Archive for February, 2006

One “L” or two?

So, is it down to laziness?

Probably not. More a ‘lost through the game of Chinese Whisper’ kind of thing, or even plain common sense.

When we Brits travel or level anything, later we write that we’ve travelled somewhere or levelled something, adding that extra ‘l’ before the ‘-ing’.

This is because we are taught in school that when forming the past tense and past participles of verbs ending with an l, we double the l.

Eric wrote about how in the US (I’m not sure if the rule applies to all of Canada) the letter ‘u’ is omitted from colour, flavour etc.

When I first started browsing the internet in the mid-90’s I noticed a lot of sites had common spelling errors: traveling and leveling…amongst others.

Of course, they’re not really errors. It’s the US/Canadian spelling, of course.

It makes more sense not to add the extra ‘l’.

I mean, it’s not like you can hear it, is it.


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From Ph to F

Most of my science textbooks were written by British authors yet the more recent ones have something nasty going off inside them.

The international scientific community has long used SI units to avoid confusion for those replicating experiments or analysing results. SI units are a language of their own.

But what’s bugging me is how the word sulphur is now being spelled sulfur…by British authors. This is because they have to fall in line with the international scientific community. And of course, we now have our sulfates.

Sulfate de cuiver


Sulfato de cobre

Het koper sulfaat

Next, we’ll be spelling physics, fysics…or even…fizzix. Perhaps not.

Oh well, I suppose I lose this one. Sulfur and sulfate it is then.

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Fawlty Food

Ordering food abroad can be…confusing for all concerned.

In the classic sit-com Fawlty Towers, our inept host, Basil Fawlty, experiences some difficulty when an American guest orders food:

Mr Hamilton: Could you make me a Waldorf Salad?
Basil: Oh, … ah, … wa?
Mr Hamilton: Waldorf Salad?
Basil: I think we are just out of Waldorfs.

What ensued was embarrassment for Basil who, being the cultured man he is, had never heard of a Waldorf Salad and didn’t know how to make one.

And I have to confess, he wasn’t alone.

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Walking The Dog

Terrestrial TV, all five channels of it, is enough to make any man take the dog for a walk.

It’s so bad that even the guys updating the Now and Next text guide have gone to walk the dog; failing to update the schedule…Film 2006 has already started.

Come rain, snow or blow we are free to walk our dog. It’s long been man’s excuse to escape nagging housewives, mother-in-laws, and schizoid girlfriends: The dog needs walking.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is our dog:

“But that’s not a dog,” I hear you cry. “It’s a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, you fool.”


Not only is it A dog…it is THE dog. And walking the dog is the best thing since the dog’s bollocks. …which brings me to a mini-lesson:

Bollocks = testicles. Why does a dog lick its bollocks? Because it can and that’s great. And, at the time of publishing, you won’t find that accurate a description of the origin of the phrase anywhere on the ‘net. Trust me on the meaning, I’m a farmer’s boy and I spent far too much time with animals as a child.

Many moons ago, Newcastle, in the northeast of England, was an area of heavy industry, mainly coal mining. The men up there worked long hours, doing hard and very dangerous jobs for very low wages.

It’s only natural for a man to want a beer or fifteen after a hard shift. The trouble being that the nagging woman wouldn’t want him spending that pitiful sum of money he’d slogged his guts out for; mouths to feed and all that.

But that didn’t stop our man, oh no!

He’d simply explain that he was taking the dog for a walk. The perfect excuse to get out of the house.

In those times disease was rife and the last thing you wanted was dog mess all over the house. Best let the man take his dog out.

The thing is, the man always took his wallet with him and walking the dog usually involved a pub, about a dozen beers, a game of darts, and possibly a brawl…and going home broke.

To this very day, even if people don’t own a dog, they often take one for a walk or at least go to see a man about a dog.

In pubs throughout the northeast of England if you ask for a bottle of dog, you’ll be presented with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, the original dog.

Those Geordie boys know how to coin a phrase.

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The word “free” means something different to me than it does to the people who made the advert. And this is certainly going to cost you your time and electricity.

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One of the finest proletarian phenomenons of American culture is the “Yo Mama” put-down.

No matter how old you are, you just can’t resist their simple, concise wit.

I wish I was clever enough to make them up myself. Here are some of the absolute best:

Yo mama so stupid she put lipstick on her forehead to make up her mind.

Yo mama so stupid she hears it’s chilly outside so she gets a bowl.

Yo mama so stupid when she read on her job application not to write below the dotted line she put “OK.”
Yo mama so stupid she could trip over a cordless phone.

Yo mama so stupid it took her two hours to watch “60 Minutes.”

Yo mama so ugly they push her face into dough to make gorilla cookies.

Yo mama so ugly they didn’t give her a costume when she tried out for “Star Wars.”

Yo mama so ugly her mom had to tie a steak around her neck to get the dogs to play with her.

Yo mama so ugly even Rice Krispies won’t talk to her.

Yo mama so ugly people go as her for Halloween.

Yo mama so fat she went to the movies and sat next to everyone.

Yo mama so fat she goes to a resturant, looks at the menu and says, “OK.”

Yo mama so fat she had to go to Sea World to get baptized.

Yo mama so fat she fell in love and broke it.

Yo mama so fat she’s on both sides of the family.

Pure genius.

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It’s all in t’vernacular

When you start getting up country, into North East Derbyshire and Yorkshire, something happens to the word ‘the’…

It disappears.

In speech, ‘the’ is often omitted. It’s all about economy.

Here are some cod examples:

Are you going t’shop? – Here you’d silence the last ‘g’ in going.

T’shops closed. – This one is tricky. You blend the ‘t’ and ‘s’ together and try not to spit on anyone.


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