John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 19

by on Mar.03, 2010, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Episode 19 is here. This week’s topic isn’t: Why are we English too ASHAMED to celebrate St. George’s Day with due dignity and respect, properly? Which is embarrassing to even type.

Things more realistically begin with an explanation of the spiteful nature of tea, pet names for pets, and that which we’ve changed from hating to liking. Find out what temperature we’ve decided will keep your babies alive, and how John disagrees with all baby-based wisdom, leading to Nick denying his daughter her wings.

Of course we talk about Mr Blobby, and Noel’s House Party, and the Late Late Breakfast Show. But you’d been expecting that. And find out who electrocuted an elephant to death. Hear Nick play the mouth-banjo. Don’t hear Nick tell his Oxford interview story. But do hear stories of examinations.

This takes us back to school days, remembering teachers good and bad, and times we went out of our way to get in trouble. And then, more positively, favourite teachers.

There’s a few things we ask for in return for this lovely gift. Could you retweet about it, demand people on forums have a listn, or find any other way to tell new people to listen? And writing a review on iTunes helps us a great deal. We’d appreciate it.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.


28 Comments for this entry

  • Flameberge

    Oooh, a Facebook page. How exciting! As I have listed myself as a fan of the facebook page, my status as a likerer of this aural delight is now, like, official, or something.

    In other news, I informed as many ignorant heathens as possible of the wonders of Rum Doings podcast again today. Yay!

  • Jambe

    As a speaker of American English I’m amused by British pronunciation of “saint” when used as a proper name. I like it.

    The bit about memory in calculators and computers reminds me of the constant internet allegation that Bill Gates once said “640K of RAM ought to be enough for everybody”. He never said that, of course.

    I again question the logic of owning and refusing to at least redirect it to this site or park an image of a cream tea on the domain.

  • Nick Mailer

    Jambe: John is too lazy to maintain it, after promising he would. Would you like to be the Rum Doings webmaster?

  • Mrs Trellis

    I only need 3 more fans for the Rum Doings facebook page to have its own vanity URL. Sign up your mothers or something.

  • Flameberge

    @ Mrs Trellis

    I will invite all my friends. Something I normally hate when I get loads of random invites. However, I will make an exception for the proliferation of the acknowledgement of Rum Doings as the premier form of entertainment.

    Talking about bad teachers from the podcast, considering I went to secondary school between 2000 and 2007, during those 7 years, at least two of my teachers went to prison on the basis of sexual offences against minors. I swear that’s a disproportionately high number, considering my school had less than 600 pupils.

  • Mrs Trellis


  • Jambe

    I wouldn’t mind installing WordPress or the like if you seriously want me to. In the meantime, though, if you have access to the server, just toss the following file on the top-level directory:

    I’ll become a facebook fan even though I haven’t logged into the service in like three months.

  • Vague

    Ah back to the days of school…
    A few tales of what happens when students don’t know how to answer questions… (one of my teachers used to mark A-level papers and used to tell us about them)

    In a history exam, one student once wrote “I’m a naughty boy, please spank me” for about 3 pages, in paragraphs and the occasional quotation marks, presumably thinking that it might not actually be read. His concluding paragraph changed it to “I’m a hairy boy, please shave me”.

    Another student, who had apparently had a mental breakdown in an exam simply wrote a letter saying it wasn’t anyone’s fault that she didn’t know the other points, and how they had tried her best and how everyone was expecting they to do well. We asked what grade she was given. E. This made me laugh more than the first case.

  • Xercies

    Man a lot of my teachers were terrible in secondary school and i mean really bad, I’m sure one of the IT teachers had it in me. Also we only had one decent maths teacher all the rest was crap and you can bet that that maths teachers class was always crowded, and people wanted to be in there goes to show that kids do actually want to learn sometimes. but i’m sure if i didn’t have that maths teacher i wouldn’t have got the grade i did get.

    There definitly should be an easier way to get rid of bad teachers. At the moment there pretty much like gypsies just get kicked out but going to a different school every time and nothing actually being done with the problem.

  • Colthor

    RE: Corporal and group punishment in (my mother’s) school.

    For a while, my mother would be caned every morning, in case she did something to deserve it that the teacher didn’t notice.

    Once, the entire school was being kept in detention to try and discover who had burnt down the library (one of the few things my mother *didn’t* do, by the sounds of it. This was the grammar school, I dread to think what the comprehensive was like). My mother’s father stormed in, demanded my mother leave, and stormed out – with the rest of the class in tow. This didn’t help mum’s popularity with the school much.

    In the end she finally finished her secondary education by being chased off the premises by the head-teacher.

    She’s worked in schools for over fifteen years, and thinks education was much better in her day.

  • Blackberries

    Nick: I’m currently studying Latin at uni. The vocabulary-revision program you described in the episode sounds pretty blooming lovely: is it in a state to release into the internet wilds?

  • Scotch Mist

    I am very happy to hear Nick’s responsible views on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and how so many fewer children have died since being put to bed on their backs.

    On a related note, I would hope that all new parents here are not planning on giving their children the MMR inoculation, since as we all know, the rates of autism in young people are far higher since it was introduced.


  • Nick Mailer

    Blackberries: I would be happy to let you have it, but I must warn you – it runs in a console with perl. If you use MacOS X or Linux, this probably won’t scare you :-)

    I can also let you have my vocab files (from the Cambridge UP book).

  • Blackberries

    Nick: Thank you!

    I am sure I can brave a console. Vocab files would be handy too, though I will probably have to make my own. Unless by Cambridge UP book you mean Jones & Sidwell’s Reading Latin?

  • Rosti

    [Singing]High correlation does not imply causation. It might just be coincidence, there could be something else involved; statistics cannot tell us which. [/Singing]
    Best song my maths teachers ever drilled into me, that!

    But I’ll admit that graph is mighty impressive, as are the statistics for co-sleeping. Given that there’s little opportunity cost (doubly so with Tummy Time* for motor skills) it’d be silly not to go with supine sleeping babies.

    *I love the phrase Tummy Time. I could do with some of that in my day.

  • Nick Mailer

    Not only is there a very persuasive probabilistic correlation, but there are also many persuasive hypotheses about the mechanism.

    John is as dangerous as those idiots who say “ooh, my grandfather smoked and lived to 90”, as if that proves that smoking is fine.

  • Patrick

    In my experience, anecdotal evidence works just fine.

  • Scotch Mist


    The fact of whether or not SIDS is related to front-sleeping is irrelevant (I’m sure there is a link). The argument you made in podcast, that a correlation between the reduction of SIDS and the Back To Sleep campaign is proof, or even merely evidence of its efficacy, is nonsense.

    You and John are just as bad as each other!

  • Nick Mailer

    The Back to Sleep campaign changed societal opinions strikingly and quickly: Dr Spock had recommended that children be put to sleep on their fronts, and two generations had taken that to heart. Then, within a couple of years, that changed and changed radically. The reduction in SIDS was immediate. Of course, that’s not enough, but statisticians have taken all the other variables into account and have come to the conclusion that back-sleeping is the substantive cause of SIDS reduction.

    But don’t take my word for it – check out the Cochrane data or the plenty of other meta-analyses.

    So what I said on the podcast was valid, sound and reasonable. John was being a dangerous, gibbering fool. Fortunately, most of our listeners will not have a chance to put his bad advice into question for many years to come, whereafter they’ll have forgotten it.

  • EthZee

    I always thought we could trust Doctor Spock. Turns out that he must have had it in for us, the Vulcan bastard.

    Also, lovely episode. Since you now a facebook page (I will admit to using that), I shall endeavour to badger my mates with invitations.

  • Colthor

    “Fortunately, most of our listeners will not have a chance to put his bad advice into question for many years to come, whereafter they’ll have forgotten it.”

    What’s the average age of a Rum Doings listener?

    A quick search with Google suggests the average age of women having their first child is 29/30, and for men 32.
    It also suggests the average age of gamers is 28, with PC gamers tending to be older. (All stats for the UK.)

    So unless you know otherwise, given that John’s said before how saddened you are at the proportion of gamers who listen, and the large crossover with RPS’s readership, the expected time-to-breeding of your listeners might well be shorter than you hope.

  • Blackberries


    If you’d rather not upload the Latin gubbins you can drop me an email at tim dot extraneous at gmail dot com :).

  • Nick Mailer

    Hi Blackberries. I’m just documenting it. It’ll be a few days.

  • Blackberries

    No rush! I really appreciate this.

  • Matt

    Nick, I too would love a copy of the language application when it’s ready. Really muchly appreciated!