Pedant Rant

I’m a pedant.

No, not a paedo. A pedant.

Indeed, I’m unashamedly a pedant.

I’m not a full-blown, grammar-Nazi type of pedant. I understand that sometimes in our rapid-fire social media response environment, the occasional ‘your vs you’re’ oversight is going to happen. In fact I know I’ve done it myself, once.

No, what I cannot tolerate is blatant ignorance or downright laziness, or flagrant Americanisation*

*note my proper English spelling of ‘Americanisation’ vs ‘Americanization’. I will not be gratified by your American mother-tongues**

** Those who know me well, know this to be patently untrue, at least in the literal sense. Which leads me to the first of my pet peeves:


‘Misusing literally’

You say you ‘literally’ could eat a horse.

No, either you ‘figuratively’ could eat a horse, or you’re an obese horse-muncher. Either way, I don’t want to spend any more time in your presence.



Despite the fact that it is not an actual word, can you believe that through sheer volume of misuse, enough thick people have brought this word into the popular vernacular? The irony is the literal interpretation is in direct contradiction to its intended use. In fact it is virtually a textbook example of irony. Prefix ir- and suffix -less, make ‘irregardless’ a double negative, rendering its usage quite redundant.



Speaking of irony? Anyone who uses detail-orientated on their resume truly is not, by definition, detail-oriented. Another error in common use that shits me to tears.


‘I could care less’

Irony klaxons sound again. If your intention is to show that you do not care, adopting the phrase ‘I could care less’ shows that you do care, at least a little bit, in order for you to have the capacity to ‘care less’.

Here is David Mitchell explaining it, rather well, along with highlighting some other quaint, American bastardisations:


No. While ‘supposably’ is technically a word, albeit an obscure one, context dictates that you really should use ‘supposedly’ every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. Supposedly and supposably are not the same thing. So stop it, fucktard.



Sorry, ‘snuck’ is not a word, despite it having ‘sneaked’ into the vernacular. If ‘snuck’ is a sign of the evolution of our language, then I think I’m going to have to become a creationist… or go live in a cave… or both.



This is not a coffee beverage, no matter how briskly it is served. And I know you’re not French, so don’t try it on.


People who say ‘arks’ instead of ‘ask’

This really arks me up. What are we, in kindergarten? If I let that slide, you’ll soon be asking me to ‘pwetty pwease, take me the ‘hop-spital’.


‘Could of’, ‘Should of’, ‘Would of’

No, no and for fuck’s sake, no! It’s ‘have’ people!

‘Have’ is a verb. ‘Of’ is a preposition. Verbs are action words. Prepositions provide the relationship between words. For example, “I should ‘have’ run away from the pedant, before he chided me to within an inch ‘of’ my life”. See the difference? If not, you should probably start running.

I understand the complexities of written versus spoken English, in that you may think the contraction ‘could’ve’ sounds vaguely like ‘could of’. Or maybe you’re not thinking at all? That’s a distinct possibility.

The only time it is correct to use ‘could of’, is if you were perhaps to ask:

“Could ‘of’ be used to replace ‘have’ in this instance?”

Even then, the answer is no.


‘Useless Acronyms’

Whenever someone enunciates an acronym that contains a greater number of syllables than the component words from which the acronym is comprised, it helps me to understand why the aliens continue to fly straight past us without stopping in for tea.

A prime example is the “www” used in URL’s. “Double-u, double-u, double-u” uses thrice the number of syllables as “world wide web”. So don’t fucking say it! It’s tautologous once you get to the domain anyway. So instead of leading in with ‘double-u, double-u, double-u dot’, just say ‘pornhub dot com’. Capiche?

Now to conclude (while I’m ranting about acronyms). You know what really gets my goat (aside from goat poachers)?



I put the blame for this one squarely on your shoulders, Drake. I hope Madonna gave you rabies.

Dear reader, use YOLO in my vicinity, and you may soon come to realise just how short life is.

One small codicil. I will allow cats to use YOLNT. They’ve earned it. Up-bup-bup-bup-bup. Don’t say ‘earnt’, or I’ll hurt you.

*leans in to whisper*

And listen closely – I’ve hurt people before, and not one of them has come back and asked me to please hurt them again…

I started writing about clickbait. What happens next will astound you…

Once the only annoyance on the internet was a Nigerian Prince with a big heart, an even bigger wallet and a suspicious lack of family and friends to help him out of his bind.



(art by @seemikedraw)

But then along came “Clickbaiting”.

As an executive who makes his living almost exclusively in the e-world, I am conflicted about my feelings on the topic of clickbaits.

I am acutely aware of the immense e-commerce driver relating to “click” volumes. In fact it is the life blood of my industry.

However there is good clickbait. And then there are the soul sucking dementors of the clickbait world – clickbait headlines.

But what is clickbait?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines clickbait thusly:

“(On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page”

I don’t know why they had to preface the definition with “on the internet”. It’s not like you can clickbait in the “real world” – although this pub comes pretty close.



Now in my industry, clickbaiting is a good thing. A necessary thing. And those who excel in this art form are highly sought after and compensated accordingly. On the internet, traffic is key.

Clickbaiting, from an e-commerce sense, can be a way of attracting customers of a target demographic to your online presence, with the hope that once suitably lured, they will do business with you.

What I object to, is clickbaiting purely for the sake of jacking up site visits, essentially in order to provide compelling data to attract advertisers to buy space on your site.

And as usual, the satirical people at “the Onion” news source tell it best.

“All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs.”

You will often see clickbaiting on high volume platforms, such as Facebook. What I’m referring to here is those teaser headlines that purposely withhold information from readers, such as “Insurance companies HATE this new trick”, “She dropped some change in a homeless man’s cup. What happened next will make you cry” and pretty much anything linking to “Upworthy”…

(indeed this Upworthy generator is pretty much on the money –

It’s no surprise you see this kind of thing all over your Facebook feeds. Facebook loves a good clickbait, as much as a Black Widow Spider enjoys a nice post-coital snack.


Is it any coincidence that Buzzfeed and Facebook could spoonerise their names and become the alliterative “BuzzBook” or “FaceFeed”?

Look, to their credit, as a result of overwhelming feedback, Facebook have more recently introduced initiatives to reduce the amount of clickbaiting showing up in newsfeeds.

The irony of the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on this story is not lost…

But look, the thing with clickbaits, is they’re easy to spot, as they are particularly formulaic.


x happened to y, you:

  1. will be amazed at,
  2. won’t believe, or
  3. will be stunned by, etc

what happened next.


Watch this:

  1. to learn,
  2. to find out,
  3. to discover,
  4. to see, etc
  5. what happened next,
  6. an amazing fact about,

iii. how you can be better at,

  1. what went horribly wrong with, etc.

this particular topic

I miss the days when real newspapers contained the essence of the article to follow, nestled succinctly within the confines of the headline. It was an art form in itself. For example “Russia Says It Pulled Troops, but NATO Sees No Sign.” As opposed to “Russia Says It Pulled Troops. What NATO saw next will blow your mind!”

People don’t need to be lured if a story is truly interesting. That’s the problem with clickbaiting. Even at their best, these types of clickbait headlines are shameless hype. At their worst, they’re downright deceptive. Very occasionally, clicking turns out to be worth it and you’re glad you bothered. More often than not it’s a total fraud and you’ve clicked for nothing. It’s known as the “curiosity gap”.

I think Shakespeare summed it up perfectly:

“O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?!”

Yes Romeo, I will, you balcony shouting, sexed-charged pre-pubescent. Keep it in your pants.

But let me just wrap up by saying that researching clickbaiting resulted in me having to click on a lot of bait. I now feel dirty, hollow and empty. A small part of me wanted to throw it all in and go Amish, but I just know I’m not good enough at working with my hands to make a good fist of it. (see what I did there?)

Instead I have reached a point, where I now refuse to click on anything resembling clickbait. I urge you to do the same. Any time you see the words “what happens next will…” I want you to raise your middle finger at the screen, and keep on scrolling past. You can also shout “fuck you, you fucking fucks!”, but experience tells me that will put you at risk of being politely escorted out of the First Class lounge.

But there is a shining light, in the intense blackness that is clickbait headlining.

And it’s this guy:



He clicks on bait, reads the article, and provides a quick Twitter synopsis, so you don’t have to.   I love this guy.

My faith in this planet is now restored. The reason why will astonish…


^^^ Sorry, not sorry

Sydney: Terrifying? Yes. Terror? No…

Let me preface this post with the following clarifying statement:

The whole situation was abhorrent, and this post does not diminish the horror, fear and sadness inflicted on the hostages and their families, along with the brave Police .

Was the Sydney siege terrifying? Yes.

But was it a terror attack? No.

Two innocent people who were just going about their daily business are now dead, their last hours spent in torment and abject horror. The survivors will bear the scars, both physical and mental, for the rest of their lives.

All because of the actions of one unhinged, attention-seeking lunatic. To label him a Muslim is unfair on honest, peace-loving Muslims.

Man Haron Monis was a scumbag. A human scumbag. A scourge on our species. Nothing more, nothing less.

Forget his religious persuasion. This was a nutball who transcended all faith. In fact he used his faith as a guise to commit heinous sexual assaults on trusting women. He treated his faith, like he treated everything in life, to suit his own selfish, self-indulgent ends.

Yet the media networks gave him everything he wanted – 24 hour rolling coverage across every available channel – fuelled by the need to fill up dead air space or to beat out the competition in the race for taps, clicks and ratings.

The media’s handling of this event was quite frankly deplorable, and they put hostages’ lives at risk by telecasting updates on Police positions and tactics. Yet they are quite unapologetic about it.

The Daily Telegraph’s spin was arguably the most atrocious:



While Police spokespersons continuously referred to the situation as a “Siege”, the media kept referring to it as a “Terrorist Attack”.

Tori Johnson – the man who died, reportedly executed, after grappling with the madman to give fellow hostages time to flee – was an out-and-out hero. He was also gay, although mainstream media are tip-toeing around that, and I’m not sure why.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott labelled Kate Dawson, the other civilian casualty who selflessly died shielding a pregnant fellow hostage, and Tori as “good people”. Not good enough to marry his partner of 14 years, according to Tony, but good nonetheless. But I digress.

This was not a terror attack orchestrated by the Islamic State. Yes, an Islamic State flag was listed as one of this demands. But if he truly was representing the Islamic State, surely they could have FedExed him a flag, and a couple of bumper stickers.

No this was not about religion. It was not about culture.

This was a last stand by a man who felt (wrongly) persecuted by a society that had handed him endless second chances. At least a few too many, it would appear. Bail for being an accessory before and after the fact for the murder of his ex-wife? Heads will roll, and spin will be spun on this one in the coming weeks.

But the bottom line was, this was an isolated act undertaken by a crazed individual. He may have held extremist views, but at the helm, he was just plain unstable.

Therefore it should not have necessitated the #illridewithyou campaign. That being said, I have no objection to the sentiment, especially in light of the way the media portrayed the events. And regarding those hand-wringers who are trying to turn this into an intellectual debate by saying “Doesn’t this just potentially label, and therefore further fuel ostracism of Muslims?”, “Isn’t this just ego-driven patronising by attention-seeking hashtaggers?”

No. I don’t think so. I think the sentiment is positive. And it’s an offer, not an order. The Jews could certainly have benefited from more people standing alongside them, or speaking up in their defence. I don’t see this campaign as a bad thing, in light of recent events.

But while these tragedies bring out the best in people. It also brings out the worst.

I hate people who take selfies at the best of times, but taking a selfie of a hostage drama as your backdrop? Give yourself an uppercut.

2 3 4


I hope these narcissistic twerps are named and shamed.

And while I am a massive supporter of Uber, the stories that drivers were using the drama as an opportunity to charge markedly ramped up fees to ferry people out of the city centre was a blight on humanity.

So what have we learned from this tragic event?

These things bring out the worst in human nature.

The selfies and the Uber drivers. Abhorrent.

Politicians love waxing lyrical, and milking every last self-serving minute out of the tragedy.

Mainstream media are a throng of rats, fighting over every scrap of market share they can get their nasty, gnawing teeth into.

But then these events bring out the best in people. By all reports, the Police were exceptional. Calm and courageous. Selfless and brave.

We’ve also learned time and time again that events like this also throw forth heroes, who bravely step up when life throws them in the midst of turmoil – making the ultimate sacrifice.

I know who I want to focus my attention on…


Dat Fuckrant

I mean, Fat Duckrant.

I’m angry, dear reader.

Nope, I’m beyond angry. I’m furious.

I haven’t been this enraged since “Firefly” was axed. *mutters* Fucking Fox Network suits.

Why am I furious?

I didn’t win the ballot to secure a reservation at the “The Fat Duck” pop-up restaurant in Melbourne in 2015. I had over 20 entries into the ballot via family/friends/employees.

I feel like saying, “But, do you know who I am?!”

(Sorry, I have to run off on a small tangent, because that “Do you know who I am?” remark reminded of the brilliant Eddie Izzard “Death Star Canteen” piece that was recreated using Lego characters. I could watch this over and over for hours. I won’t. But I could, if I wanted to…)

But Gaz, I still don’t understand why are you so upset?

I know Heston. I love his work. We’ve gone to some of the same events together (see section 9 here: I’ve dined at The Fat Duck in Berkshire, UK on several occasions, and I was excited to see the new creations he would be introducing in Melbourne.


Now in fairness, I know Heston didn’t personally review all 89,000 booking requests as part of the ballot. If he had, I’d be on the fucking list.

And I realise it was an automated ballot system. But that doesn’t make me any happier. I want my fucking Golden Ticket(s), Wonka!

So where to from here?

Hunger strike? Fuck no. A hunger strike to get a reservation at a restaurant is like fucking for virginity, or fighting for peace.

Now my only option is to secure a place on the “Waiting List”. The fucking waiting list. Is there anything worse? Fine, I know you’re going to say “What about the Holocaust”? Well this is a close second.

Failing that, I need to find out which one of my dear acquaintances did chance upon a reservation in the ballot and politely grovel for a seat at their booking. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate the notion of even contemplating that.

I hate owing people. *shudders at the thought*


The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us!

Is it any coincidence that an anagram of “The Zombie Apocalypse” is “Zesty Ebola Hippo Came”?


Think about it…

But here are the cold facts. The World Health Organisation currently predicts that within a mere two months, there will be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases PER WEEK in West Africa.

If this assessment wasn’t grim enough, they are also predicting that the death rate will be around 70% – which is fearfully high for any disease.

“So Professor Gaz, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?”

“Yes I would, Kent”.

For those of us fortunate enough to live in the first world, we are relatively safe. For now.

The good news? Ebola is not highly contagious.

Wait, what?! But Prof Gaz, just above you say it is spreading like wildfire?!

I did. But calm the fuck down.

Ebola is not easily transferred – unlike influenza or other airborne diseases that can be transmitted through sneezing, for example.

Ebola may only be acquired upon contact with blood (or other bodily fluids… yurghh) of an infected human or animal. The virus can enter the body via infected droplets (blood, vomit, faeces, semen… I repeat, yurghh) through broken skin or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

Since it is not airborne like flu, very close direct contact with an infected person is required for the virus to be passed on. Infection may also occur through direct contact with contaminated bedding, clothing and surfaces, or contaminated medical equipment such as needles, syringes or surgical tools, but again it requires close, direct contact.

Once Ebola is inside you though, it rapidly multiplies in the blood, taking over and attacking cells, and replicating itself.



Ebola, I don’t want you inside me.

However, since close, direct contact is the only way it is transferred, Ebola “in theory” should be simple to control and contain. But then again “in theory”, Communism works.

So why is Ebola escalating? Why can’t we control it? Why can’t we contain it?

There are a multitude of reasons, but these are the key ones.

The Lack of a Cure, Fear, Money, Education, Stigmatism, and Bats. Fucking bats. Let’s run through them.

Lack of a Cure

Since Ebola was first identified in 1976, every outbreak has been contained with strict hygiene – isolation of patients and suspected patients, ensuring staff wore suitable protective clothing, and properly carried out cleaning and disposal of clinical waste.

There have as yet been no drugs to do the job because developing them is extremely expensive, and, until now, the major pharmaceutical companies have not seen enough of a market to justify the effort. That’s changing, fortunately, but we’re not there yet. Scientists are logically focusing their efforts on two approaches:

  • treatments to help people already infected with the virus
  • vaccines to protect people from catching it in the first place

Both are in clinical trials, but the forerunning treatment has been fast-tracked into production, and with some success.

“Fuck the clinical trials”, say those who are infected. “Test on me. What’s the worst that can happen?”

The Zombie Apocalypse. That’s the worst that can happen. But with the recent proliferation of zombie films flooding the market, no-one can say they’re not at least partially prepared…

*Gaz taps his ol’ faithful baseball bat*


The greatest fear, is fear itself.

Bullshit. The greatest fear is fucking zombies. Then clowns. And then maybe fear. But zombies are definitely first. And don’t get me started on zombie clowns.

Fear should be the reason why we ARE striving to contain Ebola. Fear is a justifiable feeling, given the circumstances. Ebola is fucking terrifying.

But fear can also hamper the process. The problem is that many individuals fear that they will be isolated if they so much as sneeze. So they hide away until the symptoms become too severe. By then, there is an increased chance of transmission to others, and a higher chance of mortality.



The Australian Government has committed around $18m in financial assistance towards fighting the disease. Sounds nice, but Mark Zuckerberg and his missus have just committed $25m, and Bill and Melinda Gates last month donated $50m. Which kind of puts things in perspective.

*Australia has also drawn the line at sending health care workers to assist on the ground. That message alone feeds the fear notion. “If trained professionals won’t help us, what can we do?!” And they’re right.

The problem? Developing a cure is downright expensive. And the large pharmaceutical companies have not yet deemed that the cost justifies the focus of effort, for the relatively small volume of product that would have needed to be dispensed for previous, smaller outbreaks. But with the current outbreak being the largest ever, they must be getting close to a tipping point.

However the potential for a preventative vaccine should have the pharmaceutical boffins rubbing their hands in greed. What’s the population of Africa again? Did someone say “Cha Ching”?



All in all, the World Health Organisation and the UN estimate that they would need roughly $1bn just to tackle the outbreak. So far $507m of that has been pledged by government bodies, private businesses and individuals. So we’re halfway there, which is encouraging. But we’re still only halfway towards what is a massive, massive number.



Probably the two key battles here are embedded cultural customs and the lack of literacy.

In terms of culture, there are a swag of customs and habits that contribute to the spread of Ebola. The proliferation of “bush meat” in the diet, burial ceremonies where families are intent on hugging the deceased, and a general lack of hygiene – seriously, so few carry hand sanitiser in their purses…

There is also a problem when the target community has a poor ability to read. If you can’t read, this sign seems to tell you that hugs, pouring your pumpkin spice latte over your hands, thumb wrestling, keeping exotic pets and Nanna’s secret recipe, fruit bat stew will all help to keep Ebola at bay.

That sign really needs those red strikeout lines through the circles, Ghostbusters style. Think marketing people, think! It’s not rocket surgery.



Hands up those that now have the Ghostbuster theme stuck in their head. Sometimes I wish Ray Parker Snr had just opted for the blowjob…



Aside from the stigma faced by Ebola survivors, or families of those who died – which is terrible in itself – it is the stigma relating to the perceived risk of allowing care workers into villages for fear of them bringing contamination with them that is the major fly in the ointment.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s natural, human nature. But it is hamstringing the ability to control the disease.

Many Ebola patients who are treated in hospital EARLY will survive and recover. The earlier the treatment, the greater the odds of recovery. If health professionals are blocked from reaching infected communities due to the stigma of the perceived risk of these health professionals *bringing* the virus with them, then the potential for early treatment is eliminated. Furthermore, it impinges on the ability for sanitising and disinfecting affected communities and controlling the spread.

Again, this harks back to education. And in the third world, it is much more difficult to spread the true message.


Bats, Fucking Bats

Namely fruit bats. These fuckers can be Ebola carriers. “That’s great, I fucking hate bats”, you say. “I hope they all die of Ebola”.

The problem is, bats are immune to the virus. As if there was another reason to fucking hate bats.

Side Note: Talking about hatred of bats reminded me of a funny bit by Chris O’Dowd on the Graham Norton Show. He is a funny bugger:

The fact that bats are immune is one of the key reasons why Ebola is difficult to contain. Bats continue to spread the virus, even if the human spread is controlled. This is why there have been repeated, but well spaced-out breakouts in Western and Central Africa since the first Ebola outbreak in 1976. Again, the bats either can’t read, or worse – totally ignore, all of the Ebola advice signage. Fucking bats.

And to all of my Australian friends. Please note the regions marked with dotted lines, in which these fruit bat carriers currently proliferate:


Fuck you New Zealand!

So what now, good reader?

Reach into your pockets, friends and donate some of your hard-earned.

The “Centre for Disease Control” and “Doctors Without Borders” are currently channelling their efforts towards the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

You could do a lot worse than to send a few pennies their way.

Failing that, start working on your double-tap.