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Gretna Green

  • Article feature date: 20 July 2015
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20 July 2015

Gretna Green

Gretna Green is a village in Scotland, just over the border from England, which was notorious for hosting quickie weddings for young English lovers. The bride and groom needed only make their vows in front of witnesses (who were sometimes disinterested) and pay the nominal fee in a form that could be cashed before the angry parents arrived and dragged them back home. Moreover, Gretna marriages could be solemnised by anyone. This led to the blacksmith's anvil becoming a symbol for weddings, much as the barber pole has come to signify prompt medical treatment.

The village was named for Gretna Green, a nubile Scottish lass who was equally notorious for getting "married" several times a week. It acquired its niche in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, no pun intended, authorised parents to veto the marriage of a minor. Although the Act had the unintended consequence of cancelling many marriages to Welshmen digging for coal, it famously did not apply in Scotland, where pubescent marriages were routinely consummated on school playgrounds. In the 1770s, the A74 (now the A74(M)) was built, hormone-fueled engines revved up, and the race was on. Gretna Green, just above the mossy outgrowth on Adrian's Wall, became the prime destination, curious youngsters curiously not wishing to penetrate further into Scotland. It would go on to take the British record not only in irregular weddings but in irregular rail disasters. (more...)

Hillary Clinton

  • Article feature date: 26 July 2015
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26 July 2015


Hillary Clinton also known as Hillary Rodham Clinton or Hillary Rodham, or on bumper stickers as just Hillary! depending on how ex-President Bill Clinton is polling that week, is a U.S. politician, former First "Lady," and the only Secretary of State who had to be replaced by John Kerry.

Hillary Clinton is the utterly likable and completely unavoidable nominee of the Democratic Party for U.S. President in 2016, a campaign for which she has adopted slogans such as, "I'm the next best thing to Bill!" and "Vote for me and get Bill free!"

Hillary was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1947, the daughter of a small businessman and a smaller homemaker, neither of whom is the clear source of those large thighs. Many journalists believe Hillary was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who would go on to be someone people had heard of when he climbed Mount Everest — mostly, those journalists who take Hillary at her word. However, the fact is that she was instead named after Hilary Duff, and her parents doubled the "l" for "teh llullz."

Hillary was raised a Methodist, participated in student government, and by all accounts had a normal youth, apart from her obvious destiny to be a Senator and President some day.

The household was politically conservative and even influenced by Barry Goldwater. Unfortunately, she fell in with the Rockefeller wing — hardly Methodist and, on most issues, strictly agnostic — and later settled on Saul Alinsky, America's clearest exponent (after Karl Marx) of the idea that the ends justify the means, whose manual on ruthlessness informed the nation's lawyers no less than its pre-schoolers. (more...)


  • Article feature date: 2 August 2015
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02 August 2015


Colloquialisms are, you know, a bunch of mumbo-jumbo words your everyday Johnny-come-lately uses when chewing the rag, and not cool for, like, formal speech or whatever. The crincum-crancum of the common tongue is mainly used during pow-wows or bull sessions when hanging out. The word colloquial originally was about the way we talk, where the prose marches to a different drummer than writing things down and all that sort of stuff. Throwing a curved ball however, the colloquial register is about free and easy language rather than, you know, the medium. The Dictionary shows colloquialisms with the abbreviation colloq. for geeks and bookworms.

By and large, colloquial language is standalone from run-of-the-mill formal speech or writing. The mixed bag of jibba-jabba tends to bubble to the surface, once the speaker has chilled out enough to pull his/her head out of her/his ass. Babblative chit-chat may contain a bucket load of slanguage, but for all intents and purposes, is not tied to hackneyed terms at all. Other examples of colloquial language use word mash and foul language, more often than not. A colloquial name is also the nickname punters use to peg a thing or person in the place of the real name. An inflated tractor tyre pulled behind a speedboat at a holiday resort and indeed the geezer driving it, could be refered to as a doughnut, or as Doughnut by both the tourists and the locals.

Colloquialisms are a bigger ball of wax than just pidgin speak used by kids, grunts, fish-heads or donkey-wallopers. In the main, colloquial language shakes and bakes words and terms that are commonly known and easily understood by speakers of the language worldwide: "See all, ear all, say nowt. Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. An' if th'ivver does owt for nowt, allus do it for thissen." for example. Slang is a posse of phat raps home-boys use to flex they's sickness, to be down with the rat packs. Slang can sound like a load of epizootics of the blowhole to your average Mondeo-Man, as — despite slang terms being a dime a dozen — they not part of standard English, dig? (more...)

First-past-the-post voting

  • Article feature date: 7 August 2015
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07 August 2015

Wile e coyote

First-past-the-post voting is an election in which the winner is the candidate who receives more votes than any others. The outrageous notion that the highest vote-getter should be the winner has given us elected office-holders such as Adolf Hitler and Jimmy Carter; also the Oscar® for The English Patient and the Nobel Peace Prize of Barack Obama.These results explain the international academic frenzy (a veritable poll dance) to devise voting systems in which someone less popular will be the winner.

First-past-the-post (abbreviated FPTP or FPP), is a plurality voting system. Like most successful schemes, it is applied to many cases it does not fit, such as trying to fill a number of seats at the same time. Al Capone first defined the winner of an election as "the guy what gets the most votes." However, this simple statement is now problematic given the many candidates what do not get the most votes, the large number of campaign lawyers they employ, and the gullibility of the people to charges of unfairness and racism.

In 2000, non-winner Al Gore sued, demanding a recount in five Florida counties of his choosing. His mantra was, "Count Every Vote." The drive to get everyone into the voting booth became a drive to get everyone on the ballot, as both requirements were relaxed. But "the guy what gets the most votes" still won, now with only 10% of the vote. The majority hated all its politicians and demanded new solutions. Elections, like health care, yielded to the American tenet that anything that works will work better with 6,000 pages of regulations.(more...)

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