I thought a new collective noun had been created for the process of “unfriending” someone when I overheard an American say
I thought a new collective noun had been created for the process of “unfriending” someone when I overheard an American say
A new stadium is being built for the Minneapolis Vikings American football team. The stadium will actually be called the “US Bank” stadium. The home of the Vikings is the IS Bank stadium. I guess both Vikings and Banks have a reputation for collecting money from other people….
The US bank sponsorship team haven’t come up with a stadium name that inspires fun, images of fabulous things, aspirations and warm feelings for the local customers. It’s the name of the bank. No creativity or imagination involved. To me it says, we’ve got lots of money and we want to you see and say our name every time you’re thinking of the local football team. A succinct message that says a lot about the culture of the IS Bank and the needs of the organisation providing the stadium (Minneapolis city?).
When I lived in Seattle the new Baseball stadium there was named “Safeco field”. Safeco is a huge insurance company in the USA. I understand that these fabulous buildings, cathedrals of our millennium, do need funding and that financial companies have the spare funds and the motivation to get their names known, seen in places associated with positive emotions. The new Baseball stadium in Minneapolis is called the Target field. Target is a large American retail chain. Somehow this name works for me beacuse pitchers target their baseball to be in play, the name is still meaningful if the company ceased to exist…
The trend to name stadiums after local corporations has produced some really poor names. In 2013 daily finance listed unfortunate American stadium names:
If these are the best, I’m not impressed.
Stadium names that have impressed me are not listed anywhere, except here:
I have strong affections for the grounds I’ve attended regularly, supporting local teams. The common naming theme here is the location of the stadium. It’s relevant to ‘place’ which makes a lot of seen to me and could outlive any renaming strategy from currently existing stadium:
I’d like these companies to think about the aspirations and values of the stadium customers, I’d like corporate naming strategists to come up with something attendees can be emotionally attached to, relevant to them in a positive way. Ideally with at least a nodding reference to the name of the main team that is based there. The team name “Vikings” refers to the roots of the European settlers here and evokes images of aggression. The state is informally known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, a strap line placed on most car license plates. The stadium is near the banks of the Mississippi. There are cultural cues that could be used to generate a name that could be linked with the banks name.
Cathedrals are traditionally named after Saints, if stadiums are our new cathedrals, then corporations are our new saints. It doesn’t sit well with me.
I look forward to the day when corporate sponsorship for naming steps out of bland placing of one companies name on the building to inspiring naming strategies. Take a risk.
How many days was I resident in the UK during the tax year? My guidance from a Tax services provider for helping to work this out:
Generally, an individual will be treated as being in the UK on any day where he or she is in the UK at the end of that day (i.e., at midnight).
There are two main exceptions to the basic rule on location at midnight:
Exceptional circumstances apply when circumstances beyond the individual’s control prevent him or her from leaving the UK. For example, national or local emergencies such as war, civil unrest or natural disaster; or sudden or life-threatening illness or injury for the individual themself or a close family member. The exception is restricted to a maximum of 60 days in any UK tax year (6 April to 5 April).
Northfield, MN. a city about 40 miles south west of Minneapolis, has maintained much of it’s downtown (1870’s) brick architecture and attracts day tripping tourists from nearby big cities. Like me from Minneapolis.
It’s named after Mr. North who decided to found the town there when the Dakota tribe ‘ceded’ the lands in 1855. There seems to be a particularly descriptive tone to city naming in MN. I suspect you can visualize some of the characteristics of these cities:
Feel’s very “Yorkshire” to me. Both influenced by the settling of people from Nordic regions. The local college is called St. Olaf’s. There are many other names that point directly to their Nordic heritage and Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian flags hang outside the main, division Street, hotel.
Despite some impressive flour-milling-related achievements the town is best known for a bank robbery by the James-Younger gang, where 2 locals and 2 gang members were killed. The town re-enacts the robbery annually (Sept 7th) to celebrate the courage of the local townspeople.
Thinking about the law, I was fascinated by the opportunity for a close-up look at the city’s police vehicles, major protection for hitting things, cage barriers for the people in the back…
Wendy: How Ewe doin’ ?
Local: I’m living the dream
I think there’s a touch of sarcasm pervading the region. I like it. I must stop giggling and join the conversation….
To hotel guest: “Nice jumper, urrrr, sweater”
To colleague with lots of equipment “let’s use the lift, um, elevator”
To person looking desolate within a crowd in the Comcast service centre “is this a queue, uh, line”
“here in the US the colour of the pumps for petrol and diesel are reversed, in the UK black is diesel and green is Petrol. I nearly made a nasty mistake because of that” (autocorrect complete fail) “you mean gas and diesel, right. Brits call gas petrol?”
“I’ve got a British ice-scraper for my windscreen, a short handle, not with the sensible long handle that the local scrapers have” (autocorrect didn’t even know there was a potential problem here but my translation package was soon updated) “windscreen? Windshield”
I’m trying my darnedest not to be too cute in my regional language. Mostly, I know the USA word. I know the UK word will be understood after the listener has worked out my accent and often they quickly correct me. If they don’t correct me, or smirk, I don’t even know that I’ve used a quaint word.
Wendy: thank you very much
Checkout staff: you’re welcome very much
I pronounce ‘Were’ like the ‘ur’ in ‘blur’ with an ‘w’ added to the front = wur
I pronounce ‘Where’ like ‘air’ with a ‘w’ on the front = wair
7pm one evening, at the end of a long day an Italian colleague said “I’m working with Michele“. Myself and another English person simultaneously reacted with “Working?!”, shocked that anyone would be able to continue working.
Italian: “Yes, working to the Hotel”
We understood. “Oh, Walking”
The Italian encouraged us to say ‘walking’ a few more times, then imitated us. His British accent for this one word became impeccable.
“How did you do that?”
“It sounds like that Chinese pan, the Wok, I say Woking”
And indeed that’s what he said, it was easy to understand and sounded awfully posh.
For example, this item raised a smirk from me and so many questions. What is this? What does it do? Who would buy it? How would they use it? Does it come with any attachments? Does OS mean ‘Operating System’? Should I buy one in case of emergencies?
What do you think?
Wendy: You can ‘Save’ it in an address book on your computer. Can you see anything here that suggests ‘save’ or ‘keep’?
I look at the symbol of the floppy disk and wonder what dipstick in the Microsoft visual design icon set development team thought that a floppy disk would be meaningful to youngsters who’ve never seen one and oldies like mum who’ve never used one. While I can’t imagine a universal symbol for ‘save’, ‘keep’ or ‘store’, this symbol clearly misses the mark now and will miss the mark even more with the younger generations to come.
Wendy: What does that look like?
Mumsie: the car driving over the football?
Wendy: Yes! Brilliant, that’s exactly what it looks like, a ‘hummer’!
Mumsie: What’s a ‘hummer’? Someone in a choir who’s forgotten the words?
She’s quickly learnt the symbol now I’ve told her that it means ‘save’, the car saving the goal strike. Mumsie is very bright. Gotta love her and question who was recruited by the windows 8 user testing team to test the legibility of this icon.
Build sounds like Billed
A college of free men are making imitation spoons, presumably for the free market, so they can spoon en masse. Quite shocking really.
There’s something rather disturbing about the name “Butcher works“. Apparently it’s “one of the most important surviving cutlery and grinding workshops“. They would have made knives at the Butcher works.
There’s something inspiring about “Challenge works“. The Challenge works in Arundel Street is described in it’s listing as “an edge tool manufactory with workshops, office and warehouse, appears to have rapidly evolved into a multi-occupancy site, with an electro-plating company sharing the site in 1888. The Goad Fire Insurance plan of 1896 identifies various trades being carried out on site, and the presence of tool forges set behind the street frontage range, itself identified as office and warehouse… …a significant survival in a once densely populated manufacturing quarter of Sheffield”
There’s something very reassuring about being told that “Universe Works” The only online references for it are to rent apartments. as a downtown residence in a converted industrial building I suspect this address is now high chic.
The “Gibson works” is also a listed building, it was originally a ‘Pewter’ works built in the late 19th Century.
‘Works’, both a noun and a verb. Lets take a moment to establish that “wendy house works” because we are and we do.
I’m thrilled that the Oxford English Dictionary names the ‘word of the year’. The thought of a group of word specialists discussing the merits of different new words they’ve heard this year has kept me entertained for months. Omnishambles is this year’s UK word. It is defined as:
a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations
Here are example situations where I might use this word in everyday converstion:
The Oxford dictionary chooses a different new word for American English. This year they chose GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). A much more sensible word that’s a tad less fun. I can’t imagine actually using GIF’s creatively in my normal conversation (though I have some fun GIF’s on Sparkle).
Being a relatively internet savvy single gal I decided to use an online anagram tool to help me out. Googles search suggestion really rather ticked my fancy
Vineyard Christian (VC): Can you speak in tongues?
I can speak conversational french, but given the context I don’t think that’s what he meant, he might find this comment flippent or sarcastic and definitely inappropriate for such a serious question
wendy: I don’t think so
VC: let me pray for you
wendy: sure, thanks
I listened to his words as he easily chose things to say to me, a stranger. Words and thoughts as gifts through his language of prayer
Mechanical clocks should be available on the NHS because of their outstanding health problem diagnostic qualities. No home should be without at least one.
Mechanical clocks that strike and chime have been blamed for causing some people sleep disruption. This diagnosis is actually an “Urban Legend“. In pre-urban venacular it’s:
Pish, tush and nonsense
A chiming or striking clock is actually an early warning system for potentially dangerous health problems. These clocks will only disrupt sleep when one or more of the following pre-conditions applies – the person presenting the clock-disrupted sleep symptoms is:
The clock has actually uncovered the easily treatable conditions that are presenting as sleep disruption. Treatments are
This consultation was provided free of charge by Dr Wendy
“It was colder last week, it’s not like we live in the Arctic, you’ll just have to man-up“
When my phone announced that the UK was partly cloudy I was baffled by it’s desire to share the obvious
Luckily the weather announcers here in the UK have developed creative ways of describing these clouds, to keep us entertained on many an overcast day. How can anyone fail to find many ways of describing and falling in love with skies like these:
The year started well as I rolled out of bed in my warm brushed cotton, red tartan, pyjamma set. Mumsy buys the best christmas pressies with her Marks and Spencers loyalty card. As the teapot brewed I lifted the cupboard‘s lid and logged in.
The warm, fluffy feeling started fading as Microsoft’s .NET framework announced an ‘unhandled exception‘ in MY ‘application‘. My cheeky little application had the afrontary to so something without proper handling? Naughty!’
This verbose .NET Framework message appeared to offer me 2 choices in the first paragraph:
The second paragraph is written in jargon about turning on functions, configuring, clients, trace-logs and SDKs. This is 2012, good practice for producing software error messages has been around for decades. Why is Microsoft still showing me outrageously poorly designed dialogs? Especially first thing in the morning of the new year. pfft. I choose to ignore this message because it didn’t enable me to make an informed decision – which ‘application’ of mine is exceptional?
I really like the tone of voice, the attitude, of Mozilla when talking to me
As I poured my second mug of tea another potential culprit for the ‘application’ that Microsoft .NET framework found ‘exceptional’ raised it’s hand
The large, ugly, Sony Viao update dialog insisted that I update my netbook software then told me I had to reboot the cupboard. It’s direct instructional approach feels rather rude. I follow the instructions because I’ve been trained by years of poor software to feel helpless and follow this type of condescending instruction
It’s like being in the 1990’s all over again
The English language has some fun collective nouns for animal groups:
a shrewdness of Apes
a cloud of Bats
a flutter of Butterflies
a murder of Crows
a seething of Eels
a business of Ferrets
an implausibility of Gnus
a troubling of Goldfish
a loveliness of Ladybirds
a parliament of Owls
a mutation of Thrushes
a chime of Wrens
As the winter nights draw-in the endless possibilities of entertaining new collective nouns snuggle into the wendy house:
a ________________ of celebrities
a ________________ of Journalists
a ________________ of activists
a ________________ of celebrities
a ________________ of lawyers
a ________________ of bankers
a ________________ of MPs
a ________________ of commuters
a ________________ of cyclists
a ________________ of doctors
The Italian tourist on Paddington station asked me
“what times are off-peak travel times?”
Gradually realising the sysem craziness I reply
“That depends which direction you are travelling, peak time applies to trains into London in the morning and out of London in the evening, so if you are travelling into London in the evening – there is no peak time
but I’m not sure”
Then I asked my Londoner friend for clarification
“Are there peak time restrictions on the tube?”
My friend didn’t know about ‘peak times’ so we assumed that tube trains within London didn’t have travel restrictions based on time of travel. How could this Italian distinguish between tube trains and other trains when they use the same stations? Should we say ‘you can travel on the grubby looking trains that are travelling around London, sort of, at any time”? I felt daunted. Such a simple question, such a complex answer.
Then, to make matters worse, I remembered that at peak times you can catch some trains which are not covered by the peak time travel restrictions, so added
“You can travel at peak time with a non-peak time ticket on some trains, normally the slower trains, but some of the fast trains”
The Italian looked suitably baffled. We hadn’t really helped her. I had a passing thought of Franz Kafka, imagining him stuck on a train station trying to get out of London at 5pm. No matter how good your grasp of the English language, this explanation, this system is
it’s not designed to make ticket purchase and use easy, its evolved to satisfy diverse organisations that lack customer perspective. The best pracitcal suggestion that we could give the Italian was
“Find the train you want to travel on and ask one of the rail staff if it works, and what’s their best suggestion, it’s the only way to be sure”
When I asked a train station employee at Reading main station he whipped out a PAPER leaflet that listed trains that travel at peak times but accept off-peak time tickets. This work-around suggest that the service providers recognise the problem. The cute, archaic, work-around made me smile. But why not make it easier for the traveller in the first place (or time)!
Currently peak travel times are defined by a mixture of train
I know what name I’d like to give the ticket pricing and travel system, but that’s unpublishable …..
Your’s huiffily, wendy x
PS here are the peak travel time trains from Paddington that accept off-peak time tickets:
1) Deprived of the power to feel or manipulate a number or series of numbers
“wendy suffered a numberical moment when asked to work out how many people it would take to eat 6 packages of twiglets in 30 minutes” (the answer was, of course: ‘1, ME!’ )
2) Inability to perceive numbers
“When asked how many packets of twiglets are hidden in the back of your wardrobe? wendy numberically answered “MINE!”
3) Counting without direct use of numbers
“wendy numberically asserted that there were a whole bunch of twiglets for sale in the Co-op”
“A guest in the wendy house numberically suggested there were loads of twiglets hidden in the back of wendy’s wardrobe” (not actually true because I’ve eaten them)
With bubbly enthusiasm Tracey describes the people she met in Geneva when representing the UK at a Proctor and Gamble hosted international conference:
His parents were from Naples in Italy, they moved to New York before he was born, so even though he looks Italian he’s a real New Yorkan
He was a bit of a scientist boffin from Germany, his name was “Yo!-harn” or something like that, I had trouble with it so I called him Yogi Bear, how we laughed!
Tracey’s exhuberance was captivating, she quickly built a picture of people from all over the world enjoying each other’s company, sharing a passion…
Words are a powerful force, even descriptive statements have the power to cause action, illocutionary force. What people choose to say, or not say, causes the world to change
If a guest in the Wendy House makes a statement like “it’s cold in here” then I will interpret that as a description of discomfort. The force of the statement pushes me to suggest either
Some people use their illocutionary force with skill, wisely or cruely. Some people spew words in a stream of consciousness seemingly without awareness of their forceful impact on listeners
Someone said ennui in a real conversation
what a tease!
It sounded like “ahn-wee, setting-off my sensitively calibrated toilet-word-radar alarm. Wee?!
This was not a tease. This was a real word and the utterer had used it in a sentence that made total sense
A celebratory tea party is in order
Bring on the cakes!
England has a long history of rioting. In 1714 an act of parliament was introduced to try and deal with this national passtime – “the act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies” with the more snappy popular title of “the riot act” . The riot act let local authorities declare to a group of twelve or more people that they were unlawfully assembled and ask them to disperse within the hour or be punished. The riot act would be read to the assembled people:
Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!
It had to be read precisely. It was a hanging offense to not disperse within the hour. Some prosecutions were overturned in court because the proclamator forgot to read “God save the King!” The act included the death penalty, later transportation and was last used in 1919 on the Wirral. The act ceased to be law in 1975
The phrase ‘read the riot act’ is still used colloquially as a warning to cease serious misbehaviour…
I gave up trying to compile a decent list of riots in mainland England because it was getting way too long
This left me wondering how to distinguish revolution, rebellion and riot…
20 minutes is their time-box
time-box is trendy business language
Is this a cunning prompt for enterprising visitors to think out of their (time) box to either
find ways to stay longer than 20 minutes
do what normally takes more than 20 minutes in less time
The toilets in the Fine Art department of Reading University are proudly green and probably original features of the one-storey utilitarian style brick building (circa 1930). The subtle differences in styling such as the 3 vertical panels on the womens’ door imply it may be newer (circa 1950) than the more utilitarian design of the mens’.
The addition of a paper sign to the womens’ door is a modern addition, an attempt to change behaviour using strong language “Important, Under no circumstances should…” clear identification of the people who should attend to this notice “...fine arts students…” and their unacceptable behaviour “…clean their brushes in these toilets”
EWE! I always use the sink to clean my brushes – easier and less whiffy.