A slice of life in translation

What is the worst thing since sliced bread? Or, to look at it another way, what is the best thing since sliced bread?

These questions are being asked in two polls being run by the Times Online and news.co.au. If you want to vote, you have to do so by tonight (UK time, 10 July); the winner(s?) will be announced tomorrow, Friday 11 July.

The catch? You can’t decide for yourself what is the worst or the best thing. You have to select from a list. The “worst” list is: Neighbours, reality TV, double-yellow lines, Sudoku “in the paper” (?), soy sausages, Crocs, loud ads on TV, sliced bread, the Health and Safety Executive and “fluoro” clothing. The “best” shortlist is: Victa lawnmower, World Wide Web, Penicillin (medical use), Penicillin (discovery), Sudoku (yes, “in the paper” again), the dishwasher, the Ute, Hills Hoist clothesline and Tim Tams (a chocolate biscuit).

According to the very limited information supplied by the Times, this shortlist was drawn up by news.co.au asking readers to nominate the best and worst Australian inventions. The Times implies that there has been a similar poll for “British” invention, but does not provide a link to that, so I wonder if this accounts for the eccentric nature of the two shortlists? I don’t think I’ll be voting, anyway, as it isn’t exactly hard to think of better or worse things than those provided in this rather superficial exercise. I have learned what annoys some people in Australia, though.