February 21, 2014

F5 #3: Can't we all just get along?

I come to this week's F5 installment with six words on my mind: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." All of us are both capable and guilty of doing very irritating things, and I'm sure that if someone else were writing up this blog post, I'd see myself as, in part, the object of their ire. (Let's get pet peeve #1 out of the way: procrastinators. Though it's back-dated on the blog, I'm writing my obligatory February Friday post on Saturday afternoon.)

We have etiquette for a reason. It helps us get along with each other in company. Some past societies have taken the rules of etiquette to a ridiculous extreme, but the point was the same: the art of courtesy and politeness makes our social interactions go a lot more smoothly.

February 14, 2014

F5 #2: Are you gonna eat that? ('Cause I'm not.)

Today is, of course, Valentine's day. Legends about who exactly St. Valentine (or Valentinus) was, are many and conflicting. Some say that he was a priest who refused to stop marrying Christians. Others say he was martyred for attempting to convert the Roman emperor Claudius. I choose to believe that, given the choice between dying for his faith at the hands of the Romans, and facing his girlfriend after he failed to get dinner reservations, he chose the easy way out.

So, in honour of the hardest day of the year to eat out, I present my second pet hate of 2014: the three foods on my "do not serve" list. Note that this isn't quite an absolute list: while under no circumstances would I ever voluntarily serve these abominations to myself, I'm too polite to refuse them if I'm served them as a guest. Usually. And I probably won't look happy.

February 13, 2014

There was a time when men were kind

This week, I met one of my personal milestones: after two and a half years, I finally completed the Victor Hugo novel of 1862, Les Misérables.

In a certain sense, it was actually the second time I'd read the novel. I spent a week in hospital in 1996 with a knee injury, and found an abridged edition in the library. At around 4-500 pages, it was certainly the right length for my stay (and literally the only book in the entire library that I was remotely interested in). And I certainly fell in love with the story.

February 07, 2014

F5 the Sixth: #1: English as she is spoke

Here we go again. Four Fridays of February means four further F5s: Four February Fridays of Fabulous Frivolity.

And, one major headache. This is the sixth time that I have done this blog tradition, in which I extol the virtues of my loves, likes, favourites, guilty pleasures, and bad habits. Over the years I've covered such eclectic topics as shaving habits, preferred aftershaves, fountain pens, Godzilla, Doctor Who, wine, spicy foods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, William Shakespeare, Buffalo wings, 80s pop music, James Bond, coffee, and comic books. That's a somewhat fair snapshot of the simple pleasures I enjoy, so it's actually getting harder to come up with new ideas, unless you want to read me extolling the virtues of, say, tasty ice water, or why spiral-bound books are better than Cerlox.

So I thought that this year I'd do something different this year, and talk about my favourite pet hates. I don't mean the things that I genuinely and deeply loathe, like abortion or ScientologyTM. Rather, I mean pet peeves, or severe annoyances: the things that bug me to no end.

Being a writer by profession, I thought I'd start off with bad writing.

February 05, 2014

Perry Noble on abortion: Swing and a miss

Pastor Perry Noble of the South Carolina megachurch NewSpring is no stranger to intemperate and ill-advised remarks. This Monday, he did it again, with a blog post criticizing a planned boycott of Girl Scout cookies by some pro-life Christians, because of a supposed connection between the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Planned Parenthood (PP), the largest provider of abortions in the U.S.

First,Noble prefaces his remarks by affirming that he is indeed "unapologetically pro-life" and that denying that human life begins with conception is "nothing more than intellectual dishonesty." I commend him for doing so, because if that affirmation were not there, I would have no idea he was pro-life from his unfortunately muddy thinking