What is a life worth?

Apparently, not much in todays economic climate.  The story of the hour is the death of a 93 year old man who froze to death in his own home after the local electricity company installed a limiter on his supply which apparently shut off his power.  It was 32F in the house when a friend/neighbor discovered the body.
 
For the first time in months I’m actually lost for the words needed to describe this absolute travesty.  I’m afraid to grow old.  The contemptible absolute horror of a human being that gave the thumbs up to this act of derisible torture deserves to rot in hell (assuming there is one) for eternity.  This is yet another example of why I am right.  The stupid gene is inherent in us all and it just shows up unanounced at the worst possible moments.  There are no words to punctuate my utter hatred of a segment of the population that can sleep at night after commiting what can only be described as a premeditated murder.  What is even more frustrating is that no one will be reprimanded, punished, villified or fired for this act.  People will forget that it happened, life will go on, and nothing will change.  Human beings basically suck.
 
On a lighter note…….
 
Obama is in, Bush is out, and the economy is in the toilet.  The unemployment rate rises faster than my blood pressure, and we are, in effect, screwed.  I have often wondered what would happen in this scenario.  To be honest I was more leaning toward an Oil induced fracture of the economy rather than a financial one although that was always on the cards due to predatrory lending practices and the amount of public debt carried by the population, but it seems that the one thing which was always there just below the surface finaly rose above the quagmire of fossil fuels and global warming to come and bite us all in the arse.  Greed.  Yep, one of the seven deadly sins (deadly especially if you are 93 and can’t pay your electricity bill) that we were all warned about in that little novel called The Holy Bible.  The greed of the few has in fact come back to haunt the many.  Of course, the one saving grace here is that the end results affect everyone, even those that worship invisble deities, which just geos to show you that your God, whoever he is, basically does not give a fuck about you or anyone else.  We all get to suffer.  One more reason not to got to church.
 
The pilot that managed to land in the Hudson is gifted, smart, educated, and seriously lucky.  Any landing you can walk away from…….
 
Apparently the Porn industry is suffering in the current recession.  Does anyone really care?  I’m more worried about putting food on the table and keeping my electricity on than Jenna Jameson not getting enough DVD exposure (pun intended).  If Larry Flint needs a new wheel chair I’m sure they can all chip in and buy him one when the chips are actually down.  None of them deserve, nor will the receive, any of my sympathy (not that I actually have any).
 
I personally like Obama, and I hope he manages to turn things around.  He is probably the best thing to happen to this country since JFK and Bill Clinton, so we shall see how it pans out.  It remains to be seen.  So far, he has a lot of opposition, but if thigs get worse (and believe me they will) that opposition will start to waver since the threat of populations rioting against innefectual and irrational government (the REASON we are allowed to bear arms people) will make them think twice about preventing Obama and his administration for fixing the mess the Government actually aided and abbetted in the first place (if you don’t understand that let me know and I will be happy to explain).  I can barely contain myself.
 
Well, this is a short (and overdue) update and now I have to earn a living, so back to the grindstone.  Pay those bills people.  it is cold outside.
 
Robespierre.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The world is not enough.

I’m back.  With a fucking vengeance.  $700 Billion dollars?  A lot of things make me angry of late, John let’s go to war McCain, Sarah cool lenses Pallin, the US governemnt, religion, the cost of groceries, bad driving, the stupid gene and most of all, the American public.  Are you honestly going to sit back and take this shit?  It’s embarrassing!  This is your money for the next ten years going down the toilet.  The national federal debt is at 53 trillion and climbing, and in one scrawl of GW’s pen you just acquired another trillion dollars worth of bad debt.  Even the bleeding heart liberals are squirming in their leather upholstered seats!  Me, I’m just pissed off because I have every right to be.  As a middle class hardworking individual, I get shanked with the tab.  It really sucks.  I’m glad I don’t have any kids though, one saving grace.  I won’t have to watch them starve to death when both oil and food run out.
 
OK, I feel better.  Not a lot, but enough to get a bit more down on electronic paper.
 
Obama must be feeling the stress.  Recent photographs of him seem to show his weight loss, scrawny neck and big ears.  He reminds me of Will Smith, whom I would rather see running for pres actually.  At least he does not sit back and take any shit from invading aliens, flesh eating zombies, criminals or robots.  That sums up most of the elected officials I think.
 
If McCain gets elected, he won’t live long anyway, so I don’t rerally care.  I can’t vote (yet, but my time is coming and I can be extremely patient when I want something badly enough).  If I could vote, big bad John would not be on the list.  I don’t care for Obama much but the lesser of two evils and all that……   Biden is an idiot.  I’m surprised he can stand up without instructions, but I guess you have to have a vice.  Sorry, vice president.  I’d like to see Biden and McCain in the boxing ring.  Close your eyes and see that image.  No point putting Obama in the ring with either of those two, he would beat the shit out of them both.  He’s from Chicago and he’s black.  He also has youth on his side (and nothing else as far as I can tell).
 
Bill Maher has a new movie coming out friday about religion.  Well, anti religion actually.  My favorite subject.  He attacks that shit with the kind of veracity I usually reserve for the dumbest people on the planet (which is most of them).  I eat bread almost every day.  It’s called a fucking sandwich, not the body of Christ.  Get a grip.
 
Anyone heard from the Pope lately?  Nope, neither have I.  Good.  Keep it that way.  Seems the Catholic priests have stopped fucking little boys lately too.  Not much in the news about their extra curricular activities of late.  Good.  Keep it that way.
 
We can’t even win the war on drugs.  How the fuck are we going to win the war in Iraq?
 
GM, Ford, Chrysler….  Apart from the fact they do, have and always will make shit vehicles, they are also responsible for a big portion of the current financial crisis, and are also begging for handouts ($25 Billion each at the last count) to save their respective businesses.  Fuck em.  Sell Ford to Toyota, let the Germans dismantle Chrysler, and GM can die a slow (or fast) death, whichever they prefer.  Who owns a Chrysler anyway?  Put the money into healthcare for the poor and those who earn less than $32k a year ( the government like to call them low income families, but they are poor because the minimum wage in this country is the lowest in the developed world, a sad fact the US goverment seems to be proud of) and the rest into schools.
 
Wall Street Investment Analysts season.  That should be added to the deer hunting season, turkey hunting season (one and the same?) etc etc etc……
 
My 401K was quite diversified, but not quite enough it would seem.  $7k lost in a couple of months.  Hardly worth investing at all at the moment.
 
Well, back to the daily grind.  Hopefully I will still have a job tomorrow.
 
Robespierre.
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The dog’s bollocks.

Some muppet asked me what this meant the other day.  He was an American, so not being educated was not held against him.  A simple Google search would have turned up several thousand answers, but there are a lot of swear words that I use, colloquialisms I call them, that don’t have the desired effect when used on the American population.  They tend to look confused rather than upset.
 
So, to this end, here is a list of common words you should all watch out for in the near future because at some point in your life you will watch a movie by Madonna’s husband (Guy Ritchie) or (if you are very unfortunate) run into me.  Read ’em and weep.
 
The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words
 
Please Note:
This entry discusses the etymology and application of a selection of words that, to varying degrees, can be considered vulgar or offensive. As a necessity, this entails the use of said words, and it is strongly advised that, should you find such words distressing or inappropriate, you do not read on beyond this point.
For the rest of you, there now follows an informative and hopefully educational entry on a potentially controversial topic – bad language…
Mind Your Language
 
etymology (n) an account of the origins and the developments in meaning of a word.
Concise Oxford Dictionary.
Once limited to blasphemy, ‘bad language’ has evolved over many thousands of years to represent both the lowest and the highest forms of human expression. Such words can cause the greatest offence if used casually and repeatedly, at an inappropriate time or place, or in the wrong company. Yet often, a well-timed swear-word can make people laugh. Among friends, almost any word might be considered acceptable, while even the mildest of curses might be distressing if heard coming from the mouth of a child. Even something as simple as the type of voice a person has can affect how the word is received. Should a British Royal swear it might be considered witty, while the exact same phrase coming from an East-end garage mechanic might be interpreted as crude and base. And words that might once have been commonplace are nowadays considered entirely unacceptable.
 
The Atlantic – The Great Divide
 
Two nations divided by a common language.
Oscar Wilde.
With swearing, context is everything. Words that are in common use in the UK are indecipherable to American ears, and vice versa. It takes more than just a simple ‘bloody’ (a corruption of ‘By your Lady’, a religious exclamation from the Middle Ages’) to swear like a Brit. Most British swear-words have a history longer than that of the United States itself, evolving out of even older European languages such as Norse, High German and Latin (hence British phrases like ‘a stream of Anglo-Saxon’ or, most commonly, ‘pardon my French’). For instance, the word ‘ass’ in American-English, meaning buttocks or anus, evolved from the British word ‘arse’1. Before WW1, people in southern English would pronounce the word ‘ass’, meaning donkey, with a long ‘a’, making it indistinguishable from ‘arse’ in spoken English. Considered only moderately vulgar in the UK, it can be put to a number of different, often contradictory uses…
 
The phrase ‘can’t be arsed’ signifies apathy or a lack of enthusiasm, yet to ‘get your arse in gear’ means to become organised or to ‘hurry up.
‘Arse over tit’/’tip’, ‘arse over apex’, ‘arse up’ or ‘arse about’ are all phrases which describe a spectacular prattfall or clumsy action. The word ‘prattfall’, incidentally, also means ‘arse over tit’; ‘pratt’ being an old word for ‘arse’ that has come to lose its meaning over the years. The word ‘pratt’ is still, however, used to this day to mean a fool.
 
A ‘Smart arse’ (signifying someone who is too clever for their own good) can be used either affectionately or to cause offence, while ‘Silly arse’ merely means a fool. To ‘arse about’ can also mean to play the fool. A ‘short-arse’, however, is someone with short legs.
 
A less-offensive term for ‘posterior’ in the UK is ‘bum’, which in America might referred to as ‘butt’. It made its first appearance in around the 14th Century, and was put to good use by Shakespeare: In Measure for Measure, Escalus asks Pompey what his second name is. ‘Bum, Sir’ replies Pompey. To which Escalus replies ‘Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the Great.’ (They don’t tell ’em like that any more – thank goodness). However, in America the word as a noun has come to means tramp or hobo, while as a verb to mean ‘scrounge’ or borrow’.
 
Body Talk – Male
 
Variations on ‘arse-up’ include ‘balls-up’, which tends to be used to describe when things go badly, as in ‘that meeting was a total balls-up’. A ‘ballsy’ person would be feisty or determined, while describing someone as ‘not having the balls’ to do something would mean they’re cowardly, a clear masculine-reassurance insult. In America – specifically American gangster movies starring Joe Pesci – the phrase ‘busting my balls’ equates to annoying or nagging someone. This highlights another difference between American and British usage; in Britain the phrase is used to mean ‘trying very hard at something’ in much the same way as a Brit might say ‘busting a gut’.
 
A stronger British term for testicles, which rhymes with ‘frollocks’, is probably worth a guide entry of its own. To talk this word would mean to talk rubbish or to be misinformed, while to say something is ‘the dog’s…’ (often gentrified as ‘the mutt’s nuts’) would suggest it is the best there is. Legend has it that in the 1950s, construction kits like Meccano would be sold in boxes of various sizes. The list of contents which came with the standard size box would be headed ‘Box, Standard’ (which elided into ‘bog standard’ when spoken) and the larger box was the ‘Box, Deluxe’ which was spoonerised to create the phrase ‘The Dog’s B******s’. This is such a satisfying explanation for two common forms of British English usage that one really wants it to be true.
 
The word’s probable derivation is so non-vulgar as to be quite amusing. Specifically, a bollock is a pulley-block at the head of a topmast, otherwise known as a bullock block. This was used to great effect to prevent the Sex Pistols’ album Never Mind the Bollocks from being censored. A refreshing example of the legal system grabbing hold of the wrong reason and using it to do the right thing.
 
A ‘B******ing’ on the other hand, is a severe dressing down or ticking off. The reason for this is mercifully unclear.
 
Brits will say ‘b******-naked’ while Americans will say ‘butt-naked’. Why Brits verify nudity from the front and Americans verify it from the rear is anyone’s guess.
Although the phrase ‘cock-up’ might appear to have come about in a similar way to ‘balls-up’, its origins are actually in beer making. If the batch went bad, they turned the cock (ie tap, or faucet) up to drain the barrel. However, the word ‘cock’, a Middle and Old English word, is one of the many vulgarities for the penis. In London, though, Cockneys appear to have both terms in mind when they say ‘Wotcher cock’, which comes from the term ‘cock sparrow’ (pronounced ‘sparrah’). It is a general term for a man, although ‘cock sparrow’ was usually saved for small boys. It has been used for about 300 years.
 
A more childish term for penis is ‘willy’ or ‘willie’. This British English word had audiences sniggering in the aisles of cinemas throughout the UK when the first trailers were shown for the film Free Willy. On the other hand it is tempting to wonder whether or not the celebrated actor and rapper Will Smith had taken advice on the way in which British audiences might interpret the title of his 1997 album Big Willie Style (though it’s unlikely he would actually have objected to the misunderstanding). Willie is essentially an innocent playground word, and there was delighted laughter across the land when commentator Brian Johnson referred to two players during a cricket match, pointing out that ‘The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey’.
 
Body Talk – Female
 
The word ‘fanny’ in America is, like, ‘bum’, mildly vulgar, meaning ‘buttocks’. In the UK, however, it is rarely used in polite conversation as it would be interpreted as meaning ‘vagina’. If someone is being vague or indecisive, they can be said to be ‘fannying about’. In the 1970s, there was a pioneering all-female American rock band called Fanny. They were originally called Wild Honey (which is almost as suggestive) and they adopted their new name on the recommendation of ex-Beatle George Harrison, without being aware of the British usage. In 1970, Fanny covered Cream’s Badge, and this song earned it air-play for their self-titled debut LP. The girl’s name, ‘Fanny’, does of course result in chuckles on either side of the Atlantic. Anthony Trollope’s mother, Frances, wrote a highly critical book called The Domestic Manners of the Americans. The Americans were rather non-plussed since they simply could not believe that the ‘Fanny Trollope’ was not a pseudonym. There is also the phrase ‘sweet Fanny Adams’ which is sometimes abbreviated to ‘sweet FA’. Fanny Adams was an eight-year-old child who was murdered and dismembered in Alton, Hampshire, in 1867. Her grave is still there. At around the same time, the British Navy started preserving chopped mutton in tins, and the sailors – always an uncouth lot – described this as ‘sweet Fanny Adams’ which eventually came to mean ‘nothing of any good at all’. An unhappy epitaph to a nasty story.
 
One of the most offensive terms for female genitalia, the c-word, is the ultimate four-letter word in British English, the final media taboo. The first use of the word in a UK TV drama was in Mosley, a drama about the rise and fall of the British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley. This was first shown on Channel 4 in the late 1990s. The word is also the title of a novel by Stewart Home, published in 1999, about the break down of a writer as he rather badly loses the plot, both literally and creatively.
The word has Germanic cognates including old Norse (kunta), middle-Dutch (Kunte) and possibly High German (Kotze meaning prostitute), which all point to a pre-historic germanic ancestor kunton. A Latin word, Kuntus, meaning wedge, might also have been an influence. The word would appear to have entered the English language during the early Middle Ages; in 1230AD, both Oxford and London boasted districts called ‘Gropecunte Lane’, in reference to the prostitutes that worked there. The Oxford lane was later renamed the slightly less-contentious Magpie Lane, while London’s version retained a sense of euphemism when it was changed to ‘Threadneedle Street’. Records do not show whether it was a decision of intentional irony that eventually placed the Bank of England there.
 
The word has good Shakespearian usage, though even he was a little subtle. Hamlet asks whether he can lie in Ophelia’s lap, ‘I mean, my head upon your lap?’ and then says ‘Do you think I meant country matters?’ and follows up with ‘It is a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs’. Ophelia answers non-committally to most of this. A slightly more bawdy use of the word appears in Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head, one of a series of British comedy films of the 1960s, in which actress Joan Sims refers to her husband, ‘The Count’, deliberately pronouncing the word ‘Count’ with just enough room to be (mis)interpreted while still getting past the British film censors.
 
There is a story in Oxford that one of the religious societies in England’s oldest university was the Cambridge University New Testament Society, though that has the whiff of urban legend about it. And more recently, there is a rumour that the former Newcastle Polytechnic had got to the stage of printing their letterheads with the name City University, Newcastle upon Tyne before noticing what they were doing.
 
Other Universities can also be hotbeds of a certain inspired madness. Late in 2000, feminists in Penn State in the USA held a ‘C***fest’ with the stated objective of reclaiming the word, which, according to Inga Muscio in her book C***: A Declaration of Independence, stems from words that were ‘either titles of respect for women, priestesses and witches, or derivatives of goddesses’ names’. (Though how that squares with what the dictionaries say is not entirely clear). Not surprisingly, the local community did not see the event in quite the same way.
 
The abusive term ‘Berk’ also derives from this word, being cockney rhyming slang, short for ‘Berkshire Hunt’.
 
An alternative to this word is the t-word, which comes from an Old Norse word for cut or slit. Pronounced to rhyme with ‘hat’, or, in some regions, ‘pot’, it is widely used in the UK as a slightly more expressive form of ‘twit’3 or ‘idiot’, and it seems likely that many of the people using it do not know what it means, or at least choose not to think about it. They are in good company. Robert Browning clearly didn’t when he wrote the following lines in Pippa Passes:
 
Then owls and bats
Cowls and twats
Monks and nuns in a cloister’s moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry.
 
However it is probable that he was misled by a poem printed around 1660 when that well known and scurrilous poet Anon stated:
They talked of his having a Cardinal’s Hat,
They’d send him as soon an Old Nun’s Twat.
Which appears to be why Browning thought it meant a piece of nun’s clothing, specifically a wimple; and is a clear lesson to us all to check words we don’t understand in a dictionary, and not to infer meaning from context.
 
A Scottish alternative to these words, little-known south of the border, is ‘fud’.
 
Intercourse
 
Although this sounds like the most Anglo-Saxon of all Anglo-Saxon words, the origin of the f-word meaning ‘sexual intercourse’ is actually rather obscure. There is a legend that the old name for the crime of rape was ‘Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’, and part of the punishment was that an abbreviation of the crime would be branded on the perpetrators head. Hence, people with ‘F. U. C. K.’ on their head were known to be rapists. A similar story is that during the time of the plague when it was necessary to increase the population a royal injunction was issued telling the common folk to ‘Fornicate Under Command of the King.’ These, however, would appear to be acronyms intentionally spelling out an existing word rather than new creations themselves.
 
Eric Partridge, a famous etymologist, has suggested that the Old German ‘ficken’ or ‘fucken’, meaning ‘to strike or penetrate’, was related to the Latin words for pugilist, puncture, and prick4 , or to the Latin ‘futuere’ which had the slang meaning ‘to copulate’. There are also clearer links to Dutch where ‘fokken’ means breed and is applied to cattle, and to a Swedish dialect word ‘fokken’ which has the English meaning. Certainly, all the earliest uses of the word in English came via Scotland, suggesting a Scandinavian origin5.
 
Records from as early as 1278 identify a man called John Le-Fucker (which, considering people often had names to do with their occupations, makes the mind boggle), and it was certainly in common usage by the 16th Century, appearing in a dictionary, John Florio’s A World of Words, in 1598. By the 18th century, it had became a vulgar term; It was even banned from the Oxford English Dictionary.
 
DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover (written in 1928) was the first serious (ie non-pornographic) book in English to use the word accurately and in context and was famously banned for over thirty years. In 1960, US publishers Grove Press won a court case permitting it to publish the book in America, meaning it was the first time the word had been legally used in print, while three years later, the ban was overturned in a British court in the infamous ‘Lady Chatterly trial’. American author Norman Mailer used the euphemism ‘fug’ in The Naked and the Dead, and when famous wit Dorothy Parker met him at a party, she said, ‘So you’re the young man who can’t spell f***?’
 
It has been recognised as one of the most versatile words in the English language, and can be put to use as an expletive, an adjective, a noun or a verb, as demonstrated in an email circular that has been widely distributed over the years.
 
Poet Laureate Philip Larkin used the word in the opening lines of one of his poems, writing one of those sentences which is simple, lucid and which cannot possibly be expressed in any other way:
 
‘They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad,
They may not mean to, but they do’
Kenneth Tynan the enfant terrible of mid 20th century British cultural criticism was the first person to use the word on British TV, on the BBC no less, during a live discussion programme, sparking a major and significant debate in the British press. Everyone could see what the articles were about, their eyes were drawn by the asterisks.
 
The word is often shortened by Brits to just ‘Eff’, as in the phrase ‘effing an blinding’ to describe someone who swears a lot. (‘Blinding’ probably refers to an archaic usage ‘God Blind Me’ still heard in ‘Cor Blimey’).
 
The F of the f-word also appears in various quasi-military acronyms most of which can be traced back to and may even have been spawned by the second world war. There is ‘FUBBED up’ – ‘F****d Up Beyond Belief’; FUBAR – ‘F****d Up Beyond All Recognition’; FUNDY – ‘F****d Up, Not Dead Yet’ – as used on the notes of patients in hospitals who were, well… FUNDY. There is also: ‘NFW’ – ‘No F***ing Way’; and ‘SNAFU – ‘Situation Normal, All F****d Up’. This last one is reputed to be the origin of ‘naff’, which was popularised in Britain in the 1970s programme Porridge, and reportedly used by Princess Anne6. In recent years, it has also come into gay parlance to disparagingly refer to heterosexuals – standing for ‘not available for f***ing’ or, less commonly, ‘not a f***ing fairy’.
 
In 1999, Conservative Future – the youth wing of the Conservative Party – started using the logo ‘CFUK’. Sadly, this got them into trouble with the clothing company French Connection UK, who had recently rebranded themselves ‘fcuk’. It is strange to think that there may be an entire generation who, like Norman Mailer, cannot spell the word.
 
A phrase that, until recently, was almost exclusively American, is ‘mother-f****r’. Despite sounding very Oedipal, this does not have Freudian derivations. The word was apparently coined by African slaves to describe the slave owners who had raped the slave’s mothers. Simple as that.
 
From the Middle English for ‘wriggle’ or the Old French for ‘rub’, ‘frig’ is sometimes used as a euphemism for ‘F***’, at other times used to mean ‘masturbate’; usually only seen as a gerundive (or verbal adjective) ‘frigging’. The Sex Pistols did a version of The Good Ship Venus with the chorus ‘Frigging in the rigging ‘cos there’s f*** all else to do’.
 
Literally ‘one who commits buggery’ (anal sex), ‘bugger’ derives from Bulgaria and the Bogomils. These were originally a heretic Christian sect who were stigmatised as sodomites. Section 12 of the UK 1956 sexual offences act refers to buggery. According to this, buggery is sexual intercourse between males or between male and female in an ‘unnatural manner’, or between male or female with an animal in any manner whatsoever. This word is often used affectionately, as in ‘lucky bugger’; ‘jammy bugger’; ‘flash bugger’; ‘old bugger’ and so on, and is sometimes softened to ‘beggar’.
 
The famous and probably apocryphal epitaph says, ‘Under this sod, lies another’. Sod means turf, but here is an abbreviation for ‘Sodomite’. Sodomy is, like ‘bugger’, anal sex, and the word ‘Sodomite’ refers to the population of the Old Testament city Sodom which was destroyed by God because of the sinful ways of its inhabitants. He destroyed its twin town Gomorrah at the same time, and it is tempting to wonder what the people of Gomorrah did to be ranked with the Sodomites. Schoolboys also used to snigger at the Good King Wenceslas verse which goes:
 
In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the saint had printed
 
This was also the word which brought about the trial and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. The Marquis of Queensbury was the father of Wilde’s young lover Bosie, and in a rage he accused Wilde on paper of posing as a ‘Somodite’ (so not only was he narrow-minded, he couldn’t spell either). Bosie encouraged Wilde to sue for libel, but the truth is no libel and when it became clear that Wilde was indeed a sodomite, he was in turn tried and jailed for it.
 
In recent years, an alternative to the f-word has grown in popularity, largely thanks to the Austin Powers films. ‘Shag’ has a dozen or so definitions that are completely non-sexual though; one comes from the Old Norse for beard, hence ‘shaggy’ to describe someone or something that looks loose and unkempt (cf ‘shag-pile carpets’). There are the small marine birds called shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis or Phalacrocorax punctatus) of Europe and North Africa, which are related to the cormorant. The famous Liver Birds on the crest of Liverpool are inspired by these river waders. ‘Shag’ is also a kind of coarse tobacco, so it should be possible to go into a tobacconist and ask the person behind the counter to give you their best shag without being arrested. In 1987, the American soul group The Tams had a Top 30 UK hit with a song called There Ain’t Nothing Like Shaggin’. They were probably rather puzzled to hear that what they regarded as an innocent little ditty about a dance craze was having trouble getting airplay in Britain. And you would think that Americans in the entertainment industry would have learned to check the titles of their movies and indeed the names of their bands and songs for international innuendo. Mind you, it must be tempting to mislead them if you are the person who they ask for the advice.
 
Micturations
 
Swear-words that do not pertain to body parts invariably refer to bodily functions or secretions. It’s true to say that the first swear-words most children learn are scatological, focusing on urination (‘wee-wee’) or excretion (‘plop’, ‘poo’). As we get older, though sexual swear-words tend to predominate, there is still a resistance to progressing beyond what Freud described as the ‘anal phase’.
 
Excrement
 
Both a noun and a verb, meaning excrement and to excrete, and also used an adjective, ‘shit’ is a true Anglo Saxon word. Curiously, the past participle of ‘shit’ was once ‘shitten’, as shown in Chaucer’s General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales where he refers to the ‘shitten shepherd and clene sheep’. Though we might expect this to have evolved into ‘shitted’, the more common form of the word in the past tense is in fact ‘shat’. ‘Shite’ is an alternative form of the word, particularly used in Scotland, Ireland and Northern England.
 
In the 18th Century Jonathan Swift describes the disillusion of an obsessed voyeur called Strephon in the following lines:
 
Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon stole away
Repeating in his amorous fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!
 
‘Bullshit’, an Americanism, is used to mean ‘rubbish’ or ‘nonsense’, and from that we get the back-formation ‘bull’.
 
‘Crap’ is vulgar, but less so than ‘shit’. In addition to ‘excrement’, it can be used to mean ‘stuff’ or ‘things’. Like shit, it may also be used as an adjective: a Brit might describe something as being crap or crappy, in the same way they might describe something slightly worse as shit or shitty. There are two possible origins for the word. The word has links to the Middle English for chaff, and the Middle Dutch ‘to tear off’ which is more suitable than ever in these days of velvet-soft toilet tissue. A second possible origin is the Victorian plumber named Thomas Crapper who gave the world the syphonic flush: British Standard 7357 (1990) still requires that ‘Cisterns shall be supplied with an efficient flushing apparatus of the valveless syphonic type which prevents the waste of water.’ Crapper left his name not only on toilet cisterns, but also on manhole covers across southern England. And thus a crapper is a toilet, and not the person who uses it.
 
Crap is obsolete slang for money, which is presumably the origin of the Craps game. So an American might ‘throw a crap’, that is they might throw a seven while trying to make a point. These American usages leaves Brits either sniggering or confused or both.
 
Crap is a noun rather than a verb, and Brits will ‘have a crap’, except when they are afraid, then they are ‘crapping it’.
 
Confusingly ‘crapulence’ (from the Latin for being drunk) is sickness caused by heavy drinking. However it often also involves toilets.
 
Urine
 
The word ‘piss’ (or, in Scotland, ‘pish’) has its origins in Latin (pissare) and French (pisser), an onomatopoeic word to describe the sound of urination. One of the mildest swear-words, it nevertheless has a major influence on a number of common British phrases.
 
When men sleep, the build-up of urine in the bladder puts pressure on the man’s prostate gland, resulting in an erection. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, a man who was thought to be unnecessarily arrogant would be described as ‘piss-proud’. The New Canting Dictionary of 1725 contained an entry on ‘vain-glorious or ostentatious me’ which read:
 
One that boasts without reason, or, as the Canters say, ‘pisses more than he drinks’.
If you were to ridicule someone for being too ‘full of themself’, you would ‘take the piss’ out of them. As the word ‘piss’ became categorised as vulgar, the phrase was modified – ‘taking the micturations’, later shortened to ‘taking the mickey’ (nothing to do with a person called Michael). With the invention of the urinal, gentlemen would aim towards a small illustration of a bee, intended as a ‘pissing point’, the Latin word for bee being ‘apis’, while a domestic commode would be referred to as a ‘piss-pot’. In Britain, the link between alcohol and urine is clear: a night out might be described as ‘going on the piss’; if a person appears to be spending his money excessively on alcohol he is said to be ‘Pissing it against the wall’ – presumably on the same principle that you don’t buy bad beer, just rent it; a ‘piss-up’ is a drunken party or pub-crawl.
 
‘Smeg’ is a word that has only come into common usage as a swear-word since 1988 after it was popularised by the BBC science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf. Short for smegma, which is defined with delicacy as ‘a sebaceous secretion, especially that under the prepuce’, it is derived from the Greek for soap, and it is also known, less delicately, as ‘knobcheese’.
 
General Insults
 
William the Conqueror’s parents were not married, and before 1066 he was known as ‘William the Bastard’. After 1066, the Anglo Saxons he conquered would probably still have called him ‘William the Bastard’ for quite different reasons. One theory of the etymology of this insult says that it comes from the French word ‘bast’ as in ‘fils de bast’ meaning son of the packsaddle, which compares with the British English usage of someone being ‘born the wrong side of the blanket’ or being ‘the son of a gun’ (as in a ‘shotgun wedding’). Another connects it with the Old Frisian for marriage, and Old English for bind. Brits will say that something like the weather, or a sports result is ‘a complete bastard’ as well as calling someone, usually male, a bastard if they have been particularly unpleasant. The word is sometimes gentrified to ‘Bar Steward’, Australians use the word bastard as a term of affection.
 
The poet Robert Graves wrote a very odd little book called Lars Porsena, or The Future of Swearing and Improper Language. Writing in the 1920s, he claimed that there was an definite class difference in the use of the words ‘bastard’ and ‘bugger’. He claimed that in the working class, people might well be sensitive about illegitimacy, but were often unfamiliar with homosexuality, and so bastard was a mortal insult and bugger was a much milder term. The severity was reversed in the upper classes, who had nice traceable bloodlines and a boarding-school education. He claimed that bugger was a much more serious insult in upper-class circles, where people were more likely to believe it.
 
Although ‘bitch’ and ‘bastard’ have different meanings, their usage is very similar, for, although a bitch is a female dog of any age, the word ‘bitch’ is often used as a female form of ‘bastard’. It’s used to describe someone who is vitriolic or scheming (like Joan Collins in Dynasty); in prison, it indicates a ‘subordinate’, often used in relationships about power; it’s frequently used as a derogatory term to describe women – as in the dance track by the Prodigy, ‘Smack my Bitch Up’. One familiar American usage is to call someone a ‘son of a bitch’; Jack Nicholson is reported as saying that his mother was able to call him a son of a bitch with no detectable irony. Finally, to ‘bitch about something’ is to complain or whinge about it.
 
The word ‘git’ is connected with ‘get’ but in the sense of spawn or offspring, as in the old verb to beget, so your ‘get’ are your (probably illegitimate) offspring. In the northwest of England get is still used in the way that git is in the rest of the country. In the BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, Alf Garnett used to refer his Liverpudlian son in law as a ‘Scouse git’. ‘Git’ is only a very mild form of abuse (certainly in the UK anyway), and it can be used affectionately with people, calling someone a git as a real form of abuse is more likely to encourage them to laugh at you.
 
‘Pillock’ is another word which was revived in Till Death Us Do Part. Its origins are in the word ‘pillicock’, which is northern English slang for ‘penis’, and which compares with the shorter and more southern ‘cock’. The earliest usage recorded in the OED describes someone getting their feet wet and saying: ‘Mi pilkoc pisseth on mi schone’ (schone’ meaning shoes). Pillock is no longer considered obscene. British politician Mo Mowlem was filmed on TV in a shopping precinct during the 2001 general election campaign telling someone wearing an odd shop uniform that they looked ‘a complete pillock’. Everyone smiled, possibly with relief that Ms Mowlem, who has a reputation for using ‘short words’, used one of the longer and more repeatable ones.
 
A term of abuse that is all-but completely lost on Americans is ‘w****r’, derived from the word ‘w**k’, to rhyme with ‘tank’, which is a term for masturbation. Often used to denote a stupid person, it has been heard in American shows such as Miami Vice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spoken by characters allegedly from London (cf ‘tosser’). The adjective ‘w***ered’ is often used by Brits (usually Londoners or people who have lived in London for some time) to mean ‘extremely drunk’.
 
There are a few missing, like cabbage – another term for a fucking idiot or stupid cunt, muppet (same thing really) and one or two I can’t think of right now, but this encompasses juat about every word I need in my aresenal to really piss someone off (either sex) when I want to be exceptionally offensive.  I love the English language.
 
Robespierre.
 
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I will huff, puff, and reposess your house!

The housing bubble bursts with a resounding pop, and a million homes are lost.  It really sucks, but I’m hardly surprised.  When I first arrived in the US you had to put a minimum of 10% down on a house.  There were no teaser rates, no monster mortgages, and no way some dickless wonder wih a part time gig at McDonalds could get a loan.  Don’t get me wrong, I really do feel sorry for those families that had to struggle so hard to make ends meet and actually own a home, but the mortgage industry and the consumers are to blame for the current mess equally, and I’m quite pissed off that my taxes are being used to bail people out of their own mess.  I bought my house knowing how much I could afford and what the future may hold, I’m aware that oil is running out (a fact most Americans are blind to) and that the cost of living is ever on the increase, so why should I have to suffer for everyone elses ignorance?  Time is the fire in which we all burn, and it gets hotter and hotter as the years go by.  Get used to it.
 
Another high profile politician and a hooker.  The stupid gene strikes again.  It is embarassing to be a man sometimes.  Did you see the look on his wifes face in the press photos?  You could almost see the knife coming out of the purse and driving stright through his left eye out the back of his skull as she shouted "You stupid CUNT!"  I’m quite sure she has thought about chopping off his dick, his head and anything else she could separate.  Fuck him, he deserves to be made a fool of for the rest of his life.
 
I have to get back to work, but if anything interesting happens during the day, I will probably ignore it and carry on with my self absorbed existence, unless of course I’m irked by the stupidity and ignorance of the human race.  We are sooooooo proud of ourselves, so excited about our achievements, so superior in our attitudes, yet another 4500 acres of rainforest was cut down yesterday, another 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere, 3500 people starved to death, and more GI’s died in Iraq.  Yep, we are the master race.  Clever, sophisticated, and posessing a remarkable capacity for self destruction.  And all of us have that genetic masterpiece.  The stupid gene.
 
Robespierre.
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Does anyone really care?

It seems to me that the cost of living (and dying) just keeps going up (unless you are going down of course).  With 1 in 10 male adults behind bars, most states are considering letting crack addicts out of jail earlier.  Pot heads get to stay where they are, my speeding tickets stay with me for the next 3 years, my insurance rates go up, but convicted crack whores get out of jail free.  And does anyone really care?  Apparently no one does since this is set to sail through local government without a hitch.  As usual we see the great American legal system at its finest yet again.
 
A lot of stupid shit has been going on lately, not the least of which is the sad tale of the Astrian lawyer attacked by another shark of the same species and killed in the Bahamas.  Who cares about cannabalism like that?  Poetic justice is what I call it.  Lawyers are parasites anyway.  This idiot went swimming with the other sharks sans protective cage in water being "chummed" to attract said sharks and everyone is surprised he was attacked and killed.  My flabber is ghasted!  I’m shocked!  How could this happen?  The stupid gene, thats how.  Everyone has it, most people will suffer the effects, some will die a timely death.  He had kids too.  I wonder if they inherited the gene?  Most of you will say I am cold, have no sympathy, and I’m cruel.  Given the choice, would you be stupid enough to jump into shark infested water full of blood and fish heads?  No?  Why not?  Scared you might get EATEN ALIVE?  There you are then.
 
Anyone heard from the Pope lately?  Me neither.  I wonder what he is planning?  Take over the world maybe?  How best to rid earth of muslims, followed by christians, followed by mormons et al?  They tried it once.  Don’t put it past them for a second attempt.
 
There seem to be a lot of murder suicides and children offing their relatives lately.  I wonder if it has anything to do with going back to school now that the holidays are over?  And where do they get all the guns?  I can understand wanting to kill your parents, but I’m not one for offing myself in the process.  Where is the fun in that?
 
Presidential primaries?  Like I give a fuck.
 
Did anyone see the Oscars?  Nor did I.  Judging from the ratings, nor did anyone else.  How sad, never mind.
 
A few famous people died in the past few weeks.  They were famous, but I did not know any of them.  So I guess they can’t have been that famous.  Not like, say, Bo Derek for example.  I can’t even remember any of their names.  How famous do you have to be beforesomeone recognizes your name?  No one will notice my sudden exit, I’m sure, but I don’t care, right?
 
The war in Afghanistan was supposed to be a success but they are right back up to full production of opium, pumping it out at a phenominal rate.  There is so much money in drugs, it has superceded the ever poplar family tradition of goat herding.  I can’t imagine why, but it probably has something to do with FEEDING YOUR FAMILY!  Just another country we should have stayed out of.  Let them kill each other.  Does anyone really care?
 
Robespierre.
 
 
 
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Who won what game?

Now, before I get off on a rant, please listen carefully.  In the event you bocome incensed, angry, irate, pissed off, indignant or any other verb you want to use, remember this.  I don’t care.
 
So, on with the show.  England (remember us?) beat France (remember them) in the semifinals of the rugby world cup.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans can’t spell rugby, nor do they know what it is, how it is played, or even where it is played. This is a very unfortunate situation.  In the rest of the world, this is a big deal, like cricket and more importantly like soccer.  But therein lies the problem.  As far as americans are concerned, this is the world, within these borders.  They could care less about the rugby world cup, the 4 day cricket matches, world cup soccer qualifiers, and the EPL.  None of this weekends world class sporting events made it to the pages of the newspapers in the US, or ESPN or any of the major news web sites, because americans in general don’t give a fuck.  And its not just sports.  This is endemic accross the board.  And that people, is the problem.  The rest of the world already knows this and they are becoming more and more resigned to the truth that the US is isolating itself from everything not american.  When are you people ever going to learn?
 
There was a huge crash on the I5 north of LA on Friday night.  Arnold declared a state of emergency.  Now, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank a catastrophic hurricane demolishing an entire state a 10, while 2 dead and 27 trucks written off because people still have yet to learn how to drive properly a .1 and most definitely not an excuse to declare annoyance at the possible delay to commuters let alone a state of emergency.  Maybe my perspectives are a little out of whack, but I lived in LA for some time, and I don’t give a fuck if it is a car crash, or a jumper on a bridge.  My commute was fucked if it RAINED!!  No one declared a SOE when we had an inch of rain and people panicked because they had never seen water falling from the sky!  Now I live in Illinois.  My commute is fucked when it rains AND when it snows!!  Unbelievable.
 
On that note, I have to leave and get back to work.  Have a great week, watch out for idiots on the road (most of them are I think), and keep an eye on the news from the rest of the world.  It is far more interesting and well written that USA Today.
 
Robespierre.
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Eureka!

Amazing.  Some group of educated researchers think they have determined what the appendix is for.  After all these years and all those removals.  Now, all we need to do is have them turn that gargantuan combined intelligence and focus it on a real problem.  Find out how George Bush can live without a brain.  Maybe his appendix is driving the body which provides us with a good exceuse for him being as stupid as my neighbors dog, which by the way can communicate better than George.  Oh, dear.  How sad.  Never mind.
 
Don’t swim in the lake, johnny.  It’s full of sharks.  No, sorry, microscopic amoeba actually.  More deadly than sharks in fact.  Those little single celled fuckers have killed more people than sharks have this year.  How scary is that!  Evolution at work, as opposed to creationism of course.  I’m rather impressed that an organism practically invisible to the naked eye this is not a virus, lives in cold fresh water, and never makes the headlines, can suddenly rank in the top stories along with that idiot president who had the gall to veto a child health bill.  This is a new low for the moron in charge.  Why won’t he go swimminmg in the lake and see if he can find that marvelous little ball of proteins and genetic material?
 
Even more frightening than the amoeba was the recent recall of contaminated beef.  I’m sure not all of it was contaminated but better safe than sorry.  This is a big deal.  Beef is a big part of the food chain over here, and a big slice just got burned.  I’m hardly surprised considering their production methods, but still, in this day and age you would think they had their shit together.  Apparently not since this is the third time in recent years that beef has garnered a bad rap.  There goes the trade deficit again.
 
So B. Spears lost custody of the rug rats.  Now she can get back to being a party animal, fuck around, get drunk and not have to pay a babysitter to watch the kids.  The stupid gene strikes again.  I hope the kids turn out to be smarter than she is, which should not be too difficult.
 
I’m going fishing next week.  I need a break from reality.  Fishing consists of a boat, two coolers, satelite radio, no cell phone, sandwiches, a small amount of bait and an anchor.   I can sit out there in the middle of a peaceful plaid lake until the beer runs out.  The bait will all be   gone long before that happens I promise.  And I won’t be swimming with the amoebas.  I will post a few pics of everything I did not catch.  Gripping.  Till next week.
 
Robespierre.
 
Till Monday, I hope everyone has a great week
 
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