Saturday, 30 April 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Tricky for Some

Even the most careful, educated writers occasionally need some guidance on questions of proper usage. Since 1998, Bryan Garner’s Garner’s Modern American Usage has been a trusted and comprehensive source on everything from the choice between a and an to the spelling of zwieback
The fourth edition has recently been published, and “given the book’s broadly inclusive approach to World English, not just to American English and British English,” the title has been changed to Garner’s Modern English Usage. There are also other changes. Language is a living thing, after all, and usage norms are not static. Since the third edition, Garner has used a language-change index to rank the acceptability of many of the entries. These rankings allow a more fine-grained understanding of proper use than a simple right/wrong judgment. A given usage can be captured by one of the following: 
Stage 1: Rejected (e.g., the use of every since for ever since.)
Stage 2: Widely shunned (e.g., the use of to gift for to give.)
Stage 3: Widespread but… (In this stage well-educated people might use it but not when being formal or careful, e.g., the figurative use of literally.) 
Stage 4: Ubiquitous but… (In this stage most people have accepted it, but a few die-hards are not giving in, e.g.,he use of healthy to mean healthful.)
Stage 5: Fully accepted 
One of the great achievements of Garner’s guide is that it can track the shift from one stage to another over time. Indeed, a number of entries have switched rank in the seven years since the third edition was published. What’s more, the rank assignments in the new edition are informed by the vast collection of English usage data in Google Books. Garner used Google Ngram Viewer to look at the relative frequency of words and phrases in English books and those numbers to support his judgments.
For example, even though spitting image began as a corruption of the phrase spit and image, it is now a fully accepted Stage 5. The ngram numbers back this up. Over millions of English books, the ratio of spitting image to spit and image is 23 to 1. The ratio tells you that if you still think spitting image is incorrect, you’re sitting on a pretty lonely perch.
Garner’s Modern English Usage is a living usage manual, and that makes it a useful usage manual. Here are seven words that changed their rankings from the last edition to the new one.


The phrase running the gauntlet began as running the gantlet. The gauntlet version has now moved from a Stage 4 to a Stage 5, fully acceptable, choice. The ngram ratio of gauntlet togantlet in this phrase is 11:1.


Is it one damn thing or another or one damned thing or another? In phrases like this, the damnform has now gone from a Stage 4 to Stage 5. The ngram ratio of damn thing to damned thingis 3:1.


Dived has long been considered the correct past tense of dive, but the use of dove has been growing for decades under the influence of droveDove was a Stage 4 that has now made it to Stage 5. The ngram ratio of she dove to she dived is 1.2:1.


After someone strides into a room, have they strode or stridden into it? Strode has made strides here, raising in ranking from a Stage 3 all the way to a Stage 5. The ratio for had strodeto had stridden is 3:1.


The original formulation of free rein points to an image of a horse, not royalty. But reign is on the rise in this phrase. It was a Stage 2 that has now been judged a Stage 3.


Impactful is still called “barbarous jargon,” but where in the last edition it was deemed Stage 1 ("rejected"), it has moved up to Stage 2 and is merely "widely shunned."


Properly it’s vocal cord and strike a chord but people often get cord and chord confused. Vocal chord for cord has gotten more common, moving from a Stage 2 to a Stage 3, but strike a cord has gone down in rank, from Stage 2 to Stage 1 at a ratio of 25:1, showing that acceptability rankings are not a one-way ticket to everything becoming acceptable.
Learn more about subtle distinctions in the way we use words from the 6000 other entries like this in Garner's Modern English Usage.

Pot Kettle

Donald Trump is today wondering how Ken Livingstone thinks he can get away with saying such things.
Speaking after a rally in California Trump said he had watched the footage of Livingstone with an open mouth, stunned at what he was hearing.
Trump told reporters, “Look, I know words, I know the best words, but the words this man used? Man, no, those were some bad words.
“This is a man in the public eye, with a huge audience watching him and he thinks he can just come out and talk about Adolf Hitler’s beliefs from ‘before he went mad’.
“Most right-thinking people are pretty sure Hitler had a screw or two loose before he started killing Jews, he wasn’t the most well-rounded individual; that’s for certain.
“And if there’s one thing I know about – and I know about a lot of things, all of the things – it’s mad men desperately searching for the power to implement their twisted ideology.”
“I don’t know who is advising Ken Livingstone, but they need to take a long hard look in the mirror. If he wants some tips then I’d be happy to talk to him. I am the best at talking, and I have the best tips.”
Trump then apologised for cutting short the interview, before telling reporters, “Sorry, I’ve got to go now, I have to prepare a speech on my new plan to build walls around abortion clinics using enforced Muslim labour.”

Viz Bits


Well Said

The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.
Quotations by unknown authors

Happy News

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he plans to extend his contract at Spurs by two years until 2021.

So all the so-called "big" clubs who came sniffing around and spreading rumours can fuck right off.  Especially Chelsea.


Once more we are forced to play catch up in a Sunday game.  Really pisses me off.  Good luck to Newcastle and Norwich...



After going into heat, an un-spayed female ferret can actually die if she does not mate.  She will remain in heat until she mates, and if she does not, the excess estrogen will cause anemia and eventual death.

Science Gag of the Day

It Ain't Cheap

While still good value, a break away to Siem Reap will still set you back a few dollars (US).

First off you have to give up $30 for your visa, then it's another $5 for the transfer from the airport.  Next we have $20 for your temple passes (per person per day) and another $15 for tuk-tuk hire for the day.

A trip to the magnificent circus (truly the highlight of the tour) is another $20 and accommodation is also on the rise.

Getting through the day is easy and good value as you can scoff for as little as $2 per main meal and with a beer for $0.50 (cocktails $2 but you get one free sometimes) you will not have to spend much to have some fun.

It is so worth the effort to visit as we hope Karen and Dean will find out when they join us for their first time.

Getting Better

Wifey is on the mend and the root canal work seems to have been a success.  There will always be trauma directly after any dental procedure so now some time has elapsed, it's looking far better.

She's back in the chair on Wednesday to have the other crown prepared with her new chap just up the road and we're hoping all will be done before we head off to Cambodia.

Sod's Law

Our cousins just asked us if we're going to be in Bangkok between 21st - 25th May.

We just booked our flights to Siem Reap last week for 19th to 24th May.

You couldn't make this up, could you?

There is a slim chance of meeting up the day we land and the night before they fly back to Germany and maybe they may even fancy a trip to Cambodia, as I don't think they've been before.

Either way, how's that for timing?


Sore gums.

Glutton for Punishment

In preparation for the very much looked forward to "Sons of Anarchy" night in (and to think I wasted a Friday night on this) I did the "let's watch something bad to make us appreciate the good" trick.  It didn't work.

I gave TOWIE a go and after 15 minutes, realised I had already seen this "episode".  Sorry, this shite all looks the same with the same plastic-titted Barbie dolls whining away and their Ken counterparts swaggering around thinking they are something special.

Ghastly and yet I am sure I will watch some more soon.  Is retirement turning me into a gormless moron?  Or should that be turning me into even more of a gormless moron?

Sons of Anarchy

No spoilers here but it is so difficult not to.

I was so mad at the telly last night having watched the final episode that all the Nerf darts were launched at the bog screen.  From the best episode of series 2, the penultimate one, we are then asked to believe the biggest load of crap imaginable.

Once more the viewer is expected to be shovelled undeliverable plot lines, ridiculous ineptitude and embarrassing situations that beggar belief.

I am still right fucking angry at the ending and will need to take a break from this bogus bollocks.  I mean, do the writers believe we are thick and gullible and that we can be fobbed off with this nonsense?  Perhaps they do, but I was under the impression American audiences aren't quite that retarded.

Not happy at all and unlikely to be until vast quantities of Chang have been downed.

Friday, 29 April 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

10 out of 10

Pattie Boyd was working as a model and actress in the early 1960s when she was cast as a schoolgirl in Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night (1964). Though she had just a single word of dialogue—"Prisoners?"—it was the role that changed her life. As it was on the set of that classic Beatles movie where she met George Harrison, and began a journey that would lead to her becoming one of the most important muses in rock and roll history.
Harrison and Boyd married two years later, but the beloved Beatle wasn't the only iconic rock star who was vying for Boyd's attention, and putting pen to paper to craft songs about her. Guitar deity Eric Clapton, one of Harrison's best friends, also fell madly in love with Boyd, and wrote much of Derek and the Dominos' 1970 album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, about Boyd and his forbidden love.
Boyd and Harrison eventually divorced in 1977, but not before she had a brief fling with future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. In 1979, Clapton got his Layla when he and Boydmarried, though even that didn't last. The couple divorced a decade later, and in 2015, Boydmarried for a third time—to property developer Rod Weston, whom she met in the late 1980s. Weston, as far as anyone knows, is neither a songwriter nor an instrumentalist. But the string of hits that Boyd inspired are still some of the most iconic songs in music history.

1. THE BEATLES // "I NEED YOU" (1965)

"I Need You" was only the second song written by Harrison to make it onto a Beatles album, which in this case was 1965's Help! Notably, during the February 15, 1965 recording session, Ringo Starr played on the back of an acoustic guitar while John Lennon played the snare drum on beats two and four throughout the track.


Harrison grew as a songwriter between Help! and 1969's Abbey Road, during which his tunes were clearly about police ("Piggies"), the government ("Think For Yourself", "Taxman"), or generally about the human condition (of "I Want to Tell You," Harrison said that it was about "the avalanche of thoughts that are so hard to write down or say or transmit."). However Harrison, according to Boyd, said "Something" was about her in a "matter-of-fact way." In her memoir, Wonderful Tonight, Boyd also revealed that Harrison's favorite cover of the song—of which there are hundreds—was James Brown's. Her favorite version was George's, when he played it for her in their kitchen. In 1980, Harrison said that he had first written "Something" on the piano during the making of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album).


Harrison would, predictably, only have one sentence to say about his Let It Be contribution. "'For You Blue' is a simple 12-bar song following all the normal 12-bar principles, except that it's happy-go-lucky!" Still, it's widely considered to be about Boyd. Lennon used a shotgun shell as his slide when he played the lap steel guitar on this song.


Clapton used Derek and the Dominos' lone studio album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, as a more than 77-minute declaration of love to Pattie Boyd Harrison. The name "Layla" came from the fifth-century Arabian poem-turned-book The Story of Layla and Majnun, adapted by Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. A mutual friend gave copies to both Clapton and Boyd. It was about forbidden love. Clapton secretly met with Boyd one afternoon in a South Kensington flat and played the song for her off of his tape machine. Boyd wrote that it was "the most powerful, moving song I had ever heard" and noted that Clapton had identified with Majnun and was determined to know how she felt. Boyd went home to Harrison, at least on that day.


"Mystifies Me" was on Wood's solo record I've Got My Own Album to Do, while he was still a member of the band Faces, and released one year before joining the Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, along with George Harrison, helped with some of the writing and performing.) Wood had "sort of a warped rock star wife swap" in which he had an affair with Boyd and Harrison had an affair with Wood's first wife, Krissie Findley. Wood wrote in his autobiography that he had actually "pinched" Findley from Eric Clapton to begin with, further complicating things, and knew full well Clapton was in love with Boyd. Wood and Boyd enjoyed a holiday in the Bahamas.

"Breathe on Me" was released on Wood's next solo album, Now Look, and reimagined on his 1992 effort Slide on This. Harrison and Wood would later joke about the wife swapping.


"So Sad," off of Harrison's 1974 album Dark Horse, is regarded as the only Harrison work about the marital problems between him and Boyd. The album was released the same year they separated; their divorce was finalized in 1977.


Clapton and Boyd eventually got together. In her book, Boyd recalled one incident in which she spent hours deciding on which dress to wear for a night out, while Clapton waited in the other room, playing his guitar all the while. Inspired by the country singer Don Williams, who wrote "beautifully simple" lyrics about quotidian events, Clapton came up with the chorus to "Wonderful Tonight" while he waited. When Boyd finally came downstairs and asked him if she looked alright, he played her what he had just written.


"She's Waiting" was released on 1985's Behind the Sun, an album Warner Bros. forced Clapton to tinker with a bit because his initial interpretation of the project was not commercial enough for the record company. "They said it had no singles and no relevance to anything else that was out there, and I needed to wake up and get with what’s going on," Claptonremembered. Since the song was released one year after Clapton and Boyd separated, and features the lyrics, "She's waiting for another love" and "Get ready now, 'cause pretty soon/She'll be gone and you'll be on your own" have strongly indicated to rock critics that it's about Mrs. Boyd-Harrison-Clapton.

10. ERIC CLAPTON // "OLD LOVE" (1989)

Clapton and Boyd officially divorced in 1988. In a letter from New York, Clapton wrote to Boyd saying he was working on an album (Journeyman) with Harrison and had written a song about her. "I think it will be the best one on the album," he claimed. "It's called 'Old Love,' don't be offended, it's not about you being old, it's about love getting old, and it's great, well, you'll see it when you hear it." In 2008, Boyd told The Guardian she didn't think it was so awesome. "The end of a relationship is a sad enough thing, but to then have Eric writing about it as well. It makes me more sad, I think, because I can't answer back."