Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

BBC: I’m so bloody angry about this!

What! - serving American propaganda!

What! – serving American propaganda?

I’d intended to take a few days off from this blog, to enjoy some days of peace and quiet, non-contention, and so on. ‘Peace, man’, as they used to say in the 60s.

Then, I saw an online report this evening, stating that:

“the BBC World Service could broadcast programmes aimed at residents of North Korea for the first time, under proposals being discussed by MPs, corporation bosses and US officials.

Barack Obama’s administration is encouraging the Foreign Office to back plans to establish a BBC Korean service to help open up the most secret country on earth.[1] [my emphasis]

“They, [the US], believe the BBC’s reputation for impartiality could help build up trust “with [the?] communist state’s 24 million population.” [so, they – the US – admit they have no credibility at all?] [my comment]


You may have noticed my completely sympathetic remarks about North Korea and its stupendously charismatic new leader. Plus, the BBC is, deservedly so, under attack for a recent load of complete cock-ups (I’ll return to some ‘lighter’ aspects soon); but it’s a British institution, funded by the British licence payer  (internally), and by a direct British government grant derived from UK tax payers (specifically for its foreign services), i.e, the BBC World Service.

So, why  is the US involved in this, at all?

  • Is the UK really the 51st. US state?
  • What is the meaning of this much mis-quoted ‘special relationship’, which invariably means the UK wagging its tail to North (US) America?
  • Who the hell pays for this UK government-funded service? (and, that’s bad enough, in terms of national democracy vs. short-term political expediency)
  • Who, finally, are those spineless English (the BBC Trust, presumably, led by that stubborn hero of British public credibility, Lord Patten) sucking up to?

Bugger off, UK government – use your own initiative – you are currently vociferous enough about ‘UK sovereignty’ vis à vis the EU, for example.

Bugger off, Obama administration – use CNN and Fox TV for your stupid, vapid propaganda! Get out of our garden, you miserable, malicious… !

[1]: The Independent


(This could be) The Last Time*

rolling stones the last time 1965

‘The Last Time’: Rolling Stones (1965).

Have to post this in haste – it’s already almost 21.12.2012 here in Bulgaria!

We all know the end of the world is due some time tomorrow, of course.

So, here’s a parting, nostalgic piece of music from *The Rolling Stones, to comfort you all. (Click on the image above to go to YouTube).

Rolling Stones ‘The Last Time’ Lyrics

Songwriters: Jagger, Mick / Richards, Keith

Well I told you once and I told you twice

But ya never listen to my advice

You don’t try very hard to please me

With what you know it should be easy

Well this could be the last time

This could be the last time

Maybe the last time

I don’t know. oh no. oh no

Well, I’m sorry girl but I can’t stay

Feelin’ like I do today

It’s too much pain and too much sorrow

Guess I’ll feel the same tomorrow

Well this could be the last time

This could be the last time

Maybe the last time

I don’t know. oh no. oh no

Well I told you once and I told you twice

That someone will have to pay the price

But here’s a chance to change your mind

Cuz I’ll be gone a long, long time

Well this could be the last time

This could be the last time

Maybe the last time

I don’t know. oh no. oh no

Well, this could be the last time

The Last Time lyrics © ABKCO Music Inc., EMI Music Publishing


Чао, ciao, bye-bye!


Image: YouTube

Sofia sophistry and paronomasia

'A pun is its own reword.'

‘A pun is its own reword.’

A friend recently sent me an array of English puns, which you can read below. How to define a pun, or paronomasia (a new word for me, I must admit)? This paragraph seemed to succeed:

“Take this example – ‘A pun is its own reword’. Guess this perfectly suffices the definition of a pun. A pun, or paronomasia, is literally the rewording or rephrasing of words that exhibit numerous humorous meanings. A kind of word play, puns add beauty and ambiguity to a speech as they are fun to hear.”

Oxford Online adds:

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: via Latin from Greek paronomasia, from para- ‘beside’ (expressing alteration) + onomasia ‘naming’ (from onomazein ‘to name’, from onoma ‘a name’).

The only limiting factor with puns is that they rarely translate. There’s a load of Bulgarian examples, for instance, requiring a comprehensive knowledge of the language for full appreciation.

Anyway, here’s the list… I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

For the pedant, a couple of the examples are, arguably, not truly puns. Identify them, if you can – they’re still amusing!

  •  When chemists die, they barium.
  • Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
  • A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  • I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
  • How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
  • I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
  • This girl said she recognised me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.
  • I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words.
  • They told me I had Type A blood, but it was a Type-O.
  • A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
  • PMS jokes aren’t funny, period.
  • Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.
  • Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory; I hope there’s no pop quiz.
  • Energiser bunny arrested. Charged with battery.
  • I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
  • How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it!
  • Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
  • When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
  • What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
  • Broken pencils are pointless.
  • I tried to catch some fog. I mist.
  • What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  • England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
  • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  • I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
  • All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.
  • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  • Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
  • Velcro – what a rip off!
  • Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.
  • Venison for dinner? Oh deer!
  • Earthquake in Washington obviously Bush’s fault.
  • I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
  • Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

Image: paronomasia

Beyond science fiction: Project A119

Carl Sagan popularised science

Did a laughing Carl Sagan really work on a US plan to bomb the moon?

Secret documents released after almost 45 years reveal that the USA was seriously considering exploding an atom bomb on the moon.

The US military allegedly developed a top-secret project called, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” – or ‘Project A119’, hoping to intimidate their Soviet rivals with a display of America’s Cold War muscle, in a tit-for-tat riposte to the USSR’s having put the first man into space in October, 1957, and generally to boost American morale.

It seems they decided on an atom, rather than a hydrogen, bomb, because the latter would be too heavy for the missile delivering its payload over 240,000 miles. (Well, happy with that!)

Physicist Leonard Reiffel, who claims to have worked on the project, apparently worked alongside Carl Sagan, then a young astronomy graduate.

This demented project (if any of the above is true) was abandoned, it seems, because of “concerns” about contaminating the moon with radioactive material, and possible adverse  effects on humans beings – that’s you and me, or perhaps only the favoured few in a White House bunker.

The report I read notes that: “The US government has never formally confirmed its involvement in the study.”[1] It’s worth noting that this paper refers to an infamous UK tabloid as its source (another question, entirely)).[2]

It just makes you wonder, though; so much really mad stuff emerges, everywhere, from secret government files a generation later, it’s a wonder we are all still alive.

It also reminds me of the joke (told by Macedonians, themselves): The head of the Chinese Communist Party is informed that Macedonia has invaded China. Coolly, he turns to his personal aide, and asks: “And in which hotel are they staying?”

[1]: The Independent

[2]: The Sun

Image: Jet propulsion laboratory

And now for something completely different…

22/11/2012 logo

A change of subject.

As WordPress users will be well aware, whenever one posts a new blog entry, there’s a display where you can choose to Publish or Edit. It always features a literary quote, quite a nice touch.

So, I started to collect the ones I liked most. Here are 10 of them, in no particular order – except for the final one, which I really enjoyed.

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

Blaise Pascal

The best style is the style you don’t notice.

Somerset Maugham

Writing is a struggle against silence.

Carlos Fuentes

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them.

Jeff Jarvis

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

Carol Burnett

Be obscure clearly.

E.B. White

I do not like to write – I like to have written.

Gloria Steinem

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

Anais Nin

I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.

Steven Wright 

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