Sunday, May 28, 2006

A reader gives Don Ray an English lesson

But first, some photos I was unable to upload last night. These are from a trip on Saturday to a village called Ushafa. It's in the hills above Abuja. Emmanual, my guide, protector and driver, says it's a village that President Clinton visited when he was in office. We spent some time at a

Women's Skills Center where they teach folks of either gender how to throw clay, sculpt and paint. When the rain stopped, we stopped for a Coke (and some rice for Emmanuel) at a family owned place called "Stomach Restaurant". One of the pictures is of the family in front of their food establishment.

The kids at the computer are playing some kind of a fun game. I did a quick head turn when one of them shouted out, "Kill him! Kill him!"

Now, about that English lesson.

You'll recall that my trip from London Heathrow to my hotel was an adventure. I mentioned that the taxi driver who rescued me said something that sounded as if I looked "neked". A reader of another blog I contribute to (it's got to be one of the most interesting blogs I've ever seen, but not everyone would understand the appeal -- it's comprised of the most brilliant amateur investigators I've ever encountered) checked out "News from Nigeria" and was kind enough to fill me in regarding the term.

I'm in Kuwait on a consulting assignment (I'm a safety engineering
professor in real life), which--while quite different from Urbana, IL--is
far easier to navigate than Nigeria. Kuwait doesn't have any of the Wild
West lawlessness that one reads about parts of Nigeria. My hat is off to
you; be safe and enjoy your time there.

I believe that the cab driver was using a British term that is actually
spelled "knackered" by the Brits, and as the cabbie correctly stated,
means tired, worn-out, etc.


>From Wikipedia, you'll find the following entry:
A knacker is a person in the trade of rendering animals that are unfit for
human consumption, such as work horses that have died in harness or are
too tired to work any more. This leads to the slang expression "knackered"
meaning very tired. The word is probably of Scandinavian origin.

Original use of the term is still common in Britain today and gained some
notoriety during the outbreak of mad cow disease. The Slaughterhouses Act
of 1974, the Meat (Sterilisation and Staining) Regulations of 1982 and the
Food Act of 1984 all have a definition of a 'knacker's yard' as 'any
premises used in connection with the business of slaughtering, flaying or
cutting up animals whose flesh is not intended for human consumption.'

'Knackered' also means tired, exhausted or broken in British slang, and is
still commonly used in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

'Knackers' is British / Australian slang for testicles1.

The British magazine Private Eye often refers to senior police figures in
satirical articles as "inspector Knacker" or "Knacker of The Yard", a
reference to Jack "Slipper of the Yard" Slipper.

The term knacker is sometimes used in Ireland to denote an Irish
Traveller, though it is considered extremely derogatory. In Ireland this
term may also be applied to a scanger or scum bag which are both
derogatory terms in themselves. For more information see scanger.

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