So what's on this page then?

○ How many letters in Nixon?
○ Commonwealth countries?
○ Silly words
○ Go ahead
○ Reach out
○ Out of
○ A really nice word
○ Thoughts from Douglas Adams
○ I love dick
○ Americans
○ We can still laugh I hope

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About this page.

Sometimes I come across something so weird, strange, outrageous, funny, interesting, annoying or just different that I want to record it. So I thought I'd dedicate a page to such oddities. I'll add items to the page from time to time, so keep coming back if you're outraged or weirded out or just amused by anything you see here. Alternatively, if you find yourself to be the guilty perpetrator of any of these enormities please get in touch. For God's sake, please don't reach out (see below).

How many letters in Nixon?

Here in the UK we have a splendid game show called Pointless. Four teams of two offer their answers to various questions, the aim being to score as low as possible. Eg, name an element beginning with M (for a trivial example). Each team offers their element, and the team with the lowest score, ie, the element none of the 100 'test patients' came up with, gets the lowest points, zero being the ne plus ultra. Meitnerium, anybody? At the end of each round the team with the highest score goes home. There's no need to go into greater detail because I'm just bringing you one question and a proffered answer.

Name a US president with an even number of letters in his name

So the first contestant, with a big smug "I've got this one" grin on his face, says

Nixon

Groans from the audience, a barely concealed snigger from the host, and the team partner's eyes raised to heaven. Right, says the host, let's see how many of our 100 said Nixon. Of course, a big red X appears on the scoreboard. To be fair to the contestant, he did at least have the good grace to look acutely ashamed and embarrassed for the rest of the show, while his partner just looked pissed to hell.

But what of the contestant himself? How could he possibly imagine that such a short and simple name could have an even number of letters? I can't even invent a misspelling of Nixon that could boast an even number of letters. Nickson? 7. In fact, I can't think of any other way the name could be spelt or misspelt, other than as Nixxon. But double X doesn't exist in English; there was an entertainer of some sort, I recall, called Foxx, but that was a stage name.

Regrettably, Mr Contestant, I can only conclude that you are a prize moron, an award-winning imbecile, a noted cretin, a Nobel level halfwit - or just an idiot!



Commonwealth countries?

In the same game show as above, the question was: name any of the Commonwealth countries visited by Her Majesty the Queen on her Jubilee Tour recently. Well I would suggest that, at least here in the UK, Commonwealth countries are a fairly easy bet - there are many of them. However, this didn't stop two of the contestants offering:

France

and

Germany

as their offerings. I mean ... what???



Silly words

I call this section silly words, but that's not really strong enough, so perhaps ridiculous phrases or meaningless sentence additions would be better.

Basically
I wonder if this word is somewhat going out of use now, because I feel I'm hearing a little less of it. Whatever, it's a stupid and meaningless misuse of a word which has, even if used correctly, little meaning. Misusers tend to stick it at the beginning of their sentences: basically I'm a tram driver. Or at the end: I'm a tram driver basically. Remove basically from either of these examples and their meanings are entirely unaltered. Silly.

At the end of the day
A probably fairly old expression, which has been taken up by the presumably less educated strata to mean nothing at all. All I want is job satisfaction and a decent salary at the end of the day. Well, I suppose you're happy to be unsatisfied for most of the day, becoming satisfied just at going home time? And salaries are usually paid monthly, not at 5pm each day.

Absolutely
So you're a tram driver are you? Absolutely. What's wrong with 'yes' you dick? The word is popping up more and more every day, it seems, with most of the populace apparently unable to say yes. I wonder what they'll come up with to replace no? Is your work satisfying? That's a negatory? We shall see. Meanwhile I notice that, as an alternative to absolutely, correct seems to be gaining popularity as an alternative to yes.

Basically there are more of these silly words in use in the UK, but at the end of the day we won't stop people using them. Absolutely correct.

Obviously
Another meaningless and really quite annoying word which gets appended to sentences and phrases. If the user is stating something obvious then the word is unnecessary, but most often the word is used when the statement is far from obvious. Just an example recently heard: we'd like to go to Spain for our holidays obviously but we're worried about Brexit and its effects on the Euro. Why is it obvious you utter cretin? We already knew you wanted to go to Spain because we're bloody telepathic!!



Go ahead

I need to express my distaste at an expression nobody from the land of the strange orange man seems able to live without. Why can't you do anything without going ahead and doing it?

I watch a bit of Youtube. I learn about programming, watch reviews of drones, and relax with incompetent Russian drivers. Americans, of course, dominate Youtube and you won't learn or understand much without viewing an American point of view. So why do all of you Americans have to go ahead with everything?

So I've started the motors and now I'll go ahead and take off. Now I'll go ahead and ascend then I'll go ahead and descend. Hmmm, I think I need to go ahead and try again tomorrow as it's a bit windy today.

Once you've opened the screen go ahead and click New then go ahead and enter the name of the program, then you can go ahead and start coding.

You cretins.

We call them satnavs, Americans call them GPS. Here is an imagined transcript of part of a recent GPS session in the USA:
At the crossroads in 50 yards go ahead and go straight ahead. At the next junction go ahead and turn right. You have reached your destination so go ahead and stop the car.

One Youtube instructional was so awful - the guy went ahead in literally every sentence he uttered, that even his fellow Americans made negative comments about it. What is its purpose? Which imbecile started it?



Reach out

What is this? It's a very weird way of saying 'contact' or 'get in touch' which I really don't understand. Recently I visited a local pub with two others for an early dinner on our way to a concert. I had to visit the toilet before we left, and was repulsed by what must have been the most loathsome and filthy stinking toilet ever seen in the history of the world. Dirt everywhere, urine on the floor, used paper towels all over the floor around the long unemptied rubbish bin. I went online and recorded my findings on a review site, and a day or two later received an email alerting me to the fact that a reply had been posted. It was the pub manager inviting me to reach out to him on the phone. Reach out? Why not just ask me to phone him? I invite him to reach out and get some disinfectant off that top shelf.

There's a big company, manufacturer of certain electronic equipment. They have a busy online forum. It seems that every time somebody posts something about a difficulty or problem with the equipment, the first response is usually a comment from a representative of the manufacturer thanking the poster for reaching out. Further, if there's a major problem with the equipment, the poster is invited to reach out to their support personnel. Reach out?

I always thought that to reach out was to stretch or move one's body in order to retrieve something, like a pen on the other side of the desk. Why has it become a synonym for contacting? Very silly indeed.



Out of

I'm from a place called Newbury, in the central south of England. I am not out of Newbury. Regrettably I need to point another finger at our friends from the land of the strange orange man for this, though it seems to be arriving on our shores now. Watch any American feature film and you're bound to hear about a scientist out of Houston or about somebody's father who is out of Alabama.

On a TV programme called University Challenge, two teams from different UK universities compete in a tough quiz. At the beginning, contestants introduce themselves. This is an edited version (Names and places changed) of what I heard this week:
Hi, I'm Jason from Manchester
Hi, I'm Marie from Bournemouth
Hello, My name is Charlie and I'm from Reading
Hi, I'm Chuck out of Queens, NYC

Why do Yanks have to be so bloody ridiculous?

Why? I feel that 'out of' has two meanings: one would be as in 'the thing has fallen out of the box' or 'we seem to be out of milk'. Perhaps the above scientist can no longer find any Houston in his refrigerator and the father seems unable to find any more Alabama on the garage shelves?

Whatever the case, I humbly submit that it's a bloody stupid and annoying way to say 'from', and seems to be yet another pointless way of adding additional syllables to sentences.



A really nice word

It's one of my favourite words; it sounds and looks really good, and rolls very nicely off the tongue. It's

Scrofula

Say it. Try it. For our stange friends from the strange land of the strange orange man, who invariably have great difficulty with pronunciation, its ending rhymes with, for example, titular. It's not like scroFOOLa. Scrofula. It has an adjective, scrofulous, which is almost as nice a word.

What is it? Well I have to tell you that this lovely word hides an unpleasant meaning, because it actually means mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis, which is a very unpleasant disease, a lymphadenopathy of the neck, manifesting as the appearance of a chronic, painless mass in the neck, which is persistent and usually grows with time. I won't shock you with pictures - you can Google it yourself. Suffice it to say that, disregarding its meaning, it's nevertheless a very nice word.

Anybody who lives and drives in my part of the world may recently have spotted a man opening the window of his Smart car, in order to lean out and call some grossly obese cow in (of course) a BMW a scrofulous bitch, after she almost caused an accident by completely disregarding the rules surrounding the use of roundabouts. Say it: scrofulous bitch. I bet you can't wait for an opportunity to say it yourself.



Some thoughts from Douglas Adams

The late Douglas Adams, of Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy fame, was a very funny man. Not only was he responsible for the aforementioned guide - some of the funniest material ever brought to our screens - but he was also responsible for some very funny one-liners. Here's a selection of a few that I found.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by

Reality is frequently inaccurate

There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so

If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job **

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands

It can be very dangerous to see things from somebody else's point of view without the proper training

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be

The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead


** Americans please take note



I Love Dick

Spoiler - rude words!! Read on!

In a recent online article, one authority wrote an article in which various suggestions were made about what to watch on TV during the boredom of self-isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic of Spring 2020. A top ten list of televisual works from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime was presented.

One of the suggestions was for a US series called I Love Dick. I haven't seen it, but I understand it concerns a woman's infatuation with a gentleman called Dick. I'd heard of the work, and always thought it was an odd name for a series, given the various possible meanings of the word Dick. Dick is, of course, a reasonably common man's name, usually a short form of the name Richard, so the most likely guess is that the series does indeed tell the story of somebody's love for someone called Dick.

But we should also consider the entire world of Dick. As well as being a man's name, dick is also one of the most common slang synonyms for something whose proper name is quite unpleasant in itself - the penis. Unlike the lovely scrofula, see above, penis is not a nice word. I doubt many men will habitually think of or refer to their penis; most will think of their cock, or their willy, or their tallywacker (!). Or, indeed, their dick. So to a man who uses the word dick in this personal respect, to come across something on television called I Love Dick might be quite thought-provoking!

Consideration will almost certainly lead one to conclude - or hope - that the Dick in the title is a person. But one would also harbour a nagging suspicion that the series might be about a lady who is somewhat obsessed with sexual activity. A deeper doubt may make us wonder if the series is about a man who enjoys his own equipment, one who delves into the mysteries of his undercarriage? An erectophile? But then, that series would probably more correctly be called I Love My Dick.

Whatever the individual personal interpretation of the concept of Dick-love might be, it was amusingly ironic, sarcastic, purposefully thought-provoking, whatever, to see that the writer of the article described the series as

Seminal

This word has two main meanings: on the one hand it means contributing to later development, creative, having the power to originate, influential. But its other meaning is:

Of or relating to semen

Thought-provoking? You betcha! Kudos to the writer who was spunky enough to describe the series as seminal! Enough said, I think! Meanwhile, to change the subject, here's a picture of a silver birch tree.



Americans

As you read these snippets of my thoughts, a message may be coming through: in general

I do not in the least like Americans

I have the dubious pleasure of having lived in New York city for two and a half years. A little later I needed to revisit for a short time. Several years later I took my children to Disney in LA. During my longer stay we were able to travel a little, mainly driving south, stopping overnight in motels while sightseeing. I didn't like any of it.

Fast forward to today. Americans dominate most of what we do, certainly in the areas of pleasure, in its widest sense. TV, films, Youtube, the news. Americans everywhere.

For starters, any nation capable of electing that bloody moron Trump as their president must be deserving of great disrespect, to say the least. The man is clearly not of right mind, and this fact cannot be disputed. No need to go into why, or how his madness manifests itself, as you have all seen and heard his peculiarities. Anybody who habitually colours himself orange must be quite seriously weird. In England trump is a synonym for fart; I think that's quite fitting.

But it's not just Donald Gump / Forrest Trump that serves to discredit the nation, it's the people. Loud, opinionated, and over-confident. And as a nation in general, obese - often dangerously so. Then there's their irritating way of speaking. I've already said loud, but it's also what they say. Look up above and read my feelings about phrases such as go ahead, reach out, out of.

They have a peculiar self-isolation and dismal ignorance of anything outside their borders, unlike other countries. I often see, on UK television, quiz shows, where questions might be the likes of: name any American state whose name ends in a vowel; name two US state capitals; name three states which have shores on the Great Lakes. Our good solid British citizens will invariably get the right answers. By comparison, imagine an American quiz show in which contestants are asked to name any English county which does not contain 'shire'; name any county through which the River Mersey passes; name any Prime Minister of the 1800's. Almost certainly all of these questions would be met with blank stares, as Americans are perfectly ignorant of anything which doesn't exist beyond their borders.

Guns. We don't, why do they have to? Every one of them, even little old grannies. Even our police go gunless.

No. I'll watch their films and their often brilliant series. Who can deny the excellence of Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul. The Hunger Games. And I'll use their products. My iMac is superb, as are my HP and Dell laptops, though my phone and tablet are Chinese, as are my drones. But nothing says I have to like Americans. I don't.



A Little Humour

As the world slowly dies we all need something to lighten our day. The world is dying in two ways: a large number of coronavirus patients are dying of the disease, but, more serious, most of the world's companies are suffering seriously. Airlines and travel companies are suffering badly; you'd find it extremely difficult to find an open restaurant; shops in general are dying through lack of trade. Well, at least, we can still have a laugh - I hope. Shall we find out with some one-liners?

Funny isn't it. I used to cough to hide a fart. Since coronavirus arrived I now fart to conceal a cough.

I threw a boomerang a while ago. Now I live in constant fear

A parachute is not required to go skydiving. A parachute is required to go skydiving twice

In London, a car is stolen every three minutes. The owner's insurance rates must be sky high

Broke my mirror this morning. I'd expect seven years bad luck but my lawyer reckons he can get me off with four

I've just invented a new word: plagiarism

I have a stepladder. My real ladder walked out when I was 7

A priest, a vicar, a rabbi, a black man, a white man, a Chinaman and a man in a wheelchair go into a bar. The barman says, what is this? A joke?

I bent down to pick a buttercup. I wonder why somebody would leave a buttock behind

You can't lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn't come back, then what you've lost is a pigeon

Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please dont let Kevin Bacon die

I was driving in my car. A police officer pulled me over and knocked on my window. I said, 'One minute, I'm on the phone'

I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, 'Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours.' He said, 'Yes, but not in a row.'

A good friend will help you move house. A best friend will help you move a body

I try not to ask rhetorical questions. What's the point?

I said to the waiter, this chicken is cold. He said it ought to be - it's been dead for a week

I rang up the phone company and said: 'I want to report a nuisance caller.' He said: 'Not you again.'


Did you laugh?