Sunday, January 11, 2015

Phraseology: "Calling Shotgun"

Dear readers

Welcome to first installment of

Phraseology Logo

It is in human nature to take for granted the things we use, the people we associate, and the phrases we say. Too long have we tossed around words like “sorry”, “love” and “mazletov” without giving a single thought to the weight the carry. 
But it is one particular phrase, impenitently caterwauled by every dense jock, dumb blonde and dim frat boy, which we have chosen to enlighten the populace about this day. 

That notorious phrase is “Calling Shotgun”

Phraseology Sawed off Shotgun 12 10 gauge art call riding

It infuriates me when I see the dull gleam in some ignoramus’ eye, froth forming around its mouth as it enthusiastically blabbers out these words with glee, utterly oblivious to the severity of the charge it has undertaken. 

Before my rage envelopes me and I start to introduce these dullards to my little friend (and I don’t mean my genitalia), let us delve into the origins of this infamous phrase.

Traversing the perilous routes of the Wild Dusty Old West was a testing task for any traveler stricken with wanderlust. Dangers lurked at every turn in the form of the elements, disease, beasts and especially man himself.

Bandits Chasing stage coach carraige call shotgun phraseology riding Bandits stalked the roads preying, on merchants, traders and carriages of all sort, at gunpoint. Protection became a desperate necessity for all voyages. The only solution present to the common folk was to fight fire with fire, or in this case buckshot with buckshot. By the late 19th century every station wagon carrying precious cargo had a guard, armed with a 12 gauge shotgun. Thus was coined the expression “Shotgun messenger”. The responsibilities and risk that comes with assuming this highly hazardous position next to the driver will make most of us think twice before squabbling over it again. 

Imagine it’s the late 18 hundreds and our leading man, the proverbial moronic man-child, is giddy at his claimed station. A shotgun in his hand and stupid smile plastered to his face. His head bobs gaily along to the rhythm of the cart now making its way along a dirt path. Its consignment, a strongbox full of gold. He gazes naively at a cloud of dust rapidly approaching the carriage. He’s too daft and it’s too late when he realizes that it’s a posse of outlaws that bears down at them. Soiling his breeches he fumbles at the shotgun. Too daft, too late. A volley of bullets rains down upon them and his body is soon as hollowed out as his head was. Such was life in the merciless plains of untamed America. 

Keen instinct, marksmanship, navigation, general combat readiness and balls of steel are all vital skills that a man assuming the position of shotgun should possess, something that our protagonist sadly didn’t.
Fortuitously in this day and age, uttering the phrase equates to good seating and a better view but what you may not know is that even today this role comes with certain duties. To clarify I shall now read to you some excerpts from the “manual of riding shotgun”.

Manual of Riding Shotgun call Phraseology header

~ The responsibility of morale falls into your lap (figuratively, you need not give them any sexual gratification. If they badger you about your new found position,you may retort with phrases such as  “you snooze you lose”and“stop whining you mummy’s boy” )  

~ You are in charge of the entertainment of the vehicle, be it selecting the appropriate genre of music, changing the radio channel, or the song, etc (Only an executive decision by the owner of the car or the driver may overrule your decision.Other passengers can go to hell if they don’t like “I would walk 500 miles” by the Proclaimers). 

~ Aiding the driver in the navigation of the vehicle is another task you must undertake (Within limits of course. A rush of contradicting information may disorient the driver. Worst case scenario you are arguing with Siri, the Car’s GPS and the self-appointed backseat drivers. The driver is so overwhelmed that he decides to turn the car around and go back home….no one’s eating Nando’s tonight) 

~ One must also alert the driver of his surroundings in the case of danger. (Worst case scenario everyone in the car is engrossed in a controversial debate, the topic in argument “boxers or briefs”; whilst you are all nodding your heads to the rhythm of “what is love, baby don’t hurt me”. Before you can say “Bob’s your uncle who has a venereal fungal…disease” the vehicle runs over a cute puppy…you and the driver are officially the most hated people in the entire world)

~ Hatred and loathing are left outside the vehicle door. Once assuming position, you and the driver are the best of friends. (You are the Samwise Gamgee to the driver’s Frodo Baggins. You are the C3PO to the driver’s R2D2. The Spock to the Driver’s Kirk. The Watson to the driver’s Sherlock. The Sancho Panza to the driver’s Don Quixote. The Chandler to the driver’s Joey. The Tina Fey to the driver’s Amy Poehler. The Seth Rogen to the driver’s James Franco).

Footer Manual of Riding Shotgun call Phraseology

Those were only a few lines off the book “the manual of riding shotgun” which is available on the person of every dicey looking stranger, in every dark and dank corner, near you.
Please feel free to share this article with those annoying acquaintances who at every opportunity take it upon themselves to call shotgun.

I hope we all learnt something from the opening episode of phraseology. I learnt that trivial phrases such as “calling shotgun” really aren’t worth getting irked by.

But tune in next time where, in a complete shift in direction and tone, we’ll be answering the most serious question ever to be conceptualized. 

“What is life?”    


May contain graphic and violent imaginary cues.
Venturing into dark dank corners maybe hazardous to your health and mortality.
I neither approve nor condone stereotyping. Stereotypes bad. Equality good. Don’t believe me,click me! 

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015:The Age of the Lightsaber-wielding Jurassic Goat Max of Panem

Dear Readers

A New Year dawns….………………

From Countries to societies to organizations to people, everyone is gearing up and getting ready to face 2015.

Filled with new possibilities and plans, new desires and dreams, new aims and ambitions, new goals and resolutions but above all else the new year fills in our hearts the hope for a better future.

But what can we expect besides hope? 

The answer to that, my esteemed readers, lies in the scribblings that have been etched upon the computer screen you view this very instant. 

United Nations Year Designation

The UN has anointed 2015 as the International Year of Light (IYL) and the International Year of Soil (IYS). As it does every year, with such an appointment comes a certain responsibility as this will affect whether we view this year to be a success.

United Nations International Year of Light 2015The International Year of Light will be a commemoration of the achievements and advances in the field of optics and photonics. Felicitously the opening ceremony of IYL is to be held in Paris, the City of lights. The UN intends on creating global awareness about the applications and benefits of light-based technology to humanity and its contribution to make the world a greener, cleaner and better place. Exhibitions, grants, sponsorships, campaigns and more are all being set up to foster creativity, generate ideas, inspire development and establish a general mindset for the integration of photonics into our lives. Let’s hope this year of lights will lead to a brighter future.

United Nations International Year of Soil 2015
The International Year of Soil is an observance by the UN to create public understanding about the importance of soil and to stress its sustainable use. The Global Soil Partnership, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification all collaborated to organize programs to educate communities on the significance of soil to food security, climate change, entire ecosystems and ultimately our very lives. Policies, initiatives and agendas are being drawn up to promote the sustainable management and safeguarding of soil. An imperative move by the UN, one which will ensure that the human race doesn’t end up biting the dust.
Countries and Economies                                                              

The Chinese dubbed this the year of the Goat, possibly in the hopes that they can emulate the innate balance of the goat to stabilize their economy. In any case, with the ending of its 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) or Zhōngguó Wǔnián Jìhuà as the Chinese call it, China will shift its growth to a lower gear as structural, financial and environmental reformations take precedence. 

2015 Year of the Goat

Europe moves on to another year of struggle, on the rickety uphill path towards financial recovery. They will not only have to face squalls from outside the continent, in the form of depleting global demand and withering trade, but also internal political turmoil and public discontentment , which are as dangerous as the Foehn Winds.
To counter these issues the EU and the European Central Bank (ECB) aim to purchase sovereign bonds in hopes of engendering demand, and they also seek to implement better monetary, fiscal and structural policies. 

The US is also on unsteady ground especially after the 2014 Congress budget approving bank bail outs. With a $3.2 Trillion consumer debt outstanding and US households only just beginning to make more money than they owe, the question remains whether this was a wise decision. Some experts fear that in 2015 the debt may worsen due to this and other factors (such as the oil price drop), and may plunge the US into another relapse of financial crisis. However if maintained properly i.e. managing risks, reducing subprime loans, etc such a disaster can be averted. 

Science and Technology

For science and technology, 2015 looks to be a very promising year.

We start off with NASA’s Space probes “Dawn” and “New horizons” making their way, respectively, towards  the dwarf planet Ceres and the now dwarf planet Pluto.  
Ceres Dawn NASA 2015 
After its exploration of the Protoplanet Vesta, NASA probe Dawn is moving on towards Ceres in what will be the first ever investigation of a dwarf planet, in April 2015.

Its mission will involve orbiting Ceres in order create a full characteristic profile of the dwarf planet. The mission will give us valuable insights into the early stages of planet formation.

Pluto New Horizons NASA 2015
NASA probe New Horizon’s ETA is set to be in July 2015 and will mark our first close encounter with the controversial celestial object known as Pluto. 

It is equipped to gather data in the form of photographs, spectroscopic analyses, dust measurements and radio science investigation data. 
True to its name the NASA probe has set its sights on new horizons, as it hopes to delve further onward, past Pluto, into the Kuiper belt. 

First British Brit in Space 2015More on the topic of space, Olde Britain will be sending its first man to space at the end of the year. Major Tim Peake was selected by the European Space Agency Programme as a candidate despite Britain’s admonishment of Space endeavours. The ESA hopes that this will get Britain to let go of its backward ways and inspire them to participate and embrace Astronomy. A Soyuz capsule will launch Major Tim Peake into the ranks of the Astronauts and to the ISS where he will be stationed for 6 months. 

It was in 1997 that Andy Green set the fastest land speed record of 763 mph, in the Thrust SSC.  The RAF Wing commander will return once more to top his own World record in a spectacle symbolic of the statement that you are your greatest competition. The event, set in a desertified lakebed in the Northern Cape of South Africa, will be streamed live online in 2016. But as much as the driver is important to accomplishing this feat the vehicle itself, is imperative. 

Dubbed the Bloodhound SSC this beast of a supersonic car can achieve a terrifying speed of 1000 mph. Forged out of titanium and carbon fibre this machine is streamlined in the shape of a pencil. I’m positive by now every hot blooded male is anxious to know what holy engine powers this godly vessel. Fitted in its bowels is a cutting edge Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine used in Typhoon Euro fighters capable of producing a staggering 135,000 horsepower.

Bloodhound supersonic car Andy green world speed record 2015

There is no doubt that the Sonic boom of Andy Green breaking his own world record will echo throughout 2016 but the astounding accomplishment of crafting such a monstrously fast piece of engineering will resonate throughout 2015. 

Artificial intelligence, Data gathering /processing and Robotics will be further incorporated into our lives this year. 
The use of wearable technology will rise exponentially, enabling the capture of data at a much larger and more personal level. 
This “Big Data” will help programmers code algorithms to better process data and allow for improved decision making and predicting by computers.   
Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence are taking long strides with enhancements in voice recognition, translation, GPS/ mapping and travel, problem solving, medical diagnosis, emotion identification, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  Robotics goes hand in hand with these developments as robots become more and more like their creators, and in 2015, will enter our household environment.  We might also see FDA approved medical nanotechnology within the year.

Large Hadron Collider Cern Super collider 2015 restart reinitiate fire up anti matter dark matter supersymmetryAfter the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, the Large Hadron Collider laid dormant for 2 long years.
But in 2015 Scientists are planning to reinitiate the particle collider .They plan on conducting three year long experiments, broaching the subjects of dark matter, anti matter and super symmetry to seek answers to the deepest questions in science. A discovery made will tear open a rift into a world of infinite unknown and untapped possibilities that will be universally paradigm shifting.

Out of the dozen notable events that are going to occur this year the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris will be among the most noteworthy as it will set the tone of how environmentally engaged we are in the future. The goal of the summit will be to achieve legally binding affirmation from countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to restrict global temperature rises. The involvement of the US and China (the biggest greenhouse gas producers) assures the UN that they won’t suffer the debacle that was the
Copenhagen summit of ‘09 and is quite a positive sign of the summit’s success.
Paris Climate Change Summit UN United Nations 2015


It would appear that 2015 also bodes well for Hollywood. The year will see the continuation of several legendary series and the end of a couple more.  

Avengers Age of Ultron 2015 Antman Marvel Phase 2

Marvel finishes the second phase of its illustrious cinematic universe in 2015 with the upcoming Antman movie and the even closer premiere of Avengers: the Age of Ultron. 

Mocking Jay part 2 2015 Hunger Games  

2015 marks the conclusion of the grandiose Hunger Games series with its final installment The Mocking Jay Part 2 which will no doubt end with a, spoiler alert, glorious bang.  

Jurassic World 2015 Park dinosaurs

Universal Studios finally reinitiates the fourth official movie in its blockbuster Jurassic series. Get ready to see your favorite reptiles, and some new genetically modified lizards, on the big screen, once again in this larger than life installment titled “Jurassic World”

Mad Max Fury Road 2015  

Speaking of bleak futuristic worlds, the gritty post-apocalyptic series Mad Max rises from the ashes of yesteryear getting its fourth sequel. 

Star Wars VII The Force Awakens episode lightsaber 2015However, Star Wars VII steals most of the thunder and lightning of 2015 and rightfully so as the continuation comes 10 years after the release of the last Star Wars chapter, in an episode aptly named the “Force awakens”. It will follow 30 years after the events that transpired in Star Wars Episode VI “The Return of the Jedi”, the cast of which will be returning and joining a new set of actors. Star Wars VII heralds the coming of a third trilogy in the epic saga. 

What to Expect from Me in the Future

Phraseology will be a series of articles, you could expect every other week; seeking the origins, discovering the history, unraveling the mystery and dissecting the meaning behind idioms, phrases, proverbs, expressions and even quotes from every culture and every country around the globe .  
Digging up Diamonds shall be an on an off sequence of pieces about my random stumblings across gems; be it an underrated game, an unsung TV serial, or a forgotten flick, that demands to be shared with the world.                                 

I invite you to check them out when I publish them soon, but till then please pore through my articles of 2014, the links of which are all below.  

Meet Krampus

Dear Readers I’ve had much support from you over the last year and I hope to win your affection this year as well. 

As for my usual parting, or perhaps welcoming words of wisdom, this time, I say to you……

Stay away from the light and don’t,in any circumstance, soil yourself.

Wishing you all the very best for the New Year

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