Sunday, June 29, 2008
Last night, mini asked me why prices were dropping and I talked to her about the credit crunch. (I didn't go into inter-bank lending rates and so on, but gave her the essence of the thing: too much lending of lots of money to people who couldn't pay it back.) When she heard that banks were not lending so readily any more, she nodded sagely and said she could see why the prices were falling, as people were no longer able to get the money to buy. No flies on her. Next week, we'll do a session on interest rates and whether the long-term trend will be upwards due to inflationary pressures in the economy.
It was actually a separate discussion about carbon monoxide though that really made me laugh. I was explaining that you couldn't smell the gas, which is why we need a detector near the boiler. She'd heard that historically miners had taken canaries down the pit to act as an early-warning system, which we agreed was tough luck on the birds. Her next logical leap was, however, quite inspired: we could all keep canaries in our homes rather than carbon monoxide detectors.
I don't know quite why this tickled me in the way that it did. I suppose it was the image of countless homes packed full of canaries, all of whom would be chirping merrily in the absence of flue blockages. Safety-conscious householders would have one on each floor and would probably all end up with pigeon lung or bird flu or something.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Anyway, imagine the scenario. You're completely deaf and - for various reasons, too difficult to explain here - you're arriving at the hospital unaccompanied. You walk into the lift, which promptly gets stuck between floors. You ring the alarm bell, which connects you with the outside world. And you wait for the instructions or rescue plans to be delivered over the intercom.
There is, of course, just one small problem. You can't hear the intercom. So I think it's fair to say that this must have been a pretty scary experience all round. In a few weeks, when the cochlear implant is switched on, maybe we can start to have some sort of conversation about it.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Since then, things have moved on. I was talking to a lady on one of my copywriting courses recently who said that her company communicated primarily by realtime instant messaging. When she wanted a break, she used email to slow things down.
So just how instant can the world become? Perhaps your company insists on realtime messaging over your mobile while you're driving? Or maybe you've been sacked via Twitter? Let me know by emailing the address above. It may be slow, but it gets to me.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I've set up a website to celebrate those rather obscure queries that are only of interest to someone else. Welcome to Phil Woodford's Infrequently Asked Questions.
Friday, June 20, 2008
For my 500th entry, I wanted to share with you the warning message on the back of my new notebook power adaptor:
This device may not cause harmful interference
This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undersirde (sic) operation.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
One property went yesterday from being something over half a million quid to the magical figure of £499,950, which is under a stamp duty threshold. Even better news this morning, however. The same property has been reamended. It's now £469,950. Give it a few weeks at this rate of decline and I'll be getting my credit card out.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
One interesting trend I've observed is that Washed and Ready to Eat is steadily becoming more international. There was a time when 80% of the visitors hailed from the UK, but now it's only just over half. Over 20% of WARTE fans are based in the USA (howdy-doody y'all) and even Germany clocks up a respectable 8%.
The reason I'm really interested in the stats program, however, is the function that allows you to see the search terms which have led people to your site. Recently someone typed "Dennis Waterman's teeth" into Google and ended up right here. It's hard to imagine exactly what was going through their head. But they're very welcome. And worryingly, I suspect they'll feel right at home.
I travel on that line regularly and all I've ever seen are discarded copies of The Metro, a throng of bored commuters and a handful of disaffected hoodies. But Washed and Ready to Eat has a reputation for breaking important stories, so I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for anything marked TOP SECRET in big red letters. And you'll hear about it on these pages at least five minutes before I sell to a national.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Walking through the London College of Communication today, I noticed a homemade poster featuring the lyric of Rehab by troubled songstress Amy Winehouse. The words had been transl8d into txt msg lingo. I started to chuckle, because some pedant had scrawled corrections over the text. I think they were missing the point just a little.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Spare a thought, if you will, for the faithful hound who's no longer quite as sprightly as he used to be. Once, back in 1998, you could rely on him to jump onto your bed in a single bound. Today, riddled with arthritis and only a short tug of the lead away from that ultimate celestial kennel, Rover needs a bit of extra help. House of Bath obliges with an easy-to-assemble staircase which comes with a machine-washable cover.
The alternative option is to dismantle your bed and put the mattress on the floor.
Apart from the obvious - the former group is rich, while the latter group is probably a tad richer - the main difference is in the form of address. Sleb medics and shrinks attach the title "Doctor" to their first name, whereas real quacks connect the prefix with a surname. At a local surgery, therefore, you see Dr Smith or Dr Jones. On the telly, you meet Dr Rosemary or Dr Gillian.
Big Brother's resident psychologist is Dr Tomas, a rather good-looking lecturer from Goldsmiths College in London. We'll forgive him for using his first name, as his surname - Chamorro-Premuzic - is unlikely to trip off the tongue anywhere east of Buenos Aires or west of Zagreb. His early analysis of the BB9 household suggests that he is able to slip out of the conventions of academic discourse with relative ease. Luke, for example, is described as a "geek" (which Dr Tomas admits is a "non-psychological term"). Mario is the "non-Italian stallion", while Rex is a "tough cookie".
No doubt we can expect further probing analysis as the series develops. And perhaps a paper at a symposium in Vienna? Redefining psychological paradigms through the prism of the mass media: a study in popular culture, voluntary incarceration and stuff that helps fill web pages.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I've seen some bizarre kitsch in my time, but it would have taken a real tit to come up with this idea.
If you're patient and very well behaved, I have some more House of Bath treats in the pipeline. Like the staircase that allows elderly dogs to get up on your bed. But only if you're good.
"No," she replied. "You still have the label on."
My panic was immediate and my reflexes were quick. The offending item was removed just a split second before a mother came up and started making conversation.
It was actually one of those transparent, sticky strips that reveals your waist and inside leg measurements. They'd hidden the b****rd thing just out of my line of sight round the back of my right thigh.