• You couldn’t make it up!

    Opticians chain Specsavers is rightly renowned for its advertising slogan, “Should have gone to Specsavers“, which has been applied to every bad decision ranging from one’s choice of partner to driving ability.

    Talking of the latter, yesterday’s Daily Post carries an article which combines skill behind the wheel with the aforementioned opticians, in which the driver ended before the crown court in Abertawe, which some also call Swansea, for an incident which occurred in Castell Nedd (Neath) in November last year.

    Headline - Driver knocked over elderly couple while on his way to Specsavers

    No further comment is necessary on the headline behind the story. However, your ‘umble scribe is intrigued by the first sentence: “A driver on his way to Specsavers struck two elderly pedestrians with his car while reversing through a pedestrianised shopping area“.

    What was the driver doing in a pedestrianised area – where he should not have been – anyway? Exercising his over-developed sense of entitlement. For his lack of care for other road users, the perpetrator ultimately received a 12-month community order, a two-year driving ban and must pass an extended driving test before he can regain his licence.

  • Deep sea life using robots – exclusive

    This blog has often drawn attention to the inability of modern journalists (or should that be media employees? Ed.) to understand ambiguity, i.e. the quality of a statement being open to more than one interpretation, and how to avoid it by using language as a precision, not a blunt instrument.

    The example below dates back to 2022, comes from India’s Republic and dives beneath the waves to the bottom of the sea. It arrived in your ‘umble scribe’s social medial timeline late last week, so apologies if you’ve already seen the howler below.

    Headline - UK researchers discover over 30 potential new species at ocean's bottom using robots. Byline - In what can be considered to be a breakthrough scientific development, over 30 potentially new species have been discovered by UK scientists at ocean&'s bottom.

    The story was originally published in The Guardian. Republic’s reporter Anwesha Majumdar does not disclose in the rewrite why aquatic life in the deep oceans is using robots.

  • For UK, see England

    For some in England – an it only obtains in England – happens throughout the whole of the island of Great Britain and the occupied six counties of the Ireland of Ireland that suffers under the monicker of the United Kingdom.

    Those in England frequently forget that England isn’t the whole of the UK. It includes Wales, which England first colonised in the late 12th century, Scotland, which has its own system of law and institutions, and the aforementioned occupied six Irish counties, the remnant of yet more colonial activity likewise dating back to the late 12th century.

    People in parts of the UK that are not England frequently view England as the most privileged part of the union, particularly when it displays arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact, especially as the union did not come about voluntarily and secession from which may only be put to the vote if Whitehall is feeling generous.

    However, arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact does not apply only in the political sphere, but in the reporting of politics by the media.

    The following post has appeared on the X/Twitter account of London-based Channel 4 News on 3rd May.

    Post reads Local election results - what we know so far. Below is a screenshot of a video showing a backdrop with the words The UK decides - 2024 Local Elections

    The what decides?

    The only local elections taking place in the UK were mostly in England on 2nd May and involved elections for a large number of local authorities, regional mayors and police and crime commissioners.

    By virtue of Henry VIII’s 16th century Acts of Union, the only electoral activity anywhere else in the UK involved the election of the four Welsh police and crime commissioners for the four regional Welsh police forces. As regards these Welsh elections, Nation Cymru carries an opinion piece advocating the abolition of commissioners due to the extremely low voter turnout.

    The proportion of people on the electoral register who bothered to vote was 19.2% in the Dyfed-Powys police force area, 17.19% in North Wales, 16.58% in South Wales and 15.63% in Gwent.

    This hardly the UK really decides, now is it, Channel 4 News?

  • The importance of proofreading

    Within minutes of each other, two occurrences reminded your ‘umble scribe of the importance of proofreading, i.e. the process of finding and correcting mistakes in text before it is printed out or posted online.

    If nothing else, it proves the person or company involves knows what it’s doing and writing, providing evidence of professional competence

    The first was spotted on a change machine in Terminal 1 of Manchester Airport in the early hours of this morning.

    Sticker on machine stating this machine accepts new £20 note. On the image of the note is the printed word SPECIMAN.
    SPECIMAN? What’s one of those?

    According to Wikipedia, a specimen – not SPECIMAN – banknote is printed generally in very limited quantities for distribution to central banks to aid in the recognition of banknotes from a country other than their own. Furthermore, To avoid use of specimen banknotes as legal tender notes, the banknotes are deformed, typically by being overprinted and/or punched (perfin) with an inscription such as “SPECIMEN”, “SPECIMEN NO VALUE”, “CANCELLED” or the equivalent in one or more other languages.

    The second turned up a couple of minutes later on your correspondent’s social media feed.

    Ingredients list for a roast beef and criminalized red onion relish roll
    Should those with a poor grasp of English be gaoled?

    A reverse image search reveals that the original image first emerged on social media some 4 years ago and originated in the United States. Note that the snack is accurately defined as having caramelized onion relish its long description. Y’all have a good misspelt sandwich now! 😀

  • Commemorative Carcassonne culinary cock-up

    Aerial view of medieval CarcassonneThe French city of Carcassonne in the département of Aude is best known – and rightly so – for its medieval citadel, which actually has a history dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

    However, in recent days Carcassonne has become equally well known – in the Francophone world at least – for the poor quality of the local council’s spelling and its subsequent mockery on social media and in the mainstream print and broadcast media, as Midi Libre reports.

    Like any French town or city, some of Carcassonne’s street names commemorate prominent local and/or national figures.

    Pierre Curie. Image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsOne of those luminaries so honoured in Carcassonne is the physicist Pierre Curie (1859-1906) In 1903, Pierre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics along with his wife, Marie Skłodowska–Curie and another French scientist, Henri Becquerel, the man who discovered radioactity, all of them being jointly honoured in that year for their contributions to science and knowledge.

    As stated by Midi Libre, the cause for the outbreak of mainstream media and social media mockery, not to mention the presence of red faces at the local mairie, can be summarised in one single sentence.

    Cette semaine, deux panneaux ont été installés sur l’avenue Pierre Curie, dans la cité audoise, sauf que le célèbre physicien a été rebaptisé… “Pierre Curry” et a donc été orthographié comme la célèbre épice indienne.

    Which is rendered in English as the following:

    This week, two road signs were installed on Avenue Pierre Curie, in the city in Aude, except that the famous physicist was renamed… “Pierre Curry” and was thus spelled like the famous Indian spice.

    Street sign for Avenue Pierre Curry

    The erroneous signs were quickly removed yesterday (Saturday). The council has stated that signs with the correct spelling will be installed from this coming Monday.

    The mockery on social media took two forms: firstly, the culinary (it is not known whether Pierre and Marie invented the radioactive tandoori. Ed.), whilst Jo Zefka provides a typical post mocking the council’s poor orthographical skills.

    Screenshot of tweet by Joe Zefka

    Zefka asks:

    “Avenue Pierre Curry, physicien”.
    Demain, la “rue Arthur Rambo, poète” ?

    English version:

    “Avenue Pierre Curie, physicist”.
    Tomorrow, “rue Arthur Rambo, poet”?

    Your ‘umble scribe is pleased to note the speed with which Carcassonne town hall will be replacing the error-laden road signs. Here in the fair city and county of Bristol, the council – which is not known for its alacrity (except when pursuing council tax arrears .Ed.) – took all of four years to replace an erroneous road sign reading Morton Road (instead of Morton Street) in Lawrence Hill, perhaps because it lacked to comic cock-up quality of its Carcassonnais counterpart.

  • American Idiots

    Another day, another social media post showing how unaware some people are of the world about them, particularly in relation to popular music and politics.

    Green Day is an American rock band with a reputation of not being afraid to include political content in their lyrics.

    Take the song American Idiot, for instance.

    Released in 2004, it’s a protest song critical of the policies of the then US President, one George W. Bush, particularly his response to the atrocities of September 11 and his subsequent launch of the so-called War on Terror. It clearly went down well upon release as it was nominated for four 2005 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Rock Song and Best Music Video. According to Wikipedia, it is considered one of the band’s signature songs.

    As a prominent element of Green Day’s discography, the band performed it on ABC’s broadcast of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, but with a modern update, used the opportunity to call out Trump supporters by changing one word in the original lyrics, amending the line “I’m not part of a redneck agenda” to “I’m not part of the MAGA agenda“.

    This did not go down well with the right-leaning part of the populace of the 50 states, who denounced the band on social media.

    Then there were those like the gentleman in the screenshot* below, who seems totally oblivious to the blatantly political content of the original song or did not engage brain before placing fingers on keyboard and posting the following,an action which resulted in him ending up with his foot firmly inserted in his mouth.

    Post reads - You know the more I thought about it, why did Green Day have to insert politics into their performance of American Idiot? We're trying to get away from that for a few hours.

    For the benefit of Mr Starzynski and his like, your ‘umble scribe has transcribed the full, original lyrics of American Idiot below. 😀

    Don’t wanna be an American idiot
    Don’t want a nation under the new media
    And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
    The subliminal mind fuck America

    Welcome to a new kind of tension
    All across the alienation
    Where everything isn’t meant to be okay
    Television dreams of tomorrow
    We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow
    For that’s enough to argue

    Well maybe I’m the faggot America
    I’m not a part of a redneck agenda
    Now everybody do the propaganda
    And sing along to the age of paranoia

    Welcome to a new kind of tension
    All across the alienation
    Where everything isn’t meant to be okay
    Television dreams of tomorrow
    We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow
    For that’s enough to argue

    Don’t want to be an American idiot
    One nation controlled by the media
    Information age of hysteria
    It’s calling out to idiot America

    Welcome to a new kind of tension
    All across the alienation
    Where everything isn’t meant to be okay
    Television dreams of tomorrow
    We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow
    For that’s enough to argue

    Have a Happy New Year, y’all!

    * = Courtesy of George Takei‘s Mastodon account.

  • Hey Boss! I’ve found a Huge typo!

    In the general torpor that obtains around this time of year, the proofreader at the Temple Way Ministry of Truth, otherwise know as the Bristol (Evening) Post/Bristol Live (a Retch plc publication. Ed.) has been caught in flagrante delicto asleep at his/her desk.

    Today the Bristol (Evening) Post/Bristol Live published a piece on its website of great interest to price-conscious followers of fashion that would enable them to save hundreds of pounds, as per the screenshot below.

    Headline - Primark's 'retro' £12 dress that's very similar to £1,300 Huge Boss item
    A saving of £1,288? That’s Hugo!

    I’ve never heard of Huge Boss myself, but the paper’s author Emma Grimshaw clearly has as the name appears not just in the headline, but in the copy itself.

    Primark fans are rushing to buy the chain’s ‘retro’ black dress. The £12 item also looks very similar to a Huge Boss outfit, but costs a fraction of the price.

    Your ‘umble scribe has, however, heard of Hugo Boss AG of Metzingen, Germany which like its rival Huge Boss as per the Post/Bristol Live also sells ‘luxury‘, i.e. overpriced, clothing and fashion accessories.

    In the world of intellectual/imaginary property, Huge Boss’ behaviour is known as passing off, i.e. misrepresenting the goodwill of an established company.

    If the Bristol (Evening) Post/Bristol Live ever gets round to reporting the trade mark dispute between Hugo Boss AG and Huge Boss, your ‘umble scribe hopes it employs someone who knows how to proofread copy to do the job!. 😀

  • ‘American’ art and architecture

    Many years ago, your ‘umble scribe remembers a fellow pupil in German class being admonished as follows by Mr. Wreford, our teacher: “Boy, you are arrogant in your ignorance; and ignorant in your arrogance!

    That same mixture of arrogance and ignorance can still be found today: if anything more easily thanks to social media


    Which brings us to Twitter – now rebranded X by rich man-baby Elon Musk – and the account of Jesse Kelly, the conservative talk show host of The Jesse Kelly talk radio show.

    Being a professed conservative, Jesse is naturally a very patriotic man, as can be seen from the following tweet.

    Post reads: 
People love to sound sophisticated and brag about European art and architecture. I’ve seen America’s and I’ve seen what they’ve got. Theirs can’t touch ours.

    American art and architecture, Jesse?

    Somehow you failed to engage brain before tweeting and have ended up with you foot lodged firmly in your mouth.

    In case Mr Walker happens to be passing, here’s a quick history lesson on the Statue of Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World or even a Liberté éclairant le monde for reasons which will soon become all too apparent.

    The statue itself is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, which was was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

    So far, so American.

    Now things start to change, so pay close attention, Jesse! 😀

    The statue is a figure of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty holds a torch above her head with her right hand, whilst in her left hand she carries a tablet inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776, in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain and shackle lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the national abolition of slavery following the American Civil War. After its dedication, the statue became a symbol of freedom and of the United States, particularly welcoming to impoverished European immigrants arriving by sea.

    There are still more European connections to come, so don’t nod off just yet, Jesse!

    The statue was designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi the metal framework on which its copper outer skin was hung was built by Gustave Eiffel. yet another Frenchman Jesse might just have heard of due to some ironmongery he left lying about in central Paris. That’s Paris, France not Paris TX, by the way, and should not be confused with the 1984 film of the same name by German director Wim Wenders.

    Just one more little history lesson on the Statue of Liberty left now, Jesse.

    The heavy Gallic references might provide a hint of what it might be: the statue itself was a gift to the USA from the people of France. Where else?

    Update 28/12/23

    Your correspondent is not the only person to have pointed out Kelly’s mistake, as reported by Raw Story, which notes that a community note was added to the Kelly’s original post in which readers added context to Kelly’s image, stating very much the same as above, but in more temperate tones.

    However, even this gentle correction did not go down well with the MAGA mouthpiece, who responded as shown below.

    Kelly's new tweet reads: I thought [Elon Musk] taking over would let freedom ring on this site. Guess I was wrong. Sorry, but these colors don’t run.

    Your colors may not run, Jesse, but here’s a bit of free advice: when you are in a hole, particularly one you’ve excavated all on your own, stop digging and put the shovel down. 😀

  • “Much lover,” my luvver?

    Further evidence arrives today of the continuing decline of journalistic standards at Reach plc titles – already a bar so low it’s in danger of touching the ground.

    The proof: the author of this piece in today’s Bristol (Evening) Post/Live cannot even spell one of the title’s favourite clichés – much-loved – opting for a Bristolian sounding but meaningless much lover instead.

    Headline - Tributes after much lover Antiques Roadshow expert Henry Sandon dies

    What is even more surprising is that the author is an award-winner within the journalistic trade.

    If the qualityu control for press articles is as low as that down at Bristol’s Temple Way Ministry of Truth, your ‘umble scribe wonders just how much lower it must be where gongs for hacks are involved… :-D.

  • Lookalikes – Eric and Leonardo

    Newsweek in the United States reports that Eric Trump’s recent comment comparing his family’s assets to the Mona Lisa amid their ongoing civil fraud trial in New York has spawned a wave of mockery across social media.

    Disgraced former president Donald John Trump and his three adult children – Ivanka, Donald Jr. and the aforementioned Eric are accused of frequently inflating The Donald’s own net worth and the value of his assets by billions of dollars from 2011 to 2021 to secure better deals and loans. Trump and his children have dismissed the accusations and maintained their innocence, accusing prosecutors of being politically motivated and attempting to harm the Dunning-Kruger effect’s candidate’s 2024 presidential campaign.

    Earlier this week Eric Trump – hardly one of the world’s towering intellects – claimed that the Trump family properties at play in the civil fraud trial are “worth a fortune” and called them “Mona Lisas of the real estate world.

    Below in true Private Eye style, the Trump Tower in New York and Leonardo’s famous painting are placed side by side, so readers can draw their own conclusions as to which of them are of greater value to the human race as a whole.

    On the left the Mona Lisa with the caption Trump Tower, New York. On the right the New York Trump Tower captioned Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
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