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CABINET OF CURIOSITIES (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I was consulting Wiki, as I do a dozen times a day, when a pop up appeared appealing for funds. No doubt this has happened before but for some reason this time it got through. I understood their predicament well enough -- I too operate a website that gives utility to people without them ever having to pay for it. Why should I be equally niggardly? What would be appropriate? Twenty pounds a month, I thought.

One other thing I share with Wiki is an alarming inability to relate to a wider public and so it proved. As soon as I pressed the Contribute Now button I was led into one of the worst payment mazes I have come across in a recent lifetime of payment mazes. In the end -- and it was a very long end -- I still didn't know whether I was paying one monthly donation, two monthly donations or no monthly donations. Wiki wasn't telling. So I enquired and got this

Hi Mick,
Thank you for your email and your support for the Wikimedia Foundation and free knowledge. I was able to locate your donation and process it, and I am happy to confirm your new recurring monthly donation of GBP 20.00 via Mastercard. Ordinarily after a successful donation, Katherine Maher sends a 'thank you' email including the donation details, which also serves as a tax receipt. You should receive this receipt shortly, once your donation fully processes.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or concerns, and thank you very much for your support.
Sincerely,
Michael Beattie
Donor Services Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

And a few days later Katherine Maher did indeed get in touch and lowered my spirits further...
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Mick Harper
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Hi Michael!

Why do people use exclamation marks so easily? Here, I take it, Katherine wants to establish a note of jocular informality. Maybe you do, honey, but ever thought I might not?

I love that it’s my job to thank you for your £ 20.00 monthly contribution to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Why do people lie so easily? I’m sure you love your job, Kath, and I’m sure you love helping Wiki to continue in rude health, but this is a form letter so you’re not loving thanking me for my contribution, are you?

The essential story of Wikipedia is the story of an individual, like you, giving a little bit of themselves to keep the doors of discovery open. Your monthly recurring contribution shows me that the spirit of our vision is alive and well.

I very nearly cancelled in the face of this tide of unctuous eye wash. The rest was in the same jolly hockeysticks style so I won’t bore you with it. Still and all, here's hoping it's like The New York Times theatre critic and The Producers -- my twenny sovs a month should get me slightly better mentions in Wiki. I'm prepared to go higher if it means my own Wiki page.
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Mick Harper
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So this Jewish bloke I know has his dad die on him and he has to take the body back to Israel. "Five thou down the swannee just for a plane ride. He never cared before, he couldn't get out fast enough." Anyway coffin-and-man are met at Ben Gurion by the whole extended family. "Where are we sitting shiva?" he asks. "Not my place." "No, I can't do it." "My house is out of the question." "I wish I could but, no." And so on round the circle of grieving relatives. "What's the problem?" he asks. "It's your dad dying. It brings bad luck."
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Mick Harper
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Bafta is to introduce another category to its awards. Its 2020 ceremony will give a gong to casting in both film and television. Bafta chair, Pippa Harris, said, "Casting is highly skilled work, essential to the screen industries...

Amen to that. Any particular aspect of this incredibly multifaceted and technically demanding profession we should be looking out for, Pippa?

... and vital in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on screen."

Roger, Pippa.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The home office is taking knife crime seriously by putting out messages about the dangers of carrying knives on boxes of takeaway chicken.

This is going to be as popular with liberals as stop and search.

Hmm..... Racist trope.....black folks love fried chicken.
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Mick Harper
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You're missing the correct trope (as have all other chortling liberal commentators). Knife crime is committed predominantly by black youth street people. Black youth street people predominantly eat takeaway chicken. You can argue whether they'll heed the message but you can't argue with the fidelity of the targeting.

It is typical of chortling liberals to select the wrong stereotype even though, as usual, it is a true stereotype -- blacks really do eat watermelons.
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Mick Harper
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When German tourists began to show up in Majorca in the 1950's they were surprised to find the locals speaking Flemish. Yes! The SS Flandrien Division had slipped away in 1945 to seek a warmer welcome than they could expect at home.
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Mick Harper
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So it's that time of year when your mouse mats need replacing. Cheapest at Argos is seven ninety-nine plus p & p. And it's got Peppa Pig and a personalised message on it. What's going on? Is rubberised felt on a sanctions list or something? I'm forced to go to the Afghani shop I swore I'd never go into again after they refused to replace a faulty bin. "No, Sir, we do not sell the mouse mats. But I have a calculator which is attached to a mouse mat. With a very nice pad for your wrist." A pound the lot. Go on then. I'll take a risk with the returns policy.
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Mick Harper
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Another savage blow to the system. Asked for verification via my mobile I couldn't understand why nothing was happening. Eventually I discovered they've taken away my number because I hadn't used the phone for three months. And they won't give it back! "It goes into a pool and in ten years or so, that number will be given to someone else."
"Why can't it be given to me then if nobody else is using it?"
"Ooh, no, sorry. We couldn't possibly."
"And the money that was on it?"
"Gone too, I'm afraid."
"You didn't think to tell me about this three-month rule?"
"Yes, sorry, it is in the small print but between you and me, if I didn't work here, I wouldn't have known either. I do sympathise." And she really did.

As maybe you can tell, my mobile is not a big factor in my life. I still panic when I do get a call because I can never remember what button to press, and it always turns out to be the wrong one. But it's also a nuisance since everyone's got it and it's my 'emergency contact' for such a variety of organisations that I can't possibly remember which ones. Oh well, I'm sure there's a good reason for it all. Chin up, Mick, you've come through worse.
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Mick Harper
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The first ever groovy graphic in the history of the world. I don't think 'world record' denotes forgery in this instance.



Courtesy of Dominic Cummings blog https://dominiccummings.com/ which I am ploughing through with some difficulty on your behalves. He doesn't believe in our dictum "Presentation is the hard part".
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Mick Harper
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I cannot in all conscience recommend Tesco's Toffee Cream Meringues. Yes, it says it all on the box but you just try getting them out of the box. Even the most hesitant engagement renders everything a morass, to use an all too accurate near-homonym. One must needs eat them with a spoon straight from the plastic tray. Ill-suited obviously to any kind of social occasion. Unless, I suppose, you scooped them all out into some kind of tureen and made it a centre-piece. But then you'd have to give it a French name and claim to have got it out of Elizabeth David. Not only pricey but there's the danger of being unmasked. On balance, no.
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Mick Harper
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Rustlers All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin
Microwave on full power for 65 seconds

I don't want to be funny or anything but how do you microwave something for sixty-five seconds?
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Mick Harper
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M & S have been sending out wardrobes that smell the house out. This has led disgruntled purchasers to demand their replacement which M & S, as the law provides, always agrees to do. “It may take several weeks, however.” “Well, I’ll have to leave it out in the garden then." “I’m sorry, madam, in that case we will not be able to replace it due to weather damage not being included in furniture warranties.” “What use is an outdoor wardrobe to me?” “Quite. I can offer you Thursday, the week after next.” M & S’s explanation for this extraordinary state of affairs is, and I quote

On rare occasions furniture can retain an odour for a short period following the manufacturing process, but we’d like to assure customers it is safe and will go if left in a well-ventilated room.

It’s good to hear that full hazmat won’t be needed but what about the stinky-up house? How long can that be put up with? Attitudes vary but conducting a straw poll I found three days was pretty much tops and no doubt M & S’s more scientific surveys -- since they have known about the problem for some time they must have conducted them -- point to the same kind of time-frame.

Now best case scenario, let's assume M & S wardrobes are made in a just-in-time facility near Tipton, Staffs (somewhere central anyway) and put in the delivery van as soon as an order is received. Since it is well known that the last coat of varnish takes three days to dry, the solution is obvious. Open the windows at Tipton. That'll be a fifty pound voucher for yours truly, Mrs Marks, if you can see your way.
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N R Scott


In: Middlesbrough
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Chinese style Fomenko-ism. Hard to tell if they've come to these conclusions themselves, or if they've just read Fomenko and given it a Chinese spin.

English is actually Chinese, scholars claim
World Civilization Research Association academics also believe all European history before 15th century is fake
https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3769893
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Mick Harper
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Try to find out how official it is.
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