Virtual currency ……

I am fascinated by the BITCOIN and the fact that it is being dismissed as being ‘virtual currency’ because ALL currency by definition is virtual. It is simply an accepted standard – whether it be euros, dollars, pounds sterling or lollipop sticks for baby sitting services, these have no absolute value; simply, an agreed value. In the beginning, we had barter – the exchange of two objects or services at a mutually agreed valuation. It was not always a simple matter, and may have often have ended in difficulty with a conversation that ran: ‘have you change of a suckling pig, my fine fellow? followed by the inevitable sharp intake of breath, and the response . ‘Nay sir, I am fortunate only to the level of a ferret and two small but ripe and tasty damsons.’ So progress brought us to the gold Standard – a much more sophisticated level of exchange, taking as the absolute unit of wealth a substance recognised as valuable because it was shiny. This I feel, says something about the level of sophistication to which humans have evolved, and clearly defines Bankers are magpie’s with briefcases ‘Unkind’ you say? see Dante for much harsher condemnation. Of course, this did not simplify commercial transactions a great deal as the enquiry ‘Have you got change of an ingot?’ would still have been problematic. However it was convenient (and shiny) enough to be used until 1971.

Thus we had arrived, slowly and unsteadily, to the currencies of today ranging from the staid sterling, to the continentally stylish Euro, and the flashy ‘buck’; the unpronounceable Polish Zloty, and Bhutanese ngultrum; the appropriately lengthy konvertibilna marka of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the terse but no-nonsense yen, and finally the dong of Vietnam.

And now we have the Bitcoin BUT why is it that the Bitcoin is causing so much fuss? Could it simply be the fact that it is not under the control of the Banks? No …….. surely not. Mind you, I wouldn’t bet my last dong on that.

Sticky pencil ……

Monday morning is always Monday morning. To complete the scenario there has to be a ‘sign’ to confirm this. To fulfil this role, my Perfect Pencil – a modestly titled writing product from Faber Castell – leaped unaided from the bookcase performing a perfect dive into mug of, now cold, coffee which my considerate wife had brought me an hour earlier. Hmm.

That’s OK then . . . .

Overheard in the pub: ‘Modern chainsaws are so safe they’d only cut half way through your arm before they cut out!’

My questions is this: what sort of mentality is required to put the word ‘only’ in this statement?

Grammatical Gripes – Part 1 (of many…..)

OK- so to christen the new site, here’s a number of gripes I have with the misuse of language. If anybody dares say ‘yes but language is a living, breathing and evolving structure’ I fully accept and understand this much quoted phrase, however evolving is by definition a smooth and relatively slow process, whereas many ‘changes’ in usage come about through sheer ignorance of correct usage – personally I’d rather not have errors ensconced as a sign of verbal progress. The high horse having being well and truly exercised, here are a few examples

1  Using ‘should of been’ when it should have been ‘should have been’

2 Using ‘bartering’ when they mean ‘bargaining’ or ‘haggling’ : ‘bargaining’ is a process of reaching a price (or out come) which suits both parties. ‘Bartering’ which many people say they are good at, would mean convincing a sofa salesman that they should accept in exchange for the latest lounging luxury your old sofa, which only has a few springs showing, and lacks only one of the cushions, plus some random objects which you found in your attic. Obviously, this is entire hypothetical as sofas seem to always be at “Outrageously Good Sale Prices!”

3 Using the word ‘riffing’ in any context! The word refers to a series of notes; a musical phrase originally and usually applied to guitarists. I have NEVER heard a musician say ‘riffing’ – a riff is a thing. Somebody  – and I am tempted to blame Will Self for this – has purloined the word and transmogrified it into a conjugatable verb to be used outside of a musical context

I riff, you rifff, he riffs . . . .  No, I don’t, you don’t and he bloody doesn’t!

As an aside, I cannot resist blaming Self for many things (this is clearly not severe self-deprecation) and I did delight in his error of using the phrase – ‘having cardinal knowledge’ – unless he knows more than we do about the habits of the Catholic church.

Here endeth the first of many. . .

A new Journal !!

–it’s not black, it’s not landscape, it’s not portrait, it’s not even a Moleskine


This is my first entry, a rough idea which is the next post- entitled “Being Schwarzenegger”


Separated by a common language . . . . . .

Now I KNOW that language is a living and breathing thing which changes with time and cultural variations….. BUT I do have a little objection to the influx of Americanisms, such ‘And I was, like, . . . ‘ Yes – every time I hear ‘I’m good!’ in response to the phatic greeting; ‘how are you ?’ a small part of my pedantic soul dies. Now I also know that in many ways American English is MORE traditional than ours- their use of the Chaucerian ‘z’ rather than an ‘s’ and their staunch adherence to ‘or’ rather than our bizarrely willing adoption of the French ‘ou’. My objection to Americanisms is that words and phrases are a reflection of societal mores, and theirs are different to ours. For example, the quaint expression ‘Knit and Natter’ conjuring up the image of a room full of Miss Marple lookalikes sharing tea, gossip and twinset patterns, is transmogrified in the US to ‘Stitch and Bitch’ which seems closer to the Witches of Eastwick than the Vicar of Dibley, where a pack of glamourous Cher clones, will be planning their moves with cold precision, (presumably whilst creating crocheted bondage gear.)

On this basis, I would like to propose a UK based alternative to the the word ‘cougar’ – meaning an older woman preying on younger men. Based on the image of ladies of a certain age wearing seductive underwear, I would suggest the title ‘basque terrorists’ which I feel creates a slightly less-threatening, and somewhat picaresque, image.