O.O.S. (Odd Online Searches)


As I find funnier and funnier terms that every day lead people to find my blog from search engines, I thought I’d share the oddest and most frequent ones, inspired by a recent blog post on Justice in Conflict. I’ve just made up the acronym O.O.S. to refer to people’s Odd Online Searches. These tend to show that we now use search engines like a source of answers to any kinds of questions going through our minds …a sort of modern Bible (although most of the times, we do not find answers that make any sense to us or that help us at all!). I doubt many of us realise that blog  owners are able to trace these search terms (although we don’t know who entered these search terms!) – surely, it was a surprise to me when I first noticed trends in online searches leading people to my blog!

The most frequently searched terms

1. i don’t care what the people may say – this search term features in many forms! It makes me wonder whether people are actually looking for the lyrics of Eliza Doolittle’s song (as in my post featuring those terms) or whether they actually search advice or  thoughts on caring about what people say?! Matter of fact is, that due to the popularity of this online search, this blog post has oddly become the most visited of my entire website!

2. chagall  –  which would have led visitors to view this post on Chagall.

3. bin laden – linking to the post on Bin Laden’s death.

Now…read these odd terms / combination of terms entered by people:

– was pack up your troubles in your old kit bag in the film my fair lady? (this makes me seriously laugh: the search terms show that clearly Eliza Doolittle’s name as an artist, inspired by the character played by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady has confused a great number of people!!! In fact, many people have searched for the song lyrics in combination with the name ‘Audrey Hepburn’!)

– proper english lady (not sure if this visitor was happy with what they found on my blog!)

– coffee shop queue graph ( I surely have no queue graphs relating to coffee shops on my blog! Looks like this visitor was engaged in deep sociological research…)

– torino brothel (… now, just because my hometown is Torino and I spoke about Italy’s demonstrations against Berlusconi’s brothels…it does not mean I am an authority on brothels in Torino. Someone looking for “something to do” while in Torino must have been disappointed in finding my blog!)

– bangunan segitiga (I have NO IDEA what that means, hopefully nothing inappropriate or offensive…and how that relates to my blog…can anyone help??)

– red protective gloves (now this search has to be one of my favourites! Doubt the visitor was expecting to find my Kandinsky-inspired glass painting!)

– metaphysical reaction death of bin laden (someone was into deep thinking …)

– kandinsky tattoo (wow! Someone looked at my glass paintings inspired by Kandinsky to find inspiration for a tattoo!)

– more clouds covering the earth study (is this a new meteorological phenomenon I was not aware of? Surely my post about beautiful clouds from the airplane does not help to prove such theory!)

– i was too busy killing osama bin laden (surely you were not THAT busy if you had time to look it up online! This must be the most curious / odd search of all: wonder if I should report this one?! …It might contribute to trace those responsible for Bin Laden’s death! Or maybe I should keep it top secret…)

Tips and Tricks for Effective Advocacy


Now, I am not really a qualified person (yet!) to suggest tips and tricks for effective advocacy. But Iain Morley QC, barrister in a leading set of London criminal chambers, certainly is. His book “The Devil’s Advocate” is fun and provides a light read useful to anyone interested in practical tips for advocacy or, ignoring the strictly law-related references, for general public speaking.

While reading a book on advocacy may seem contradictory (isn’t advocacy the art of speaking?), there are nonetheless tips and tricks that can prove really helpful. Here are some that I particularly liked:

  1. The advocate must assist – not instruct – the court in its decision-making process. In other words, the tribunal has the power to decide. You don’t. No one likes being told what to do, so ensure that you are seen as someone helping out the court and not trynig to win a competition against it. Understand the tribunal’s psychology.
  2. Dress well and appropriately. Well, this one might seem obvious: you must appear formal and like you’re a winner.  However, understanding why is really useful: this goes back to understanding the tribunal’s psychology. if you wear too much colour or too much make up the tribunal will not appreciate it as it will give the impression you fancy yourself. Your clothes and appearance should not distract the court from its core purpose.
  3. Do not be afraid to occupy space in the courtroom. Don’t let your head sink into your chest, make sure your head is up to show you are attentive and in control. This is one of the hardest tips to follow, since it requires a great deal of self-confidence and good knowledge of your submission to avoid looking down to read your notes too frequently.
  4. Keep those hands still! This is my favourite tip: instead of moving your hands uncontrollably (annoying and counter-productive), furiously wiggle your toes. This will keep  you so busy that all the other parts of the body will stop fidgeting. I have personally tried this tip and I have found that it really helps (but make sure you don’t wiggle your toes so much as to lose balance on your feet!).
  5. Write the closing speech when you receive the brief. This will ensure that you know exactly what you want from each witness, although the draft speech should be flexible. According to Iain Morely QC, if you follow this tip, you will find witness handling much easier. I have yet to try this.
  6. Do not assume your judge knows all the law. It is fine to remind the judge of the law. Afterall, judges are humans not machines- they cannot know or remember everything in the law. This tip sounds very reasonable, but I cannot quite imagine myself remind a judge about the law. Somehow, I think I would always feel that the judge knows best. But it is something I will keep in mind while training.
  7. Do not be afraid of silence. This is a really good advice: silence creates tension, it allows to pause between one sentence and another, between one question to a witness and another. It shows you are in control. Most of us, while training, feel the need to fill every silence with sound – obtaining the awful result of saying a lot of unnecessary and annoying things such as “Urmm”, “Ehm”, “Right”, “Mmm”. We must learn not to do it! (note to self)
  8. Ask others what they think. This is difficult. Or rather, asking what others think may be easy, but actually listening and learning from their answers is hard. It’s not about bad intention, but about being human and finding it hard to really see the same problems others see. This week, when I watched the video of my advocacy submission, I was really surprised when noticing good and bad aspects of my submission which I had perceived entirely differently while performing. For example, the pauses I took between one sentence and another felt to me – at the time – like extremely long, and I feared they would look really bad on me. In the video, these pauses were actually hardly noticeable! On the other hand, during the submission I did not realise I appeared ‘too serious’ and this made me appear terribly insecure and nervous. Something to improve on!

This article does not intend to provide advice for advocacy or to provide an exhaustive review of the book written by Iain Morely QC, but only to highlight some aspects which – in the way I understood them – were useful and interesting to me.

If you’ve read the book, which tips did you find relevant to improve your advocacy?

Top 10 Best and Worst Sounding English Words


10 Best-Sounding Words in the English Language

1. Chimes

A set of bells or of slabs of metal, stone, wood, etc., producing musical tones when struck.

2. Dawn

To begin to grow light as the sun rises.

3. Golden

Consisting of, relating to, or containing gold.

4. Hush

Calm, quiet.

5. Lullaby

A song to quiet children or lull them to sleep.

6. Luminous

Emitting light; shining.

7. Melody

A sweet or agreeable succession of arrangements of sounds.

8. Mist

Water in the form of particles floating or falling in the atmosphere at or near the surface of the earth and approaching the form of rain.

9. Murmuring

A soft or gentle utterance.

10. Tranquil

Free from agitation; serene.

10 Worst-Sounding Words in the English Language

1.  Cacophony

Hard or discordant sound.

2. Crunch

To chew, grind, or press with a crushing noise.

3. Flatulent

Affected with gas in the stomach or intestine.

4. Gripe

To complain with sustained grumbling.

5. Jazz

Popular dance music.

6. Phlegmatic

Having a sluggish or solid temperament.

7. Plump

Somewhat fat.

8. Plutocrat

One who exercises power by virtue of his wealth.

9. Sap

The fluid part of the plant.

10. Treachery

Violation of allegiance, confidence or faith.

Lists and definitions from ‘The Book of Lists’ by David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace, Corgi, 1980, p. 157.  Images from the Internet.


What are your favourite / most hated words in English or any other language?