Blog in 03 2011.
You’re in a restaurant. You see a sign that says...
A 10% discretionary charge will be added to your bill.
How do you feel? A bit miffed perhaps? What if you saw this instead?
Tipping: bad for cows, good for us.
Ninja lion killed family. Need money for kung fu lessons.
Or, this harsh but humorous one.
Every time you tip, a Justin Bieber fan dies.
I reckon you’d be more likely to give willingly. And you’re more likely to walk away with a positive impression of that business.
And it’s not just tipping. Whether it’s a CV, an email, a PowerPoint, whatever. Try having a personality in your writing. People will remember you. And they might just give you what you want.
I was listening to the radio the other day and accidentally stumbled across some young people’s music, in the shape of Eminem and Rihanna’s duet Love the way you lie. It features the frankly ridiculous lyrics ‘Now you get to watch her leaving out the window/Guess that's why they call it window pane.’ Actually Mr Mathers, I don’t think it is. (I assume he’s spelling it ‘pane’ rather than ‘pain’. Either way it’s annoying.)
This got me thinking about some of the other stupid song lyrics out there (I’ve left out Ironic by Alanis Morrisette as otherwise we’d be here all day). First up we have Vanessa Williams. In Save the best for last she sings ‘Sometimes the snow comes down in June/Sometimes the sun goes round the moon.’ No it doesn’t. And if it did the earth is probably about to fall victim to a cosmic apocalypse.
In Life, Des’ree tells us that she’s ‘a superstitious girl’ and because of that keeps ‘a rabbit's tail’. Which is probably why she hasn’t had a hit since 2003. Foot, Des’ree, foot.
Next up, Elton. In Your Song he sings ‘If I was a sculptor, but then again, no, or a man who makes potions in a travelling show.’ Ah yes, that well known job title ‘potion maker in travelling show’. Salary negotiable.
A few others were obviously playing truant during English lessons (plus biology and geography). Poodle-haired rockers Van Halen state that ‘Only time will tell if we stand the test of time’ (Why Can't This Be Love?). This is both a tautology and stating the bleedin’ obvious.
Vanilla Ice is busy ‘killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom’. Mushroom poisoning generally causes gastrointestinal upset and, in rare cases, organ failure. But it doesn’t kill your brain. Bottom of the class, Ice. He’s joined in detention by his early 90s cohort Snap who is apparently as ‘serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer.’ That’s just rude.
Also at the back, probably throwing things at the teacher, are Talking Heads. In Once in a lifetime they helpfully inform us that ‘There is water at the bottom of the ocean’. I think technically the ocean is made of water, but at least they’re close.
I could go on but I’m going to stop. Hammer time.
I love my iPhone. It’s intuitive, informative, entertaining and keeps me in touch with both work and play. According to Apple, about 90,000,000 iPhones have sold so far, and millions more own similar incarnations.
But I’ve got a beef with it. A small but regular niggle. Every day, about two or three times a day I get this message:
It means I can’t get onto the internet (and shouldn’t ‘could not’ be ‘can’t’?). A small thing, but a quick search online revealed lots of confused customers asking what this means. It got me thinking about the way our technology communicates with us. Phone manufacturers get the brand, features and benefits right, but when it comes to notification messages they revert to the language of developers and manufacturers.
Here are some other gems: ‘This accessory is not optimized for this iPhone. You may experience noise caused by mobile interference and a decrease in mobile signal strength’
‘Client/server conversion error’, HTC
‘Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless’
‘Not ready for use. Activation will be notified later’, Vodafone 360
Even the incidental messages affect our user experience, especially when we’re faced with them every day.
This month’s six word story challenge on Twitter was TV series. Not everyone told us the show they were aiming for, so we might’ve made some errors.
PS. If anyone can help with the last one, stick in a comment. There’ll be no prize!
The Killing: Dead? Why? Too dark to see.
Quantum Leap: Everything works out ok...oh boy.
Glee: Sue and Britney make it watchable
Alan Partridge: TV presenter has difficulty Bouncing Back.
University Challenge: Paxman humiliates with a 'come on!'
Poirot: Pernickety Belgian uses little grey cells.
Top Gear: Insulting Mexicans, shirts tucked into jeans.
Grand Designs: Opinionated interior designer belittles hapless amateurs.
Friends: Chandler Monica Rachel Joey Phoebe Ross.
The Wire: The game is the game. Always. US Police & Political Corruption Central.
Frasier: Radio psychologist, Seattle skyline, a dog.
True Blood: Sex and blood, becoming far fetched.
Lost: Time travelling island confuses crazy people Then. But now. But also, when?
Crystal Maze (we think): Time travelling teamwork with bald host.
The Good Life: It's silly, but self-sufficient fun.
Arrested Development: It's called Arrested Development. It's funny.
Blockbusters: I'll have a P please Bob.
Neighbours: That soap Kylie Minogue was on.
The Inbetweeners: Disfunctionally optimistic teens make knob jokes.
Masterchef: Cooking doesn't get tougher than this.
Being Human: Dark, modern, gory take on Rentaghost.
Lewis: Endeavour died so now he investigates.
The Thick of It: British politicians fuck up (and swear).
Mastermind: ‘I’ve started so I'll finish' terror.
Strictly Come Dancing: Octogenarian presenter encourages celebrity dance embarrassment.
Fawlty Towers: Sarcastic hotel owner suffers gradual breakdown.
Match of the Day: Jug-eared philanderer ignores drawling Scot.
The Sopranos: Mob boss talks to therapist, alot. (Bit of a cheat. But worth it.)
The Avengers: Stylish duo fight crime, drive cars.
Silk: Shaft your colleagues and get justice.
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Sociopath tv author pisses off everyone.
House: Sherlock Holmes in an American hospital.
Mad Men: Started monotone. Got colourful. Plenty smoking.
And one we couldn’t place: Rat Race escapee rotovates front lawn.
Have you always wanted to know what the most commonly used English words are?
If you're as much of a word geek (66213th) as us at The Writer, the answer to that will be a resounding (19490th) yes (146th).
So imagine (1691st) our delight (4298th) when we found out someone had already gone and done it.
The website's called WORDCOUNT. And we think it's brilliant (2814th).
We’re starting a campaign to get conquistador (86800th) out of last place. Which words do you think should be higher?