Miscellaneous Ramblings by Tony Clegg-Butt

Posted on April 3rd, 2011
Categories: News

A friend was telling me the other day of all the benefits of using a Kindle – for those who don’t know and I assume you do, a Kindle is a portable electronic book reader. More precisely, it is a software, hardware and network platform that uses wireless connectivity to enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media. ‘And the best thing TCB’, that’s me, ‘is that if you don’t know what a word means – you simply click the dictionary and hey presto you are in the know’. For someone that usually doesn’t know what long complicated joined-up words generally mean, I thought this is for me. But then a smile, perhaps a smirk (a smirk refers to a smile evoking insolence, scorn, or offensive smugness. A common expression associated with the word smirking is the command, “Get the smirk off your face!) drew a sharp response ‘I suppose you don’t need a dictionary, ever!’. Wrongo, I was actually thinking that no one needs a dictionary for this tidy little e-mag. – we are challenged without doubt at times but easy reading is our goal.

What’s in a word – you know what we are talking about most of the time or you wouldn’t be reading us. I can’t remember what I was reading last night, or am I too ashamed to tell, but the word pissant was used in an exceptionally derogatory manner. Now I always thought I knew what a pissant meant– someone who drinks too much perhaps. Right, wrong? If I’d had a Kindle I could have checked the dictionary couldn’t I! But poor soul that I am, the Internet was the next best solution, albeit a day later – but amazingly still remembered. I turns out that a pissant, also seen as piss-ant and piss ant, is one or the other of two specific types of ant. Its origin is with pismire, a 14th-century word for ant. The term is also used as an insulting noun, and a pejorative adjective. Aaaah, skipping the ant bit – this is what I was after. Pissant is an epithet for an inconsequential, irrelevant, or worthless person, especially one who is irritating or contemptible out of proportion to his or her significance. I know a few of these, as I am sure you do as well. You live and learn, someone once called me a pissant hence my interest in the subject – happy it’s got nothing to do with drinking too much. Alan Doig once said of moi ‘He’s a really nice guy, but he hides it well’. Moving swiftly along, my fellow columnist Steve Shelley has a real go at the Kenya Wildlife Service this month with just cause. Mozzarella feet, as in shot in the foot once too often – not Steve but!  Page 14 awaits you.(www.http://travelnewskenya.realviewtechnologies.com/?iid=46959#folio=014) .

The Kenya Hotel & Restaurant Authority has at last found the funds to launch its new and improved grading system for of all of our hotels, lodges, camp, guesthouses, home-stays and restaurants and probably everything in-between. In a surprising announcement the Minister of Tourism said that he had involved the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission into the exercise to level the playing field and ensure a transparent process. That surely tells us something. No stars for sale I guess was what he meant. I’m still not sure from all I have read, that to be graded a 5-star property you have to have one or more lifts (elevators) which will exclude some of Kenya’s premier camps and lodges who surely deserve this grading. All of this must be super confusing to visitors to the country, let alone us local folk. I noticed a headline on the Ministry of Tourism’s website while doing some research ‘Kenya Joins Other Long-Haul Destinations To Call For An End To Discriminatory Taxes By European Countries’. Which reminded me of a pronouncement by the Minister of Health recently. That to fund the countries antiretroviral programmes, a new form of air tax would be introduced affecting all air travelers into and out of the country. Thankfully no details were divulged. It is hoped the two ministers could perhaps get together for a cup of tea to ensure that they sing from the same hymn sheet in future. I’m sick and tied of our global tax regimes – you don’t know who you are paying and you don’t know who is delivering. Probably none of the above.

I do go on… TCB

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