Tuesday, 30 June 2015

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

More Than Dumb

If you haven't been keeping up with the headlines, Greece is currently in some financial hot water. The country will probably be unable to afford its 1.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan payment due tomorrow, and if they default, that could have some serious repercussions for the rest of the world. In anticipation of Greece's nonpayment, stocks havealready fallen in Europe and Asia, as well as in New York. 
British visionary Thom Feeney has a plan to make this problem go away: a crowdfundingcampaign intended to bail the needy country out of debt. The seemingly-futile project is currently on Indiegogo and has a long, long way to go until it reaches its goal of 1.6 billion. 
"All this dithering over Greece is getting boring," Feeney writes on his campaign's page. "European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people of not. Why don't we the people just sort it instead?"
Potential rewards, depending on your level of support, include a postcard from the Prime Minister, an olive and feta salad, wine, and a Greek island. 
Of course, Greece needs a lot more than just the funds required to repay the I.M.F. to pick itself out of debt. (We're also fairly skeptical that Feeney will be able to get his hands on an island to reward one very generous donor.)
If you're thinking about contributing, the pressure's on: the equal-parts-silly-and-depressing campaign has yet to raise even one percent of its stated goal.
MF

Viz Bits

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.48.21

And You're Getting Full Anyway

The better the appetizer, the worse a main course will seem, according to a recent study by a culinary scientist and a psychologist. Participants who ate better quality bruschetta didn’t like the subsequent pasta dish as much as those who ate a worse appetizer.
The study, published in the journal Food and Quality Preference, analyzed the reactions of 64 subjects who ate the same main course of pasta with olive oil and garlic but ate different appetizers. Half of them received an appetizer of bruschetta made with high-quality ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. The other half ate a lower-quality, blander bruschetta made with blended olive oil, dried basil, and no lemon or vinegar. The bruschetta with fresher ingredients was deemed more delicious than the other appetizer—but the downside is that it actually made participants rate their main course as less tasty.
Jacob Lahne, the Drexel University food scientist who led the study, attributes this to contrast. It can be hard not to compare two foods eaten in rapid succession. One will always taste better, even if they’re each delicious in their own right.
"It's always worth remembering that our experiences are contextual—that is, what we like and don't like, or taste and don't taste—is not objective, but related to the environment, our state of mind, and many other variables,” Lahne explains.
On the other hand, if you eat a terrible appetizer, maybe your dinner will taste amazing.
MF

The South Will Not Rise Again- 3

7
The Nation of Islam leader who called for the American flag to come down

The Nation of Islam leader who called for the American flag to come down
Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, said of the flag controversy, “We need to put the American flag down because we've caught as much hell under that as the Confederate flag."

Farrakhan said, “White folks march with you because they don't want you upsetting the city, they don't give a damn about them nine.” He added that when the police took suspected shooter Dylann Roof to Burger King they were saying “You did a good job. Kill all them [bleep.]”

Check out the speech below:(Source | Photo)



8
The descendant of Jefferson Davis who believes the Confederate flag should be removed

The descendant of Jefferson Davis who believes the Confederate flag should be removed
Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-great grandson of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, said the Confederate flag should be retired to museums.

Hayes-Davis – who recently served as director of historic Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis' home in Biloxi, Mississippi – said the flag has "become a symbol that divides our country."

"It is time that this flag be folded and placed in the right historic perceptive and locations."

Myrlie Evers, whose husband, Medgar, a Mississippi NAACP field secretary, was assassinated in Jackson in 1963, said the support of Davis' descendant gives her hope that change will indeed come, not only with the flag, but in other ways as well. "It is good to see this emerge after all this tragedy," she said. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)

The South Will Not Rise Again- 2

4
The talk show host who wants to ban rap music alongside the Confederate flag

The talk show host who wants to ban rap music alongside the Confederate flag
This debatable logic came courtesy of Fox News' Sean Hannity on his radio show in the days after the Charleston shooting. 

"A lot of the music by those artists is chock full of the n-word and the b-word and the h-word, and racist, misogynist, sexist anti-woman slurs none of those retail executes would be caught dead using,” he said.

Hannity managed to work President Barack Obama's family into the conversation as well.

"If it's OK for Obama's teenage daughters and people to go into these stores and buy music chock-full of the n-word, the b-word, well maybe we should consider banning that too,” Hannity said. “We're in the process of banning everything. Just a thought.” (Source | Photo)



5
The police officer who was fired after posting a picture of himself in Confederate flag boxers

The police officer who was fired after posting a picture of himself in Confederate flag boxers
A North Charleston police officer has been fired because he posted a photo of himself wearing Confederate flag boxer shorts.

Shannon Dildine, who was a sergeant and with the force since 1996, was sent a letter from Police Chief Eddie Driggers detailing why the department let him go: 

“On Tuesday ... the City learned that you posted on Facebook a photograph in which you were wearing only a pair of boxer shorts emblazoned with the image of the Confederate flag. Your posting in this manner led to you being publicly identified as a North Charleston Police officer and associated both you and the Department with an image that symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve.”

Driggers also said Dildine could compromise any criminal cases involving minorities because a defense attorney could use the photo to call into question his motivation for making an arrest. (Source)



6
The entertainment company that will stop the licensing of products which include the Confederate flag

The entertainment company that will stop the licensing of products which include the Confederate flag
Warner Bros. has essentially announced the death of a cultural icon.

The “General Lee,” the 1969 Dodge Charger driven in the CBS TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, has taken its last ride with the old south. The Warner Bros. consumer marketingteam has announced a decision to stop the licensing ofGeneral Lee toys and other items featuring the flag. The car, however, will still be seen on T-shirts, minus any signs of its trademark banner.

“Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the Confederate flag on its roof — as it was seen in the TV series,” a spokesman for WB said. “We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories.”

Ben Jones, former Dukes of Hazzard star and former GeorgiaCongressman (D), is also a "proud member" of the Sons of Conservative Veterans (SCV). He also owns a chain of Cooter's Place stores in the South. He said he would stop selling Confederate Flag item when “hell freezes over.” Jones also noted that he believes the Stars and Bars represent the heritage and values of the South which include “courage, family, and good times.” (Source 1 | Source 2)

The South Will Not Rise Again- 1

1
The computer giant that completely censored the Confederate flag only to backpedal a day later

The computer giant that completely censored the Confederate flag only to backpedal a day later
In June 2015, Apple banned all apps using the Confederate flag. However, a day later, they started putting some Civil War games back into the iTunes App Store. Why?

An Apple spokeswoman said: “We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines. We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.” She added that Apple has been working with developers to reinstate their games.

The computer giant called app developers HexWar Games to let them know that one their games, “Civil War: 1863,” was back on sale without needing any changes. The other three, “Civil War: 1862,” “Civil War: 1864″ and “Civil War: Gettysburg,” were not immediately put back.

The Scottish game developer believes Apple has an issue with certain Civil War games if they feature the Confederate flag on icons and screenshots that appear prominently in the App store. (Source | Photo)



2
The activist who removed the flag from the South Carolina capitol herself

The activist who removed the flag from the South Carolina capitol herself
Just a few days after the tragedy unfolded in Charleston, activist Bree Newsome climbed a flagpole in Columbia, South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag that still flies in front of the Capitol building

Newsome is a 30-year-old organizer from Charlotte, North Carolina. She had reached the midpoint of the flagpole—about fifteen feet—when police ordered her to come down. Newsome defied their orders and continued to climb to the 30-foot top and remove the flag. She had come prepared, using tree climbing equipment to get to the top.

She paused in her descent to declare, “I come to get you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”

As she came down from the pole flag in hand, she uttered prayers and told awaiting police that she was “prepared to be arrested.” Police took the flag out of her hands, helped her over the enclosure, and she was taken away as a gathered crowd applauded her actions and chanted, “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Newsome and her spotter, activist James Tyson, were arrested and charged with defacing a monument and booked into jail. 

A crowdfunding campaign for Newsome's bail, set up by the activist group Credo, met its $20,000 goal in three hours. Less than 10 minutes later, it was up to $25,000.
(Source 1 | Source 2)



3
The YouTube channel that attempts to explain what the official national flag of the Confederacy really is

The YouTube channel that attempts to explain what the official national flag of the Confederacy really is
C. G. P. Grey is an eponymous YouTube channel featuring short, explanatory videos. While controversy over the Confederate flag still rages, the company has posted a new video explaining how the flag we now know as the Confederate flag wasn't the national flag of the Confederate States of America. They had many national flags, but the flag you see above was never it. 

Many of the flags the Confederates adopted and used in battle were very similar to the flag of the Union so they were always changing, from an all blue to the real stars and bars, to a white background flag, to a white background flag with a red bar at the time they surrendered. But the flag we know as the Confederate flag was a battle flag used by the army and navy to differentiate itself from the Union, not the government flag.

So, though the design of what we thought was the Confederate flag was used in certain elements, it was never actually used as the flag of the Confederate government.

For a more detailed description of flags used by Confederacy,watch the video below:(Source | Photo)

Oddee

Sunblock Roulette

Sun cream confusing
The needlessly confusing labels on bottles of sun lotion are a covert way of reducing the population and improving the gene pool, it has been confirmed.
As it was revealed that the “SPF” factor only refers to half of the damage that the sun could do to your fat face, sun cream executives were forced to admit that they were part of a hideous plot.
“Very clever of you, very clever indeed” said Norman Felch, CEO of Mostly-For-Show Sun Lotions, while clapping his hands slowly and stroking a big, white, fluffy cat.
“We thought that if we put a big label on the sun lotion saying “SPF 50” then you would all blindly obey; and most of you did, God rest your souls.”
“But now it seems some of you have worked out that you also need to check the star rating for UVA rays, the pie chart for UVZ rays, and the venn diagram for rays TBC.”
“Now we will have to curb the population some other way, we may even have to go back to making ‘healthy’ smoothies.”
Members of the public have been shocked and baffled by the news.
“I’m shocked and baffled” confirmed Frederick Grant, a dangerously pale man from Somerset.
“Surely that massive number on the front of the bottle should cover EVERYTHING, not just certain bits of that massive ball of fire that’s definitely trying to kill me.”
“That’s like buying a front door that keeps out 30% of my ex-wives. It’s just not good enough.”
“Sod it. I’m just going to take Billy Connolly’s advice and go to the beach in a welder’s suit and a diver’s helmet.”
NT

Viz Bits

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.46.02

'Ello John, Got a New Motor?

It may look like a world of balloons and bad tweed. But making a living on the lot is anything but a Sunday drive.

1. THEY READ YOU LIKE A BOOK.

I don’t care what anybody says, verbally,” says Prentiss Smith, the general manager at a Toyota dealership in Brookhaven, Mississippi. “If they pull up on our lot, they might say they’re not ready to buy, but that’s not true.” Salespeople watch for subtle signs to read your mind. “If it’s a trade-in and I’m doing an appraisal, I see how much gas is in there,” says Daniel Wheeler, an Oregon-based Hyundai salesman. “If it’s a quarter of a tank or below, it’s usually a fairly good sign [a customer is] ready to purchase.” David Teves, a California-based salesman who writes the blog Confessions of a Car Man, says he can determine a customer’s mood by the parking spot they choose. “There’s a place at the end of our lot we call ‘Laydown Lane’ because the people who park there are too timid to park out front. They’re either total ‘laydowns’—which means they buy whatever you want for whatever price—or they have extremely bad credit.”

2. THEY ARE SPEAKING IN CODE TO EACH OTHER. (YES, ABOUT YOU.)

A potential customer is an “up,” a new salesperson is an inexperienced “green-pea,” and a buyer with no credit history is a “ghost.” Taking up too much of a salesman’s time without actually buying? You’re a “stroke.” If you’re lugging paperwork around—like newspaper ads or car reports—you’re a “professor.” And “one-legged shoppers” are customers without their spouses, which is a regular excuse for why they can’t buy right now—gotta ask the old ball and chain!

3. THEY BELIEVE THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NEW CAR AND A NEW PUPPY.

The best lingo appears when a customer is on the fence about buying a car: That’s when, sometimes, dealerships will insist they take the car home for the night. This is called “puppy-dogging.” Mark McDonald, a career car salesman and author of the “Car Salesman Confidential” column at MotorTrend.com, explains: “When customers show it to their friends and neighbors, they will make such a fuss over it—just as they would a new puppy—that they’ll have no choice but to buy it.”

4. THEIR CO-WORKERS ARE CUTTHROAT.

Forget about the high failure rates, pressures to sell, and potential debts to their employers. Car salespeople also have to endure brutal tactics used by fellow salespeople. For example: It’s your day off? Opportunistic coworkers might tell your loyal customers that you’ve been fired, sell the car themselves, and keep the commission. “Some people would step over their own mothers to get that car sale,” McDonald says. They also risk life and limb whenever buyers take them out on a test drive. “I once went for a ride with a drug dealer in Oakland who took me on a test drive to collect drug money,” Teves recalls. “Any test drive when you come back alive is a successful test drive.”

5. THEY KEEP THEIR EYES ON THE PRIZE.

“Sometimes, a piece of inventory just won’t sell, so the general manager will keep lowering the price,” Wheeler explains. The dealership loses money on these cars, but the salesperson still gets commission. If a car is proving particularly hard to sell, some dealerships hand out cash prizes, called “spiffs,” to whoever finally sells it. As a salesperson, “you could make $5000 to $10,000 a year on spiffs alone,” McDonald says. In fact, the first car a salesperson usually shows you is a spiff. Instead of promising a specific cash amount, some dealerships have their own “wheel of fortune” with various spiff prizes on it. Salespeople could get $100, or they could get nothing, depending on where the wheel lands.

6. DESPITE THE FUN AND GAMES, THEY’RE NOT ROLLING IN DOUGH.

The average car salesperson’s salary in 2012 was just under $45,000. And it doesn’t come easy. Many salespeople work purely on commission, meaning they only make money if they sell a car. “We’re not paid anything for standing there 12 hours a day and not selling,” says McDonald. “And if I work a whole week and don’t sell a car that week, I make nothing. When I do finally sell a car, I might make a minimum commission, which at my dealership is $125. When you divide that by 60 to 90 hours a week, it’s nothing.” Smith agrees, citing an average success rate of about 20 percent. “We lose in this industry a whole lot more than we win.”

7. IN FACT, THEY MIGHT OWE THEIR BOSS MONEY.

If a salesperson has a dry spell, some dealerships will let them draw against their commissions until they can pay it back. In car sales lingo, this is called being “in the bucket.” McDonald says, “Once you get in the bucket, it can be very hard to get out. You could owe $4,000 or $5,000 after two or three months. When that happens, the only thing you can do is quit.”

8. LOTS OF MOVEMENT ON THE LOT? MUST BE A SLOW DAY.

One strategy for luring customers is to rotate the vehicles around the lot to convey a busy, vibrant environment. “I tell my guys all the time to go out there and move the whole front line of cars,” Smith says. “Play musical chairs with the cars and customers start moving in. Action creates reaction.” And while there’s no concrete evidence to support it, an unspoken rule is that balloons somehow sell cars. On slow days, salespeople go nuts with them. “I worked at a dealership where you had to put 150 balloons out every day,” Teves says. “By the time you were done, you were exhausted. You didn’t have any energy left to sell a car.”

9. THE JOB IS GOING THE WAY OF THE DODO.

In 2015, more than a million Americans work at car dealerships. But that could change. Thanks to the Internet, people now walk into dealerships with their minds already made up. They don’t need—or want—a salesperson’s pitch. It makes sense that some dealerships are trading in their inflatable gorillas for online ads, as the Internet is by far their top referral source. In 2013, brand activity on Twitter alone drove $716 million in car sales, according to marketing analytics firm MarketShare. In other words, for better or worse, selling cars is becoming less of an art that involves human interaction, and more of a science that doesn’t.

10. BAD REPUTATIONS STING MORE THAN YOU’D THINK.

In a recent Gallup poll, car salespeople were ranked as some of the least honest, least ethical professionals in America, just above members of Congress (who came in last) and below bankers, lawyers, and ad professionals. This stigma has genuinely negative effects: According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Selling, awareness of this stereotype hurts job performance. When they feel they’re being judged, salespeople don’t try as hard; they think they’ve already lost the sale. Customers then see the salesperson as detached and uncaring, and aren’t as likely to buy—and the cycle perpetuates! Managers can help, the study suggests, by training and providing support and empathy for salespeople. Customers can try to keep an open mind. And the salespeople themselves? They can build relationships, follow up after a sale, and remember honesty is the best policy. After all, as Smith says, “It is our responsibility to help change their opinions.” Of course, that, like puppy-dogging andthese things, could just be another hard sell.
MF

Dilbert

Dilbert Goes Into Hiding - Dilbert by Scott Adams

8/10 Cat Owners

A new study has revealed that the vast majority of humans now find their cats make more sense than their managers.
“My manager called me in the other day,” said hapless wage slave Simon Williams.
“He told me that we needed to drive together to square the circle of the customer parameter.”
“He then started shouting ‘f**k yeah,’ and pounding the desk.”
“I just backed away slowly and tried to avoid eye-contact.”
“No idea what all that was about. On the other hand, my cat purrs when he’s happy, which I get.”
The finding reveals that 90% of managers’ communication is meaningless buzzwords and the other 10% is swearing, whereas cats will softly butt your ankles with their head if they’re hungry.
“Whilst it’s impossible to say if cats have become more intelligent,” said Professor of cats; Peter Taylor.
“We can be certain that the preposterous nature of management-speak has reached such a level that it’s basically nonsense.”
“Cats, small babies, French people, they all now make considerably more sense than your manager.”
However managers have refuted the study.
“We are where we are,” said manager Mark Hammond.
“And it’s important that going forward, we simply re-enforce the values of the brand awareness of managers in respect to 1-2-1 interfacing.”
He then shouted ‘f**ksticks,’ and went off to a four-hour meeting about a mission statement.
NT

Quote/Unquote

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?
Scott Adams
US cartoonist (1957 - )

Origins

Peg out

Meaning

Die.

Origin

peg outThis phrase is widely thought to have been taken from the scoring in card games like cribbage (a.k.a. crib), in which the score is kept on a pegboard. The game ends when the first person 'pegs out'. That view may be correct, but there doesn't appear to be any conclusive evidence to support it.
That use of 'peg out' in card playing is first recorded in Hardy & Ware's The Modern Hoyle,1870:
"He may with a very poor hand be just able to 'show' or peg out."
Cribbage is quite an old game and John Aubrey in his biographical work Brief Lives, said that Sir John Suckling, (1609 - 1641?) "invented the game of cribbidge". This seems to be a reliable account and is supported by other contemporary evidence. It may be then that the term 'peg out' was used prior to 1870 but wasn't recorded.
Whether or not 'peg out' was used in the card game, it isn't conclusive that this usage is the origin of the 'to die' meaning. That figurative use is first seen in the USA in the 1850s, but no early citations of its use with that meaning refer to cards. The first record of it that I've found is in J. M. Field's Job & his Children in America's Lost Plays, 1852:
"To think what a blessed mess of piety one's got into, and 'bleeged to keep it up until Daddy Day pegs out."
The term was obligingly defined in the Ohio newspaper The Marysville Tribune, in October 1855:
"Peg out" is a slang phrase for die."

The Phrase Finder

Abley

Worst human being of all time and occasional musician, Kanye West, is to be executed next week after making a complete scrote of Queen’s unqualified rock classic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Under the Treason Act of 1702, any person seen to be seeking to usurp a monarch will be disposed of by the state.
Technically, the Act only refers to actual queens and kings, rather than rock bands that happen to be named after the same position.
“We’re glossing over that bit” said a spokesperson for Her Mercury’s court, “there are some things you just don’t do, ever.”
“Covering ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is one thing, but what kind of jumped-up, inflated little shart-captain tries to better Our Lord Freddie Mercury and then FORGETS THE FUCKING WORDS?”
“Everyone knows the words to that song. Literally everyone. Even people who have never HEARD the song can sing it the entire way through.”
“This represents a deliberate act of treason on the part of Kanye West, and so, for that reason and many, many others, he must die.”
Kanye West won absolutely nobody’s support by declaring himself “the world’s greatest living rock star” on a Glastonbury stage.
“Seriously, he wasn’t even the greatest living rock star at that festival” said music expert, Kim Walsh, “even bloody Hozier have greater rock star credentials than Kanye.”
“Maybe nobody told him that he was performing at the same festival as The Who?”
“Or maybe he just isn’t aware of any musicians other than himself. That might explain why he’s always referring to himself as the greatest; he simply has no other frame of reference.”
“But don’t worry about that last bit. Help me rig up this electric chair, would you?”
Taylor Swift has already volunteered to pull the power-lever, saying “Kanye, I’m gonna make sure you finish, because this is gonna be the greatest execution of all time.”
“P.S: Fish sticks.”
NT

Showboating

Doctor, Doctor, I Think I am Important

In the BBC's series of letters from African journalists, Ghanaian writer Elizabeth Ohene, a former government minister and member of the opposition, returns to one of her favourite subjects: Africa's love of titles.

I simply couldn't resist it after the announcement from the Office of the Gambian President that another title was being added to the already absurd long list of titles held by the president. According to an official release, the Gambian leader will now be known formally as "His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa".

Babili Mansa, we are told, means Bridge Builder, or Conqueror of Rivers, in the Mandika language. Since the figurative building of bridges or making peace is not one of President Jammeh's known characteristics, I take it that it is more the Conqueror of Rivers that the new title of Babili Mansa is meant to indicate.

Gambia's president added a title to his name which translates as "conqueror of rivers"

The President of the Republic of the Gambia, Commander in Chief, Sheikh, Professor Alhaji Dr etc etc Yahya AJJ Jammeh might think he is treading new ground; but unfortunately, we have seen it all before.

The practice of acquiring a long list of titles started with our earliest presidents as soon as independence came.

That, after all, is how our traditional chiefs are addressed and the new presidents saw themselves as big chiefs - that probably explains why they couldn't come to terms with term limits and wanted to be presidents for life.

Exactly why the title of "Dr" had to be an obligatory part of that list, I haven't worked out.

Ghana's first president was the man who started the trend for presidents to add Dr to their title

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence and our first president got himself suitably impressive titles, with the obligatory unearned "Dr" and with that started the practice.

He was addressed: Osagyefo, (a chief's title, said to mean Redeemer) Dr Kwame Nkrumah - Life President of the Republic of Ghana. The Life President bit was aborted when he was overthrown in a coup d'etat.

Joseph Mobutu gained the title "The Warrior who Goes from Conquest to Conquest Leaving Fire in his Wake" but kept the same hat

The sergeant-major-turned-president of Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Mobutu, took the trend a scale higher. He became Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Waza Banga, meaning The Warrior who Goes from Conquest to Conquest Leaving Fire in his Wake.

Malawi's "life president" was forced out of office three years before he died

Those of us of a certain age can recall that there used to be His Excellency the President, Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda-Life President of the Republic of Malawi. If you missed out a comma, you got into serious trouble.

Again, the Life President bit turned out to have been over-optimistic because he was forced out of State House before he died.

The CBE in the letters after Idi Amin's name stood for Conqueror of the British Empire

Then of course there was a certain embarrassment in Uganda; he had to be called: Field Marshall Dr Idi Amin Dada MC DSO CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire)-Life President of Uganda.

Once more, the Life President bit turned out to have been optimistic and he was chased out, much to the relief of everybody in 1979.

His Excellency, The President, First Secretary of the Party, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces remains in power

In Zimbabwe, state TV refers to: His Excellency, The President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

But at social events, ministers often add: Patron of War Veterans, First Secretary of the Party and Chancellor of State Universities.

And even: Supreme Leader, First Citizen of the Nation, Honorary Black Belt and Professor of Diplomacy.

He remains in post at the age of 91 and continues to befuddle all his opponents.

Her Majesty, Elizabeth II has "by the Grace of God" and "Defender of the Faith" in her full title, which is too long to fit in this caption

The obsession with titles as I have pondered in previous columns, is not reserved for only our leaders, it seems to be an African disease. Or so I thought until a friend of mine pointed out to me recently that it is not unlikely that it is something that we inherited from the British colonialists.

Indeed who else has all these Sirs, Dukes, Duchess, Baroness, Viscounts, OBEs, CBEs etc etc? We have probably simply been trying to emulate them.

The official full title of the Head of State from which we got our independence is: Her Majesty, "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith".

Try matching that! The Bridge Builder or even Conqueror of Rivers doesn't quite have the same ring to it.