Well I never!

Who says dictionaries are boring?

Look what I stumbled across in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Volume 1) while looking for the precise definition of "dinner":


Today's word plucked at random from the dictionary for my diurnal ramble is "jackass."

It's not really. I cheated. The word my finger actually fell upon was "jacaranda," which I know absolutely NOTHING about. Literally nothing. Except that it might be a veranda owned by a bloke called Jack. Or maybe Jacques.

No? Oh well.

So "jackass" it is.

A jackass is someone who does something he shouldn't. Or perhaps oughtn't. Like changing the rules to suit his own ignorance. Or generally doing stupid things. Or simply being an ignoramus. 

"Ignoramus" - now THAT'S a word a person can identify with. It's both long (I count at least four syllables) and pompous-sounding. The sort of thing Prince Charles would say. "Jeeves," he no doubt says. "Would you mind awfully chasing those frightful ignoramuses off my lawn?"

I'm probably an ignoramus. A jackass and an ignoramus. A jackass ignoramus who doesn't even have a clue what "jacaranda" means.

Lord have mercy on me.


Shh! Isn't that what people say when you're supposed to whisper and they think you're not sticking to the rules?


The more people say it, the less inclined I am to whisper. Unless I happen to be somewhere where it is advisable out of respect. At a funeral. In church. In a sick person's hospital room. Or a sleeping baby's bedroom.

Deep thought of the day

The horizon

This one's a right bastard: you can clearly see it, you can photograph it, you can tell friends about it and they can see it clearly too, the sun even disappears behind it if you're facing in the right direction.

And yet … it doesn't exist.

Crab sticks

Pink-and-white-painted sticks of something claiming to be crab, yet definitely anything but.

No, I take that back: they have a taste somewhat resembling crab. Provided you've never eaten crab before. Which, unfortunately, I have.
And a texture not in the slightest bit like crab. Because they are made from fish. Some white fish. Any fish. Anything but crab. Probably nasty stuff. Really nasty stuff.

Sliding a crab stick into your mouth is an odd sensation. It's soft, biteable, yet almost completely flavourless. A bit like eating frozen oyster. Without the cold sensation.

And why the fuck do they wrap them in those stupid clear plastic films? Is it some sort of safe sex for fake food? Do crab sticks feel icky about touching their neighbours? Are they shy and don't want to go nude in public? Is it to keep their little non-existent crab toes warm as they sit in your fridge awaiting consumption?

I like crab sticks. I know I shouldn't because they're basically junk; left-overs. The kind of piscine equivalent of belly-button fluff. Or ear wax. Or bogies. Or dandruff. Or smegma. Or those curled up pieces of loo paper that get stuck in your anal pubes. 

I think I've just put myself off ever eating them again.


The French call them "trombones," I call them "Two funny loops of metal or plastic-covered metal that hold my sheets of paper together."

I often wonder who invented paperclips. Well, "often" is perhaps not quite accurate. "Constantly" is probably a more pertinent term. And "worry about" should probably replace "wonder". I mean, you have to be pretty twisted to think up something like a paperclip (see what I did there?).


My vet's assistant has freckles. Not real freckles, mind. Fake ones. A big cloud of brown dots painted across the bridge of her nose and the top of her face. I wasn't sure they were fake until I checked with my son – an as yet undiscovered expert on the veracity of freckles – and he assured me that they were not real.

She also has red hair. Bright orange hair. I suspect that this too is fake, though the only way of checking (perusing her pubes) is probably out of the question.

Red hair and a sea of freckles, then.


Yellow and white. Yolk and albumen. Protein and whatever that other stuff is. The foundation of sexual reproduction. Along with sperm. The female bit. X. Chromosome, that is, as opposed to porn, which is XXX.

Chicken eggs are oval, covered in a hard shell and soft in the middle. The yolk and egg white can be separated, but I have no idea why some recipes prefer one part or the other. Perhaps the yellow is prettier, the white more froth-producing.

Paper towels

Paper towels are made of paper. As the name suggests. Or rather states in a blatant, in-your-face way. So why not call them simply "towels"? I guess to distinguish them from those cotton things we use to dry ourselves with. Though we sometimes do so with paper towels.

What do I use paper towels for? To wipe up spills. To wipe up cat poop – at least, when there are no sanitary wipes in the house. (Aren't those things great?). To wipe my whiteboard, despite the fact that my allegedly erasable pens are erasable only to an extent – the other extent remaining on my whiteboard for all to see. And for me to wipe off with something stronger than water. Like alcohol. But not the alcohol I drink. The REALLY hard stuff sold at the chemist. Or pharmacy, as the Americans call it.