Monday, 31 March 2008

Yogi Berra Quotes

Yogi Berra's second claim to fame is for being one of the most quoted figures in the sports world. He is credited with coining the deceptively simplistic observation, "It ain't over till it's over." But he's also known for his flubs. Here is a collection of the most notorious of these.

"This is like deja vu all over again."

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"He must have made that before he died." -- Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.

"I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

"I'd find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it." -- When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.

"Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

"I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early."

"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

"It gets late early out there." -- Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.

"Glen Cove." -- Referring to Glenn Close on a movie review television show.

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

"Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time.

"I take a two hour nap, from one o'clock to four."

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left."

"90% of the putts that are short don't go in."

"I made a wrong mistake."

"Texas has a lot of electrical votes." -- During an election campaign, after George Bush stated that Texas was important to the election.

"Thanks, you don't look so hot yourself." -- After being told he looked cool.

"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

"Yeah, but we're making great time!" -- In reply to "Hey Yogi, I think we're lost."

"If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them."

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

"It's never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn't."

"How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don't know how to spell my name." -- Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to


"I'd say he's done more than that." -- When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."

"He can run anytime he wants. I'm giving him the red light." -- On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson.

"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."

"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"I didn't really say everything I said."


Thursday, 27 March 2008

Yogi Berra

Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (born May 12, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball player and manager. He played almost his entire career for the New York Yankees and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He was one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times, and one of only six managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series.

Berra, who quit school in the eighth grade, has a tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language in highly provocative, interesting ways. Simultaneously denying and confirming his reputation, Berra once stated, "I never said half the things I really said." (See Yogiisms.)


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Yogi Bear

Originally created as a back-up segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi Bear is one of the most popular Hanna-Barbera stars of all time, rivaled only by The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo. Yogi's personality was loosely modelled after Art Carney's Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners. Yogi lived in Jellystone National Park with his sidekick Boo Boo, who served as Yogi's conscience. Yogi's occasional girl-friend was Cindy Bear. Yogi's adventures mainly centered on his obsession with stealing picnic baskets and his ability to confound Ranger Smith. Backing segments on the show included "Snagglepuss" and "Yakky Doodle." Yogi went on to star in other shows such as Yogi's Gang (1973), Yogi's Space Race (1978), Yogi's Treasure Hunt (1985), and Yo Yogi (1991).


Monday, 24 March 2008

Give no Mercy / Give no Quarter

"Give no quarter!" involves combat or struggle, and urges one's own forces to keep on keeping on, without ceding any ground to the enemy's. It has little or nothing to do with human kindness in the execution of an enemy.

After defeating the enemy, the cry "Give no mercy!" has to do with treating an offender or an enemy very harshly, even up to execution. The execution need not be pain-free (cruel and unusual punishment).  A more extreme view of "Give no mercy!" would be "Take no enemies!" and indicates one must kill the fallen enemy, for what good would it do to let them escape?

from alt.usage.english

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Burn your boats / bridges

Burn your boats

To do something that makes it impossible for you to change your plans and go back to the situation you were in before.

She didn't want to burn her boats by asking for a divorce, so she suggested a trial separation instead.

I'd already burned my bridges with my previous employer by publicly criticizing their products.

Burn your bridges

To permanently and unpleasantly end your relationship with a person or organization.

Welles had burned his bridges so badly with the movie studios that they laughed when you mentioned his name.

Etymology: based on the military action of burning a bridge you have just crossed to prevent the enemy from crossing it after you

See and

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Did You Know That...

1. A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times it's own weight each year.

2. A bean has more DNA per cell than a human cell.

3. A Blue Earth, Minnesota, law declares that no child under the age of twelve may talk over the telephone unless monitored by a parent.

4. A broken clock is right at least twice a day.

5. A shark can detect one part of blood in 100 million parts of water.

6. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.

7. A cat has 4 rows of whiskers and they're used to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through.

8. A Chicago law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

9. A fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months.

10. A fingernail or toenail takes about 6 months to grow from base to tip.

11. A full moon is nine times brighter than a half moon.

12. A full-grown pumpkin has about 15 miles of roots.

13. A person will die from total lack of sleep sooner than from starvation. Death will occur about 10 days without sleep, while starvation takes a few weeks.

14. A group of crows is called a murder.

15. A healthy individual releases 3.5 oz. of gas in a single flatulent emission (a fart), or about 17 oz. in a day.

16. A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside.

17. A honeybee can fly at fifteen miles per hour.

18. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it is been decapitated.

19. A jumbo jet uses 4,000 gallons of fuel to take off.

20. A man and woman in Mexico city were engaged for 67 yrs and finally married at the age of 82 yrs.

21. A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years.

22. A monkey was once tried and convicted for smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana.

23. A person uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper each day.

24. A pig is the only animal than can get sunburned.

25. A pound of grasshoppers is three times as nutritious as a pound of beef.

26. A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn't give her coffee.

27. A scientist who weighed people immediately before and after death concluded that the human soul weighs 21 gms.

28. A snail can travel over a razor blade without cutting itself.

29. A study of pet owners found that 66% claimed they allowed their pets to remain in the bedroom during intercourse.

30. A typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites.


Friday, 21 March 2008

The History of the Zipper

It was a long way up for the humble zipper, the mechanical wonder that has kept so much in our lives 'together.' On its way up the zipper has passed through the hands of several dedicated inventors, none convinced the general public to accept the zipper as part of everyday costume. The magazine and fashion industry made the novel zipper the popular item it is today, but it happened nearly eighty years after the zipper's first appearance.

Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine received a patent in 1851 for an 'Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.' Perhaps it was the success of the sewing machine, which caused Elias not to pursue marketing his clothing closure. As a result, Howe missed his chance to become the recognized 'Father of the Zip.'

Forty-four years later, Mr. Whitcomb Judson (who also invented the 'Pneumatic Street Railway') marketed a 'Clasp Locker' a device similar to the 1851 Howe patent. Being first to market gave Whitcomb the credit of being the 'Inventor of the Zipper', However, his 1893 patent did not use the word zipper. The Chicago inventor's 'Clasp Locker' was a complicated hook-and-eye shoe fastener. Together with businessman Colonel Lewis Walker, Whitcomb launched the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture the new device. The clasp locker had its public debut at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and met with little commercial success.  

Canadian, Gideon Sundback, an electrical engineer, was hired to work for the Universal Fastener Company. Good design skills and a marriage to the plant-manager's daughter Elvira Aronson led Sundback to the position of head designer at Universal. He was responsible for improving the far from perfect 'Judson C-curity Fastener.' Unfortunately, Sundback's wife died in 1911. The grieving husband busied himself at the design table and by December of 1913,  he had designed the modern zipper.

Gideon Sundback increased the number of fastening elements from four per inch to ten or eleven, had two facing-rows of teeth that pulled into a single piece by the slider, and increased the opening for the teeth guided by the slider. The patent for the 'Separable Fastener' was issued in 1917. Sundback also created the manufacturing machine for the new zipper. The 'S-L' or scrapless machine took a special Y-shaped wire and cut scoops from it, then punched the scoop dimple and nib, and clamped each scoop on a cloth tape to produce a continuous zipper chain. Within the first year of operation, Sundback's zipper-making machinery was producing a few hundred feet of fastener per day.

The popular 'zipper' name came from the B. F. Goodrich Company, when they decided to use Gideon's fastener on a new type of rubber boots or galoshes and renamed the device the zipper, the name that lasted. Boots and tobacco pouches with a zippered closure were the two chief uses of the zipper during its early years. It took twenty more years to convince the fashion industry to seriously promote the novel closure on garments.

In the 1930’s, a sales campaign began for children's clothing featuring zippers. The campaign praised zippers for promoting self-reliance in young children by making it possible for them to dress in self-help clothing. The zipper beat the button in the 1937 in the "Battle of the Fly," when French fashion designers raved over zippers in men's trousers. Esquire magazine declared the zipper the "Newest Tailoring Idea for Men" and among the zippered fly's many virtues was that it would exclude "The Possibility of Unintentional and Embarrassing Disarray." Obviously, the new zippered trouser owners had not yet discovered the experience of forgetting to zip-up.

The next big boost for the zipper came when zippers could open on both ends, as on jackets. Today the zipper is everywhere, in clothing, luggage and leather goods and countless other objects. Thousands of  zipper miles produced daily, meet the needs of consumers, thanks to the early efforts of the many famous zipper inventors.

Thursday, 20 March 2008


A triptych (pronounced "trip-tick") is a work of art (usually a panel painting) which is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which are hinged together and folded. The middle panel is the larger one, and flanked by two lesser, related works


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

British Sign Language (BSL)

BSL is used by over 70,000 deaf people, and also by some 100,000 hearing people. It was recognised as a language in it’s own right by the UK government on 18 March 2003, but it has no legal protection, so is not an official language of the UK.

According to Wikipedia, BSL is very similar to Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and New Zealand Sign Language, and also to Northern Ireland Sign Language (NISL), though differs significantly from Irish Sign Language (ISL), which, like American Sign Language (ASL), developed from French Sign Language (langue des signes française / LSF).


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Top Posting

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.

Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

A: Top-posting.

Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?

Monday, 17 March 2008

5 Word Processing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Margins that are too big or too small

2. Inconsistent spacing

3. Too many fonts

4. Fonts that are too big or too small

5. Too much special formatting

See full article at

Sunday, 16 March 2008

How to speak Essex

This is an invaluable guide......for those of you that venture to darkest Essex.

alma chizzit - A request to find the cost of an item

amant - Quantity; sum total - "Thez a yuge amant of mud in Saffend"

assband - Unable to leave the house because of illness, disability etc

awss - A four legged animal, on which money is won, or more likely lost - "That awssya tipped cost me a fiver t'day"

branna - More brown than on a previous occasion - "Ere, Trace, ya look brannatoday, ave you been on sunbed?"

cort a panda - A rather large hamburger

Dan in the maff - Unhappy - "Wossmatta, Trace, ya look a bitDan in the maff"

eye-eels - Women's shoes

Furrock - The location of Lakeside Shopping Centre

garrij - A building where a car is kept or repaired - Trace: "Oi, Darren, I fink the motah needs at go in the garrij cos it aint working proper"

Ibeefa - Balaeric holiday island

lafarjik - Lacking in energy - "I feel all lafarjik"

OI OI! - Traditional greeting. Often heard from the doorway of pubs or during banging dance tunes at clubs

paipa - The Sun, The Mirror or The Sport

reband - The period of recovery and emotional turmoil after rejection by a lover - "I couldn't elp it, I wuz on the reband from Craig"

Saffend - Essex coastal resort boasting the longest pleasure pier in the world. The place where the characters from TV's, popular soap opera, Eastenders go on holiday

tan - The city of London, the big smoke

webbats - Querying the location something or someone is - "Webbatsis me dole card Trace? I've gotta sign on in arf hour"

wonnid - 1. Desired, needed. 2. Wanted by the police

zaggerate - To suggest that something is bigger or better than it actually is - "I told ya a fazzand times already"

from uk.rec.humour

Friday, 14 March 2008

Rules for parking if you are rude

Rule #1 - When waiting for a parking spot, stop in the middle of the road, don't signal, and orient your car diagonally to prevent others from passing.

Rule #2 - Always park on the lines, taking up as many spots as possible. Diagonal parking is preferred.

Rule #3 - In a crowded parking lot, if you find a spot and have the opportunity to pull through to an adjacent one, drive up half way and stop on the line, taking both.

Rule #4 - As you pull into a spot, if you see that the space ahead of you is empty and you see another driver signalling to take it, pull though and take it from him.

Rule #5 - Always park close enough to the adjacent car so that the other driver must grease up with Vaseline to squeeze into his/her car.

Rule #6 - When getting out of your car, hit the adjacent vehicle with your door really hard.

Rule #7 - When driving through the parking lot, ignore the painted lanes and drive diagonally from one end to another at a high rate of speed.

Rule #8 - When stopped in front of a store and waiting for a friend/relative to make a purchase, make sure that you are stopped in the middle of the road. The same rules applies to picking-up and discharging passengers.

Rule #9 - When a vehicle from the opposite direction is signalling and waiting for a parking space, position your car so that you are in his way and let the car behind you take it.

Rule #10 - If you have Handicap license plates, use up a regular parking spot.

Rule #11 - If you hit the adjacent car with your door and leave a dent, wait for a car, which is painted the same colour as yours, to drive down the aisle looking for a place to park. Then back out, giving up your spot like "Mr. Good Guy" and park somewhere else.

Rule #12 - If the vehicle in front of you stops to let a pedestrian cross or another vehicle turn, pull into the lane of opposite traffic and attempt to pass him.

Rule #13 - deleted...for those who are superstitious!

Rule #14 - When exiting a shopping centre into a busy road, exit through the narrow "ENTER ONLY" driveway, stick the nose of the car into traffic, and wait.

Rule #15 - When driving through a parking lot with alternating one-way aisles and angled parking spots, drive the wrong way. Then when you see a parking space, take 20 minutes to do a 12-point turn to pull into it.

Rule #16 - Always leave your shopping cart behind or tightly between parked vehicles.

Rule #17 - Empty your ashtrays on the ground in shopping centre parking lots. While your at it, dump out all the garbage, too, including that Wendy's or McDonald's bag sitting in the back seat from breakfast.

Rule #18 - If you are forced to change an infant's diaper in a parking lot, leave the soiled diaper under the car next to you.

Rule #19 - When another vehicle is waiting for you to pull out of a spot in a crowded parking lot, take your time. Adjust the mirrors, your seat, and the radio. Roll down your window, light a cigarette, and eat your lunch. Feel free to go through your shopping bags and look at what you just bought.

Rule #20 - When pulling into a parking spot, if there is a shopping cart in the way, lightly tap it with your bumper and send it rolling into an adjacent car. Then, when you step out, if the cart is still too close, push it down the parking lot aisle and let it go. While the cart is flying solo, turn around and walk toward the stores.

Rule #21 - When walking back to your car in a busy shopping centre, gesture to other drivers waiting for a spot to make them think that you are getting in the car and leaving. Then walk between the cars to the next aisle and do it again.

Rule #22 - When shopping at the mall, which requires you to load your bags into the car and go back in to do more shopping, do NOT tell the driver who is sitting patiently watching you load your car and signalling for your spot.

Rule #23 - When walking back to your car, if you notice other shoppers walking past your car to get to theirs, press the buttons on your key chain remote so that your car's alarm makes a sudden loud "BLOOP BLEEP" that scares the crap out of them.

Rule #24 - If you don't see a speed limit sign posted in the malls parking lot, there isn't any!

Rule #25 - If you back into a parked car, and the driver isn't with it, take out a piece of paper & start writing. This is especially effective if there are 15-20 witnesses. On a piece of paper write, "There were ___witnesses when I hit your car. They think I'm writing my name, address, and phone number!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Things The Movies Taught You

1. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people--whether they are employed or not.

2. At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

3. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

5. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts: your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

6. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

7. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

8. Honest and hard-working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

9. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.

10. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach the armpit level on a woman, but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

11. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

12. It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

13. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off--even while scuba diving.

14. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

15. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German or Russian officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German or Russian accent will do.

16. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

17. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

18. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

19. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

20. Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.

21. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

22. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

23. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

24. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you meet will know all the steps.

25. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

26. When they are alone, all foreign military officers prefer to speak to each other in English.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Mind your Ps and Qs

This came from the printing trade where, because as the letters are reversed, it's only too easy to mix up

the letters 'p' and 'q'.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The World's Easiest Quiz?

Please answer all questions before scrolling down for the answers.

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get catgut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI's first name?

8) What colour is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese Gooseberries from?

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?









1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats?


3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?


5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

Dog. The islands' name is likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning Island of the Dogs, a name applied originally only to the island of Gran Canaria.

7) What was King George VI's first name?


8) What colour is a purple finch?


9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

Chinese gooseberries were originally from Shaanxi in China. They were given the marketing name of Kiwifruit and made a number of people wealthy.

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?


Monday, 10 March 2008

Brass neck

brass neck/brass-neck/brass necked - boldness or impudence/audacious, rude, 'cheeky' - brass neck and brass necked are combinations of two metaphorically used words, brass and neck, each separately meaning impudence/impudent, audacity/audacious. Neck was a northern English 19th slang century expression (some sources suggest with origins in Australia) meaning audacity or boldness - logically referring to a whole range of courage and risk metaphors involving the word neck, and particularly with allusions to hanging, decapitation, wringing (of a chicken's neck) - 'getting it in the neck', 'sticking your neck out', and generally the idea of exposing or extending one's neck in a figurative display of intentional or foolhardy personal risk. As regards brass, Brewer 1870 lists 'brass' as meaning impudence. The modern OED meanings include effrontery (shameless insolence). Brassy means pretentious or impudent. Brass is also an old (19thC) word for a prostitute. Some of these meanings relate to brass being a cheap imitation of gold. Some of the meanings also relate to brass being a very hard and resilient material. Phonetically there is also a similarity with brash, which has similar meanings - rude, vulgarly self-assertive (probably derived from rash, which again has similar meanings, although with less suggestion of intent, more recklessness). At some stage during the 20th century brass and neck were combined to form brass neck and brass necked. Many sources identify the hyphenated brass-neck as a distinctly military expression (same impudence and boldness meanings), again 20th century, and from the same root words and meanings, although brass as a slang word in the military has other old meanings and associations, eg, top brass and brass hat, both referring to officers (because of their uniform adornments), which would have increased the appeal and usage of the brass-neck expression in military circles. (sources OED, Brewer, Cassells, Partridge)


Sunday, 9 March 2008

Phatic expressions

“Well”, “there you are then”, “Oh dear!” and “That’s life!” are all examples of phatic expressions, which are used as conversation openers, to establish and maintain contact with people, to show that you’re listening, and/or to give you time to think of something else to say. They don’t usually have much meaning in themselves. Greetings and farewells are also examples of phatic language.

The term phatic was coined by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski in the early 1900s and comes from the Ancient Greek φατός (fatos) ‘spoken’, from φάναι (fanai) ‘to say’. Other terms for these types of expressions include small talk and grooming talk - one theory is that humans developed phatic language to replace grooming, an activity that takes up quite a lot of time for our ape relatives and ancestors.

If you’re able to use the common phatic expressions in languages you’re learning, you will sound much more fluent. The actual content and usage of phatic expressions various from culture to culture, so just translating such expressions from your mother tongue won’t necessarily work. You need to find out which expressions to use and when to use them.


Saturday, 8 March 2008

The definitive guide to Trolls

An "Internet troll" or "Forum Troll" is a person who posts outrageous message to bait people to answer. Trolls delight in sowing discord on the forums. A troll is someone who inspires flaming rhetoric, someone who is purposely provoking and pulling people into flaming discussion. Flaming discussions usually end with name calling and a flame war.

A classic troll tries to make us believe that he is a skeptic. He is divisive and argumentative with need-to-be-right attitude, "searching for the truth", flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking people to insult him. A troll is usually an expert in reusing the same words of its opponents and in turning it against them.

While he tries to present himself as a skeptic looking for truth ... his messages usually sound as if it is the responsibility of other forum members to provide evidence that what forum is all about is legitimate.

He (and in at least 90% of cases it is he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

See full article at

Friday, 7 March 2008

Neither rhyme nor reason

A plan or action that does not make sense - originally meant 'neither good for entertainment nor instruction'. According to Brewer (1870) Thomas More (Henry VIII's chancellor 1529-32) received a book manuscript and suggested the author turn it into rhyme. On seeing the revised draft More noted the improvement saying 'tis rhyme now, but before it was neither rhyme nor reason'. I was advised additionally (ack Rev N Lanigan, Aug 2007): "...the Oxford Book of English Anecdotes relates that the expression came from a poet, possibly Edmund Spenser, who was promised a hundred pounds for writing a poem for Queen Elizabeth I. He wrote the poem which pleased the Queen, but her treasurer thought a hundred pounds excessive for a few lines of poetry and told the Queen so, whereupon she told the treasurer to pay the poet 'what is reason(able), but even so the treasurer didn't pay the poet. He then wrote another poem and sent it to the Queen with lines that went something like 'Once upon a season I was promised reason for my rhyme, from that time until this season I received no rhyme nor reason,' whereupon the Queen ordered that he be paid the full sum. Since Queen Elizabeth I came after Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More, the first version may be the more correct one, or the poet might have known the phrase from More's use of it..."


Thursday, 6 March 2008


This two-letter English word has a ridiculous number of meanings.

It's easy to understand up, meaning higher, but why do we wake up every morning?

Why do meeting topics come up?

Why do we speak up?

Why are officers up for election?

Why is it up to the secretary to write up a report?

We call up friends, brighten up rooms, polish up silver, warm up leftovers, and clean up kitchens.

We lock up our house.

We open up a store in the morning and close it up at night.

Some guys fix up old cars.

People stir up trouble, line up for tickets, work up appetites, and think up excuses.

It's special to get dressed up, yet if a drain gets stopped up, it must be opened up.

When it threatens to rain, it clouds up, yet when the sun comes out it clears up.

Rain wets up the earth but when it doesn't rain things dry up.

To learn about the uses of up, look up up in a dictionary; its definition takes up half a page, adding up to thirty or more definitions. If you feel up to it, build up a list of its many uses. It will take up a lot of time, but if you don't give up, you may well wind up with over a hundred.

I could go on and on, but my time is up, so I'll wrap it up before I'm told to shut up!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Odd facts, Part 2

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight."

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In our English pubs, ale was ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartman would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic mugs. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Truth is stranger than fiction

Who Said It: Lord Byron

When: 1823

The Story behind It: This line appears in Byron's poem Don Juan:

'Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange;

Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,

How much would novels gain by the exchange!

How differently the world would men behold!


Monday, 3 March 2008


A shortening of taximeter cab (introduced in London in March 1907), from taximeter "automatic meter to record the distance and fare" (1898), from Fr. taximètre, from Ger. Taxameter (1890), coined from M.L. taxa "tax, charge."

An earlier Eng. form was taxameter (1894), used in horse-drawn cabs. The verb is first recorded 1911, from earlier noun use as slang for "aircraft." Taxicab is also first attested 1907.

Taxi dancer "woman whose services may be hired at a dance hall" is recorded from 1930.

Taxi squad in U.S. football is 1966, from a former Cleveland Browns owner who gave his reserves jobs with his taxicab company to keep them paid and available ["Dictionary of American Slang"], but other explanations (short-term hire or shuttling back and forth from the main team) seem possible.


Sunday, 2 March 2008

Odd facts

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb"

Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only... Ladies Forbidden"... and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the British Royal Mint.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)

The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: is £8.000

The average number of people airborne over the U. S. in any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:

Spades - King David

Hearts - Charlemagne

Clubs -Alexander, the Great

Diamonds - Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Nolens volens

Whether unwilling or willing.


Events have put NATO in a position where it is the policeman of Europe and beyond, nolens volens.

-- "NATO then Nato now", Daily Telegraph, April 23, 1999


After all, I'm not sure that I'm so angry with them, for it means that now you've got to remain here indefinitely -- nolens volens.

-- Mina McDonald, "True Stories Of The Great War: Some Experiences In Hungary", History of the World, January 1, 1992


Nolens volens is from the Latin, from nolle, "to be unwilling" + velle, "to wish, to be willing."