Bring Back Nostalgia

Thought-provoking articles on words that are going out of fashion. As long as “poinjay” doesn’t die out…

English-Language Thoughts

This is kind of a companion piece to yesterday’s post, being about obscure words none of us really use.

I’ve seen a lot of lists on social media and various websites about obscure words people need to be made aware of, or obsolete words which need to be brought back. For example, here’s a story I came across this morning on the BBC Culture website: Twenty-six words we don’t want to lose.

Here’s the full list of words from the article; see if you guess what one of my issues with the list might be:

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Sigh, let me explain…

Pet hates.  I guess we all have them.

  • Telling Irish, Scots and Welsh that they are English, it’s the same thing really.
  • Squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle.
  • Manspreading on public transport.

I have two pet hates – among many others.

  1. Having to explain what the film we are watching is all about.
  2. Having to explain a joke.

“Billy” is a repeat offender.  You could be watching a film or DVD with tanks firing their guns, German men in uniform shouting, “Achtung!  Achtung!  Englischer Schweinhund!”  across a battlefield, with Spitfires flying across the air.  Thirty minutes into the film, and Billy will ask in all seriousness:

So, er, is this a war film?

(No, it’s Pride and Prejudice with PMT…)

To illustrate point 2, let me tell you a possibly sexist joke.

A successful gynaecologist decides to fulfil his life’s dream: give up medical practice and become a motorcycle mechanic.  So he gets out of the medical business and enrolls at a mechanic’s seminar with Harley Davidson.

After many weeks of training comes the final examination, taking apart and then re-assembling a randomly chosen Harley engine, he grabs his tools and sets to work, but soon he gets worried: while he is still working on the valve-covers, everybody else is already busy with removing the cylinder heads.
He falls more and more behind, and as he is just starting to put it all back together, everybody else is already finished.  He manages to put the engine back together, barely in time before the exam ends.

Because it took him so much longer than everybody else, he goes straight to the teacher to ask how he performed.  “Well,” the teacher says, “out of one hundred possible points you scored 150.” “But how is that possible?” the ex-gynecologist asks.

“Well, it breaks down to this: You get fifty points for correctly taking the engine apart. And you get another fifty points for putting it back together perfectly.” “And what did I get those additional fifty points for?”

“For doing it all through the exhaust.”

Billy’s reaction:

But why would a doctor want to take such a huge drop in salary?  I don’t understand.  Why was his job satisfaction so poor?  Did he work in the British NHS?  Did he speak to his line manager?

Billy wants to come with me to next week’s English Language Comedy Night in the Altstadt.

You must be joking…

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Have an explanatory day, won’t you!

 

 

It just occurred to me…

This morning I was at my GP’s for a routine appointment.  Nothing spectacular.

The waiting room was full.  Most of the people were using their smartphones.

  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube
  • Texting
  • Emails

etc…

Nobody was reading any of the magazines in the waiting room.  That can only mean one thing.  Men’s knowledge of woman’s health issues will soon be zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  We men used to gain 90% of our knowledge of women’s health from sitting for hours in doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms, reading the problem pages in Women’s Own, Cosmopolitan, etc.  There will be a serious knowledge gap.  Beware!

Have a knowledgeable day, won’t you!

Pads Brat Life

42 signs you were a Pads Brat … fellow Brats leave the number of the one which made you smile the most. 😃

1. People ask you where you’re from and you don’t even try to explain as your not entirely sure!
2. Your Doctor, Dentist and Chaplain wore combat boots.
3. You’ve taken a few flights that involved sitting in jump seats, wearing your winter jacket the entire flight and taken off and landing at military airports.
4. You’ve eaten more than one really posh Christmas meal in the “mess” and been told to be on your best behaviour to then watch the adults get hopelessly drunk and misbehave.
5. You always have emergency ration packs around the house and can make a meal out of anything tinned.
6. You’ve never had to explain to your Military friends that you just found out you’re moving … again!
7. You’re the most efficient packer you know and actually enjoy it.
8. You’ve known from a young age Life is not always easy or fair but your job is to make the most of it and smile regardless.
9. You are tough, adaptable and good at making friends.
10. You wouldn’t trade your childhood and upbringing for anything in the world.
11. You know you shouldn’t but you judge people who don’t know the phonetic alphabet.
12. Turning up 10 minutes early for an appointment means you’re late.
13. You were soooo proud you had a British military ID.
14. Anyone older than you is Sir or Ma’am, “No exceptions.”
15. Your chores were mandatory and were always inspected military style.
16. You are born with a immediate respect for anyone in uniform.
17. Santa always turned up in a military helicopter to the Mess and wore combat boots and DPM trousers underneath his red jacket.
18. You were never alone, and even when you were, you were always pretty content and happy.
19. You’ve stood for the National Anthem in a cinema.
20. You have an instant connection with other brats no matter what sex or age.
21. You have friends all over the world.
22. You can “go with the flow” better than your civilian counterpart, even if you’re not comfy, you always fit in and hold yourself well in any group.
23. No one or nothing was more scary than your father’s commanding officer.
24. You’ve not got the toys you grew up with and can’t remember where they went.
25. You never ever questioned your lifestyle, things were just as they were and it was accepted, now you look back in affectionate amazement.
26. You know it’s really 17:00 not 5pm.
27. You get excited when you meet someone who has been to the same base or country as you and have an instant bond and shed loads to talk about.
28. Going back to your own country was a complete cultural shock.
29. You never thought it was weird that you grew up inside a armed guarded cage, you just knew you were safe.
30. Your only source of communication with your Dad when he was away were “blueys”.
31. In school, you had fire drills but you also had nuclear war drill and prepared for terrorist attacks.
32. You put German curry sauce on everything and love trying new foods and flavours.
33. You feel somewhat sorry for civilian children and feel like they have missed out.
34. Having the amount of different schools attended as you did is a kind of badge of honour but you cant remember more than two teachers names, what school they taught you in or what year!
35. You’ve worn military green thermal socks that doubled up every Christmas as your Christmas stocking.
36. You’ve looked under your car for bombs or devices, also had your school bus searched twice a day by armed soldiers considered normal.
37. You never bothered to memorize your home telephone number, it changed too frequently.
38. You refer to non-school clothes as “civvies.”
39. It wasn’t alarming or nothing new to see guys jump out of airplanes or dangle from speeding helicopters.
40. You can’t keep track of how many houses you’ve lived in but can remember the view from your bedroom windows.
41. You are probably one of a few people that have actually fully read this whole post and liked and shared it.
42. You can’t stop finding reasons why being a Military brat is great.

Have a padded day, won’t you!

Michael, they have taken you away

Michael K was buried yesterday morning.  He was 50 years old.  Three of his children attended his funeral, together with about fifteen other people who knew him, including his first wife.  I’m not sure if he had other children, but that was all that turned up to a spartan chapel in a local cemetery.

I would like to be glib and say, “It was a nice funeral.”

In a way it was.  The flowers on and around his coffin were beautiful.  The mourners, especially the British – for he had many British friends – were warm and supportive towards the members of his family, saying kind words and offering sympathy and hugs.  We sang one of his favourite hymns well: There Is A Hope.

But it wasn’t a nice “he had a good innings” funeral.  He died too early, alone and lonely and lacking love and hope.  His partner had died slowly and painfully three years ago.  He had been in and out of jobs since then.  When he was working, he was doing shift work and could not get to church to be with his church family.  As for his “blood family” to quote the Prince of Wales’ brother, I think his relationship with them over the years had been strained.

Michael was what we Brits call “a bit Marmite.”  You either loved him or hated him.  I myself enjoyed his company, as long it did not involve endless hours spent on a summer afternoon in an Altstadt Irish pub.  Michael, a German, knew the words to a vast array of Irish rebel songs.  Sometimes he’d tweak the lyrics.  Sean South of Garryowen became Sean South of Gerresheim.  He and I used to sing these songs every now and again together…  All his years working in IT in Scotland and Eire had not gone to waste.  I guess his local pub in Scotland must have been full of Celtic fans, judging by his repertoire.  Oh yes, he also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of East Germany jokes.

We got on well.

We often used to sing Fields of Athenry while strolling through the local park.

Michael, they have taken you away.  May you rest in peace.

Have a peaceful day, wont you!

Catalonia: the case for self-determination

Yet another excellent analysis by the grandson of Lt Col H Jones.

The Personal Blog of Henry Jones

On Saturday, 21 October, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced plans to remove Catalonia’s regional government and rule the region directly from Madrid. The situation faced by Spain is that of the right to self-determination. This right is enforced by United Nations General Assembly resolution 1514, which states that ‘All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.’

The UN being the go-to organisation for legal disputes of an international nature, it seems the writing is on the wall. Catalonia, using international law, legally has the right to determine its political status and become independent. However, we have an issue. The Spanish Constitution, created in 1978, gives autonomy to the regions of Spain, but affirms ‘the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.’ According to the constitution, an independence referendum is…

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