Unsung hero

If you are a genius in entertainment or the arts, there is a chance that your creations might be recognised and appreciated. If you are lucky, you may win fame and fortune.

If however your special talent lies in the field of engineering or computing, the fruits of your genius may simply be taken for granted by the millions of people who benefit from them.

One such person is Larry Tesler, who has just died. He is credited with creating cut, copy and paste, a little trio of functions used without thinking by millions of computer users every day.

The lights are on, but there’s nobody home

Or should I say, the lights are off. I drove to Liverpool today in torrential rain. Despite the poor visibility on the motorway there were several cars driving without lights. I wondered what the drivers were thinking? “It’s daytime, why waste my lights?” They might well be the same sort of person whose house in December is encrusted with illuminated Father Christmases.

In some ways, those numpties driving on sidelights deserve even more criticism. They have thought to themselves, “I know the visibility is poor, but I don’t want to overdo it. Why turn the light switch two clicks?”

It’s actually mandatory to use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, but even if it weren’t surely it’s worth doing when you’re batting down the road at 70 mph in a heavy downpour?

Temper your language!

This morning’s online newspaper has much discussion about the language and tone used in the House of Commons earlier in the week. Several Members of Parliament and commentators have sought to link the Prime Minister’s use of phrases such as “surrender act” in referring to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, to the post-Brexit referendum increase in threats, abuse and violence suffered by some MPs.

But hasn’t the House of Commons traditionally been a bear-pit, particularly during Prime Minister’s Questions? Haven’t Members always used hyperbole? Opposing Members sit two sword lengths apart, and the Speaker is physically dragged to his seat.

It appears to me that the deplorable behaviour towards our elected representatives is part of a tidal change in the way we relate to each other, and this longer term wave includes elements such as the rise in acts of terrorism, the increasing use of social media, with the anonymity it affords, and the practice of journalists ambushing politicians entering or leaving their homes or heckling them across Downing Street.

As I was reading, I noticed at the top of the screen an advert by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board whose current marketing slogan is the fatuous “Lamb – Hits you in the chops!”

Burglar Alarm Installers Beware!


My house burglar alarm packed in after thirty years’ service. I chose to fit the replacement myself, including a Texecom Odyssey 1E external sounder.

It comes in a box printed with a mounting template. Very handy! Unfortunately if you do as I did and drill holes according to this, you will end up cursing your decision not to simply offer up the backplate and mark the hole positions with a screwdriver or something.

That is because one of the holes marked on the template is over 25 mm out! It’s the odd one below and to the left of the cable entry hole. You can get away with just a screw at each corner (the top middle hole is just an installation aid really. If you put a screw in the wall here, you can hang the backplate on it whilst you mark out the other hole locations, negating the need for the template).

So what’s the odd-one-out for? That secures the tamper switch to the wall. Without it, a determined burglar could theoretically prise the unit off the wall without removing the cover. With it, the tamper switch would remain attached to the wall, and the switch lever touching the cover would no longer be held down, triggering an alarm.

Admittedly in a domestic setting, this screw is overkill. But I thought, for the sake of a screw and a minute’s drilling, I might as well put it in. I now have one too many holes in my wall. Annoying.

An Irony button

irony button

This button is from a pair of trousers I bought from C&A. And no, that doesn’t mean that they are 17 years old, despite the fact that C&A disappeared from UK high streets in 2001.

The clothing chain, which I remember my grandmothers routinely referring to as “C&A Modes,” is still going strong on the Continent.

Unfortunately, their buttons are’t very strong.

Dream on


Nytol Soccer Toppers

Amazon have plenty of ways to get you to buy more stuff. One technique is letting you know what other customers also purchase with the item you are considering.

This occasionally throws up oddities like the strange pairing shown here.

RIP Mr Bernicoff

So, Leon Bernicoff has died. Sad news about the Gogglebox star whose guileless personality made him a viewers’ favourite.

I knew him only as Mr Bernicoff when he taught me history. So far as we were concerned, teachers had no first names, homes, or families of their own. As if they existed only during school hours and, like a holographic image from a sci-fi movie, disappeared into the ether at the flick of a switch every afternoon.

Except for a rare few like Mr Bernicoff. His wife June also taught at our school, which felt strange as it kind of broke through the fourth wall. But also you knew where you were with him. He had an openness of character and showed a passion for his vocation.

And though I very rarely need to recall the fact, it’s thanks to Mr Bernicoff I know that Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz introduced movable-type printing to Europe.

Thank you, sir.

Apocalypse now

I bought a desk diary today. “That’s a 2018 diary, luvvie!” the cashier warned.

Did she imagine I would get home and slap my forehead in horror as I realised my mistake? Did she picture me returning to Customer Services, receipt in hand to explain that I had of course meant to buy a 2017 diary? In October 2017?

No. After all, she works in a shop that has been pushing tinsel and fairy lights since the beginning of September.

I can only conclude that to her, it’s not too early – it’s just that there’s no point.