Archive | 23:20

Past Notes

24 Jan

I’m still busy with the Big Clean – hence the late post – but it has turned up a few gems, like a set of jewellery I thought I had lost, and an old notebook. It’s not a notebook like my present notebooks (no writing in it), but it has newspaper clippings stuck in that I collected over a couple of years. I thought I would share a few of them with you. Being uneducated at that point, I didn’t always think to quote the source, but I will do my best. I don’t think it’s plagiarism because I am telling you before I start that I did not write them.


I’m starting with an apposite cartoon called Wright Angles, from a South African newspaper, probably the Johannesburg Star, in the early Nineties:

Toady: I hope you’ll excuse the way our kitchen looks. It’s a mess.

Friend: Well, you know what they say, Toady. “A woman’s work is never done.”

Toady: In my mother’s case, it’s because she never does it.

From The Star, 24/10/95:


  • Don’t repeat yourself over and over again
  • No verbless sentences
  • Elliptical circumlocutions obfuscate substantive meaning
  • Collective nouns is always a singular subject for the verb
  • Tautology is a huge great big error
  • Foreign language usage is de trop
  • Classical allusions are as useless as the labours of Sisyphus
  • Probably, generally speaking, the problem in most writing is, in the main part, the frequently encountered inability of most writers to make a definite point succinctly
  • Journalese stinks
  • Motivate leveraged-up empowerment with politically correct buzzwords

I think this next one might have come from The Sunday Telegraph, but I’m not certain of it and I don’t know the date or who wrote it. I kept it because the last bit makes me laugh out loud:

I hugely enjoyed the leading article in Thursday’s Guardian, entitled “Vote him out”. But who were the paper’s reader’s being advised to vote against? Why, Slobodan Milosevic. I was not aware that the newspaper had many readers among the Yugoslav electorate. And if it does, I wonder how they would respond to the advice from 119 Farringdon Road, EC1, which was that they should accept Mr Milosevic’s request for a second ballot in the presidential elections (he having failed to rig the first one properly). The Guardian‘s stern exhortation reminds me of the leader from a provincial Irish newspaper in 1914: “We give this solemn warning to Kaiser Wilhelm: The Skibereen Eagle has its eye on you.”

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