scribbles tagged ‘euphemisms’

business cards

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

BBC Breakfast news anchor man said:

Like Americans, they carry their business cards with them everywhere

Is ‘carrying business cards’ a euphemism for something like

  • helpful
  • friendly
  • organised
  • pretentious
  • over-prepared


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weekly, on sunday afternoon

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In 2004, when I first started blogging, the people I followed (Jenn, Lacroix, Raymond, Jen) posted* between 1 and 3 times a day. Over the years, I’ve seen novice bloggers start with the enthusiasm of daily posting then watched that proliferation fade with one or more of these symptoms:

  • not posting every day, sporadically missing a days
  • posting every other day
  • posting a couple of times a week
  • taking a break from posting for a while – a week, 2 weeks, a month, a season….
  • posting once a week on a pre-arranged day – Darlings I’ll post on Sunday…
  • deleting or ‘hiding’ the blog
  • dropping one blog and moving onto another or rebranding the blog with a new name and theme
  • stop posting altogether

Green post boxRaymond is the only blogger that I followed in 2004 who persistently, reliably, posts once a day. Most bloggers seemed to stop posting within 3 or 4 years of starting.  Sunday afternoon posting won’t be a reality for me while I keep recieving encouraging personal emails

* Posting is not a euphemism for any other activity. No, definitiely not, I can’t protest enough that this post should be read at face value without drawing analogies between posting and any other activities
PS 198 word post before the PS
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downmarket residential area

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Dallas Laundry at DawnBBC Radio 2 described the shooting of two British students in Sarasota Florida as happening Several miles from a recognised tourist area in a Downmaket residential area where it is very unusual to find tourists

Apart from an exta 8 syllables what are the main differences between Downmarket residential area and Ghetto? Why do you think the BBC chose the longer phrase?

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no hangers for cloaks

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Toilets!In these cloak rooms

My secondary school used to have a cloak room, rows of hooks for coats, jackets and gym bags. No cloaks. But if we wore cloaks we would have been able to hang them there. Unlike the cloak room signed here. In these cloakrooms  there is a sink, toilet, towell and one of those plastic-bag lined bins.

A TOILET! I’m gradualy getting acclimated to the UK where toilet is not a naughty word. Love it!

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BEFORE entering the nurses

Friday, October 15th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

roll your right sleeve up!

I was slightly shocked by the services provided by a local General Practice (GP) in Reading town. It reminded me of 1975 when I won a copy of  ‘ It shouldn’t happen to a vet’ in a school competition. I was also a bit shocked to realise that a vet would have to stick thier arm up the backside of a bovine. Vets roll up their sleeves before doing this

BEFORE entering the nurses

BEFORE entering the nurses
1 vote rating 5

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | tags:  |

happy frog: how are you feeling?

chess master: pretty stiff, actually

happy frog and wendy: [silence with growing smiles]

chess master: its not that I don’t find you two ladies attractive

happy frog and wendy: [laugh out loud}

chess master: it’s just that I’ve been playing badminton…

double-negatives can be hard to understand and fun to play with

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Food production company

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 | tags:  |

Wendy: what do you do?  

Professional: I work in the manufacturing business sector for a food production company

Wendy: what do you manufacture?

Professional: Bread

Wendy: a bakery?

Professional: yes

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I’m sorry for…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

interrupting you,   BUT….

the interrupter took the conversation winding off into outer space until a silence when my the interesting,   passionate monologue came to its a gentle landing, end.

Beyond the words ‘I’m sorry’ my interrupter demonstrated no ‘sorriness’.   Quite the contrary.   Perhaps ‘sorry’ in this context actually means:

 ‘please don’t get angry with me for taking conversation to a monologue,   to another topic,  but I have a really interesting thought that I’m bursting to share and I’m sure everyonelse will find it as interesting as I do’

After the silence my interrupter turned to me acknowledging the end of the interruption and encouraging me to finish my original question.

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hypnotistless regression

Saturday, June 27th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

After a few minutes silence a new conversation starts

male: I’ve got a new horn

female: Oh?

male: Yes,   it’s no longer ‘MOOOOOOO’   now it’s  ‘MOOOOOOEEEEW

female: that’s nice

male: do you want to see my horn?

Wendy: Teeeeheeeehheeeeheeee he wants to show you his horn

Returning to the UK has reinforced my ability to regress the age of 12 without the aid of a parachute or hypnotist.  

How cheap is that?   Bargain basement cheap!  

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inadvertant administrative error

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 | tags: ,  |

inadvertant administrative error

in MP Speak appears to mean

I can convince people it was an accident rather than deliberate fraud

Irrespective of whether they have demonstrated a practical understanding of the concept of ‘honorable’,   members of the cabinet should be addressed as ‘The Right Honourable Member of Parliament for….‘  

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dickies red hawk action trousers

Thursday, May 21st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |
This product naming style is having a suprisingly persuasive effect on me.  

I want some of  dickies red hawk action trousers,   don’t you?  

They’ve got zipped hand thigh and back pockets.  


They are only £12.95.  


They are sold by Screwfix.   Whereas Diamond Back USA sell toolbelts.   One day I’ll treat myself to my very own toolbelt,   and hang around my house with a powertool or two in it.

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Sunday, May 17th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

friend:   she’s very Diesel

wendy: Diesel?

friend:   see how her girlfriend looks like a girl?

wendy: yes

friend:   it’s clear who wears the trousers in that relationship

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joining an organisation

Friday, May 1st, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Phrases to describe the experience of joining an organisation:


ramping up

bedding in



Can you spot which of these phrases I learned:

  • in the USA and which in England?    
  • at sea and which in the garden?  
  • on the road and which in my boudoire?
  • in a maternity ward and which on an electrical engineering course?
  • planning outdoor activities and which during religious instruction?
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tool show

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Few events can attract my attention as effectively as a TOOL SHOW.  And a  tool show  in a school playground to boot!.  

Did I walk past this tool show?   No.  I bounced right on in!

Looking for a suitable  large mechanical  warm  treat for my impending birthday.   To my joy,  I was able to handle more tools than you can shake a stick at.
Tool Show

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have you got the time?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

stranger on the street:   have you got the time?

This is not a question I was asked in the US.   This question has been put to me on several occasions when walking from bus stops to appointments in the UK.

The question  always makes me think twice before replying.   Am I being asked for the current time or does the asker suspect that I may be a professional  street walker?

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being seen to

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

waiting room receptionist:   are you being seen to?

I had my cats ‘seen to’ as a condition of adopting them from rescue centres.      

Wendy:   someone has been notified of my arrival

Cunningly avoiding providing information on the impending existence, or not, of my reproductory organs.  

Phew,   near miss!

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power bars

Friday, July 25th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Not a euphemism for light sabres.  

Also known in the US as ‘Energy bars’.    Not a way of describing the throughput of electricity to an electronic device.  

High sugar-content (energy) biscuits in a bar shape marketed in the US as a lifestyle accessory for highly active  people (Walkers, cyclists, etc).    Similar products in the UK  appear to be marketed as breakfast bars and stocked next to the breakfast cereals in supermarkets.   I suspect they are breakfast replacements for fast-moving executives, children and aspiring anorexics.  

I’m trying a few as possible lifestyle accessories for my GREEK SAILING HOLIDAY.   Huuuuurrrraaaahhhhh!

A  local Holland and Barratt shop lured me in with this ‘Love bar’.   I subsequently discovered that the advertising is naughty  because Gillian McKieth cannot legally call herself a Doctor in the UK.    Her Dr. qualification is reportedly from a correspondence course with a non-acredited US University.   The Guardian reported on her naughty non-truths and misleading product information back in 2007.   In 2008  she’s still using the title Dr. on product packaging and making questionable claims about  their ‘health’ impact…    

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Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

 I am a traveller when commuting,   most weekends, and for a couple of weeks in GREECE (Whoooooopieee!).  

The word traveller is now used in the UK to describe people that take their home (caravan) with them when they move.   It apears to include the older reference groups (Gypsies,   Romanies,   Tinkers)  that I am more familiar with and may include newer groups that I am not familiar with.  

Recently,   in the spirit of travelling,  I rode bus #20 around Lower Earley.   For fun.   I as able to sit above the driver at the front of the bus and wave at other local Reading people that I knew.    I saw some camper-vans parked on the grass of Cintra park (formerly Sutton Seeds sports ground)  with people picnicing outside.   Get Reading reports that these are travellers that regularly stay in the Park every year,   this year they arrived just before a fence as due to be errected with the specific intent of keeping them out.     I wonder if they come to take full advantage of Jackson’s summer sale?


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wendy (open) house warming

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

One recent Sunday afternoon the neighbours, local Reading celebrities,   and a gal from West Sussex dropped by to warm the wendy house over lashings of tea and cake.   A jolly civilised affiar with a little bit of dribbling.   During the goings-on I discovered many useful facts including:

–   a local granny can climb the walls to escape from a locked cemetry after dusk.

–   the Wendy House was converted from a  garage in 1968 partly explaining the dangerous staircase.

–   my nieghbours have lived all over the world – Kenya, Italy, India, Edinburgh before settling in Reading.   Excellent company.

–   the Readibus preferred gift to welcome a newcomer is a bottle of wine.

– the bath works best for a person under 5ft 2  (as do the  stairs).

– house numbers evolve.   One person’s home had evolved from without number to  number 4 then number 2…

I suspect I missed some real news treats while in the Kitchen  warming the pots,   I  wonder what other goodies these people are going to share with us in the upcoming years….

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caught short?

Monday, May 19th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Not ‘are you apprehended by the police for the ghastly crime of insufficient height’ but another clever  euphemism for wanting to go to the toilet.   The city of Westminster has signs to help you out with clever stick-people designs to illustrate the problem for those people who don’t understand the idiom ‘caught short’.     My favourite part of the sign is the invitation to text toilet,   for a toilet.    Hoorah,   no euphemisims there just send a text saying what you need,   effectively the bottom-line…

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street names

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

Off to the shops.    The shopping tortutre.   Ick.    Luckily I was  armed with a set of seasonal shopping lists from those short-people*  that must be obeyed because of their lung, pout, and innovative-torturing-technique, capacity.

Toddling home  armed with short-people pacifiers and a book.   A book that lists Reading street names,   almost but not quite, alphabetically as it outlines the significance of the names.

Here’s an excerpt from my current Reading, reading, material (my emphasis):

The Reading Paving Act of 1827 – a splendid document written in legalese that never uses one word where three, or better still nine, will do – talks only of ‘streets, Lanes, public passages and Places’. (It also says that occupiers have to sweep the pavement outside their houses, and specifies when they should remove Night Soil or filth from the Necessaries or Boghouses.)

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rotating tap

Friday, October 26th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

If you asked an English publican,   in England,    what their ‘rotating tap’ was they would likely look at you quizzically as they explain that it is the thing in the toilets that you turn to get water  for hand-washing after having completed the necessaries.  In the UK tap is a common referent for  a fawcett.    

A  disconcerting reply to an unsuspecting US person who tries to avoid using vulgar terms like  TOILET when the words Bathroom or restroom are more acceptable referents for a room with a toilet in it.   Draft beers are described as being ‘on tap’ so after the initial surpirse the move to understanding your actual meaning will not be hard.  

By contrast,   if you go into a NW US bar and ask what are their guest beers they give you a quizzical look and after some basic clarification they will tell you that what you actually mean is what is their rotating tap.   Doh!

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‘ jobs worth

Saturday, October 20th, 2007 | tags:  |

jobs worth

is  a truncation of the phrase “it’s more than my jobs worth“.   It”s a phrase that I heard in the UK,   not in the US

To me it means the activity  is likely to cost the person their job.   It is something they can’t, or wont,  do.    I’ve not heard the phrase in the US.   It’s  more dramatic than my experience of typical US ways of expressing which are more literally descriptive.    ‘Jobs worth’ is a fairly dramatic refusal to do something outside of known procedures even in the UK.    

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non-combat related incident

Monday, June 25th, 2007 | tags:  |

NPR weekend edition Saturday listed the US soldiers reported killed in Iraq ending with this statistic: “one soldier died in a non-combat related incident“.   Non-combat related incident?   is this a euphemism for one or more of the following:

  • old age
  • cancer
  • accident  
  • friendly fire
  • murder

It’s the first time I’ve heard this lengthy phrase to describe a death.   When civilian deaths are reported the news normally includes some comment that indicates the circumstances by describing where body  was found,   in a wrecked car on the Interstate,   a burn’t house,    on the Green river bank.

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you can’t say that

Sunday, May 13th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

conversation soon after first arriving in the US  

Wendy: “he was the shiniest blackest man I’ve ever met

USA people nearby:   ”  __________________________________”

USA person: “Wendy…       … can’t say that

Wendy:   “say what?”

USA Person: “shiny black,   it’s like saying greasy monkey,   its offensive

Wendy: “oh,   can I say shiny without the black or black without the shiny?”

USA person: “you can say  people of color or African Americans

Wendy:   “and shiny?”

USA person:   “best avoided altogether”

USA linguistic correctness is complicated.   More complicated than spelling words with triple vowels.   Apparantly there are white people and people of colour.    White people and everybody-else .   All skin shades lumped into one  category  ‘not-white’.   This is complicated especially if you want to describing  different qualities of non-whiteness,   or even the different shades of white,   which are really colours.   I’m probably repeatedly offending people here all over the shop.   Hopefully they’ll  let me know my social faux pas’  like the above fellow…  

people of color = not-white

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scientific citrus

Saturday, April 28th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

The combined science of citrus and ginger”  

Citrus is Science?  

Ginger is Science?  

These two ‘Sciences’ can be combined?  

Its enough to confuse a person into tripping up and bumping her nose on the floor.   Do they mean ‘good effects’   the good effects of citrus combined with the good effects of ginger?   If that is what they mean then I can continue walking without a nose bleed.   I can’t be sure.     It gets worse.   Exfoliating body scrub?     I can scrub my body without exfoliating it?    Sometimes I can be so pathetic without noticing it.    

science = good effect  

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generic drugs

Sunday, April 1st, 2007 | tags:  |


generic?   archetypal?   Does a ‘generic’ drug do all the things that specific drugs do because it’s generic?   The phrase makes me think of the ‘medicine man’ characters that make appearances in US Western films advertising magical cure-all elixias…  

Generic drug  is the  phrase used in the US to refer to the drug behind the branding,   the active component of  packaged medicines.    Fortunes are made by companies branding drugs, its an obscenity I know little about.

I wonder if black Tea qualifies as a generic drug and how much  can I get for my $4?

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unlawful killing

Friday, March 16th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

UK court verdict on US shooting of UK soldier:    unlawful,   avoidable killing.   A US plane twice fired on a convoy of UK troops whose vehicles were marked with the pre-agreed orange fabric.  The BBC reports a transcript from the US plane crew:

At the start of the attack, one pilot notices orange panels on the vehicles and asks whether there could be any friendly units in the area… …Pilots open fire but soon the error is realised and they are informed that friendly units were in the area

There are lots of disturbing threads to the stories as published in the British press.   I hear them daily on  radio, TV,  internet and newspapers.  The most disturbing, unexplicit,  storyline is that the US conduct their internal investigations to find themselves innocent.    For the USA it is  reasonable that they ignore the standard NATO symbol  for identifying NATO vehicles.   For the USA it is reasonable  to make  sure evidence is not made available to NATO allies by lying,  denying the existence of the cockpit tapes.    

The crux of the different verdicts are reported as based around  a difference in the UK and the USA ‘rules for engagement’ without these rules of engagement explicitly being reported,  a British soldier comments that:

the incident would not have happened if American troops had as strict rules as the British on opening fire.”  

This is not a unique verdit,   where the US has been (ir)responsible for the death of UK soldiers.     The incident has an analogous dynamic to many USA’s engagements with other Nations and Nationals.   The USA look gun-happy in so many ways,   internal laws,   internal crime statistics, international diplomacy  and even in its dealings with its allies.  

British people I meet wonder how I can stand to live in the USA,   they variously  refer to  the USA  as an immature, ignorant, greedy, fat,  dishonest,  sick, bully.  

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are your windows sick?

Monday, March 5th, 2007 | tags:  |

do your windows:

  • provide too much sunlight?  
  • let random passers-by and snoopy stalkers look into your home?

The situation is curable with the help of an interior designer and scientifically proven Window Treatments.   8/10 cat owners said their cats prefered Window Treatments to drapery.     Window Treatments cure more windows than drapes, curtains, blinds  or nets alone.   Get some windows treatment now,   you know it makes sense.


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weather event

Friday, January 12th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

My voicemail recieved a pre-recorded message from the people that empty my bins: (US = ‘waste disposal service’).  

thier tape recorder phones my tape recorder

The impending ‘weather event’ might interrupt my service.   Not to worry!   They’ll come next week and take twice the rubbish away.   Hooray!   Wonderfully polite and thoughtful.  

‘weather event’?!    Seattle services’ way of saying “snow“, “high winds“,  ‘something  not nice’,   ‘some nastiness’  without causing customers to  panic.    Or, maybe they’re expecting a heat-wave and the bin service people to call in ‘sick’ as they dash to ‘reccuperate’ on the local beaches with their surf boards.   ‘Weather event‘ certainly covers a broad range of possibilities.  

Near me the weather event turned out to be a couple of hours of snow, producing ‘slush’ on the roads, local Seattle drivers aqua-planning or deserting their cars on the roadside.   Some parts of the Seattle region collected over half a foot of snow.   Meanwhile, LooSea didn’t even skid in our local 3 inches.    Here are LooSea’s tracks mixed with evidence of people, cars and bicyles outside the Wendy House… …in the evening slush..

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