Wild folk from the west? Maybe not…

In local newspaper offices, away from the conglomeration of desks around which sat a hapless crew of hacks, were treasure troves hidden in corners and cupboards.

How to turn Happy Christmas into a medieval execution

Artificial intelligence and 'natural language processing' are no substitute for taking care when writing. Maintain focus, and apply your ability to concentrate, and everything will be easy.

Quack because it’s good for you

Do you find this statement by former Google boss Eric Schmidt alarming: “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Ordure by another name

Kakapo, the flightless parrot indigenous to New Zealand, for which I have no little affection (see The story so far) would probably have made a far more suitable and appropriate animal emblem for the World Wildlife Fund than the undeniably cute Panda.

Dramatic lessons

Once upon a time, a Chancellor of England, Sir Thomas More, had his head hacked from his body as a consequence of his failure to swear loyalty to his king. In the dramatised version of his life, 'A Man for all Seasons' the following exchange with his son-in-law Will Roper (the man who sold him to the King's spies) was reported.

Racism makes zero sense

Ask a Royal Marines Commando whether his Green Lid training and selection time comprise the toughest military programme in the world and he’ll be saying yes before you’ve got the word programme out.

Toad? Don’t talk to me about Toad

Ratty was a narcissist with neurotic tendencies. Badger was a bombastic bully with an assumed kindly and bluff streak developed to hide an arrogant manner.

Mean what you say, or say what you mean?

English language newspaper obituaries are the finest examples of euphemistic writing, a genre in which we are the world champions.

Dear Mr Harding

As you no doubt remember from your days working on a serious newspaper, reader letters tend to fall into one of two categories...

A well edited sentence is a thing of beauty

Where are sentences and syntax so pretty and fresh that they match natural pearls to be found? Why, in the pages of the Economist.

Should’ve or should not’ve; it’s so tricky now…

I've received two responses to last week’s blog which concerned the Intellectual Property Office approving Specsavers appropriation of ‘should’ve’.

We should’ve stopped them; thankfully we still can

The marketing folk at Specsavers are not illiterate. We know this because their ad strap says ‘should’ve gone to’ and not ‘should of’. Bravo and well done.

Click here for a fun date

I’m looking for a sharp brain, attached to a work ethic, with oodles of intelligence, imagination, initiative, integrity and good humour.

Here is the news … hold on; that’s not news

News used to be either something that someone somewhere did not want known. Otherwise it was something so unusual that it would be a source of amusement.

Goodbye Kate Granger who said: “I am not a diseased body … I am Kate Granger”

During a hospital stay with post-operative sepsis, Kate noted that many staff looking after her did not introduce themselves before delivering her care.

Crowds are only as wise as their dumbest component

Once, LinkedIn was a useful job board where buyers and sellers could sniff each other out before they made interview dates or other arrangements to meet.