Monday, 30 July 2012

Nuttiness is ungrounded.

Or not. I'm not entirely sure, to be honest.
You see, today we're celebrating a return to posting with a journey into Britain's legal past. We have a long and... glorious... history of legal matters in this country, some of it less comprehensible than others. I have in my own personal library a few books that revel in the dotty things we have managed to do and come up with in years gone by, but there are a couple of books I do like to return to now and then. One of which is The Return of Heroic Failures, a compilation of less-than-salubrious foul-ups from Britain and the world.

I have already featured a tale from this tome, regarding the sorriest fleet of submarines ever to (dis)grace the seas over on Sikkdays* some time ago. Now, I want to introduce what is quite possibly the most baffling piece of legislation the legal world has ever seen (in so few words, at any rate).
In 1972, it was decided that we really, really needed to know how to define a peanut - aka a ground nut. Hence the Ground Nuts Order.

Well, that's cleared that up. And to think we moan about the crap that the greysuits in Brussels come up with...

* Whaddya mean you've never heard of Sikkdays? Go and have a look - it's the property of a friend of mine, but he graciously allows me to post odd things every now and then.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Julie's Gems - on hiatus

Hi folks.
Sorry about this, but Julie's Gems will be on hold for a little while.
We will hopefully be back in the next few days, even wackier than before.
Cheers, and thanks for your support.
Spike & Julie

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Bungalow Booze Blues

So that's it. Our week of documenting the Gems from a wine-and-Trivial Pursuit night is over, and all that remains is to see our heroine off to bed. Unfortunately, the alcohol has now definitely taken its toll on her legs...

...yes, dear. Goodnight, love, sleep well.

And to everyone reading, thanks for following this week and over the course of our time - did you know, by the way, that we have passed our 300-post mark in the course of this week? Here's to the next hundred and more!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Bosom buddies have bad memories, apparently.

Acronyms - they can be handy, they can be confusing (anything official, or a series of space saving measures in a newspaper article, for example). Some acronyms are just letters (RAC), but others form actual words and often have been contrived to do so ('The man from UNCLE', anyone?). Sometimes, these 'words' can be inadvertently offensive, and sometimes they can be offensive by design, even if only for humour's sake. If you have seen the CLITORIS scene in one of the Red Dwarf episodes, you'll know exactly what I mean.

With that in mind, I dreaded what a boozed-up (ok, she was just a bit tiddly) Julie was going to make of this question...

BAFTA, of course, stands for British Film and Television Awards, but you probably worked that out, right? Julie knew, but but the lure of an opportunity to muck things about proved to be something of a siren call.

And now, as a special treat for you, have a CLITORIS.

Tata for now - tune in tomorrow for the finale to this week's Trivial Pursuit bonanza. And yes, it's going to be a good one.

Friday, 20 July 2012

No man is an island, however...

Usually, if I ask Julie a question in Trivial Pursuit (or another quiz) to which she does not know the answer, then her knack for coming up with a reply that is off the wall and out of the window will usually come up trumps. During this game, though, the wine consumed was taking its effect and snappy answers were becoming a tad rarer. Don't get me wrong, my wife was still apt to verbal shenanigans, it just took a little longer, that's all.
All the same, I was caught wrong-footed by her answer to this question. I mean, I bet I can imagine the answer some of you could come up with...*

In light of the alcohol consumption, I did wait a little while for Julie to complete the word 'mountaineer', but was ultimately forced to facepalm...

In case you were wondering, the answer was 'during take-off', because John Glenn was an astronaut.

*Jogging, of course...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Warning! Alcohol may cause eyestrain!

This week, as you may have noticed, is a full week of Gems, all resulting from a single game of Trivial Pursuit. You may also recall that said activity was assisted - for Julie, at least - the consumption of a glass or two of wine. A half-decent Shiraz, as I recall.
To begin with, any oddity was purely down to my wife's generally wonderful nature. After a while, however, the wine did begin to take effect. Not that Julie was slurring her words. No, it was more that Julie's brain was actually being slurred.The mouth was fine; I could understand every single word that was spoken. It was just when you put the words together as Julie did that your own brain began slurring in sympathy...

Apparently, this quirky little epithet meant that Julie's eyelids were feeling heavy as a result of the wine she had drunk.
Yes, love. It's totally obvious, now that you mention it. -.-

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Stop! Grammar time! - featuring Igor Stravinsky

So, Trivial Pursuit. You get asked a question, you answer it. If you get it right, you get another go. If you're in the right place, you also get a token to place into your playing piece - 'getting another wedge for your cheese', as we often say.
And that's it.
In theory.
In practice, there will be lots of banter, cries of 'how am I supposed to know that?' and accusations of skulduggery. There will also, if Julie is playing, be random observations on the question, the answer, a different question or answer, or anything that happens to be on her mind at that particular time. And when I say 'random', you know I mean 'random'.

I suppose we ought to be grateful Julie didn't burst into song with 'Old MacDonald had a farm'...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Getting personal with a planet

In case you are unfamiliar with the board game Trivial Pursuit, Allow me to shed some light on the matter. Essentially, it's a pub quiz for the family to enjoy within the comforts of their own homes. There are six categories for each player or team to answer questions on; Geography, History, Entertainment, Art and Literature, Science and Nature, and Sport. Here's a sample of one of the question cards.

Now, the thing is you can't help but look at and read at least one or two of the other questions on the card. Even if you are only supposed to read the brown question, you are likely to have more than a glimpse at the first question and the two on either side of the proper one. And if something catches your eye, then this is going to be even more applicable.
I can't recall what question Julie WAS supposed to be asking me, but it's largely irrelevant, in the light of her inadvertent discovery of the science question elsewhere on that card...

There's not a lot I can say to that. Did I mention (yesterday) that alcohol was being consumed?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Warning: Cheats will be crucified.

It must have been because it was my birthday - Julie suggested the other day that she bought some wine and we had a night of games - a choice of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit in our case. Since wine was in the equation, that meant my suggestion was to have some fun with questions and answers. As a result, you lucky people can now look forward to a week of alcohol-soaked Trivial Pursuit-related Gems. That's a whole week, so don't think you have nothing to look forward to on Tuesday or Thursday... or the weekend, come to that.

To start off with, I thought we'd reference some popular culture, to wit the film which consistently tops the (British) polls for the best comedy film ever; Monty Python's Life of Brian. It has always astounded me that Julie simply does not 'get' Monty Python - or The Goons either. I mean, when you consider how anarchic she can be and how supremely surreal (a term I had to explain to her, bizarrely enough), you would have thought she'd be able to quote the films and programmes with the best of them. But no. I will be almost literally falling off my chair with laughter as Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate discusses the apparent hilarity of his friends name with his uncontrollable legionnaires. Julie will be staring at me with a baffled expression. That's if she's even in the room.

So, when Julie pulled out the card to ask me a question, she groaned as she read it.

This was going to be a long game...

By the way - fancy a blast of fwankly wisible humour?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Pissed-up piscines on acid

Julie and alcohol. What a combination. Mind you, Julie without alcohol is possibly just as bad. The thing is you just never can tell.

I was sat in my office, pootling around the internet, looking for things to feature here. Things to post to Facebook. Things to watch and listen to, and things to blow up (in games, naturally). It was late in the evening, and I was thinking about closing up shop, as it were, when Julie came upstairs and popped her head around the door to say 'hi'. Not just 'hi, actually. Once the greeting was out of the way, my wife embarked on a particularly surreal series of non sequiturs.
As I said last time, the best way to cope with a full flow is to ride it out, smiling and/or nodding at the appropriate places. Or staring blankly. That works quite well, too.
However, bear in mind that I told you that this little rambling run was so far off the wall it was out the window and into the street. When I managed to get my head together long enough to say something, I rashly accused Julie of having had a little tipple. Something that she vehemently denied. In her own little way, of course...

Surely it says something about your mind when, upon forgetting the word 'judge', the only possible alternative your brain can offer is 'fish in sulphuric acid.
I'm just going to file this one under 'WTF?' and move on rapidly.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

An unnaturally natural explanation

Here's the thing: Julie does have her Little Moments. Those times when the only hope anyone talking to her has of making it through alive is by riding the wave, so to speak. Just let it wash over you and then come bobbing back up like a seabird on a rough ocean.

Well, that's not strictly true. In my case, I'm generally in a desperate hurry to write down everything Julie is saying before my pen spontaneously combusts...
So, there I was, notepad at home, but a scrap of paper dredged from my pocket and pressed into service. Smoke was starting to emerge from my pen, as Gem overtook Gem, when - BAM! Julie decided to engage in a little self-analysis.

Do excuse me - I think my brain just exploded...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Just as bad as each other.

That's us, alright.
I know I have a habit of trying to set Julie up and occasionally baffle her with science and/or terminology - all in the interest of getting a Gem or two out of her. However, it does have to be said that Julie gives as good as she gets. I just tend to end up falling silent, the wires in my head having been crossed by a freshly-delivered Gem. Since I stutter on occasion, it's usually best if I try and think about what is going to come out of my mouth.


The thing is, I have a sort of in-built verbal reflex that tends to come out with comments just when they're most prone to humour and/or being in danger of misinterpretation. Or, even worse, of being interpreted correctly by people who are likely as not to give me a good kicking if they catch onto the fact I'm making jokes at their expense.
Hi folks, my name is Spike Matthews, and I'm a smartarse.

Case in point: Julie and myself were out the other day, just for a stroll. I'd accidentally left my notepad at home, which lulled Julie into a false sense of security. For much of the walk, Julie seemed to be in 'chatter' mode, which was good, as she does have a lot of good things to say. After a while though, the gears in her head shifted subtly and the mouth began to overtake the brain. Unfortunately for my wife, this meant the mouth had to to take up the slack and produce things of its own invention.*
Even more unfortunately, Julie's chatter had somehow induced me to slip into 'smartarse' mode. Smartarse, with an apparent side-serving of 'snarky'.

As a result of these circumstances, we wound up with a few Gems. Gems I managed to capture thanks to a stray piece of paper in my back pocket. As I was scribbling furiously, I was barely concious of Julie, who was still chattering away to my left...
"I'm leaning on a lamp post on the wotnot of the street..."
Despite my concentration, I laughed and paused in my writing, long enough for Julie to ask me a question which earned a knee-jerk reply.

er - sorry, love.

*Of course, this is how most Gems are produced...

Friday, 6 July 2012

You couldn't make it u... oh - she did.

OK, so we were playing Scrabble, which is a word game. However, today's Gem is - to me, at least - very much a definitive one. Yes, there were doubts as to what Julie was trying to play for her turn, but I still maintain what she said as a defence is more than equally applicable to her whole approach to life.
Now I have strung things out by repeating myself with polysyllabic terminology, all that remains for me is to draw back the curtain and present what I feel may become the slogan for our blog.*

'nuff said.

*Previously, we had considered using the phrase, 'Julie's Gems - the best website this side of the table'. However, I think we should drop it in favour of the above Gem, as the new one goes some way toward explaining a bit more about who Julie is and what she does.
What do you think?
Either comment below or send us an email to

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The curious case of the leaky colander

Time to give Julie another break, methinks...

The man above is Niko Alm. He is a Pastafarian. That is to say, instead of a Christian God, or a Muslim Allah, or... whatever, he purports to worship The Flying Spaghetti Monster. As such, he went through the Austrian courts in order to fight for the right to wear a colander on his head in photos for his driving licence and passport, as he claimed it was religious headwear, as per his faith. And he won. Here's the story. I like the bit that says he passed a medical examination to say he was fit to drive...

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, one of my friends has managed to display a stunning sense of loyalty and support to his mother. Andy, for it was he, had happened to be in the vicinity when his poor mother had an absent-minded moment as she was cooking dinner. The vegetables needed draining, so Mum tipped them into a colander. Unfortunately, said colander wasn't resting on a pan or over the kitchen sink...

 Naturally, the first thing that a dutiful son would do would be to offer assistance. No, not Andy. Straight onto Facebook it went... I dunno. What is the world coming to when a woman can't depend on the men in her life to spread juicy gossip about the slightest mishap?
>coughs uncomfortably<

Monday, 2 July 2012

Gaming or parading in kombats?

This last weekend saw Eastbourne Armed Forces weekend.  I am vehemently anti-war, so I tend to avoid anything to do with it all, but I also have an interest in history. I have especially become more interested in local history. Unfortunately, as the most bombed town on Britain's South coast during WWII, a lot of that history will involve war.
Most of the events - if not all (I had trouble keeping track of it for some reason) - were centred on Eastbourne's redoubt fortress.

(NOT a model - this is one of my photos of the redoubt,
but run through a tilt-shift filter)
These fortresses, of which there were a few built, don't actually date from the last war, but from the Napoleonic wars. They have simply been adapted for whatever need as time passed.

On Friday evening, there was a gathering of cadet groups from various regiments or branches of the forces. Julie and myself hadn't particularly planned to watch it, but had instead happened upon it during an evening stroll along the seafront. More specifically, we had happened upon it just as they were finishing and taking it in turns to march off into the sunset.

I mean the car park. Sorry.

Unfortunately, there really wasn't enough room for us to pass by them, so we had to stand aside. I have to say, that discipline was pretty lax; even though the moves may have been pretty much in synch, there was a lot of incidentally chit-chat and joking. It may have been this that put Julie into her whimsical frame of mind.
Yeah, right. like she needs any excuse, eh?

(Mind you, I'd give a lot to see a Julie's Gem - style "Fatality!")
In case you aren't of the classic gaming fraternity, Mortal Kombat was a cartoony... er, combat game, where you had to hit certain buttons on a control pad to be able to use certain manoeuvres. If you were anything like me, though, you just mashed and bashed the buttons and hoped for the best.
Personally, I would love to think that Julie's own instructions would have resulted in a military display such as this: