Study

Bookish Nooks, Cultural Crannies
Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability (Francis Bacon)

Spelling The Blues

I’ve just transferred some jazz CDs into iTunes, which automatically updates track information from the internet. This is a splendid idea. Or it would be if the database people could spell. Thanks to them, my computer playlist now refers to…

My Next Radio Programme

The Secret Life of Telephone Numbers produced by Alan Daulby BBC Radio 4 (92-95FM) Repeated: Monday 27 December 2004 (Day after Boxing Day) 8.02pm ‘Choice’ in Radio Times Here’s what the Radio Times critic says: There was once a man…

What Sex Are You?

If you like writing and are either male or female, you should visit Gender Genie. Just go to the site and write something (or paste in something you’ve written) and it will tell you what gender you are (or should…

Etymology Of The Word “Kangaroo”

When Captain Cook first saw one these odd marsupials, he asked a nearby aboriginal Australian: “What’s that animal called?” The aboriginal replied “Gangurroo.” And that became its name in English. What Cook didn’t know was that, in aboriginal Australian, the…

Caribbean Iguana on Hammock

I looked up the etymology of “hurricane” the other day and discovered that it’s an old Carib word meaning “evil spirit”. Who were the Caribs? Well, they lived in Guadeloupe and were portrayed by Columbus as cannibals. But they were…

Online Research Tips

Wikipedia is a great online encyclopedia. To research anything on earth, ignore the rather busy front page and type your keyword into the search box half-way down the left-hand column. If you’re a Googler and you’re after UK stuff, don’t…

Hurricanes

Hurricane Ivan has finally hit the USA. I’m surprised Bush hasn’t invaded it. Ivan’s an odd name for a hurricane. For several hundred years, hurricanes were named after the saints days on which they occurred. For example Hurricane San Felipe…

Stop F***ing Swearing

I just went for a walk around genteel Hertford and overheard about 30 F***s. F*** is no longer a swear word in the UK. But it certainly was in the 17th century in puritanical Jamestown. If you said it once,…

Quote for Today

He that has and a little tiny wit, With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, Must make content with his fortunes fit, For the rain it raineth every day. Shakespeare

Cat Sends Email

Bollinger regularly sends emails by sitting on my laptop keyboard or prodding “enter” with her paw. She frequently sends my emails before I’ve finished writing them. Boll has a thing about office equipment and used to sit on my fax…