The Hall of Shame

The Hall of Shame was a regular feature on from very early in its life (starting around 1998) through to the end of the static HTML days in 2006. When returned in 2007, running on WordPress, the Hall of Shame was absent. At least two people said it should return, although that was a long time ago now and they’ve probably forgotten about it. Back in the day it featured such things as cigars, fox hunting, wine, wasps, shop assistants who put the receipt in your hand and then place the change on top of it, cricket, people who win the National Lottery but say it won’t change their life, Formula 1 motor racing, orange juice, unnecessarily large 4-wheel drive vehicles and Noel Edmonds. Since those days a whole new set of things have annoyed me…

The BBC Breakfast ‘local’ news

Actually there’s two things that annoy me about the BBC news in the morning. One is that weather presenter woman (Carol, I think) who says “guuud morneeeng” and then smiles inanely while she delivers a forecast that we’d be able to look back on a day later and say “well, she got that wrong again”. But mainly it’s about the way the local news is announced. Every morning they say “but now the news, traffic and weather where YOU are”… and then the local presenter appears and talks about what’s going in Portsmouth, Southampton, Winchester, somewhere in West Sussex, Oxford, and various other places that are not where I am. Rather than saying “where you are” they should say “in your local region”. Where I am is subjective… on a macro level I’m on planet Earth so I could watch the World News on CNN and that would be the news where I am. And really, what’s the point of telling me about the news in Portsmouth? That’s over 60 miles away. I have no more interest about the news in Portsmouth than I have about the news in Norwich or Stoke-on-Trent.

People who use abbreviations and assume that we know what they mean

Guess what… sometimes we don’t. Just because you do, it doesn’t follow that we do. And we shouldn’t have to guess or look a bit stupid.

People who park in the pick-up point at supermarkets

My supermarket of choice at nearby Watchmoor Park has an area which is adorned with the words ‘pick-up point’ in big white letters and has some double-yellow lines for extra clarification. Actually, I’m unsure of the actual painted words because they always have cars parked on top of them. But I do know for sure the words don’t say “park here if you’re lazy”. Yes folks, the pick-up point – which I assume is there to allow people to drive into, pick up a passenger, and carry on – is permanently full of parked cars. I have observed people getting in and out of the these cars – they don’t appear to be disabled in any way, so I can only assume that they are parking there because they are ignorant, selfish or lazy (or any two of those, or possibly all three). Less than a minute’s walk away are hundreds of empty spaces, but for some reason these people aren’t able to manage that hundred-yard journey and instead render the pick-up point useless, much to the inconvenience of anyone who might want to use it for its actual purpose. If you need any proof as to the ignorance of such people, on one occasion I heard a woman (emerging from a car parked in the pick-up point) say “that was lucky, finding a [parking] space right outside”. Yes, wasn’t it… and amazingly loads of other people ignored it and parked in the actual car park. Why do you think that was?

Strictly Come Dancing

I’m going to assume that you don’t need an explanation of what Strictly Come Dancing is. If you hail from the United States of America, you’ll probably know the format through ‘Dancing With The Stars’. If you’re Estonian you’ll know it as ‘Kuulsused Teeme Tantsu Asi On Väga Hea’. What’s my problem with Strictly Come Dancing? It’s not Brucie (I like Sir Bruce and his jolly catchphrases). You don’t get anything for a pair, not in this game – or “sa ei saa midagi siduda, mitte selles mängus” as they say in Estonia. It’s not the fact that it’s all so very, very nice and wholesome entertainment. It’s not that I don’t like ballroom dancing. Well, actually I don’t like ballroom dancing, but that’s not my complaint. So what’s the problem? The title ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, I assume, comes from an amalgamation of the ancient television show ‘Come Dancing’ (the source of a popular playground joke) and the movie ‘Strictly Ballroom’. Clever, eh? Indeed. The title of this television show is ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. The problem is… People refer to it as ‘Strictly’. And that’s just stupid. Imagine you have an Estonian exchange student staying with you (let’s say his name is Nigul, which is probably the Estonian equivalent of Nigel). And you say to Nigul “we’ll have some dinner, watch the t.v., and then go to the pub”. Nigul will ask what’s on t.v. and you reply “Strictly”. Nigul goes to his room and finds an Estonian / English dictionary in his rucksack (which he bought when he visited Tallinn with his Uncle Olev) and looks up ‘strictly’. He finds that it’s an adjective meaning ‘adhering closely to specified rules’, which he translates as ‘küljes tihedalt teatud reeglid’. With this in mind Nigul sits down to watch the show and sees a load of people dancing in brightly-coloured outfits followed by four people holding up numbers on large table-tennis bats. What the hell is the connection between this tepid, slightly irritating, light entertainment and an adjective meaning ‘adhering closely to specified rules’? He is now extremely confused, and his confidence in grasping the English language has now taken a big knock. And that’s all because you call it ‘Strictly’. By the way, Estonia’s equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing never took off in a big way due to the fact they only have six celebrities in Estonia – one of them was the host of the show and another two were on the judging panel. More putting-the-world-to-rights soon…

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