57 plus 15: Oh, I remember that!

Posted: 1 September 2021 in 57 plus
Tags: ,

A quick post today as I’m travelling and have spent most of today dealing with… stuff, all of said stuff having to be dealt with speedily. But I didn’t want to not post anything at all.

Of all the trivial stories that do the rounds, one I very much enjoy is the ‘oh, it’s that time again’ regular sidebars about the death of old mnemonics, usually headlined by the one for the order of planets in the solar system.

Whether it’s the removal of Pluto from its status of ‘planet’, or its re-inclusion, along with newer “celestial bodies” (like Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake), we now apparently have thirteen planets in the solar system, eight ‘Planets’, and five ‘Dwarf Planets’, although to my mind, if they’re going to be called Dwarf Planets, they should abandon “Pluto” and name the five bodies Happy, Doc, Dopey, Sneezy and Grumpy.

However, generations of schoolchildren grew up learning the mnemonic for the order of the nine planets as something like “My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies.”

But now we have to find a new mnemonic, to include the four extra words planets.

I kind of like the one I saw recently:

My Very Eccentric Mother Called Janet Sang Utter Nonsense Planting Hairy Moles’ Eyes.

Now that’s very easy to remember, right?

Of course, those of us with mothers named anything other than Janet are buggered.

And now I can’t resist putting up Mitch Benn’s observation re the fuss about Pluto.

(Clarification: I didn’t even try to resist.)

Mnemonics can be fun, can be silly, and often useful, and they’re quite more-ish. Totally understandable since we as a species tend to look for patterns in everything, and such patterns make it easier to remember things.

I’m unconvinced, to put it mildly that they make it easier to learn things in the first place, but they do at least make those things you have learned a tad easier to remember.

And that’s whether or not they’re the standard mnemonics so many people know or whether they’re one you devised yourself.

Way back when, when I was studying company law as part of my accountancy training, there was something called a company’s Memorandum of Association. Think of it as the company’s implicit contract with the outside world; it tells the outside world – who can look at it if they want to, whenever they want to – how the company is set up, how it runs, and – in theory – what the company can and equally importantly what it cannot do.

(Even further back, companies were supposed to be set up for one or two major purposes: to build trains, or to manufacture drills, say. And that purpose would be shown in their ‘Objects Clause’. That changed decades back, though, and companies for tyhat long have usually had a sub-clause saying the company can do whatever the hell it likes if the company believes it’ll benefit the company, as long as it’s legal.)

Anyways, the various clauses of the memorandum were, in order:

  • Name Clause – formal name of the company
  • Registered Office – where it formally lives, and can get legal notices delivered to
  • Objects Clause – what it can do
  • Liability Clause – what liability the shareholders are limited to
  • Capital Clause – total capital of the company
  • Association Clause – everyone signing wants to be be part of the company
  • Subscription Clause – names/addresses of first shareholders.

My lecturer insisted that everyone create their own mnemonic. For some reason, I came up with

Nancy Reagan’s Other Lover Can’t Act or Sing.

And that I came up with that, I suspect, tells you far more about me than it does my lecturer. That I still remember it clearly tells you even more.

At school, we learned Some Old Hairy Camels Are Hairer Than Other Animals, though I actually prefer just the straight SOHCAHTOA as a word.
Sine = Opposite/Hypotenuse; Cosine = Adjacent/Hypotenuse; Tangent = Opposite/Adjacent

Same with colours of the rainbow. Remembering the ‘word’ ROYGBIV always seemed to make more sense to me than having to learn Richard Of York Gave

And then of course there’s the classic accountancy one for remembering which side of the ledger – left or right – is Debit and which Credit, which generations of students in lecture halls have learned as “Debit is the door side, and Credit’s by the window.” (I’ve long assumed that all accountancy lecture halls are identically designed for this reason.)

See you tomorrow, with… the usual Thursday ‘something else’. 


Fifty-seven more days. Fifty-seven more posts. One fifty-seventh birthday just had.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting up from my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here. (And you can see the posts in the run counting down to the birthday here.)

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