2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 42,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Chocolate is the answer

Chocolate Siocled Chocolat Cioccolato Shokolade Chocolade Chokolade Choklad Čokoláda Czekolada Csokoládéval Шоколад Σοκολάτα Çikolata …

… so many ways to say chocolate and those have hardly scratched the surface.

Chocolate keyboard

Chocolate keyboard

Anyway, just a few chocolaty comments. I don’t need a reason; it’s chocolate.

Rules of chocolate

Remember the acronym: WAFFLES

Weight

Never eat more chocolate than you can lift.

Answer

Chocolate is the answer and the question is irrelevant.

Food tip

Have a chocolate bar before each meal; it will take the edge off your appetite and you will eat less.

Failure

If at first you don’t succeed, have a little chocolate.

List

Put ‘eat chocolate’ at the top of your list of things to do today and at least you’ll get one thing done.

Extent

A little too much chocolate is just about right.

Speed

If you have melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.



Chocolate aphorisms

All well known, but worth repeating:

Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, but chocolate makes it worthwhile.

Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.

I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter.

You can eat chocolate in front of your parents.

Leftover chocolate

Leftover chocolate

There’s a thin person inside of me screaming to get out, but I keep them sedated with chocolate.

So much chocolate, so little time.

Save the Earth! (It’s the only planet with chocolate).

Seven days without chocolate makes one weak.

If you ate a lifetime’s supply of chocolate in one day, should you be worried?

Will you buy me chocolate? (A) Yes – (B) A – (C) B

Chocolate is not a matter of life and death; it’s more important than that.

Star Trek gag: The Borg ~ Wrappers are futile; chocolate will be assimilated.

Health ~ Chocolate is made from cocoa beans and beans are vegetables. Sugar is obtained from either sugar beet or sugar cane, both of which are plants, so they are also vegetables. Chocolate, therefore, is a vegetable. Milk chocolate contains milk, which is a dairy product. Milk chocolate contains both vegetables and dairy and is therefore a health food.


My Father's Day chocolates

My Father's Day chocolates

Chocolate quotations

“Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment.” ~ Catherine Aitken

“I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.” ~ Counsellor Deanna Troi, Star Trek: The Next Generation

“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.” ~ Anonymous

“Exercise is a dirty word… Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.” ~ Charles M Schulz

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… chocolate….” ~ Homer Simpson

“As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.” ~ Sandra Boynton

Everything either is or isn't chocolate“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” ~ John Q. Tullius

“Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.” ~ Milton Hershey

“Chocolate: Here today… Gone today!” ~ Daniel Worona

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly chocolate” ~ Debbie Moose

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.” ~ Judith Viorst

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” ~ Charles Dickens

“The 12-step chocoholics program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE!” ~ Terry Moore



These quotations and others can also be found here:
Quotes about chocolate


Chocolate rabbits

Chocolate rabbits


Final thoughts



There are only three things in life that matter; good friends, good chocolate and, erm… what was the other one?

‘Knock knock!’

‘Who’s there?’

‘Imogen.’

‘Imogen who?’

‘Imogen life without chocolate!’

If calories are a problem, keep your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights and they will remove themselves from the chocolate to protect their peace of mind.


Apparently there is a theory that chocolate slows down the aging process; it may not be true, but why take the risk?

:^)


There are lots of chocolate tweets on Twitter:

Twitter Chocolate


And in MumblingNerd’s Daily Chocolate


MumblingNerd’s chocolate destination print



Back to Chocolate

Back to MumblingNerd’s home page




Similar interests, different points of view

Pennsylvania Avenue and The Capitol, Washington (26 Oct 2009)

Pennsylvania Avenue and The Capitol, Washington (Oct 2009)

I know you shouldn’t generalise, but sometimes I think it might be possible to sum up politics in the United States of America as ‘similar interests, different points of view’.

Considering its length and breadth, of both land and of ideas and political extremes, the United States must have a remarkable political system to hold all of its people and states together.

I recently did a tour of the Capitol in Washington DC; an outstanding building and a fascinating tour, thanks to the tour guide Nick.

The Capitol and tour guide Nick (Oct 2009)

The Capitol and tour guide Nick (Oct 2009)

The tour takes you through some very interesting areas of the building and touches on some enthralling events in the history of the United States. This gives you an impression of the amazing range of views and ideas the diverse population encapsulates.

On the one hand, this diversity has culminated in horrendous events such as the Civil War and in the terrible treatment of indigenous people and African Americans for example, but it has also lead to astonishing technological, medical and social change, and enabled the United States to become strong enough to tip the balance of power in the Second World War and stop the relentless rise of fascist dictatorships in Europe and Asia.

Freedom Plaza, Washington (Oct 2009)

Freedom Plaza, Washington (Oct 2009)

For all its faults (and what system doesn’t have faults?) the political system in the United States must have some pretty sound ideas in its basic set up, because even with the extraordinary tension of people passionately pulling in different directions and the barely restrained corporate power of ‘big business’, most of the time it actually works for a significant majority of its people.

And how many countries and political systems across the world can truthfully say that?

Lincoln Memorial, Washington (Oct 2009)

Lincoln Memorial, Washington (Oct 2009)

If it smells okay and there are no unsightly slimy bits…

A conversation at work recently reminded me how differently we treat food these days, compared to fifty, or so, years ago.

Someone was sniffing and scrutinising the milk, prior to making a hot drink, and decided it was time to part company, because the milk wasn’t quite as fresh and youthful as it had been (I know the feeling) and it reminded me of how we stored and used milk before we had fridges.

(Gripping stuff, are you sure you don’t have anything better to do; clip your toenails, put the cat out?)

When I started to think back I was quite surprised at how much our shopping, cooking and eating habits have changed since the 1950s. In fact before long I might also use it as an excuse to blather on about the local stores that we had before supermarkets arrived on the scene.

(Incidentally, why is the cat on fire?)

Anyway, back to milk. Before the widespread appearance of supermarkets in the late 1950s and early 1960s, most people had fresh milk delivered daily and, without a fridge, it was kept in the coolest place in the kitchen, pantry or cellar. We sometimes also had bottles of sterilized milk, which kept longer unopened, but didn’t taste as good as the fresh stuff.

Fridges didn’t become very widespread in British homes until the 1960s and 70s, so milk was normally used the day it was delivered, but if it happened to hang around a little longer, particularly in hot weather, it would start turn a little too sour for regular use.

Now I don’t know about most families at the time, but ours didn’t often throw it out. We kept it in a cool place until it had thickened up; I think Mum used to mix something like a little lemon juice in to curdle it. Then it was poured (well, perhaps glopped would be a better description) onto a piece of muslin, which was gathered up with the ends tied together, then hung over a bowl to allow the liquid to drain off. Once it stopped dripping it had a consistency between cream cheese and cottage cheese and was ready for use. At some point it was mixed with salt to improve the flavour and keep it fresh for longer, but I can’t remember if the salt was added at the end or before it was strained through the muslin.

The storage and shelf life of fresh food has altered a lot; food didn’t have ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ dates until the 1970s, and then it was a bit sporadic. We used to pick up and examine our food; if it smelled okay and there are no unsightly slimy bits, then we would just eat it. If the cheese had a bit of mould growing on the outside, we would cut a layer off. If the bread was getting stale it was made into bread pudding, stale cake was made into trifle and so on.

I’m loath to trot out the customary ‘it never did me any harm’, but I do think we waste too much food. It would be more practical to inspect our food carefully and cook it thoroughly and with care, instead of just chucking it out for what sometimes seems to be an arbitrary date that depends on too many variables to be completely accurate.

We used to store some fruit and vegetables for months. Onions, for example, were cleaned up and kept dry, tied together and hung from hooks in the shed. When we wanted one, it was pulled or snipped one from the bunch and with luck they would keep all winter, or even longer.

Apples, as long as they were fresh and undamaged, would keep for months stored in a cool, dark place with a good air circulation. Similarly, we stored clean, dry, undamaged potatoes for a long time in paper or hessian sacks kept in cool, dry and dark conditions.

Anyway, you get the idea, before this turns into an episode of Gardener’s Question Time.

Another pre-fridge piece of equipment we used was a meat safe fixed to the wall outside, on the north facing side of the house, to keep it cool and out of the sun. The meat safe was a small metal cupboard with mesh covered holes to allow air circulation, but keep flies and vermin out, and we kept dairy produce, joints of meat, sausages, dripping and potted meat in it, particularly in cooler months.

Legion Stores, 13 Front St, Birstall (early 1950s)

Legion Stores, 13 Front St, Birstall (early 1950s)

In an old village shop we once managed, we had a cool and damp cellar that often served as a fridge. Mum made a trifle for a party and stored it in the cellar; it may have been for my birthday, but I don’t remember that. What I do remember is that when she went down to collect the trifle, there was a large frog sitting, apparently quite comfortably, in the centre. I don’t think we ate the trifle, although Dad wasn’t so fussy and probably scooped out the contaminated bits and scoffed the rest.

Since I first owned a fridge, I don’t ever remember finding a frog in any desserts. Although I do know how to tell if there are elephants in the refrigerator…




More on Legion Stores …cut into chunks, weighed and wrapped


Sensible, prudent and rational?

A few actions and conducts that appear to be sensible, prudent and rational, but are really just another poor excuse to repeat yet more quotations:


Plan for the future, but live for now; don’t live for a future that might be better, because it may never arrive.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Albert Einstein

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ~ Yogi Berra

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer


Be yourself and say what you think.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“It is better to be hated for what one is, than loved for what one is not.” ~ André Gide

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ~ Kurt Cobain


Enjoy luxuries in small doses; too much of any one thing reduces the pleasure you take from it.

“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.” ~ Charlie Chaplin


Don’t complain; either do something about it or forget it and move on.

“Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.” ~ Robert A. Cook

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.” ~ Dale Carnegie


Tell the truth; being untruthful will almost always come back to you.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

“You never find yourself until you face the truth.” ~ Pearl Bailey


Help other people; that too will almost always come back to you.

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” ~ Les Brown

“No man can help another without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” ~ Althea Gibson


Don’t assume anything; assumptions stifle your thoughts and actions.

“If you see the teeth of the lion, do not think that the lion is smiling at you.” ~ Al-Mutanabbi

“Many people might have attained wisdom had they not assumed they already had it.” ~

Source Unknown


Travel to new places.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” ~ Mark Twain

“Travel teaches tolerance.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” ~ Aldous Huxley

“The more I travelled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” ~ Shirley Maclaine


Don’t expect money to make you happy.

“Money makes a good servant, but a bad master.” ~ Francis Bacon

“The only thing I like about rich people is their money.” ~ Lady Nancy Astor

“If you marry for money, you will surely earn it.” ~ Ezra Bowen


Don’t spend too much time either on your appearance or worrying; neither will solve anything in the long term.

“We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” ~ Ethel Barrett

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Stop worrying — nobody gets out of this world alive.” ~ Clive James


Have the courage to do things; most of the time you will be successful.

“Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


Achieve things that matter to you.

“You never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie


Work without interruption on one single thing at a time.

“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” ~ Sydney Smiles


Keep your mind open to new ideas, tools and techniques.

“There will always be a frontier where there is an open mind and a willing hand.” ~ Charles F. Kettering


And last, but not least; when you do something, do it well.

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


But remember:

“Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see.” ~ Mark Twain



For other stuff in this blog, click on these links:


Daft stuff; humour, jokes, quips and gags

Puns and word-play

Quotations



Blog Meme; It’s all about me me me


Well, it’s two me’s and without the space.

I copied this list/meme quite a while ago, but it’s just been sitting in a folder, relaxing, for months and I can’t remember where I copied it from now.

The intro text said: ”Create a new post, copy and paste this message, delete my answers and type in yours. Then tag 10 good friends and family including the person who tagged you. The theory is that you will learn one new thing about each of your friends.”

But, even though I’m very nosy, I mean interested, I don’t wish to intrude or impose on friends and family, so I’m just going to fill in my answers and leave it to anyone who might or might not be passing to read/complete/ignore as they/you see fit.

It’s not easy, well, its not easy in our affluent portion of this beautiful, flawed and unequal world, to choose just three things; how do you put a tripartite limit on an infinite and fascinating variety of food, drink, music and places to visit?

Anyway, I’ve learnt some things about myself; I like Fridays, chocolate and checking .

:^)

Three names I go by:

1. Roy (mostly)

2. MumblingNerd (online)

3. Dandy (but not for about 50 years)

Three jobs I have had:

1. Graphic Designer (now)

2. Corporate Design Co-ordinator

3. Publicity Assistant (Nottingham City Transport)

Three places I have lived:

1. Nottingham, UK (now)

2. Leeds, UK

3. Leicester, UK

Three TV shows that I watch:

1. QI (Quite Interesting)

2. Star Trek

3. South Park, Dr Who, Coronation Street, Big Bang Theory… (there are far too many to choose from)

Three favourite channels:

1. BBC1

2. BBC2

3. Comedy Central (UK)

Three places I want to go:

1. Melbourne, Australia

2. Singapore

3. Hong Kong

Three of my favourite foods:

1. Chocolate

2. Nuts

3. Fruit

Things I am looking forward to:

1. Friday (I don’t work on Fridays)

2. Holidays/travelling

3. Memory chip neural implants

Three favourite bands/singers:

1. Ian Dury and the Blockheads

2. Rolling Stones

3. Sinéad O’Connor

Three favourite sports to watch:

1. Tennis

2. Tennis

3. Tennis (I don’t really watch sport, apart from Wimbledon, and that’s Sue’s fault)

Three favourite drinks:

1. Water

2. Coffee

3. Red wine

Three favourite hang outs:

1. Home office/computer room

2. Nottingham city centre

3. New York

Three things you must do daily:

1. Check Twitter :^)

2. Feed Max the cat :^)

3. Shave :^(

Three ‘F’s:

1. Family

2. Food

3. Funny

3.1 Flippancy

3.2 Frogs

3.3 Fortitude

3.4 Flagellate

3.5 Formaldehyde

3.6 Frangipane

3.7 For crying out loud…

BOF Anti-social Networking Group


Are you sick of being sociable?

Are you continually coerced to communicate?

Are you tired of Twittering and fed up with friend requests?

Be a BOF (Boring Old Fart) and celebrate your BOFness!

You don’t have to be old to be a BOF, anyone can be a BOF; I might be middle aged now, but I’ve been a BOF since I was an infant and I doubt there’s ever been a more boring teenager.

So, let’s distance ourselves from other people, stop answering the telephone or the knock at the door, let’s be unsociable and let’s ignore requests to Tweet, be friends or join groups.

You’ll be happy you did, probably, well, you’ll be a BOF anyway.



At least Max reads my blog

Max reads Roy's blog

Max reads Roy's blog

Oh well, at least Max reads my blog :^(

He’s supposed to be Alice’s cat, but I feed him :^)

Anyway, I’m using it as a poor excuse to display some cute photos of him:

Max asleep

Max asleep

Max attempts yoga

Max attempts yoga

Max and Lucy

Max and Lucy

Double cat cup holder

Double cat cup holder













Buses; location and locution

I’ve always used public transport to travel into Nottingham to work, because it’s convenient and good value for money and far more relaxing than driving on busy roads and trying to find somewhere to park in the city centre.

Also, I’m intrigued by the habits of people on the bus.

Although in this instance I’m limiting myself to location and locution; mobile phones, littering, vandalism and ingestion/vomiting can wait for another occasion to arrive. Or perhaps three occasions to turn up at the same time.

Location

Regular travellers tend to sit in the same seat or area, particularly on the first part of the route, before the bus gets too busy. Passengers boarding further down the route have less chance of a regular ‘preferred’ seat, so they tend to be less specific about actual seats, but do appear to have a preferred zone of the bus to aim for.

By the time the bus nears the city centre, passengers either take whatever is available or just stand, so regular seat domination is largely confined to people from the outer suburbs.

There is also a regular pattern to the way people spread themselves about the bus as it starts to pick up more passengers along the route; firstly by occupying alternating window seats, then as those seats fill up, people alternate aisle seats, ideally with no one sitting directly in front or behind, or they survey the lower deck and decide there might be more chance of getting a seat to themselves on the upper deck, even if it means negotiating the stairs.

At least when you travel upstairs these days you are no longer in jeopardy of watering eyes, ashtray scented clothing or departing with antique kipper effect lungs.

Locution

My principal nosiness, I mean interest, in the observation of people on public transport is in the greeting or parting comments they make to the driver.

There aren’t so many actual greetings, the occasional “Hello” or “Morning”, even the rare “Areet mi duck”, with a high proportion of people not even bothering to acknowledge the person behind the wheel. However, on alighting there is far more variety.

“Thanks” and “thank you” are obviously the most common parting comments and again a majority of people say nothing and exit quickly without making eye contact. But there are quite a few “Cheers!”, “See you later” and “Thanks mate”; these largely said by younger men.

Now “See you later” and “Thanks mate” seem reasonable exclamations to me, but why would you say “Cheers!” which is a toast for drinking situations? When did it become a colloquialism for “thanks”? If this is a developing trend I’m waiting with some anticipation for alighting passengers to call to the driver “To your health!”, “Chin Chin!” or “Bottoms up!”

I’ve not travelled on a late night bus for a while; I wonder what remarks passengers regale the driver with when they’ve actually been drinking? Probably shouldn’t ask.

The occasional “Thank you driver!” now seems to be dying out, as it’s mainly expressed by older men in cloth caps or women with perms and head scarves.

I’ve recently noticed “Nice one!” or “Nice one mate!” being flung in the direction of the driver, so far this is also only being expressed by young men. Are they just making a general remark or is it a comment on something specific? Perhaps the fine cut of the driver’s uniform, the remarkable cleanliness of the bus or the exquisite view from the top deck?

Once in a blue moon there are exiting (as opposed to exciting) passengers that take the parting remarks to a whole new level. I’ve a fairly regular observation of one person who exits the bus fairly slowly, waving and keeping eye contact with the driver, while uttering a relentless stream of comments alone the lines of “Bye, have a good one, bye, see you, be good, bye, can’t get any worse, bye, don’t work too hard, bye, see you later!”

My usual bus route drops me off literally right outside the office and my own remarks are almost entirely limited to “Morning” and “Thanks”, although if it’s particularly wet or cold, I do occasionally, with a pathetic attempt at humour, ask the driver if they can get any closer to the door.