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Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.

Joe’s Cafe

New Year’s ResolutionsFor 2013 there were nearly 500 answers to a similar question. Have you kept those resolutions, and what do you plan to do this coming year?

A resolution is something that we “resolve” or “firmly decide” to do. Here are some typical resolutions:

  • stop eating like a slob
  • start acting like a gentleman or lady
  • lose 50kg
  • get up before noon
  • stop yelling at strangers

What New Year’s Resolutions will you be keeping in 2014?

This guy is “Guy Fawkes”, and English was his mother tongue. His death is gruesomely celebrated in England every 5th November when ordinary people mindlessly burn effigies of him on bonfires.

Guy Fawkes

What did Guy Fawkes do to deserve such venom? He plotted with others to assassinate the king of England (and of Scotland) by blowing up Read on »

Organic or Conventional? WT*?

19th April 2013 by Joe

I was intrigued to read about research into what fruit flies think of organic food. Apparently they like it:

“By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.”

“Conventionally raised produce?” I beg your pardon? For thousands of years mankind has grown plants and raised animals organically, that is to say naturally or as close to naturally as makes no difference. In my naivety I would call that “conventional”. The mere fact that for the past century or so we’ve contaminated our soils with fertilizers, polluted our produce with pesticides and abused our animals with pharmaceuticals to grow ever more and more at greater and greater profit does not mean that the practices of millennia suddenly become “unconventional”.

But it’s a neat trick. You see how it’s done? You just call whatever you want by something else. Suddenly industrial agriculture and factory farming are “conventional”. As if by magic, stuffing patients with billions of dollars of pills becomes “mainstream”. Clever isn’t it? Notice how the other, less profitable practices are given those strange, weirdo labels like “alternative” and “organic”. It’s what happens when we let interested parties hijack the language and stand it on its head. Some 2,500 years before 1984 a Chinese philosopher warned of this danger:

“When words lose their meaning people lose their freedom.” (Confucius)

Video Games

22nd January 2013 by Joe

Obama video games
Read on »

How many “slugs” do you see here?

12th January 2013 by Joe

slugs

How many uses of the word “slug” do you see above? Can you write one sentence for each in the comment box below?

illustration courtesy Andy Singer

New Year’s ResolutionsWhen we “resolve” to do something, we decide firmly to do it. It’s like a promise to ourselves. The verb is “resolve” and the noun is “resolution”. Typically, at the start of each year, people make New Year’s Resolutions such as:

  • I will stop smoking
  • I will lose weight
  • I will make more money
  • I will be nicer to people

What New Year’s Resolution(s) did you make this year?

scale

How many uses of the word “scale” do you see Read on »

How many waves do you know?

19th June 2012 by Joe

Waves

Can you make one sentence for each of the four Read on »

One down, two to go

6th May 2012 by Joe

One down, two to go — Sarkozy, the first of the three war criminals is down and out

Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, soon-to-be former President Sarkozy of France, is the first of the three principal war criminals responsible for launching a massive NATO bombing campaign on Libya in 2011 that maimed and killed thousands of civilians to be kicked out of office by his own electorate - and beyond presidential immunity. Read on »

The Chapel

7th April 2012 by Joe

The ChapelA short story by Josef Essberger

She was walking lazily, for the fierce April sun was directly overhead. Her umbrella blocked its rays but nothing blocked the heat - the sort of raw, wild heat that crushes you with its energy. A few buffalo were tethered under coconuts, browsing the parched verges. Occasionally a car went past, leaving its treads in the melting pitch like the wake of a ship at sea. Otherwise it was quiet, and she saw no-one.

In her long white Sunday dress you might have taken Ginnie Narine for fourteen or fifteen. In fact she was twelve, a happy, uncomplicated child with a nature as open as the red hibiscus that decorated her black, waist-length hair. Generations earlier her family had come to Trinidad from India as overseers on the sugar plantations. Her father had had some success through buying and clearing land around Rio Cristalino and planting it with Read on »

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