is your ears which are at fault. Not to mention your brain!

'In my day' - That says it all really. Get with it , granpa.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear fellow,

I love you too!