Thursday, April 29, 2004

My bad...

I ended up printing out the map of lovely Haverhill and it's environs, that I posted last time, just to remind me of...... well, something or other. And on the printable version of the map it shows it a little more of Essex to the south. And I found a town with possibly a better name than, the fantastically named, Six Mile Bottom.

In fact I'm such a nice bloke I'll put a new link to a slightly more southerly map here. If you look in the bottom right-hand corner, north-west of Sible Hedingham, there is my new favourite named town, or I guess village in this case. The place is called Grass Green. Only in Essex could you get a town named Grass Green.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

nigger.... found in Guinea; big bottom... found in Cambridgeshire

For some reason I've been strangely fascinated by what other words could ni**er be other than the obvious. So I turned my looking glass towards the Oxford English Dictionary, which claims there are a stunning 28 definitions for words which fit this pattern in the Second Edition. Although many of these are multiple definitions.

The highlights include: nibber   which is the instrument that puts the nib or point on a pen; nicher   either a neigh/laugh or to neigh/laugh loudly; nicker   which means many things; nidder   which is a variation of nither; niffer   an/to exchange; nigger   for which the first entry is nigger... found in Guinea and the last is nigger... found in work (as in work like a nigger... which means to work hard, on the off chance Big Ron is reading this); nimmer   a pilferer; nipper   one who nips or a close-fisted miserly person or a thief or `A boy, a lad. Also, a girl; a child of either sex; the smallest or youngest of a family.'; nither   to humble,oppress, etc.; nitter   which is last but not least ‘The horse bee that deposits nits on horses’

So there is today's educational post. Frankly, anything that gives me the excuse to write the word pilferer is a wonderful thing. Particularly as I can reminisce about the bus from Haverhill (where I unfortunately spent far too many years) to Cambridge, which went through a little town called Horseheath (or maybe it was Linton I'm thinking of, anyway here's a map of the region). In Horseheath/Linton about 10 years ago there was a building site with a sign reading "Pilferers will be prosecuted"... I always wanted to get off the bus and steal the sign... never did though.

Oh, and if you look at the map again you'll see what great named places there are near where I used to live... Streetly End, Shudy Camps, Dullingham, Helions Bumpstead, Wiggens Green, Withersfield, Chimney Steet, Barnadiston, Steeple Bumpstead, Saffron Walden (just off the bottom of the map), Westley Waterless , Assington Green (for those of an American spelling disposition) which curiously enough close to Pound Green and Mount Pleasant, Stradishall (which just sounds great) and of course the greatest named town in all the world, or at least one of them, Six Mile Bottom.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Profanity... it's f***ing disgusting

It's strange how seemingly disparate things sometimes become connected, at least for a brief period of time.

Firstly, the <insert positive adjective here> Neil Gaiman posted an entry dealing with profanity. And in particular he mentioned that a bill has been introduced before the House of Representatives which seeks to ban seven specific nasty words and phrases that should be deemed profane. Now I'd heard about this bill a couple of weeks ago on the excellent The Daily Show, but when I'd looked for it online I couldn't find it anywhere. Seemingly Mr Gaiman has better sources or googling ability than me. And I guess because the bill has all these naughty words in it, I didn't get to read about it in the mainstream press.

Here's the full text in all it's glorious... um glory.

To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.


December 8, 2003

Mr. OSE (for himself and Mr. SMITH of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.

I find this list just fascinating. The exclusion of crap, bollocks, bugger, bastard, cock (when not associated with sucker), wanker and arse.... yes I just wanted to write some rude words. But I do wonder if I could get away with saying 'arse' on television, if this bill was ever passed. And how taking the piss out of someone is the same as calling him a cunt. I'm also amazed at the lack of racial slurs from this list... but more on that later.

Then I read this story about CBS showing images of the dying Diana Princess of Wales, and I thought hmm showing someone dying that's not obscene. I don't really give a shit that she was Princess of Wales (in a small confession, I have to admit I didn't much like in her life), but whoever she was it ain't nice to show piccies of her bloodied dying body (do you like the cow by the way). But I'm sure this broadcast received very few complaints as we here in America we all love blood and death, but when we don't see Janet Jackson's tit 200,000 people complain. To my mind at least there is something wrong with.... well a lot of things.

Today my third link decided to get in on the act. As Football365 reported on Ron Atkinson getting sacked/resigning for making racist remarks whilst he was still being transmitted live to the Middle East. Now when I first read about Big Ron's indiscretion it was from a Yahoo news feed that (I think) came from Reuters. It reported Big Ron as saying: "...f****** lazy nigger" and I thought how strange they aren't sensoring the word that actually got him sacked. Cause, truth be told you can say fuck this and cunt that all you like and no-one will bat an eyelid, however if you say the n-word (nigger... just wanted to say it) then you can get yourself in some serious shit. Well you can if you are white... or in Ron's case some strange reddy colour. But now if you look at any of the stories on Yahoo, Ananova or the above Football365 story they've worked out that nigger is an offensive word, and in fact it's the offensive word that got Ron sacked. So now the quote is reported as "f***ing lazy thick ni**er".

Not that I ever saw the point in sensoring words like this. I mean what else could ni**er be? According to Merriam-Webster: nibber, nicker, niffer, nigger, nigher, nimmer, nipper, nipter, nither and nitter.

Oh and in case your thick like me. A nimmer is a thief..... I got bored and didn't look up the others which I didn't know.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The joy of driving..... and google

I'll give you an idea of how interesting my typical Sundays are.

Yesterday I drove to New York with a friend of mine to pick up his girlfriend from the airport. It takes about 4 and half hours to drive from sleepy State College to the mighty Manhattan. Once we got to New York we had lunch in a nice sushi restaurant in a very gay (as in the boys there like other boys as opposed to everyone's happy .... although everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves) region of town. Before walking around for quite a while, I guess mainly in the village and soho... but I don't really have much of a clue about what the different areas are called. And then there was some looking at the nice shiny things in the apple store (I want an ipod!! And I'll stamp my feet and moan until I get one. Or at least wait until my tax return comes through and then um and ah trying to decide whether I want a big 40G one or a littler 20G one or a very little mini- one.) After achieving my original aim of finding the shiny things store we set off to look at the Flat Iron building, which is my favourite building in New York. On the way there we saw magic tricks and anti-Einstein theorists and a multicultural food market place, all sorts of fun things that you don't really see hear in lovely State College.

Then it was back to the car, off to JFK, hang around for an hour or so before the immigration people finally let go of our friend. By which time it was around 9pm, and we set off homeward. Once we had negotiated the twin tunnels and crossed Manhattan we started thinking about getting a bite to eat.... which was the start of our downfall. You see, it turns out that 10 o'clock on a Sunday evening is some sort of a watershed time for restaurants in New Jersey. It took us nearly two hours to find somewhere to eat, well find somewhere and eat there, and it was at an all night truck stop. As you can imagine the food was less than ideal. Is ten o'clock really so late to eat food?

Anyway, I've been rambling. The moral of the story is that I went for a 12 hour round trip just to spend three hours wandering around a city. And this was a good Sunday for me.

And now for something completely different. For the last month or so I've been using retro stats to keep track of how few people actually glance at this website. I'm not quite sure why. It feels somewhat narcissisticanarcissisticl. Well it would at least if lots of people looked at the site. But anyhow, it keeps all sort of interesting factlets such as language, operating systems, referrers, etc. My favourite page though is the one which keeps track of what search terms were used to find my musings. On this list are a couple of people who were looking for the country which are strangely named guy from a rap band comes from (trying not to further encourage this linkage). But there are also one or two more interesting search times. My personal favourite is the guy (I guess) who was looking for "dirty bitches in guildford". But I also liked "ryan's syndrome" (which it turns out exists.. sort of) and "ryans bus times" (I just have no idea what it could possibly be about). Needless to say I find it all very amusing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

DVDs and taxes

I've just spent a very enjoyable weekend in bed with a cold and a copy of the Freaks and Geeks DVD. Until a couple of months ago I'd never even heard of the show. In fact I'm not quite sure where I did first here about it. Maybe it was from my Amazon recommendations or maybe it was from an interview with the creator of the O.C (which I quite like by the way). But anyway, from somewhere or other I heard about this show and then everywhere I looked I saw it mentioned and compared, favourably, to other TV shows which I liked. So, last week when it came out on DVD I decided to buy a copy. And now I'm in love.

Firstly, I'm in love with the show. How did this show get cancelled after 18 episodes? (not my fault I lived in London when this show aired.) It's got to be the best show ever created that deals with people going to school. The characters are so believable, as are the situations they find themselves in. Gone is the saccharin sweet bullshit coating that surrounds almost ever other "teen-drama" I've ever seen. Gone are the happy Hollywood endings. In comes some of the best music ever to grace a television show, and one of the best ensemble casts of young people and not young people that's been put together. As a show I can't fault it from start to finish.

Secondly, I love the DVD. This has got to be the best use yet of all the space you've got on a DVD, or 6, by a TV show. It comes packed with deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, auditions, 29 commentaries and more. There's even a commentary done in character by three of the teachers, and some by fans of the show. After I'd watched all the episodes I started listening to some of these commentaries. The one overriding thing that comes out of the DVD commentaries is how much everybody enjoyed working on the show and how proud they all are of what they ended up with. And I can't blame them... I only wish I'd splashed out the extra 70 odd dollars for the special edition which came with all sorts of bells and whistles that the standard edition didn't have. If there is any justice, and let's be honest there rarely is, then this DVD will sell lots and lots and lots.

Lastly, there's Linda Cardellini...... another girl added to the "hopefully in another life" list

Today, I spent a not entirely enjoyable day filing my tax returns. Would it be possible to devise a more confusing and contorted system? Well okay, it probably would be possible but it would take some effort. Although it wasn't all bad, at the end of the day I'm getting a fairly substantial refund and my local form contains the following question.

"Has your state of federal income been changes as a result of an audit in the past 3 years?"

And the moral of the story is: don't just use a spell-checker, actually read the documents you produce. Come on it's not so hard to do it right.

Righty-ho I'm off now to continuing watching the 7th Season of Buffy on DVD. (I do occasionally do things other than watch DVDs... just not this week) It's all very exciting, I've got to be one of the view Buffy fans in the English speaking world who haven't actually seen this series, due to my never being in a country while they are showing it (America after, Britain before, Switzerland .... don't know what they are doing in Switzerland). So it's all new and shiny for me. Anyway.....<Slopes off into the distance to curl up and watch DVDs>

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Me.... big girl's blouse?

I was just looking on the BBC news website when I came across this story. And I was wondering, am I a big girl's blouse for feeling all squirmy about the idea of somebody sticking a bit of metal into my eye ball?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Giddy highs.... and, whatevers the opposite of giddy, lows

In the last week or so I've received three letters from the social security administration. The first of which was asking me to tell them my social security number, as they had 000-00-000 on file from my employer.... because I couldn't get a number until the INS managed to hold on to my name and nationality simultaneously. The second letter told me that they would be sending me my social security card in the next two weeks. And then yesterday I received my card and number. Which leaves me wondering if I still need to reply to the first letter...... ho hum, guess I will anyway.

Strangely enough, I think the social security administration is actually competent. Of course compared to the INS/BCIS/USCIS/DHS they could not really help but appear competent. The only thing the SS people managed to mess up is to do with the name of the multinamed beast of fuckwitdom. On the card that my lovely new SS card came attached to (well I say SS card, shabby piece of paper would probably be closer to the mark) it says, and I paraphrase outside the quotation marks: if you are a dirty foreigner who happens to have been allowed to work here in our glorious country for a temporary amount of time then your social security card will be stained with "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION". Whilst on my SS card, i.e on the same piece of card/paper as the above message, it says "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION". Quality control at it's very zenith.

Now that I have a SS number I am finally in the position to be refused credit due to my lack of credit history in the US. I applied for a credit card with my bank, well actually with MBNA, today... so in the next month I should find out how much, if anything, I'm worth.

Sadly, this weekend brought me the disappointing news that those nasty people in charge at FOX have cancelled, with immediate effect, my new favourite show Wonderfalls. Although in all fairness to FOX the fact that only 2.9 million people watched the last ever episode to be aired (on FOX), compared to say the 10.2 million unimaginative fuckwits who watched the 40th repeat of The Ten Commandments, probably made it's demise inevitable. I just hope it finds a new home on a different network or in a dvd box set, so that I can see the last 9 episodes.

I've also discovered from the boards of that Tim Minear a co-executive producer/writer/talented bloke to have around the place who helped to create Wonderfalls, is a nice bloke. His niceness level puts him on a par with the, previously peerless, Neil Gaiman. Mr Minear is so nice that he even personally answered my question about how 20th century fox (the tv studio that made Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Wonderfalls) is related to FOX (the network that cancelled the last two). I also found out he's currently doing jury service.... no point to my mentioning it, just thought I would.

Lots of other stuff... but it's late and I'm sleepy. Oh yeah I love my new furniture. It's all very pine.