Passing Observations 226

Dr Vernon Coleman

1. One day the ignorant celebrities who promoted the toxic covid-19 jab (and who encouraged its use by refusing to allow the unvaccinated to enter concert arenas) will find themselves in court Ė being sued for their stupidity.

2. There has been a largely unnoticed cold war between the US and China since 2018. The US has, however, given all its bullets and bombs to Ukraine and Israel. Whatís the betting that China moves on Taiwan before the end of 2024? This matters to everyone, since Taiwan has pretty much of a monopoly on the manufacture of advanced computer chips. There is also a possibility of China making a move on the Philippines. And the US has a treaty obligation to help the Philippines if that happens. Oh my oh my.

3. Giving free money to people during the fake pandemic created inflation everywhere. It wasnít accidental.

4. All public finances are a Ponzi scheme, with each generation being on the hook for the debts of the previous generation.

5. Wind and solar energy schemes have received more than $6 trillion in subsidies in recent years. But wind and solar energy still provide jut 2.3% of our energy requirements. Those who want to get rid of fossil fuels might like to imagine a world in which we had access to just 2.3% of our current energy needs. (Oh, and wind and solar schemes are largely energy negative Ė in that they require more energy to build and run than they produce.)

6. Iron, steel, cement, fertiliser and plastics all require fossil fuels. Who wants to fly in a paper aeroplane or drive a wooden car? I thought not.

7. `A chapter of my life was closed and I felt a little nearer to inevitable death.í ĖSomerset Maugham (on leaving Tahiti)

8. A woman in South Korea wanted to protect her vulnerable best friend but was not allowed to do so because they werenít relatives. So she adopted her.

9. `A promise is an obligation. A just man will keep his promise, a generous man will go beyond it.í Ė Samuel Richardson.

10. In 1900, at Lords cricket ground, GL Jessop (a great amateur cricketer) scored 157 runs out of 201 in 60 minutes playing for Gloucestershire against the West Indies. This was by no means exceptional for Jessop. Modern cricketers who fancy themselves as entertainers should remember that Jessop was playing with far less adequate equipment on a pitch that modern grounds-men would regard as too rough to be used as the outfield.

11. When George Duckworth went to Australia, on another long trip with the England cricket team, he was nervous about telling his wife. He is reported to have left a note on the kitchen table saying: `Gone to Australia. Back in Aprilí.

12. If the Brontes had not been sisters they would, as individual novelists, be forgotten and Branwell Bronte would be a famous painter. Iím not at all surprised that the poor sod drank himself to death. Three pushy, bullying sisters would be too much for anyone.

13. When it was first opened, women were not allowed to set foot on the Forth Bridge in case a gust of wind blew them over the edge. The assumption was that voluminous skirts would make life too dangerous for them.

14. During the Vietnam War there was a popular saying: `Killing for peace is like fucking for virginityí. Maybe someone should remind the warmongering Netanyahu of this little piece of wisdom. It is difficult to think of a `leaderí who has done more damage to his nationís reputation.

15. The England and Wales Cricket Board is pouring £100 million into womenís domestic cricket. They forecast a loss of £86.7 million over five seasons.

16. Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte have had more books written about them than anyone else. Napoleon Bonaparte has had more films made about him than the other two.

17. A study showed that 64% of Britons say they stop reading a book if the first few words donít catch their attention.

18. Why do so many delivery companies insist on having phone numbers and email addresses before they will deliver a parcel? With this information (together with the name of the addressee and their address) their staff can easily steal an individualís identity.

19. It used to be just old people who talked about folk who were ill and dying. Now everyone, even the young and the middle aged, seem to talk about little else. Sudden, unexpected deaths have become normal.

20. You will no doubt be delighted to hear that Tony Blairís Institute took in £140 million last year. Not bad even for a war criminal.

21. Post codes (aka zip codes) were the first sign of `themí taking control and the first sign that we were losing our humanity.

22. Every year, more than a million children in Britain are referred to mental health services suffering from severe depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders and so on. Most have been made ill by smartphones and social media.

23. School teachers who teach using digital platforms on iPads, etc. should know that books, paper and pens have been proved to be far more effective as teaching aids.

24. Facebook was recently labelled a danger to children. (What took them so long?)

25. My new book `Vernon Colemanís Dictionary of Old English Words and Phrases is the sort of book which will encourage you to share titbits of information with everyone within earshot. I started collecting Victorian and rarely used words when I began writing my series of books about the village of Bilbury in Devon. I have no idea why I did this since the books were (and are) set in the 1970s, but it seemed a fun way to spice up the language. As a result, I now have a large library containing around 100 old dictionaries, books of quotations, thesauruses and books of slang and curious old English words. And, of course, printed matter, which is largely reliable, can always be supplemented with the internet, which is an endless and inspirational source of contradictions and confusions. Wherever possible Iíve tried to include a few etymological and historical references though I do have to admit that many etymological references probably owe as much to the imaginations of their originators as anything else. This book is full of forgotten, out of use words, words which havenít (officially) been used since the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, words which have been lost, abandoned, changed or suppressed and words which have changed their use since they were first introduced. I hope this is a book which will, painlessly, help you expand your word power with words which are an essential part of the English language; a vital part of our culture and a part of our history which is endangered. Most of the words in my book do not appear in standard, modern dictionaries and those that do are usually defined in other ways; as a result this book is intended as an essential supplement to a good, standard dictionary. I have also included one or two of the most popular street cries and details of some of the often cruel and invariably rather complicated practical jokes which were a major part of daily life in the centuries up until the year 1900. Not that this book is just about etymology. Itís also about social and cultural history. Citizens often took the law into their hands if someone in their community broke the rules. This was as true for, say, soldiers or seamen as for gang members. They didnít run off to complain to a senior officer, or make an anonymous complaint on social media, but they merely operated their own form of rough justice. Moreover, it is clear from these words that centuries ago citizens had different priorities: drinking, games, sex and community life were all vital parts of each individualís life. Social strata may have been more obvious but instead of hidden resentment there was a healthy upwardly directed disrespect. And it has to be admitted that the thieving was somehow more straightforward than the sort of thieving we say today. My aim, and hope, (and Iíve been working on this small book for many years so Iím entitled to a little hope) is that at least some of these words and phrases (most of which first saw the light of day in the 19th century or before) will be revived and will return to our currently rather dull communal lexicon, overladen as it is with abbreviations and modern, technical jargon which is too often pompous and incomprehensible while also being far less colourful. These words and phrases will, I hope, add fun to your language. My Dictionary is available as a paperback or in a hardcover version from the bookshop on

26. Iím now taking a break again. Iíll explain why in my final video on BitChuteĖ which you can access from the video button on , or you can read the transcript on the same site. And please browse in the bookshop on where the books are sorted into categories. There are around 100 books available and I hope you find something to your taste.

Copyright Vernon Coleman January 2024