Tag: history

On speaking English only in self-defence

No, I haven’t gone missing.  I’m holding a camp for the school’s student leaders this weekend, so I’ve been too busy with preparations to think of any nonsense to write down here.

But I don’t want to neglect you wonderful readers, so I thought I’d share something with you I wrote a while ago.  At one point last year I discovered Quora.com.  In case you’ve never heard about it before, it’s a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them.  It’s also a quite nice community, though I don’t follow specific people over there, nor do I care whether they follow me.  It’s just very interesting, and at times highly entertaining, to read people’s answers to the questions.

I also try answering questions from time to time, and I want to share one of my answers with you.  The question was:  “What does it mean when an Afrikaaner (sic) says, “I speak English only for self-defense?” Continue reading “On speaking English only in self-defence”

On South Africa – land of many tongues

On South Africa – land of many tongues

Goeiemôre, good morning, dumela, molo, sawubona, salibonani, ndi matseloni, avuxeni, ǃGãi tses, goedendag, bonjour, bom dia, guten Tag, hari yang baik, subaha acchā, subha-ba-khair, marHaban, shalom, Zǎo ān and nzuri asubuhi.

No, I’m not swearing at you.  Today we celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa.  Our country is incredibly diverse in terms of cultures, histories, religions, languages and natural heritage.  The purpose of today is to remember and celebrate who we are and where we come from.

South African flag heritage day

One of the most obvious signs of diversity in our country is in the languages we speak.  To start with, we have eleven official languages protected by our constitution.  Several of those eleven languages have various dialects and there are a couple of pidgin languages as well, combining several official languages into one.  And I don’t even know how many other languages are spoken here, either by descendants of the original European settlers or more recent migrants.

So be greeted today in just a few of the many tongues spoken in South Africa. To learn a bit more of each of the languages used above, click here

On Romans, Railroads and rHobbits

Bilbo and Frodo Baggins
Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from Peter Jackson’s LOTR films

The interwebs inform me that today is Hobbit Day, it being the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  However, as I did not know this beforehand and as I’ve already done International Talk Like A Pirate Day this week, I’ll simply wish Messrs. Baggins and Baggins a very happy birthday and get on with my business for today…

…which is a bit of humour.  My dad sent me this in an e-mail during the week and it’s simply too good not to share. Continue reading “On Romans, Railroads and rHobbits”

On Paraskevidekatriaphobia

I’ll say it again:  Paraskevidekatriaphobia (Sheesh!  I’m glad I don’t have to say that out loud.)  If you woke up this morning in a cold sweat of terror that cannot be rationally explained, you could be suffering from this.  Don’t worry, it’s not a fatal condition, though it could make your day very stressful and make you a target of ridicule and practical jokes should it come out you have it.  Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the irrational fear of Friday the thirteenth.

Theories abound as to the origins of this particular superstition.  Some go so far back as to say that the day that Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden was a Friday.  We’ll never know that for sure, but we do know that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  Friday is also the sixth day of the week.  With seven being the perfect number, six symbolises less than perfection (and use six three times in a row and you get the biblical symbol for evil personified).  According to Genesis, the sixth day is also the day God created man, which certainly makes it an unlucky day, at least for the rest of the earth… Continue reading “On Paraskevidekatriaphobia”

On Spam – A History

On Spam – A History

I would like to welcome four new spam-followers to If all else fails…use a hammer.  They joined yesterday and, while I know they won’t be reading any of my posts, at least they’re helping me towards my milestone of 100 followers, so good for them.

But that made me think, I haven’t written about spam in ages.  To remedy that serious oversight I give you,

A Brief History of Spam

It all started with this guy:


Hang on!  Sorry.  I meant THIS guy: Continue reading “On Spam – A History”