A Gentleman's Domain, Benito Mussolini, Bernard Cornwell, Christopher Hibbert, David Harper, Desmond Bagley, Graham Masterton, Jack Higgins, Keith Waterhouse, Ken Follett, Maxime Rodinson, Michael Crichton, Mohammed, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Thursday Thirteen
I was going to do a meme or something equally fluffy today. It’s the weekend, after all, and not many people pass through here on Saturdays or Sundays. But then my attention was drawn to this. Actually, I saw an brief article about it in the University of Florida’s student newspaper, and with a but of Googling I tracked it down. What happened was, a disabled man – confined to a wheelchair, but still able to move from the chest up, and therefore able to drive a modified car, was stopped by Tampa police and arrested for a traffic violation. They took him back to the Orient Road Jail and a security camera captured what happened next. Have a look.
It goes without saying that that she did was utterly disgraceful. There can be no excuse. Almost as bad was the conduct of the other officers there who stood by and watched. I served for ten years in a real police force, and encountered hundreds of fellow officers, but I can’t think of a single one who would have thought that doing such a thing was even remotely acceptable. It just make me wonder what sort of brainless morons they recruit in Tampa, who manage somehow to con their way into a uniform.
I am pleased to tell you that the deputy concerned, Charlette Marshall-Jones, has been arrested and charged with felony abuse of a disabled person, and if convicted could get up to five years inside. Three others have been suspended without pay. I am posting this here because I don’t want the story to go away. In spite of the swift action of the Sherriff’s department in arresting her, I still feel rather uneasy. After all, not so many years ago six cops beat Rodney King to a pulp on camera, and therefore in full view of the world. Yet they were still able to convince a jury that they didn’t do it.
A few weeks ago, lovely Di did a TT about famous people she has met. Well, because I have no shame, and because Di herself said to me that if you can’t steal from your blog friends, who can you steal from, I am about steal, pinch, borrow, requisition, adopt, grab (pick the verb that you think most suitable) her clever idea. So here’s a TT of famous people I have met. I had to set myself some ground rules. “Met” means at least exchanged a word or two with, if not an actual conversation. Just seeing someone doesn’t count. I once held the door open for Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in a pub in Great Portland Street, and got a smile and a nod in return, but that doesn’t count as meeting. Neither does sitting three seats away from Jane Seymour at a play, or standing next to Tim Rice by a luggage carousel in Heathrow Airport. But within the parameters I have set myself, the following count as meetings, however brief.
Thirteen (or thereabouts) Famous People I Have Met .
1. When I was a child, we took a family holiday in the west of Ireland, in a town called Waterville in County Kerry. At the hotel we stayed at there was also a large family from Switzerland. Several children and young adults. Their parents didn’t join them until some days later. There was quite an age difference between the glamorous mother, in middle age, and the father, who was a much older, silver haired gentleman who said little but smiled a lot. One day I was walking down the corridor to my room as he was coming the other way. “Hello” I said to him. “Hello there.” he replied, with a smile. And that was the sum total of my one and only conversation with……
A week ago, Laura from The Safe Harbor tagged me for a meme. It’s very simple, so even I can understand it. All I have to do is share six non-important things/habits/quirks about myself. Ok, that seem pretty straightforward…..
1) I haven’t worn socks for over a year. (Ah, Florida!)
2) I leave the tea bag in the mug. I like it strong. I get bog standard supermarket tea bags from England sent over because the stuff available locally tastes like something that came out of a camel.
3) I love fruitcake.
4) My cell phone is over 4 years old, doesn’t take photos or have a colour display. But that’s ok because I use it about once a week, for short calls. I often tell myself I should upgrade, but then I ask myself why and I have no sensible answer
5) I own about 900 shellac 78rpm records.
6) Some nevers. I have never: eaten sushi, sung or even watched karaoke, played baseball, listened to or even seen a iPod, attended a church wedding, ridden on a motorbike, been to Las Vegas.
I won’t tag anyone, but if you want to have a go, please feel free. Please link back to me and let me know you’re taking part.
A Gentleman's Domain, Alan Corduner, Alec Baldwyn, Annette Crosbie, Davind renwick, Eddie Murphy, Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, Jim Broadbent, Joan Allen, Joseph Heller, Kevin McKidd, Nia Vardalos, Richard Wilson, Robert Redford, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Thursday Thirteen, Tim Curry, Timothy Spaul, Tina Fey, Tom Cruise, Vanessa Williams, W.S. Gilbert
Well, this may come as a shock to some of you. Possibly you’ll even react in the traditional cycle of denial, anger and then acceptance. Just don’t get angry with me. I am but a humble messenger, spreading news to those who may have missed it. This could be important. Chocolate, it seems, is bad for you. Especially women. Take a look at this if you don’t believe me. If women eat chocolate they stand a greater chance of suffering from brittle bones in old age. So, if you don’t want to live a life of hip replacements and walking frames, you need to say sayonara to Snickers, kick out those Kisses, give the heave-ho to Hershey, toss out your Toblerone, cast aside your Cadbury, say “No more!” to Nestlé, and resign yourself to a chocolate-free existence. You’ll feel all the better for it. In your eighties and nineties, you’ll be striding out confidently, with strong, firm bones, unassailed by the fiendish chocolate.
Strangely enough, men, it seems, are not susceptible to the same depredation. I suppose it’s the way our bodies are made differently. Or maybe it’s just Mother Nature having a laugh at our expense. I may be free to eat as much delicious choky as I want, without fear of my shin snapping if I roll over in bed, but as it happens I am indifferent to the stuff, and can go for days or weeks without having any and I don’t miss it at all. It’s a funny old world.
During the years that I have been living on the western side of the pond, I have caught myself from time to time using British slang or expressions that are completely unknown here, provoking raised eyebrows or blank stares. Some Brit words are gaining currency here but others are still unheard of. I’m not sure exactly where the line is between idiomatic expressions and plain ordinary slang, but here are, I think…….
13 British Idioms That I Have Never Heard In North America
1 -- “A turn up for the books” Something that is unexpected, or a surprise. Normally something that is not of earth shattering importance. Finding a few coins in the pocket of an old jacket would qualify. So would seeing great-aunt Agatha walking up to the front door on a day you had hoped to stay in bed. Waking up to discover that the Martians had landed would demand more stronger expressions of surprise.
2 -- “Put paid to” To put an end to something, often in the sense of either foiling someone’s plan (I refused to sign the contract and put paid to his attempts to sell me a set of encyclopaedias) or simply the run of circumstances (Non-stop rain put paid to our plans for a barbecue last Saturday).
3 -- “To have it on one’s toes” To run away. In spite of the mention of pedal extremities, your flight does not have to be on foot. You can also jump into a car, drive away and you’ll still be having it on your toes. If you prefer, you can say “dancers” instead of “toes”. The phrase “Do a runner” means exactly the same thing.
4 -- “Sure as eggs” This the commonly heard abbreviation of “As sure as eggs is eggs” which one hardly ever hears in full these days (note: the singular verb form with the plural subject is part of this idiom). It is used to reinforce your belief that something is certain or at least highly probable. “If you don’t take your umbrella, it will rain, sure as eggs.” for example, or: “As soon as I step into the shower, sure as eggs the phone will ring.”
5 -- “I tell a lie” means anything but. It means you have made an unwitting mistake and you are correcting yourself. “I last saw Jim in November. No, I tell a lie – he dropped in to our Christmas party for a few minutes.”
6 -- “Get the chop” means to be kicked out of a group or organization or, most commonly, a job. It is most frequently used in the sense of someone being fired. “Fred’s work was so bad that he got the chop.” Or: “If they outsource our department to India, we’ll all get the chop” You don’t use it in the sense of being removed from a building. You can’t for example, get the chop from your local pub if you misbehave.
7 -- “To be mother” Anyone can be mother, regardless of sex or age (except very small children, I suppose). In this idiom, mother is the honorary title bestowed upon the person who pours the tea for a group of two or more people. When the tea has brewed in the pot for the requisite number of minutes, someone will be appointed (Will you be mother?) or a volunteer is sought (Who’d like to be mother?) to fill everyone’s cups.
8 -- “Quick as you like” This is what you say when you want someone to hurry up. Its meaning is more forceful than it looks on paper. You can either use it as part of an instruction: “I want you to clear up all your mess, quick as you like.” or on its own, to encourage someone already performing a task, probably not as fast as you would wish: “Come on! Quick as you like!” Some people find it rather obnoxious, and it certainly can be if it’s said right!
9 -- “No word of a lie” A phrase used to emphasize the truth of a matter. You can tack it onto the end of a sentence (I’m delighted you’re here, no word of a lie) or make it part of a qualifying clause (I told him I hadn’t slept for two days, and that was no word of a lie).
10 -- “Up a gum tree” Gum trees don’t actually grow in Britain, but the idiom has taken root. It means you are in difficulty, or beset by a seemingly insoluble problem. If, for example, you lose your job at a time you owe huge sums of money on your credit cards, you are up a gum tree. Less catastrophic, but equally applicable, would be not being able to think of a Christmas gift for a relative.
11 -- “Straight up” is another idiom for emphasizing that something is true. “I never touched your wallet, straight up!” or “Come on, tell me, straight up, how many hours did you work last week?” You can also use it on its own as emphasis (“Straight up!”) or for seeking reassurance (“Straight up?”).
12 -- “I can feel it in my water” means that I have a hunch or a suspicion. I’m not sure exactly what water you are supposed to feel it in, and I’m not sure I want to know (Eeewww!).
13 -- “Cupboard love” Love purely out of self-interest. You show love to someone in the hope that they will do something for you, or give you something (presumably something they have in a cupboard [i.e. closet]). Small children and cats are often accused of this, maybe not entirely without justification!
Please leave a comment, and then I recommend that you drop in on The Flatland Chronicles and see the selection of Second Life landscapes that Damozel has in her TT this week!
I have often seen postings by people who rhapsodize about winter -- about how they love the snow that besets them for months on end, how they revel in having to wear several layers of clothing to go outside, how they would hate to be deprived of power outages, huge heating bills, windshield scraping etc. Myself, I suspect that inside they are all aware that winter is a pretty crappy time but they are all in denial, or trying to put a brave face on it and pretend they are enjoying it.
I found this beautiful winter poem and thought it might be a comfort to them. It was to me, and it's very well written.