D for Distinguished

I caught Paula’s Thursday Inspiration, about learning.

I was a thicko at school,
The teachers said I was a fool,
When they had writing lessons,
I missed all the sessions,
And now uti asrwa uytiu lejkl.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (25 November 2020)

For today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

Is it more important to you to be able to help yourself, help your family, help your friends, help your society, or help the world?

I think this is another question which has different answers, depending on context.

You’ll often hear it said regarding health that you’ve got to get yourself sorted out before you can hope to be of use to anybody else. For example, I had to get myself well. to the point where I was able to get myself ready, get out of the house, onto the bus etc. etc. to the hospital, before I was able to help any patients at the hospital.

On the other hand, you can imagine scenarios where that might be far from true. Elected politicians, for example. Helping themselves, their family or their friends should be the last thing on their mind (I’ll leave you to ponder that one!), but they are elected to represent society, so you could argue that that should be the priority.

The interesting thing here is that I haven’t yet mentioned the “world” level, and I think that maybe comes in at a personal level, what we consume and who we spend money with. The first challenge there, of course, is to determine exactly what the world’s interests actually are – generally if you’re helping one person, you’re harming someone else

A Day to Remember

Unfortunately, Ireland has witnessed several Bloody Sundays in its history. One of them took place exactly one hundred years ago today, on 21 November 1920.

The Irish War of Independence was in full swing, and the day began with an operation by the IRA (the original Irish Republican Army) against their British occupiers, which involved the assassination of British intelligence officers. Sixteen men were killed, five more shot and wounded.

In a totally separate, later incident, British armoured cars of the Auxiliary Division, plus the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary, disbanded after Irish independence) entered the stadium at Croke Park, Dublin, which was playing host to a Gaelic football match between Dublin and Tipperary. With reprisals on their minds, the British then opened fire on the crowd and the players, killing fourteen civilians and wounding another sixty.

The day was not over. Later that evening, two Irish republicans, Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy, who had helped plan the earlier assassinations, plus a civilian, Connor Clune, were captured, beaten and executed by the British at their base in Dublin Castle.

Militarily, the day is considered by historians as a victory for the Irish. The assassinations would greatly hamper the British (which probably saved many more casualties), while very little damage was done to the IRA.

But thirty-three people…


Had my most unsatisfactory exchange with the WordPress support people the other day.

You know when you follow a new blog?

And you can manage how you find out when they post something new? Emails, notifications, etc.?

Well, every time I follow a new blog, WP gets these values wrong (i.e. not how I like them to be), so I have to go in and manually change stuff to how I like it, on every new blog.

It’s a small thing, but I got fed up of changing it every time. So I asked WP whether there was a setting I could change someplace which would make WP get it right, without me having to go and faff around every single time.

The reply? Here is how you open the Reader…

Er, no… My response? Please take the trouble to read my question. I realised that what I’m talking about is a bit fiddly, so I might have had to explain it some more, but I was at least looking for some indication that the analyst and I were on the same page.

They apologised for “mis” [i.e. not!] reading my question, then started asking me what emails I had received from WP recently. How should I know? I check that account maybe twice a week. They then wanted me to look through them. Bear in mind, I had never even asked about emails, this was all down to her – I was interested in changing a setting on the web site someplace.

Long and short, I got increasingly frustrated that this woman (who identified herself as Rachel) could not grasp what I was asking. To my credit, I think, I remained polite, although there was certainly a filter going on between head and hand. I was, however, curt. In the end I just said “sorry, this chat is unproductive” and closed the window. I would have happily spoken to her supervisor, but I was done speaking to her.

To my surprise I got a subsequent email response – not from this woman but from somebody who may have been her supervisor. They, at least, understood the question, although I think the answer is “tough”. I can live with that – it’s not a showstopper. What I did object to was somebody trying to feed me a line of bs.

So Rachel, I’m afraid, got a terrible review. Presumably, given her lack of ability to listen, she receives lots of other bad reviews. Frankly, WordPress strike me as a bunch of cutthroats, so I’m sure it is only a matter of time before poor old Rachel is asked into the manager’s office…

Fandango’s Provocative Question (18 November 2020)

For today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

Do you think it’s better to have a broad knowledge base or a deep knowledge base?

hahaha, that word better hides a multitude of sins.

If you’re a nuclear scientist, and you want to make a bomb, then it probably helps if you have some quite specific knowledge.

On the other hand, if you’re a nuclear scientist whose home has a leaky tap, then you’d better know how to change a washer otherwise you’re not gonna sleep tonight!

So, my answer? It depends, of course! How long is a piece of string?