Chewing with your mouth open

My daughter has a tendency to chew with her mouth open. My *busband has a tendency to criticise her for this.

Of course the sight of my eight year old’s gap-toothed mouth churning up food like some cement mixer is not pretty.  Of course it is important to teach her how to act at the dinner table. So I have to side with my busband when he tells her, ‘Close your mouth when you’re chewing’.

Don’t I?

My daughter really should chew with her mouth closed. There should be no debate. There should be no reminding her every single day.  Chewing with your mouth open is bad table manners.

But in my mind it is equally rude to say, ‘Chew with your mouth closed,’ at every meal time. Even if you’re the parent and you’re instructing a child.

We have to be role models for our children. Is it ever ok to criticise someone bluntly over a pleasant dinner? I don’t think so. Discussing matters of manners needs careful consideration of manners itself.

It is not polite to openly point out another’s flaw. If a criticism must be made then it should be done with a degree of class and subtlety, so as not to put the bad-mannered person down. We should always assume that they forgot themselves momentarily and not suggest they are downright ill-bred. However vile the behaviour we should never show a lack of respect for a person’s feelings. So, yes, perhaps once it would be correct to say, ‘Can you close your mouth please?’ But if a criticism needs to be repeated then this has become a greater issue. If impolite behaviour continues once it has been pointed out then this has escalated from ‘an act of bad manners’ to ‘a failure to take responsibility for an act of bad manners’ and this is getting serious!

I believe the sensitive and correct way to handle a repeat, breach of social grace is to react quite differently upon the second incident. You should never repeat yourself. To repeat yourself would draw attention to the open-mouthed-chewer and it would also draw attention to the-failure-to-act-on-the-comment-about-being-a-mouth-chewer. This is pointing out a double-character-flaw and this is beyond rude, it is almost an act of hostility! 

I think the correct etiquette for a repeat mouth-chewing incidence is to mention it in a subtle way, assuming the bad-mannered-subject will need only a mild alert now their attention has first been drawn to the problem. We should always give the ill-mannered respect enough to consider they are  willing to change. A good approach might be a lingering glance at their open chewing mouth. Another polite way to deal with this would be with humour, perhaps just a smile and a comment like, ‘I could tell you how many pieces you’ve chomped your spaghetti into!’

But in my mind you shouldn’t open your mouth, interrupt the flow of polite dinner conversation, and bash out a brusque description of another’s weakness. I think that’s just plain rude.

 Now I need to consider the correct way to tell my busband about his character flaw…




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Jesus was a booze-drinker

Note: I’ve removed the picture that was bothering so many Christians. The post itself is a bit of light hearted fun around the idea that Jesus’s blood is wine. If that kind of humour offends you please find another site to read. Thanks!

I was thinking about Jesus. Probably because I come from a good Methodist background. Methodists are noted for their loud hymn singing and abstinence from alcohol. They’re probably the only church that serves Ribena instead of communion wine.

I’ll admit I’ve pretty much turned my back on my Sunday School upbringing, but after a few drinks last night, I got to thinking about Jesus. And singing hymns loudly, but let’s not talk about that…

You know the Blood of Christ is supposed to be red wine? Well, you have to wonder what sort of drink problem Jesus had for his holy blood to be 14% alcohol by volume. We know he must have liked a glass or two, and was noted for that god given magic that could turn plain water into plonk. That’s quite a handy party trick. Is it any wonder his disciples hung around? Life was probably one long party with Jesus handing out free drinks. If he ever ran out he just had to snap his fingers to summon more from Dad, the holy wine waiter in the sky.

The bible doesn’t go into much detail about Jesus’ drinking, but we can read between the lines. The parables? Boozed up tall stories. Getting into trouble with the authorities? Hardly surprising. He just unlucky that in the first few years AD this meant crucifixion rather than getting an ASBO. Then there’s feeding the 5000. Quite a miracle… But this miraculous tale gains more power when we consider Jesus as a drinker. We know  Jesus wasn’t the type to offer a meal without a glass of something. Consider the untold story of the bottles Jesus conjured up with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I feel a true sense of awe as I wonder, red or white?

It’s quite likely that with his drink problem Jesus had Cirrhosis of the liver, and, when you think about the parable of the foolish virgins and the budding fig tree, we can speculate that there might have been a touch of alcohol related dementia. We can be sure that Jesus was truly blessed because if he hadn’t ended it on the cross he was probably due for a painful death from Hepatitis C.

Is it really any wonder Jesus was an alcy with his upbringing? There’s strong evidence his mother liked a tipple too. Virgin birth? Consider this alternative interpretation – too drunk to remember that one night stand that got her knocked up.

The resurrection? Alcohol related hallucinations from his wino followers. Either this or Jesus’ body was so pickled from the booze that it didn’t rot in the Judean sun. So amazed were Mary and the rest of the women when they saw his well-preserved body they didn’t think he was dead at all. When Jesus finally ascended into heaven I’d imagine he’d go up something like a flame on some flambéed French pancake. It’s even possible one of the gospel writers lit an oil lamp a bit too close and set him off. They couldn’t write that bit in the bible.

So you see, all this has made me consider that the Methodist might have it right. The Methodists learn the biblical truth that booze drinking only ever causes trouble. Consider this,  Jesus was dead on the cross by the age of 33. If he’d stuck to the Ribena he could have lived to a ripe old age without ever getting into any trouble. Ironically, this would have left the Methodist with no hymns to sing loudly on a Sunday.


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There’s a song that’s been playing in my head all day, it has a loud repetitive guitar riff, and then the shouted blast of the word, ‘Hit!’ i think it’s by the Wannadies. Not a particularly famous song, nor even their best work, but I like it. And it makes me think.

I live for a ‘Hit’ to break the monotony of the ‘jugga jugga jugga jugga jugga’ guitar whine of my life. I try to find this ‘hit’ in many ways. A couple of swift drinks after I’ve got the kids to bed. A bet on a horse. A hug (or more) from my *busband. Or, actually, a blazing row will do just as well. Anything that makes me feel. I long to feel… something. And some days its a struggle to even do that. It’s usually apple juice for breakfast, and must put the washing on, and shall we go to the park? Too many days are like that. And that’s not what I want my life to be. I don’t want to feel numb and watch the clock till I’m old and die.

I guess everyone feels a bit like this. I think a lot of people get by with less regular ‘hits’ than me. I think most people are content with predictible life events to give them their buzz, a holiday, buying a home, perhaps a wedding to plan? Then there’s the thrill of having a baby, and later on maybe they have the stress of some illness to keep them noticing they’re still alive. Or if they’re clever maybe they’ll engineer a career that keeps them busy enough not to notice the drudgery of the rest of it?

If you’re like me, that’s not enough. I expect I have some kind of psychological problem, like an addictive personality, or the curse of glass-half-empty-itis. I always want more! I can say, ‘Is this it?’ each day on perfectly ok days. I get disappointed. And though I manage to stave off depression I often consider that the wrist slitters have got it about right. They earn my respect far more than those blind 9-5ers who only care about the perfect supermarket run and fool themselves that life is good whenever they look forward to two weeks on a French beach.

Other people with this ‘Hit!’ complaint of mine might turn to drugs, or maybe throw themselves into bad relationships, craving the highs and lows and dramas of love sickness and then heartbreak. I hold back. I try to deny my true self. I’m aware that I want to run away from all this to fly to the moon by leaping from the highest mountain that I can run up barefoot, but I know that that won’t be. So I’m bored and unfulfilled in my regular life, but make do with my petty home excitements and sometimes convince myself that this can make me happy. After a couple of glasses of wine, a win on a horse, and a celebration with the *busband, I can sometimes forget there’s any problem at all.

I hope you don’t think I want to take a parachute jump, or leave the family I love to travel the world? I don’t crave experience for experience sake. I just want to be excited by the little things, like Lucas making me smile when I read him a book, or cooking a meal for the *busband. I like these things, but I feel cursed by being set up to want more. Always. Without ever knowing what it is that I want.

I suppose I do know what I want… I want, (and imagine this is very loud) jugga jugga jugga jugga jugga jugga jugga jugga –




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My Dad died when I was 5. I don’t remember him much, but I do know he once found a meteor. I remember the fuss about when this lump of space rock was sent off for scientific analysis. I remember my mum saying it had to be either a very unusual rare and special meteor… or a junk rock that wasn’t from outer space at all.

My 5 year old memories are hazy but I think the rock was cut in half and some went to a museum and my dad gave the other half to our village school.

I’ve just looked this up on Wikipedia and it says this, ‘A meteor is the visible event that occurs when a meteoroid or asteroid enters Earth’s atmosphere and becomes brightly visible. ‘ So actually my dad found a meteoroid. No, hang on I’m still reading… a meotorite. Unless it was just that lump of ordinary earth rock.

I hope not. I like the romance of my dad finding a little bit of space something… And wikipedia says there are only 31,000 meteorite finds in the world. And just 1050 witnessed ‘falls’. I don’t know if my dad’s meteorite was a ‘find’ or a ‘fall’.

Did you know, ‘Meteorites from asteroids are around 4.5 billion years old. Meteorites from the Moon are older than 2.5 billion years and meteorites from Mars may be as young as 65 million years.’ So meteorites can come from the Moon and even Mars?!

I found out that meteorites are known by the name of the place where they were found and not by the name of the finder, and I think I know where my dad found it, so this might help me to track it down.

The Natural History Museum has a catalogue of Meteorites. It’s online, and easy to search… I looked for Meteorites in Yorkshire where this one was found. There weren’t very many. I don’t think the NHM list is all the meteorites. But I found another site, MetBase which says it lists ‘name, date, time, country, state, district, exact coordinates, total weight, number of pieces, recovery circumstances of all known 31,191 individual meteorites.‘  Only it costs $370.

Hmm, I’ve looked again at the Natural History Museum catalogue, it lists just 29 Meteorites found in England, and none of these look like they could be my dads. But it says ‘Data for all meteorites reported up to June 2002 are included.’ So I suppose if it’s not there then it can’t have been a real meteorite.

Oh well, even if my dad just found a funny rock it’s made me learn some interesting stuff. I’m glad I now know the difference between meteors and meteorites.

And this guy says ‘Only TWO meteorites have ever been found in the UK, and officially recognised and accepted as such by the Meteoritical Society’ so it all gets more confusing, he says ‘2’ the Narural History Museum lists 29 and my dads is… where I just don’t know. I could try to find it at a Yorkshire museum, or maybe track it to the school, which has since closed down? Anyway, I’m going meteorite hunting!

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The dangerous life of the tooth fairy

My daughter lost three baby teeth this week, one on Monday and another two today. This means I have to become the tooth fairy yet again. And being a tooth fairy is a very responsible position.

I have to creep into her bedroom and take that little tooth out from under her pillow without her waking up, and then I need to slide the money under her pillow too. I probably need a story ready in case she wakes up and sees me, but  I don’t really have one. I think I might say, ‘I heard a noise in your room and was just coming to check what it was – oh look, it was the tooth fairy!’

I’m not sure this would work. She knows I never hurry to her side when she calls for a glass of water, or gets scared of a shadow that looks like a monster, so why would I overcome ‘me time’ laziness to check out fairy noises?

Lets hope it doesn’t come to that. But I worry that her teeth are small and there’s a chance she might knock them from under the pillow and let them fall down the side of the bed.  What can you say if your child wakes up just as your arm is under their bedding and feeling for a tooth that’s just not there? That thought’s scarier than the shadow of a gigantic snail with two heads…

And what if you forget there’s a tooth there at all? It’s a big deal for the child but replacing teeth with shiny coins is just one more chore in a busy parents life, and it’s easily forgotten. I did hear of a mum who forgot to take their child’s tooth and next day had to explain why the fairy didn’t want it. They told the tearful child the tooth fairy only paid up when the tooth was in perfect condition. What genius! They cleverly engineered careful brushing twice a day, plus they had an excuse to get lazy whenever a tooth popped out and they wanted an easy grown-up evening instead of a  night looking for change and quietly opening bedroom doors.

Of course there’s the issue of how much to give, one family’s tooth fairy might pay 50p and another £2… You don’t want t be a mean fairy, or overgenerous. And what do you do when you don’t have any spare change? On Monday I had to take a pound coin out of my daughter’s own piggy bank to be tooth fairy loot – just because I didn’t have any cash in the house. 

And what are you supposed to do with the tooth? The first time it’s a sentimental milestone, but by the time they’ve lost three or four you look on the discarded body bit as just a grisly nuisance. Handling my daughter’s teeth makes me want to go ‘eurgh’ but I still can’t bring myself to throw them in the bin. That doesn’t seem right. They’re a part of her, and there’s still some kind of meaning in this sign that her ‘baby days’ are ending, maybe they’re still a little magicked by that tooth fairy story? So what do I do with those teeth? I can’t risk her finding them and asking awkward questions. So… there’s one in my dressing table drawer, and there’s one in a pot on the bathroom sill. The two I found tonight I dumped in the filing tray next to my computer, it was the first place I saw to get rid of them, like I said, handling them makes me squirm. So lost baby teeth are actually scattered throughout the house, and I suspect one day she’s likely to come across one and ask how it got there.

It’s not like Santa, when you don’t believe in the Christmas good-guy you know you’ll still get presents, but with the tooth fairy kids have to go on believing for as long as they can – simply for the cash. For completely selfish financial reasons kids will stick their lost teeth under their pillows and dream of extra pocket money, long after they stopped believing in Santa and the Honey Monster.

The only advantage I can see in older kids pretending to believe in the tooth fairy is that they won’t ask silly questions like, ‘What do the tooth fairies do with all the teeth?’ When my daughter asked me that I didn’t know what to say, but now I know what to tell her… I’ll tell her they hide them around the house, ‘for luck’. It’ll be one less thing to worry about when she finds that manky tooth that fell out of my spare handbag and down the back of my chest of drawers.

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Babel Fish Poetry

I can’t tell you very much about my work, but I can tell you that I work in Customer Support for an online gaming company. This means I come across emails from players from all over the world and I enjoy it when their english isn’t quite right or when they use online translation sites. I think the results are sometimes quite poetic. These are some of the things they might say…

 ‘i have lost my completely login-data. thanks for your vigilency’

‘ich wants to high-load a second picture with mine account! But I already one high-loaded, can I evertheless further still do????’

‘I have GData-firewall. And it dont goes, if its out !!’

‘Hi, nicest Support-Team! Please, I want to change my Pic , course I have now a spectacle and my Appearance is modified very strong.’

‘hello, can you please give me step by step directions on how to display your picture on the button in the poker room, on your bidding piece on the table??? thanks’

‘Greetings. I cannot come at the moment on your server. Though, the Internet at me by way of. That there occurs. There can be who that another has in parallel come into it? Can check up?’

‘Warum unterstützt ihre Software nur die Micky Mouse Betriebssysteme von Billy Gates?’

“correctly and why lose I all into where it in the tournament around 4000 went and thus haeaeaeaeae had separated as goes please with one straight loses one thus everything clearly and I am a president united Arab emirates”

‘Wanted to furnish a genuine money account with you! But the system says to me the whole time which I the amounts wrongly entered and which I am me to you if. There am I !With friendly greeting. Fabrice’

‘I have beautiful what would like it still, vass make please my blokiren to leave free’

‘what I do not understand is, that you is the named responsible for this link. There must be a Tournament responsible in your house, isn?t it?’

‘I tried to put money intop my account, inknown to me they shun gambling on-line’


‘willi wacker. You now what this name in english mean, but i’m a german man and in my language is this : brave or eager.’

‘Hallo. My English is not god. I have a problem. I have many times a flash on my hand and another becomes the point with a full house. That is not korrekt.i lost on the hall time’s 200.000-300-00 points. Please
call and help me. I like this game but please correct. excuese me for my terreble english;) I hope you understand everything;) Thanks a lot with greetings,’

‘Please take away my rigg you have get on me, its incredible what you give me, so please rigged upp my account or i leave you.’

‘I know that it isnt possible to cancel the avvarat but my foto is so ugly that i wil ask to make a accaption on this case’

‘This is not good Language please spend there chats for a monty please……………….’

‘Marlene Face, I was very sad when seeing this I announce, after all I am playing here of the Brazil as it said you vary times when I asked for suport the voceis, good must be about one gentleman of age, to put that ai was brave in the table one day, ties another citizen with half face of hippie said: ei calm this is entretedimento here, does not know if he was this more I I said I I love America with intention of friendship and respect and this person understood me as racism I do not know if and this, more I am the disposal to
clarify you doubt and I ask for excuses again, I adore the site and taste very to play poker. kisses leonardo’

‘I was mistaken in the orthography, since I have envoye by error with some “jerome”.  Please, I would like récuperer this money  on my account of 69 dollars, to then be able the transferer on the account of
“jerom”.  thank you in advance of your comprehension. tanks you very much  🙂 cordialy.’

‘i hate you u smell of cabbage i aint dun nufin the americans hate me with a  unabsolute passion look it up in a dictionary poo ed’

‘U fuirsted thge NOW GENIOPUS from Abspolute.)penicount accdt with 50$ wgiuch uis recxomended.  Nothing happen so I went parken Poker and paid 50+ dollard and I still have to recieve my  unlocking cond.  To ber quite frankly I have been getting the run around, Absoult Poker my name is L.’

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Sandwiches of the World

I’ve considered writing a book, a book about sandwiches. You see I have a theory that every culture has independently invented a sandwich. This might mean there is an evolutionary benefit to sandwiches..? Although this wouldn’t be a science book. I’ll let somebody else write that one.

Let me explain my theory. In England* we often put egg mayonnaise between two thin slices of white bread. You could almost devote a whole chapter to egg mayonnaise which if you think about it is actually egg in egg sauce.

That might sound like quite an unbalanced meal, but if you consider the traditional addition of cress to the egg sandwich then you see that her we have all the food groups in one convenient and tasty snack form.

So, how do other cultures make their sandwiches? In the USA we have the hamburger. And the german’s invented the hot dog, this was in Frankfurt in 1480. In Greece they have the falafel in pitta. In China they have spring rolls. In India it would be the the samosa. I could go on but I’m saving the best stuff for my book.

I’m defining ‘sandwich’ as a savoury filling enclosed by a carbohydrate based outer layer, this outer layer both holds the filling in place and provides a handy handheld casing for the contents. Interestingly most sandwich fillings throughout the world contain both protein and vegetable, although rarely fruit. If I was writing that scientific book, about the evolutionary benefits of the sandwich, I would speculate that cultures that create a protein or vitamin deficient handheld lunch failed to thrive. Survival of the fittest – fillings. But I already told you I’m not writing that kind of book. You can take it and run with it if you like. Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch based book idea?

For the purposes of my sandwich book I thought I might travel around the world eating sandwiches. I’d go to France for a baguette, Mexico for a burrito, Italy for some pizza. You may claim that pizza is not a sandwich at all, at least not in its purest form, but I love pizza and I feel I would really have to visit the home of this great snack to sample it and consider the debate.

There is unfortunately a problem with writing this book. My **busband travels the world for his journalistic career, and he always gets home sick and doesn’t rate world travel at all. I think I’d miss him if I went away to eat world snacks. So I don’t think I could leave him with the kids and fly to the other side of the world to try an australian jaffle. So it looks like I will have to forget this ambitious plan and stay at home with my egg mayonnaise and cress. Or else I could get him to bring home a sandwich every time he goes away? He’s in Spain right now. I don’t even know what the spanish version of a sandwich would be. I am so confident of my theory that I know there must be a spanish sandwich!

Another issue with this book is the thorny area of the pie vs. sandwich. I feel the key to this conundrum is the crispiness of the outer layer. A pie must be crisp, a sandwich doesn’t have to be. Although you could argue that the pie is a hot snack and the sandwich predominantly cold. In any case I think the sandwich is a bigger and more interesting topic than the pie. Also pies often have a meaty filling and I couldn’t eat them because I’m a vegetarian.

All this is of course pie in the sky. Or should that be sandwich? I’m never going to actually write my ‘Sandwiches of the World’ book of course, although its a fascinating subject I’ll have to wrap it up here. Wraps, there you go thats another one.  So which nation invented the wrap..?

* I live in England.

** Boyfriend/husband.

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