Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tunisia, bullets, and near misses.

This is my cat, Cleo.  The name "Cleo" is short for C-Leo-paw-print. When she was a kitten the markings on her back looked like a Lion's (Leo) paw-print. I couldn't call her Leo. So I added a C. She is very cute, has a beauty spot, and controls her tail when she's sitting down by putting the tip under her front paws.
I was listening to the wireless a little earlier. Well, you have to, when there's quality programming like "Matinee Idle" on.
A news report came on. I heard an item about Tunisia, and how the people were a tad restless, and started chucking stones at the constabulary, or Army, or some othe servants of the people. Apprarently these uniformed defenders of the right to protest then took it upon themselves to rspond to the thrown stones by firing their weapons, loaded with - and this is where my eyebrow got raised, quizzically - "live" ammunition.
It strikes me that the phrase "live ammunition" is obfuscation. A bullet has one purpose: to kill something. You can have blank ammunition - the sort that doesn't have a death-delivering bullet inserted into the neck of the cartridge. And you can have live ammunition, which is designed to kill you. Or, preferably, someone else.
Perhaps we should drop the term. Imagine, instead, if we used "death ammunition". Sounds uglier, but it is more, well, accurate. Kind of like a sniper's bullet...
It was either Terry Pratchett or Tom Sharpe who pointed out that it's difficult to "thrash someone to within an inch of his life". Whichever writer it was solved the problem by having his whipper shackle the whipee to a wall, and then proceed to beat the wall to within an inch of the victim. You'll note that the victim wasn't actually touched, but at least the whip landed within an inch of that individual's life.
It's right up there with "near miss". If something nearly misses you, it - quite obviously - hits you. So when two aircraft have a near miss incident, they actually don't. What's being described is a near hit incident.

 "Gosh, I nearly missed you," say one pilot to the other as they were both falling from the sky. "Another metre and I would have missed you.."

But I do like "death bullets".

Listening to: the radio. Matinee Idle. Very funny.
Reading: T Jefferson Parker, "The Fallen". Also my Pride and Prejudice script. Rehearsals start on Tuesday, and my mutton-shop whiskers are setting in well.

1 comment:

  1. Good idea. You should be lexi-whatsit of the century.

    It was Tom Sharpe.

    Ooo's a wuvvly widdle pussy cat den?