Thursday, 29 November 2007

Euro English

The European Commission has just announced that English will be the official language of the European Union. German, which was the other possibility, narrowly missed out.

During negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly this will make sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer pepl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und after zis fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German; lik zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Hav a nis lif.

from uk.rec.humour

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Weather or climate?

Here's what W3NID has to say about "climate": [quote]

3 a : the average course or condition of the weather at a particular place over a period of many years as exhibited in absolute extremes, means, and frequencies of given departures from these means, of temperature, wind velocity, precipitation, and other weather elements b : the prevailing set of conditions (as of temperature, humidity, or freshness of atmosphere) in any place *the climate maintained inside our houses-- E. L. Ullman* *the climate in the vault has to be carefully controlled-- Joseph Wechsberg* [/quote]

Here's what W3NID has to say about "weather": [quote]

1 : state of the atmosphere at a definite time and place with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness : meteorological condition [/quote]

I'd ask about the weather if I wanted to know whether it was a hot place:

"What kind of weather does it have?" or "Does it have hot weather?"

I'd ask whether it's far enough south to have a tropical climate or an equatorial desert climate. That includes a lot more than just the weather.

The two words are related, but they aren't synonyms for me. The weather can be clear, but the climate can't. The climate is much more inclusive than the weather. A place can have a brief spell of tropical weather without having a tropical climate.

from alt.usage.english

Touch wood

Why do we touch or knock on wood? Most of us also have the feeling that if things are going well, too well, something is wrong or is bound to go wrong, and it is to guard against this change in fortune, that we use the phrase ‘touch wood’. Today ‘touch wood’ is a Standard English idiomatic expression, and its American equivalent is ‘Knock on wood’.

Although it is certain that the belief is connected to a religious belief of superstition, its exact origin is uncertain and various theories abound, although most of them revolve around either the power of trees to drive away bad luck or as a sign of respect to the Gods who are said to have blessed the trees with these powers. Thus wood has since ancient times been associated with the Gods, magic, good fortune and even safety.



Touchwood was also the name of Catweazle's familar in the TV series Catweazle.

Catweazle featured Geoffrey Bayldon as the title character, an eccentric, incompetent, dishevelled and smelly (but lovable) old 11th Century wizard who accidentally travels through time to the year 1970 and befriends a young red-headed boy, nicknamed Carrot (Robin Davies), who spends most of the rest of the series attempting to hide Catweazle from his father and farmhand Sam. Meanwhile Catweazle searches for a way to return to his own time whilst hiding out in 'Castle Saburac', a disused water tower, with his 'Familiar', a toad called Touchwood.

Catweazle mistakes all modern technology for powerful magic, particularly 'electrickery' (electricity) and the 'telling bone' (telephone).


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The History of the Middle Finger

Well, now ... here's something I never knew before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the hope that they, too, will feel edified. Isn't history more fun when you know something about it?

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird."

from uk.rec.humour

Monday, 26 November 2007

Screen Capture Utility

SnagIt is the premier application to use for all of your screen capturing needs. Whatever you can see on your screen, SnagIt will easily capture for your immediate use. Once you've taken your capture, SnagIt lets you edit, enhance, save, and use the capture for numerous tasks.

The registration process requires a valid email address for free registration key to be sent to.

Download SnagIt 7.25,

Register SnagIt 7.25 for free,


Palindrome comes from the Greek word palindromos, literally "running back (again)," from palin, "back, again" + dromos, "running."

Sunday, 25 November 2007


Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH (March 7, 1792–May 11, 1871) was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor. He was the son of astronomer Sir William Herschel and the father of 12 children.

Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy. He named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. He made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays.



Fun, fashion & science in this quirky site about shoelaces. Whether you want to learn to lace shoes, tie shoelaces, stop shoelaces from coming undone, calculate shoelace lengths or even repair aglets, Ian's Shoelace Site has the answer!

Go to Ian's Shoelace Site at

Saturday, 24 November 2007

For Sale On eBay: Titan 1 Missile Site In Washington

California real estate man says he's got a great deal for buyers in Eastern Washington.
Bari Hotchkiss bought a Titan 1 missile site some five years ago. Now he's got it on the market for $3.95 million.


Grubbed up

Q: Why are hedges grubbed up rather than dug up?

A: Digging up implies use of a shovel or spade. Grubbing up would use a grubbing hoe.

I've never grubbed up a hedge, but I do own a grubbing hoe, and I can well believe that it would be more effective than a shovel in removing the tangle of roots that I would expect to find with a hedge.

A grubbing hoe is like a pick, with the difference that it has a wide blade on one of its ends. A shovel is normally used by pushing it into the ground with your foot. A grubbing hoe is swung like a pick.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Beef, Ham & Steak


Why do we have words like beef, ham, and steak when words like cow, pig, and bull could easily do the job?


Because names of food were taken from the French after the Norman invasion. The rulers, who spoke French, talked about the food; the peasants, who spoke the version of English then current, talked about the animals.

Yes, in French today, 'porc' means BOTH pig (the animal) and pork (the food item); 'boeuf' means BOTH ox (the animal) and beef (the food item). Also, 'veau' is BOTH calf (the animal) and veal (the food item) and 'mouton' can be mutton (food item), or sheep (animal) or even sheepskin.

from alt.usage.english

48 Fun things to do at K-Mart

  1. Take shopping carts for the express purpose of filling them and stranding them at strategic locations.
  2. Ride those little electronic cars at the front of the store.
  3. Set all the alarm clocks to go off at ten minute intervals throughout the day.
  4. Start playing Calvinball; see how many people you can get to join in.
  5. Contaminate the entire auto department by sampling all the spray air fresheners.
  6. Challenge other customers to duels with tubes of gift wrap.
  7. Leave cryptic messages on the typewriters.
  8. Re-dress the mannequins as you see fit.
  9. When there are people behind you, walk REALLY SLOW, especially thin narrow aisles.
  10. Walk up to an employee and tell him in an official tone, "I think we've got a Code 3 in Housewares," and  see what happens.
  11. Tune all the radios to a polka station; then turn them all off and turn the volumes to "10".
  12. Play with the automatic doors.
  13. Walk up to complete strangers and say, "Hi! I haven't seen you in so long!..." etc. See if they play along to avoid embarrassment.
  14. While walking through the clothing department, ask yourself loud enough for all to hear, "Who BUYS this junk, anyway?"
  15. Repeat Number 14 in the jewelry department.
  16. Ride a display bicycle through the store; claim you're taking it for a "test drive."
  17. Follow people through the aisles, always staying about five feet away. Continue to do this until they leave the department.
  18. Play soccer with a group of friend, using the entire store as your playing field.
  19. As the cashier runs your purchases over the scanner, look mesmerized and say, "Wow. Magic!"
  20. Put M&M's on layaway.
  21. Move "Caution: Wet Floor" signs to carpeted areas.
  22. Set up a tent in the camping department; tell others you'll only invite them in if they bring pillows from Bed and Bath.
  23. Test the fishing rods and see what you can "catch" from the other aisles.
  24. Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.
  25. Drape a blanket around your shoulders and run around saying, "...I'm Batman. Come, Robin--to the Batcave!"
  26. TP as much of the store as possible.
  27. Randomly throw things over into neighboring aisles.
  28. Play with the calculators so that they all spell "hello" upside down.
  29. When someone asks if you need help, begin to cry and ask, "Why won't you people just leave me alone?"
  30. When two or three people are walking ahead of you, run between them, yelling, "Red Rover!"
  31. Make up nonsense products and ask newly hired employees if there are any in stock, i.e., "Do you have any Shnerples here?"
  32. Take up an entire aisle in Toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with G.I. Joes vs. the X-Men.
  33. Take bets on the battle described above.
  34. Nonchalantly "test" the brushes and combs in Cosmetics.
  35. Hold indoor shopping cart races.
  36. Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from "Mission: Impossible."
  37. Attempt to fit into very large gym bags.
  38. Attempt to fit others into very large gym bags.
  39. Say things like, "Would you be so kind as to direct me to your Twinkies?"
  40. Set up a "Valet Parking" sign in front of the store.
  41. Two words: "Marco Polo."
  42. Leave Cheerios in Lawn and Garden, pillows in the pet food aisle, etc.
  43. "Re-alphabetize" the CD's in Electronics.
  44. When someone steps away from their cart to look at something, quickly make off with it without saying a word.
  45. Relax in the patio furniture until you get kicked out.
  46. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, "No, no! It's those voices again!"
  47. Pay off layaways fifty cents at a time.
  48. Drag a lounge chair on display over to the magazines and relax. If the store has a food court, buy a soft drink; explain that you don't get out much, and ask if they can put a little umbrella in it.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Lost Wax Process

  1. The "lost wax" method of casting dates back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. It is still the best method for capturing exquisite detail in brass and bronze.
  2. The first step, and most important, is to create a clay original model of the sculpture to be made into brass. All the detail and features that the artist wants in the finished piece must appear on the clay model. Care must be taken to capture the smallest of detail. Depending on the size of the sculpture, the mold is then cut into sections for casting.
  3. Molten wax is then poured into the rigid mold. It is poured in layers to the thickeness desired in the finished piece. This wax model is an exact duplicate of the original casting. "Gates" or channels, made up of wax rods, are added to the model to insure an evenly distributed casting of the metal. The plaster mold is then placed in a pit of sand or similar material to hold it in place for the pour.
  4. When molten brass is poured into the mold, the liquid metal burns out and replaces the wax model; thus, the lost wax part of the process. The metal then cools and hardens, forming an identical sculpture in brass.
  5. The piece is then finished by hand. The gates must be cut off. The parts are welded together and much grinding, polishing and buffing must be done.
  6. Many of the finished pieces are then given a rich verdigris patina to help protect the brass and add to its appeal.


A fiery horse ...

The usual opening announcement for The Lone Ranger was:

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty 'Hi-yo Silver!' The Lone Ranger!

In later episodes the opening narration ended with the catch phrase

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.... The Lone Ranger Rides Again!


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The Ten Most Dangerous Things Users Do Online

This article at Dr. Dobb’s Portal that lists the 10 most dangerous things that users do online.

The list of Dangerous things includes:

  • Clicking on Unknown Email Attachments
  • Installing Unauthorized Applications
  • Turning Off or Disabling Automated Security Tools
  • Opening Messages from Unknown Senders
  • Surfing Legally-risky Sites
  • Giving Out Passwords
  • Random Surfing the Unknown
  • Attaching to Unknown WiFi Networks
  • Filling Out Web Scripts, Forms
  • Participating in Chat Rooms or Social Networking Sites

See full article at

W.C.Fields on drinking

A man's got to believe in something.

I believe I'll have another drink.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Words with repeated consecutive dots





50 Fun things to do in an elevator

  1. Make race car noises when anyone gets on or off.
  2. Blow your nose and offer to show the contents of your Kleenex to other passengers.
  3. Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering: "Shut up, dammit, all of you just shut UP!"
  4. Whistle the first seven notes of "It's a Small World" incessantly.
  5. Sell Girl Scout cookies.
  6. On a long ride, sway side to side at the natural frequency of the elevator.
  7. Shave.
  8. Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside ask: "Got enough air in there?"
  9. Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside-down.
  10. Stand silent and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.
  11. When arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act embarrassed when they open by themselves.
  12. Lean over to another passenger and whisper: "Noogie patrol coming!"
  13. Greet everyone getting on the elevator with a warm handshake and ask them to call you Admiral.
  14. One word: Flatulence!
  15. On the highest floor, hold the door open and demand that it stay open until you hear the penny you dropped down the shaft go "plink" at the bottom.
  16. Do Tai Chi exercises.
  17. Stare, grinning, at another passenger for a while, and then announce: "I've got new socks on!"
  18. When at least 8 people have boarded, moan from the back: "Oh, not now, damn motion sickness!"
  19. Give religious tracts to each passenger.
  20. Meow occasionally.
  21. Bet the other passengers you can fit a quarter in your nose.
  22. Frown and mutter "gotta go, gotta go" then sigh and say "oops!"
  23. Show other passengers a wound and ask if it looks infected.
  24. Sing "Mary had a little lamb" while continually pushing buttons.
  25. Holler "Chutes away!" whenever the elevator descends.
  26. Walk on with a cooler that says "human head" on the side.
  27. Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce "You're one of THEM!" and move to the far corner of the elevator.
  28. Burp, and then say "mmmm...tasty!"
  29. Leave a box between the doors.
  30. Ask each passenger getting on if you can push the button for them.
  31. Wear a puppet on your hand and talk to other passengers "through" it.
  32. Start a sing-along.
  33. When the elevator is silent, look around and ask "is that your beeper?"
  34. Play the harmonica.
  35. Shadow box.
  36. Say "Ding!" at each floor.
  37. Lean against the button panel.
  38. Say "I wonder what all these do" and push the red buttons.
  39. Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope.
  40. Draw a little square in the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers that this is your "personal space."
  41. Bring a chair along.
  42. Take a bite of a sandwich and ask another passenger: "Wanna see wha in muh mouf?"
  43. Blow spit bubbles.
  44. Pull your gum out of your mouth in long strings.
  45. Announce in a demonic voice: "I must find a more suitable host body."
  46. Carry a blanket and clutch it protectively.
  47. Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
  48. Wear "X-Ray Specs" and leer suggestively at other passengers.
  49. Stare at your thumb and say "I think it's getting larger."
  50. If anyone brushes against you, recoil and holler "Bad touch!"

Monday, 19 November 2007


CamelCase is a form of markup for phrases, in which all the spaces are removed, and all the words are capitalised, SortOfLikeThis. The name comes from the "bumpy" look of CamelCase words, where the taller capital letters are like humps on a camel.

In UpperCamelCase, the first letter of the new word is upper case, allowing it to be easily distinguished from a lowerCamelCase name, in which the first letter of the first name is lower case.

See and,,sid26_gci824384,00.html

Magic square of primes

Rudolf Ondrejka (1928-2001) discovered the following 3x3 magic square of primes, in this case nine Chen primes:

17     89    71

113   59    5

47    29     101


Sunday, 18 November 2007

Oak Trees

Oak trees are a type of deciduous tree.

The oak tree is a member of the Beech family and its scientific name is Quercus or Lithocarpus.

Oak trees can live 200 or more years.

The largest oak tree of record is the Wye oak in the community of Wye Mills in Talbot County on Maryland's eastern shore in the U.S.A. It is believed to be more than 400 years old, and it measures 9 meters in circumference, it is 31 meters tall with a crown spread of 48.1 meters



The metre or meter (symbol: m) is the fundamental unit of length in the International System of Units (SI).

The metre was originally defined by a prototype object meant to represent 1⁄10,000,000 the distance between the poles and the Equator.

Today, it is defined as 1⁄299,792,458 of a light-second.


Saturday, 17 November 2007

There are 3 kinds of people ...

... those who can count, and those who can't.


WARNING - Do not try any of these.


Prank : barley sugars in the shower head. Barley sugars are sugary lollys , probably any sugary sweets (boiled lollys etc....) will do.

Effect : Target gets out of the shower , feeling wet and clean , but after about 2 seconds drying target gets all sticky. so target jumps back in the shower. repeat ad nauseum :)


Prank : Freeze some cans of shaving foam , pierce cans, then put in targets car.

Effect : as the cans unfreeze the shaving foam will expand. three or four cans should fill a small car quite nicely :) good in summer ....


Prank : baking soda/salt in top of targets toothpaste. Just a little bit.

Effect: worst tasting toothpaste ever :)


Bicycle Inner Tubes - Cut out the valve stems so you have long, hollow rubber bands. Tie one end to the doorknob of a door, then tie the other end to the doorknob of the door across the hall.. Make sure you stretch them very tight.


We came up with a great one before.... you know paper shredders... well classified waste uses extra thin cuts so the pieces are all 5 mm square or so... anyways back to the point... tape the guys door frame with a good few inches of space between the door and tape, then fill the entire space between the tape and door with classified waste.... :) I've heard its an interesting wakeup


WARNING - Do not try any of these.


More at

Friday, 16 November 2007

US buys Alaska

America bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867. President Andrew Johnson's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia. The USA paid Russia $7.2 million for Alaska. This came to 12.5 cents per acre for a plot of land twice the size of Texas.

When the agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia was struck in 1867 by Secretary of State William H. Seward, there were many in the lower 48 states who were critical of the secrecy that had surrounded it and of the high price tag. Critics of Seward's agreement to purchase the Alaska territory from Russia referred to the plan as "Seward's Folly." They mocked his willingness to spend so much on "Seward's icebox" and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden."

Gold was discovered in 1896 at Bonanza Creek, setting off the great Klondike Gold Rush.

See &

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Eliminate the impossible

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

--Sherlock Holmes



To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of famous Sherlock Holmes stories published between 1887 and 1927:

"in solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically."


Thermite Process

Method used in incendiary devices and welding operations. It uses a powdered mixture of aluminium and (usually) iron oxide, which, when ignited, gives out enormous heat. The oxide is reduced to iron, which is molten at the high temperatures produced. This can be used to make a weld. The process was discovered in 1895 by German chemist Hans Goldschmidt (1861–1923).


Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Worsted is the name of a yarn, the cloth made from this yarn, as well as a yarn weight category. The name derives from the village of Worstead in the English county of Norfolk. This village became, along with North Walsham and Aylsham, a centre for the manufacture of yarn and cloth after weavers from Flanders arrived in Norfolk in the 12th century.[1]

The essential feature of a worsted yarn is straightness of fibre, in that the fibres lie parallel to each other. Traditionally, long, fine staple wool was spun to create worsted yarn, but other long fibres are also used today.

Worsted cloth, archaically also known as "stuff", is lightweight and has a coarse texture. The weave is usually twill or plain. Twilled fabrics such as whipcord, gabardine and serge are often made from worsted yarn. Worsted fabric made from wool has a natural recovery, meaning that it is resilient and quickly returns to its natural shape, but non-glossy worsted will shine with use or abrasion. Worsteds differs from woolens, in that the natural crimp of the wool fibre is removed in the process of spinning the yarn. In Tropical Worsteds, this use of tightly-spun straightened wool, combined with a looser weave, permits the free flow of air through the fabric.


Scott on deceiving

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!

--Sir Walter Scott

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan was a Mongolian warlord and a highly respected figure in Mongolian history. He is currently regarded as the father of the Mongol nation. During his rule, he quickly became known for his aggressive military practices, and his highly successful battle tactics against larger and more advanced foes such as China and Middle East. This formidable status, along with his military success, forged one of the largest and most feared empires in history, an empire that spanned thousands of miles with a reputation that eventually encircled the globe.



AudioShell is a freeware MS Windows Explorer shell extension plugin which allows you to view and edit music file tags directly in Windows Explorer. AudioShell supports MP3 (all ID3v2 tag versions), WMA, ASF, WMV, Apple iTunes AAC (M4A and M4P), MP4, OGG, FLAC (vorbis comment tags), MPC, MP+, monkey's audio, WAV pack, optim frog (APE and APEv2 tags). AudioShell features include full Unicode support.

Monday, 12 November 2007

40 Sure-fire ways to annoy people

1. Leave the office copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 999 copies.

2. In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sensual massage.”

3. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go”

4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.

5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets in McDonald’s parking lot.

6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions, “to keep them tuned up”.

7. Reply to everything someone says with: “Yeah, that’s what YOU think!”

8. Practice making faxmodem noises.

9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and “CC” them to your boss.

10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.

11. Finish all your sentences with the words: “in accordance with prophesy”.

12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears.

13. Disassemble your pen, and “accidentally” flip the ink cartridge across the room.

14. Holler random numbers whenever someone is counting.

15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you like it that way.

16. Staple papers in the middle of the page.

17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a “croaking” noise.

18. Honk, wave, and smile “hello” to strangers.

19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints by the cash register.


21. type only in lowercase.

22. dont use any punctuation either

23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones, and reroute whole streets.

24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times: “Do you hear that? What? Never mind.”

25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.

26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce, “No, wait, I messed it up,” and repeat.

27. Ask people what gender they are.

28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.

29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars, to see if they slow down.

30. Sing along at the opera.

31. Go to a poetry recital, and ask why the poems don’t rhyme.

32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions, and then scribble their answers in a notebook.

33. Tell your friends, four days prior to their party, that you can’t attend because you’re not in the mood.

34. Send this list to everyone in your e-mail address book even if they sent it to you, or ask you not to send things like this.

35. Spike the office coffee with Listerine. An hour later, walk around asking “Who made the coffee today?; it’s great!”

36. Hum “Can’t Buy Me Love” to yourself all day.

37. Stick blank Post-Its all over your office cubicle.

38. Smile, point at, and say “Hey” to everyone you pass in the hallways.

39. Put “Out of Order” signs on every stall in the bathroom.

40. Call in sick, then show up.

Jackass of all trades

A person who is exceptionally bad at everything.


Sunday, 11 November 2007


To be very successful without trying. Basically to be a lucky ****.

When someone flukes a pot in a game of pool the phrase 'you spawny wassock' would be appropriate.


Odd Place Names

Arsoli (Lazio, Italy)

Bastard (Norway)

Beaver (Oklahoma, USA)

Beaver Head (Idaho, USA)

Brown Willy (every schoolboy's favourite, Cornwall,UK)

Chinaman's Knob (Australia)

Climax (Colorado, USA)

Dikshit (India)

Dildo (Newfoundland, Canada)

Dong Rack (Thailand-Cambodia border)

Dongo (Congo - Democratic Republic)

Donk (Belgium)

Fuku (Shensi, China)

Fukum (Yemen)

Gobbler's Knob (Kentucky, USA)

Hold With Hope (Greenland)

Intercourse (Pennsylvania, USA)

Lickey End (West Midlands, UK)

Lord Berkeley's Knob (Sutherland, Scotland)

Middle Intercourse Island (Australia)

Muff (Northern Ireland)

Nobber (Donegal, Ireland)

Pis Pis River (Nicaragua)

Sexmoan (Luzon, Philippines)

Shafter (California, USA)

Shag Island (Indian Ocean)

Stains (Near Paris,France)

Tittybong (Australia)

Turdo (Romania)

Twatt (Shetland, UK)

Wankendorf (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)

Wankie (Zimbabwe)

Wanks River (Nicaragua)

Wet Beaver Creek (Australia)

Saturday, 10 November 2007


Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 was a name intended for a Swedish child who was born in 1991.

The boy's parents had planned never to legally name him at all, as a protest to the naming law of Sweden (Namnlag (1982:670)), which reads:

“First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name.”

Because the parents (Elisabeth Hallin and Lasse Diding) failed to register a name by the boy's fifth birthday, a district court in Halmstad, southern Sweden, fined the parents 5,000 kronor (US$682 at the time). Responding to the fine, the parents submitted the 43-character name in May 1996, claiming that it was "a pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation." The parents suggested the name be understood in the spirit of 'pataphysics. The court rejected the name and upheld the fine.

The parents then tried to change the spelling of the name to A instead. Once again, the court did not approve of the name, this time because of a prohibition on one-letter naming.



It seems that almost everyone pronounces "anemone" -- whether it be the flower or the sea creature -- as "anenome".

Even people who really should know (for example, TV gardening show presenters).

Is this pronunciation now so commonplace that it's de facto correct?

Do people realise that they're pronouncing it differently to how it's spelled?

from alt.usage.english

The Klondike Gold Rush

On August 16, 1896 Yukon-area Indians Skookum Jim Mason and Tagish Charlie, along with Seattleite George Carmack found gold in Rabbit Creek, near Dawson, in the Yukon region of Canada. The creek was promptly renamed Bonanza Creek, and many of the locals started staking claims. Gold was literally found all over the place, and most of these early stakeholders (who became known as the "Klondike Kings") became wealthy.


Friday, 9 November 2007


Mp3tag is a powerful and yet easy-to-use tool to edit ID3-tags, APE-tags and Vorbis Comments of audio files.

Main featues: Write ID3v1.1-, ID3v2-, APEv2-Tags and Vorbis Comments to multiple files at once; Automatically create playlists; Recursive subfolders support; Remove parts or the entire tag of multiple files; Rename files based on the tag information; Import tags from filenames; Format tags and filenames; Replace characters or words from tags and filenames; Export tag information to user-defined formats (like html, rtf, csv, xml); Import tag information from an online database (also by text-search); Import tag information from a local database and much more ... Mp3tag supports the following audio formats: Advanced Audio Coding (aac), Free Lossless Audio Codec (flac), Monkey's Audio (ape), Mpeg Layer 3 (mp3), MPEG-4 (mp4 / m4a), Musepack (mpc), Ogg Vorbis (ogg), Speex (spx), Windows Media Audio (wma), WavPack (wv)

Windows, freeware,

Cult British TV series "Champions" coming to film

"Pan's Labyrinth" director Guillermo del Toro is bringing the cult British science fiction TV series "The Champions" to the big screen.

Del Toro will write and direct the adaptation for United Artists, the studio recently revived by Tom Cruise and his business partner Paula Wagner.

The series, which ran for 30 episodes in 1968-69, revolved around the adventures of a trio of secret government agents whose lives were saved when their plane crashed in the Himalayas and they were rescued by an advanced civilization. The civilization also bestowed them with superhuman abilities. It was produced by ITC, the company behind such British shows as "The Saint," "The Prisoner" and "Thunderbirds."

Del Toro is in production on "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army." A horror thriller produced by del Toro, "The Orphanage," is set for a December 28 release from Picturehouse.

By Carly Mayberry, Reuters/Hollywood Reporter,

Organise your downloads, Method #2

Tips on Handling Internet Downloads

Do you download files only to find two days later you have no idea what they are? The filename doesn't help and you don't really want to run the installer just to find out. So you delete it. Or you are checking for the latest driver for your printer; problem is, the filename for the new driver is the same as the old one so which one do you use? If you're like me you just download the file again. Then there's the problem of where you stored the file on your system. You'd search for it--if you could remember the name--which brings us back to where we started. Sound familiar? If so, here is a simple system to put some sanity and time back in your life.

In a nutshell:

* Create special folders to hold your downloaded files.

* Use a special naming convention as you download files.

Here is exactly how I do this on my computer. First I use two special folders. The first folder is named "Install Files." It will hold install files, program updates, and driver updates for existing programs on my system. Some of you will subdivide the "Install Files" folder into folders for drivers, updates, programs, etc. I just drop all the files in one folder. For me it's faster to look through one folder when I need to reinstall something. The key is to use what works for you.

The second folder is called "Interesting Stuff". The "Interesting Stuff" folder holds everything else I download. This could be ebooks, Web pages, saved search engine searches, or programs to investigate.

Name your folders with a name that will catch your eye later. Also make sure you create your folders on a drive with plenty of free space. For quick access you may want to create a shortcut on your Desktop to these two folders.

Now you are good to go. Next time you download a file choose the proper folder then give the file a meaningful name. Here is the naming convention I use. The program I'm downloading is Graph Paper Printer. The file name is gpaper. exe. So the name I gave it is:


Notice the full name tells me exactly what program this is and the version number. The parenthesis contains the original file name. So when naming files just ask yourself two questions:

* What does the file do?

* What is the original file name?

Often I need to reinstall an update with deadlines looming. When that happens it's so much quicker to find my files than slogging through a support site to find the file and download, losing my train of thought in the process. The time this simple system saves is wonderful. More importantly, someone not familiar with your computer can still understand what each file does.

A couple of notes on renaming the files. Many downloads will ask where to download the file. That's the time to rename the file. Otherwise wait for the download to finish, pick the file, and rename it. Either press F2 or right-click on file and choose "Rename" from the popup menu. Press "Enter" when you are done.

by Dan Butler (originally published in TNPC - 26 October 2000), at

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Heraldic Poses

Animals can be described in a huge variety of poses, including

- rampant (the typical heraldic pose, on one leg),

- salient (springing from two legs),

- passant (standing on three legs, front one raised),

- statant (on four legs),

- sejant (seated),

- couchant (lying on all fours with head up, like a sphinx), or

- dormant (sleeping).


Birds are drawn

- erect (similar to rampant, standing upright facing right with both wings on left side) or

- displayed ('spread-eagled').

Heads look towards the right, unless they are

- guardant (looking out at the viewer).



Lottery Confusion

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn't understand it.

The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

"I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled."

A Camelot spokeswoman said the game was withdrawn after reports that some players had not understood the concept.

She said: "The instructions for playing the Cool Cash scratchcard are clear - and are printed on each individual card and in the game procedures available at each retailer. However, because of the potential for player confusion we have decided to withdraw the game."

More than 15m adults in Britain have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths

Almost three times as many UK adults (15.1m) have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths - than with poor literacy skills, according to the government's Skills for Life survey.

Peter Hall, of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: "The concept of minus numbers is something we would cover with 11 or 12 year olds, and we would expect them to have come across it before.

"The concept of smaller numbers is something that some people do seem to struggle with. Seven is clearly smaller than eight, so they focus on that and don't really see the minus sign. There is also a subtle difference in language between smaller - or lower - and colder. The number zero feels lower.

"There have always been some people who find numbers and basic mathematics difficult. Maybe in the past it was less noticeable because people could find jobs they could excel in without having qualifications in maths."


The Prisoner's Dilemma

Tanya and Cinque have been arrested for robbing the Hibernia Savings Bank and placed in separate isolation cells. Both care much more about their personal freedom than about the welfare of their accomplice. A clever prosecutor makes the following offer to each. “You may choose to confess or remain silent. If you confess and your accomplice remains silent I will drop all charges against you and use your testimony to ensure that your accomplice does serious time. Likewise, if your accomplice confesses while you remain silent, they will go free while you do the time. If you both confess I get two convictions, but I'll see to it that you both get early parole. If you both remain silent, I'll have to settle for token sentences on firearms possession charges. If you wish to confess, you must leave a note with the jailer before my return tomorrow morning.”

Puzzles with the structure of the prisoner's dilemma were devised and discussed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher in 1950, as part of the Rand Corporation's investigations into game theory. The title “prisoner's dilemma” and the version with prison sentences as payoffs are due to Albert Tucker, who wanted to make Flood and Dresher's ideas more accessible to an audience of Stanford psychologists.

See the full article at

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

How to Tie a Tie

We begin with the Windsor Knot, one of the easiest tie knots to learn, before trying the Half Windsor Knot, the Four in Hand Knot and the Pratt Knot -- each and everyone being the best-suited knot for a certain type of shirt collar.

More at


Chunder means to be sick, it originates from old seafareing days when sailers would get seasick and stick their head out of the porthole in their cabin. As they did this they would shout "Watch Under" to warn people in lower cabins of the forthcoming puke. Over the years this has evolved in Chunder.


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Less you Know, the More you Make?

Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives.

Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:

Postulate 1:  Knowledge is Power.

Postulate 2:  Time is Money.

As every engineer knows: Power =  Work / Time

Since Knowledge = Power, and Time = Money, we have: Knowledge =  Work / Money

Solving for Money, we get: Money =  Work / Knowledge

Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done.

Conclusion:  The Less you Know, the More you Make.

Writers and real sentences

Writers benefit from self-editing (writing, then re-reading what was just inscribed) and editors (who aren't watching for content as much as mechanics) to make sure their sentences are accurate.

Real sentences are full of misplaced contractions, invalid suffixes and prefixes, ums, and restarted sentences.

See full article at

Monday, 5 November 2007

A quiz for people who know everything


  1. There's one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it?
  2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
  3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
  4. Name the only sport in America in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball.
  5. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
  6. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
  7. Only three words in Standard English begin with the letters "dw". They are all common. Name two of them.
  8. There are fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name half of them?
  9. Where are the lakes that are referred to in the "Los Angeles Lakers"?
  10. There are eight ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Name them.
  11. It's the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh. What is it?
  12. Name ten or more things that you can wear on your feet that begin with the letter "s".


  1. Boxing.
  2. Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about 2 and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.
  3. Asparagus and rhubarb.
  4. Baseball (in other countries, the answer could also be cricket).
  5. Strawberry.
  6. The pear grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the whole growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.
  7. "Dwarf", "dwell", and "dwindle".
  8. Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
  9. In Minnesota. The team was originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers and kept the name when they moved west.
  10. 1. balk (although a player cannot automatically advance to first on a balk, a balked pitch is automatically a ball, and a runner could walk to first base if the balk is the fourth "ball"); 2. walk; 3. hit-by-pitch; 4. defensive interference; 5. fielders choice; 6. dropped third strike; 7. being designated as a pinch runner; and 8. error.
  11. Lettuce.
  12. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilettos, and stilts!


The Chinglish Files have been featured in the U.K. newspaper "The Telegraph" and on the BBC radio program "The World Today."

Chinglish: The humorous version of English that appears (often in instructions for assembling or using products) after a translation from the original Chinese (or any other language) fails to come across in "normal" English.

The term Chinglish is a fusion of the "Chin" from Chinese and the "glish" from English. Chinglish is not a racist or bigoted term and should not be taken as such. If anything, The Chinglish Files are a way of poking fun at how difficult our flawed English language can be to translate at times. It is not intended as a dig at the intelligence or linguistic capabilities of other nations.

See examples at

See definition at

Sunday, 4 November 2007

What is "ain't" short for?

In the sentence "It ain't over", it is short for "is not".

But it can also be used as in "You ain't seen nothing yet" as a shortened form of 'haven't'.

In "Things ain't what they used to be", it is short for aren't.

James Hargreaves and the Spinning Jenny

James Hargreaves was a weaver living in the village of Stanhill, near Blackburn, in Lancashire. It is claimed that one day his daughter Jenny, accidentally knocked over over the family spinning wheel. The spindle continued to revolve and it gave Hargreaves the idea that a whole line of spindles could be worked off one wheel.

In 1764 Hargreaves built what became known as the Spinning-Jenny. The machine used eight spindles onto which the thread was spun from a corresponding set of rovings. By turning a single wheel, the operator could now spin eight threads at once. Later, improvements were made that enabled the number to be increased to eighty. The thread that the machine produced was coarse and lacked strength, making it suitable only for the filling of weft, the threads woven across the warp.

Hargreaves did not apply for a patent for his Spinning Jenny until 1770 and therefore others copied his ideas without paying him any money. It is estimated that by the time James Hargreaves died in 1778, over 20,000 Spinning-Jenny machines were being used in Britain.


Saturday, 3 November 2007

Admiral Byng

Admiral John Byng was tried and executed in 1757 after his failure to defeat a French fleet and then relieve Port Mahon at the beginning of the Seven Years War.

This prompted a line in Voltaire's Candide "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres", or "In this country [England] it is good to execute an admiral occasionally, to encourage the others".

2002: A Palindrome Story, by Nick Montfort and William Gillespie

2002 is a collaboratively-authored narrative palindrome, exactly 2002 words in length.

2002 was first published in a limited edition of 202 inscribed copies on New Years Day, 2002.

On February 20th, 2002 (20-02-2002) 2002 was published on the Web.

On November 11, 2002 (11-11-2002) 2002 was published as an illustrated book.

Read it at

Urban Legends and Hoaxes

Is the government or AOL planning to implement an email tax? Does your lipstick contain dangerous levels of lead? Will Microsoft send you money for forwarding an email? Do you need to add your cell phone number to a "Do Not Call" directory? Should you boycott Pepsi because their new cans are offensive?

No, Nyet, Nein, Non, and Nope!

All of the above are FALSE. Some of the rumors, urban legends and hoaxes you receive in your email inbox may have a ring of truth, but how can you be sure? Learn how to avoid a knee "jerk" reaction -- get the scoop on these hoaxes and tips for debunking on your own:


Friday, 2 November 2007


Orion was a great huntsman of Greek mythology who was placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion.

The most important recorded episodes are his birth somewhere in Boeotia, his visit to Chios where he met Merope and was blinded by her father, Oenopion, the recovery of his sight at Lemnos, his hunting with Artemis on Crete, his death by the blow of Artemis or of the giant scorpion which became Scorpio, and his elevation to the heavens.

Read the full article at


IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is a method of accessing electronic mail or bulletin board messages that are kept on a (possibly shared) mail server. In other words, it permits a "client" email program to access remote message stores as if they were local. For example, email stored on an IMAP server can be manipulated from a desktop computer at home, a workstation at the office, and a notebook computer while traveling, without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between these computers.

IMAP's ability to access messages (both new and saved) from more than one computer has become extremely important as reliance on electronic messaging and use of multiple computers increase, but this functionality cannot be taken for granted: the widely used Post Office Protocol (POP) works best when one has only a single computer, since it was designed to support "offline" message access, wherein messages are downloaded and then deleted from the mail server. This mode of access is not compatible with access from multiple computers since it tends to sprinkle messages across all of the computers used for mail access. Thus, unless all of those machines share a common file system, the offline mode of access that POP was designed to support effectively ties the user to one computer for message storage and manipulation.

More at

Thursday, 1 November 2007


The ancient Celts who lived some 2,000 years ago, started their calendar on November 1st. To celebrate their new year's eve, they would disguise themselves in animal skins and attempt to predict each other's future, believing that the ghosts returning from the dead provided a conduit for allowing accurate fortune telling. While the tradition of reading tea leaves and peering into crystal balls has faded into obscurity in many western cultures, UK & the US included, most still celebrate October 31st. by donning disguises. Now this holiday is called Halloween, a reference to it falling on the eve or "een" of the Christian holiday of All Saints Day or All Hallows Day.

Plain English Campaign / Foot in Mouth

This award, which we first gave in 1993, is for a baffling comment by a public figure. The current holder of the award is the British supermodel, Naomi Campbell, who reportedly made the following quote in June of 2006.

"I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta."


I've recently been watching episodes of a famous 1970s ITV police series called The Sweeney, whose name is rhyming slang: Sweeney Todd (the demon barber of Fleet Street) = Flying Squad, the Metropolitan Police elite quick-response major-crime squad, now officially named the Central Robbery Squad. The term "blag" is used in episodes to mean a violent robbery or raid, a slang term that dates from the 1880s. But there were then - still are - two senses of "blag" in British English, the other meaning to lie or to use clever talk to obtain something, a verb recorded from the 1930s. Both senses are variations on the idea of theft, though they have separate origins. The first may derive from an abbreviation of the word "blackguard" (often pronounced "blaggard"); it's more than likely that the second is from French "blaguer", to tell lies, as the word has at times been spelled "blague". A version of the second sense has been appearing in the British media recently. It refers to what is sardonically called "social engineering": getting passwords, personal details and confidential information over the phone from unsuspecting workers in a government department or business through a persuasive manner coupled with inside knowledge. The trick has long been used by private investigators working for debt collectors, national newspapers and criminals. A man was imprisoned recently for blagging civil servants into giving him the home addresses of 250 people.

World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2007. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at .