It’s idiots that cause the need for idiotic laws

You’d think that some things are just common sense and don’t require legislating. But, of course, there are a lot of people out there that seem to have had their common sense surgically removed. It must have been removed, because even a fly seems to be born with more common sense than some of these people have. And then their particular brand of idiocy (due most likely to a combination of alcohol, drugs and incestuous conception) affects everyone around them. When people are idiots, everyone suffers.

I saw this on one of the motorcycle forums that I loiter about on regularly. I thought it was very funny:

handlebars.jpg

The third line struck me as odd. Americans seem to have something of an aversion to self-protection, allowing anyone to ride without a helmet. But it’s interesting that under 18s are required to wear one by law. Why not everyone? Or are they suggesting that the helmet must be under 18?

It is, of course, the last line that causes the real mirth. By law, handlebars must be below shoulder height. This is due to the propensity for those folks I mentioned before (the idiots, remember?) to ignore their own safety and that of all the people around them by turning their motorcycle into something less than safe. We call the type of handlebars these fools enjoy ‘apehangers’. Surely, I hear you cry, it’s not that bad? Surely these people are just engaging in some harmless self-expression and it really can’t make that much of an impact? How unsafe can it be that it needs an actual law passed about it?

Idiots, remember?

apehangers.jpg

(Thanks to pete and cookeetree at netrider).

The good news is, more words for Scrabble

Reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today, the new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is doing away with hyphens. The dictionary claims that “People are not confident about using hyphens any more”. As if that’s a reason to do away with them. It’s all a bit 1984 double plus bad if you ask me. And the Sydney Morning Herald went so far as to write that quote thusly: “People are not confident about using hyphens anymore”. Look at the last word. It’s an outrage.

The dictionary apparently blames electronic communication and its penchant for speed over grammatical correctness. So apparently the dictionary is going to lie down and take it from the speed freaks that can’t be bothered to write correctly. They might just as well release a dictionary with a single page that says, “What do we care? Spell it how you like” and be done with it.

Angus Stevenson, editor of the new edition of the Shorter OED, claims that, “We are not saying it should be dropped completely.” Why take it out then? He claims to be simply “reflecting widespread everyday use”. There are two words in the middle of that sentence that may or may not require a hyphen. No point in checking for them in the Shorter OED though.

On the upside, hyphenated words aren’t allowed in the greatest of all games, Scrabble. At least now, armed with a copy of the Shorter OED, you can score with all new words. For example, you can now use pigeonhole, leapfrog, chickpea, lowlife or touchline.

scrabble_board.jpg
The Altar of the Hopeless Wordist
J W Spears & Sons, hallowed be thy name.
Toymaker Mattel is thy parent company, etc.

But don’t get carried away. A lot of the hyphenated words have simply had the hyphen removed and are now two words. Things like fig leaf, hobby horse, test tube and water bed. I wonder what completely arbitrary system was used to decide which words to contract and which to separate. Ah well, language evolves around us once again.

Digital smilie hits the quarter century

We often consider net speak and associated abbreviations found in text messaging and the like to be relatively recent phenomena. But it is worth remembering that computers have been used to communicate since long before Al Gore invented the internet in 1995. Or was it Dan Quayle in 1943? I forget. Anyway, emoticons are pretty popular now, all thanks to the original smilie, which is now twenty five years old.

It was first suggested on September 19th, 1982, by one Scott E Fahlman. At least, that’s the currently accepted first usage and has yet to be successfully challenged. You can read all about it by clicking the smilie at the end of this post.

My personal favourite emoticon is the Heavy Metal Fan, raising devil horns with both hands. And it doesn’t even need to be read sideways to make sense. Here he is: \m/><\m/ But these things do tend to have a way of taking on a life of their own. Read about Fahlman's first smilie here: :-)

Is your car named after an internal organ?

People do have a habit of personifying things. Since the old days of the Navy, we’ve always referred to our vehicles by name and gender. Ships were always female and to this day a lot of cars and bikes are similarly considered female. A lot of motorcyclists will refer to their bike as a lady, a lot of their wives will refer to it as a mistress. As one droll wit put it not long ago, “Of course bikes are girls. Mine is beautiful, but it regularly refuses to do what I ask of it and always costs me money. How much more female could it be?”

He has a point.

A lot of girl bikers will refer to their bikes as male. I think it boils down to what you feel comfortable riding. A lot of guys wouldn’t want another guy between their legs. A lot of girls would. Some people take things even further. One rider referred to design of bikes as integral to their gender.

girlbike.jpg

Internal organs = girl bike.

boybike.jpg

External organs = boy bike.

I think that’s going a bit far personally, but each to their own.

I’m sure car drivers are equally divided on whether their car is a sultry lady or a muscular best mate. Comfortable in my sexuality I was happy to ride a bike named Albert for the last several years, though he was named by the previous owner. My new bike has yet to really establish a gender or name.

I’m not really sure why the urge exists to name our vehicles and many people are simply of the opinion that it’s nothing more than a collection of metal and various other materials and is simply an “it”. Now, all that said, I saw something today that totally confused me. Here in Australia we call pick up trucks Utes. That’s short for Utility Vehicle. However, even with that in mind I couldn’t quite fathom the thinking behind this guy when I pulled up behind him at the lights today:

uterus.jpg

.

Satan was a lesbian

Yes, folks. It’s true. Fred Haley says so.

Every once in a while you come across something truly bizarre that simply stops you in your tracks. With the internet a regular part of daily life, these track-stopping discoveries are more common than ever before. It happened today. I was minding my own business, searching for images of Satan (it’s a long story and not worth recounting) when I came across this:

satan-was-a-lesbian.jpg
Satan Was A Lesbian by Fred Haley

This was a book written in 1966 with the cover art by one Doug Weaver. It’s a title in a range of “Sleaze Sex Paperbacks” that were apparently quite popular at the time. Proof that there’s a market for pretty much anything. Interestingly, Fred Haley’s title implies one of two things; Satan was a lesbian, therefore a gay woman, so she must now have gone straight or become a man. A third option is that Satan was indeed a female and a lesbian, but no longer exists, hence she was a lesbian. I certainly hope Haley addresses these issues in the book or there’s going to be a lot of people out there desperate for closure.

A lot of the sleaze paperbacks featured or centred around lesbians and a lot of them had Satan somehow involved, at least in the title. There were, however, a number of others, focusing on various aspects of sleaze sex. For example:

sex_pot_acid.jpg

Sex, Pot & Acid by George Bailey. What more could you ask for? According to the blurb just under the title, the book addresses some very deep issues:

LSD and marijuana: are their powers over our youth really meant for mind awakenings or for sex cravings?

He makes the two things sound mutually exclusive.

Another one that caught my eye was the very futuristic:

plug-in.jpg

Plug-In Passion by John Dexter. Other than the rather quaint notion of the concept, I love how this one has “A Leisure Book” noted at the bottom of the cover. I suppose that’s to make sure people realise that it’s not a text book or some kind of work book for school.

Then I discovered this one:

maninbox.jpg

The Man In The Box by Corley Dale. Yes, she’s unzipping the fly of a corpse. Perhaps this stuff is all best left back in the sixties where it belongs.

(Images from feralhouse.com)