The bizarre world of SPAM

When you blog, getting SPAM comments is an occupational hazard.  In a way, it’s almost a badge of honour; the more SPAM you receive, the more your blog is obviously getting noticed.

Usually, it’s from people telling me how I can monetise my content, but today I received this belter:


The post in question that the individual attempted to comment on was this one. What I found particularly amusing was the fact that, aside from it featuring a photo of Pencaitland Church Steeple, if you don’t include the title, this “great read” contains a grand total of a whopping two words. I am not expecting any imminent offers for the film rights.

Some people are very easily satisfied I guess.

Humanitarian War

Bombing for peace?

That makes so much sense doesn’t it?

We seem to live in a world where our political leaders seem to think that a little bit of constructive sabre rattling and a nice convenient little war somewhere can help deflect the attention of the electorate away from the myriad problems right on their own doorstep.

Can’t afford to give nurses a decent pay rise? Accept a 10% raise for doing hee haw.

No money to spend on hospitals, schools, and other essential public services. Spend dear only knows how many billions of pounds on replacing a weapons system that is designed, in an “ideal” world, never to be used.

Poverty, food banks, homelessness, deterioration of living standards? Blame immigrants and refugees.

Afraid of the influx of immigrants and refugees? Go and bomb the hell out of somewhere, thus causing even more people to want to flee from there adding to the number of potential refugees from that country.

Sadly, throughout all of this century so far, and the part of the 20th century I lived in, the answer to any perceived “threat to our Democracy” has been, bomb them.

And well, that has worked so well in the past hasn’t it?

And no, we don’t even need to look very far afield, to places in the middle east , to Vietnam to see the fallacy of this “tried and tested” approach.

This country, this shining beacon of democracy that we are trying to protect is itself testament to this fact.

Lest we forget that 75 years ago, the Battle of Britain was raging. The Blitz was at its height. Yes, the full might of Nazi Germany was trying to bomb us into submission. Did that work? History would suggest that it did not.

And for all that we can glorify the “Blitz Spirit” that held us together and toughened our resolve to fight on; for all the heroism, for all the tragic loss of life, it illustrates one thing; bombing people doesn’t work.

If any nation on the face of the planet should know this fact, it should be us.

Of course, far be it that any Johnny Terrorist would have such have such a spirit, but the fact is, no matter how precision our bombs now are, when you bomb, innocents get killed, and when you kill innocents, you increase resentment against those doing the bombing, and when you increase resentment, more people will have reason to take cause against us.

Bombing for safety does not work. War in the name of peace, does not work. Bombing just results in killing, which results in counter bombing and more killing.

How many times does history have to repeat this lesson? Why is humanity doomed to continually repeat the same mistakes?

Where, oh where is that friendly asteroid when we need it?

Air Conditioning Button

So that’s what that button’s for…

Air Conditioning ButtonI made a remarkable discovery today.  That innocuous little button with the stylised  picture of a snowflake on my car dashboard, that I hitherto thought served only to speed up the demisting of my windscreen, actually has another purpose.

Apparently, if it’s warm, pressing this button actually helps cool the car down.  It’s called air conditioning…

Actually, I knew all this already, it’s just living in Scotland, it doesn’t get used very often (other than to demist the windscreen).  Perversely, I tend to use it more frequently in winter when I’m trying to defrost the car.

Today, however, it actually got used for its (supposedly) main purpose.  I wonder how often that’ll happen this summer?

Aberdeen Football Club

The agony and the, er, well, more agony really…

Aberdeen Football Club As a life long supporter of Aberdeen Football Club, I’ve probably seen it all.  The glory days of the early to mid 80s, the triumph of Gothenburg, the nearly years of the late 80s and early to mid 90s, and the near perpetual despair ever since.  Yes, I’ve probably been there, done it and collected several T-shirts along the way. But for once, the good old BBC has given me something to smile about.  The current Scottish Premier League table on their site currently shows the once mighty Dons sitting resolutely at the top of the table, as we do at this point of the season every year, on account of Aberdeen being, alphabetically, at least, the premier footballing side in Scotland. Of course, the only problem with this table is that, as I type, not a single ball has been kicked as the new season doesn’t get underway until tomorrow, when we host St Johnston. I suspect, come 4:45pm on Saturday, the table will look very different to the one shown above and I’ll probably be beginning the long wait until this time next year when, once again, Aberdeen will briefly (albeit on a linguistic technicality) be sitting at the top of the table again. I’m realistic enough to realise that the days where we finish the season with the same league position as which we started it (i.e. 1st) are long gone; but for now, I can dream a little…

Mixed Metaphors

Mixed Sporting Metaphors

Golf & Baseball

English can be a bewildering language at times, but when it comes to mixed metaphors, the world of sport and language have provided us with some classic examples.

Now, I’m not a golfer, but I am a frequent walker.  There is much debate as to whether or not the quotation:

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

should actually be attributed to Mark Twain.  But regardless of who actually provided us with this gem, I’m firmly in agreement with it.  To me, it just seems like groups of people going for long walks through stupendously manicured parks, pausing occasionally to hit a small white ball with a metal stick.  The fact that if you’re particularly good at it (the hitting the small white ball part that is, you don’t actually have to be particularly good at the walking part), you can earn staggering amounts of money does, I suppose, explain some of its appeal.

The one thing I do know about golf is that under par is good, whereas over par is not so good.  In fact, the whole point, if there is a point, is to hit the small white ball as few times as possible so that you can be as far under par as you can.

So, why is it that outside this particular pass-time, the meaning is reversed?  An under par performance, usually means a poor performance; if I say I’m feeling a little below par, it means that I’m not at 100%.  Common usage is the exact opposite of what the term actually means.

Another term from the sporting vernacular is to describe something surprising as “having come out of left field”.  This term originates from the sport of base ball (a sport of which I know almost as much about as golf, despite it being broadly similar to the school-ground game of rounders).

Again, however, the common usage is actually incorrect.  Since the majority of humans (and hence baseball players) are right-handed, the natural tendency is to hit the ball towards the batting player’s left (i.e. ‘the left field’), as the image above illustrates (the one with the baseball player, not the golfball).  As such, a ball being returned from left field is actually pretty common.  It’s the ones that come out of right field that actually cause more consternation because they happen a lot less frequently.

Again, as in the previous example, the term is used in a way that is entirely at odds with the original meaning when applied to the sport from which the term was derived.

I could probably go on, but I suspect the resounding response from anyone who isn’t particularly interested in linguistic origins would probably be, “Well, so what?”  I do wonder sometimes, however, if anyone ever stops and thinks about some of the expressions they use in daily speech.