Tag Archives: Oxford English Dictionary

“The Professor And The Madman” (2019) Movie On “Amazon”: A ‘B-‘ For Effort, A ‘D’ For Veracity.

by Anura Guruge



Click image to access the IMDb.com listing for this 2019 movie.


Official Trailer on YouTube.


Click image to access the Amazon listing for the BOOK.


OK, I will admit upfront that I am not your typical audience for this movie — which is about how the classic ‘Oxford English Dictionary‘ came to be created.. For a start, one of the settings in this movie is my old school, Mill Hill (in London). Moreover, I have read THE book (by Simon Winchester on which the movie is based), know additional bits about the history of the Dictionary and furthermore adore ‘THE OXFORD’ and what it stands for. So, I was not going to be an easy customer to please — though I desperately wanted the movie to WOW I. Alas, it did NOT.

For a start, it misrepresented the history involving Mill Hill and the scene they show involving Mill Hill does NOT show anything close to what Mill Hill looks like! And that was how the movie started. So, I was not impressed. It would NOT have been difficult to have shot the scene at Mill Hill since the buildings, from the time, are still there. Plus, they show Dr. Murray’s son playing field hockey. Yes, we played hockey at Mill Hill but the school is more of a rugby and cricket school. So, that was part irritating. Then the movie gets the dates and facts WRONG! The Murrays did not move to Oxford as soon as he became Editor. The first five-years of the Dictionary were at Mill Hill. So, the movie misrepresents that.

Yes, it is NOT an easy story to tell and the ‘Madman’ (viz. Dr. William Chester Minor (who cuts off his penis)) was not as central as the movie makes him out to be. Yes, he contributed, much — but so did thousands of others. It is the typical conflict between a good book and a movie that tries to tells its story. In this case, as it happens so often, the movie falls short.

My recommendation: skip the movie, read the book!


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by Anura Guruge

 


‘Munda Logic’ At Its Very Best — Trying To Push A Truck From Inside!

by Anura Guruge


Click image to ENLARGE & ENJOY.


I saw this on Facebook this morning and it just cracked me up. Judging from the kids it is definitely from Africa.

They are trying to free a truck stuck on an embankment.

One guy is pushing REALLY, REALLY hard while standing on the truck bed.

Classic.

Immediately reminded me of the phrase ‘Munda Logic‘ from my school days in London.

I attended ‘Mill Hill’ Public School (meaning it was a fee-paying private school) from 1969 to 1971 before they expelled me for being a disruptive influence.

Pretty famous school — the place where the VENERABLE “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) was born! Yep. Look it up.

The alumni include Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, and Sir Denis Thatcher, Margaret’s illustrious (2nd) husband.

It was a school with a lot of exposure to the British Empire in its heyday.

There were two expressions that were OFTEN used at the school, during my time, that were pithy, very precise and what today would be called quite racists — though they were not meant to be.

The first was ‘Play the White Man‘. It meant do the right thing. Stiff upper lip and all of that. Basically said, act like a British gentleman. ‘Play the White Man’. I still love and use that phrase. ‘Play the White Man’

The other was ‘Munda Logic’. The above picture is ‘Munda Logic’ epitomized.

‘Munda Logic’ — African Logic!

There was this realization that Africans, at the time, had a different thought process to others. Well, see above.

‘Wog’ was another favorite word. I was a wog — though I really wasn’t. Jesus was a wog — in that wog is specific to men from the Middle East (and NOT the far east).

So, Munda Logic.


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by Anura Guruge


First ‘Dotard’, Now ‘Daft Twerp’ — Do They Both Apply & Fit?

by Anura Guruge


From “The Hill”. Click image to access original. Google ‘Nicholas Soames’ for more.


Click to ENLARGE.


Having grown up in Britain, and having gone to Public School (i.e., private school) there, I am extremely au fait with all three words: ‘daft‘, ‘twerp‘ & ‘dotard‘.

Both ‘dotard‘ and ‘daft twerp‘, though alluding to different personality traits, apply in this case. I am sure he was a ‘daft twerp’ most of his life and then as he got older he also became a ‘dotard’.

Unlike ‘dotard’, which goes back 500-years or more, ‘twerp’ is a relatively recent word and is NOT even hundred years old as yet.

The Oxford English Dictionary‘, the final arbitrator on all words English, believes that ‘twerp’ was a creation of the famous,  by J R R Tolkien (of “Lord of the Rings”). In a letter to his son in October 1944 he talks of his times with T.W. Earp, a one time President of the Oxford Union, and refers to this T.W. Earp, as ‘the original “twerp”‘). Get it? T.W. Earp, who probably was a right royal twerp. Interesting.

So what do YOU think? You think ‘they’ got it right? I think so.


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by Anura Guruge


The Word ‘Dotard’ — Origins & Synonyms.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

Dotard origins by Anura Guruge in NHlifefree.com

Dotard origins by Anura Guruge in NHlifefree.com


It, i.e., ‘dotard’, was a word I was familiar with (given my very British heritage) — though, of course, living in the U.S. I had not heard it in a long time. I am sure I first encountered it at the Public (i.e., private) School I attended, in North London, “Mill Hill School” — the read birthplace of the ‘Oxford English Dictionary‘ and the alma mater of Denis Thatcher (Margaret’s husband). It was a school rich in vocabulary and idioms, my two favorites, that I still treasure and use being: “Play the White Man” (i.e., do the right thing) and “Munda Logic” (African/black logic). Both are very profound and have many applications.


Dotard:

  • An old person in their dotage.

    That is where the word comes from ‘dote’ + ‘-ard‘.
    -ard‘ denotes someone with a specific condition — as in drunkard.
    Dote‘ refers to an imbecile!

  • An old person with impaired intellect.

Origins:

Old English.

1st known usage was by the inimitable Geoffrey Chaucer in his beyond ionic ‘The Canterbury Tales‘ — in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue“. It went: “Til they be wedded; olde dotard shrewe!”

Then it was Edmund Spenser (above) in 1590 & then Shakespeare (above) ~1598.


Synonyms:

  • old man, elder, senior citizen, old codger, geezer, old duffer, pantaloon, graybeard.
    ….
  • senile, fogy, fuddy-duddy

So what do YOU think? You think ‘they’ got it right?


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by Anura Guruge


“Dartmouth College Library” Has An Outstanding, Extremely Handy ‘Ask A Librarian’ Service.

by Anura Guruge


dartmouth

Click image to access the outstanding, ever so helpful “Dartmouth College Library” ‘Ask a Librarian’ service.


When you live in the sticks as I do (or for that matter in most parts of New Hampshire) it is not that easy getting to a LARGE, academic library.

And there are some things that you still cannot access online. {SMILE}

This morning I needed something ‘eyeballed’ at a library and going to my ever so friendly local library would not have helped.

I was hoping I might be able to send in an e-mail inquiry. So, I started with Dartmouth — because I have nothing but utmost respect for them.

Wow. Better than e-mail. Online Chat.

And WOW again. Were they helpful. Online …. bang, bang, bang …

Looked it up for me, both in print and with one of their SUBSCRIPTION services. I was thrilled and amazed. What service.

I have the answer.

One thing that AMUSED me. Dartmouth does not have a copy of the original, first edition, 1928 “Oxford English Dictionary“. They only have the 2002 edition. No doubt, at some stage, somebody threw away the 1928 edition as obsolete. Shame. 


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by Anura Guruge

Alton Central School (ACS), To Their Credit, And Amazingly, Taking Part In ‘Code Day’ To Expose Kids To The JOYS Of Programming.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


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Yes, they had sent flyers home.

But, I only really heard about it last Tuesday at the ACS ‘junior school’ concert when the Principal spoke about it twice (one in each ‘half’). Since I had NOT read the flyer and I could only go by what the Principal was saying I had NO IDEA what this was all about. The Principal spoke MAINLY about all the FREE food that will be available and the local restaurants that are kindly donating that food. I am glad. But, I wished she had STRESSED, did a little jig, and explained that this was an initiative to expose kids to the unmitigated JOYS of programming. Yes, I appreciate, that the Principal, the Superintendent, William (Bill) Lander and the School Board are extremely ‘oral‘ — but a little bit of elucidation about the ‘code‘ aspect of the evening as opposed to the ‘gastronomic‘ would have been cool.

That ACS is taking part in ‘Code Day‘ is cool.

Not sure whether the kids will get a full, uninterrupted HOUR to write some code that evening — but this is a good start. I just hope the kids aren’t distracted by the food. Hopefully, and this is a BIG hope, some of the teachers will try and continue this program sans the free food. But, to be fair, Devanee was taught MIT’s SCRATCH ‘animated programming’ a couple of years ago at ACS. So, that was good.

See below, after the images as to why I am so gung ho about kids getting exposed to the JOYS of programming.


codeday1

Click to ENLARGE. Use link below to access Website.

Link to access Website.


codeweek
Link to access Website.


codedaycsm

Click to access article …


I got a chance, in 1969, yes 1969, to take weekly 90 minute Computer Programming classes in school, viz. Mill Hill School in North London (also attended by Denis Thatcher and where James Murray, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary once taught).

It was every Thursday and the classes were sponsored by the British International Computers Limited (ICL). They provided each of us with a BIG light green binder about computers and programming. I had yet to see a computer! But, computer programming and I clicked. Duck to the water. Natural affinity.

In those days there were no PCs. We didn’t have any terminals at the school. We wrote our programs on coding sheets; a practice that I continued to use, off and on, even when I worked for IBM, 8 years later — though by the time I was at IBM, and writing microcode, for the 3270 display system, I was classed as a programmer who wrote his code in ink (which I often did do) as opposed to pencil (because I was sure of what I was coding).

Our coding sheets were sent by mail (which is always overnight in the U.K.) to ICL. They punched it onto paper tape and ran it. The next Thursday we would get back our original coding sheets, the paper tape and the computer output. If you made a mistake you program would not have done what you wanted. But, it took a week to find out.

The rest is history. I went to Swansea College, University of Wales, to ‘study’ a 3-year B. Sc. course in Computer Technology. I, for the first time in my life, had unlimited access to computer resources. I programmed like I was possessed (in between near non-stop fornication). I had a great 3 years at Swansea. By my 2nd year at Swansea Ph. D. students were coming to me for help with their programs! One of my lecturers told IBM about me. IBM hired me during my 2nd year, after getting me to sit three IQ tests (as is permissible in the U.K., one of them at 10 pm at night) and told me that I can start work whenever I wanted — with or without a degree. Since I was having so much fun and really didn’t want to work — I hung around Swansea for another year and did get my 1st degree. Yes, I also do have a M. Sc. in Computer Science from the University of London — paid for by IBM.

Programming has been good for me, though in reality I didn’t write that much code professionally! I was considered ‘too good’ to just write code! A sign of the time. IBM and others wanted me to do more ‘executive’ tasks or do much more technical tasks such as Systems Programming or crafting microcode. I was IBM youngest ‘Planner’ — essentially a Product Manager. But, I wrote code in my ‘spare’ time — a program that I wrote as such in my spare time, which I called ‘NDSIO’, ‘New Display System Input/Output‘, where the ‘NDS’ was the now legendary 3270 display system, became a primary testing tool within IBM in the U.K., U.S. and Germany.

So, I am all in favor of kids being taught to program early.