Thursday, August 13, 2009

EOTWQ: Better Late Than Never

The place I go back and back to... see question 2

Since there don't seem to be any takers this week, here are some getting-very-near-the-End of the Week Quiz question for y'all.

1. Unlike some RRers, I’ve not spent time investigating my family history, but know of a few interesting branches in the family tree. Someone on my dad’s side a few generations back, one William Harbutt, invented plasticene. My maternal great-grandmother was an opera singer who appeared in the English premiere of Wagner’s Ring cycle and was friends with Dame Nellie Melba, of peach and toast fame. And my mum’s half-sister’s daughter’s son’s father (my half-cousin once-removed’s father – do keep up) was Steve Peregrin Took, the one in early T-Rex who wasn’t Mark Bolan.

Question: what interesting ancestors and spurious claims to fame have you unearthed in your family?

2. This week’s theme got me thinking about holidays. I’ve been going to the Isles of Scilly at least once a year since the age of three – but this year, with the demands of two under-2s, we’re missing out, leaving my soul a little underfed. Much as I enjoy discovering new places, I’m much more likely to go back to somewhere I love.

A two-part question: do you seek out new places on holiday or return to the same ones? And where’s your favourite?

3. Back to work: my day job involves writing and copyediting for charities. This often means putting phrases like “We will leverage engagement and empowerment to achieve meaningful real-world impacts on target groups” into plain English. There’s probably a robust framework to be implemented as well.

In your own line of work, what buzzwords and jargon do you most despise?

4. Until recently, I also worked for AQA63336. You text in a question, and they text back an answer, usually within 10 minutes. Some of the questions are practical, some are personal, some are impossible, some are bizarre, and some are obviously from people cheating in pub quizzes. The pay was rubbish, but I used to enjoy settling pub arguments (Franz Beckenbauer is the best defensive midfielder of all time) and estimating answers to ridiculous questions (you could fit 1.65 million Rory Bremners in the Tate Turbine Hall). The anonymous questions asked also gave you a fascinating insight into the preoccupations of the British public, particularly in the early hours of the morning.

So over to you for this one: what question do you really want answered?

5. RR is, as we all know, the nicest place on the internet. Anyone who’s strayed onto other blogs will know how horrible they can be. I’ve got into occasional debates on things like immigration, vegetarianism and climate change with online nutters, and been called some nasty names. This amuses rather than upsets me. In real life, I get on with people, and bend over horizontal to avoid conflict.

But not everyone’s like this. Have you ever had somebody you’d consider an enemy?


saneshane said...

1 Sarah Mallett (1764-1846) was one of the very small group of women authorised by John Wesley to become a preacher, in the early days of Methodism.
After Wesley's death, she married, and as Sarah Boyce, she continued to preach for another forty years - despite the ban on female preaching, imposed by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1803.

That’s me great great x something Nan…rebels even fanatical religious ones …

2 New Places .. part two has to be ‘the next one’.
But we don’t really holiday, we make friends in new countries and go visit.. cheap skates, I know!
Zimbabwe and Turkey have been the last memorable places.

3 in Design ‘negative space’
always sounds so.. well ..NEGATIVE!

4 If you laid every 1970 football managers sheepskin coat next to each other – deep breath – how many football pitches would they cover?
(for those who don’t know the size of a football pitch – London buses or Wales can be used as a size reference)

5 Yes – but it’s never my fault – honest.

ejaydee said...

1.I have great-something-aunt who married one of the Peugeot boys, them from the cars, at some point in the early 20th century.

2. The place where I am now Englesqueville, because it's a family thing, with most of my extended family on my paternal grandfather's side. If I had money saved somewhere, it would go into buying my own place there someday. However I always like to see new places, I would like to return to Greece a lot, I'd like to know more of Brazil's northeast.

3. I try to blank most of them out.

4. Did I imagine hearing Let's Go Crazy by Prince in the dancing scene in the Breakfast Club? It seems I did because nobody else remembers it, maybe it's because it would fit so well.

5. "In real life, I get on with people, and bend over horizontal to avoid conflict."

That's not too far from myself, though I have had teacher nemeses (usually maths or biology), the last one was Mr Petiaud, a real nasty piece of work. One of my biggest regrets is, when at the end of the final school year, all the teachers stood in line, so we could say good bye, and instead of avoiding his hand, I could only do "look-away-as-you-shake" instead of skipping him like Gary Neville did to Patrick Vieira at the famous battle of Highbury in February 2005.

ejaydee said...

Sorry it was supposed to be like Scholes did to Vieira.

May1366 said...

Questions well worth the wait, barbryn. I've got enough for a couple of posts, I fear -

1. I wouldn't say "unearthed" since it's simply something my mum told me when I was a kid, the details of which I then forgot until I was working on a project about the Botanic Collection in Liverpool, and the sight of latex spilling out of a rubber tree caused me to ask my mum to tell me the story again:
My grandfather (her dad, whom I never met) was a scientist in colonial Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. Rubber was a huge commodity and the only method of 'tapping' the trees for the pure latex resulted in the tree barks acquiring a series of wounds which meant that, after a while, they could no longer be tapped (think junkie's arms and needles). My granddad developed a disinfectant which allowed the barks to heal and thereby be good for more tapping. He called it Candarsan, taking the start of his surname Candappa and adding the sanitary bit at the end - and sold it to an interested firm. As a scientist and not a businessman, it was enough to have the product recognised by one company. Of course, the rights having passed over to the new owners, it then became sold as an industry standard and would have been worth a fortune.

2. As a personal choice, I like to seek out new places but convenience and familiarity become more imposing factors once children come into the equation. The desire to seek out new places also conflicts with the desire to get to know places visited and loved, so there's a long list of places I'd be more than happy to return to, given a chance. Of these, if there's one place I'd feel odd about not visiting once every few years, it'd be Barcelona.

3. Ah, easy - BME, or BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). The latest term devised by bureaucrats to drain away the sense of unity and political purpose acquired by African, Caribbean and Asian people in this country when they first started calling themselves Black. The acronym's ugly; it rolls off the tongue like a strain of mad cow disease; it diminishes experience, activism and consciousness in favour of conservative, passive (minority) ethnicity; and it's probably out-of-date, having had to be expanded to dump refugees and asylum seekers, expanded EC migrants and disabled people into the same bag, rather than leaving us to build our own alliances. Because Curtis Mayfield never wrote, "Your BAME and White Power, it's gonna be a crumblin' tower" and James Brown didn't "Say It Loud - I'm BAME and I'm Proud!"

4&5 below...

May1366 said...

4. Sorry, it's a music one but your Franz Beckenbauer fact reminded me of a question my son asked a couple of years ago that then inspired a fairly prolonged debate among the music anoraks I consulted later that night. While the answer seemed to come down to opinion about the music and about what constitutes "bigness", my son meant it as a simple, measurable mathematical issue: If (and you'll have to accept this as a given in order to proceed) The Beatles and The Stones are the two biggest bands of all time, who are the third biggest? U2, Led Zep and Abba seemed the most plausible answers but it's a head-scratcher.

5. Damian Ettinger. Deputy Head Boy, Tory and casual in my 6th form years, while I was the lefty, feminist (in a boys' school) editor of the school magazine, which I fancifully regarded as an organ for social change rather than a leaflet for which staff and sixth formers could write humorous articles about cross-country. Damian was my ideological opposite and, at a meeting of Prefects (I'd stood on a ticket of using the badge [actually, tie] to attack the culture of apolitical apathy at the school - this was during the miners' strike, after all) which he chaired, he explained that enforcing some authoritarian falangist regulation or other had to be done because "we have to do what we're ordered to do" - so I piped up, "Isn't that what they said at Nuremburg, Damian?" Words so self-important and delusional, my fingernails are itching as I type them.

Japanther said...

@May - hmmm...3rd biggest group of all time? Living on the "other" side of the world in a completely different culture, i'm always surprised that cultural giants that we take for granted are simply unheard of, even in an economically and culturally advanced country like Japan. U2 and Led Zeppelin are far far from being household names. The only universally known artists (except for the Beatles and the Stones) are not "bands"; Madonna, Michael Jackson and ......erm.....that's about it!

back with my answers soon...

sourpus said...

1) Several of my Grandfather's sisters (there were six altogether, and two brothers) were famous singers in the 30's, in the days when radio, the home piano and sheet music were the old fashioned equivalent of what the internet does now. Two went on to star in the kind of British movies that we used to be famous for culturally speaking. And the son of one of those Great Aunts (a Great Cousin?) wrote songs for the likes of PP Arnold (some of which were even pretty good!)

2)Always open to a new place.

3) Jargon and buzzwords always have a wrongness feeling built into their very core, even though I see the point in them I dont want to think about it..eek what a sore thought that was!

4) I always knew who Brian Speng was and that was the last great one...I actually do have all the answers now... really

5) In the days when I clearly must have felt I needed enemies, it was always 'politishuns' and their perceived paymasters. I remember weeping copiously into my pillow as I sat up late/early listening to the 1987 election results being declared, feeling utterly dispirited after the 'enemy's repeat victory was announced. My hairshirt in this regard was deliberately hung up sometime in 1989, as I consciously decided to stop being the only person I knew who seemed to care about such things anymore.

Fortunately, since then, I have made a point of appreciating EVERYONE I meet, regardless of stripe. Much better plan.

Japanther said...

1. Nothing in the bloodline, but my Mum (so she claims) did once go on a date (or two) with Ronnie Wood, when they were about 13 or 14 years old!

2. Every "holiday" for the last 4 years has been used for buying trips for Mrs J's business, we always return to the same places (Sweden, Finland & Denmark - with occasional branching out to Latvia, Hungary etc) but personally I like seeking out new places, not sure when we'll get the chance to though. Next week sees the start of yet another trip to Scandinavia!

3. there are too many that would take too long to explain, but I do like to use them in a tongue-in-cheek way!

4. How many people in the world are picking their nose, RIGHT NOW?!

5. Can't think of any enemies, or even rivals, but that's not to say I'M not THEIR enemy, if you know what I mean.

May1366 said...

@Japanther - I think that's why it's such a tricky question. If we discount solo artists (who, once big enough, are just celebrities anyway and needn't have any musical relevance to remain so; Jacko, an obvious case in point) and look beyond the Anglo-American perspective, it's devilishly hard to make an assertion on anyone's behalf. Boffins have surely developed a formula for this somewhere.
Anyway, hope my question isn't going to waylay anyone from answering barbryn's questions.

ShariVari said...

1. As far as anyone is aware, my family has been solidly unremarkable for the duration of recorded history. My mother's great uncle might have been one of the first people to drive a tank in WW1. That's the best i can do. The situation isn't helped by the fact that nobody in my father's family can agree where they came from, let alone who they were or what they did.

2. I like to go to a combination of new and old places each year, if possible. Kiev has a hold on me that demands i return every so often and i try to get to Milan, if only briefly, for the sales. My main holiday this year will be a mixture of first visits (Berlin, Prague) and return trips (Vienna)

3. I hate all forms of management and marketing speak. My company does English testing and filling our press releases with clunky, poorly-written jargon makes us look ridiculous. I don't mind technical language though, at least that has a point other than deliberately making everything bland and inoffensive.

4. Did i dream the ultra-limited-edition Mute Records tribute to the Afghan Whigs featuring Stereolab doing Fountain & Fairfax or did it actually exist?

5. I try to avoid conflict as well. Usually it works.

cauliflower said...

1. Claims to fame. Family name of Buick always has Americans wondering (Brits wonder in a different way - most can't pronounce it, saying something that sounds like Wossy saying brick, or a variant of "toowit toowoo": tooick). My grandfather emigrated from Northern Ireland about 100 years ago - he told us kids that our name gave us the right to go to motor city and claim our free sedan. He was also famous for taking the piss.

2. Holiday returns. As I've spent the last few months dwelling unhealthily on just this question, I'll have to rein myself in. For YEARS I've been holidaying in the most beautiful place in "god's own country" (ref my grandad) in Donegal. But now it's up for sale and, if I can't find someone to lend me cash for 5 years (return of 1% above standard rate, if you're flush and interested :-) we'll never be able to go again. The impact has been enormous, even more than we thought. It's where a group of friends have met each year, talked, swum, maintained our friendships. Not going this summer has left us all bereft, lost.
The other place I hope to go at least annually for the rest of time is the west coast of Sweden, on the Skaggerak - some of you will have seen the picture DsD posted a couple of weeks ago - it's calm, clean, warm and beautiful. Sweden is a well-kept secret - if you haven't been there, GO!

3. Despicable jargon. Most of the jargon used in my two professions - psychobabble and web comms - are essential to understanding the specifics within them, even if they sound like nonsense to outsiders. But I do know what you mean - in web world there are multiple measurable targets for robust synergistic frameworks. I try to puncture the obfuscatory language by telling them I'm easily confused by words with Greek/Latin origins, then translate everything into Anglo Saxon. When they get the hang of it people usually seem a lot happier, as if they have permission to talk sense.

4. Question? Can't think of anything... if I do, I'll let you know.

5. Enemy. Apart from my mum, and all the men in the technical team I worked in in the early 80s(600+ of them ♂, one of me ♀) most of whom hated me on principle, I can think of two enemies in work in later life: trying to get me sacked my boss told our head of dept that I'd made a pass at her (her fantasy, probably) and made my life hell - I quit, best decision ever (she apologised 10 years later when I bumped into her somewhere); and another woman tried hard to cause trouble but as she farted astonishly badly when wound up, it was easier to ignore. Not aware of having any in personal life - not sure how I'd handle it.

nilpferd said...

1. An ancestor of mine was allegedly the last Scotsman to be hanged for sheep-stealing. That might just have been an in-joke between my parents, though. My Grandfather was a well-respected policeman in Stirling who won a few medals for marksmanship, and a great uncle was on the Cumberland, the ship which didn't quite make it to the Battle of the River Plate. Sandra has a fascinating Romanian-Japanese ancestor of whom hardly anyone knows anything, apart from the fact that she was fascinating.
2. We tend to return if we like places.. Sandra and I had a good 5 yrs of travel pre-Mara, so we're more into comfort these days.. the last couple of years we've spent summer on the Black sea coast in Romania, which was nicely laid back, child friendly, relaxing, and had good food + wine.
3. Mostly the English jargon Germans who can't speak English use.. sourced from late eighties Wall St. films and spaghetti Westerns.
4. When are my outstanding invoices going to be paid..
5. It's not the way of the Hippo to get upset with anyone online.. in person though I'm developing a certain animosity towards those from whom I'm expecting an answer to number 4...

goneforeign said...

Before we get to the personal details there's one question I'd like to respond to. Beatles/Stones etc.
How do you measure 'bigness?'
And re. Japanther's 'Madonna- Michael Jackson' comment, how about BMW, I believe Bob's more universally known and appreciated throughout the world, more so than any of the above four.
Everywhere you go you'll see images of Bob on walls, T shirts, buttons, there's even an Indian tribe at the bottom of the Grand Canyon that reveres him plus Marley festivals in remote spots like Hawaii, New Zealand and many throughout Africa.
I recall reading back then [therefore it's obviously true] that at his peak he was outselling every band in the world in the 'stadium' venues, one was mentioned that held 180,000!

SatanKidneyPie said...

Some nice questions to ease me back into the EOTWQ fold...

1. interesting ancestors?

My grandfather’s half-brother, Francis Brett Young, was a novelist in the 1930s. He had one of his novels made into a film (“My Brother Jonathan”) and apparently was quite popular in his day. I’ve never read any of his books, although my dad’s got the full collection, including some which were translated into German! I really should get round to reading some of his stuff one day... Oh, and I seem to remember by Gran telling me once that her great grandfather was the Deputy Governor of Queensland.

2. holidays?

We always go on holiday to new places, but have a few friends scattered around the country. I always enjoy our trips to Norwich, dunno if it counts as a favourite though.

3. jargon etc?

I have to deal with the Home Office every day, so there’s just too many to identify the worst offender. “Contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the immigration rules” takes some beating.

If I can digress a little, I am reminded of a story a colleague tells about a Home Office decision to refuse a Kurdish man’s claim for asylum. The claimant had told the Home Office that he’d been shot at by a general in the Iraqi army. In refusing his claim the Home Office said “the credibility of your claim is called into question because the Secretary of State believes that a general in the Iraqi army would not miss”!

4. question?

Does it get easier than this? But I only want the answer if it's in the affirmative.

5. Have you ever had somebody you’d consider an enemy?

Japanther. Beneath the pleasant exterior, the guy’s a Nazi.

goneforeign said...

1. There's only one that I know of and I have mentioned it here before.
My grand-dad used to sing old Irish songs to me when he'd had a pint or two.
One frequent one was 'Brennan on the Moor', the story of Willy Brennan who he said was his great, great....grand-dad. He came from Sligo which is where the song is set. His name was Vincent Brennan, mine's Tony.
here's a youtube clip:

2.Holidays, they're not as much of an obsession here as in UK, we tend to take trips. Probably related to landmass size and climate. When I discovered Mexico I kept going back but to different places each time, similarly with Guatemala. I enjoy the freedom that a campervan gives you so I built one in the 80's and we travelled throughout the western states in it, there were some places that we kept returning to.

3. A current source of irritation is the fact that the football field is now accepted as an area of measurement, every bloody thing in the universe is measured in football fields. How about tennis courts or golf courses for a change?

4. I'd like to know how many football fields it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

5.I don't think I have enemies but there's several who view me as one due to the circumstances by which I was hired to the position I held at a university. I was hired personally by the president of the university based on his seeing a film I'd made, it was a large university [33,000 students] with many media related personnel. I was hired on the spot, given a very generous budget and started at the top of the salary scale. I discovered that there was enormous resentment once I started work, I had a total free hand to do as I wished and they were all bound by ancient rules and policies and antagonisms; of course they hated me.

May1366 said...

@goneforeign - I'm prepared to settle for Bob Marley and the Wailers as one of the Big Three (not necessarily just the third biggest) if I can be confident there isn't a mental distinction made between Bob, as an individual artist, and the band as just the people who played with him. When people think of "The Wailers", is it more like "The E-Street Band", legendary but anonymous at the same time, essential to the sound but dispensible in the public consciousness?
Sorry again for the music-related intrusion...

debbym said...

1) As a young man my grandfather was friends with Reg Varney but there's a rumour in the family that he refused to play the organ at my grandparents' wedding. Also, my great or great-great grandfather (there's no-one left to ask) was a decent enough boxer to be the sparring partner of the then world champion - I distinctly remember my grandfather telling me that, but I also remember him changing the rules every time he tried to teach me chess, so who knows...
I think it's the younger generation (in my family) going to show the world what for!

2) Yes, I would like a holiday, please, just about anywhere! Slightly worried about revisiting old favourites in case they don't hold up to the *golden* memories.

3) Neither nor

4) What do I want to be when I grow up?

5) No

CaroleBristol said...

What interesting ancestors and spurious claims to fame have you unearthed in your family?

Nothing. I have never researched my ancestors at all.

Do you seek out new places on holiday or return to the same ones? And where’s your favourite?

I love France, I have revisited a lot of places in France that I have enjoyed but we always try and find new places to stay.

One reason we keep going back since we got our dogs is that we can take them with us and not have to put them in vile kennels.

My favourite part of France is the Languedoc.

In your own line of work, what buzzwords and jargon do you most despise?

Unfortunately, as an IT person, I am surrounded by jargon and working for a company based in the USA we are mired in management speak too.

My personal hate words and phrases are;

Heads Up


Leveraging The Investment

Blue Sky Thinking

Resources - They are PEOPLE FFS!

Workforce Management - i.e. making people redundant

What question do you really want answered?

Leaving aside all those big ones - the Life, Universe and Everything ones - I'd really like to know who it was who stole my pink and burgundy satin Biba Dress when I was a student. It was in my house, I know it was there and the next time I wanted to wear it, it was gone. It cost me a lot of money and I loved it to bits. Whoever it was, it was someone who knew me.

Have you ever had somebody you’d consider an enemy?

Well, the vile cow who stole my dress, obviously. Apart from that, I have hated a few people in my life, mainly because they were nasty to me, but I am over that now.

I had a boss once who I'd have cheerfully impaled on a spike, Vlad the Impaler stylee, because he was a sexist twat.

There were two girls when I was at school who bullied be abominably when I was 12 or 13, but one day I snapped and fought back. They left me alone after that.

I don't really keep grudges for very long, generally, though. Well, apart for the Biba dress thief.

CaroleBristol said...

That should clearly read "who bullied ME abominably"

barbryn said...

Third biggest band: if I'd got that question at AQA, I'd have answered U2 without much hesitation (except perhaps to wonder if they should be higher). I'm not a particular fan, but they've been pretty much unarguably the 'biggest' band in the world for 25 years now, or about half the history of popular music - and even if they're not huge in India or China, they're surely popular on every continent (I can imagine Bono putting on a gig in Antarctica, to raise awareness of climate change or something). Bob Marley, I'd say, is more of a cultural presence than a musical one.

Some great answers so far. Back with more detailed responses later.

Abahachi said...

1. As I think I mentioned on RR once, my great uncle was one of the original voices of the Ovalteenies ("Happy girls and boys..."). Also, I'd related by marriage to R.D. Blackmore, author of Lorna Doone.

2. We regularly go back to the same bit of the Bayerischer Wald in SE Germany, but use it as a base to explore further afield - ongoing project to cycle the whole of the Danube, and then Mrs Abahachi wants to follow a route that crosses the Alps to Italy. On the whole, though, we find it so much more relaxing to go somewhere familiar where we know some people and know where all the shops are.

3. Far too many to mention; universities have been taken over by management speak, mostly from academics-turned-managers who've been completely brain-washed by attending courses. I think the one I loathe most is referring to students as 'customers'; it's ugly and depressing, but it also has a serious negative impact because it shapes their expectations; university comes to be seen as a supermarket ("I've paid my money, so why haven't you given me a 2.1?") rather than, say, a gym where you pay your membership fee in order to gain access to the facilities and the trainers but it's your own damned fault if you don't then do any work...

4. When will the revolution come?

5. I too try to follow the Way of the Hippo, and I don't think there's now anyone I would consider an enemy; plenty of bullies back in school. I do suspect that I have enemies, however; there's one prominent academic who really seems to dislike me, and I honestly don't know why.

treefrogdemon said...

The E Street Band anonymous? not to me...

1 As I've mentioned before, my step-great-aunt (ie my mother's stepmother's sister) was Marion Tattershall, who was an artists' model in the early 1900s, famous for her beauty and long red hair (and rumoured to have been the mistress of Alfred Dunhill). She married Nicolas Fabergé, the son of Carl, court jeweller to Tsar Nicholas II: my mother always hoped she had the odd easter egg in the cupboard somewhere but this proved not to be the case.

2 I like going to new places (Orkney, for instance, where I've just been) but seldom do, because it's expensive to get to San Antonio every year to visit my son. He keeps saying wouldn't I rather go somewhere else in the States for a change - we'd all go together - but I always say no, partly because we'd have to pay for accommodation but mostly because I love San Antonio, and their house, and their friends.

3 I work for the NHS and not only do we have initials for everything, but we also start using every kind of management-speak from business just at the moment that business stops using it. I've started to notice 'going forward', for instance. I'm going to a meeting with some heid yins tomorrow, so I'll make a note of any good ones.

4 We have an unanswered question in the family...but I'd better not tell you what it is.

5 I don't think so...(looks quickly over shoulder)

GarethI said...

1. In the Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans, Cardiff, is a farmhouse that my (I think) great-great grandmother lived in. Its original site is now under water in the Claerwen Reservoir, Powys. There's a photo of the lady herself in the book about the farmhouse, which the farm's tenants lived in. She's got that Victorian-era stare that says "Give me any cheek, boy, and I'll give you what for."
2. Holidays? I'm struggling to remember what they are…
3. Oh, Barbryn, I'm in the same line of work and I can share your pain.
Impact. It does not mean affect. The only time you should ever use impacted is in connection with wisdom teeth, otherwise use another word.
I also object to the rash of "real" in daily discourse – real difference, real benefits, and so on. Fucking meaningless drivel. It's either a benefit or it isn't. And if someone can tell me what engage means, I'm all ears.
Other things that bug me are the way we've lost the original, useful meanings of enormity and discomfit, so they're now synonyms of big and discomfort respectively, because writers who should know better didn't bother to look them up before they used them.
4. Are sub-editors going the way of the dodo? And if so, should I retrain as an accountant?
5. I'm not sure I ever really had an enemy. Although I can think of a couple of people whom I'd be happy to see on life's scrapheap.

steenbeck said...

Good questions!!

1. My mother's maiden name is Hampton. She had an uncle named Tudor Hampton, which always sounded very monarchical to me. Apparently when my grandmother was still alive they had some sort of ancestry report made and we're related to some old queen or other. Actually I think it was a king, an Edward maybe, and some other notable fellow--Drake or Raleigh. Is it true? Who knows. ANd my Dad's grandfather was an engineer who lived in Detroit and made all kinds of cool inventions for cars, some of which we still use, like the thing you press to shoot cleaning fluid onto your windshield.

2. We don't really go on Holiday. We're self-employed so we don't get paid vacations and it's hard to take time off. In our families are two houses by the ocean and one house in the mountains, all within 3 hours drive, and we'll go up there for for a few days every now and again. I used to travel abroad a lot, but I haven't been out of the country in over a decade, and that makes me sad. In a couple of years the boys will be a good age for travelling, and then maybe we'll make it to an RR social...

3. All kinds of restaurant speak. Some of it I like and use, because it's a pleasingly economical way to describe a situation. (if you say "I'm weeded" or "I'm in the weeds" everybody knows exactly what you mean.) But I hate the phrases managers use to start a talk...FYI, Let's touch base on a few issues, etc. And funnily enough, though Abahachi's students are called customers, our customers are called guests, which I hate, because you don't usually make your guests pay for their food, do you?

4. What do animals think about all day? What do they dream about? Do they think in words at all? Even if they're not words the way we understand the, well, word.

5. Just Britney, but it's not MY fault we both had circus-themed world tours planned at exactly the same time, is it? And that sequinned silver lamé spandex outfit? I had it first!

gordonimmel said...

Ahh, I was hoping that somebody would sometime ask that question No. 1....

My parents, my Dad especially, have been heavily into Family History for 30 years now and although we've not discovered anybody famous we have discovered a few interesting characters...

My Dad was inspired to start researching because of a claim by his Dad (my Grandfather) that we were related to the owners of a chain of jewellers in Glasgow. Since my Dad and Grandpa had grown up dirt poor in Clydebank this was always laughed at. But after only a few months of search my Dad prooved the story to be true.
The jewellery chain was founded by my Great Great Great grandfather and I am descended from his eldest son. This should usually set me up quite well but what happened was that shortly after being widowed in his sixties this eldest son had his wicked way with his housekeeper. When he died a year later (I don't know if the two incidents are directly related!) he left all his shares in the company to his baby child from this affair and left his adult children (including my great grandfather) a lump sum which was duly lost in a failed business venture. Hence my Dad and Grandpa grew up poor...

My parents are way past the stage of just finding the names of people in families. They're into Parish Poor Relief Records, Military Records etc. and that's how they found my most interesting (IMHO) ancestor.

In the early days they found a great great great grandfather of mine who was described in the 1821 census as an army pensioner but without any details and for years they couldn't find out any more about this man, John MacGregor. About five years ago, tho', it all fell into place. They eventually found his military records which showed that this poor teenager from Caithness joined his local regiment, The Cameron Highlanders in 1813 and apparently fought in The Peninsular War. But he was eventually discharged from the regiment having 'received a wound in the thigh on active service on 18th June 1815', which as every schoolchild knows was the day of the Battle of Waterloo. (The Camerons were not only right at the centre of the battle but suffured the highest casualty rate in the British army).
I was really chuffed that after having read so much about this battle over the years I suddenly discovered that a distant ancestor was right at the heart of it.
(Postscript: John MacGregor eventually joined the neighbouring Sutherland Highlanders serving all over the Empire before becoming a policeman in Glasgow in the 1840's)

Back with (very much shorter) answers to 2 - 5 later.

gordonimmel said...

To continue...

2. Like many others, both me and frauimmel used to enjoy visiting new and interesting places but since becoming parents have been somewhat constrained. Nowadays it's usually just short visits to our family cottage in southern Scotland or (where I've just been) visits to frauimmel's parents in Austria so that tessimmel and her grandparents don't lose contact.

3. 'Value Engineering' - it means 'go back and redesign it again there's still not enough profit in it for us'

4. Honestly can't think of an answer to this question. I'll maybe come back to it later.

5. Again, like many others there may have been a few people who disliked me but I'm not sure why and the feeling wasn't reciprocated - a couple of bullies at school (I got the better of both of them eventually in my own way) and a fellow engineer at a company I was working at a couple of years ago seemed to have it in for me - but then he didn't seem to have a good opinion of anybody so I didn't take it personally.

sourpus said...

Abahachi, my great Aunt Anne Lenner, referred to above, was also one of the 'voices' for the Ovalteenies. Apparently, although i've never heard the recordings which survived, she was known as 'Auntie Anne'. What was your Great Uncle's name?

Japanther said...

1. (again!) - by marriage, Mrs J claims that her lineage can be traced back to one of the great Samurai families of the 17th and 18th centuries. Apparently her family was dead posh and "important" and owned a lot of land in central Tokyo with maids and everything, but that great social leveler the Second World War came along and when Tokyo was completely obliterated by allied bombing the family lost everything, literally; the property, the maids, the centuries of built up wealth, gone in an instant of air raids, with the family reduced to scraping around for scraps on the streets of Tokyo with the rest of the population.
She also had an uncle (or great Uncle, i'm not sure) who wrote a famous book which got made into a TV series.

@SKP - you're a marked man, my friend!

I agree that Bob Marley was more global than U2 or the Zepps, but i'm still not sure he cuts it for third biggest, and definitely not as the band BMW.

ToffeeBoy said...

Well, a long post of mine has just disappeared into the ether. Bastards! I'll try again tomorrow, barbryn. Jeez ...

Shoegazer said...


goneforeign said...

I didn't intend to include the Wailers, though I don't see how you can exclude them if we're talking about his music. To put it another way, there's a huge worldwide appreciation of the name Bob Marley and the songs that he recorded [with the Wailers] and the messages he transmitted.
A similar analogy might be Bob Dylan, his name is analogous with all his songs but they wouldn't exist without his back-up band.
An interesting detail re. Bob, The current issue of the magazine I posted about recently has an article in the current issue about the various biographies about Bob Marley, there's over 25 listed books and that's not a complete list, I have about three that were not included plus that's only the list in English, god knows how many there are in other languages. And then there's the magazines, every music related magazine has done at least one.

Shoegazer said...

My Grandmother's Mother was married to my Grandfather's Father.

AliMunday said...

1. Errrr ... none? But my paternal grandfather is a bit of a mystery, so I might be related to someone I know nothing about ...

2. I love the south coast of Cornwall, especially Mousehole, preferably in early Spring.

3. I'm a Civil Servant. The list is endless ... we have to use plain English in public documents (quite right too) but there's all sorts of cr*p that goes round internally, e.g. 'from this point going forward' etc

4. Usually "where did I put my glasses?"

5. My cousin stopped speaking to me for 20 years, then turned up at my mum's funeral and said "wow, you've changed". She'd only met me once, when I was 18. Never did discover how I'd upset her, perhaps that should be the question that needs answering?

snadfrod said...

1. There's not been a lot of mining in my family, but I do know that my dad's side come from a reasonably successful mill-owning family in Holmfirth. When my grampa dies we inherited all the history and parapehernalia of the old Wm. Sandford and Sons mill which only closed in the latter 20th century. My dad is starting to do a bit of research and reckons there are some interesting stories there - particularly about a famous flood in the mid 19th century - but as yet I haven't had a chance to explore it in any depth.

2. Between me and Mrs Frod we have a long list of places that we want to go to and I reckon we'll be working on that for a long time before we have any confirmed favourites. Personally, though, I would always choose a new place over somewhere I'd been before, until I find the place where the food is THAT good that I can do nothing but go back...

3. Speaking as a man who is just about (on monday!!!) to enter the world of Civil Service bullcrap, can I just say that I welcome every occasion to perpetrate a linguistic moment on our customers and consequently succeed in managing revenue and focus in the relevant accompanying streams.

Ask me again in six months...

4. Where is the remote for our DVD player?

OR, musically,

Which band has existed for the longest without undergoing any lineup changes whatsoever?

5. I get the sweats even thinking that someone might slightly dislike me even a bit, so please don't use strong words like 'enemy', they are bad for my desperate-to-be-loved heart.

snadfrod said...

Edit - just to clarify, I meant mining in the history of my family, not actual mining. Also my grampa has died, we are not keeping him hidden whilst also claiming all the bounty. Sorry.

Abahachi said...

@sourpus: Gerald Davies. Have to say that the moment you asked that question I was filled with deep anxiety that this is going to turn out to be untrue - not that I've imagined my mother telling me this, but that Great-Uncle Gerald (not the most reliable of characters, by all accounts) may simply have made this up...

nilpferd said...

Longest running unchanged band.. Modern Jazz Quartet formed in 1955 with the addition of Connie Kay, played unchanged through to their first disbandment in 1974, but continued to appear occasionally in the same form thereafter until Kay's death in 1994.

May1366 said...

@barbryn - since U2 would have been the answer you'd have given in your old AQA days, I think we have to accept it (but are Abba more influential, and is that a factor?)
@ treefrogdemon - no, the E Street Band aren't anonymous, nor are The Wailers or The Band, but plenty of folk would think of Springsteen, Marley and Dylan primarily as individual stars with musical support, rather than luminaries within a collective.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

1) Step-grandmother was related to Lily Langtry.

2) Yes, I tend to be drawn back to the same places over and over; Lostwithiel in Cornwall and Spiez in Switzerland are two favourites of mine.

3) My work colleagues fine my using the swear box whenever I use made-up parody buzzwords like "Dubiosity"

4) What does anybody see in Bloc Party? The critics rave about them, but...

5) RichardRJ? More seriously, I've met some really unpleasant trolls in online forums whose owners were unwilling or unable to moderate. Worst one was really malevolent rightwing American, who I hated so much I wanted Al Queda to blow up a mall in Cleveland, Ohio just so I could read his name amongst the dead.

TracyK said...

1: As I just mentioned above, Nanny Bird was related to the Birds of custard fame and great-grandad Downes sold William Hill his first bookie pitch at a local racecourse. My uncla Harry researched our family back a long way, and having such a very weird surname, we are all related. Originally from Somerset, we were granted lands and a title by one of those Williams but, inevitably, it all went. Our family is strongly linked to a place called Culbone, with a very very small church, tucked away in a deep valley. It has a history rich in immigrants, dissenters and lepers. Outcasts all round, really, which I find strangely comforting!

2: We like to take trips to discover new places usually, though we loved Prague so much that we know we'll go back for a third time soonm and Hawaii again, maybe our 10th anniversary...

3: Teaching is full of nonsensical buzzwords and initiatives. the latest is PeLTS, which we now have to 'embed' in our SoWs. SIPs, SEFs, PANDAS, value added. Yup, those are the sucky bits of teaching, the bits that are naff all to do with the kids.

4: Where is the celtic triskele necklace that Kirsten gave me? Can I get it back? Ditto my last green amber pendant.

5: Oooh, I've made lots of enemies, I'm afraid. A combination of my rather baroque approach to relationships in the past and a too-upfront honesty. And once, forgiving someone much against my better judgement, that years later proved to be a huge mistake and cost me my last relationship. I'm afraid I do bear grudges too. I'm trying the way of the hippo online, which has worked, but in real life, not so much. Funny, because I am a very, very easy-going person, but if you cross me deliberatelty, or hurt someone I care about...

barbryn said...

Thanks for all the wonderful answers everybody. A few responses...

1. I reckon I win this one (although perhaps I didn't make it clear it was actually a competition). Imagine a world without Plasticine. No Morph. No Wallace and Gromit. The porters in "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" made out of some entirely different and less alliteratively pleasing material.

2. Interesting... I thought there'd be more "returners" among you. Cauliflower clearly feels the same thing for Donegal and Sweden that I do for Scilly... it's a deep, almost painful longing. If you haven't felt it, you probably haven't met the right place yet.

I do love going to new places too... the trouble is, they also turn into places I want to go back to.

3. God, there are some horrific examples there. SatanKidneyPie's “Contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the immigration rules” certainly does take some beating.

@may1366, I'd not come across BAME but have to write BME with gritted teeth fairly often. Problem is, sometimes the audience you're writing for expects this kind of language - same with the awful examples from the health sector, which I also have to deal with fairly often.
@GarethI. Totally agree with everything you said. 'Real', particularly. One style guide I read put this nicely (I read style guidelines a lot. Not always for pleasure): 'This word is often used unnecessarily, for example “real jobs, real improvements, real benefits”. As the alternative would be “imaginary jobs, imaginary improvements, imaginary benefits”, it is easy to see how pointless this adjective can be.'

4. Back to these in a minute...

5. Well, aren't we nice? Apart from TracyK, by the sounds of things. Hey, I didn't really mean that. I'm sorry. I said, I really didn't mean it.

barbryn said...

Unbelievable. I have a question. Where has the post, that I just spent ages writing, in which I gave pithy, amusing, meticulously calculated and visionary answers to all your questions, disappeared to? Grrr... Sorry, you'll all just have to keep wondering.

TracyK said...

I did it. And I'm not sorry.