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

Foul Related Essay (510)
1 "Parlement of Foules": ll, 301, 310

Related Essay (510)
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.

Related Essay (509)
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.

Related Essay (508)
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 (507)
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 (505)
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

Related Essay (504)
Related Essay (503)
1 Oh! I just remembered its amendments, though I won't bother to amend the essay.

2 Well I am a nerd, how else would you expect me to think of it?

3 And do note that my 'wrong' sort of person may not be the same as yours, and on reflection is quite possibly its diametrical opposite.

4 Things might change, you never know:

Related Essay (503)
Comparison Shopping Related Essay (502)
You might want to compare this with my story.

Or this:

Or even this:

Related Essay (502)
Ambi (not Bambi) Related Essay (501)
1 Have a go! A memory from my youth, a BBC Radio (sort of) quiz show that ran from 1946 to 1967 (I missed the first year, not having been born). Hosted by Wilfred Pickles (a comic with a strong Northern accent) it featured catchphrases such as "How do, how are yer?", "Are yer courting?" and "Give him the money, Mabel"

2  I have dealt with this sort of evil and envious calumny elsewhere see:  Correct not Right, and  Right On, Left Out, and  The Right Sort of Envy


4 Started working? I know I'm retired, but I still do much the same stuff as I did. This time purely for fun, or maybe not as you'll see as you read further.

5 Sinisterity: Left-handed people coin words, so there! *

6 Self-respecting nerd? Now THERE'S an oxymoron if ever I saw one

7 Ahh! First loves!---And no, I’m not waxing sentimental about Mandy Erlenbach, or that girl that time in Barcelona near the Sagrada Familia, nor Bettina Wirtz on student exchange from Hannover or was it Hamburg: no ... no ... you see the other day I saw an article on a news site about some teenager or other who was arrested for making explosives; and it immediately reminded me of my first love...
Indeed my main claim to fame at school, centred on making things that went, if not bump in the night, then bang at preferably the most unexpected of times.
Now-a-days no doubt I would be arrested as a potential terrorist or worse, but even back in those less paranoid times, of course, things still came to a head---quite literally, and indeed to mine! When working on some solid rocket fuel and wearing a safety mask like a wimp I raised the grubby thing for a moment for a clearer view of my work at the exact moment that the mix chose to demonstrate how unstable both it and my fate could be. I ended up in a lot of pain and hospital, with eyes like frosted glass and a face like a jack-o-lantern long after halloween. Finally: I suppose if they HAD been a bit more strict in those days both my eyes would now work as Nature and the makers of Jaws-3D (not to mention those horrible red and green lensed glasses) intended, but what can you do... See my: Busts or Booms.

8 This should really be done in a very bad cowboy accent "Muh seen' eye an' muh not-frightnin'-little-chillen-or-gettin'-muhstaken-for-Polyphemus-an'-gettin'-a-poke-in-the-with-a-burnt-stick eye" but I couldn't do it convincingly.

* Damn! It was already in the dictionary.

Related Essay (501)
Imperator Related Essay (500)
The Title: "Mensura Imperii" as distinct from Imperium Mensura

1   As you might guess it's much worse that that:

2 See this article (especially the video clip)

3 And of course it's even worse than I told you (in fact worse than I knew, not that I'd admitt that). The highlighted areas in this table tell the sad story,

4 UK Heat Waves

5 Jarrold's

Related Essay (500)

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