books to look cool

According to a story on the BBC website, Don’t be 404, know the tech slang,  new words and expressions are entering the language, driven by modern technology such as Oyster cards, the internet, mobile phones and “textese”.

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise to many of us already happy to include abbreviations like b4, u, @ and wld in our msgs in an attempt to keep the costs down, even if we baulk at l8r and draw the line at ur, wat or y?.
Continue reading “books to look cool”

bubbles, butterflies & baseball

Apparently unrelated, perhaps, but the words in the title do, in fact, have something in common: they are the topics of the three new titles in the T-Tales collection by Topka.

Bubbles book cover
Where's my Butterfly?
Where's my Butterfly?
Playing for Papa
Playing for Papa







And those are the books I’ll be reading at two separate readings/story-telling sessions in Madrid this coming Saturday, December 13th.
Continue reading “bubbles, butterflies & baseball”

journalism for beginners

Yesterday I mentioned the 1939 Spectator diarist’s fear of what might happen when the newly invented cheap ball point pen got into the hands of the “inexpert and frankly incompetent”. Of course we’ve gone way beyond that now.

Now, anyone who owns a digital camera thinks he is a photographer; anyone with a computer is a journalist and anyone with a mobile phone is an on-the-spot reporter. And very few of us have any professional training in journalism.
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kilometers of ink?

Although the ballpoint mechanism was first patented in 1888, it was another 40 years before Biro invented and commercialised the first popular ballpoint pen, the Bic, in 1938.

Since then, the technology has come a long way and different “biros” offer very different value for money. At least, so it would seem from this Spanish consumer report.

How many miles does a pen write?
How many miles does a pen write?

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a critic barks

It’s always nice when the walk to the village has some kind of productive outcome, other than the purchase of a not-quite-a-baguette Spanish loaf and the inevitable associated longing for proper English wholemeal.

Today there was the pleasure of finding two ‘letters’ in the PO Box. Well, “letters” es un decir: one was a glossy flyer from the bank assuring me that if I use my credit card over Christmas and get further into debt, Continue reading “a critic barks”

rights and royalties

When I wrote the previous post and thought about ‘tags’ for it, I included the Spanish expression derechos de autor. For non-Spanish speakers, it’s possibly worth pointing out the ambiguity of that phrase.

Literally, it looks like “author’s rights”, but in fact it can translate as both “copyright” and “royalties”. This can be confusing, but probably makes some kind of sense. Continue reading “rights and royalties”

copyrights and wrongs

Some years ago in Spain there was a clamp down on illegal photocopying.

At the copy shop at the end of our road, they had always been amenable to making multiple copies of whole books – very useful for penniless English teachers who had managed to filch a single text book from their last employer and were now using this to go it alone with private classes. But suddenly the shop changed hands and it was rumoured Continue reading “copyrights and wrongs”