The dictionary of missing words
I’ve often been accused by less curious acquaintances of knowing everything, like blind Tiresias, including possibly all the English words, but it really isn’t true.
What, for instance, do you call the thing on your glasses, the hinged and hooked stick-part that goes round your ear, that’s just snapped off?
The vital component that has absolutely no other purpose in life, that once it is no longer attached either to the lenses part or to your ear becomes about the most useless artifact imaginable?
I’m faintly hearing ‘earpiece’ (possibly herpes? I’m getting a bit deaf too), but it doesn’t seem right. An earpiece is surely more to do with audio devices, headphones and so on. That blob of pink plastic stuffed in the sport presenter’s ear with the curly cable behind. The floppy little buds I can’t seem to keep in my too-narrow ear-channels, connected by an infuriating string of self-entangling liquorice to some miniaturized communication device.
It’s critical, because I’ve got a conversation going in my head with the optician’s, hoping to convince them that, whatever it is, it did, literally, just snap off in normal operation and was not subjected to any untoward treatment or force. It’s not that the hinge has parted, the little screw fallen out, as can often happen if you don’t maintain your glasses regularly. It just snapped when I opened them up. Honestly.
It was the culmination of another strange event affecting my glasses yesterday. I’d hung them as usual on the front of my sweater and walked to the supermarket in the Spring sunshine, I no longer drive, and found I still couldn’t see the tiny print on the labels of things on the shelves, and it was because the lenses had gone dark.
Now, I’ve had them for a couple of years and that’s never happened before. Indeed, I vaguely recall a conversation in which I had said I didn’t need react-to-lite lenses because they were for computer work and wouldn’t be worn outdoors. So here was a second surprise my glasses had delivered in just a day.
I observe instead with my one good-looking eye (although it’s difficult to see what’s going on with the glasses without the glasses on) that one side of the metal hinge itself has broken, probably because it’s been cast a bit too thin for fashion purposes. This is serious. A new hinge, a… hooked-stick part or even a whole new frame will have to be ordered, meaning I shall be both £150 out of pocket – I have never believed in insurance – and unable to see the screen or read for much longer.
You see, I shall have to go back to the optician’s for a new prescription anyway when the eye finally heals, hopefully in another month or so, as it won’t have the same optical characteristics as it had before the retina came away, and the other eye will probably have readjusted. So now isn’t a good time to replace the glasses, even though they have been of limited use as things stand, and are now obviously no use at all.
Although the bubble of gas the surgeon put in my short right eye to hold the retina in place when it popped off a second time is beginning to dissipate after a month, it is still an annoying, wobbly ball of triboluminescence that jiggers and glows and refracts lights and images prettily with every movement of my silly old head, with every pulsive systole (or is it diastole? I never remember) of my groaning vascular system.
Some smeary, sepia ‘crinklevision’ has returned around it, I have startlingly sharp focus at about 9 inches and can once again tell a wooded hillside from a coffee table, but the bubble’s gradual disappearance brings into view another thing to worry about, an area of gray carpet fluff in the middle of my field of vision, that won’t get out of the way, behind which nothing is visible at all.
Combined with ‘age-related’, two words I surely can’t now forget will be ‘macular’ and ‘degeneration’.
We shall see.
Anyway, so there’s another word that isn’t coming easily, that might be ‘earpiece’, or not.
Generally when I lose a word, almost every other word nowadays, I do at least have a memory of there having been a word at one time, and there’s an intended meaning from which to start hunting around for it. I can thus Google approximations of the word, the meaning I’d hoped the word would convey, call up a list of synonyms, or even Search on whole sentences to give context to the elusive phonemes, with much use of ellipsis, hoping the random response will contain the exact word I am alluding to; striving, even, for; that has slid beyond my grasp into the woolly chasm beneath my lexicographical mind.
(I am throwing words down on the page with the something-or-other of a drowning man. They will be here when I need them again. If only I remember where I left them….)
The miraculous engine will always deliver a page of selected websites, with whatever you call the incomplete paragraph of excerpted text that goes underneath the title, that you can never find again in the actual website, the teaser, the clickbait, the… oh well, there’s another word gone.
But anyway, the randomly selected bit of text you hoped might contain the word, or which at least might reveal the opening of a tunnel into which a train of thought might be detected approaching, that could take you to the station where the word will be standing anxiously on the platform, anticipating your delayed arrival owing, as it were, to leaves on the line, or the wrong kind of snow.
Amid the blasts of steam there will be flowers, a welcoming hug, a suitcase eagerly grabbed from your hand, tears of joy. Who knows, even a comfortable saloon-car ride to a warm fireside and a tumbler of fine malt whisky (before it is locked away prudently for the rest of the weekend, and the blended brought out)?
In fact, I’m thinking of compiling a dictionary of missing words. Old friends I know I used to know but are no longer there.
It would come in handy.
The last refuge
Mr Boris dePfeffel Johnson, that overrated escapee from a Petri dish, has in his infinite cretinism once again dragged Britain braying and boasting into the mud.
And still the lamebrained Prime Minister – I won’t say lame duck, ducks can swim – May dare not reprimand or sack him, for fear of a certain Jingoist tendency among the tabloid headline-mumbling old dumbfucks of Little England.
The Second World War ended 73 years ago, with Europe divided firmly between the USA and Soviet Russia, the remains of the global British empire liberated by Coca Cola diplomats, Benny Goodman and the CIA.
Yet the fatuous oaf, Johnson continually seeks to remind the public of how ‘we’ the British won it, rendering all other species inferior.
It’s a lie. A myth. A meme. Bollocks. Bullshit. Total, ahistorical crap. Not true. Fake news.
Mr Johnson, by some unforeseen calamity the bumbling and inept Foreign Secretary of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is lavishly displayed on the front of the Daily Express, a former newspaper, today, quoted as warning that our enemy, Russia will seek to make propaganda from its hosting in July of the football World Cup.
In doing so, he likens the tournament to “Hitler’s” 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Regardless of the possibility that propaganda is what the Olympics are all about – he should know, he was Mayor of London in 2012 when the Olympics were held there – regardless of the many inferior nations taking part, whose participation he thus diminishes; regardless of the fact that the Games are the intellectual property of the International Olympic Committee and do not belong to any individual, this disgusting slur on the Russian people should not be allowed to pass without mentioning that Russia sacrificed 27 MILLION dead, defeating Hitler in the Great Patriotic War.
The albino slug, Johnson has sacrificed nothing in his lifetime but his principles.
If as Dr Johnson observed, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, Boris defuckingPfeffel Johnson is surely by his frequently disgraceful and infantile utterances that scoundrel.
Get him out. NOW.
Donald Jr’s wife has already flounced out, leaving him with just the endangered animal parts and a tin of Dapper Dan…
Donald Trump is in a world of trouble, to quote a metaphor frequently deployed by Cenk Uygur, principal host and owner of The Young Turks, a lively and not wholly unreliable online current affairs debate channel – although these tragic Americans have such difficulty pronouncing foreign names and little idea what or where anything is, or what has gone before, outside their own, as it were, very large but strangely narrow backyard.
For the idea is starting to take hold in the leftish media that he will not be brought down by his endless lying, his Russian escapades, his financial links with money-laundering oligarchs, the US and Russian mob figures in his uneasy dreams, his egregious breaches of security and of the various emoluments clauses, his takedowns of the constitution and the courts, his love of Nazis and childish infatuations with brutal dictators, his chronic nepotism, his economic incompetence, the unending abuse of public money or the astonishing turnover of staff in his “toxic” White House.
Mueller may run into the sand, as he has made the mistake of going too broad-brush and his time is dangerously running out. Cunning and ruthless as he is, he may have underestimated Trump’s lifelong ability to wheedle and bully his way out of anything, as psychopaths are wont to do.
Nor is Trump’s mental state: his obvious paranoia, his pathological narcissism and advancing senility any longer grounds for invoking the 25th amendment. His compulsive, overreactive trolling has become just how 21st-century politicians communicate with their “base”. Not even the rumored video with the f***ing great dildo up his bottom (© Mark C Smith, 2018. Don’t ask me, I only work here) will move the terrified and corrupt Republican Congress to euthanase this rotten presidency.
What will hopefully destroy this cowardly, vindictive playground bully and his vile, corrupt, nepotistic administration is Stormy Daniels, the “porn star” whose rep is growing daily as the incarnation of Superwoman, as she refuses to back down in the face of overweening physical and financial intimidation; while her Daniel Craig, James Bond lookalike attorney is running rings round the spavined, winded legal doofuses Trump hires because nobody else would.
Of course, no-one cares that he cheated on his wife a year into their marriage, while their son was only months old. He’s cheated on all his wives. Other presidents were also sexually incontinent, it goes with the myth of the alpha male. And I’d give you Marilyn Monroe over Stormy Daniels anyday, especially for unprotected sex. (Is the rumor there is a kid true? Is it? Oh, please!).
No, there are other angles to the story that may make his presidency untenable.
First comes the so-called marriage, to Melania Trump, who is now realizing that her private pain at his serial philandering has become very public, and with some pretty squalid details on display to complete her humiliation. With those gimlet Tartar eyes and flashing, razorlike cheekbones, I’d expect her to slip a cocktail stick between the fourth and fifth ribs any day now.
Largely unexplored is his history in the skin game, the allegations of underage models trafficked in, undocumented, by the Trump Agency from eastern Europe and the pedophilic nibbling at the fringes by his seedy, Studio 21 set. As a former Trump model, Melania will have signed a prenup and, for all we know, a NDA – non-disclosure agreement. But, if Daniels wins and her NDA is busted wide open, there’s a queue of wronged women to follow suit – with Melania at the head of it.
That’s why the Trump legal team is desperately trying to move the case to a court of arbitration, where hearings are held in secret, rather than let it go to a jury trial. Although the cat is already so far out of the bag, it’s over the horizon.
Donald Jr’s wife has already flounced out, leaving him with just the endangered animal parts and a tin of Dapper Dan, as it has emerged that he managed somehow to pull an attractive contestant from Orange Dad’s Celebrity Apprentice TV show for total non-celebrities, while Vanessa was expecting their demonic third or fourth child. Trump Sr says he’s sorry he couldn’t have done more to help save their marriage. I was married twice and so couldn’t possibly comment.
to be continued…
Is Russia really the source of all our ills?
God knows, I have nothing whatever to do with Russia or its intelligence apparatus.
But the following story makes it terrifyingly clear, Cambridge Analytica and its US parent, SCL Elections (the clue is in the name) – originally a military intelligence operation and with links to the Machiavellian Erik “Blackwater” Prince, brother of the clueless Education secretary, Betsy DeVos – are more than capable of deflecting blame for their own clandestine efforts at influencing elections onto any “enemy nation” they choose to smear.
And that, as the BogPo has occasionally suggested, Israel – not “The Jews”, Israel – plays a major and disproportionate part in attempting to order world affairs, sometimes hand-in-glove with private interests.
The current media furore as they catch up with a few savvy journalists over Facebook’s role in taking “Crooked Hillary” down ignores that the methods they used to harvest and sell data on millions of users and their ‘friends’, that others are now hotly accused of twisting to political ends while Zuckerberg turned a blind eye, were originally developed by the security state:
…weaponising information to harm an opponent was standard methodology … honed and developed in the company’s defence and military work – the fifth dimension of warfare, defined by the US military as “information operations”. (Guardian)
Citing the 2015 Nigerian election that ended in tribal violence, and attempts by wealthy international disruptors to swing the vote in favor of the profoundly corrupt president Goodluck Jonathan, young Cambridge employees “terrified” by scary outsiders, tough-guy ex-military agents – mercenaries – they found themselves working with in Lagos on the campaign (along with bag-carriers from the now utterly discredited and bankrupt Bell, Pottinger PR company), who claimed to be from Mossad, spoke of how the company used Nigeria as a template for interfering in the US election in 2016.
(Indeed, black voters in the US were supposedly won over by Facebook videos featuring fake pro-Trump actors who were clearly of Nigerian origin.)
So who did try to swing the election? Was it private US consultancies funded by the Mercers and the Kochs? Or was it, conveniently, “The Russians”? Or both? The Cambridge Analytica revelations suggest we’ve been making a bit too much of Russia’s antipathy to the West. Questions must also arise over the foundation, funding, purposes and management of Wikileaks, who appear to be thoroughly complicit in these ‘dark politics’ internet operations.
Trump is almost certainly right. There very probably was no collusion with Russia to fix the election. Whatever Russia did could perfectly well have been an independent black op without Trump’s personal input. There may however have been collusion with Russia to lift the sanctions: that’s another matter. The fixing of the election was an internal, domestic operation. Why wouldn’t it have been? Much easier, and a local motive.
Trump was a useful idiot, put in the White House by Bob Mercer, Bannon and rogue elements, probably, in the Pentagon, I imagine to extend the concept of perpetual war beyond the borders of Syria: the ultimate showdown between the forces of Christianity and Islam.
Far-fetched? I think we need to fetch from as far as we need to for explanations in the land of the barking-mad: ultra-wealthy, albinist individuals actually researching immortality, buying up swaths of remotest New Zealand and planning to escape to Mars, nutjobs for whom owning the world is not enough. There’s nothing to be gained from conventional thinking about all this.
The name Koch has not yet surfaced in this story, although the letters form part of the word ‘novichok’, but the amount of money the brothers fed into the 2016 Republican campaign suggests they were not planning to lose. They reportedly plan on spending another $0.9 billion to keep the Republicans in power this year, provided candidates stay on the simple, three-part message: “No environmental controls. No free trade. Tax cuts for us.”
“SCL Elections did not take possession of or use any personal information from such individuals for any purposes. SCL Elections does not use ‘hacked’ or ‘stolen’ data.”
An interesting article in today’s Guardian gives us a history of the novichok chemical weapons program through the story of its first victim, Andrei Zheleznyakov, a chemist working in a secret Russian lab who was exposed to A-232 by accident. Secrecy meant he was not given the antidote – atropine – until the doctors had signed non-disclosure agreements. He took more than a year to die.
Three key points to emerge are that, being a binary agent whose components are in commercial use – imagine combining the baking soda in your kitchen with some gram flour and discovering you have a more deadly substance than sarin – neither part would be illegal in international law.
Secondly, the USA also has these exact same deadly nerve agents to hand, as does Britain.
Thirdly, the Russians can happily deny there was ever a program called “novichok” because at the time it was called “foliant”.
Personally, I feel like throwing up. Why do we have to live in a world alongside evil men who can even contemplate making and using this horrible shit? Why do we allow these monsters and their political apologists to come to power? They need to be degraded, along with all their diabolical works.
Equal pay should include Air Miles
In case you’re worried about equal pay at the BBC, try thinking less “salary” or “pension” and more… well, travel expenses?
Take the amazing Professor Mary Beard, for instance. A lady who cares as little about her personal appearance as I have to, yet who surely earns more in frequent flyer Air Miles in a month than I have in 68 years.
A leading expert on Greek and Roman history, she’s been hired on a freelance contact to present some of the curiously disappointing Civilizations series, supposedly worthy successor to Sir Kenneth Clarke’s 1960s tour de force overview of how we arrived at Ant & Dec’s Big Night Out.
I’m not sure why she’s also an expert on religious art, but here’s her impressive itinerary:
“She goes to the temple of Angkor Wat, the Tintoretto Crucifixion in Venice, the Buddhist caves of Ajanta and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, as she seeks to break down the conventions that centre some religions around images, while others are seen as hostile to artistic representation. She shows how all faiths (and their artists) face the same fundamental problems of treading a careful line between glorifying gods in images and blaspheming by daring to represent the divine. She ends at the Parthenon in Athens.”
Does her agent also work in her spare time as a travel agent, we must ask ourselves? All this stuff… surely, it’s in the British Museum?
PS – the “hostility to artistic representation” of most Islamic sects is actually an alternative to Western modes of seeing. The mesmerizing geometric patterns in Islamic religious art are an attempt to represent the mathematical principles that underlie the universe.
There is also non-religious Islamic art.
Just so you know.
GW: Ooh, granny, it’s a wild world
USA: California – 30 thousand people evacuated ahead of the latest Pineapple Express. Up to 10 inches of rain forecast for the Santa Barbara area and hillsides denuded of tree cover by last year’s fires threatening more landslips. Powerful storms sweep the south. Cars damaged by hail in Caldwell, Texas. Giant hail falls from the sky over Cullman, Alabama – Weatherman says “never seen a storm like it”, a car lot is trashed. Huge tornado forms over Russellville, Alabama. Homes trashed in Jacksonville, Al.
Storm Toby, fourth major Nor’easter in a little over six weeks, brings more feet of snow and strong winds misery to the east coast states.
Europe: mini-Beast brings more cold and snow across the continent, with disruption from Scandinavia and the British Isles down into Italy. Over in Spain, however, heavy rain causes flash-flooding in the south, boding poorly for the salad crop. 1 dead, 1 missing in Andalucia. Jetstream still lost somewhere over North Africa.
Australia: Sydney’s late autumn heatwave continues. 500 people were rescued from Sydney’s Bondi Beach as the mercury hit 41C, 106F. 70 homes were destroyed in a wildfire at Tethra, NSW. Elsewhere in the state, 1000 people were having to be rescued from floodwaters as the Lower Murray river rose following heavy rain.
Indonesia: Bandung, a powerful flash flood tears through Cicaheum, washing away cars.
Madagascar: a brief visit by Cyclone Eliakim kills 17 people in flash floods.
Brazil: No sign of a letup in the heavy rainstorms that have brought widespread flooding to many parts of the country over the past month. Lots round São Paolo, again. 3 dead, several missing. Valparaiso de Goias, genuinely heartbreaking, apocalyptic scenes.
Uruguay: Extensive flooding around the capital, Montevideo.
Dominican Republic: floods. Puerto Plata airport recorded 272.8 mm of rainfall in 24 hours (10.7 in), beating the previous record by 120 mm.
MrMBB333/ CEWN #104 citing The Weather Channel, Euronews et al/Floodlist