Archive | November, 2012

7 more of the Worst Things in the World (Pt 2)

18 Nov

I seem to be the sad cat-lady of pet hates. I certainly have a lot of them. My dingy flat is metaphorically thick with the stench of little pet-hate droppings. I wrote previously with seven blood-boiling / cringe-inducing monstrosities of modern life, and here are seven more.

8. Spamvertising

There’s a social contract that says advertisers are allowed to advertise to me, as long as they’re paying for the episode of 30 Rock they’re interrupting, or my favourite website, or my Empire magazine.

Marketing Suit, I’m going to keep punching you in the head. Please text ‘stop’ to opt out.

For some years now, they’ve grown tired of paying for things, so they started sending text messages warning that they’re going to telemarket to me, and I must use my own money to text ‘stop’ to opt out. That was the worst, until one day…

I got a call on the freeway, during rushhour, which I had to pull over to receive. It was a pre-recorded advertisement — like the ones that make listening to the radio unbearable — that they deliberately phoned in to me. It’s almost as though someone imagined I might rejoice to be told of their goods and services. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but they’ve simultaneously put a telemarketing phone-jockey out of a job and found a way to make that a bad thing.

9. Minority Report ripoff advertisements

Sorry, Tom. Kate’s gone. Really, someone should have seen it coming.

Minority Report was a pretty good movie, but as more observant people have pointed out, it’s futuristic technology is fairly stupid. They have giant flash drives and no networking capability whatsoever. Still, for all its utter pointlessness, everyone thinks that Tom Cruise’s holographic Wii Fit screen is the coolest thing ever. By ‘everyone’, I mean ‘people advertising financial services’.

That’s why ad men are called ‘creatives’, Baby.

If I have to watch another TV ad in which the company’s hipness and advancedness is communicated by some guy flinging around a computer animation, I think I’ll have to… to… uh…

Tell them that touch screens are widely available?

That we have wireless capabilities now?

That it’s clearly better that we don’t all have to show everyone in the building what we are / are not working on?

10. TV programmes that are entirely about WAGs and c-list celebrities having lunch / talking about sex / talking about other how many other celebrities are their friends / talking about how hard it is to make friends in LA.

I wandered onto the television the other day and came across a reality show so incredibly stupid that would insult the intelligence of  hamsters and Kardashians. The conversation I saw went something — in all seriousness — like this:
British WAG type: “I’m going to have coffee with MY FRIEND Sarah.”

Disinterested American male set-dressing: “… mm-hmm… Sarah who?”

WAG (Absolutely horrified that he didn’t assume it’s THE Sarah): MY FRIEND Sarah Jessica Parker!

We read celebrity pages and watch reality shows about celebrities because we assume their fame is directly proportional to the interestingness of their lives. Clearly. It. Isn’t.

This was not the person who said those stupid things, but she’s on some American Housewife type thing, and I’m told her name is Lisa Vanderpump. Who wouldn’t use any excuse to exploit that?

11. Luxury cars painted white

You paint cars white because it’s cheaper than metallic paint. There is no other reason. I know you’re getting ready to say that you’d paint a car white because you like white, and you are inspired by its purity or some nonsense. But your ignorance isn’t welcome here, thank you. Besides there’s nothing pure about these cars; these are engineering pornography, and obscenely expensive. For that reason, if you’re already splurged too many hundreds of thousands on em, why would you hold back the couple of grand needed to make them gorgeous? I defy anyone to tell me that the white options of these cars makes them look like anything but grandiose advertisements for aesthetic retardation and crippling indecision:

Same car

A white Ferrari? You know, you’re right. Save the extra few grand for therapy.

12. More Bad Drivers

I’m aware that everyone thinks that everyone else should learn to drive just like they do, and the world would be a better place, blah, blah, etc. And even though that’s true of me, I shouldn’t keep harping on about it. So very briefly, here are two or three things that you should really stop doing.


1. Has it ever happened to you that there’s a huge gap behind you and a tiny one in front of you, and a car from a side road decides that it simply can’t wait and must make a bid for the tiny space in front? And then they make you break to avoid an accident? It’s happened to me plenty.

And I don’t mind it that much. I can live with that. People are in a hurry. Be impertinently assertive if you must. What really gets me is when said person in impossibly great hurry never speeds up. They’ve pushed in and tripped me up — they’ve simply had to get in ahead — but with no ambitions of getting anywhere in reasonable time; just to drive 40. Don’t do that, you.

2. You know how turning across a busy intersection usually forces you to wait for your light to go orange so that the oncoming traffic stops, and you can hurry across just before the side lanes open? And then the oncoming traffic that should stop just keeps pushing through even on the red, because no one wants to be the first guy not to make it through the intersection? And how that leaves you stranded in front of the side lanes? That.

3. Have you ever noticed that when approaching speed bumps or train crossings, some drivers have to cross them like they’re fording a river? As though they would take them at a complete stop if it were physically possible? As though their suspension is made of crystal chandeliers? I’ve nearly rear-ended a lot of those. Stop it, you guys.

13. Comedies with Guys in Fat Drag

There can be no forgiveness.

14. Muscle Tops

Muscle tops are great. If God blessed you with mesomorphness in your youth then flaunt away all that muscle tone before it turns to flab in your forties. T-shirts that are cut tight to fit that profile look great too. Well done, everyone.

By why, Oh Why, must every t-shirt manufacturer in the world change it’s standard pattern to the armpit-hugging type?

I like roomy, airy t-shirts that don’t hug my scholarly body. Why must it now always be this:

and this

and this?

Do you see, Ashley Judd?



I feel that I should also give special mention to:

a. Toilets that spin their contents around the bowl without ever showing them the trapdoor. Test your prototypes, people!

b. Jugs that drip or trickle more of their contents down their sides than out their spouts. As long as it looks like the real thing eh?

c. Car hub-caps / wheel covers that are made to look like they’re part of the wheel (even sporting fake bolts) but which are held on by a spring wire. That loosens over time. Sending little plastic discs scuttling into oncoming traffic. As long as it looks good coming off the showroom floor, who cares about next year, eh?

Please refer to point #8 for the proper treatment for designers of these objects.


Student Spelling: Zero Understanding

15 Nov

I’ve shared beautiful spelling errors from my students before, but I think this one is my favourite:


No understanding…

South Africa Always Had Problems With Division

1 Nov

To be fair, to claim — as some have — that this mathematical error is ironically indicative of the state of South African education is uncharitable. We know this because 21 divided by 7 is correctly solved as 3 directly below the incorrect one, so it was probably one of the students who made the error, which the teacher then corrected. You can also tell that this is what happened because the student still has the chalk dust on her back from where the teacher beat her with the duster for getting the answer wrong. Now that’s a bit more like South African education.