How do I find out what people want to know about Britain? I scrape the floor of the search engine room and see what questions were stuck there. It’s completely scientific.
The questions appear in italics and in all their original oddity. The answers are in Roman type, which although almost no one knows it is the opposite of italic type. And in case you’re worried that I’m insulting the people who were kind enough to leave me their questions, I’m pretty sure they fled long ago, leaving me a free hand.
So what’s your country called anyway?
why is england named great britain
Have you ever noticed that when you start with the wrong question you end up with the wrong answer? Gravity’s to blame here. There’s no escaping it.
I blame England for the confusion. Or possibly Britain or the United Kingdom. Or someone, because it’s important to have someone to blame. Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are innocent bystanders in this. They got pulled in by the gravity (see? I came back to that) of a larger neighbor.
In the interest of saving space: England’s part of Britain. Britain’s not really a country, that’s the United Kingdom. It’s just–well, think of Britain and the UK’s nickname. It’s all very confusing. The good news is that with Britain having left the European Union, the UK’s likely to come un-united, in which case the question of what to call it will be simplified.
Even if nothing else it.
hy are we called great britain
Hi. Yes, we are.
Important questions about British culture and history
Why are British roads so narrow?
It keeps out the riffraff.
did the tudors have chimneys
No, but some of their houses did.
what does british understatement mean
It’s when you understate something. In Britain. Or elsewhere if you are British and like to carry a national stereotype (or characteristic; take your choice) around the world with you.
I do hope that helps.
is uk beer stonger then american
This is such a regular question (although it usually comes with another R mashed in somewhere, and a few other spelling changes) that I’ve started to ignore it, but it’s time to say greet to an old friend again. This is what the world wants to know about Britain: How much beer do I have to pour down my throat before I get shitfaced?
I always did say that travel broadens the mind.
anglo saxon hunting
The Anglo-Saxons came, they stayed, they hunted. And did a few other things while they were at it, including contributing some lovely swear words to the language. Allegedly.
One important difference between the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans, who took the country from them, is that under the Normans hunting and fishing were tightly restricted. And these weren’t sports for most people but an important part of how they managed to eat. The Norman aristocracy not only owned the land but every wild beast and weed that grew, ran, or slithered thereupon. And also the water and its fish. Hunt the lord’s whatever and you could end up getting killed for it–quite legally.
I’d love to know more about the Anglo-Saxon laws and traditions about hunting and land ownership. If anyone wants to point me at a good source, I’d be grateful.
in the times when people wore wigs did mice get into them
Contrary to popular opinion and in spite of how popular wigs were among the upper classes, the fashion was limited to humans, British mice never wore them. This supports the argument that they had better sense than the upper class humans.
emmit website cornwall prank
In Cornwall, emmits are tourists if you speak American and holidaymakers if you speak British. But they don’t call themselves emmits, because that’s Cornish. It means ants. So if they start a website, they’re not likely to call themselves emmits.
Presumably that’s where the prank part comes in.
That’s an extended way of saying that I don’t know anything useful about this.
medieaval attitudes to male homosexuality the church
Short answer, they didn’t approve of it. Longer answer, they weren’t obsessed with it in the way that so many later churches were (and that some still are). Homosexuality was just one sin on a long list of thou-shalt-nots. And the idea that homosexuals formed a category? That doesn’t seem to have figured into the way people thought about either themselves or each other.
will the uk go into a full lockdown
I’m late answering this. Sorry, but it does mean that I don’t have to speculate. Yes, we did, but we waited for the virus to get a head start. Never say that sportspersonship is dead.
eek and kent varients
Most people will want to spell variant with an A, but language changes and maybe we’re looking, appropriately enough, at a variant spelling.
why does sensus ask if someone has stayed overbight?
Because it’s useful to know about the dental health of the population. How many people in your household have an overbite? Did it stay or did it leave with a visitor?
why do cars look like they are going faster on narrow road
Because of the natural reaction of human beings, when watching a car drive too fast for the conditions, to think, Oh, shit, that doesn’t look good. Narrow road. Relatively high speed. Ergh.
Why did I get this question? Because I wrote a couple of posts about narrow roads. I am now an expert.
why do americans have post boxes
To hold our letters.
why don’t american houses have letterboxes
Our letters are free range. We sit around waiting for them to mosey down the street and lasso them as they come past. If we get a lot of them, we herd them into the corral. It brings neighbors together to exchange letters so that they get to the right houses. Sometimes they stampede, though, which can get dangerous.
Why do I get questions asking why we do and don’t do the same thing? Because a lot of people start with their conclusions and look for the evidence. This protects them, at least to an extent, from finding contradictory evidence. This is why the world continues spinning.
Questions I can’t explain, never mind answer
Now this one was interesting. I referred the question to Lord Google, who referred me to an Urdu grammar site, a site that’s partially in Hebrew, an auction site (23% commission), and a Board of Management meeting of Perth College.
Best guess? The meeting would be more interesting than your average management meeting. Or at least stranger.
brexit and good from ietnam
Lord Google and I both inserted a V into this, giving us Vietnam. Vietnam and Britain did reach a trade deal when the Brexit deadline was looming. Was this particularly good news for either of them? No idea.I don’t think either country is a major trading partner for the other.
jenny mollica atemkurs
As should already be clear, I often ask Lord Google about questions I can’t make sense of, since it was Lord G. who sent the questions to me in the first place. Some turn out to be about a person I mentioned once and forgot. Checking allows me to pretend that I still remember them. Other times, the questions turn out to be about someone I never heard of, but at least I’m reassured that we’re all operating in consensual virtual reality.
But when I typed in “Jenny Mollica Atemkurs,” Lord G. told me that there weren’t many great matches for my search. That’s a first. He’s never held out for great before, probably because he considers his suggestions wondrous, however strange they seem to me.
But not this time. The world may be full of Jennys, but he held out for the Mollica Atemkurs kind and found none.
Why the question ended up with me remains unknown.
The fill-in-the-blank challenge
this meant that rotten borough _____ represented a tiny number of people in ______.
Ooh, we’re playing MadLibs with somebody’s term paper.
I’m not in love with my offering, but that’s okay, it’ll give you the satisfaction of being funnier: “This meant that rotten borough X represented a tiny number of people in Y.” Hand that to your algebra teacher. They’ll be so impressed.
For those of you who enjoy the history posts: I will get back to them. In theory, I post something non-news related on Fridays. Ideally, it’s about English (or possibly British) history or culture (using an expansive definition of culture). But I got seduced by too much news this week, not to mention by some good weather, and didn’t leave myself enough time. Stay with me. I’ll get back to it.