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

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:

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

Or this:

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

2 See this terrifying article.
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?
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

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!
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.

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

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