The Demolition Man

What does the man do when the whole world collapses?
There was a foundation, now gone
Sure and sturdy it was, unmovable and firm
Now nothing more than vapour

For years it had been built upon
Room by room, brick upon brick
With the slab covered by builder’s guarantee
He took care with every extension

But was it just imagined? Was it ever really there?
His own wishful thinking made flesh?
Or piece by piece, day by day was that flesh eaten away
Until the world was left on dirt

So now he is holding up the walls, fighting the shifting sands
That fight all that is left
“My house still stands”, he screams to any who would hear
“For how long?”, he keeps to himself

Those who could be holding up the walls, inside and out
Are now the demolition contractors
“It is far too late to stop”, they say
And they make plans for the fall

So all alone, he watches the walls come crashing down
The house once loved, now despised
Crocodile tears shed for the demise of that grand old place
And the remains of the one who would not leave

j j j

Hate Crimes?

I read this on the ABC news site today:

So-called hate crimes are on the rise, with dozens killed in racially motivated attacks so far this year.

Now I know this is a very serious issue (especially for those belonging to minorities in Russia) but I couldn’t hold back a snigger when I remembered hate crimes in Life on Mars:

Sam Tyler: I think we need to explore whether this attempted murder was a hate crime.
Gene Hunt: What as opposed to one of those I-really-really-like-you sort of murders?

j j j

Generation Gap?

Look at the comments I have to put up with from some of the young women that I work with at the pharmacy.

“Led Zeppelin, Who are they?”

“Who’s Captain Kirk?”

“What’s a TARDIS?”

Blank Look, when I said “Hope I die before I get old”

As unfortunate as all of the above are, a sign of what I call Cultural Illiteracy, they are nothing compared to this:

“Julius Caesar, isn’t he an actor?”

AARGH! Western Culture is (by definition) that which traces its routes to Rome. Given that Julius is (as I heard him described recently) “the most famous Roman”, what hope do we have when these (near to) 20 year olds, recently finished school, haven’t even heard of him!!

j j j

I am a grammar nazi

Yes I am. I admit it.

Now, I may have sent you a link to this post due to some unfortunate lapse firstly in your grammar and secondly in my manners. I’ll apologise for the latter now while I am thinking more calmly and clearly. As for the former, hopefully despite my rudeness you might learn something.

My particular pet hate is the Terror of the Unwanted Apostophe. My good friend Bob The Angry Flower has something to say about that.

If you are still unsure about how to use your apostrophes, wikihow has a slightly more polite guide.

Another issue I am coming to grips with currently is the whole “writing then when I really mean than“. When I first started seeing it, I just put it down to typos but it is happening more and more and all the time. I still don’t understand it. I can even understand how some people get apostrophes wrong, but this makes no sense. Wikihow also has an article about this issue and I suppose it clears things up a bit, but really!?

Then = time, than = comparison. How do you get them mixed up?

j j j

Regular Customer?

At work at the pharmacy today, we had one of those incidents where you wonder if you are on the same planet as everyone else. Details have been removed for obvious reasons.

A lady presenting a prescription was asked “Have we done prescriptions for you before?” to which said lady replies “Yes, I come here all the time.” Clearly one of our regular customers!

I dispense prescription, noticing at the time that we have done one (yes, one. Less than two, more than zero) prescription for her in the past. One.

As one of the pharmacy assistants said later, it is good that all of our regular customers are not like that, we would have all lost our jobs years ago!

Clearly, “all the time” == “at least once”.

Reminds me of the language problems I have with my children, where “we never do …. (substitute favourite activity or food)” is equivalent to “we haven’t done (activity) for at least a day”.

j j j

Have you seen this book?

Started watching Afterworld today and it reminded me (obliquely at least) of a book I read in my teens.

I can’t remember the name of this book or its author. I do remember that I read a reasonable number of books by this author around the same time, so he (I think it was a he) must have been reasonably prolific.

This particular book (set in modern times) was about a guy who found himself becoming increasingly ignored. Eventually he seemed to disappear out of everyone’s view. At the same time, he found everything else “greying out”.

In the story he ended up finding other people “slipping” into his domain, as well as food etc. He could tell the ‘real’ things because they had colour.

I’m really not even certain of the main plot, but the loss of colour is what I really remember. I would have read this around 1986 or a bit later, so it is at least that old.

Linda and I had a good google around the place trying to figure it out, but it is really quite hard to choose your search terms when you have little to no idea what you are looking for.

I have put out requests with my friends in the Christian Gamers Guild and also the Name That Book forum at Library Thing in the hope that someone can help me out. I think perhaps this space is a little less likely to uncover a solution, but it is worth a shot…

j j j

Save our language!!

Every week, without fail, I take perverse pleasure in reading the column of Phillip Adams in the Weekend Australian magazine.
I say perverse, because as a rabid athiest, Adams has very little in common with me, a conservative Bible-believing Christian (read, in Adams-speak: fundie, Taliban-wannabe God botherer).
I often find myself banging my head against the wall (or at least the paper) asking why such a brilliant mind could be so ignorant of the nature of certain things.
But I digress… Today’s post is not about what I don’t like about Adams or how we disagree. No matter what else I may say about him, Phillips Adams is a true Australian.
He places great importance on the value of Australian culture and of preserving it in the face of the powerful Hollywood/MTV version of (United States of) American culture.
In his column on Saturday which (online at least), entitled Attack of the seppos, Adams laments the loss of Australian Slang.
Anyone who has seen The Adventures of Barry McKenzie might not consider that a bad thing…
I do. And so does Phillip Adams… He refers to an earlier attempt to save the language…

The idea was that each of us would adopt a favourite and forgotten colloquial expression and promise to use it at least once a day. You might choose drongo and apply it to a politician.

Our family has a few favourite slang expressions: “carry on like a pork chop” (applying particularly well to any one of my five sons) is perhaps too often used. I may very well seek to use the word “drongo” in conversation more often. Rhyming slang is also popular, though hard to know what is Strine-based and what is Cockney (I am fond of accusing my boys of telling pork-pies, but I am sure that is a Cockney one!).
I do have an admission to make though… When I greet people, even in the pharmacy, I am prone to use the awfully colloquial expression “G’day” (complete with apostrophe) in preference to Hello, Hi, Good Day, Good morning or (heaven forbid!) Howdy. It doesn’t quite make me Barry McKenzie’s long-lost brother, but I reckon I can wear the green-and-gold with pride!
And Phillip, thanks for a good laugh and for fighting the good fight!

j j j