How exciting -- while chatting to my mom about A.E. Housman and stuff, she mentioned that my old school chum, olympic hero Sebastian Coe, is the front runner for becoming the new chairperson of the BBC.
It really is a small world. It's like that "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" thing. If you know me then you are only one hop removed from Sebastian Coe!
I used to watch Sebastion Coe run. Sadly, not in person. He was one of my idols, back in my running days, along with the likes of Derek Clayton, Mary Decker, Bill Rogers, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter and others.
I alegedly have a town named after a great, great, great... something in my history: Benson, Minnesota.
There's also Benson, Arizona, made not-at-all famous by the movie Dark Star. No relation between me and Benson, Arizona, as far as I know. I do like the movie Dark Star, though. I think that's where the label "smart bomb" came from.
I can't forget the Benson Bubbler fountains, in Portlnad, Oregon, near where I live. That was timber baron Simon Benson' work. Again, no known relation to me.
Anyone else have a brush with fame to rival Max's?
@Max I had a feeling I had seen "Brail" somewhere before but would not have been able to define it. When I play scrabble I insist that the words used (a) must be in the dictionary and (b) the user must be able to define them. So I would have come short there.....
Some day I would like to form the word heeltap when playing Scrabble. They'll challenge me, and I'll say "it's a small amount of liquid -- usually alcoholic -- left at the bottom of a glass". They'll insist on looking it up in the dictionary. They'll find it... and never challenge me ever again :-)
The word heeltap derives from when cobblers made shoes by hand. Heels were made by gluing and nailing together thin pieces of leather, each called "taps", hence "heeltap". The brown liquid left at the bottom of a glass has a similar appearance.
Ask me about quidnunc some time. There's a fine, fun word!
@betajet: Some day I would like to form the word heeltap when playing Scrabble.
When that happy day arrives, make sure you get pictures of yourself running round the room doing a "victory lap" so you can share the moment with the rest of us. I also hope you get the chance to form quidnunc one day (but I'm not holding my breath)
So, my next task will be to find out when there was a Hangman named Housman at Staffordshire Gaol. I'm assuming this would have to be sometime around the late 1700s or early 1800s. Hmm, where would one go to look for information like this?
The word derrick apparently derives from the similarity in structure to the gallows and is taken from the name of a hangman in Tyburn in 1600.
<Added after 15 mins> Ooops my bad. The entry says surname.
@Antedeluvian: The word derrick apparently derives from the similarity in structure to the gallows and is taken from the name of a hangman in Tyburn in 1600.
Nice try but no cigar.
I do wonder what my hangman ancestor was like -- if I were to power up my time machine and pop back for a visit, would he be someone with whom I would like to quaff a pint of ale and swap jokes, or would he be the sort of guy who always had to leave before he bought his round?
> Hmm, where would one go to look for information like this?
Hello Max, I was born and brought up in Stafford. I recommend you contact the William Salt Library in Stafford. They have a huge archive of material related to Stafford and Staffordshire. They will almost certainly have jail records that may help.