Friday Five: Weekends

1. What do you like most: Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays (and why)?
I guess probably Saturday: usually don’t have to get up early, can stay up late, and there’s another weekend day to come.

2. What was the best weekend of your life?
I really don’t know. I should of course say the weekend Noreen and I got married (27 years ago) but as we’d arranged the whole wedding ourselves we were so knackered the whole thing was just a blur.

3. What weekend of the year is your favorite?
Easter is always good ‘cos it’s a 4 day weekend. Bank holiday weekends are good too. Otherwise I really don’t tend to differentiate between weekends.

4. Do you have any weekend routines?
Yes, too many. Noreen and I still treat weekends much as we did when we were students. Switch off on Friday night; have a few beers. Saturday is for shopping and the such like with decent food (whether in or out) on Saturday evening. Sunday is for working; not now doing coursework but for doing housework and similar chores. I tend to use Sundays for fish maintenance, paying bills, doing literary society paperwork, etc.

5. Describe your ideal Saturday night.
Relaxing with good food and wine in a quiet Italian or French bistro with Noreen and possibly a couple of friends.

[Brought to you courtesy of Friday Five.]

Zen Mischievous Moments #123

Marketing Explained
Marketing the buzz word in today’s business world is MARKETING. However, people often ask for a simple explanation of “Marketing.” Well, here it is:

1. You’re a woman and you see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, “I’m fantastic in bed.”
That’s Direct Marketing.

2. You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and, pointing at you, says, “She’s fantastic in bed.”
That’s Advertising.

3. You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, “Hi, I’m fantastic in bed.”
That’s Telemarketing.

4. You see a guy at a party; you straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, “May I?” and reach up to straighten his tie, brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, “By the way, I’m fantastic in bed.”
That’s Public Relations.

5. You’re at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, “I hear you’re fantastic in bed.”
That’s Brand Recognition.

6. You’re at a party and see a handsome guy. He fancies you, but you talk him into going home with your friend.
That’s a Sales Rep.

7. Your friend can’t satisfy him so he calls you.
That’s Tech Support.

8. You’re on your way to a party when you realise that there could be handsome men in all these houses you’re passing, so you climb onto the roof of one situated towards the centre and shout at the top of your lungs, “I’m fantastic in bed!”
That’s Junk Mail!

Brain Abdication

Oh dear. I saw an item on yesterday’s Breakfast (BBC1 TV) about food labelling which contained the usual snippets of vox pop. One female delivered herself of the opinion

It’s the government’s responsibility that we know exactly what we’re eating.

Spherical things that come in pairs! If she is bright enough to understand the words government and responsibility, how is it she cannot see that what she eats is absolutely zilch to do with the government and everything to do with her. Isn’t it our own responsibility to know what we’re eating? And if we think we don’t like it (for whatever reason: taste, look, hygiene, pesticides etc. etc.) then don’t eat it. Or does this female believe that the government should tell her when to change her socks and knickers?

This is more than just idle non-thinking, this is willful abdication of brain-power and is tantamount to criminal stupidity. It should certainly be classed as using the brain without due care and attention — £200 fine and 3 points on the licence; after 12 points they shoot you. On this showing it would do wonders for world over-population. 🙂

Why is Britain in the state it is, with a government who do whatever they like and no-one much apparently noticing? Because the great British public can’t be assed to think! I somehow doubt you’d catch Joe Public in any of our European neighbours caring so little. But then they do say

  • 5% of people can think and do
  • 5% of people cannot think
  • the other 90% of people can think and don’t

And doesn’t it just show! Is there any hope for us? Or is it my job to turn the light out?

So many books, so little time …

I found this book meme at In the Headlights and as it’s about books I couldn’t resist, being as I am an inveterate book hoarder.

Hardback or paperback: Depends. If I know I want to keep it as reference, or as part of “the collection” then usually hardback. If it is for general reading, bedtime reading, idle interest or for travel reading then paperback. It also depends what’s available, especially as I often buy secondhand books.

Amazon or brick and mortar: Amazon, eBay or Abebooks. Not because I don’t like real bookshops, I love them, and always seek them out when on holiday or visiting somewhere. But there are too new bookstores with too little range of stock of interest to me. And there also aren’t that many secondhand bookshops around. I know they’ve died partly because of Amazon et al. but getting to a bookstore is a major problem given one’s working hours etc.

Barnes and Noble or Border’s: Neither; I’m on the wrong side of the big pond. Book bookstores like Waterstones (or whatever they’re called this week) I find dull and boring. That’s largely because I don’t read much fiction and they just don’t stock a decent range of non-fiction. If I come across something I want I tend to go in for instant gratification and order from Amazon for quick delivery. But I also keep a list of (mostly out of print) books I want and search for these when I get to a secondhand bookshop — or even on eBay.

Bookmark or dog-ear: Always, always bookmark. I hate having books with dog-eared corners — I’m afraid it’s all part of the way I was brought up.

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by subject, or random: None of those. Books are kept largely by subject, but not well sorted within subject — except the history is largely in chronological order. And there are interesting categories too, like “books by people we know”.

Keep, throw away or sell: Once read, or even if not completely read, books are kept. Books are a treasure trove. This is why we have a house full of books — in fact they’ve taken over. Eventually as they become less mainstream (for us) they get relegated to behind the other books; and every few years we have a purge and dispose of ones we really no longer want: we might give them to friends (if they want them) or to the charity shop, or to a friend who does a car boot sale for his writer’s circle, or sell them on eBay. Books don’t get thrown away unless they are really, really beyond any use.

Keep the dust jacket or toss it: I always keep dustjackets; again part of my upbringing. They are part of the book, make useful substitute bookmarks and (if one cares about such things) enhance its future value. OTOH they irritate me when reading the book, so I often remove them temporarily.

Short story or novel: If I have to choose, novel. But I mostly read non-fiction.

Collection (same author) or anthology (different authors): I don’t really know. I guess it depends. I can read either. It’s more a question of reading what I fancy reading than worrying about artificial distinctions.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket: I’ve not read either. But I guess if I have to choose it would be Harry Potter. Or Terry Pratchett. Or Douglas Adams.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks: Oh, stop at chapter (or at least section) breaks if I can manage to stay awake — not always possible!

“It was a dark and storm night” or “once upon a time?”: Don’t care. I don’t read a lot of fiction so it doesn’t matter. It’s more a case of whether the book interests me.

Buy or borrow: Buy; always. I never borrow books and I never lend books. If I want to read something I’ll buy it; after all I may well want to keep it and read it again or refer back to it.

New or used: Either. Not everything I want is available new; and some of the old books I want are cheaper in reprints than secondhand. Also factor in that there are books I would like to look at and can often pick up cheaply on eBay rather than having to pay full price.

Buying choice: How do I choose what to read? Usually either books I come across by chance, or I want a book on a particular subject, or they’re get recommended/mentioned to me by friends. I seldom read book reviews, and even less often use them as a source of information.

Tidy endings or cliffhangers: I’m organised, so I prefer tidy endings; except when I don’t.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading: Whenever I can. Which usually means a few minutes in bed at night or when I’m ill. So I don’t actually get through a lot of reading, something which is made worse by being a slow reader.

Stand-alone or series: Not bothered. But see previous comments on fiction vs non-fiction.

Favorite series: Anthony Powell‘s A Dance to the Music of Time — now what did you really expect me to say? Do Lewis Carroll’s two Alice in Wonderland books count as a series? Then there’s Douglas Adams‘s Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

That’s all, except that, inevitably, TAG, you’re it. If you enjoyed this, please perpetuate the meme and comment here so we can all enjoy your answers. I’d like to see Jilly and Kelly take up the challenge. I’d add Noreen and JohnMon as well but I’ve yet not persuaded them to get weblogs (hah; chicken!).

Friday Five: Not Doing

1. What do you try to stay away from?
Germs, crowds, the London Underground, buses (yeuch!)

2. Are you clumsy or graceful?
Clumsy.

3. What is it too late for?
Getting somewhere in life. Making a real difference. A decent pension.

4. What/who was your first love?
Sandra Shorer. I think we were eight; maybe as old as ten. She wasn’t interested. OMG that’s a lifetime ago; nearly 50 years!

5. Friday fill in:I believe that the sun will turn green in 38 days time.

[Brought to you courtesy of Friday Fiver]

The Strange Things One Discovers …

Quite by chance I was earlier today reading the Transport for London webpage on the history of the Central Line, and came across this oddity about our local Underground station:

[…] Greenford station, the entrance hall was at ground level but the railway was on a viaduct, and thus became the first, and only, station on the London Underground to have escalators [actualy only one escalator these days] leading from street level UP to the trains.

Here we go again …

BBC News has today published an item under the title Nuclear review ‘was misleading’ . Here are a couple of quotes from the opening paragraphs:

A High Court judge has ordered a rethink of the government’s nuclear power plans, after a legal challenge …

[The] judge ruled that the consultation process before the decision last year had been “misleading”, “seriously flawed” and “procedurally unfair”.

Tony Blair said while the ruling would change the consultation process, “this won’t affect the policy at all”.

Has Blair totally lost it (did he ever have it?) or is he just a dictator? If the policy isn’t open to being changed, just what is the point of having a consultation? I give up, I really do. This guy has absolutely no clue! Please will someone teach the guy what democracy is about?

It seems to me Blair’s only saving grace is that he can’t be as bad as his apparent successor (Gordon Brown) will be. And that is so scary I think I want to go and hide.

Worst Inventions

According to BBC Focus magazine the 10 most loathed inventions of all time are (in reverse order):

10. Religion
9. Speed cameras
8. Fast food
7. Television
6. Cigarettes
5. The car
4. Sinclair C5
3. Nuclear power
2. Mobile phones
1. Weapons

Do not ask how they arrive at this conclusion. I can see why most of these things get on the list, even if I personally wouldn’t have nominated them. However I wouldn’t even have thought to mention the Sinclair C5, it was so pathetically a no-hoper, let alone put it in the top ten most loathed. I’d far rather see things like politics, the aeroplane, the iPod, non-essential plastic surgery and fireworks on the list. But what do I know: I’m an educated thinker!? 🙁

British Library to Start Charging Researchers

Apparently the UK government is proposing to reduce the British Library’s funding and force it to start charging researchers for use of its resources. This will have a major impact on all researchers, both independent and academic. It is also illogical as the government has insisted that access to the national museums is free, and that they provide research facilities free of charge. How then can they insist that the BL — perhaps the country’s most prestigious museum resource (its objects just happen to be books and not “stuff”) — charge for its services. This is crazy!

A petition to the Prime Minister has been set up; you can sign it electronically here: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/library/. I urge you to do so! You have to be a UK citizen to sign.