Category Archives: Pedantic

Once again

Here is a response received today from one of our field agents following an automated email showing a list of open cases.

INSTRUCTION REFERENCE: XXX/XXX/XXXXXX
13/01/2009: Transferred to Agent  SEE SEPERATE MESSAGE

I have a strong desire to reply with this message:

The word you are looking for is spelt “separate”. There is no such word as “seperate”.  If you need a mnemonic to help you with this common misspelling then “pare” is what you do to fruit when you cut it in half.  In fact “pare” and “separate” come from the same route Latin word “parare” meaning “make ready”.

The question is: Am I that pedantic?

I’ll put the kettle on while I think about it.

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4 Comments

Filed under Pedantic

Every. Single. Time.

We have a chap in “someone else’s company” who orders envelopes, pens, and other office supplies.  He places orders on an irregular ad hoc basis as the need arises.  Every time he prepares to make the order he sends this email around:

Stationary request what is it you would like me to order

Every time he sends this I reply with “Something that doesn’t move”.  Not because I want him to order something that doesn’t move but because “stationary” refers to things that are unmoving.  The word he should be using is “stationery” and I am a pedantic git.

In the unfortunate likelihood that you work somewhere with a pedantic git and need to know the difference between stationary and stationery you can use a handy mnemonic.  Remember the E in Envelope or the A in pArked cArs.

You can have a sweetie if you can point out all the errors in the previous text.

11 Comments

Filed under Pedantic

Prophecy

It started the other night when I was walking home with Cake Worm.  We started talking about how witches always seem to be portrayed as wizened old hags and never as beautiful women.  Inevitably we ended up talking about MacBeth and the witches prophecy:

First Witch 
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch 
All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch 
All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Also the comment from Deb

Mr. Frog…I hope u’ll hop over and give me your explanation on how things that were written thousands of years ago have come to pass, are coming to pass and will come to pass…I’m sure there is a logical explanation

got me thinking about the nature of prophecy.  Actually it goes back to Greta’s post on predictions from earlier in the year. 

Is it that they that come true because we make them come true or because they would come true anyway?

Now, before anyone leaps up and yells “Hey Mr Frog.  You don’t believe in the supernatural.  How can you believe in prophecy?” let me explain.   A prophecy that does not come true isn’t a prophecy.  It just doesn’t count,  That’s why so called psychics throw scores of predictions out and then grandly announce the fact when they get one right.  It is prophecy because it becomes true, before that it is simply a statement.

I have some tips for people who wish to write their own prophecies.  As a gamer since I before I was a teenager (and that was a while ago) I have enjoyed writing and being subjected to prophecy in a game (or The Game as we often call it) environment. 

Multiple meanings: Come up with three meanings for every element in a prophecy, so that if one thing is prevented, the others can step in.  Daniel 9 26 “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”  Suitably vague.  Sixty two ‘sevens’ could mean weeks or loaves of bread or anything else that you get lots of.  The Anointed One could be the Jesus figure, a holy pilgrim or someone who got rained on.  It doesn’t matter as long as you leave the answer open to interpretation.

The Wizard’s Bluff: Find ways to make avoiding a problem, cause the problem.  An unfair technique but useful if you need something to happen or to explain something that can’t go another way.  For instance, say you need to prophecy one person being in Ankh Morpork but they refuse to go there.  In avoiding the problem they try to escape and end up getting lost and going to the very place that they wanted to avoid.  A simpler method is a lever that either opens a trap door or prevents it opening.  If you need someone to fall through the trap door then it doesn’t matter if you pull the lever or not because it’s going to happen the way it has been foretold.  This is very much a “heads I win, tails you lose” gambit.

What’s your name?: Don’t give names but use vague references instead.  When you want Bill the plasterer to be your focus of the prophecy never use his name.  Use “the third son with hands of clay”or “the dark eyed laughing one”.  If you want to prophecy a death don’t say that “only a man who was born by Cesarean section can kill you”.  Turn it round to the positive and mysterious.  Say instead “None of woman born shall harm MacBeth”.  It’s suitably vague and leaves unsaid the key point.

When was that again?:  Don’t give dates of events at all if you can help it or use an odd method of calculating dates like an ancient language or a vague unit like age or season.  For example say “In the season of darkness” when you mean winter.  You can always reveal later that this meant a time of lunar eclipse or night time or even a very overcast day.  Avoid specifics.  Daniel 9 26s sixty-two ‘sevens’ is another example.

Where was I?:  Don’t use place names.  Use a description instead.  Instead of saying Rome, for example, say The City of Seven Hills.  That way you can use another city that happens to have seven hills (or mounds, or piles of rubbish even) if your first choice lets you down.

Retroactive Prophecy:  One of my favourites.  Have a figure of importance make some off hand comment that is open to interpretation.  Write it down.  Later some event could occur and people will point at that comment and say “Wow, that was spot on.  Amazing!”.  My example is another biblical one Matthew 24 1-2 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.  “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

The key to prophecy is to be vague and to get others to look for meaning.  Never be explicit, never clarify.  When you get close to the mark make sure that you shout out that you got it right.  Only then should you explain that you meant this or that all along.  If anyone doubts you then all you need to do is accuse them of lacking faith and demand that they explain how you could be so accurate with your prophecy.

5 Comments

Filed under Pedantic, Religion, You decide

A bit of fun

This is just for discussion. I would love to hear some comments from people. Here’s the issue:

Someone approaches you and states that yesterday never existed. In fact everything has only existed since 6am this morning.  When everything came into existence, it was already “pre-programmed” with the appearance of age and we were installed with our memories of non-existent past days.

Your goal is to attempt to prove them wrong.  How would you?  What would you say?

22 Comments

Filed under Debate, Pedantic

Cake

The phrase is “You can’t eat your cake and have it” not “You can’t have your cake and eat it”.  Clearly if you have a cake then you can eat it but if you eat a cake you no longer have it. 

You can have two cakes but if you eat one you’ll only have one left.  So you can eat one cake and have another but but it won’t be the same cake.

If you tell me that I can’t have my cake and eat it I will point out your error and insist that you purchase or make an eccles cake for me.

Make your own Eccles Cakes

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Pre-heat oven to 220°C

Ingredients:

  • 500g flaky pastry
  • 25g melted butter
  • Nutmeg
  • 50g candied peel
  • 100g sugar
  • 200g currants

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and butter and cook over a medium heat until melted
  2. Off the heat, add currants, candied peel, nutmeg and allspice
  3. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the pastry thinly and cut into rounds of about 0.5cm thickness and 10cm diameter
  4. Place a small spoonful of filling onto centre of each pastry circle
  5. Dampen the edges of the pastry and draw the edges together over the fruit and pinch to seal
  6. Turn over, then press gently with a rolling pin to flatten the cakes
  7. Flatten and snip a V in the top with scissors. Place on a baking tray
  8. Brush with water and sprinkle with a little extra sugar
  9. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes (220°C) or until lightly browned round the edges
  10. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.
  11. Try not to eat them all at once!

5 Comments

Filed under Pedantic, Recipe for disaster

Spam but this time it’s against my friends

DEADLY SODA CANSVERY IMPORTANT PLEASE READThis incident happened recently in north Texas. We need to be even more careful everywhere.A woman went boating one Sunday, taking with her some cans of coke which she put in the refrigerator of the boat. On Monday she was taken into Intensive Care Unit and on Wednesday she died.The autopsy revealed a certain Leptospirose caused by the can of coke from which she had drunk, not using a glass. A test showed that the can was infected by dried rat urine and hence the disease Leptospirosis.Rat urine contains toxic and deathly substances. It is highly recommended to wash thoroughly the upper part of soda cans before drinking out of them as they have been stocked in warehouses and transported straight to the shops without being cleaned.

A study at NYCU showed that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilets i.e.. full of germs and bacteria. So wash them with water before putting them to the mouth to avoid any kind of fatal accident.

My ratty friends would be very offended by such falsehoods.

  • Rat urine is the same as human urine in that it contains toxic waste fluids like urea and some bacteria but is virtually sterile.  At least when processes by healthy kidneys.
  • Leptospirosis can be contracted by exposure to the disease that is typically excreted by infected animals (including rats).  The most common source is river water in rural areas.
  • There is no actual verifiable media source for these stories.  You’d think that the media would love to sell more papers by reporting a health scare but none exist.

My ratty friends thank you for not perpetrating such terrible lies against them.  They can now take a rest.

4 Comments

Filed under Modern Etiquette, Pedantic, Rats

Change as much as you damn well like!

Have you seen this advert for the Boots: Change one thing campaign?

I hate it.  It’s condescending.  It assumes that we are weak willed fools who are unable of concentrating on more than one thing at a time.  It assumes that we are set for failure if we set our targets higher than they tell us to.  It turns us into sheep simply because it gives no option but failure or Change One Thing.  I hate it even more that the Special K advert that tells you to lose weight by eating their cereal rather than … oh I don’t know …. a grapefruit for breakfast.

In 2008 I want to clear some of my debts, exercise more, drink less alcohol, read more and learn another language.  Is there any reason why 2008 should be the year that I do all these things?  No, but I may as well start somewhere and 1st January is as good a time as any.

9 Comments

Filed under Modern Etiquette, Pedantic, You decide