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

Baldy Related Essay (499)
1 Or more likely because of this.

2 See this terrifying article.

Related Essay (499)
Hair Today Related Essay (498)
1 Nick Romano said "live fast, die young, and be a good-looking corpse" in Willard Motley's 'Knock on any Door'

2 As Bob Dylan remarked at the time "I'm gonna grow my hair down to my feet so strange / So I look like a walking mountain range" in 'I Shall Be Free No. 10' (1964).

3 How on earth did I get into 'Wizard of Oz' territory?

4 Unisexual? Wouldn't 'bisexual', 'asexual' or 'non-sexual' be more accurate?

Related Essay (498)
The Contras Related Essay (497)
1 This contrafactum was confected many years ago after a particularly wearisome rail journey from Rochester, NY to somewhere forgettable in New Joisey.

2  Sumer Canon
The Sumer Canon also has a modern (at least by it's own standards) winterized version done by Ezra Pound.

I thought it would be fun to put the contrafacta together! I've lined up the syllables for easy substitution. They are:
     1 The Middle English,
     2 The Latin (note that I use u as in the ms for both 1 and 2)
     3 A modernization of the ME
     4 A translation of the Latin
     5 Ezra Pound's winterized version.

        1 Su- mer is      i   -  cu -  men in-, *Lhu -de  sing cuc- cu.
2 Per-spi-ce      Xri  - sti - co- la-, *que  di- gna- ci - o
3 Sum-mer is      a   -  com - ing in-, *loud-ly  sing cuck-oo
4 Pay at- tention Christ-i  -  a -  n-, *what hon-our  it   is
5 Win-ter is      i  -   cu -  men in-, *Lhu- de  sing God- damm
*subsequent voices enter

1 Grow- eth sed  and blow - eth med   and sprignth the w -   de   nu.
2 Cae - li- cus  ag- ri  -  co- la    pro ui   -   tis ui-   ci - o.
3 Grows the seed and blooms the mead  and sprouts  the green wood now.
4 The   Hus-band-man of Hea-ven for   a   blem  -  ish in    the  vine
5 Rain- eth drop and stain- eth slop. And how      the wind  doth ramm!

1 Sing cuc- cu.
2 Fi - li - o
3 Sing cuck-oo
4 Hi - s    Son
5 Sing God- damm!

1 Aw-  e    ble - teth af - ter  lomb, lhouth af  -   ter cal- ue  cu
2 Non  par- cens  ex - po - su - it,   mor -  tis     ex- i -  ci- o
3 Ewe  she  bleat-eth  for  her  lamb, lows   for     her calf the cow
4 Did  not  spare but  did  ex - pose  to     death's des-truc-ti- on
5 Skid-deth bus   and  slop-peth us,   An     a   -   gue hath my  ham

1 Bul - luc  stert-eth buc- ke  uer- teth, mu - rie  sing cuc- cu
2 Qui   cap- ti -  uos se - mi- ui - uos   a    sup- pli- ci - o
3 Young bull start-eth buck he  fart- eth  pret-t'ly sing cuck-oo
4 Who   the  half  liv-ing  cap-tives did  from tor- ment of   Hell
5 Free- zeth ri -  ver turn-eth li - ver   Damn you, sing God- damm!

1 Cuc  -  cu!   Cuc -cu!    Wel  sing-est thu  Cuc -  cu!
2 Vi  -   tae   do - nat    Et   se - cum co - ro -   nat
3 Cuck -  oo!   Cuck-oo!    Well do   you sing Cuck-  oo!
4 Restore to    li - fe!    And  with Him-self crowns them
5 God  -  damm! God- damm! 'Tis  why  I   am,  God -  damm!

1 Ne  swik   thu    na- uer  nu.
2 In  cae -  li     so- li - o.
3 Nor stop   you    ne- ver  now.
4 On  the    throne of  hea- ven.
5 So 'gainst the    win-ters balm.
Various Pedes:
            1 Sing  cuc - cu   nu    sing    cuc - cu
I seem to remember that someone (Dobson?) thought the Lat. pes was
            2 Resur-rexit Domi-nus!  Dominus Resur-rexit! but I can't remember why.
3 Sing  cuck- oo   now   sing    cuck- oo
4 Risen has   the  Lord! Lord    has   risen
5 Sing  God-  damm damm  sing    God - damm

Related Essay (497)
Tea Cures All Related Essay (496)
1 Innocuos Calices et Amicam Vatibus Herbam
Vimque datam Folio —— Thor. de Pœt.
Planta Beata, Decus Terrarum, Munus Olympi!

Related Essay (496)
Silly Related Essay (495)

1 The head office at the time was Mullard House (with its main entrance in Torrington Place) which building is now part of University College London and home to UCL's Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

2 GPO: In Britain at that time the Post Office (the General Post Office) ran the phones. Indeed a few streets over from us the Post Office Tower was a major communications hub (not to mention being the tallest building in London, famously referred to as the Post Master General’s latest erection. I’m not sure why*)

Or was the saying "qui s'excuse s'accuse"?

3 In a name-droppy aside, the humour of this for me being intensified by my having dated one of the numerous Heal offspring for a time.

4 To eff and blind, to use strong expletives, to swear continuously
1943 M. HARRISON Reported Safe Arrival 31 They'd eff and blind till yer ear-'oles started ter frizzle.
1963 P. WEST Mod. Novel II. i. 142 On it goes, the livid effing-and-blinding.
Eff, variant of EF, name of the letter F, euphemistically representing FUCK v. 2, 3.]
(Used as an expletive on its own account, as a milder alternative to the full form of the word fuck, or else as a euphemistic report of an actual use of the full word.)
1950 HEMINGWAY Across River & into Trees ix. 78 ‘Eff Florence,’ the Colonel said.
Blind, used in vulgar imprecations, as blind me! Cf. BLIMEY int.
1890 FARMER Slang I. 230/1 Blimey, a corruption of ‘blind me!’; an expression little enough understood by those who constantly have it in their mouths. 1923 E. O'NEILL Hairy Ape v. 47 There's a 'ole mob of 'em like 'er, Gawd blind 'em!
1922 JOYCE Ulysses 305 God blimey if she aint a clinker... Blimey it makes me kind of bleeding cry.
---culled from the OED

5  I know that the OED says this is an erroneous form of 'Antipodal'---but I say sod them, and sod the alternative form of 'Antipodean'---which anyway ought to be 'Antipodian' ([Antipodean irreg. f. ANTIPODE-S + -AN; perh. after European, but not analogous, a better form being the obs. ANTIPODIAN.]) so there!!

*  Though this might help explain it... and then again, when you start looking around London at, say, the so-called Gherkin you begin to suspect that there is a certain amount of skyscraper envy going on here

That note isn't numbered because I suddenly thought that not all people would get the reference, and was too lazy to go through and renumber.

Related Essay (495)
The Late Royal Related Essay (494)
1 For example:

Related Essay (494)
Shrouded Related Essay (493)
1 See here.

2 See Official Report of the Dig at the Front Room Site, 2021 in the 'Side Project additional 2" section or here.

3 Showing my age. Time was when a movie was screened over and over and patrons could enter at any point and watch the movie starting at any point in its story-line watch to the end, then maybe there'd be some shorts, and finally see the beginning through to the point at which they would say something like "this was where we came in" and then leave, or not...
From Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana Texas 5 december-1935.

And the exception that, if not proving*, certainly illustrates the rule:

*  My misuse of 'proving' is absolutely, definitely intentional: see Proofing Ground.

Finally (mid Octoberish) all done!

Related Essay (493)
Note Feet Related Essay (492)
1 The plural of 'footnote' surely ought, out of common decency, to be 'feetnote': the word 'footnotes' being so predictably sad, boring and, quite frankly, poopy.

2 The fact that they normally call themselves by their initials, NOAA, and that they apparently pronounce this 'Noah' tells you all you need to know about their attitude towards life, liberty and the pursuit of rain; not to mention the quality of their sense of humour.

3 For example there is the ever-popular 'Yellow Snow Warning' which rather surprisingly isn't to avoid eating it.

4 One study, by Halliday et al ("Meteorite Impacts on Humans and Buildings." in the journal Nature, 1985) calculates the rate of impacts to humans as 0.0055 per year, or 1 event every 180 years.

5 That last was a joke for research chemists, and the like sort of person, and was very funny.

6 Actually an 'NPA' covers more than just heat, rendering it even less useful. A list of the things it covers can be found at
Oh! Damn!

7 Which I pretty obviously haven't.

* Damn! I failed!! You'll still have to go to the bloody site!

Related Essay (492)
Broadly Beautiful Related Essay (491)
1 It is, according to the local paper, a quote stolen from Lavengro: The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest, an 1851 novel by East Dereham-born writer George Borrow, in which he includes the following description of Norwich: "...a fine old city, truly, is that, view it from whatever side you will; but it shows best from the east, where the ground, bold and elevated, overlooks the fair and fertile valley in which it stands."

2 Broad: In the slang sense of "woman" in use by 1911, perhaps suggestive of broad hips, but it also might trace to American English abroadwife, word for a woman (often a slave) away from her husband. Earliest use of the slang word suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women. Because of this negative association, and the rise of women's athletics, the track and field broad jump (1863) was changed to the long jump c. 1967.

3 See here.

4 See here.

5 Playle ➔ Pail ➔ Bucket. Simple really. And I have actually essayed on the "other things".

6 And indeed see here.

7 Though, apparently, sometimes size does matter.

8 For all I know they may STILL be there, I haven't been that way in decades.

Related Essay (491)
Unsympathetic Related Essay (490)
1 See Richard Andree: Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche (1878)

2 Quantum Entanglement

3 On the BBC, so it MUST be right

Related Essay (490)

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