Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Geek Chic

Our eldest starts school in September and his new headmistress, Mrs O’Brien has stipulated (given the amount of unidentified clothing they harvest at the end of each term) that all parts of his uniform are labelled with his name in the traditional manner. This seems a bit of an undertaking, so we’re thinking of changing his name to George and buying all his clothes at ASDA to save us the hassle.

Calvin Klein’s mum doubtless had the same problem, but she just went overboard and plastered his name over everything, even his pants. Weirdly, when I was in school, any kid whose pants showed above his beltline and whose trousers were in permanent danger of falling earthward was regarded as a bit of a spanner and was ostracized to eat his irregularly-cut sandwiches in a corner of the playground on his own. Nowadays, however, such kids are the epitome of cool.

It just goes to show that geeks are years ahead in the fashion stakes and are the trendsetters of tomorrow. Look out for Karl Lagerfeld’s new collection which includes nylon slacks worn fashionably two inches above the ankle, glasses so thick you could burn ants with them on a hot summer day and hand-me down graying shirts with substantial lapels, all sported by models whose teeth protrude at 90 degrees to the perpendicular.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Euthanasia On A Budget

There was a programme about euthanasia on TV recently in which the law was once again under fire (its adversary being reason) when approaching the question of whether the individual has the right to take his or her own life (or more contentiously, whether caring family members can ethically assist). Presently the only countries where assisted suicide is legal are Holland and Switzerland (though Switzerland seems to be the location of choice, possibly cos it’s prettier).

Such trips are expensive however and prevent this option being available to all. So for anyone who’s watching the pennies, why not just pop down to your local embassy, which of course, is not governed by the laws of land where it is situated but by the country it represents? You could tootle down with your elderly relative during a lunch hour, or even on your way home from work, send them on their metaphorical way, and arrive home while your dinner is still warm and just in time for the start of EastEnders.

Peace of mind I’m sure to the individual involved, who surely wouldn't wish to be a burden, living or dead.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Glint Eastwood

A discussion arose in our house the other day about the origins and usage of the word “glint” (also “glinter” – someone who glints, and “glinting” – the act of performing a glint).

After asking around and getting nothing more than blank expressions in response, it seems that it’s a word that my wife has made up, and its usage extends to us two, though I’m thinking of starting a campaign for it to be included in the OED.

For those who don’t know what it means (ie. everyone apart from us), a definition is thus: the unfortunate effect that the action of squinting, or otherwise raising one’s cheeks to limit the intake of sunshine (or wind, though typically sunshine) into your eyes has on raising the upper lip, thereby revealing the top teeth. It’s not quite a squint (as it’s not just a narrowing of the eyes), and it’s not quite a grimace (as it’s an emotionless by-product of squinting, rather than an expression of umbrage).

For an excellent example, see the picture on the left. To the casual observer, it almost looks like a smile, but look closer and there’s no joy behind it.

Australia, being a sunny, outdoorsy kind of place, was excellent glinting territory with a array of teeth bared at the elements. The UK is less so, though with the onset of the great British summer, it’s now coming into prime glinting season with some fantastic examples to be had on the Great British High Street.

While out shopping of a Saturday, we often rate glints on a scale of 1-10 (usually accompanied by the expression “Glinter!”), with variables which determine the glint quality being teeth size, height to which the upper lip is hauled and gormlessness of the expression. Look out for them…

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Starsky, Hutch and Huggy Bears

It was after listening to Silver Lady by David Soul in a restaurant the other day, that I was mulling over the names children (or more accurately in most cases, their parents) give to their favourite anthropomorphic toys.

Our eldest’s soft companion of choice was a small Kermit the Frog (known affectionately as Kermy or Mr K, depending on circumstance), complete with pointed ruff and dangly limbs. Our youngest, however, chooses to eschew all expensive soft toys in favour of a crappy little penguin which was given away with boxes of Persil when they were promoting the film Happy Feet. This bedtime cohort of choice is called – somewhat unimaginatively – Mr Penguin. Our nephew’s much beaten and eaten companion meanwhile, is called Gerry the Giraffe.

Some thirty-something years ago, my own little furry chum was called Jaffa – a small orange bear. My sister’s, bizarrely, was called David Soul, named after an affection for the lusciously-bouffanted actor from Starsky & Hutch.

Jaffa has sadly long since been lost, as has Kermy (documented elsewhere in this blog), and it’s possible that Mr Penguin and Gerry will one day follow, though strangely, David Soul still inhabits a place in my sister’s house as well as her heart. Now in his late thirties, he requires handling with the utmost care as his threadbare skin is excessively fragile and his foamy innards are in constant danger of spilling forth in an unsavoury manner.

Co-incidentally, the real David Soul is now equally decrepit, but to my knowledge doesn’t live in my sister’s house. Or does he? No-one’s seen him for years; he could be tucked away in the attic subsisting on bugs, dew and sporadic displays of regressive affection. Or perhaps he’s kept in a hutch of some sort? No, that would be too ironic.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Phonetic Tactics

I’m more-or-less familiar with the phonetic alphabet: “hotel, sierra, whiskey, tango, etc.”, though sadly only on those occasions where it’s not required. If put on the spot by someone on the phone, why is it that the correct words go out the window in favour of more atypical examples?

“My postcode? Yep, it’s Biscuit Acrobat thirteen, three Jam Quagga.”