Memorial Day weekend

The weather over the three-day Memorial Day weekend (May Bank Holiday) was great, allowing for a trip to the Upper West Side and Central Park, some dedicated sitting in the riverside park outside our apartment and a little ‘blading.

Also, Fleet Week (a whole bunch of sailors descend on Manhattan) coinciding with Memorial Day provided some airborne highlights. A couple of Chinook helicopters have been flying up and down the Hudson over the last week in formation. The Fuji blimp has also been floating around the city. Meanwhile, there were a couple of fly-bys (not sure of the plural of this) yesterday morning during the ceremony onboard the Invincible. The first was by a group of four F16s (I think) making a helluva noise; these were followed by five older planes, again in formation.

Down below, a slew of impressive battleships have been doing the rounds on the Hudson, and the great weather also brought out a bunch of impressive yachts and speedboats. One day…

I couldn’t help but notice the article on the BBC’s website about the three sisters from Derby giving birth at 12, 14 and 16. Me and half a million other people by all accounts. Their mother’s berating of sex education seemed at odds with the fact that the 16 year old had preceded her birth with an abortion and two miscarriages, and that the then eleven year old was allowed to have her boyfriend sleep with her.

The three girls have indicated that they do not need the support of the respective fathers, although they’re happy to take home the annual £31,000 in benefits that their offspring afford them. It seems that the root of the problem lies in education, but I feel that in this case, it’s more a failing of Julie Atkins (the girls’ mother) as opposed to their schooling. At the same time, the government needs to reach a balance between over-compensating teenage mothers and leaving them helpless, the latter of which serves to punish the innocent child. At the moment, evidence suggests that they’re leaning towards the former.


7 Responses to “Memorial Day weekend”

  1. Rob on June 1st, 2005 12:59


    I know you are a stickler for grammar and the like, but your writing is degenerating into American crap.

    ‘Me and half a million…’? No, no, no!

    ‘Half a million and I…’ if you please! Or perhaps ‘Half a million others and I…’? Or, ‘Half a million people (including myself)…’ and the list goes on. Do anything, but do not write ‘Me and…’!

  2. Steve on June 2nd, 2005 03:39

    Alarming to see the development of your vocabulary to include Americanisms like “helluva”. I never thought I’d see the day. I can only imagine “cockamaimie” will follow. Mind you, development is what language is all about. Nice use of the word “slew” by the way.

    Those three sisters grimly rearing the next generation of lard-guzzling Derby pikeys: it’s difficult for decent good ol’fashioned hard-workin’ folk like you and me to understand, but how would you like to earn 31K a year for doing precisely nothing and subsisting on a diet entirely of chips? Err, hang on…
    Actually, have you noticed that an increasing number of pikey council-house-dwelling, council-tax-swelling parents of recent generations have moved away from the Darrens, Garys and Shelleys in favour of more inventive kids’ names (in this case, Amani, Lita and – peculiarly – T-Jay), almost as if labelling your child with an unusual moniker stands it in better stead, sets it apart from the rest or plants a booteed foot immediately on the first rung of the class ladder. I’m sure there’s a paper that can be writtten on it.

    As for blaming lack of sex education in schools, this is like ‘UK murdering record holder’ Harold Shipman blaming RE lessons for not reiterating the 6th commandment enough. (Clearly the other commandments left an impression though as he’s never, to my knowledge anyway, felt the amoral urge to covet his neighbour’s oxen. Or indeed pump it full of morphine. Mind you, I don’t have access to the police files.)

    Anyway, hope everything is “bitching” in the Big Snapple Mr H. I’m off to hang with me posse in the Cardiff ‘hood now. Marvellous, yes.

  3. Dan on June 2nd, 2005 13:00

    Mr. Rainton’s comment is not worthy of comment. Much more fun to read was that of Mr. Collier.

    While I admit that “helluva” should have been italicised, my view is that “Me and half a million other people…” is colloquial and as such, not worthy of comment. Damn! I just commented. (Glad you like slew, btw. I’m a big fan myself!)

    With your (correct) pluralisation of Gary (Garys), does it then rhyme with Nerys? As for moniker, there’s a name in itself!

    Safe to say that the Amanis, Litas and T-Jays of this world will be adorning the likes of before they themselves enter their teens, already having fathered/mothered their upteenth offering to the world. That youngest one will no doubt be a grandma by 25.

    As for bitchin’, certainly is, mate. Hope the Cardiff posse is keeping you busy.

  4. Elise on June 6th, 2005 19:52


    I’m sorry to say that your suggested corrections to Dan’s grammar are equally poor, if not worse.

    1, ‘Myself’ should only be used reflexively, not as a replacement for ‘I’ or ‘me.’ (See:

    2, Look at the deep structure of the sentence (i.e. the intended meaning) rather than just the surface structure (i.e. the words). While ‘Me and half a million other people by all accounts.’ is not a proper sentence, it’s most likely the latter half of a partially expressed thought. Dan probably meant something along the lines of, ‘An article read by me and half a million other people by all accounts.’

    Moving forward with that assumption, your suggestion to say, ‘half a million and I,’ would then be incorrect, as ‘I’ can only be used as the subject of a sentence. What he should have done, was put a comma before ‘by all accounts.’ (Side note: I’ve seen a lot of poor punctuation in modern British writing.) 😀

    3, Being the polite and proper English folks that you undoubtedly are, I’ll humor (humour, whatever) the argument for placing ‘you’ before ‘me’ in ‘you and me,’ but realize (realise) that it’s an issue of politeness, not grammar.

    As an aside, the next time you go off half-cocked about ‘American crap,’ make sure your own grammar isn’t ‘British shite.’


    P.S. Steve, it’s spelled bitchin’. Bitching is what we women do.

  5. Rob on June 7th, 2005 03:11


    To use Dan’s favourite ‘come back’… W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R!!!

    Look, I’m not the source of the English language. Just that for one to say, “Me and…” sounds terrible and I was always taught that it’s incorrect. Perhaps the generation following mine has wrecked the language and it’s now acceptable? I’m sure this has happened many times or we’d all be speaking like Shakespear wouldn’t we?

  6. Dan on June 7th, 2005 03:12

    Thanks, Elise, for what I think is wholehearted support. Despite equating Rob’s faux-pas with that of myself, you then go on to defend (correctly) the entire sentence in question.

    My view is that the comma before ‘by all accounts’ is optional and a matter of style – you either have it or you haven’t. 😀

    As for bitchin’, I hope that I politely put Steve in his place by my earlier response. The ‘G’ form of the word is indeed what you women are so good at.

    Finally (Elise), the comma after ‘American crap’ and the full-stop (period) after ‘British shite’ should both go outside the quotes. (Pat, pat.)

  7. Elise on June 7th, 2005 08:51

    Thanks, Dan, I think.

    What Brits consider ‘optional’ punctuation is still very much required in America. The US seems to have stricter rules about punctuation, whereas the UK focuses more on preserving its grammar (Queen’s English).

    My usage of punctuation is not incorrect, nor is yours.
    There appears to be a ‘stylistic’ difference between British English and American English. My belief (based on American & British language evolution patterns) is that the American standards are a preservation of an older form and the British ‘logical’ standards are more modern.

    For all the pedants in the house (and there seem to be a few), I highly recommend this informative bit regarding English varieties around the world.

    In particular, I find interesting a couple of quotes in section 2:

    “As far as the factors lying behind the position of English in the world are concerned, it must be stressed that the language itself has not had a major role in effecting such a high status. Crystal explains that ‘…the present-day world status of English is primarily the result of two factors: the expansion of British colonial power, which peaked toward the end of 19th century, and the emergence of the US as the leading economic power of 20th century. The latter factor continues to explain the position of English today (much to the discomfiture of some in Britain who find the loss of historical linguistic preeminence unpalatable).'”

    “It should be remembered that ‘without America’s contribution English today would enjoy a global importance about on a par with Portuguese’ (Bryson).”

    If one attempts to cling to one’s definition of English as if it were one’s personal or national identity, one risks ending up like the French (I think no more need be said)*. All language evolves, hence the existence of Dutch, German, English and the Scandinavian languages. The last language that was ‘successfully’ fossilized was Latin, and look how many native speakers there are today.


    *It’s a shame we have no neutral third-person singular in English anymore. What a pain in the ass (arse)!

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