mcgillianaire: (Default)
We are lucky in the UK to have free access to a government-funded local library network. Despite the swingeing cuts imposed by the coalition in the last parliament that forced the closure of hundreds of branches, they haven't disappeared completely. If you are resident in the UK, you can sign up with any public library in the country*. And perhaps due to the effect of the changes in recent years, several councils in London have partnered together to provide a broader set of resources, particularly online. Indeed, two of my favourite aspects of public library membership in London provides me with unfettered, free online access to The Times newspaper and The Economist archives, in addition to the latest editions of over 330 magazines and journals such as The Economist, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, National Geographic, Newsweek, Businessweek and The Week. The great thing is that you can read the magazines on your computer, tablet and smartphone.

(* So long as you turn up once in person to prove your identity and residence, plus pick up your membership card.)

Slut

Sep. 20th, 2013 07:05 pm
mcgillianaire: (Union Jack)
c.1400, "a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman," probably cognate with dialectal German Schlutt "slovenly woman," dialectal Swedish slata "idle woman, slut," and Dutch slodder "slut," but the ultimate origin is doubtful. Chaucer uses sluttish (late 14th-century) in reference to the appearance of an untidy man. Also "a kitchen maid, a drudge" (mid-15th-century; hard pieces in a bread loaf from imperfect kneading were called slut's pennies, 18th-century). Meaning "woman of loose character, bold hussy" is attested from mid-15th-century; playful use of the word, without implication of loose morals, is attested from 1660s.

Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily. [Pepys, diary, Feb. 21, 1664]

Sometimes used 19th-century as a euphemism for bitch to describe a female dog. There is a group of North Sea Germanic words in sl- that mean "sloppy," and also "slovenly woman," and that tend to evolve toward "woman of loose morals" (cf. slattern, also English dialectal slummock "a dirty, untidy, or slovenly person," 1861; Middle Dutch slore "a sluttish woman").

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

[This entry was inspired by this news story.]
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
Maverick:
1867, "calf or yearling found without an owner's brand," so called for Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), Texas cattle owner who was negligent in branding his calves. Sense of "individualist, unconventional person" is first recorded 1886, via notion of "masterless."

Gobbledygook:
also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by U.S. Representative Maury Maverick, Democrat-Texas, (1895-1954), a grandson of the original maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II. First used in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

Holiday

Aug. 22nd, 2013 11:10 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day; Sabbath," from halig "holy" (see holy) + dæg "day" (see day); in 14th-century meaning both "religious festival" and "day of recreation," but pronunciation and sense diverged 16th-century. As a verb meaning "to pass the holidays" by 1869.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

====

This is one of those etymologies that seems so obvious, yet was easily glossed over perhaps because of it. A part of me feels like I already knew this etymology, but another part of me also felt surprised at not knowing this, if that makes sense.
mcgillianaire: (Ministry of Sound)
About two months ago I posted a single playlist of my ongoing best-ever songs in English compilation. But perhaps you'd rather listen to them by time-period? If so this entry is for you.

Links to Spotify [Word Doc]:
Pre-1960s         [Link]
1960s & 70s*      [Link]
1980s             [Link]
1960s, 70s & 80s
1990s             [Link]
20th Century
2000s             [Link]
(* I'm in the process of separating the 60s & 70s songs into their own playlists.)
mcgillianaire: (Ministry of Sound)
About two months ago I posted a single playlist of my ongoing best-ever songs in English compilation. But perhaps you'd rather listen to them by time-period? If so this entry is for you.

Links to Spotify [Word Doc]:
Pre-1960s         [Link]
1960s & 70s*      [Link]
1980s             [Link]
1960s, 70s & 80s
1990s             [Link]
20th Century
2000s             [Link]
(* I'm in the process of separating the 60s & 70s songs into their own playlists.)
mcgillianaire: (Ministry of Sound)
Three-and-a-half years ago I "decided to embark on an ambitious project to bring myself up-to-speed with music. I thought it would be a delightful idea to compile a DVD (the one with the highest capacity, 9GBish I think) with the world's greatest music of all-time." That's what I wrote here then and today I'm proud to report back to you the fruits of that labour. Before I do, a major round of thanks to everybody who contributed their feedback with tracks and artists I couldn't leave out from a "greatest-ever" list. I think you'll each find something to your liking, even if several other inclusions raise an odd eyebrow or few. In a project like this it's impossible to please everybody. Ultimately, this is my compilation and it caters to my tastes.

The playlist encompasses over seven decades of English (pop) music. The oldest songs are from the 1930s, the most recent is from 2009. I haven't included anything since then because frankly, the majority of them haven't stood the (arbitrary) test of time yet. The playlist is also incomplete so don't be surprised to find tracks missing in it. It's a work-in-progress and will remain so, as long as time doesn't stand still. But there's enough to bring back memories and create new ones. I just happened to have reached the 1000 song milestone.

Unfortunately, I cannot make a DVD of this compilation because quite simply, I do not own CDs or records of most tracks. At the time of making the original post, I intended to download all the MP3s and burn them onto a DVD. I've since realised the importance of copyright infringement and decided to keep the whole thing legal. To my good fortune, I was introduced to Spotify less than a year after making the original post. It's fair to say Spotify is the only reason this project came to fruition. Less than two months of using it for free, I recognised the benefits of a premium subscription. For just £10 a month, I had unlimited access to every Spotify track available in the UK. I can't stress enough how amazing this was for a music lover.

Spotify has its limitations but that's the price you pay for staying on the right side of the law. Artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica and Oasis are not available due to lack of licensing agreements. But hopefully that will change in the future. Even so, there's still so much else to choose from. I've even managed to compile a 1000 greatest-ever tracks!

So without further ado, I present you The Best English Songs of All-Time. You can view and play it in Spotify. Or you can view the playlist in a Word document, with links to Spotify.

Please continue leaving your feedback about tracks and artists that I've left out. In the meantime, enjoy!
mcgillianaire: (Ministry of Sound)
Three-and-a-half years ago I "decided to embark on an ambitious project to bring myself up-to-speed with music. I thought it would be a delightful idea to compile a DVD (the one with the highest capacity, 9GBish I think) with the world's greatest music of all-time." That's what I wrote here then and today I'm proud to report back to you the fruits of that labour. Before I do, a major round of thanks to everybody who contributed their feedback with tracks and artists I couldn't leave out from a "greatest-ever" list. I think you'll each find something to your liking, even if several other inclusions raise an odd eyebrow or few. In a project like this it's impossible to please everybody. Ultimately, this is my compilation and it caters to my tastes.

The playlist encompasses over seven decades of English (pop) music. The oldest songs are from the 1930s, the most recent is from 2009. I haven't included anything since then because frankly, the majority of them haven't stood the (arbitrary) test of time yet. The playlist is also incomplete so don't be surprised to find tracks missing in it. It's a work-in-progress and will remain so, as long as time doesn't stand still. But there's enough to bring back memories and create new ones. I just happened to have reached the 1000 song milestone.

Unfortunately, I cannot make a DVD of this compilation because quite simply, I do not own CDs or records of most tracks. At the time of making the original post, I intended to download all the MP3s and burn them onto a DVD. I've since realised the importance of copyright infringement and decided to keep the whole thing legal. To my good fortune, I was introduced to Spotify less than a year after making the original post. It's fair to say Spotify is the only reason this project came to fruition. Less than two months of using it for free, I recognised the benefits of a premium subscription. For just £10 a month, I had unlimited access to every Spotify track available in the UK. I can't stress enough how amazing this was for a music lover.

Spotify has its limitations but that's the price you pay for staying on the right side of the law. Artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica and Oasis are not available due to lack of licensing agreements. But hopefully that will change in the future. Even so, there's still so much else to choose from. I've even managed to compile a 1000 greatest-ever tracks!

So without further ado, I present you The Best English Songs of All-Time. You can view and play it in Spotify. Or you can view the playlist in a Word document, with links to Spotify.

Please continue leaving your feedback about tracks and artists that I've left out. In the meantime, enjoy!
mcgillianaire: (Portcullis Logo)
Judging by these letters written to the Guardian some years ago, we have every right to question whether the practice of using numbered ballots has been abused by the authorities (ie spooks) in such a way as to deny us a secret ballot during elections.
mcgillianaire: (Hooka Pipe)

My sister arrived in Oman a few days ago and is having lots of fun with our puppy. I can't wait to join them at the end of the week!
mcgillianaire: (Royal Coat of Arms)
So following on from my previous post, I don't think there's much doubt that the sexiest accents in the British Isles, particularly when piped from someone of the fairer sex, are Welsh and Scottish, followed closely by Irish and anything else Northern. No offence, Brummie, West Country and London, but your accents do not stimulate the senses. Especially Brummie. I've never heard anything more depressing. Even when someone's chipper, it sounds like their whinging. Of course, it's a personal preference. Nothing does it more for me than a pretty lady with a Glaswegian or broad Welsh accent. Or man, if I'm brutally honest. There's just something about the broad Welsh lilt that makes my nerves tingle. Even just thinking about it... *mmm*
mcgillianaire: (Royal Coat of Arms)
One of the most fascinating aspects of the British Isles, is the variety of accents in such a small geographic area. It has been one of my informal missions to identify as many of them as possible simply from hearing a few words from a new speaker. After more than four years I can confidently pick out the following accents: Scottish, Irish, Geordie, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scouse, Welsh, Brummie, Multicultural London, Cockney, Estuary, RP and West Country. Within those I can pinpoint Glaswegian, Lancashire accents from the Bolton area and on a lucky day, Northern Irish. But I've a long way to go because I sometimes find it difficult to distinguish Cumbrian (I often find it to be a mix of Geordie/Lancashire/Scottish, particularly depending on where the speaker's from/used to live), East Anglian, Mancunian and West Midlands. I've also spoken to very few people from Lincolnshire so I have little idea what they sound like. More Northern than Southern, I'm sure. In any case, I've got a good platform to work from. In the next four years I want to fine-tune these skills and hone down on actual places where people come from. That would be pretty nifty. So far I can only do that with cities like London, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham.
mcgillianaire: (Ari G)
Its database alone is worth the £10 monthly fee. But imagine if someone had created a public playlist of every composition in chronological order by your favourite composers? Or if you could listen to audiobooks on the life & works of the same composers, or an audiobook dedicated to a single work by the composer? Or a playlist of the best works by British composers, the best Trumpet solo tracks, pop songs based on Classical works, your favourite Operas, the list goes on. With Spotify, your dreams come true. Or mine at any rate. And worried you'll miss the latest Classical tracks added to Spotify? There's a playlist for that too. And a blog to go with it. If like me you love Western Classical music, look no further than Spotify.
mcgillianaire: (Hooka Pipe)


Ever wondered what happens when you combine Indian sitar music with Spanish flamenco? Look no further than this latest album by the daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar. The last time I listened to Anoushka, she was touring the world playing ragas alongside her legendary father. Dad and I even had the pleasure of watching them both live in front of a packed audience in Montreal some years ago. But this album is quite different and even magical in parts, particularly Track 2 embedded above.

LINKS:
Guardian Review
Link to Album in Spotify

Regale

Oct. 10th, 2011 04:15 pm
mcgillianaire: (Default)
1650s, from French régaler "to entertain or feast," from Old French rigale, from gale "merriment," from galer "make merry" (see gallant). Influenced in Old French by se rigoler "amuse oneself, rejoice," of unknown origin. Italian regalo is from French.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary

Stalwart

Oct. 6th, 2011 02:25 pm
mcgillianaire: (Royal Coat of Arms)
Late 14th-century, Scottish variant of Old English stælwierðe "good, serviceable," probably a contracted compound of staðol "foundation, support" (from Proto-Germanic *stathlaz) + wierðe "good, excellent, worthy" (see worth). Another theory traces the first element of stælwierðe to Old English stæl "place," from Proto-Germanic *stælaz. In U.S. political history, applied 1877 by Blaine to Republicans who refused to give up their hostility to and distrust of the South.
mcgillianaire: (Changing Guard London)
I had honey on toast for brekkie this morning and it's absolutely delicious. So I decided to google it and clicked on the first link, an article in the Daily Telegraph from last December titled, Secret to a smooth hangover – honey on toast. Naturally I was intrigued by this and having read the article I've even picked up a couple of other useful tips such as drinking a glass of milk before a night out on the lash. However what really surprised me was the first comment after the article which said:
The commenter had linked to a press release from 21 December 2005 on the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) website which was obviously the source of the Telegraph article (dated 23 December 2010). To make matters interesting, look under Press Releases in December 2010 on the RSC website and you'll find one about the exact same issue dated 23 December, the same date as the Telegraph article. The two press releases are almost identical, although it looks like someone copied the 2005 press release and intentionally changed the formatting in the 2010 version. They've also re-worded the title and made subtle changes to each paragraph. Makes you wonder what actually happened! Did the RSC think no one would notice?

Stickler

Sep. 24th, 2011 12:30 pm
mcgillianaire: (Default)
1530s, "moderator, umpire," from stickle "mediate" (1520s), probably a frequentative of Middle English stihen "to arrange, place," from Old English stihan "to arrange order," which is cognate with Middle Dutch stichten, German stiften "to found, establish," probably from Proto-Germanic *stihtan "to place on a step or base," from Proto-Indo-European base *steigh- "to stride, step, rise" (see stair). Meaning "person who contends or insists stubbornly" is first recorded 1640s.
mcgillianaire: (Ari G)
From Wikipedia:
    "Fanta originated when ingredients for the production of Coca-Cola became difficult to import into Germany during World War II. As a result, Max Keith, the man in charge of Coca-Cola Deutschland during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the "leftovers of leftovers", as Keith later recalled. The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith exhorting his team to "use their imagination" ("Fantasie" in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted "Fanta!"
(via Dan Snow's History Fact Twitter)

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