Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bill and Ben and the back pain list

Like I said a short while ago, I'm suffering from sciatica at the moment. It's eased off a lot now, after nearly a month off work, so I'm now back in the land of the gainfully employed. It's a bit of a struggle, I have to admit; after all, I still have the condition, to a lesser degree, and I also have to get my legs back into the idea of being up and about for an eight-hour day in a warehouse. Ah well. In a sense, though, I'm lucky because a couple of folks there have also suffered from the same or similar problems. In fact, the boss has pointed me in the direction of something that could help my back. It's called Back Magic (I see what you did there) and my boss says it's brilliant for his back pain and lingering sciatica.*
I mentioned this product to Julie one evening last week and while I was sprawled, semi-prone, in an armchair with cushions piled below me, she decided to have a look into this helpful whatnot.

Once I had finished laughing (sorry, love!), I reached for the pad and asked her to spell out the word she had stumbled on.
My word.
Apologies to Julie. After I wrote down the offending word - 'Spondylolisthesis' - I took a careful, slow run at it myself, breaking it down into syllables on the way. Even then, it was a bit of a git to utter aloud. So - fair enough, love - not your fault.

*It's unbelievable, the amount of times I have told people that my own version of sciatica begins in the hip and heads down the leg, rather than beginning in the lower back. Seriously, I keep telling the same people over and over, but they just don't seem to bloody listen. I'm thinking of bringing my doctor into work and getting him to do a presentation on sciatica...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bonus Tuesday: EQ Comics has some damn odd people.

It's time for another webcomic. This time, we're featuring Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life. Snappy title, huh? Yesterday, I was musing on the possibility of adopting The Goons as the official JG band. Following on from that, I'm now wondering if we shouldn't have Edmund Finney... as the official webcomic. Populated by punning, logic-mangling oddities, the titular character wanders around his world trying to make sense of everything and everyone he sees - and sometimes becoming caught up in their lives too. The example below looks to be the beginning of a new story arc, so why not read it and then click on the link above and follow the strip every Tuesday and Friday?

If you have trouble reading the comic, just go straight to the site and you will see it in full size. Oh, and there's also usually a little bonus gag/comment revealed when you hold the cursor over the comic.
Tata for now!

Monday, 28 November 2011

"I'm driving backwards for Christmas...

...across the Irish Sea..."
OK so I'm misquoting the Goons song, but it just seemed appropriate.
In any case, we have a guest star today, although I think we can in fact call this particular contributor a repeat offender. Please give a big hand to J's mother (Not Julie's mum, but that of a friend whose name also begins with 'J'), who is now making her third appearance on Julie's Gems. In fact, in honour of this little feat, I have now retro-actively tagged her previous posts with 'Oh mother'; obviously, I will also be labelling any further appearances in the same way.

Any way. Today's Gem may not seem that odd at first glance...

However, it only makes sense if you intend to drive everywhere in reverse gear. Including across the Irish Sea, naturally.
To finish off today's post, I thought I would treat you to a video clip for The Goons' hit single, "I'm walking backwards for Christmas". A song, incidentally, which was played at our wedding and went down a treat, with almost everybody singing along.

Heh - is it me, or should we adopt The Goons as our official band? It'd be entirely appropriate. Well, either them or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday Bonus: Filmy logic

Every now and then, I like to have a trawl through the website Not Always Right, all in the hope of bringing you news that there are plenty more people out there that seem to apply Julie's seemingly personal brand of logic to everything. To be honest, it usually doesn't take to long to find something or someone, I should say whose grasp of logic is rather tenuous.

To be honest though, when I read this one, I was immediately put in mind of the following meme:

Friday, 25 November 2011

A vacation to Venus, perhaps?

I don't think there is a person that hasn't done it, to one degree or another. I mean, even those who seem to have everything they want must yearn for something. Of course, for the rich, such yearnings are usually easily satisfied (unless it's the desire for another country to control, perhaps...), but for the less affluent, it's a little more difficult.
Hence the powerful machine that is gambling. Some people bet on sporting events and some may even do well from it (although I have a colleague who is something of a Jonah to anything he puts money on. Seriously - everyone else makes  a note of what he's wasti... er placing his bet on, just so they know which horse, driver to avoid). Others will try things like casinos (why the hell do people waste their money on roulette and slot machines?) or, scaling things down somewhat, bingo halls.
Of course, there is always the easiest, most freely-available option - the lottery. In Britain, we are lucky(??) enough to have a few choices of lottery. We have the national lottery , now renamed Lotto, the Euromillions lottery and a few smaller scale ones that are basically individual causes vying for our money. Tonight is going to be a good night for some lucky bas- people in the UK as there are apparently going to be a guaranteed 18 new millionaires as a result of the Euro lottery draw. And yes, I have a ticket. Well, a man can dream, can't he?
Talking of dreams, what should we do if we won the jackpot, Julie?

"Somewhere else?" Richard Branson hasn't actually managed to get any holiday trips to outer space yet, love...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Julie's been at the Cinzano again, folks.
The problem - sometimes - with drinking alcohol is that you need to consider the snacks you choose to chow down on while you are having a tipple. The thing is, you need to consider the snacks almost as carefully as you choose the wine you decide to take with a meal. For example, while dry, salty snacks such as crisps or nuts are perfect for a beer, they won't go quite so well with,say, a few shots of vodka.
I can't quite remember what Julie was munching on while she sipped at her Cinzano, but it obviously didn't leave a good taste in her mouth...

Now that you have allowed a stunned silence, I am willing to bet that the thought going through your head is, "how does she know?" And now, like me, you're desperately trying to get that idea out of your head.
WTF indeed....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Guest starring the hairy cueball...

A friend and her mother... actually, no, let's start this one again.
You may recall a recent post where a friend and her mother were at a country fair, and the mother came out with a Gem of such magnitude that her own daughter dropped back and tried to pretend she was with someone else. Can't remember it? Tell you what, have a look here and refresh your memories.
Good stuff, yes?
Any way, back to the present moment; as it happens, they were watching the TV, when someone familiar to the mother popped up on-screen.

Not the best description in the world, but if you know who she was talking about, then it makes a little more sense. Say 'hello' to Jamie from the TV show Mythbusters.

See what I mean? Jamie - under the ever-present beret* - is bald as a coot, but doesn't he have a most impressive set of facial hair? So, yes, my friend's mum was actually correct, despite the Gem-standard oxymoron. Jamie is 'the bald bloke with the hair' (yes, I know facial hair is technically 'bristles', but it's still hair).

*I did try to find a picture of Jamie without his beret, but it just wasn't happening.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Saturday signage: Ice-cream brain freeze

Every now and then, you come across a sign that tries very hard to impart enough information to be sure of absolute clarity. Usually, this coincides with a severe case of Too Much Information (although thankfully free of biological details). Result, everyone is happy until they start looking at the fine print. Here's a perfect example - fine right up until the last two lines...

So, 1 scoop = 2 scoops? What the hell do you do for an encore? Divide by zero?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Mount Improbable, meet Mount Incoherent

Happy Friday folks. I don't know if you have much planned this weekend, but I'm hoping we can fit another game of Trivial Pursuit in. Or maybe a few chats about literature. Why literature? Well, I'm trying to get some short, snazzy quotes from Julie so I can get some bookmarks made up. Not many, just a few. You know, to give away to a few lucky folks, perhaps..

Anyway, back to the Gem and, indeed, back to Trivial Pursuit.

In case you didn't know what Julie did or didn't know, it's that she had a possible answer on the tip of her tongue. Unfortunately, the correct answer must have been hiding on another part of her tongue...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Fireworks, bagpipes or the Nyan Kitty?

Last weekend was Remembrance Sunday, which meant celebrations of various sorts around the town and country. When it got dark, the fireworks began. As it happened, we were out for a stroll when one lot started up, very close to our house. There were the usual noises, plenty of whooshes, crackles and bangs; lots of pretty lights up in the sky. Then, too, there were the screamers. You know, the rockets that don't go 'whooosh!' when the shoot up into the sky, but instead... well, scream. Or, as Julie put it...

How... graphic. Cheers, love!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Slow, slow, wotnot slow

I have been signed off from work for a few weeks with a nasty case of sciatica. It's not manifested in my back, but my right buttock (where it's really a pain in the arse) and all the way down the leg and into my foot, where it has curiously deadened and yet also painfully affected my big toe. Sitting down is obviously a problem - I have to lean at an angle and even then it's far too painful to maintain for too long. Additionally, I can't walk far without a stick and even then not that much further. And even then, I'm not going to be breaking any records for speed.
It's ironic, really, because until recently, Julie wasn't able to either walk far or fast. Following an operation of her own, that changed and she now enjoys going for walks - with or without me.

Obviously, the roles are now somewhat reversed, and Julie has to wait for me while I catch up. Quite often, I do what Julie used to; when the other person starts to make a bit of a distance ahead, the slower one will say, "See you later, then?" to which the faster person will pause or drop back and offer an apology.
This is Julie we're talking about though. Do you really think you're going to get a straight apology or comment? Of course not...

Now, I don't know if you got that, but what she meant was that she wasn't going as slow as she used to, nor as fast as she thought she was, but slower than.... er... I'm not helping, am I?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday Bonus -You dirty bum!

Just a quickie for you today, courtesy of Julie's habit of ... adapting song lyrics. Apologies to Boney M for this one...

And in case yer wondering what the real deal should sound like, here's a clip of Boney M performing their single, 'Brown Girl in the Ring'.

Wow - love those outfits. What were they like in the 1970s, eh? And that bloke? what was he on? Oh, and all credit to Julie, the original lyrics were pretty dodgy any way; After the first verse ends, you then hear
"Show me a motion, tra-la-la la-la"
What the hell?? No wonder Julie went for a scatological touch with her version! 
By the way, the gent with the camp collar (Bobby Farrell) didn't do any singing; not on any of the songs, ever. Any time you heard a man singing on any of Boney M's songs, that was the producer and creator of the group, Frank Farian. Have a look at the group's litigious history on Wikipedia.

Monday, 14 November 2011

This conversation is a real no-know.

Every now and then, Julie will ask me a question about something, or else the conversation will have just... happened, as they sometimes do. Unfortunately, these conversations also have a habit of getting away from themselves. Either we'll stray far beyond the original topic, or I'll forget myself and go into what Julie calls my 'Teaching Mode'. I'll try and explain things in too much detail and in an almost condescending manner, and Julie ends up either bored, lost in details or utterly confused by the terminology (sorry, love! I know I do it!).
When we're playing Trivial Pursuit, there's an obvious danger of this arising, and so it was to prove the other day. I have no idea what the question was or what we were talking about - for some reason, Julie's answer crowded out all that boring detail...

See what I mean? By the time I had managed to work my way through that sentence, everything that had gone before was not even a distant memory. What gets me is that it is all perfectly correct as far as grammar and internal logic goes; it's just that you lose track of where you are in the sentence each time you try and analyse it...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bonus Saturday: I don't understand...

Cheers to Maddy who found this and thought of us. It strikes me that this is Julie's position; she knows what she's trying to say, she tries ever so hard to explain what she means, but... we just don't get it, do we?

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Fail of Bible proportions

Yes, I did type that correctly.

You may have noticed that I try to choose an appropriate header image for each Gem. For example, Wednesday's post ruefully acknowledged that I, myself, screwed up. Every now and then, there's a new type of situation, which means I need to find the appropriate image (the 'mad cows' post was one such example).
Even rarer is the occasion where our contributor manages to hit more than one Gem category in one go. Normally, the Gem itself causes such confusion that I very rarely manage to jot it down before the details are gone. This time though, I got everything.
I think I chose the correct header.

There's so much wrong there, it's hard to know where to begin...
Have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Spike has a temporal memory lapse

We were discussing books the other day. I had an ulterior motive as I was hoping to garner a few literary Gems to use on bookmarks I want to make. as it turned out, I managed to jot down a few Gems, but pretty much the only book-related Gem came courtesy of yours truly and doesn't work as a stand alone gag.
Yes, that's right, I Gem'd myself. In a public place, too.

You see, we were in a cafe and I had asked Julie about books she had read when she was younger. Once we had got the inevitable Janet & John (or equivalent - I was a Rainbow Reader) out of the way, Julie began to talk about Enid Blyton. As it happens, Julie isn't much of a book person, and those that she does read are either chick-lit, celebrity biographies or spiritualism (Ghost Hunters, Colin Fry and all that.. stuff). Me, I'll read most things, but chick-lit and spiritualism don't interest me at all and I really have to be in the mood to read a biography. However, our childhood reading matter is a different thing entirely. As it turns out, we were both massive fans of Blyton's Famous Five series. Apparently, Julie used to buy them in bulk, keep them under her bed and plough through them in one extended bout of frenzied reading. Julie then mention Blyton's other celebrated book series, The Secret Seven and it struck another chord in me. Or, as I put it...

...but I don't any more... eh? What? Doh!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Julie is on a variable frequency.

Considering the output, it's not really all that surprising that we discuss Julie's near miraculous ability to baffle, delight and entertain. Unfortunately, there are a few snags to a free-flowing conversation on such a topic. One of the major stumbling points is that Julie simply can't remember half of the stuff she's come out with. Mostly, it's only the truly epic Gems that have lodged in her memory (such as The Doughnut, shitty tea, perverted prawns and the Octodog - and my personal favourite, Stop Making Sense).
The other main problem with holding a discussion with Julie is that whatever causes her to Gem at all will actually happen even when we're talking about the Gems in the first place. I know - it all sounds a bit Inception, doesn't it? How can we find the root of Julie's Gems? We have to go deeper...

Deeper into the past and into Julie's mind, as it happens. We were talking about Julie's Gems some time ago, and I raised a point that Julie herself had made on several occasions previously...

I'm sorry? Since when were 'frequently' and 'often' not synonymous?
I was reminded of this particular Gem the other day when I came across a T-shirt for sale at Zazzle.

Now... Do I dare buy it for Julie? Or am I too much of a coward...?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonus fail - MC Escher gives instructions

Well, it's either graphic artist MC Escher or Julie. I found this picture over on My Confined Space, which is well worth a look-see. To the sign - you want to be able to leave the building in a safe manner if there's a fire, don't you? In that case, clear instructions for keeping the staircases clear are essential, aren't they? Just a pity this isn't going to help matters...

Really? Do you really, really think so? Because I don't.

Friday, 4 November 2011

In remembrance of memory.

As you all know (and those who deny it are either lying or have forgotten they have done so), it's all too easy to put something down and then, seconds later, completely forget where it was you left it. In extreme cases, you may even forget what it was that you put down - or even that you put something down at all. You wind up stood there like a prize pillock, with a vague feeling there's something you should be remembering. I don't know about you, but when that happens to me, people ask all those really useful questions like, "where did you leave it last?" and, "well, if you can't remember it, it can't have been all that important can it?"
Yeah. Thanks for your help, now go away.

Of course, remembering where you left some things should be easier. A mobile phone (cell phone to non-Brits) left on charge is pretty much a no-brainer. All you have to do then is remember to pick it up before you leave the house. Mind you, some people seem to have trouble remembering if they should be remembering something or not. Confused? So was I...

In all fairness to Julie, I have to own up to having a brain like a sieve when it comes to remembering to do some things. The current one, something that has really, REALLY annoyed Julie, is my forgetting to switch the washing machine on before I leave the house. It's all loaded up and ready to go. All I have to do is remember to press a certain button before I go to work, and not when I'm at work... Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Getting premature with alcoholic logic.

As you may recall, we had my parents staying with us a couple of weekends ago. We all had a good time, but there was the usual pre-visit flurry of activity; tidying up, vacuuming, preparing the spare room, putting a cover over one chair so the dog can sit on it, getting a few groceries in and - in Julie's case - worrying about the bottle of wine and the small bottle of spiced rum in the dining room.

This is the woman who proceeded to get a little squiffy on the bottle of wine she shared with my father when we went out for a meal.