What is Englishness

The Independent had a short story on what, today, it means to be English, and if there is such a thing as “Englishness”. It mentioned the Town of Ripley in Derbyshire, just next door to my home town. Apparently this is one of the most English places in England (not sure if that also means “in the world” too) so does this make me one of the most English people in the world?

I write this at the top of a hill looking over the green fields and the autumn woods – the quintessential image of England – as I try to work out what makes me English. Is it our history? It certainly plays a large part but this is always mixed up with “British” history and difficult to prise apart. Of the separate parts of Britain it is Scotland that has a very distinct identity, Wales a slightly less identity but still a recognisable culture of it’s own, England does not seem to have a clear image of its own.

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Popular Science’s 137 years

The magazine Popular Science holds a remarkable piece of history spanning 137 years covering science progress and future predictions back till 1873.

To celebrate this years birthday they have partnered with google to bring you their complete back catalogue, something like 1500 individual magazines. Each has been scanned to digital and appears as it was published – original artworks, adverts and text. To easily find what you are intersted in the entire collection has been fully text search enabled.

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45 years out of Earth

Its 45 years to the day that Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin became the first human to leave the Earth and fly in space.

Some nice information here

Flag: Space, history

The Feast of Lupercalia.

So today is the day after what is usually a pretty miserable day for me. Usually, I’m all on my lonesome at home… (sob, sob…) but this year was different, this year I decided to go out and be lonesome somewhere else. Just kidding, this year of course, I had my girlfriend, Sharon, over.

I even got presents! No less than several acres of martian land! Cool. Some rather fetching boxer shorts, and a new computer game “Metroid Prime 2” for my GameCube. (I’d tell you what I bought her, but she’d only get embarrassed when I mention how extremely revealing the skimpy underwear was….)

Still, there’s always a down side to Valentines day, and this years’ was I let Sharon pick a DVD to watch… “A perfect catch” – , a romantic comedy, quite a recent release, about a girl who meets a bloke, and he turns out to be “mad” about baseballs’ “Red Sox”. In my opinion, the madness didn’t go far enough, I don’t remember laughing at all. The whole film seemed to go nowhere, incredibly slowly… (Of course, there was one redeeming feature)

Now, I bet your wondering what Lupercalia is… Well its all to do with the beginnings of Valentines day, back around 2300 years ago… back Romans, shepards and wolves. This website has some nice information, if a rather sickening background (pink, with hearts on…, girls….), and so does this one.

In closing, I’d just like to sing a little valetines song, and bring back a long forgotten tradition from England: (see website above)

Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine—
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

Doesn’t that just put a cheer in your heart.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag

Thought I’d say a quick Happy Birthday to one of the worlds lost geniuses.

Happy 250’th Birthday Mozart
Though I don’t think he’ll read this…

Find some of his music here, and just so you know, Mozart’s full name is: “Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart” though he seems to have changed it a lot!

#flag: Birthday, Mozart, links, music


So why turkey then? Why is it the bird of choice for Christmas dinner?

Its now 21:00 Christmas Day, and we’ve just started on the turkey sandwiches after having turkey dinner too, that’s an awful lot of turkey for anyone. So am I complaining… yes, but mostly because I enjoy complaining, but lets wait a minute and spare a moment for those poor turkeys.

They spend all year thinking life is good, being fed lots of food and not a care in the world, and then suddenly the tinsel goes up and the axe comes down, Merry Christmas. So, perhaps one day next year you’ll give the turkey’s a break… and have chicken instead!

Enjoy those turkey sandwiches!

And if your still interested in Turkey at Christmas have a look at these web sites:

#Pic: www.cartoonstock.com
#Flag: Funny, turkey, christmas, links