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'U' countries and kingdoms

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1413577.  Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:15 pm Reply with quote

Probably an old topic but I didn't spot it in QI Countries threads: Uruguay

I love Josť Mujica. He was imprisoned in isolation for years by his political rivals and made friends with the rats to save his sanity. He then lived with the rats after he was freed and was president. He also gave an interview where he mentions picking up an ant during his imprisonment and holding it right inside his ear, at which point he heard it screaming. Not sure that's possible as ants are mainly olfactory beings but who knows? Can't find the specific interview sadly :( Perhaps this could link to Ultrasonic?

1413714.  Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:15 am Reply with quote

Reminds me of a question I put years ago about naming an Oriental country.

Klaxons for various countries in East Asia, the answer being Uruguay, which is officially called the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Before independence, the territory of modern day Uruguay (and a few others) were known as Banda Oriental del Uruguay because they existed to the east of the the Uruguay River. It would eventually declare independence, keeping the description of the country in it's name.

1413716.  Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:27 am Reply with quote

If we're talking about U countries, we have to include the UK as well, and that leads me to this question:

What is the most populated country in Europe to have English as an official language?

Klaxons for UK, Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, France, Germany, or nearly every other European country.

The answer is Ireland, with Malta being the only other European country with English as an official language.

English is the predominant language in the UK, but is not technically an official language.

So another question, what is the most populated country in North America to have English as an official language?

Klaxon for USA or various others, with the answer being Canada. USA also doesn't have English as the official language.

And a third questions, what is the most populated country in Oceania and Australasia to have English as an official language?

Klaxons for Australia and New Zealand, yet again for the same reasons above. The answer is Papua New Guinea.

Alexander Howard
1414030.  Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:50 am Reply with quote

As we live in a U country:

I often read demands that the government and Parliament should move out of their metropolitan bubble in the far corner of the land, and move instead to middle of the country, to get a better perspective on the nation outside London.

Dumping our governing classes in the very the centre of the United Kingdom would be a noble move. I believe the Ordnance Survey have identified the very spot for them, at SD4157566760.

1414841.  Mon Jul 11, 2022 2:37 pm Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
I believe the Ordnance Survey have identified the very spot for them, at SD4157566760.

Right in the middle of Morecambe Bay!

A bit of useless information that may or may not be of interest. Napalm Death formed in 1981 in Meriden, West Midlands, the "traditional" centre of England.

1414859.  Mon Jul 11, 2022 4:53 pm Reply with quote

happily volunteers for fact finding trip to Uzbekistan ;)

Alexander Howard
1416723.  Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:35 am Reply with quote

Uganda, meaning the country, not the Private Eye euphemism, is named after one if it many tribes, the Baganda, and their traditional kingdom, Buganda.

The Kingdom of Buganda lasted throughout the colonial period as a protectorate, and has been re-recognised in recent years - the current kabaka (king) is Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. There is a pre-colonial account of the installation ceremony for a King of Buganda which is grim reading. It involved several servants being killed to show the king's authority.

1416729.  Tue Aug 16, 2022 11:56 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
Uganda, meaning the country, not the Private Eye euphemism

Would you care to elaborate for those of us who do not peruse that esteemed organ?

1416734.  Tue Aug 16, 2022 12:20 pm Reply with quote

"Mr Clinton insisted that there had been no Ugandan discussions between himself and Ms Lewinsky."

That sort of thing.

1416747.  Tue Aug 16, 2022 1:18 pm Reply with quote

Wikipedia wrote:
"Ugandan discussions", or a variation thereof (such as "discussing Ugandan affairs"), is often used as a euphemism for sex, usually while carrying out a supposedly official duty. The term originally referred to an incident at a party hosted by journalist Neal Ascherson and his first wife, at which fellow journalist Mary Kenny allegedly had a "meaningful confrontation" with a former cabinet minister in the government of Milton Obote, later claiming that they were "upstairs discussing Uganda". The poet James Fenton apparently coined the term.

(Yes, Wikipedia has a page devoted to this topic.)

It was first used in 1973. That really makes me feel old...

1416767.  Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:04 am Reply with quote

I remember it being used in Private Eye in the 70s, because I am that old.

1416775.  Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:49 am Reply with quote

I remember it being used in Private Eye over the last 50 years (along with "Tired and Emotional", because I am that well read.

Yours etc,

Sir Bufton Tufton (Mrs)

Alexander Howard
1416789.  Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:51 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
The poet James Fenton apparently coined the term.

Oh, that James Fenton. Once a teacher at a local school told me in conversation that she studied the poetry of James Fenton, which I thought was rather odd. She was as surprised that I would had a volume of James Fenton's poetry on my shelf, when it would not be my sort of thing.

We were talking about completely different poets by the same name: she had studied the James Fenton who got all the prizes and is widely read in that sort of circle if nowhere else: I (to bring it back to the 'U' theme) was talking about James Fenton, the farmer's son from Ballinaloob who wrote The Hamely Tongue, Thonner an Thon and other poems and works in Ulster-Scots.

Alexander Howard
1426642.  Sun Dec 18, 2022 11:13 am Reply with quote

Una Peaks - a pair of mountains in the British Antarctic Territory, which are proof that one should not leave the naming of features to the sort of rough, heroic men who discover them.

The name arose because personnel of the British Antarctic Survey used to check in with the Governor's office in Stanley before heading south into the ice, and they were most impressed by the Governor's secretary, Una Sedgwick, or at least by a couple of her qualities. They accordingly named a pair of impressive mountains in Graham Land. A rather earthy name appeared on charts for some years afterwards until a committee in London changed it to 'Una Peaks' instead.

Miss Sedgwick later married an Antarctic explorer, Robert Spivey (who himself has an mountain named after him, on Alexander Island).


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