Facebook fears, food fads and a furious pear

April 15, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Here’s what Facebook’s doing to your brain: it’s kind of shocking

* The Most Challenging Dinner Guest Ever: And 5 Delicious Meals To Feed Them (and yes I do understand that allergies aren’t fads, but let’s not the facts get in the way of an alliterative headline) from The Kitchen.Com


* The Furious Pear Pie



10 words to live by

March 18, 2014

Conversation with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by:

Ten words everyone should live by at MindBodyGreen.com

Grammar no-nos and gadgets

March 4, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

These Famous Authors Made It Okay To Commit Grammar No-No’s among whom is one of my favourite poets, e.e. cummings.


What We Can Expect in Gadgets This Year  – I covet the solar rocking chair and the in-wall extension cord.


Uncommon thoughts on common things

February 18, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* 50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History by Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool.

* Robert Fulghham’s Journal – he’s the author of All I really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten at the start of which you’ll find the Story Teller’s Creed which he posts here.


* A working mother writes to a stay at home mother and a stay at home mother writes to a working one by Carolyn Ee at Healthy Doctor.

Fake signs & two types of people

February 4, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked off by:

 Fake signs in the London Underground


There are two kinds of people in the world




Arguing better, Good Wolf & dullest blog

January 21, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked off by:

*   Three destructive behaviours we all fall back on when arguing and how to fix them.  The suggestions solutions sound easy in theory, the challenge will be to remember and apply them in practice.

* The Good Wolf Manifesto – food for mind, body and spirit (check out the story behind the blog name on the about page and what success looks like on signing off the Good Wolf for 2013).

* The Dullest Blog in the World - 393 comments on tidying some pencils - I can only shake my head in wonder.

Critical Mass

December 17, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked off by:

* A Peculiar Christmas Feast and the 4th Wise Man from Valerie Davies, one of my favourite bloggers.

* Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling

* What 120 things you should do every day to improve your life


* If you need some inspiration for your resolutions try the New Year’s resolution generator.

Grammar test, Food Switch & buy-nothing Christmas

December 3, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

You can’t write proper English under pressure – which tests your grammar, spelling and reactions.

Food Switch – an app for your mobile phone which scans bar codes of food products, gives you their nutritional value and suggests healthier alternatives for those higher in fat and sugar.

Buy Nothing Christmas - suggestions for gifts using your hands, heart and imagination rather than money.

Lessons & quotes

November 19, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* What we can learn from tradies.


100 quotes about women.

I especially liked:

Women like silent men. They think they’re listening. Marcel Archard

It was a man’s world. Then Eve arrived. Richard Armour

Even if man could understand women he still wouldn’t believe it. AW Brown


Vocab test, weird food and Daily Oats

November 5, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by:

* Vocabulary test.

I thought I was quite smart until I got to the end of the fourth column and came across legerdemain  which I recognised but couldn’t define and sparge which was totally unfamiliar.

I scored 33,300  when I did it first last week and 33,500 today – not sure why I’d improved. Perhpas my subconscious had mulled over some of the words I’d met the first time or maybe I wasn’t as tough on myself the second time.

* 10 of the weirdest things eaten by travel bloggers.

The weirdest thing I can claim to ahve eaten was what my host in Argentina called small bowel – I decided he meant small intestine but it didn’t make it any easier to eat.

I also ate viscacha in Argentina. It’s a small burrowing animal which looks a bit like a cross between a possum and a rabbit.

* Daily Oats - this was chosen for the tenuous link with the Melbourne Cup though the blog author is a horse lover rather than a racing aficionado. It includes:

How bad is your horse addiction?

You are Very Bad if!

 *if you have hay under your hat as you walk in the house.
*If you examine every piece of rope or twine for its halter potential.
*If you take someone’s temperature and think 102°F is normal.
*If you always keep carrots, apples, and sugar cubes in your refrigerator and ginger snaps on the shelf.
*If you prefer the smell of stable to perfume. . .

and All I’ve learned in my life I’ve learned from my horse:

• When in doubt, run far, far away.
• You can never have too many treats.
• Passing gas in public is nothing to be ashamed of.
• New shoes are an absolute necessity every 6 weeks.
• Ignore cues. They’re just a prompt to do more work.
• Everyone loves a good, wet, slobbery kiss.
• Never run when you can jog. Never jog when you can walk. And never walk when you can stand still.
• Heaven is eating at least 10 hours a day… and then sleeping the rest.
• Eat plenty of roughage.
• Great legs and a nice rear will get you anywhere. . . .




Nerdy book club, face recognition and annoying husband

October 1, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Nerdy Book Club – by and for people who love reading, and reading books for children and young adults in particular. The post heartprints by JoEllen McCarthy resonated in particular because I love Peter H. Reynolds’ books too.

He blogs at Stellar Cafe and Creative Juices and you’ll find out more at his website.

* Thanks to Richard, who comments here, for pointing me to the Mail Online’s story on Scotland Yard’s elite squad of ‘super recognisers’ and this test to determine how good you are at face recognition.

* My Husband is Annoying – she stated the blog in 2009 to vent. Her marriage has survived the blogging  so the vent must work and he mustn’t mind.


Last words & water blob

September 17, 2013

Conversation with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Famous last words.


* Paging Fun Mums, a site with a wealth of inspiration for anyone who wants to entertain children.

Among the posts are one with instructions for making a water blob.

Critical Mass

July 30, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

Ogooglebar’ … and 14 Other Swedish Words We Should Incorporate Into English Immediately


22 things journalists know to be true

Good manners and expensive typos

July 16, 2013

Discussion with Noelle McCarthy on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Good manners


* 10 very costly typos.


Streets, roads and swearing

July 2, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by:

* What’s the difference between a street and a road?


* How to swear without swearing.

Contronyms and cussin’

June 18, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

14 words that are their own opposites.

10 old fashioned words to spice up your cussin’.

Among the contronymns was seed with the example of seeding a tomato meaning to take the seeds out.

I’ve never felt the urge to take seeds out of a tomato but if I did I’d say I was deseeding, not seeding.

The cussin’ was interesting.

I don’t think any of the words have the short, sharp vowels and hard consonants needed to vent your ire but the discussion got a delightful response from a listener: heck is the place for people who don’t believe in gosh.

Wonderful words we should revive

May 28, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by 27 delightful obsolete words it’s high time we revived.

They include:

Groak – To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them.

Crapulous – To feel ill because of excessive eating/drinking.

Grumpish – Sullen. An alternative to grumpy.

Jargogle – To confuse, bamboozle.

Apricity – The sun’s warmth on a cold winter’s day.

Twattle – To gossip, or talk idly.

Grogonize – To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on someone.

Cockalorum – A little man with a high opinion of himself.

Curglaff – The shock one feels upon first plunging into cold water.

Callipygian – Having beautifully shaped buttocks.

Fuzzle – To make drunk, intoxicate.

Quockerwodger – : A wooden puppet, controlled by strings.

Curmuring – A low rumbling sound produced by the bowels.

Lumming – : Heavy rain.

But it’s not just the words which appealed. Each is illustrated by a photo of an owl reacting to or looking like the word which adds to the fun.


Calories and laughter

May 7, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* What 200 calories look like (not much if it’s got fat and sugar, quite a bit with vitamins).

* World Laughter Day: How a Laughing Fit Sparked an International Movement.

Apropos of both – laughing and eating are generally mutually exclusive so the more you laugh the less you eat and vice versa.

Best seats

April 9, 2013

Today’s discussion on Critical Mass with Jim Mora was sparked by musical chairs – choosing the right seat.

Blogging at Big Mischief,  Alex Cornell goes through six possible seating arrangements and picks the best seat at each.

The desirability or otherwise of seats at a table can be modified by careful planning.

If architects and interior designers paid more attention to acoustics, got away from the fashion for hard surfaces and introduced more soft furnishings, it would be easier to converse comfortably while dining.

Round or small tables are fine for small numbers but oval or rectangular ones give more conversation options for bigger tables.

If you’ve got a rectangular table it’s better to put someone at the top and bottom if you’ve got even numbers and one person at either top or bottom for odd numbers.

The alternative of putting people only along the sides can leave those at the ends marooned with only the one beside them to chat with.

Savings and packaging

March 26, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Twenty money-saving tips from bankers and their wives  (for which I tip a hat to A Bee of a Certain Age) and the comments which it provoked.

Among those comments were:


Great tips!

Kudos on finding that delicate balance between classism and sexism.

Mr. Moneybags | 4 days ago


Cancel your private health insurance and get paid to enrol the entire family in scientific experiments.

wysiwig | 4 days ago


You know, this is good, but I think you’re missing a few things that might really help the average wealthy investment banker take the sting out of tightening his belt. For example: . . .

- If you are not particularly fond of one or more of your younger children, there is a great way to kill two birds with one stone by cutting costs at home on food AND the mouths you need to feed. I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout. Not to mention the guilt you will spare yourself by not having to put the little tyke into a private school. It may sound radical, but it’s just a modest proposal.

Good luck!

supernovashock | 4 days ago

  2. I really like the assumption that all these bankers are men. What if there is a straight woman banker? Should she get her wife to iron her shirts? Should she just quit in an effort to apease the patriarchy so this article can hold true? I can’t believe this article was written by a woman. Shame on you, Sarah Butcher. It’s women like you who make it so much harder for the rest of us to to break out of the shitty mould society says we must fit.

    Moocow | 4 days ago
  3. Straight women bankers are a dying breed.

    Edwarde Sanspoisson | 4 days ago
  4. Maybe they’re dying in ironing accidents…

    Jef With One F | 4 days ago

One way that I save myself money on a regular basis is by parking my private jet and just taking the bus to Vegas. A jet is not really necessary unless travelling over oceans. This method has saved me bucket loads of cash. I recommend you all to do the same, but if those smelly commoners are just too dirty for you to rub elbows with, you might also consider booking a personal car on the train.

Ashley | 2 days ago

We also looked at:

* Cool and unusual packaging.



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