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Archive for the ‘Social History’ Category

THE QUIRKINESS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

In English Language, Social History on 2 April 2012 at 19:39

I was recently sent the following in an email. I haven’t got a clue who wrote this but it is very clever. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I have.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing,
Grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English

Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing……….


If Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop.???

 

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WE DIDN’T HAVE THE GREEN THING THEN!

In Food & Drink, Gardening, Green issues, Health, Ideas, Social History on 27 February 2012 at 12:54

I DON’T KNOW WHO WROTE THIS BUT THE MESSAGE IS VERY APPROPRIATE.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman
that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t
good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back
in my earlier days.”

The cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not
care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the
store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized
and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they
really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a
new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing
away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and
office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a
300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the
throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our
clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our
day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?),
not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire . In the kitchen, we
blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do
everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we
used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic
bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just
to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised
by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills

How a Meccano Set Became the Mother of Invention

In Business, Government, Ideas, International Trade, Invention, Social History, Trading, Trevor Baylis on 4 September 2011 at 13:39

“Achievement is more important than qualifications.”

Bob Bluffield meets the inventor Trevor Baylis

The most obscure things can often shape our futures and for Trevor Baylis it was the fortuitous discovery of a deluxe box of Meccano on a rubbish tip while foraging for scrap metal as a young boy in wartime west London. By adding the wide range of pieces to the cherished basic set his father had bought him presented him with the opportunity to extend his creativity. By his own admission, Trevor was not in the least bit academic. He considers that “achievement is more important than qualifications” – a policy he has adhered to throughout his long career without causing himself any undue harm, even though he couldn’t have thought this when he and his mates took every opportunity to bunk off junior school. Instead of class work they preferred to pursue more boyish adventures and during the Blitz there was plenty of opportunity to do just that. They collected shrapnel from the enemy raids of the previous night and bits of scrap that could be sold for smelting to aid the war effort. When they weren’t scavenging, Trevor and his friends were preoccupied with swimming even though this was in the foul smelling effluent water of the nearby Grand Union Canal. After discovering he had a natural ability to float, Trevor became a first class swimmer and by the age of fifteen represented Great Britain, but became disappointed when he missed out on a place in the 1958 Olympics.  When the time came to leave school, Trevor claims he could barely read and write but was offered a job at a soil mechanics laboratory where he had the opportunity to study mechanical and structural engineering on part-time day release.

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Broken Britain is Progressing

In Books, Books by Robert Bluffield, Broken Britain, Government, Politics, Social History, State of the Nation on 2 November 2010 at 17:55

Although the nation may not be showing too many signs of progressing, the same cannot be said for my new book.

Following the success of ‘Imperial Airways: The Birth of the British Airline Industry 1914-1940′ published in October 2010 by Ian Allan, this time I have altered track to write about another of my interests; politics in a social history context. The new book currently has a working title ‘BROKEN BRITAIN IN THE 21st CENTURY – The First Decade’ although this may subsequently change. The manuscript is well on the way to completion and I will soon be looking for an agent to assist me with finding a suitable publisher.

I have also launched a brand new blog to solicit comments on subjects readers may feel should be discussed in the book.  I do hope you will join me in discussing the major issues such as the NHS, the running of the railways, criminal justice, education, defence as well as some of the minor irritations that are affecting our lives.

We Must Give the Alliance a Chance

In Government, Politics, Social History, State of the Nation on 14 May 2010 at 08:49

The coalition between David Cameron and Nick Clegg may not be what everyone wants but under the circumstances of a hung parliament it is probably the best alternative to a Conservative government that could not have survived long without a majority. Of course it is a compromise; but so is life in most respects, but if it leads to a better Britain we have to accept this.

I am confident that Cameron and Clegg can make things work but they need to be given the time, the support and the encouragement and party differences must be put aside and the sniping has to stop. They are both young and dynamic leaders and the coalition might just be the right answer to a total reformation of the old system of government that has been dragging us down for so long. Put it this way; if they cannot agree over their different policies they will not make it work and it will be extremely damaging to both parties and the electorate will lose even more confidence in British politics. This is a huge opportunity for reform, but the sceptics should pipe down and give the new government the opportunity to implement the changes that are necessary to start this country back on the road to recovery. We all know that it is going to be tough, but we have to accept this if we are to recover from the dire mess that Labour got us into. It is a moment of truth but I think David and Nick can carry pull it off, providing they have the backing of the country. I hope I am not proved wrong.

Clegg Holds the Key

In Broken Britain, Government, Politics, Social History, State of the Nation on 7 May 2010 at 09:40

So, the outcome of the election has been as expected and we are in a hung parliament situation; the first since 1974. This looks unlikely to be helpful to the electorate who, in the main, registered a vote of no confidence in the Labour Government and it emphasises just how ludicrous our electoral system is. I can’t see Gordon Brown wanting to stand down gracefully; it is not in his make-up. One thing for sure is that Nick Clegg is now holding the trump card despite disappointing results for the Liberal Democrats. The key question is whether or not he wants to form a liaison with Labour? The outcome is not an easy one to predict and the talk around Westminster this morning seems to predict another general election sooner rather than later, possibly before the end of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Mighty Gaffe Exposes Brown’s Contempt for the Public

In Politics, Social History on 29 April 2010 at 11:08

Gordon Brown may be remembered for committing one of the greatest gaffes in modern political history when he referred to a Rochdale woman Gillian Duffy as a ‘bigoted woman’ yesterday. The 65-year old widow had been introduced to Brown during a pre-election campaigning visit to the town. As this occurred on the eve of the final live Leaders’ debate this could prove to be critical for the PM. Read the rest of this entry »