Tuesday, 30 September 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, …

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.d or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

The first line of A tale of two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Monday, 29 September 2008

Words with repeated letters

The following table lists words that repeat the given letter many times. The number of repetitions is shown in brackets.

a  taramasalata (6) – a fish roe paste

b  bibble-babble (6) – babble

c  pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (6) – a famously long word for a respiratory disease

e  ethylenediaminetetraacetate (7) – a chemical compound, used as a drug

e  degenerescence (6) – decay

g  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (7) – a famously long Welsh placename

i  floccinaucinihilipilification (9) – a famously long word meaning "the action of estimating as worthless"

i  indivisibilities (7) – a supposed plural of indivisibility

i indivisibility (6) – the state of being indivisible

l  Llullaillaco (6) – a mountain in the Andes

n  nonannouncement (6) – absence of an announcement

o  pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (9) – a famously long word for a respiratory disease

o  Chrononhotonthologos (7) – the name of a play by English writer Henry Carey

o  odontonosology (6) – dentistry

r  strawberry-raspberry (6) – a Japanese plant

s  possessionlessness (8) – the state of being without possessions

s  senselessness (6) – lack of sense

t  tittle-tattle (6) – gossip

u  humuhumunukunukuapua?a (9) – a Hawaiian fish

z  zenzizenzizenzic (6) – the eighth power or exponent of a number

See full article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_words_with_uncommon_properties

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Muntins, mullions and munnions

In the US, the vertical pieces of wood separating panes of a window are called "muntins".

Elsewhere they're called mullions (or munnions), and "muntin" refers to the secondary vertical parts of a panelled door or screen (the horizontal ones being rails).

from alt.usage.english

Saturday, 27 September 2008


Although the word irony is often used very broadly in common speech ("He expected to make a whole load of money, but ironically he lost it all"), it's best to use it precisely. Even when used precisely, it can have a number of meanings, but they all share something: there is a gap between what is said and what is in fact true. But the gap has to be significant: it can't be merely a factual error, nor even a lie; the irony depends on the audience's recognition of the gap.

Examples of some of the kinds of irony might make things clearer.

  • In verbal irony (sometimes called rhetorical irony), probably the most straightforward kind of irony, the speaker says something different from what he or she really believes. In its crudest form it's called sarcasm, where the speaker intentionally says the opposite of what he or she believes, and expects the audience to recognize the dissembling: for example, "Rutgers's Hill Hall is truly a palace, suited only to kings and princes." But verbal irony needn't be so crude: more subtle kinds of verbal irony, including understatement and hyperbole, abound.
  • In dramatic irony, the audience is more aware than the characters in a work (often, but not necessarily, a drama), and what the characters say takes on a new significance to the audience. A famous example of tragic dramatic irony is the opening of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, when Oedipus, the ruler of Thebes, promises to punish the man whose sins have brought a plague upon the city. Oedipus does not know, but the audience does, that he is himself the evil-doer.
  • Cosmic irony comes closest to the common usage: it seems that God or fate is manipulating events so as to inspire false hopes, which are inevitably dashed.

From http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Terms/irony.html

Friday, 26 September 2008

What's Special About This Number?

0 is the additive identity.
1 is the multiplicative identity.
2 is the only even prime.
3 is the number of spatial dimensions we live in.
4 is the smallest number of colors sufficient to color all planar maps.
5 is the number of Platonic solids.
6 is the smallest perfect number.
7 is the smallest number of faces of a regular polygon that is not constructible by straightedge and compass.
8 is the largest cube in the Fibonacci sequence.
9 is the maximum number of cubes that are needed to sum to any positive integer.
10 is the base of our number system.
11 is the largest known multiplicative persistence.
12 is the smallest abundant number.
13 is the number of Archimedian solids.
14 is the smallest number n with the property that there are no numbers relatively prime to n smaller numbers.
15 is the smallest composite number n with the property that there is only one group of order n.
16 is the only number of the form xy = yx with x and y different integers.
17 is the number of wallpaper groups.
18 is the only number (other than 0) that is twice the sum of its digits.
19 is the maximum number of 4th powers needed to sum to any number.
20 is the number of rooted trees with 6 vertices.

See full list at http://www.stetson.edu/~efriedma/numbers.html

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Juvenal and his quotes

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD, author of the Satires. The details of the author's life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD fix his terminus post quem (earliest date of composition).

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juvenal

"A healthy mind in a healthy body."

"Be rich to yourself and poor to your friends."

"Who will guard the guards themselves?"

From http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Juvenal/

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Worse things happen at sea

This idiomatic expression is used as a way of telling someone not to worry so much about their problems.

See http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/worse+things+happen+at+sea.html


A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word in place of a similarly sounding correct word. The name comes from the character Mrs. Malaprop, from The Rivals, a comedic play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The character has numerous lines that illustrate the blunder that would become her namesake. Here is some of her dialogue:

  • "She's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile."
  • "He is the very pineapple of politeness."
  • "Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory."
  • "If I reprehend any thing in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!"
  • "She would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries. This . . . is what I would have a woman know; and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it."

The above malapropisms, of course, were engineered for comic effect, but inadvertent malapropisms can be just as humorous. These were taken from college essays:

  • "Parents try to install these virtues in their children."
  • "He became affluent in French, Italian, Latin, and Greek."
  • "My parents are alike and indifferent to each other."
  • "I like to play records on my pornograph."

Here's one taken from an article written by a college freshman:

  • "Freshmen who inhibit the dorms see next semester as their chance to...."

A special type of malapropism is only unmasked in writing. It involves confusing one homonym with another. Consider the following:

  • "The extra money is worth spending to keep my piece of mind."
  • "The rooms downstairs were too cold for me to bare."

See http://www.rinkworks.com/words/grammar.shtml

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Potential B & Q Scam

I'm not usually one for posting warnings about potential scams, but my mate had a close call yesterday.

He walked into B&Q hardware store at lunchtime and some old guy dressed in a black shirt with an orange apron on asked him if he wanted decking.

Fortunately, he got the first punch in and sorted the old fella out.

Those less suspecting might not be so lucky.

from uk.rec.humour

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lucky Cows Drink Milk

A mnemonic to recall the order of Roman numeral values above ten - with L being 50, C being 100, D being 500, and M being 1000.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals

Sunday, 21 September 2008


USBDLM is a Windows service that gives control over Window's drive letter assignment for USB drives. Running as service makes it independent of the logged on user's privileges, so there is no need to give the users the privilege to change drive letters.

It automatically solves conflicts between USB drives and network or subst drives of the currently logged on user.

Furthermore you can define new default letters for USB drives and much more

link: http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Seven Wonders of the Modern World

As a tribute to the greatest civil engineering achievements of the 20th century, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has chosen the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

The international wonders demonstrate modern society's ability to achieve unachievable feats, reach unreachable heights, and scorn the notion "it can't be done."

ASCE honored the following civil engineering marvels:

  1. Channel Tunnel (England & France)
  2. CN Tower (Toronto)
  3. Empire State Building (New York)
  4. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
  5. Itaipu Dam (Brazil/Paraguay)
  6. Netherlands North Sea Protection Works (Netherlands)
  7. Panama Canal (Panama)

See http://www.ce.memphis.edu/1101/interesting_stuff/7wonders.html

Friday, 19 September 2008


Q: Could someone write me the meaning of "certain" in the following sentence?

A certain George Mills, a secret agent, descended from a carriage.

A: It's one of those words that are easy to understand but hard to define.

The best definition I found in a quick search of OneLook is from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "named but not previously known or mentioned".

So this sentence means something like "George Mills (whom the reader is meeting for the first time), a secret agent, descended...", but you probably wouldn't write it that way.

from alt.usage.english

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Huxley on Facts

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

--Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Edward Low

Edward Low was a notorious pirate during the latter days of the Golden Age of Piracy, in the early 18th century. Following the death of his wife during childbirth in late 1719, he became a pirate two years later, operating off the coasts of New England, the Azores, and in the Caribbean. He captained a number of ships, usually maintaining a small fleet of three or four. Low and his pirate crews captured at least a hundred ships during his short career, burning most of them. Although he was only active for three years, Low remains notorious as one of the most vicious pirates of the age, with a reputation for violently torturing his victims before killing them. The circumstances of Low's death, which took place around 1724, have been the subject of much speculation.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Low

Refried Beans

... "refried" in "refried beans", which is said to be a mistranslation of Spanish "refritos", which is said to not mean "refried", but "fried well", it seems the misconception is so widespread that it may outlast the correct meaning. ... it seems possible that the time may come when refried beans are really fried twice, because people will have heard so persistently that they were fried twice that they will have started frying them twice.

Googling on "refried beans" seems to come up with more statements that "refried" in "refried beans" means "fried twice" than with explanations of what really appears to be the true meaning, "fried well".

According to http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/refritos, refrito can mean either "over-fried (demasiado frito)" or "re-fried (frito de nuevo)", which seems to mean newly fried, which refritos are, after boiling.

from alt.usage.english

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger

This book has been steeped in controversy since it was banned in America after it's first publication. John Lennon's assassin, Mark Chapman, asked the former Beatle to sign a copy of the book earlier in the morning of the day that he murdered Lennon. Police found the book in his possession upon apprehending the psychologically disturbed Chapman. However, the book itself contains nothing that could be attributed with leading Chapman to act as he did - it could have been any book that he was reading the day he decided to kill John Lennon - and as a result of the fact that it was The Catcher in the Rye, a book describing a nervous breakdown, media speculated widely about the possible connection. This gave the book even more notoriety. So what is The Catcher in the Rye actually about?

Superficially the story of a young man's expulsion from yet another school, The Catcher in the Rye is in fact a perceptive study of one individual's understanding of his human condition. Holden Caulfield, a teenager growing up in 1950s New York, has been expelled school for poor achievement once again. In an attempt to deal with this he leaves school a few days prior to the end of term, and goes to New York to 'take a vacation' before returning to his parents' inevitable wrath. Told as a monologue, the book describes Holden's thoughts and activities over these few days, during which he describes a developing nervous breakdown, symptomised by his bouts of unexplained depression, impulsive spending and generally odd, erratic behaviour, prior to his eventual nervous collapse

See full article at http://www.tmtm.com/sides/catcher.html

Our Jobs Are Safe As Long As These People Are Out There . .

Recently, when I went to McD's I saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets.
I asked for a half dozen nuggets.
'We don't have half dozen nuggets,' said the teenager at the counter.
'You don't?' I replied.
'We only have six, nine, or twelve,' was the reply.
'So I can't order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?'
'That's right.' So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets.

I was checking out at the local Target with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine.  I picked up one of those 'dividers' that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn't get mixed. 
After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the 'divider,' looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it...
Not finding the bar code she said to me, 'Do you know how much this is?
I said to her 'I've changed my mind, I don't think I'll buy that today.'
She said, 'OK,' and I paid her for the things and left.  She had no clue to what had just happened.

A lady at work was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly.  When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a credit card number, so she was using the ATM 'thingy.'

I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car 'Do you need some help?' I asked.
She replied, 'I knew I should have replaced the battery in this remote.
Now I can't get into my car.  Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience store) would have a battery to fit this?'
'Hmmm, I dunno. Do you have an alarm, too?' I asked.
'No, just this remote thingy,' she answered, handing it and the car keys to me.
As I took the key and manually unlocked the door, I replied, 'Why don't you drive over there and check about the batteries.  It's a long walk.'

Several years ago, we had a junior typist who was none too swift.  One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, 'I'm almost out of typing paper.  What do I do?'
'Just use copier machine paper,' the secretary told her.  With that, the junior took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five 'blank' copies.

My neighbour works in the I.T.  Department in the central office of a large bank.  Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers.  One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branches who had this question: 'I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal.  Do you guys have a fire downtown?'

Police in Dubbo NSW interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopier machine.  The message 'He's lying' was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth.
Believing the 'lie detector' was working, the suspect confessed. 

Life is tough ... It's tougher if you're stupid

from uk.rec.humour

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Lion and Albert

There's a famous seaside town called Blackpool,

That's noted for fresh air and fun,

And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom

Went there with young Albert, their son.


A grand little lad was young Albert

All dressed in his best; quite a swell

With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle

The finest that Woolworth's could sell.


See the full version at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michaelanthony.keating/Stanley_Holloway/The_Lion_and_Albert/the_lion_and_albert.html

Sunday, 14 September 2008

32 Sci-Fi Novels You Should Read, By Steve Spalding

  1. Foundation - Isaac Asimov
  2. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
  3. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick
  4. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  5. War Of The Worlds - H.G. Wells
  6. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
  7. The Minority Report - Philip K. Dick
  8. Neuromancer - William Gibson
  9. Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
  10. Accelerando - Charles Stross
  11. I Robot - Isaac Asimov
  12. Stranger In A Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein
  13. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
  14. The Giver - Lois Lowry
  15. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Jules Verne
  16. Ringworld - Larry Niven
  17. More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon
  18. Spook Country - William Gibson
  19. Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom - Cory Doctorow
  20. Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan
  21. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  22. Dune - Frank Herbert
  23. Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  25. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
  26. 1984 - George Orwell
  27. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  28. Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card
  29. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
  30. The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton
  31. A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick
  32. Timeline - Michael Crichton

See http://howtosplitanatom.com/news/32-sci-fi-novels-you-should-read

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Ancient Warriors

The following are the men I consider the greatest warriors, military leaders, or tacticians in the (ancient) world.

  • Alaric the Visigoth, who Sacked Rome
  • Alexander the Great , who Conquered Most of the Known World
  • Attila the Hun, who Scourge of God
  • Cyrus the Great, who Founder of the Persian Empire
  • Hannibal, who Almost Conquered Rome
  • Julius Caesar, who Conquered Gaul
  • Marius, who Reformed the Roman Army
  • Scipio Africanus, who Beat Hannibal
  • Sun Tzu, who Wrote the Art of War

See http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/warfareconflictarmor/tp/041908Warriors.htm

Friday, 12 September 2008


Noun: a small plate of shining metal or plastic used for ornamentation especially on clothing, or a small glittering object or particle

Etymology: Middle English spangel, diminutive of spang shiny ornament, probably from Middle Dutch spange; akin to Old English spang buckle, Middle Dutch spannen to stretch

Date: 15th century

See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spangle

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Ffestiniog Railway

The Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow-gauge heritage railway, located in North West Wales. It is a major tourist attraction mainly within the Snowdonia National Park.

The railway is about 13.5 miles (21.5 km) long and runs from the harbour at Porthmadog to the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog

From Pocket Wikipedia, http://www.free-soft.ro/pocket-wikipedia/

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Jean Francois Champollion

Anyone who has studied ancient Egypt will be familiar with Jean Francois Champollion. He was, after all, credited with deciphering hieroglyphics from the Rosetta Stone and thus giving scholars the key to understanding hieroglyphics. For this effort along, he is frequently referred to as the Father of Egyptology, for he provided the foundation that scholars would need in order to truly understand the ancient Egyptians. Even though he suffered a stroke, dying at the age of forty-one, he himself added to our knowledge of this grand, ancient civilization by translating any number of Egyptian texts prior to his death. 

See http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/champollion.htm

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


A counterstring is a graduated string of arbitrary length. No matter where you are in the string, you always know the character position. This comes in handy when you are pasting huge strings into fields and they get truncated at a certain point. You want to know how many characters that is.

Here is a 35 character counterstring:


Each asterisk in the string occurs at a position specified by the immediately preceding number. Thus, the asterisk following the 29 is the 29th character in that string. So, you can chop the end of the string anywhere, and you know exactly where it was cut. Without having to count, you know that the string “2*4*6*8*11*14*17*2″ has exactly 18 characters in it. This saves some effort when you’re dealing with a half million characters. I pasted a 4000 character counterstring into the address field of Explorer and it was truncated at “2045*20″, meaning that 2047 characters were pasted.

From http://www.satisfice.com/blog/archives/22

Monday, 8 September 2008

25 Banned Books That You Should Read Today

#1 A Day No Pigs Would Die
#2 American Psycho
#3 And Tango Makes Three
#4 Annie on My Mind
#5 Bridge to Terabithia
#6 Candide
#7 Fallen Angels
#8 Fanny Hill
#9 Forever
#10 Frankenstein

See the full list at http://degreedirectory.org/articles/25_Banned_Books_That_You_Should_Read_Today.html

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Olympic Bloomers

Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

Boxing Analyst: "Yes, there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

Vollyball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

Football analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."

At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

Football commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them... Oh my God, what have I just said?"

from uk.rec.humour

Saturday, 6 September 2008

John Wyndham

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Benyon Harris was the son of a barrister. After trying a number of careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, he started writing short stories in 1925. After serving in the civil Service and the Army during the war, he went back to writing. Adopting the name John Wyndham, he started writing a form of science fiction that he called 'logical fantasy. As well as The Day of the Triffids, he wrote The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned) and The Seeds of Time.


  • The Curse of the Burdens (1927) (writing as John Beynon Harris)
  • Foul Play Suspected (1932) (writing as John Beynon)
  • The Secret People (1935) (writing as John Beynon Harris)
  • Stowaway to Mars (1935) (writing as John Beynon) aka Planet Plane
  • The Day of the Triffids (1951) aka Revolt of the Triffids
  • Planet Plane (1953)  aka Stowaway to Mars
  • The Kraken Wakes (1953) aka Out of the Deeps
  • The Chrysalids (1955) aka Re-Birth
  • The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
  • Trouble with Lichen (1960)
  • The Outward Urge (1961) (writing as Lucas Parkes)
  • Chocky (1968)
  • Web (1979)

See http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/john-wyndham/

Friday, 5 September 2008

Annie Oakley and Kaiser Wilheim

In the late 1800s, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was a dazzling display of horsemanship, gunplay and other cowboy skills. One of its acts involved the sharpshooting of the great Annie Oakley. Dubbed "Little Sure Shot," Oakley had an amazing routine - she would shoot out lit candles, for example, and the corks of wine bottles.

For her grand finale, she would shoot out the lit end of a cigarette held in a man's mouth at a certain distance. For this, she would ask for volunteers from the audience. As no one ever volunteered, she had her husband planted among the spectators. He would "volunteer" and they would complete the dangerous trick together.

Well, during one swing through Europe, Oakley was setting up her finale and she asked for volunteers. To her shock - and the surprise of everyone involved with the show - she got a real volunteer.

The proud young Prince (soon to be Kaiser) Wilhelm bravely stepped down from among the spectators, strode into the ring and stuck a lit cigarette in his mouth.

Reportedly out late the night before enjoying the local beer gardens, the unexpected appearance of this famous volunteer unnerved her. But the show must go on.

She took aim and fired… putting out the cigarette, much to Wilhelm's amusement.

Thus, she also created one of historians' favorite "what if" moments. What if her bullet went through the future Kaiser's left ear? Would World War I have happened? Would the lives of 9 million soldiers and 6.6 million civilians have been spared? Would Hitler have risen from the ashes of defeated Germany? All sorts of questions come to mind…

Scientists call these kinds of episodes "frozen accidents" - points in time when small changes would have led to dramatic consequences. Eric Beinhocker relates Oakley's tale in his new book The Origin of Wealth - which is, in part, a look at the unpredictable nature of markets.

See http://www.dailyreckoning.com/Featured/Mayer092006.html

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Plato on Virtue

All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.


Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Tough Quiz Show Questions


Anne Robinson: In traffic, what 'J' is where two roads meet?
Contestant: Jool carriageway.

Anne Robinson: Which Italian city is overlooked by Vesuvius?
Contestant: Bombay.

Anne Robinson: What insect is commonly found hovering above lakes?
Contestant: Crocodiles.
Anne Robinson: Wh...?
Contestant (interrupting): Pass!

Anne Robinson: In olden times, what were minstrels, travelling entertainers or chocolate salesmen?
Contestant: Chocolate salesmen.

Anne Robinson: The Bible, the New Testament. The Four Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and...?
Contestant: (long pause) Joe?

Anne Robinson: Who was a famous Indian leader, whose name begins with G, revered by millions, who was assassinated and received a state funeral?
Contestant: Geronimo!


Eamonn Holmes: What's the name of the playwright commonly known by the initials G.B.S.?
Contestant: William Shakespeare.


Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna?
Caller: Japan.
Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er... Mexico?


1) Something a blind man might use? - A Sword
2) A song with the word Moon in the title? - Blue Suede Moon
3) Name the capital of France? - F
4) Name a bird with a long Neck? - Naomi Campbell
5) Name an occupation where you might need a torch? - A burglar
6) Where is the Taj Mahal? - Opposite the Dental Hospital
7) What is Hitler's first name? - Heil
8) A famous Scotsman? - Jock
9) Some famous brothers? - Bonnie and Clyde.
8) Something red? - My sweater
11) Something that floats in a bath? - Water
12) An item of clothing worn by the Three Musketeers? - A horse
13) Something you wear on a beach? - A deckchair
14) A famous Royal? - Mail
15) Something that flies that doesn't have an engine? - A bicycle with wings
16) A famous bridge? - The Bridge Over Troubled Waters
17) Something a cat does? - Goes to the toilet
18) Something you do in the bathroom? - Decorate
19) A method of securing your home? - Put the kettle on
20) Something associated with pigs? - The Police
21) A sign of the Zodiac? - April
22) Something people might be allergic to? - Skiing
23) Something you do before you go to bed? - Sleep
24) Something you put on walls? - A roof
25) Something slippery? - A conman
26) A kind of ache? - A fillet of fish
27) A jacket potato topping? - Jam
28) A food that can be brown or white? - A potato
29) Something sold by gypsies? - Bananas


Presenter : Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona.
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain.


Wright: On which continent would you find the River Danube?
Contestant: India.

Wright: What is the Italian word for motorway?
Contestant: Espresso.

Wright: What is the capital of Australia? And it's not Sydney.
Contestant: Sydney.


Judy Finnegan: The American TV show 'The Sopranos' is about opera. True or false?
Contestant: True?
Judy Finnegan: No, actually, it's about the Mafia. But it is an American TV show, so I'll give you that.


Paul Wappat: How long did the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (after long pause): Fourteen days.


Presenter: Bob Hope was the fifth of how many sons?
Contestant: Four


Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er...
Wood: It's got two syllables... Kor...
Contestant: Blimey?
Wood: Ha ha ha ha no. The past participle of run...
Contestant: (Silence)
Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I...
Contestant: Walked?


Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland?
Daryl Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland? Ireland?
Daryl Denham (helpfully): It's a bad line. Did you say Israel?
Contestant: No.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Miranda Warning

Ever since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in MIranda v. Arizona in 1966, it has become the practice of police investigators to read suspects their rights -- of give them the Miranda warning -- before questioning them while in custody.

Many times, police give the Miranda warning -- warning suspects they have the right to remain silent -- as soon as they are placed under arrest, to make sure the warning is not overlooked later by detectives or investigators.

The following is the standard Miranda warning:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to be speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

Sometimes suspects are given a more detailed Miranda warning, designed to cover all contingencies that a suspect might encounter while in police custody.

See http://crime.about.com/od/police/a/miranda_warning.htm

Monday, 1 September 2008

Mexican Standoff

In popular culture, the Mexican standoff is often portrayed as multiple opponents with weapons aimed at each other, such that each opponent feels equally threatened and does not believe they can strike first without endangering their own life; not only does any initial shot decisively destroy the unstable equilibrium of multiple deterrence, shooting any one person takes one's aim away from the other opponent.

Examples of this situation occur in the movies The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Natural Born Killers, Shanghai Noon, Pulp Fiction, Face/Off, Enemy of the State, True Romance, Matrix Revolutions, Hitman, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Reservoir Dogs.

An analogous highly unstable situation can also occur when a weapon is within reach, as in the climax of Dead Again. The Mexican standoff is now largely considered a movie cliché due to its frequent use in spaghetti westerns and action films.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_standoff