Fandango’s Provocative Question (23 September 2020)

I could set my clock by Fandango’s Provocative Question (actually, I probably could, although I never tried). But Wednesay’s mean just one thing. Today, Fandango asks:

To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken? Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?

The latter.

We like to kid ourselves that we are in control, but we’re only in control if the “system” is small enough. For example, there is a pizza in my freezer (spinach and ricotta, I’m looking forward to it!) which I’ll probably eat tonight. Me, on my own, I’m in control.

But broader that out. As soon as the “system” gets bigger, forget it. Multiple people? Forget it. When do we all agree on what flavour of pizza to eat? Or even, whether to eat pizza at all? Forget it.

Okay, that was a flippant example. But Trump possibly thinks he is in control of the streets, say, except that all those rioters we’ve seen in the last few months would disagree. The human race wants to feel it is in control of Mother Nature, say, but all those fires disagree. As soon as you get larger systems, forget it.

I think we have a very limited sphere of control. Anybody who ever had health problems, they’ll understand exactly how “in control” we are! Anyone who ever got pregnant, the baby’s gonna drop after nine months, whether you like it or not – that’s how much control you have.

With that particular example of reproduction in mind, this is one area where science has given us a tiny bit of control. The obvious examples are contraception and abortion, but also more widely, medicine in general. Something like blood pressure tablets will postpone that heart attack just that little bit longer (we hope).

But even then, our level of control is quite minimal, I think. We’re still going to drop dead of something, eventually.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (23 September 2020)

The prompt word today was extraneous,
I regret, could find nothing spontaneous,
I hope you’ll be lenient,
Since my rhyme is convenient,
Although strictly, it’s quite miscellaneous!

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), extraneous.

Just Say No

The Detectives was a comedy show which aired in the UK betweem 1993-7. I loved it.

Just a Minute

As soon as I heard the word today, I thought of “without hesitation, repetition, deviation” – the three cornerstones of an institutional UK comedy radio quiz called “Just a Minute”.

The plan was that one of the celebrity contestants had to speak for a minute on a particular subject (given to them by the host). It was very near impossible to speak for a whole minute (my mother could have done it 😉), although the attempts made for a hilarious show.

The BBC now has several radio stations, one of which is a talk station called Radio Four. This is the original format, reminiscent of a hundred years ago, and it is probably the most highbrow station in the UK today, but each weekday evening, from 6:30PM – 7PM, they have a Comedy Half Hour. Just a Minute fitted into this slot, once a week. I don’t know whether it still does – its longtime presenter, a guy called Nicholas Parsons (a legend in the UK) died earlier this year, aged 96.

There are many clips of this show on YouTube, but most of them are full, half-hour shows. But I found this short clip (under a minute), just to give a taster. We’ve all heard of Graham Norton, right?

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), deviate.


This song (another unplugged version, but by a different artist, I think) is featuring on a UK commercial at the moment. (I’m not sure how good the commercial is, when I can remember the song but not the product – I’m sure somebody will comment what it’s all about).

I’d settled on my musical tastes by the mid-Eighties, but there was a sweet spot in the mid-Nineties, when new music became worth discovering again. Mostly, the Cool Britannia stuff, but this song (released in 1994, by The Wannadies) crept in. This version, however, was released by a bamd called The Macarons Project just last year. No, I never heard of them either but this is a decent listen.

It’s funny, I hear a lot of “unplugged” stuff on tv now – I’m sure the advertisers have worked out that this formula is a winner.