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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, July 31, 2006

Weekly Behavior Awards

With deference to our friends on the West Coast, it appears we're off to a slow start this morning. So let's wrap these awards up this week with just two nominations - one for Best Behavior and one for Bum of the Week.

For Best, we have from our faithful friend Bronchitikat in the British countryside this story: "Well, for Commendation there's the guy who, last Monday afternoon, noticed I was struggling with my bicycle on the railway footbridge steps & offered to help. As you've noticed, not all 'young people' are yobs!"

And for Bum here's my tale: Actually this didn't happen in the past seven days, but I'd forgotten to mention it last week so I had to tell you about it today. So the wife and I were Einstein Bro's getting a bagel and what not - you may recall that's where we saw a woman in a full sweat suit on a day it was over 90 degrees outside - when a couple came in behind us with their small child. I know it was hot, and that conventional wisdom says fewer clothes are better. But this kid (I'm guessing he was about 3-years-old) was in raggedy drawers (underwear, not shorts), a grimy, stained t-shirt - and I don't mean sweat stains; these were food stains or some other biological material, and no shoes. The bottoms of his feet were black as soot. His parents in the meantime wore clothes...from top to bottom. And they seemed to have no problem with their kid rolling around the filth of the floor. Nor did they seem to notice or care when he dropped his banana at least once, picked it up and resumed eating. Kids will be kids, and kids can attract dirt like magnets, I know. But c'mon? Not one of you can tell me it's cool to come out of the house with your kid looking like he's been raised by wolves. I'm not saying they were starving the kid or abusing him. He looked chill and fed, but there's public casual look and private casual look. Whatever happened to cleaning yourself and/or your kids up before taking them out? Anyway, I offer these parents up as Bums of the Week.

Oh, and I also nominate for Bum my neighbor across the alley who sneakingly left a stack of his old fence planks, full of exposed nails, on the swale behind my home and not behind his own place. Technically most of the planks appear to be sitting on my next door neighbor's side. But some are on my side. So if a kid had been playing in the alley and stepped on one of those things I could be liable. And if the city decided to issue a ticket for that stuff being placed there improperly or at the wrong time of the month? Yep, I could get the ticket. He's an older guy, and I might have felt a little more sympathy, except when I confronted him he played dumb and acted like he didn't know he should have stacked this stuff behind his own house instead of mine and my nextdoor neighbor's. Yeah, and I just fell off the back of the yam wagon.

Finally, a special Coolness Award goes to Bronchitikat for introducing us - or me, at least - to a new slang. I've made my way through crumbum, knucklehead, pinhead, chowderhead, and all manner of other heads, to describe triflin' people. But Bronchitikat taught us "yobs" today. Thank you B, and I plan on using yobs in a new posting just as soon as I see a yob in action. And if things go as usual that won't take too long today.


  • Hey J, for next week I wanna nominate those bums over at WSVN 7. They decided to interrupt the last 30 mins of Hell's Kitchen for a news story that, by their own admission, they had NO real info on. The only other station to interrupt their programming was channel 10, and they at least had the common decency to do a quick; Castro hands over power to his brother. More news at 10pm.

    However, those fools over at 7 cut in and pontificate for 30 mins about NOTHING!!!!!! They had NO REAL INFORMATION!!!!! Nothing that couldn't be summed up in 2 sentences.

    Bums, sensationalists, they are the reason that journalists get a bad rap.

    By Anonymous b, at 10:38 PM  

  • Good grief, James. "Yob" is an abbreviation of "yobbo" - being Cockney 'Backslang' & around for the past hundred years at least, if not longer. Use it (correctly!) & welcome.

    For those who don't know - 'Backslang' was a development of the Cockney (those born within the sound of the bells St Mary le Bow, London)dialect. It was supposed to confuse the Law, or others in authority, as to what was actually being said.

    Further, my part of Portsmouth, UK, is right in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. Hardly 'the British countryside'! Comes from being built on a island. It's also a major Naval port, has been ever since we've had a Royal Navy, and point of departure for continental Europe - for freight and passengers. Then there's the Isle of Wight Ferry - which at whatever price it is these days for crossing 4 miles of sea rates the title of "the most expensive ferry crossing in the world"!

    However, being built on an island means we have fairly quick access (provided you don't try driving during the Rush Hour) to beaches, real countryside, the sea, & lots of other places. Try - which is the website of our local paper.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 9:49 AM  

  • BTW - thanks for the award. Must be the first time anyone's ever reckoned I'm cool!

    & sorry not to have thanked you sooner.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 7:37 AM  

  • Bronchitikat, no thanks necessary. Thank you for always having good nominations. And please accept my apology for describing your area as the English Countryside. It was more of a lark than anything. But if I'm going to give specific detail about things like locations, I should make sure my facts are right.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:48 PM  

  • And B, I'm with you. I know I have a built-in bias, being a print guy and all, but one of my pet peeves with TV news has always been how a story can be breaking news before it has been developed or confirmed enough.

    My editors would kill me if I tried to put a story in tomorrow's paper before I had a solid idea of what was happening w/it - 'cause then all the reader would have to go on is my pure speculation.

    I know print outlets do it to, but hey, we never interrupt regularly scheduled programming!

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:53 PM  

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