There, we’ve said it, the C word! We’ve got a stack of new juicy rude Christmas cards for you.
Christmas is 11 weeks and 5 days away. Yup. And if that doesn’t seem very close, get this. The last date for sending cards economy (surface) mail from the UK to USA, Canada and Hong Kong is 9 days away! And if you wanted to send a card economy class to the far East, well tough, that was a week ago. See what we mean? It’s definitely time to order your Christmas cards!
And anyway, we’ve been working on our selection of rude Christmas cards for months now. We can’t wait any longer to show you them. So, without further ado, (drum roll), here’s the DYP 2016 Christmas specials! Well, some of them anyway. There’s really a very large selection in the shop.
And finally, our piece de la resistance, the gold standard. We really are rather chuffed with these gold cards. They’re in our Luxe range and are all hand foiled. Absolutely gorgeous. And they are limited edition, so get ordering super quick before they run out.
It’s world Vegetarian Day today. The DYP Massive is mainly hardcore carnivore. But our social media manager has been a veggie for decades. Yes decades. Not a morsel of meat has passed her lips. She agreed to let us ask intrusive and idiotic questions. The kind she’s been asked repeatedly for decades.
Q] Do you eat chicken?
A] Erm no, chicken is an animal.
Q] Do you eat fish?
A] Erm no, fish is animal.
Q] So do you just eat kidney beans then?
A] I hate kidney beans.
Q] What the hell DO you eat then?
A] Just broccoli and cauliflower
A] NO. I eat a wide range of vegetables and things made from vegetables. And I eat cheese.
Q] Wait a minute, we’ve heard cheese has animal in it?
A] Yes, animal rennet. Strict vegetarians wouldn’t eat cheese made with animal rennet. But you can get cheese made with vegetable rennet.
Q] So how long have you been on this rabbit-food then? Not long I guess, because you look quite sturdy.
A] It’s not rabbit food. It’s human food. Millions of people are vegetarian…. oh, 30 years.
Q] 30 years! Wow!
A] Go on, ask me if that’s All My Life. Go on. Because I only look 30 don’t I? It’s because of the vegetarian diet you know. Go on…. Oh OK then. I started being a vegetarian in my early 20s.
Q] Yeah, we know you’re old. So why did you start?
A] Old and wise. Well, when I started it was during the Ethiopian famine. You know the one that Bob Geldof made Feed the World about so we could all think Africans are stupid and don’t know when Christmas is? That one. I realised that the way the world economy worked was seriously screwed up. Ethiopia was growing grain to sell to Europe to feed beef cattle, so we could eat burgers. Meanwhile tens of thousands of people were dying of starvation. I didn’t want to be part of that. Kind of simplistic, but I was young. Then after a few years I started to get interested in animal welfare and animal rights. I even flirted with veganism for a while. And only drank veggie wine. But these days, I’m a veggie mostly because I don’t think of meat as food any more. You may as well pass me a plate of soil. It’s just not very appealing.
Q] Wait…veggie wine?
A] Really? I’m discussing international political economy and all you got was … wine?
Q] This is DYP, not The Economist.
Q] Come on then, veggie wine….?
A] Isinglass is used to clear sediment from wine and beer and improve it’s appearance and taste. It’s made from the swim bladders of fish.
Q] Yum. Did you know it’s World Vegetarian Day today?
A] No I didn’t. I don’t really take much notice of stuff like that. I mean, I’m a vegetarian, but I’m not evangelical about it. I just don’t eat meat.
Q] What’s your favourite food?
Q] Is that what you are having today, on World Vegetarian Day?
A] Maybe. I might have pizza and chips, or a paneer curry with chapattis, or mushroom burgers with chips, or pasta with artichokes and goats cheese. Or a chili. And chips.
Today is European Day of Languages. It was founded to celebrate linguistic diversity in Europe. Did you know that there are over 200 European languages? And that’s before you add in all the languages spoken by people who’s families originate from outside Europe.
The EDL was set up jointly by the European Union and the Council of Europe. It’s aim is to promote diversity of language. And to encourage language learning. Their website says “Even if you only know a few words of the language of the country that you visit, this enables you to make new friends and contacts.” Erm, they obviously haven’t been learning the same words as us then !
Language diversity is a great thing to celebrate. But we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t take you into the darker recesses of European languages would we?
Depending on where you are, the culture and religion of a country, words will have different significance. According to the BBC, curses involving mothers (mother-fucker, son of a bitch …) are more common “where Mary is co-star with Jesus” (ie where there are plenty of Catholics), and not so much in others. Apparently, in Finland for instance, mother-based swearing will just confuse. Female genitalia tends to be at the top of the taboo list in most countries. But in the Scandinavian and neighbouring countries, it’s equalled by hell and the devil. Some of Finland’s rudest words are saatana (Satan), perkele (devil – or more accurately, a pre-Christian god of thunder), and helvetti (Hell). None of which carry much weight in English. At least not these days. (Though the Helvetti were also, according to Wikipedia, a Gallic tribe in Switzerland in the 1st century. Language is confusing!)
In Sweden skit (shit) isn’t a very strong word. It’s the sort of thing you can say in polite society. Breaking from the god-sex-poo rules of swearing, Poland and the Netherlands add in death and disease. “Cholera!” can be used as an exclamation in Poland (though it seems to be going out of fashion). And just add “cancer” (kanker) to anything in Dutch and it becomes a rude insult. This must be quite upsetting in hospital oncology departments?
OK, so less of the theory, you say, lets get on with the practice. Well, our knowledge of European languages stops pretty much at the border, so to speak. But we’ve picked up a few useful words on our travels. And sourced a few for you too. On European Day of Languages it is beholden of you to swear in other languages. So go for it or ihre Mutter saugt Schwiene and Du bist ein Arschge fiktes Suppenhunt. Apols for our German grammar, or lack thereof. Like we say, we ain’t no experts. If you speak any of these languages, feel free to tell us if we’ve got it wrong.
Useful Insults and Expletives in European Languages!
Fuck! Hell! And other expletives
Fuck off/piss off/get lost and other useful insults
We all love receiving cards. And we all love to know someone’s thinking of us. So, we’re really happy to be taking part in Thinking of You Week next week.
Thinking of You Week was founded by the Greetings Card Association. Yeah yeah, see we’ve woken up the cynics amongst you now! But get this: loneliness is one of the biggest dangers to our health. It is now recognised as a serious threat.
All on our ownsome
And it’s not just older people who feel lonely. The Office of National Statistics recently found that 60% of 18-34 year old Brits often feel lonely.
Mind says “Being alone is not the same as being lonely”. Loneliness is about social connections. How much we need those connections varies from person to person. But we all need them.
Here comes the science
Neuroscientist Professor Jonathan Haidt believes the brain only functions properly when it’s connecting with other brains. Woo, that’s a bit … Dr Who isn’t it? It makes sense when he explains it though. We’re evolved to be social creatures. That’s how we keep safe – kinda like a shoal of fish. If we’re on the edge, we’re more vulnerable. “Our brains go into self preservation mode” says the Professor. We become more aggressive and anxious.
But don’t rely on numbers. It’s all about closeness. “It’s whether you feel isolated. The brain’s not sitting there counting people.”
So don’t be thinking 500 friends on Facebook is going to stop anyone being lonely. Quality over quantity. Having someone to share your feelings with. Having people that “get” you.
Ironically, its just when you really need those connections that you find they’re not there. People seem to disappear when there’s a crisis. We get anxious around other people’s crises. We don’t know what to say. We worry we’ll have to get too involved. We have a feeling their sadness will rub off on us. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It can be just letting someone know you’re still there.
Thinking of You
So, Thinking of You Week not sounding so cynical now is it? Go on, send a card to a friend. Make sure they know they’re still in your gang.
We’re running a little competition over on our Facebook page. Tell us why your friend should get a card. We’ll chose the best one next week and send them a card on your behalf. And what’s more, it will be one of our delux limited edition gold foiled Thinking of You Cards. A little sparkle for someone who needs it.
It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day, so we’re on the trail of our favourite pirates. Our Lolloping Landlubber of a correspondent remembers the heady days of Watch With Mother. Yes, she’s that old. And she remembers the great Captain Pugwash and his dirty pirates scandal.
Those of us of a “certain age” had no Captain Jack Sparrow, no Johnny Depp. We got our fix of pirates from the great Captain Pugwash. My sister fancied Tom the Cabin Boy, and why not, he was the most intelligent member of the crew. On the other hand, always one for the bad boys, I was very fond of Cut-throat Jake. We had the books. And then came the TV series. All good clean fun.
Well I’ll be scuppered
Then along came the dirty version. Some time during the 1980s it became common knowledge that the characters had rather suggestive names. People kept telling me that the cabin boy was called Roger (the Cabin Boy). They were convinced – and convincing – that there were other double entendres too. Mater Bates and Seaman Staines. But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cabin boy was Tom. On account of our kid fancying him. Where had all this come from?
Kipper me capstans
In turns out that the rumours stemmed from joke articles in a student rag in the 1970s. They’d made them up. Somehow the articles turned into urban myth. And the urban myth turned into “truth”. Broadsheet and tabloid newspapers printed the story. They told of how the BBC had taken Captain Pugwash off the air because of the risqué names. The lovable pirates had been smeared!
No good will come of this, mark my words
Author of Pugwash, John Ryan won libel damages from the newspapers. His daughter has since revealed that he was traumatised by the myths. He had written innocent children’s books, and they’d been turned smutty. (1)
The Guardian printed a retraction:
“… we stated that the Captain Pugwash cartoon series featured characters called Seaman Staines and Master Bates, and for that reason the series had never been repeated by the BBC. We accept that it is untrue that there wever were any such characters. Further more the series continues to be shown on television … We apologize to Mr Ryan …. We have agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs.” (2)
If only they’d bothered to ask their kids, it would have saved them a shed load of cash. And saved Mr Ryan years of heartache.
If you’re feeling a bit disappointed by this, you’ll be glad to know there was a Pirate Willy. And a Master Mate, which in a certain light could be quite dirty. But you can still watch it with impunity.
I’ve learnt a new word today, and the word is neologism. And Roald Dahl Day is a fine day to learn it. Neologism is what Dahl did best. Or at least one of the many things he did best. Neologism is a newly invented word. And Dahl was always newly inventing words.
The BFG is full of neologisms. Infact the BFG himself has an entire language of them. And it’s called – yet another neologism – Gobblefunk. Getting words mixed up is the BFG’s speciality. Dahl loved playing with words. Adding the start of one word to the ending of another. Sogmire is a soggy quagmire. Or spoonerisms: Dahls Chickens, is a spoonerism of Charles Dickens.
Children love the slightly naughty word play. It’s like a secret language that goes outside the rules of English. It’s a bit silly and a bit disruptive, and would the grownups entirely approve? The grownups on the other hand, might be chuckling into their fizzwiggler too. If you read it as an adult, the words also sound ever so slightly suggestive. I’m sure this wasn’t lost on Dahl.
So in honour of Roald Dahl day, we’ve invented our own neologisms. We present our DYP InsultOMatic. Create your own signature insult be using the initial letters of your first name and last name to pick a word from each column. We challenge you, on this most auspicious day, to get your new insult into conversation. Let us know how you get on!
As purveyors of filth and obscenity we know we’re lucky. We live in a century, and a part of the world, where we can get away with it.
Had we lived in different times, we’d have felt the full force of the law. A few hundred years ago, we may have been punished with the scold’s bridle. Or been ducked in the pond. Or humiliated in the stocks. Or burnt as witches.
People are still prosecuted for obscenity in the UK. It’s been argued that in a world of online pornography and changing social mores that the 1959 Obscene Publications Act is something of an anachronism. But the Act was always problematic. It hinges on very subjective responses.
In 1966, Leeds-based artist Stass Paraskos was fined for lewd and obscene paintings. But even back then, the courts had to use a different law to prosecute him. The Vagrancy Act of the 19th Century included clauses about “wilfully exposing to view in any street or public place, any obscene print, picture or other indecent exhibition”. It was that under which he was prosecuted.
The court case was widely criticised. Many suggested that had the exhibition been in London rather than in provincial Leeds, no one would have batted an eyelid. Eminent art critics tried to explain to the court that displaying a painting of a sexual act in public was not the same as actually having sex in public. Prominent MPs spoke out on his behalf, and criticising the prosecution. But it all fell on deaf ears, and Paraskos was fined £5.
The actual painting is barely lewd at all. There’s a bit of full frontal, but no more that your average Renaissance painting. And yes there’s a bit more to it than that. But you have to be looking for it. Which says something about the person who originally alerted the police. And the irony is that he produced far more naughty work after his prosecution!
It’s Read A Book Day, so find a comfy corner and open the pages.
As Awareness Days go, Read a Book Day is a bit hazy. No one seems to know what it’s origins are. And whether it’s “official” in any way shape or form, we don’t know. But when have we needed official to pick up a book?
It’s so easy these days to switch on the telly, or download a film, or watch something on Youtube. We love all that – even the inane crud – but there’s nothing like a good book.
Books Make You Better
Books switch on the imagination. You can get lost in them in. You can be inspired by them. Learn from them. Change your perspective on the world.
“A Book Is Unique. Sure, every person who picks up a copy of the same book is going to read the same plot, but thanks to the powers of our respective imaginations, while I might picture purple trees, you might picture gray. While I might picture Michael Keaton as the leading man, you might picture Gerard Butler. When you read, you engage with your inner life in a way you can’t with television.” Rebecca Jane Stockes at Barnes and Noble
Books works on your brain in a different way to films or TV dramas. They develop your imagination. And also your Theory of Mind. That’s the ability to attribute mental states, beliefs, emotions, desires, knowledge, to others people. In films, that’s all done for you. In books you do that for all the characters. Books make you a better person. Can’t say fairer than that. Read a book today!
Ten Reasons to Turn of the Screen and Read a Book
A day spent reading is never a wasted day
You can get lost in a different world
It will switch on your imagination.
You can learn something new
It’s free (some libraries even have ebooks to download so you don’t even have to leave your sofa!)
All you need is a comfy chair and enough light to see by.
There are thousands and thousands of titles and subjects and stories.
A re-read of a book is a hundred times better than a repeat view of a TV show.
You can do it in bed, on the bus, under a tree, at the kitchen table, on the beach, at your desk, and you can’t say that about everything.
It’s back to school next week. Dreading it or can’t bloomin wait? For parents new to this game, there’s stuff you should know. And after 15 years of being a school parent, our social media manager has some tips. There’s some things that are worth worrying about, but these aren’t them:
1.There might be a bit of weeping and wailing at the school gates. But it will mostly be for show. And mostly it will be you doing the weeping and wailing.
2. School uniform ironing. There’s a reason school uniforms are made of synthetic fibres. Just don’t!
“I spent years ironing bloody polo shirts. Years of my life when I could have been, I don’t know, sitting down? Why?”
3.Whether they’re 5 or 15, they probably don’t want to tell you about their day. When they say they had pasta for lunch every day, they probably didn’t. They just can’t be arsed telling you what they did have. When they say they did nothing all day, they definitely didn’t. They just don’t want the hassle of relating it all. If you really must know, find indirect ways of asking.
“If you’d gone by what he told me, they had cheese sandwiches for lunch every day for 3 years. But if you asked him what his favourite school lunch was, it turned out there was loads of variety.”
“Ask her what her day is like and she’ll shrug and walk off. Ask her what her least favourite lesson is, and she’ll wax lyrical.”
4. That list the school issues you with? Things your child absolutely has to have? They absolutely don’t need all of it. And they definitely don’t need all of it on the first day. Unless you have your child enrolled at a very strict school, they don’t need their uniforms bought through the school. They don’t need logo’d socks. No-one needs logoed socks. The PE teacher will just be glad they turned up in shorts and tshirt.
“My son got through the last two years of high school with a biro in one pocket and a calculator in the other, and some semblance of shorts and tshirt for PE.”
5.Five year olds lose things. You send them out in the world, suddenly having to take responsibility for their stuff. And they can’t do it. Most of them still can’t do it at 18. Some can’t do it at 30! It’s a pain. Especially when it’s a blazer or trainers or similarly expensive gear. But it’s honestly not just your kid. Roll with it.
So you spent the Bank Holiday weekend drinking, chucking down as much as you could. And now you’re back at work and in need of a hangover cure. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And we’ve got some hangover cures for you!
The NHS says this:
“Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning it removes fluids from the body), so drinking too much can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is what causes many of the symptoms of a hangover.”
Ok, so we knew that, but what we need is a cure.
The NHS again: “the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink too much.” Umm, yeah, bit late for that now. But they recommend rehydrating (preferably before going to sleep) with plenty of water. Then, sugary or isotonic drinks, and paracetamol. And an antacid if your stomach is upset.
All good sound medical advice, which we’d be wise to follow. They also suggest a thin vegetable soup to replace vitamins and minerals. I don’t know about you, but seriously, can you face vegetable soup?
We canvassed some friends and neighbours for their own brand of hangover cures. Go on, give em a try, we dare you!
The Very Best in Hangover Cures !
Pickled onion Monster Munch and diet Coke.
Cold flat Coke
Onions: onion rings, friend onions, raw onions, spring onions, onion ring crisps
Anything with cheese in it
Fried egg sandwich with ketchup and 2 cans of Coke
Barr’s Irn Bru (“made with girders”) and Scotch Pie
Hash browns and fruit salad (not on the same plate)
Pint of milk and pack of salt n vinegar Ringos
27 hours sleep
Hair of the Dog/ Getting Back On It
We really DON’T recommend No 12. As much as we like our tipple, that’s a sure-fire pathway to liver disease. And a total myth – it absolutely doesn’t work, just delays the inevitable. But have you tried any of the others? What’s your go-to hangover cure?