Newsletter 133 – October 2007


Number 133 – October 2007 – ISSN 1470-1863

French letters – Language – Literature

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0— ‘Pardon My French’ – brand new book

This is a very amusing look at French
language by an Englishman who went to
live and work there.

It points to lots of strange features
of French language and culture – from
current slang, to the best way to drive
round a French roundabout.

Charles Timoney covers food, education,
sport, slang, families, and how to stand
up to waiters in a restaurant. Good fun.

Pardon my French

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

Who is the wife and sister of Osiris?

0— ‘Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media’

This is a series of academic essays on blogging
and its impact on mainstream media (MSM).

Newspapers are the first to have felt the pinch.
Now television and radio are struggling to
keep up with the force created by new technology
which is free and in the hands of the people.

Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

Which port is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago?

0— ‘Vita Sackville-West’ – semi-official biography

Vita Sackville-West is best known as the woman
who had an affair with Virginia Woolf. But did
you know that in her day she was a best-selling

Victoria Glendenning’s biography traces her
quite amazing life from its precocious early
years to her later fame as writer and expert
on English gardens.

She’s also famous for her marriage to the diplomat
Harold Nicolson. Both of them had a succession of
affairs with their own sex, yet they remained
devoted to each other. So they claimed.

Vita: The Life of Vita Sackville-West

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

Where is the Foreign Office in Paris?

0— ‘Learning Web Design’ – new edition

This has become one of the best and most
comprehensive books on web design available.

It’s also very well written, and is now brought
up to date with recent web developments in its
third edition.

Jennifer Niederst has added the latest standards
to do with style sheets and XHTML, and she
delivers her guidance via quite enjoyable
tutorials – all of which are illustrated with
full colour graphics. Highly recommended.

Learning Web Design

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

Which member of the pumpkin family
might you find in a bathroom?

0— ‘Oxford A-Z of English Usage’ – new book

This is the latest addition to OUP’s
series of small, plain guides to language.

It deals with all the most common problems
you might come across with English.

Words that look the same but which have
different meanings – such as discreet
and discrete. Whether we can split
infinitives or end sentences with
prepositions. How to punctuate bulleted
lists. And so on. Good value.

Oxford A-Z of English Usage

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

Which is the largest country in South America?

0— Google Analytics

Recently I happened across Google Analytics –
a marvelous service which analyses web site
activity in more detail than you could ever
imagine. And it’s completely free.

You sign up with Google, drop a very small
script into each page of your web site, and
Google does the rest.

The dashboard and display panel on which
your results are served up is well designed,
the reports become more detailed as you click
down through the pages, and there’s even a
really smart heat map which shows where most
of your visitors come from.

I was interested to notice that at my MANTEX
site the split was more-or-less equal between
the UK, the USA, and India – with Canada a close

I was alerted to this by a mail shot from O’Reilly
who in typical entrepreneurial manner have already
got a guidance manual on the whole process.

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

In which country would you find Timbuktu?

0— Overheard in New York

Brighten up your life with a trip to
New York at any part of the day.

It’s a never-ending stream of verbal
gems snatched from the flux of life.

OLDER WOMAN: Excuse me, miss?


OLDER WOMAN: Your veil, your burqa is
very beautiful. I didn’t know your people
were allowed to wear it in bright colors.

YOUNGER WOMAN: It’s not a burqa, it’s a poncho.
I’m Jewish. It’s for the rain. I got it at TJ Maxx.

The blog also does a regular series of
Wednesday one-liners. For example –

PILOT: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m just going
to power off the plane for a minute and
restart it. Kind of like control-alt-delete
on your computer.

Warning. Most of them are a lot ruder
than these examples – and a lot funnier 🙂

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

What is the chemical symbol for ferrous sulphate?

0— ‘Bestsellers’ – new book

John Sutherland’s pocket-sized survey of the
bestseller covers the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries in both the UK and the USA.

He reveals that it’s quite difficult to
calculate who sells most at any given time.

But the figures he does come up with are quite
jaw-dropping – and enough to give some of today’s
writers heart failure. Zane Grey sold a staggering
250 million, and Earl Stanley Gardner topped that
with 300 million plus.

Many of the writers once topping the lists are
people you’ll have never heard of, others live
on well known but generally un-read (see below).


0— Pub quiz – Question #8

Who wrote ‘The Maltese Falcon’?

DELETED ITEM [out of date]

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

Which country has the International car code, M?

0— The Museum of Bad Art – online

Worth a visit and a laugh. This is
a collection of the sort of paintings
you see in car boot sales.

But it’s presented in a cod-serious
manner – and at quite a stylish site.

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Which film features Travis Bickle?

0— Reader’s Letters and Corrections

“Gentlemen, I am an avid reader of your monthly
newsletter. My wife-to-be has to improve her
English and I think your free materials could
greatly better her English knowledge. Consequently,
could you please add her among your subscribers?
Thanks and health to all of you.”

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Who is the wife and sister of Osiris?

#2 Which port is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago?
ANSWER: Port of Spain

#3 Where is the Foreign Office in Paris?
ANSWER: Le Quay d’Orsay

#4 Which member of the pumpkin family
might you find in a bathroom?
ANSWER: The loofah

#5 What is the largest country in South America?
ANSWER: Brazil

#6 In which country would you find Timbuktu?
ANSWER: Mali, West Africa

#7 What is the chemical symbol for ferrous sulphate?

#8 Who wrote ‘The Maltese Falcon’?
ANSWER: Dashiell Hammett

#9 Which country has the International car code, M?

#10 Which film features Travis Bickle?
ANSWER: Taxi Driver

0— Coming soon

The Language Report 2007

Designing Web Navigation

The Myth of Mars and Venus


Vita and Harold – letters

The Edwardians – a novel

Hachette French Dictionary

(c) Copyright 2007, MANTEX
All Rights Reserved

PO Box 100 Tel +44 0161 432 5811
M20 6GZ UK

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ISSN 1470-1863
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