Monthly Archives: June 2020

10 Shakespearean Insults from

I’m sick of all the swearing in movies, books, and even television these days. Why not get the point across in a less offensive way? Here’s a great article I found on You really should click the link and read it there because they probably depend on ad revenue. I don’t. But if you’re too lazy, here it is:

10 Shakespearean Insults to Use Instead of Modern Swear Words

1. “Villain, I have done thy mother” -Titus Andronicus

Yes, you heard that right. We tend to think that ‘mum’ jokes are a modern phenomenon. It turn’s out we are all just copying the bard. Somehow, hearing it in such an oldy-worldy phrase makes it both more insulting and more cultured. Who knew?

2. “I do desire that we may be better strangers.” -As You Like It

Ouch, that is one sick burn. You can just imagine the confusion on your enemies face when you let that one fly. They will be mortally offended, but they can hardly complain to HR.

3. “You have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.” -Much Ado About Nothing

What a descriptive insult. We all know people like that, of course, they go around with a face like thunder and give you a look that could freeze hell over, but I’ve never heard it put quite so poetically. I half wish I come across someone in a foul mood today just so I can use it!

4. “Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon” -Timon of Athens

Wow, imagine saying someone was too dirty to spit on. That’s one cutting insult and not a single swear word required. Shakespeare, you were one sassy dude!

5. “The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril” -The Merry Wives of Windsor

So there’s a person at work that seems not to know what a shower is and you have to sit next to them at a meeting. You’ve hinted before, but they just don’t get it.

Well, Shakespeare’s got your back. Try this phrase on them and see if you can finally encourage them to take a bath.

6. “Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows” -Troilus and Cressida

Ever wanted to call someone drunk and stupid with one neat phrase? Well, I doubt you could put it more eloquently than this. A handy one to remember on Saturday night’s out.

7. “I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands” -Timon of Athens

Another one for Saturday night at the bar. If you ever need to get out of a physical fight, Shakespeare has given you the perfect excuse.

Wit over brute force often wins the day – but I don’t guarantee it so erm.. watch you back after you’ve said this one.

8. “I am sick when I do look on thee” -A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Wow, that is one hefty Shakespearean insult. Yet once again it sounds so much more cultured than a modern phrase.

You can leave the reason for your bout of nausea to your enemies’ imagination, which I think makes it even more effective. They’ll be dwelling on that for the rest of the day.

9. “Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee” -All’s Well That Ends Well

So, not only do you think this person deserves a slap, you also think they deserve a slap from everyone they meet.

Yep, we all know someone we feel like that about, certain politicians and celebrities spring to mind. It’s harsh but true.

10. “More of your conversation would infect my brain.” -The Comedy of Errors

Well, this is one excellent way to get out of a pointless argument with someone you disagree with on just about every subject.

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Enduring LoveEnduring Love by Ian McEwan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book begins with two cracking good chapters. There’s a thrilling account of a horrific fatal accident involving a runaway balloon carrying a child. The pacing is good and writing elegant. You can put yourself in the position of the narrator (who is another in the trend of unreliable narrators). After that the story line takes a totally bizarre turn and devolves into pretentious drivel for the rest of the book. There is no ending to speak of; it just stops. I guess the average of 1 part 5-star and 4 parts 1-star is around 2 stars, so I’ll settle on that.

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Our Ignorant Newsies Volume 16

Since this blog is about words and their usage … and misuse, here is yet another oddly appropriate typo seen on a local news crawler this morning.

North Korea Destorys Empty Liaison Office With South

In fact, they removed all the “storys”. Note: the website actually had it spelled right. I had to edit the headline for this graphic, but I swear the TV crawler had it exactly as shown.

Coronavirus vaccine efforts

There are over 125 efforts underway to develop a vaccine for the Covid coronoavirus. Here’s a chart summarizing the status of some of the most promising, including all five of the ones designated by the White House for the Warp Speed project. The data is from the New York Times but the chart is my own.




Legend (Testing phase)

RNA based Genetic Vaccines



III trials

Fuson BioNTech


Phase II

College Morningside

Phase I



based Genetic Vaccine


Viral Vector (use other viruses to insert coronavirus proteins
into cells to trigger immunce response)




& Johnson Beth Israel


Mass. Eye & Ear



Vaccines use covid virus fragments or proteins



Texas Children’s Hospital

Univ. of

Univ. of
Queensland CSL GSK



Uses whole deactivated coronoavirus



Inst. Of
Medical Biol.

existing TB vaccine

Children’s Res. Inst.


Songbird by Peter Grainger

Songbird (Kings Lake #1)Songbird by Peter Grainger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A woman is found murdered along a trail on the coast in England. Det. Sergeant Chris Waters is the lead character investigating, although the storyline is populated with dozens more. This is promoted as a police procedural, and it is that – too much of that in my view. It starts slow and doesn’t unbog itself much after that. There is very little detecting going on and a whole lot of process and office politics. Perhaps as a Yank I expect something different, something more like Bosch. The first half of the book dawdled with issues like who stood where during the crime scene search, who reports to whom, which detective should do an interview – the more experienced one or the woman with the softer touch, and so on.

I found the obsession with hierarchy to be annoying and mystifying. Do the Brits really have five distinct ranks investigating every murder: Detective Constable, Detective Sergeant, Detective Inspector, Detective Chief Inspector, and Detective Chief Superintendent? And each one reports directly to the one rank above? To top that off, there are two different units competing for the same case, so double that. In the U.S. bigger local departments, it’s one detective, probably assigned with a partner, and a lieutenant who runs a desk but doesn’t do interviews, searches, etc. In the FBI where I served every case agent is on his or her own except when help is needed and a supervisor will assign others for surveillance, tech work, etc. if the case agent can’t rustle up volunteers.

The investigation gets off on a wrong track halfway through, but I thought it was obvious how and why that was wrong. The book mostly spent time fleshing out the relationships between the different detectives and setting up personalities for what was intended to be a new series, rather than following the logical leads. The book would have been twenty-five pages if the author had stuck to the plot. The culprit was equally obvious early on … or early days as the Brits say.

Which brings me to what I liked about the book. It’s so thoroughly British that it had lots of new stuff for me – names of cars and products and locations, zillions of police acronyms I’d never seen before, and the different legal rules in effect. I found that fascinating much of the time even though the underlying murder mystery was rather ho-hum. If you’re looking for action, this isn’t the book for you.

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George Floyd = drives.last.lives

I decided to see for myself what the location of George Floyd’s murder looked like. It’s reported to be to be across the street from Cup Foods near the corner of E38th St. and Chicago Ave., Minneapolis. I found the spot and ran it through As near as I can tell, the exact spot is designated, ironically, drives.last.lives. The knee driven into his neck resulted in the last of his life.

Without a crime scene photo, I can’t be certain of the exact spot, but other locations within a few feet have similarly ominous names when viewed in retrospect:


Upload vs. Space Force

Are you sick of all the news about the pandemic and the riots over the George Floyd killing? I am. I thought I’d make a recommendation for a couple of television series I’m enjoying these days: Upload, on Amazon Prime and Space Force, on Netflix. In case you’re not familiar with one or both, both are science fiction comedies. Maybe you should just relax and enjoy these.

In Upload the main character Nathan is near death so his girlfriend buys him a spot in a ritzy digital afterlife, a heaven of sorts, where his personality, memory, and soul(?) are uploaded right before death. They can still communicate through a digital medium. Nathan has a real life “angel,” an employee of the company that manages the digital afterlife who tends to his needs, and romantic sparks fly between them, but he is totally dependent on his shallow girlfriend to keep paying the bills. It’s kind of creepy/funny and pushes the envelope on sexual content, but has a sweet side, too.

Space Force is more of a wacky comedy starring Steve Carell as a four-star general put in charge of the new military branch Space Force. I’ve only watched two episodes of this one. The first episode was only mediocre, but the second episode was really funny, I thought. John Malkovich is an unlikely co-star.

On a lark I thought I’d check out the Google Trends on these two shows. I had to adjust the time frame to get a balanced view. Prior to May 28 Upload dominated Google searches since Space Force hadn’t debuted. After May 28 Space Force dominated since Netflix promoted it heavily. I also had to add the phrase “TV show” after the titles when I did the comparison to avoid confusion with non-TV meanings. Here’s the graph. I don’t see any significance to the spread, but it’s fun to speculate. The grey area didn’t have enough data (i.e. searches) to compare.