Archive for May, 2005


When something’s not working we tend to say it’s ‘out of order’. You might even have friends who are sometimes out of order, or you could be out of order yourself. I’m sometimes out of order.

But back to the point, it bugs me something chronic when my computer is ‘on the blink’ and I get even more annoyed when my music equipment has gremlins. When work comes to a halt someone has thrown a spanner in the works.

I’m rambling away but I felt the need to post something, because things seem to be running as smoothly as a piece of sand paper over a baby’s bum. Don’t complain it’s just language.


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Bums Up

Don’t you find it weird how people raise a glass of wine or brandy when in fact they should be raising a slice of toast? I’d like to know where ‘raise a toast’ comes from and exactly what it means.

In North America it’s popular to say bottom’s up. The Scottish say ‘slangeva’ (forgive me my Scottish pals if I didn’t spell that one right)

toast (n.) Look up toast at Dictionary.com
“a call to drink to someone’s health,” 1700 (but said by Steele, 1709, to date to the reign of Charles II), originally referring to the beautiful or popular woman whose health is proposed and drunk, from the use of spiced toast to flavor drink, the lady regarded as figuratively adding piquancy to the wine in which her health was drunk. The verb meaning “to propose or drink a toast” also is first recorded 1700. This probably is the source of the Jamaican and U.S. black word meaning “extemporaneous narrative poem or rap” (1962)

When we raise a toast, we often raise it to good health (see above). Considering the contents of the glass my childish mind finds this amusing.

So, what sayings do you find stupid when people are celebrating?

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…a johnny with a hole in it.
…a chocolate fireguard.
…twenty Marlboro and no light.
…wet toilet paper.

Darren’s email client was about as much use as a johnny with a hole in it. i.e. something got sent where it shouldn’t have. But then that’d probably be Darren’s fault so perhaps it’s him that’s like a holed rubber.

Chocolate fireguards, though, would actually be quite useful to someone who hasn’t eaten for a few days. They could well puke afterwards though.

Twenty Marlboro? Well, more and more people are quitting the evil tobacco, so that one looks like being made redundant.

Wet toilet paper could be used by kids making papier-mache, but we have to say, on the whole, it’s useless.

So, here we are in the land of Simile. Perhaps this post’s about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. How do you tell someone that something isn’t much use?

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There are loads of synonyms for the word ‘man’: bloke, dude, fella, guy.

But what about the word “woman?”

There’s “sheila” from Australian Slang, which is a way of referring to any woman: go and ask that sheila over there.

And, of course, in the contemporary American urban culture we have “shorty” and “boo” — though “boo” might actually be bisexual, like “baby” or “honey.”

For some reason a Nelly song comes to mind.

You chicks have any ideas?

d & e

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Chunder Bunny

You’ll find them in any town or city where alcohol is sold, especially at weekends.

They’re interesting creatures to watch. And it’s surprising there hasn’t been a nature film made about them.

They imbibe. They imbibe beyond both contentment and capacity. Their stomachs churn. Their bodies reject further intake. They puke, chunder, spew, barf.

The production of pavement pizzas is out of control on a weekend. The Chunder Bunny is out. It’s a recently coined expression so there isn’t too much about it on the ‘net, but it comes from the word chunder.

For some of us, a warning of “chunder” isn’t just confined to what nastiness might come from the mouth. If your sophomore-year college dorm was enclosed in honeycomb-shaped cement so students wouldn’t get drunk and fall off their balconies, you might yell “chunder” as you urinate through the holes to avoid walking the long, late-night trek to the public bath.

Of course, for those of us “laughing at the grass” with particularly strong trajectory to clear the barrier, a yell of “chunder” would be appropriate to spewing the Chunky Soup.

In America, think back to the movie/”Saturday Night Live” skit “Wayne’s World,” where Wayne and Garth would frequently say they’re “going to hurl.”

There must be more words and expressions to describe these Chunder Bunnies, their siblings and the exotic brews they produce.

e & d

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Mad as a Hatter?

You know those situations where you’re in a public place, say a cafe or on a bus even, and some complete nutter comes in or gets on board and starts asking if anyone has seen his camel lately.

It’s usually worse if you’re on your own. ‘Don’t come and sit near me for f**k’s sake,’ you might mutter to yourself. So what does this nutter do? He reads your thoughts and comes and sits down and you go on a real journey.

It’s not so bad if you’re in a cafe because you can do a runner. But on a bus…well, you could become a stuntman or woman, kick the window out and jump if you couldn’t bear his comapny until the next stop.

Later you might meet your pals in the bar and tell them how you met this guy who was radged.

There’s a definition of that word over at Urban Dictionary if you click on the link at the right, but this one is much more accurate.

But that’s not important. Aside from radged, we’ve heard people say that someone is puddled, one sandwich short of a picnic, not a full shilling, one can short of a six pack, that someone has missed their stop or indeed been on the wrong bus altogether.

These are getting stale to me. First person to tell me one I haven’t heard gets a black asterisk.

BTW, I enjoy meeting people who’re radged because I am myself. So step inside, pull up a stool and have a drink. Tell us what you know, or just make a totally new contribution to language.



Here’s one for you, Dan: “Rides the short bus.”

It takes a little explanation.

Here in the U.S. (I’m not sure if it’s this way in the U.K.), public school buses come in two different sizes.

The standard size is as you would expect. And the students who ride those buses are of the average, everyday sort (unless, of course, if you rode some of the buses I rode in the neighborhoods I lived in).

The other bus is the one that is, well, short. It’s kind of the size of an airport shuttle or something similar.

Those buses are generally dedicated for the “special” students, of which there are less and who don’t necessarily mix well with the general population. Hence, riding the short bus is a means to paradoxically infer that someone has more than likely missed the bus altogether.

Though I do have to say … As many times as I got my assed kicked on some of those hardcore buses, I had genuine moments (and I’m not joking) when I wish I could have ridden the short bus.

What is the standard by which someone is qualified to ride the short bus? Well, some days I certainly feel like I fit the checklist. Don’t we all?

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Soooo Gay

The word “gay” is a tricky one.

At its root, and originally, it means to be happy.

The most-common usage has morphed to refer to someone who is homosexual.

Now, among the youth of today, “gay” has transformed again into a term used to describe something “cheesy” or “crusty” or, in other words, “not cool.” In actuality, it has very little to do with being happy or being homosexual.

An example: “Damn, dude, that mammoth cell phone from 1998 is sooo gay.”

This causes problems.

Firstly, gay people might think it’s an insult to them. In the rare cases I use it in that sense, I’m not thinking of it that way, and I’m known as someone here in the Bible Belt who not only is tolerant of the lifestyle, but is quite fond of gay people and the specific role in society they play.

Which leads to another problem: Who is gay? Are lesbians gay? Or are they simply “lesbians” and men are “gay men?”

“Lesbian” … sounds like some kind fierce creature found in the wild (“watch as the male lesbian hunts his prey”).

“Homosexual” … too medical/scientific.

“Gay” … just too complicated.

Is there any kind of dignified name we can just all agree on?

I’d like to … for my gay friends.



Well, Eric, you’ve got me stumped on that one. And I have to admit it’s only in recent years that I’ve accepted homosexuals completely for who they are and realised that they aren’t going to gang rape me or anything nasty; they’re just human like the rest of us. I had mixed feelings about it before.

Of the gay people I know, both men and women, they don’t mind being called poofs and lessers (pronounced lezzerz) respectively although these were once considered deragotory. It’s like how overused words lose the intensity of their meaning.

Moreover, the gay men I know have often said to me that they’ve been called ‘Uphill Gardeners’ for so long that they just find it funny that nobody can be more original in their attempts at insult. And anybody who prefers not to be embarassed won’t even think about calling the British Lesbian anything because they’ve heard it all before and know all the put downs and can turn things on you faster than a cobra can strike.

I don’t believe that there will ever be a dignified name we can all agree on. Like racism, homophobia is dwindling but there’s always going to be that part of society that won’t accept certain things.

It’d be interesting to know what readers think on this subject, especially those it concerns the most.

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