Journal Entries

How Not to Talk to People on Trains, My Opinion Only

The following is just my opinion. You might not like it. Tough. It's my journal and my opinion.

This arrived on Twitter and annoyed me:

'Lucy Worsley
Man on train was annoyingly peering over at my laptop screen. ‘Keep going!’ he said, ‘just think, you might get it published one day.’ I gave him the Death Stare of a woman who has published ten books.'

I checked the replies. Oh, they loved it. Men who objected that this wasn't necessarily 'mansplaining' got shot down in a hurry. I had a different take.

I checked to see if memory served and Lucy Worsley was the annoying presenter who made me turn off some 'documentary' about Russia on Netflix. She was. The woman kept standing between the audience and whatever it was supposed to be looking at, turning the show into a sort of monstrous hour-long selfie. I concluded that it was yet another one of those 'educational' British programmes that contributes to Volksverdummung. It think the only reason anybody watches them is that the information is being mouthed by someone they think is posh. I think you're supposed to feel privileged when they talk to you. Like that nitwit who keeps telling you what the artist *should* have done. Or Tony Robinson spreading misinformation about just about anything.

This sort of thing falls flat Abroad. We don't know these icons, and after about ten minutes, we're afraid we might run into them somewhere.

I'd probably rather talk to the man who was interested in the laptop. But then, that's what they do in Pittsburgh. Here's the conversation in Pittsburgh:

'Keep going! Just think, you might get it published one day.'

Bright smile. 'Thanks. I've already got a publisher for this one. It's my eleventh book. I do it for a living.'

'Wow! I'm talking to a published author! What do you write about?'


'Wow. I was awful at history in school. I'll bet you make it more interesting. Anything I might have read?'

'Probably not. But I present TV shows, too.'

'Really? I'll have to look them up. You know, I always wanted to write, but I never had the nerve to try. I don't have anything interesting to say.'

'I'll bet that's not true. What do you do for a living?'

'I'm a guard at Allegheny County Jail.'

'Omg. That's a dozen crime novels right there, if you change the names and a few details. Tell me more...'

Forty-five minutes go by in a flash. You can get back to the laptop later. Let's face it: you weren't really trying to work. You were trying to claim more space on the train, like those pretentious Philadelphia commuters on the Main Line who hog the end sections of the R5, the ones with four seats, by spreading out their laptops and briefcases. Stop being a snob and talk to hoi polloi.

Your next presentation might even be worth watching.

Not like this. Do you have an idea what this looks like? 'Oh, here is a glittering palace. I'm supposed to be talking about Catherine the Great, but I'm wearing such a fetching red frock...'

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [16]

Latest reply: May 29, 2019

TJ, Editorial Assistant Kitty, Tries Magic to Fix h2g2

TJ, the Editorial Assistant Kitty now that Molly has other fish to fry, decided to camp out behind the computer screen this morning, in spite of my protests that he's getting a bit large for this kind of thing.

He seemed to be trying to fix Pliny with ancient meditation techniques.

See what you think.

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [10]

Latest reply: May 24, 2019

Bernie Sanders Can't Talk to Kids, but Boy, Can He Talk

First: a short subject. What's more fun than watching gifted young people play piano? Watching gifted young people play piano with cats. This cat is lovin' it.

The cat's name is Haburu. He isn't deaf. He is not a fan of the glissando.

Now, on to politics.

We give you Bernard Sanders (b.1941), the avuncular firebrand socialist US senator. Bernie appears to be determined to emulate his hero Eugene V Debs (about Debs here: A87835116 ) by running for president as many times as possible. Everybody loves Bernie, even if they wouldn't vote for him. He's as popular as the current occupant of the White House isn't.

Bernie is adorable. You cannot get too much of Bernie, unless you're a five-year-old. And thereby hangs a tale, as they say.

Recently, a Vermont cable-access station unearthed hours and hours of 'Bernie Speaks', a low-budget public affairs programme produced by Burlington, Vermont's then-mayor Bernie Sanders in 1981. His intro music was 'We Shall Overcome'. The title cards were hand-lettered in magic marker.

Bernie had had practice at this: before entering politics, he used to produce educational filmstrips for schools on topics such as...wait for it...Eugene V Debs. Yes, we've got that one. Prepare to yawn, even if you like Eugene V Debs (which I do). You will also laugh. Try the first few minutes, though the whole 29 will make you agree with the high schooler who probably thought, 'That's a half-hour of my life I won't get back.'

Okay, back to Bernie's cable show, which wasn't like 'Wayne's World' at all. It was more surreal than that. For instance, who else would stage a fundraiser at a poetry slam? Here's Bernie reading Dylan Thomas' 'Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night'. (No, Bernie, we don't believe you ever will.) I've cued it up for you. [Brits? You know how you feel about John Bercow saying things in parliament? We feel that way about Bernie's voice. It's mesmering.]

Media commentators and political pundits are poring over the hours of Bernie material. They are getting what they deserve. At 46, Bernie Sanders was exactly what he is at 77: earnest, definite, and determined to champion fairness, universal health care and free education for all. More power to him.

But as Trevor Noah points out, Bernie does not know how to talk to five-year-olds. There's a clip of Bernie addressing a kindergarten class on the importance of education. Now, you and I know how to do this.

'Kids, why do we go to school?' 'To learn.' 'That's right!' [Ignoring Tommy in the back, who yelled, 'To hit Jimmy with the dodge ball at recess!'] Task accomplished.

Bernie: 'Do you kids feel that it is important to go to school, get an education, and learn to read?' [Wrong approach.]

Tommy: 'Nah. I don't want to read.' [Told you.]

Bernie: 'I think you're dumb.'

Hilarity ensues, especially when he starts quizzing them on tobacco and cocaine use. One of the kids says, 'I don't smoke. I'm only five.' It's a good thing five-year-olds can't vote.

If you want more of this free entertainment, go on Youtube and type in 'Bernie Sanders cable show'.

UK, you are not free from the Sanders family: Bernie's older brother and nephew are both in the Green Party over there. Here's a Larry Sanders UK clip.

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [5]

Latest reply: May 9, 2019

Sunday Music

Sunday's the day for spiritual music, right? Here's some.

I was just telling FWR how much I'm loving the discovery of Rhiannon Giddens' magical voice. Then I stumbled across this song. It's...well, just hear it.

'We Could Fly' by Rhiannon Giddens

Less lyrical. I played this for the postlude over at the church to celebrate the fact that I no longer fall off the (now lowered) organ bench. There are definitely no more rodents in the organ pipes.

'Rondino on G' by Carson Cooman

And finally, the piece de resistance. An extremely spiritual dance by hearing-impaired dancers.

'Thousand-Hand Boddhisatva'

I hope you feel uplifted now.

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [1]

Latest reply: Apr 7, 2019

h2g2 Post New Issue 08.04.19 - Get It Here!

smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin The h2g2 Post is available for viewing at - Technical difficulties continue to be worked upon. In the meantime, please enjoy this content. smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin Find out what a fishoid is when it's a home, and when it was at home.
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin This week's Literary Corner video is dedicated to Tavaron and Superfrenchie, who are great at theological discussions.
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin The photography has to been seen to be believed.
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin Awix's cinema review will knock your socks off. A flying elephant is involved.
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin PTO and FWR have written short stories: Paulh and the Prof have perpetrated poetry. Share and enjoy.
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin Quizzes, cartoons, comics, videos, and more!
smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin They keep telling me prayer doesn't work for repairing websites. The Post is still requesting votive candles be lit. Hopefully, you'll soon see your beloved dolphins again! smiley - dolphinsmiley - dolphin

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [5]

Latest reply: Apr 7, 2019

Back to Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China's Personal Space Home

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Researcher U1590784

Post Editor
Post Reporter
Guide Editor
Former Underguide Volunteer
Core Team
200 Edited Entries

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more