Tuesday, November 24, 2015

News Bytes

From the news in the last week . . .

Australia’s saddest Christmas tree:

Remember the scene in Groundhog Day where an embittered Phil, tired of repeating the day over and over, rants “This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You're hypocrites, all of you!”

Well that’s how I feel about Christmas decorations in the town centres by local Councils, especially Ashfield Council where my office is and Marrickville Council where I live.  It even inspired friend and colleague Robert B to write a letter of complaint to the Council and send pics. Following is a pic of one of the under awning decorations near Robert's office.  They are tired looking garlands each 4 shops or so, that is all the Council has done . . .

This is pitiful. What a hype. Christmas used to mean something in this town. They used to put up lights, decorations, have displays and a manger, a public Christmas tree. You're slackers, Council, all of you!

Even a Christmas tree in Hobart, dubbed Australia’s saddest Christmas tree, looks better than the above.

Apparently it’s a modern take on a Christmas tree but most comments have been negative. One person said that the Councillors should have gone to Spec Savers.


Oxford Word of the Year: 

Knowledge is expanding, the English language is daily growing as words are developed to apply to new technology, yet we communicate less. We sit at computer screens and look at smartphones. Observe gatherings of young people and you will immediately notice that they are all using mobile telephones, playing games, texting . . . We don’t even speak anymore, we use symbols to communicate, just as the Egyptians used hieroglyphics.

Last week The Oxford Dictionaries announced their 2015 Word of the Year, the word or expression which best captured the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015. Only the Word of the Year is not a word . . .

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is the icon of a yellow smiling face with two tears welling up in its eyes - known as "face with tears of joy".

According to Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries:
"You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication. It's not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps - it's flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully. As a result emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders."
The face with tears of joy icon was the most widely used emoji in the world this year, research by Oxford University Press and mobile business technology firm SwiftKey found.

All I have to say to that is . . .


Council seeks plain English expert

Does the above logo remind anyone else of Jessica Rabbit? . . . 

Monash Council in Victoria has copped a public shellacking over plans to hire a linguistics expert proficient in “plain English”. It wants the “leading-edge and innovative communications expert” to help the Council ­explain proposed new planning zones to ratepayers. The Mayor explained that it comes after Council had confused residents with ­complex jargon in earlier ­communications. The successful applicant must be a communications expert rather than possessing a town planning background.

There is no truth in the rumour that once the language expert has been found, the Council will seek an expert to instruct Councillors on how to take the lids off their water bottles.


Carly Simon re You’re so Vain

Carly Simon finally revealed last week that:
  • 1972 hit You’re So Vain is about ex Warren Beatty, but ionly the second verse
The second verse is:
You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and…
  • The whole song is about 3 men in her life at the time.  She has not revealed who the other two are. (She has dated several high-profile stars including Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens and Jack Nicholson)
  • Warren Beatty thought the entire song was about him - ‘You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you’
Btw, Simon has previously said that the line "clouds in my coffee" came "from an airplane flight that I took with Billy Mernit, who was my friend and piano player at the time. As I got my coffee, there were clouds outside the window of the airplane and you could see the reflection in the cup of coffee. Billy said to me, 'Look at the clouds in your coffee'."

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