29 May 2007

For today's style-conscious baby

Is your baby down in the dumps? Perhaps she needs a fashion pick-me-up...

- Aisle sign, Sainsbury's supermarket in Warlingham, Surrey, 29 May 2007

25 May 2007

A few home truths

'England did nothing in that World Cup, so why were they bringing books out?  "We got beat in the quarter-finals.  I played like shit.  Here's my book"'
- Man City midfielder Joey Barton, Sport magazine, 25 May 2007

20 May 2007

Writing for yoof

'This week, I'm going to teach you to write a kids' book.  Why?  Because people think it's easier than writing an adults' book.  And it is.  Because children (1) are dumber and (2) know fewer words.  Also, they have such limited experience of the world that it's easy to trick them.  For example, if a talking rat who dreams of being a great poet shows up in an adult book, all of us adults go: "What a crock!  No one wants to be a poet anymore, not even a rat".  But kids have been on earth so briefly, they don't even know what a poet is, or how little money they make'

- George Saunders, Guardian Weekend, 5 May 2007

18 May 2007

A different sort of dirt

'Many vacuum cleaners seem to break down after a few years - but not Stanley Waller's remarkable model.  The former RAF pilot is still using the Goblin cleaner his parents bought in 1933.  His father spent £9 - or about two weeks' wages - on the vacuum in the year Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany.  Seventy-four years later, Mr Waller and his wife Sylvia, both 82, are still using it in their home in Norwich.  "It has not had to be fixed since it was bought, except for a 13-amp plug so I could plug it into the mains," Mr Waller said.  "Things were very different back then".
- Metro.co.uk, 18 May 2007

02 May 2007

In other news, Christmas has been cancelled

'The attention of Ministers has been drawn to the inconvenience resulting from the practice which has grown up, of Officers leaving the Buildings daily for luncheon, and the Government Offices being practically deserted in the middle of the day.  Ministers cannot find any authority for this practice, which is in direct contravention of the last order issued on the subject. The inconvenience caused by this proceeding is very serious, and Ministers have decided that it must be stopped.

In consideration of this decision, the official hours of attendance will be terminated at four o'clock instead of half-past four, except on Saturdays, the existing rule as to that day remaining unchanged.  It must therefore be understood that, in future, Officers in the Government Buildings are not, except when special permission is given, to absent themselves from their Offices for luncheon.

Heads of Departments will see that this rule is strictly enforced'

- New Zealand's Secretary of the Cabinet, Ebenezer Fox, 16 January 1880

[Quoted in R. Kitteridge, 'The Cabinet Manual: Evolution with Time', March 2006, Cabinet Office websiteIn a curious coincidence, Ebenezer Fox was also the name of a notorious poacher in Stevenage in the same era.  The poacher had a twin brother.  Perhaps one of the brothers secretly emigrated to New Zealand and found refuge in Parliament...]

Stunning research findings

'In a study last year, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that children playing Dance Dance Revolution expended significantly more energy than children watching television and playing traditional video games'
- New York Times, 30 April 2007
[Courtesy of Louwrens.  I think parents worried about childhood obesity should employ a 19th-century cowboy from the Wild West to fire Colt revolvers at their children's feet, shouting, "let's see you dance now, little cowpoke"]