Friday, March 28, 2008

Imperfection Still Works

It deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihngs dno't hvae to be pfrecet to sitll wrok.

Taken from "Walking Tall - Overcoming Life's Little Challenges" by Anthony Gunn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What's in a name?

Here's a classic case of mediocrity lending itself to magnificent humour. In this case, the author's knowledge (or lack thereof) of animals makes for quite an interesting "Lost" poster.

Text reads:

  • Cat found!
  • Male
  • No collar
  • Light tan with grey & black
  • Not very friendly, I think he might be scared.
  • Not house broken :-(
  • Found Jan 23 on Sydney Rd
  • If he is yours please call...
And the picture is of...well...not a cat!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Diagnosis: Mediocre

Warning: If you do not wish to know what happens in Season Three of Doc Martin, please discontinue reading this post NOW!

I have cast the final episode of Doc Martin, Series Three, into the realms of mediocrity for two reasons. There is, of course, the obvious reason - a not so happy ending. But more mediocre than that is the following exchange of dialogue:

Martin: I thought if I just ... sat there, it would be in your best interests.

Louisa: Humiliating me as I stood in the church alone would be in my best interests would it?

Martin: Well you weren't going to be in the church.

Louisa: Well at least I had the decency to write you a letter.

Louisa's final line there bugs me no end. Surely, honestly, the scene should have played out like this:

Martin: I thought if I just ... sat there, it would be in your best interests.

Louisa: Humiliating me as I stood in the church alone would be in my best interests would it?

Martin: Well you weren't going to be in the church.

Louisa: You didn't bloody well know that!

Let's hope the mediocrity of the Series Three finale paves the way for greatness in Series Four.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Zero Punctuation

The English language is a complex beast. One false move and you've completely misrepresented your meaning.

Would you apply for the following position? "Wanted - person to wash dishes and two waiters". I guess it depends how good looking the waiters are!

Would you let this firm mow your lawn? "Don't let lawn mowing kill you - let us do it for you."

How quickly a Board Secretary can become a Bored Secretary.

And who hasn't struggled with a sentence like, "Over there is where they're going to build their campfire".

I'm certainly no expert in the field - I was at University before I learnt the difference between its and it's - but now that I am well on the way to mending my own mediocre spelling and punctuation efforts (well maybe not spelling), I find I notice the errors of others much more readily.

One can never be too quick, however, to cast nasturtiums. For it is from mediocrity that greatness is often born.

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, a game reviewer for "The Escapist", uses a complete lack of punctuation to great effect. You can check out his reviews at (infrequent course language warning):

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Goodbye to the Normals

Children are odd creatures. At times they seem so stupid and yet at other times you can only marvel at their brilliance, their wisdom, their innocence, their insight and their thoughtfulness. Children are great advocates of mediocrity ("So what if the person in my picture has two heads, one arm and a tree growing out of their bellybutton? I think it looks great!") and great challengers of its use also ("You seem to have put those peas rather close to my potatoes. I therefore cannot eat either unless you re-dish my entire dinner, including my cup of milk!").

A fine example of children challenging mediocrity can be found in the short film "Goodbye to the Normals". Enjoy! (Mild language warning).

Mother: Um, banana sandwiches.

Son: Are they Fair Trade?

Mother: Well, they're organic.

Son: Is that what I asked you?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Talk to the Hand

It can be challenging to accept mediocrity in yourself. It can be more challenging to accept it in others. After all, we know we ourselves are only human and prone to the occasional error. But what excuse do other people have!?

Mediocrity in manners may be the one area where I struggle to find reasonable justification for its acceptance. And I'm not alone.

Lynne Truss's book "Talk to the Hand - The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door)" is a wonderful affirmation for all those people who have found themselves annoyed by any of the following:

  • people who can't say please and thank you (is it really that hard?)

  • people who talk too loudly in public

  • people who talk too loudly on mobile phones in public

  • people who talk on mobile phones when they are supposed to be talking to you

  • service industries that make you serve yourself (to lodge a complaint about this service, press 9)

  • people who believe the universe exists solely for them (oops, I ran over your kid, but they did get in the way of my Hummer and my life)

  • people who don't give a thank you wave in traffic, when you allow their needs to precede your own (thereby forcing you to behave in a despicable manner yourself)

  • people who don't clean up after themselves (little piggies)

  • parents who believe their children are born knowing everything they need to know about life and therefore (a) get cross with them when they don't know everything (b) fail to correct poor behaviour

  • people in general

Find out more about the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life at:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Near Enough is Good Enough

It's not good enough to accept mediocrity merely in the things you do that are hidden from the world. To truly set yourself free from the stress of perfection, it is necessary to be mediocre in all you do, including those things on public display. No one has embraced this notion more whole-heartedly than those in the "translation" business. Haven't we all had a little giggle at those crazy knife packages that contain a warning to "Keep out of children"?

You can explore the stellar mediocrity of translators at the following site:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Curl of a Wave

Nature is a powerful force and frequently we are at her mercy. Dylan Moran once commented that when Australians aren't barbequing, they are throwing themselves into the ocean, which is full of things designed to kill you. I was once asked what the point of going into the surf was. The questioner postulated that, more or less, you are trying not to die - trying to beat nature at her deadly game of throwing you to the ocean floor, dragging you out to sea, or sending you hurling back to shore.

That may be true, but only on a bad day. On a good day you are at one with the ocean. There is great pleasure in riding your boogie board in on the curl of the wave. It doesn't have to be fancy trickery. Just grab a good looking wave and make a bee line for the shore. Cap this off with a fine dismount. I find struggling to stand in ankle deep water is always impressive. If you can grind your boogie board into the sand, centimetres away from the towel of a horrified 5 year old, this is also good. Perhaps my finest moment (most mediocre moment), however, was on my very first outing with a boogie board (prior to this I enjoyed body surfing like a demented turtle, once a year or so). Looking down the barrel of a wave about to crash (too late to catch it, too inexperienced to duck roll under it), I stared it down, board in front of my face. The wave then taught me a lesson. It smashed the board into my forehead with the full force of angry nature. I was fortunate to leave the beach that day with an egg and not concussion. Lesson learned. Perfection in boogie boarding - never to be learned.

Read about Caroline Catz's (Doc Martin) boogie boarding experience at:


Monday, March 10, 2008

The Beauty of Cut Grass

There are few joys in life that can surpass the pleasure of surveying the lush green of a freshly mown lawn (well actually there are thousands, but let's not be nit-picky) - the rambling mess transformed into millimetre perfect uniformity. It's only as you remove the dirt from your ears and the clippings from your eyes, while simultaneously reinserting the folds of skins that have been mercilessly torn from your bones by rocks propelled from the mower blades at the speed of light, that you notice there amongst the beauty lies a rogue blade of grass standing centimetres above the rest. Mediocrity.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Welcome to the "Middle of the Hill", a blog designed to celebrate all that is average, ordinary and mediocre. Too often we spend our time striving for perceived excellence, expending energy in the search for perfection, when in reality, true brilliance is already right before us, not at the top, but in the middle of the hill.