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K J Bennett: The Blog

Writing & Other Stuff

It's about me, writing, publishing and stuff

Do the time and don’t whinge

Pet Peeve Posted on Sat, August 20, 2011 23:22:20

So far I’ve held off commenting on the wide-spread public disorder that swept England a couple of weeks ago, but now I feel I have to speak out.

Could the pinkie-liberals (PLs) who think that the sentencing in the courts is excessive, kindly step forward so that they can be publicly humiliated and ridiculed?

Who cares that a man who stole £3.50 worth of bottled water gets banged up for a few months? The excuse given by the PLs is that he only took it after the shop had been ransacked. That a bit like saying that it’s OK to steal the wallet of a man who’s already been robbed, when he’s lying there on the floor, or that the last one in on a gang rape is less guilty than the first,”… ´cos it was the others what started it, innit!”

It’s totally flawed logic.

IT’S NOT OK.

So what, if two men get four years for incitement via Facebook? The moral of the story is this: if you can’t do the time, don’t act like a pillock. The sentences should be tough, that way others may think twice before destroying lives and property.

Enough said.



It must be the Starbucks Effect

Pet Peeve Posted on Fri, May 20, 2011 20:44:02

I go into a coffee house and read the menu. I don’t know why I read the menu – they’re all pretty much the same and I only like coffee in my coffee, none of that choco-vanilla-latte-cinnamon-cream-with-sprinkles for me. All I want is a black coffee, sometimes with an extra shot. I’m fond of Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee, but the best coffee I have tasted that wasn’t made by me is from the Merchant Tea & Coffee House in St Albans, Herftfordshire. Starbucks actually sits low on my list of decent coffee emporiums.

In all of these places, a black coffee is called an Americano, and the menu always tells me that this is one or two shots of espresso, topped with water: a BLACK coffee.

So, why is it that when I order this obviously black coffee I am always asked if I want milk with it?

On principle I won’t ask for a black Americano: that would be like asking for a black black coffee, but the staff are always willing to offer me a white black coffee!

I find this very perturbing. When I buy a fillet of fish or of steak, I’m never asked, “Would you like bones with that, sir?”



The word mangler

Pet Peeve Posted on Fri, October 08, 2010 21:58:48

I am always amazed by the number of different ways that words are spoken – and not just by those we once called colonials. But I’ll start with the Americans, anyway, just because something has bugged me since 2006. That was when I went to Florida and heard an advert on a local radio station for Nissan motor cars.

Quite simple, isn’t it? NISS rhymes with MISS, AN is AND without the D at the end – NISS-AN.

Of course, if you are American, or particularly Floridian, NISSAN isn’t NISS-AN, but NEE-saaawn. Yes indeed, that simple word is mangled beyond belief and made to sound like a lower-leg amputation.

I’ve long since come to terms with the way the Americans can alter the emphasis of syllables within words – Cecil (CESS-ILL) becomes SEE-SIL, Sarandon (Sar –an-don), as in Susan, becomes Sa-RAN…don, Barrak Obama (Bar-rak O-bam-a) become Ba-raak Obaaa-ma, and so on (I wonder why Alabama isn’t Ala – baaa-ma).

Here in old Blighty, we have what is often termed ‘received pronunciation’, or ‘the Queens English’. Note, please, that neither of these titles claim it to be CORRECT English, which is just as well when considering what users can do to a simple word. Often, vowel sounds are extended and drawn out – sometimes to the point where the original word becomes obscured. I once worked with a man who could not say the word command: it always came out as ca-maund. I asked him to say the word ‘man’, and he could say that all right – I was pleased not to be a maun. (Maybe this posting should be named ‘The word maungler’).

Another chap I worked with spoke in very clipped and proper tones, and he took the controversy (controv-assee or contra – versy?) argument to new extremes and applied it to ‘metropolitan’. This word defeated him entirely and always came out as ‘metrop-litan’.

Other examples –
– Bath – Baath (a place for washing sheep? Think of the adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Bath/Hath – short, not long.)

– Grass – Graass, or Grarse (‘Grass’ rhymes with ‘Ass’, if you hadn’t noticed. Most certainly ‘Ass’ doesn’t rhyme with Arse. I believe that the biblical tale tells us that Jesus rode into Bethlehem on his Ass, not his Arse, although if he were sitting on his donkey, perhaps both would be true!)

– Plant – Plaant or Plaren’t (shouldn’t plant rhyme with ant? If not, why isn’t a Lantern a Larntern)

Then there’s this thing called lasagne, which my Italian friends pronounce as ‘laz-an-iya’. Often, in the south east of England, I hear pronunciations ranging from ‘la-saaaan-ya’ to ‘laz-on-ya’.

A recent Pizza Hut advert was for something termed “Tuss-caaany crust” pizza. I spent many weeks wondering what this meant until I looked at a menu and saw it was supposed to be Tuscany (Tuss-canny).

I sometimes wonder if I worry about these things too much …



I hate –

Pet Peeve Posted on Mon, June 21, 2010 19:23:08

– football.

I was composing a blog post about the reasons why and it got a bit lengthy. This has led me to write a piece that I will be submitting for inclusion in an anthology, so now I can’t post it here.

Of course, if it does not get selected, I’ll plonk it here. By that time the world cup will be over (and after this coming Wednesday’s match, we might be saying “It is now.”)



Rising inflections

Pet Peeve Posted on Sat, April 17, 2010 17:16:49

You know what I mean: the bit of conversation that you hear on Australian TV soaps, or that you hear from the people who watch these things: that perfectly normal sentence that is phrased to sound like a question or series of questions, but which isn’t a question at all.

“I was going up the road? To mum’s?”

Often, the response will be something along the lines of, “Aw, coo…” – NB the ellipsis points are in place of the L in cool, which the speaker will normally drop. The waste bins of the metropolis must be packed with these dropped Ls, whilst the UK deficit of question marks must be at an all time high. I can just imagine the chancellor in his next budget speech: “Due to the continuing rising inflection problem, there will be a 17.5% VAT levy on all question marks from the 1st of April next year.”

It’s as if the person talking seeks affirmation for every part of the conversation, or confirmation that the concept is not too deep and difficult for the other party to understand. It’s a growing habit and, frankly, it pisses me off. People who speak this way often have other affectations, such as pronouncing little as “lit-tel”. Is this a problem that stems from the education system? I don’t know, but I am aware of one particular teacher at my children’s secondary school who is fond of suffixing every sentence with “innit”: e.g. “Your son needs to revise harder, innit?”

“In what?” is usually my response.

There was a particular woman I worked with a while back who was a 1st Degree Adept of rising inflection. I decided to rectify the issue.

“I was taking to John the other day? About that IT issue?” she told me.

“Are you asking me or telling me? The tone of your voice should only rise at the end of sentence when you are asking a question,” I advised her. “Think of it this way: would you have written that sentence with a question mark, or with a full stop?”

She took on board what I said, so much so that instead of desisting in posing every spoken phrase as a question, she began to write all her e-mails to me with question marks after nearly every sentence. Sort of ruined my argument, I suppose.