Lethargy

New you

Worn out? Tired? Miserable?

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Surnames

For some time now I have been fascinated by the origins of surnames (or last names if you want to be all modern and right on). My own surname Gnomepants stems from the Greek Gnomos Pantalonkikos which is a trade that was popular in ancient Greece. People would flock to ancient Athens and Crete to visit the numerous Gnomos Pantalonkikos and inspect their handicrafts. I think Plato said “My Gods! The Gnomos Pantalonkikos in my street is the best!”. At one time one of my ancestors would have been a Gnomos Pantalonkikos and we all know how important they were to the development of civilisation.

Butcher
Butcher (n) – to be a butcher
Heaton-Harris (n) - Wanksplat
Heaton-Harris (n) old Swahili – Wanksplat

So likewise when I come across unusual names I like to look them up (on google & wikipedia) in an effort to locate their origins. Today, I was dealing with a person that goes by the name of Spink. Now Spink is an unusual name from my perspective. I don’t know you might know lots of Spinks, in which case it won’t be all that unusual to you. I know several people called Grobinglops which is quite common though some would argue that they don’t know anyone called Grobinglops and they might find the name Grobinglops unusual. But anyway….that’s by the by. So I look them up and I think “oooh I wonder what their ancestors must have done. So for example someone called Colin Computersalesman would obviously have descended from a prominent Barrel maker. Likewise David Butcher would have been descended from a butcher, Barry Bumscrape – a tramp and Simon Quantumphysicist would most likely have been a quantity surveyor. You get the idea don’t you. Maybe you have a occupational surname too….I know that the likes of Sean Bean would be descended from a bean (maybe he was planted and grew) and Gordon Honeycomb would more than likely have been related to some ancient piece of a bee hive or something.

You get what I’m on about. So I looked up Spink on Wikipedia and I learnt a new thing. So I thought I would share that with you. According to Wikipedia (and yes I know that contrary to popular belief Wikipedia is not 100% reliable) a spink is the formal name for human meat! So at one time this Spink person would have come from a family of food. I can imagine them sitting in the tribal village during the harsh winter months.

Mr Chieftan – We’re so cold. All the meat and food has been eaten. What shall we do?
Mr Advisor – Well why not have a reserve of meat in the village. Fresh meat. How about that family over there? They worked hard in the fields this summer so they’re all nice and muscley. No sinew or fat on them. We could eat them!
Mr Chieftan – Who the Spinks? Well yes! I don’t like the way they look at me anyway

And so it happened, the villagers were eaten and a name gained a meaning.

Letter to the BBC

Dear BBC,

I notice that you are increasing the regularity of the appearance of people who seem to be experts on everything and have opinions on everything which, for some reason, you think reflects society at large.

I would like to offer my services as a gobshite. I too have strong opinions on everything from David Cameron’s underwear to the cost of prawns in the Middle East during the Byzantium Empire. I am an expert on everything and nothing. I have several years experience of spouting utter crap to backup people’s clandestine agendas and I am happy to cast aspersions and morals to the wind without forethought for the wider consequences.

Hope this will cover everything. 

Lots of Love

Gnomepants

From the Archives:- Saying Goodbye

Goodbye, I’m told, is the hardest word to say. Certainly, in recent times at least, I’ve had difficulty saying goodbye. Not because of some hideous speech impediment or because I’ve had a mouth full of pizza, but because emotionally it has proven difficult. That said, I’ve also said goodbye with as much ease as taking my socks off.

bye

 

Every morning, with the last slurp of tea still fresh on my lips, I bid the girlfriend farewell with a peck and a dash for the door. Sometimes it’s a “See you later”, others a “bye” or a “ta-rah”. Maybe I will see her later, maybe I won’t. I might fall down a forgotten mine shaft (Now what ever happened to that mine shaft I used to have?) and never be seen again or maybe it’ll be her. I can never be sure so I suppose, out of habit, manners and education, I bid adieu in case I’m never seen again. A kind of closing statement. A full stop (or period if you’re over the other side of the planet (Do you know? When Merricans say period I immediately think of women menstruating….yeah it isn’t nice).

An end.

Other people don’t tend to be so lucky, the bus driver, the shop keeper, that weird bloke with the funny smell that lives down the street, they all tend to get smiles and grunts. Maybe peppered with a “ta” or a “nice one”. Is this because I feel these guys don’t deserve a farewell? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been on the receiving end of a broad spectrum of endings. Especially through the variety of jobs I’ve done.

 

 

In the helpdesk for example from:-

goodbye

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on other end of phone – Thank you. Bye.
stegzy – Bye

to

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

stegzy – Twat.

or

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone – well that’s bally well not good enough!
stegzy**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

I suppose it would be not only discomforting but unusual if, when saying goodbye, everybody took the same amount of time as is taken in the last hour of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I mean can you imagine?

stegzy – Goodbye
Bus Driver – **hugging stegzy** Goodbye old chum, what happy adventures we have had
stegzy – But we only went 5 stops
Bus Driver – Indeed, but what an adventure. I’ll miss you
stegzy – I’m only going to the off licence to get some cigarettes I’ll be getting this bus home.
Passenger A – **hugging Bus Driver and stegzy** Ha! What a wag. Goodbye old friend. May you meet fortune face on
stegzy – Jeez you’re a bunch of weirdos
Passenger C – Ha! Farewell fellow travellers!
Passenger D – Get a bloody move on, I’ve got to be places!

Be seeing you!

 

Sometimes it needs to be quick, more like

stegzy – See ya **gone**
Person A – See y…oh you’ve gone.

 

 

Personally, when I’m going somewhere I’d rather it be a small goodbye than some re-enactment of the Waltons. I mean, I’m going, I need to be somewhere, hurry up! Let me go! Mrs Gnomepants, on the other hand will spend ages saying goodbye, sometimes saying goodbye, only to start another 1 hour conversation and then have to say goodbye once again. It’s not unusual, as Tom Jones said, for Mrs Gnomepants to take 5 minutes saying goodbye on a telephone conversation to her sister. Surely all that is needed is “Bye” followed by a reciprocated acknowledgement of the end of the conversation.

 

Goodbyes though eh?….we’re a peculiar bunch aren’t we?


This entry first appeared on Livejournal in September 2008 and has been edited to reflect changes in circumstance

Flat cap hour

Recently I reconnected with an old school friend. In honour of this reconnection I give you a post from my LJ from back in 2006.

—-

Eeeeh I remember when….

When I was wee we had a telly, an evening newspaper, a collection of reference books and plenty of old people. If I had a question or wanted to know about something I would do some research. First port of call would be an old or older person. The ensuing conversation would go something like this

Wee stegzy:- Dad, can you tell me who Jethro Tull was?
Dad:- No idea, ask yer mam.
Wee stegzy:- Mam, who was Jethro Tull?
Mam:- oooh stop askin’ complicated questions an’ eat your grilled marigolds

So then left with no answer I’d ask our kid who always seemed knowledgeable about such things.

Our Kid 1: Jethro Tull? Thats that bloke with the flute and the beard. Sings that song about underwater breathing apparatus1

Our Kid 2: Shut up I’m watching Sunday Night at the Paladium

Of course, if that answer was deemed also unsuitable, further questioning of elders would be required. My OLD gran was too old to even think but my other less old gran sometimes came up with the goods.

Less old Gran:- Didn’t he have an allotment down in Garston?

So when I wrote the answer to “Who was Jethro Tull?” for GCSE History, it would be no surprise that I would come away with a Grade D for writing “Jethro Tull was a bloke with a beard who had an allotment down by me nans. He played the flute and liked to grow turnips.”. Of course that is all lies2.

Should I want more indepth information I would be forced to consult the vast collection of out of date reference books dotted about the house. The house library consisted of the following:-

– a big heavy green coloured hardbacked dictionary with pages missing, a section on Modern Electrical wiring, several pages on the British Empire and a section containing a kind ofWho’s Who for 1952
– a big book entitled “Reader Digest Childrens Big Answers to Big Questions” containing such gems as “Is there a man in the moon?”, “Can dogs eat in the dark?” and “Where is Africa?”
– Several volumes of the Orbis publication “20th Century Science” which suggested that “by 2001 we may well be travelling in personal rockets to holiday destinations such as Jupiter.”
– An old dog eared copy of Calculus by E R Chewing, the first page of which was stamped Property of Liverpool Technical College, Aigburth3

Occasionally the Liverpool Echo or the Merseymart would yield some item about some key historical figure (but it was rare that these newspapers would regurgitate their treasure at the appropriate time), or the telly would have a TV programme about turnips or something but these programmes were usually flicked off in favour of Nationwide, It’s a Knockout or reruns of Magnum:PI.

Then someone invented the school library, either that or someone found the key to it and my knowledge base increased with back issues of the school magazine, ancient dog eared copies of popular science magazines, old books containing biro sketches of Ajax bottle shaped penises and 113 copies of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee4. As if by some clever marketing scheme the council proclaimed that they too had libraries which the public could and had always been able to use.

Libraries are kind of like an analogue version of Wikipedia . A wealth of books with every single bit of information available to Jo Public should they require it. Of course only if they knew where to look for it. That was the trick you see…keep the public dumb but let them have access to the knowledge you see? You don’t? Ahh well let me explain further, nobody wants to admit they don’t have a clue how to use a library and nobody really wants to ask a librarian a question (ask zoefruitcake and see what happens ;-)) especially as asking librarians where a book is, in my experience at least, results in something like this:-

stegzy Hello I’d like to see a book about building my own spaceship out of a corrugated iron dustbin, some sticks and an old speedo from a Morris Mini
Librarian Tut…**huff**…Hmmm…You’ll want **huff** **sigh**…have you checked the catalogue?

This then resulted in half an hours fruitless search through a paper based card index before giving up and going off to draw Ajax Bottle shaped penises in copies of Catcher in the Rye. It was a small wonder I passed my GCSE’s and even more of a wonder that I managed to blag my way through my A’levels using cunning and a clever arrangement of mirrors and ESP.

Indeed, readily available knowledge was sparse and difficult to locate. Like wise, my musical tastes were trapped in the 1970’s with my 4 Yes albums and 3 Top Of The Pops albums (1973,1976 and 1977), until about 1990 when Mike Regan introduced me to Chris Isaak, The Doors and The Stairs. When new bands came out I’d only hear of them if they played at the Picket, were played on the radio or Mike Regan had their album. Later I discovered that Mikes musical knowledge came from reading wanky magazines such as Face, Rolling Stone and NME, I of course was still reading bollocks like MAD magazine, Look In and Just 175. I didn’t have a clue. If someone had asked me if I was street wise I’d have thought they were asking me if I knew my A-Z Street map. When I went to the likes of HMV or Virgin I’d spend hours leafing through the T’s and Y’s looking for bands that nobody in my class or the shop assistants had heard of.

Then in about 1997 I got the internet and for the first time in my life I became able to find stuff I’d always wanted to know about. Of course I had the internet before then in 1986. But it was known as Prestel and Micronet in those days and looked a bit like Ceefax.6 Prestel and Micronet were shite for finding information on. Not like today’s internet anyway. But even then in 1997, the internet wasn’t shit hot. It mainly consisted of saddo’s with fan sites, some occasional useful snippets of information and the back door to WOPPR7. Searching on Yahoo or AOL for information on something obscure like Triumvirat would yield an entry on someones basic home grown Prog Rock Encyclopedia and a couple of pages where someone had spelt the word fork wrong.

Those days have long passed. Now when you want information on anything all you do is whack it into google or some specialist website and lo and behold you’ll find the answer 8 out of 10 times. I reflect on the issue and think of how bloody easy my homework would have been, how my GCSE and A level grades could have been much much higher, how I wouldnt have wasted 10 years of my life wanting to be a lighthouse keeper8, how I’d of had an MA and a PhD by now and how I’d have known who Jethro Tull really was without having to choke on those blasted grilled marigolds.


1 Humour for those trained in the art of Prog
2 Jethro Tull was actually a Chinese woman who lived near Tranmere. She invented water in 1962.
3 Liverpool Technical College (for boys), Aigburth closed in 1953 and is now/was Shorefields Comprehensive School
4 Bet you didn’t think I knew who wrote that..
5 Pinched from Nicola Hughes via my paper round
6 2400 baud connections….well fucking fast that.
7 Humor for the Matthew Broderick fans
8Nobody told me they were all automated in 1973

This post originally appeared on my LJ on 13th September 2006

Happy We Don’t Want the Damn Country Anyway Day

Every year Britons the world over celebrate a special day today. “We Don’t Want The Damn Country Anyway” Day. It all started in this day 1776 when a group of colonials threw their rattle out of the cot and decided they no longer wanted to be part of the Glorious and Holy British Empire. It was a culmination of tantrums including throwing cargos of tea into the sea, knocking on doors and running away & getting pizza delivered at 3am in the morning to addresses of people that didn’t want pizza.

King George, in all his mighty, majestic and holy wisdom, decided enough was enough and conceded that the Great and Glorious Holy British Empire did not need mudlarks and such juvenile behaviour within its realm. British ecologists, environmentalists and economists agreed that losing these colonies would not be detrimental to the Empire and if we bided our time and played it cool we could reclaim what was lost at some future date. Also a great deal of the land had a problem with heathen cannibalistic natives, really hot deserts, nasty looking bears and a family which the King did not get on with, the Bushes (King George was upset by Albert Wilberforce Bush using his favourite wash basin as a urinal at a party that George had held in Hampton Court). Thus it was agreed that to prevent spiralling cost and unnecessary disruption of cricket the colonies would be handed over to the people living there.

And so it came to pass that the Great and Glorious British Empire continued through history growing more and more powerful. Similar tactics were employed when other colonies threatened to do the same. We would appear to give the country and land to the people who claimed they wanted “independence” from the Great and Glorious British Empire and really the reason why we relinquished control was because we didn’t want the country anyway. It smelt funny or it was too hot or there weren’t enough red telephone boxes.

This is all but sleight of hand. Really these colonies have remained under British rule for centuries and all are still part of the Great and Glorious British Empire, just that they don’t know it. But there will come a day when our Great and Glorious King William shall rise to the throne in majestic accord and glorious fanfare and the sinister truth will out. The sleeping armies shall awaken and the Third Glorious and Righteous Holy British Empire will rise out of the faux ashes like a mountain in the ocean and once more people the world over will be able to enjoy cricket, drinking cups of tea, moaning about the weather and queuing in an orderly fashion.

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This post first appeared on Livejournal in 2007

International I Haven’t Bred Day

family-mulitigenerationalSo mums have Mother’s Day, dads have Father’s Day and grandparents get both the gender specific card selling day AND Grandparent’s Day.

Hurrah!

Well done. You’ve bred. You’ve contributed to the gene pool. You’ve created another mouth to feed. Another housing and clothing need.

Congratulations for contributing to the overpopulation of the world.  Have a day of adoration. Have special cards, gifts and a shiny new hat.

Well done.

And what do the rest of us get eh?

Month-of-SundaysWhen I was younger I asked my parents “When is it Son’s Day?” to which they replied “Everyday is Son’s Day”. Imagine that. A month of Son Days….

Now I am older I see the injustice of it. Those that breed get recognition; those that don’t, don’t. Moreover, there are “FAMILY FUN DAYS”, “FAMILY SIZED PORTIONS”, “FAMILY RESTAURANTS” and “FAMILY TICKETS” and other such discounts. Those that don’t breed get to luxury of having to support the entitled discounts for those that do. Fair? Not very.

But what seems fair is that there should be a day where all those that haven’t bred receive recognition for their act of selflessness and their increased costs for sustaining those that do breed. A day where those that have bred send those that haven’t cards of thanks, gifts and specifically targeted benefits. Reader…I give you

INTERNATIONAL I HAVEN’T BRED DAY

Thanks and  recognition at long last.

I propose that this day should be celebrated annually on the last Sunday of  July. Which should give those that have bred plenty of time to think of gifts and remember to pop cards into the postbox for their friends that, as yet, have not spawned a new generation of people that will one day require a pension, a house, transport and food.

Re-enacting the past

For shitz and gigglz I took Zoe to the Great Central Railway near Loughborough. It was a special day there as they were holding a Second World War day where each of the four stations were “zoned” into different “fronts” of the Second World War. It was a very enjoyable day out, with people dressed in period costumes, stalls selling period things, period food and drink and music from the era.

While walking round I was struck by the thought of how iconic that period was. It was a time of strife, knuckling down and patriotism. It was a time that many people today lived through themselves. Unlike the likes of say Civil War re-enactment this period was still in living memory.

And that got me thinking. What will people re-enact in the future? What iconic periods have we lived through in recent years? Will they re-enact say, the 1980s? The 1970s? Or even the noughties? What would they do?

Well, now you can join in on my special 1980s re-enactment.

80s

The Halfords Sales Technique

Many years ago, I worked in Halfords. For those unfamiliar with British brands, Halfords is a shop that sells bits for cars, car stereos and bicycles. Mostly the car parts are styling things like go faster stripes and furry dice.

When working there I was presented with a folder which detailed a selling technique which I have integrated into my daily customer service or whatever it is that I do. It starts by imaging a picture. Similar to this:-

Behind the cut as its a big file and it may swallow bandwidth if viewing on a mobile device or dial up or you're just one of those stingey nerds