Every little piggy’s got a heart.

Now I understand that bacon is a staple on the food chain for many peoples who seem to live on the internets for reasons I don’t begin to fathom but for me personally it’s … okay ocacionally I guess.  Rarely do I go out of my way for pig products at all, though we do seem to have ham for sandwiches and the like in the house most of the time – but I feel that hardly constitutes a particular porcine affinity or a specific swine style relationship.

keep calm and dont sneeze

In the middle east of course they have a long time honoured and tradition heavy relationship with pigs so I was interested to note that Egypt is set to slaughter every damn pig they can get their hands on by the sounds of it… somewhere estimated between 250,000 and 400,000 piggies.  Given that there’s no current scientific argument pointing towards this being necessary to halt the ‘impending swine flu pandemic’ – that’s an awful lot of pork on your fork for a region that don’t really dig on no swine as a rule.

Wonder what they’re going to do with all that dead pig!?!?!?!

Ignorance isn’t bliss… it’s just ignorance.

After watching the movie last week "The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas" I’ve been watching some more films this week about WWII and the Nazi occupation with Yale who seems to have missed a few of those ‘must see’ films.  We watched "Life is Beautiful" and "Schindler’s List" and I think next we were talking about watching "Das Boot" (in German with the subtitles – Jurgen Prochnow just don’t have the same… ummm… gravitas when dubbed over with some strange English voice).

So… as you do when you’re interested in something – anything really – you do a few Google searches… remember the old days of remaining ignorant until you had time to make it to the library???  I love the internet.  Anyway I started off by searching info about the construction etc of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German Concentration Camp just to get a sense of the timeline where these films (The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Schindler’s List in particular) were supposed to be interacting with the actual history.  I then read through a number of different pages on the Denazification of German and Austrian society after the war and several other pages about various key SS officials and the Nuremberg trials etc and at some point I realized that there wasn’t a lot I was reading that I wasn’t already at least vaguely familiar with – it was the minutiae that I’m not overly conversant on (dates, key officials, numbers of deaths, post-war reparations etc).  
I kept hopping from one link to another and ended up (somehow) reading about the Japanese involvement in the Pacific which somehow got me to reading about the Nanking Massacre which occured when the Japanese Imperial Army had invaded China and took Nanking by force in December of 1937.  An event I am sad to say I have never heard about in my entire life.  I don’t ever remember studying this in school, don’t ever remember stumbling over it in a Time Magazine or on a History Channel documentary or anything.  In fact my only recollection of anything even remotely connected to the Japanese occupation of China at this time was as the backdrop for a film I saw last year "Children of the Silk Road" which was an interesting enough film but apparently was not very true to historical fact from what I understand.  I guess modern history hasn’t ever been ‘my bag’ so I’ve gaping holes in my knowledge base here.

Obviously I don’t think it’s possible to know something about everything… hell it’s hard enough to know everything about one thing.  But feeling like you don’t know anything about some things makes me feeling like i know nothing about anything!   It bothers me somewhat.  Maybe I need to get my head out of the literature and back into the reference section…

English mother f#@ker! Do you speak it?

It seems Oxford University has compiled a list of the top ten most irritating phrases.  An interesting concept and one I thought would spectacularly depict the rapid bastardization the English language faces with the onset of SMS brevity and gaming and internet jargon.  The top ten most irritating expressions according to Oxford University are as follows –

The Oxford University’s top ten most irritating phrases:
1 – At the end of the day
2 – Fairly unique
3 – I personally
4 – At this moment in time
5 – With all due respect
6 – Absolutely
7 – It’s a nightmare
8 – Shouldn’t of
9 – 24/7
10 – It’s not rocket science

Some of these annoy me too…. especially the “shouldn’t of” instead of “shouldn’t have”.  I have a tendancy to infrequently say ‘absolutely’ (even when something is not, in fact, absolute), but it is one that annoys the hell out of me if I’m conversing with someone who says it for every affirmative they wish to utter.  Nothing can be “fairly unique” it either is or it isn’t.  “With all due respect…” is just a polite way of saying “grab your ankles, because here comes my size three boot without the courtesy of lube” so that one I can live with.  But the rest of them are fairly innocuous tautologies or oxymorons.

Naturally being far more wordy in my thoughts, speech and writing habits than is reasonably required for any given situation, I have my own list of idioms that annoy the living crap out of me…

borysSNORC’s list of irksome abuses of the vernacular:

1 – Bunches – get some fucking collective nouns people!
2 – LOL – when someone actually says ‘LOL’ instead of just laughing.
3 – Supposably – for ‘supposedly’… didn’t quite finish 8th Grade did we?
4 – Any gangsta, homie or youth rap idiom… can’t understand a word of it.
5 – Gunna – when did we go from ‘going to’ do things to ‘gunna’ do them?
6 – Like – it’s like, totally like, showing that you can’t like, speak like, English!?
7 – Yoda speech – ‘Yeess. Speak poorly you will’… Kill me now.
8 – You know – oddly, when employed by ESL speakers it gives the appearance fluency.
9 – I can haz – LOLcattian syntax really raises the hackles
10 – Vagina or penis euphemisms – wee wees, doodles, pee pees, winkles, coochies, hoo-hoos… at some point, should we not grant our children more intelligence that this, and call genitals by their anatomically correct terms?

That about covers it, though I’m sure if I sat here long enough or kept coming back it, I’d have a list as long as your arm.

Full of piss and vinegar…

Last night over dinner, the small child was telling us that they are studying sea creatures at the moment and he was asking me about blue bottles (which strangely I was writing about just last week).  I told the Small Child that blue bottles are a type of jellyfish and that I was stung by one once when I was about his age…. and gave him a truncated version of how it’s sting feels like a bee sting and how they used vinegar to try and soothe it (which I just read on that Wikipedia link is NOT a recommended treatment method for treating Portugese Man O’ War/blue bottle stings!).  

To which the Small Child responded:  "What is vinegar made out of?"

Nonplussed Mom: 
*blink blink*  "Errr… I’m not sure actually… I suppose it is fermented from some sort of grain, perhaps wheat?"

How could we not know what vinegar is made from?  It’s a pantry staple and we’ve been using white vinegar, balsamic vinegar and even rice wine vinegar our whole lives?  How could we not know how it’s made?  So I grabbed a bottle of vinegar out of the pantry thinking there would be a table of ingredients listed: 

100% vinegar  

Really helpful that. Oh well.. thanks to the internets we were able to look it up

Vinegar  :  a sour liquid consisting of dilute and impure acetic acid, obtained by acetous fermentation from wine, cider, beer, ale, or the like: used as a condiment, preservative, etc.

No doubt you lot are all going to tell me that you always knew the process used to make vinegar and I’m going to look like an ignorant twat…. again.