Current Essays




Here is a collection of notes to various really, really obscure references and puns and other stuff in the essays that, if either of us had a life, I wouldn't be writing and you wouldn't be reading.

-Enjoy! RHB

Yellow Bird Related Essay (516)
1 Waste of time really, as birds tend to have little control over their defecation and 'turd' is probably not the best term to use for the semi-liquid effluvium that they eject. Bananas on the other hand...

2 This contrafactum is confected from a song popular in my youth, "Yellow Bird", which in its turn was taken (loosely) from a Haitian Creole poem, "Choukoun" by Oswald Durand, set to music by Michel Mauleart Monton in the 1880s
Yellow Bird Choukoun (Extract)  Translation By Dady Chery 
"Yellow bird, up high in banana 
Yellow bird, you sit all alone
  like me.
Did your lady friend
   leave the nest again?
That is very sad,
   makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away,?
   in the sky away.
You're more lucky than me"
Ti zwazo nan bwa ki t’ apé
Ti zwazo nan bwa ki t’ apé
Kon mwen sonjé sa
Mwen genyen lapen
Ka dépi jou-sa
De pyé mwen nan chen
Kon mwen sonjé sa
Mwen genyen lapen
De pyé mwen nan chen
Little birds, who listened deep in these
Little birds, who listened deep in these
When I think of this
It brings me such pain
Ever since that day
Both my feet in chains
When I think of this
It brings me such pain
Both my feet in chains

More can be found here and here

3 See here

4 See here

5 Depending on your definition of 'live with' I only did this with two of them. Whether this was consecutively or concurrently I happily leave to the mysteries of the old backward and abysm.
Water Tower Related Essay (514)
1 From their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

2 Back then, at the turn of the '60s, around the age of eleven an exam called the Eleven Plus was taken to determine if a pupil would go on to a Grammar School (and likely go on to University after seven or so years) or, if they failed, to a Secondary Modern School which they would leave at 15-ish.

3 Dick Whittington and His Cat is the English folklore surrounding the real-life Richard Whittington (c. 1354–1423), wealthy merchant and later Lord Mayor of London.

4 The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level, also called the O-level or O level, was a subject-based academic qualification. Introduced in 1951, replaced in the United Kingdom in 1988,

5 Oops! I misremember. Back in Worms I've Viewed I ascribed this to Raymond Gillings, and now I can't remember which was right, so I think I'll just let them both stand and hope no-one notices.

6 An edifice erected by art, and fixed upon or over the soil, composed of stone, brick, marble, wood, or other proper substance, connected together, and designed for use in the position in which it is so fixed. Every building is an accessory to the soil, and is, therefore, real estate: it belongs to the owner of the soil. Cruise, tit. 1, S. 46. Vide 1 Chit. Pr. 148, 171; Salk. 459; Hob. 131; 1 Mete. 258; Broom's Max. 172.—That about covers it!

Hairimeraku Related Essay (513)
If you haven't already been put off the Hairimeraku, this should do the job:
And if that doesn't, there's this:
    Hairimeraku Two
And of course this:
    Hairimeraku Trek III: The Wrath of Camus

The management accepts no responsibility for any physical, psychic or poetical damage done by visiting these pages.
Unheard of Related Essay (511)
1 Things to Come: Attack on the Moon Gun (now, there's a title you don't see every day!)
Foul Related Essay (510)
1 "Parlement of Foules": ll, 301, 310
The Court Historian Related Essay (509)

1 It's definitely worth quoting the whole poem...
The Court Historian by George Walter Thornbury
The Monk Arnulphus uncorked his ink
   That shone with a blood-red light
Just now as the sun began to sink;
   His vellum was pumiced a silvery white;
"The Basileus"— for so he began—
"Is a royal sagacious Mars of a man,
   Than the very lion bolder;
He has married the stately widow of Thrace—"
  "Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

His palette gleamed with a burnished green,
   Bright as a dragon-fly's skin:
His gold-leaf shone like the robe of a queen,
   His azure glowed as a cloud worn thin,
Deep as the blue of the king-whale's lair:
"The Porphyrogenita Zoë the fair
   Is about to wed with a Prince much older,
Of an unpropitious mien and look—"
  "Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.
The red flowers trellised the parchment page,
   The birds leaped up on the spray,
The yellow fruit swayed and drooped and swung,
   It was Autumn mixed up with May.
(O, but his cheek was shrivelled and shrunk!)
"The child of the Basileus," wrote the Monk,
  "Is golden-haired—tender the Queen's arms fold her.
Her step-mother Zoë doth love her so—"
  "Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

The Kings and Martyrs and Saints and Priests
   All gathered to guard the text:
There was Daniel snug in the lions' den
   Singing no whit perplexed—;
Brazen Samson with spear and helm—;
"The Queen," wrote the Monk,"rules firm this realm,
   For the King gets older and older.
The Norseman Thorkill is brave and fair—"
  "Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

2  See, for example:
  Byzantine Iconoclasm
  Albigensian Crusade
  Hussite Wars
  Seven Years' War
  Thirty Years War
  English Civil War
  The Troubles
Though to be honest, it's usually not just slight doctrinal differences that cause the mayhem.
cycle Related Essay (508)
1 See Letter to America: Beautiful Broads for a disquisition on this, and see the last few paragraphs to see just how rotten we were whilst doing it.

2 For more on this lovely and (currently largely) non-existent place see the essay Walk Awhile.

3 Claud Butler

4 Campagnolo

5 Brooks

6 Fixed-gear

7Post Mill

8 Did you know that spandex was coined as an anagram of the word 'expands'? Did you even care?

9 A not terribly veiled reference to the myth of lemming suicide perpetrated by Disney in a 1950's "documentary" and entirely staged, including the poor things being "thrown off a cliff by the Disney filmmakers"! [Grr!!]

10 Probably wouldn't work to say ampersand Ampersand Brewery. Sad.

Visual Aid Related Essay (507)


I think the Cartoon Syndicate is spying on me!
This appeared a mere eight days after my essay.

Related Essay (505)
1 My 'complex' relationship with old Henry is explored in the notes to this essay, and here and, indeed, here.
As I say complex...
Related Essay (504)
1 I mean yours
   American Civil War, 1861–1865
not ours, among which are
   Despenser War, 1321–1322
   Wars of the Roses, 1455–1485
   First English Civil War, 1642–1646
   Second English Civil War, 1648–1649
   Third English Civil War, 1650–16521a

2 Well the most significant figure changing is a big deal.

3 Beccles Camera Club

4 Drool!

5 Not to be confused with he phrase "long-time listener, first-time caller", mine is completely original.

6 Grandfather paradox

7 Texas Rangers Museum

8 Antiques Roadshow

9 Wogdon & Barton

10  Yup, it's one year older than America!

1a a.k.a. the Anglo-Scottish war of 1650–1652

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