Tag Archives: BBC

The Meanings of Words

I love Stephen Fry, the Brit actor and personality. He and I don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but then who does?

What I do like about him is that he’s so watchable. He’s entertaining, and I almost always learn something for him.

I’ve been addicted to his show QI on the BBC for years. It’s a way of learning that’s relaxed and fun. It’s like having a conversation.

Well, the other day somehow I managed my way to his personal site and discovered a post on Trump and a word I’d never heard of or used before: trumpery. It’s amazingly fitting to the situation.

trumpery  ˈtrʌmp(ə)ri

noun (pl. trumperies)

  • practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth. he exposed their ideals as trumpery. theatrical trumpery. [ as modifier ] : that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves.


showy but worthless: trumpery jewellery.

  • delusive or shallow: that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves.


One thing I love is Brit TV.

Thanks to the Twitter feed of the Seattle Public Library, I discovered this terrific map of Britain.

A few of my favorites are on it.

Moone Boy has made me laugh and smile. It’s silly and wonderful. So much fun. Not to be missed. It’s not British per se, but Irish.

I’ve watched most of the Inspector Morse series. It’s sad that there are no more being made. The late John Thaw was perfect as the curmudgeonly police detective. I’m particularly fond of the closing theme song.

George Gently, starring another great Brit actor named Martin Shaw, is another series I’ve been feasting on. It’s set in the Sixties.

I haven’t watched Vera in awhile, but it’s another good show.

I’m a huge fan of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Freeman and his version of Dr. Watson remind me of my best friend Carl.

Another favorite of mine is called Whitechapel.

And one can learn a lot, about British culture and society and history by watching the British version of Who Do You Think You Are?. The American version is often good. But I find the Brit original deeper, more profound.

The star of Whitechapel, Rupert Penry-Jones, was featured in one such episode. Many fantastic actors have been, including David Suchet and Patrick Stewart. I was touched by their journeys and discoveries.

Sadly, most American TV is garbage, a complete waste of time. So, I go elsewhere for my entertainment, mostly European in origin.


Our Own ‘Connections’ To History

A map showing the area of Pennsylvania where my ancestors lived and died
A map showing the area of Pennsylvania where my ancestors lived and died

Most of my nephews attend some sort of non-traditional schools. Part of my oldest nephew’s homework is memorizing key events throughout history. It’s called CC Memory Work, part of something called Classical Conversations.

The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution are on the list, so I decided to show him how we are connected to these wars of yesteryear. One of my favorite classic TV shows is a British production titled Connections. The host, James Burke, explains history as a sort of thread, connecting all manner of inventions, discoveries, and events.

I started by showing my nephew a portrait of a man named Martin Tidd, one of our ancestors. Martin’s father, John Tidd, had been killed at the outset of the French and Indian War, the name of the Seven Years’ War in the North American theater.

Murder of John Tidd, 23 June 1757

From the journal of Captain Johannes Van Etten, 1757, as reprinted in “Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania”:

“[June 1757:]

23. In the morning, near Eleven O’c, the fort was allarm’d by some of the neighbours who had made their escape from the Enemy, five of them in Company near Brawdhead’s [Brodhead’s] house, seeking their horses in order to go to mill, was fir’d upon by the Enemy, and said that one of them, John Tidd by name, was Kill’d, whereupon I immediately Draughted out 9 men, myself making the tents, in as private a manner as possible, and as privately went back into the mountains in order to make a discovery… […Here follows an account of pursuing and driving off the Indians…] Being come, we found him Kill’d and Scalp’d, his Body and face Cut in an inhuman manner, Cattle also lying dead on the Ground, where upon they all went of and left me with my small number to take care of the Dead man; whereupon we took him up and Returned to the fort; in which time my men that went to Easton Return’d to the fort.

24. Att about nine in the morning, having made redy, I went with 18 men and buried the man [Tidd], then went from the grave in search and found 15 Cattle, Horses and hogs dead, besides two that was shot, one with 5 bulits, the other with one, and yet there are many missing, out of which the Enemy took, as we Judg, the value of two Beaves and almost one Swine – in the Evening sent an Express by two men to the Maj’rs.”