Sunday, 31 May 2009


In music, ornaments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note.


In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Architectural ornament can be carved from stone, wood or precious metals, formed with plaster or clay, or impressed onto a surface as applied ornament; in other applied arts the main material of the object, or a different one may be used.


Saturday, 30 May 2009


The evening dress for men now popularly known as a tuxedo takes its name from Tuxedo Park, where it was said to have been worn for the first time in the United States, by Griswald Lorillard at the annual Autumn Ball of the Tuxedo Club founded by Pierre Lorillard IV, and thereafter became popular for formal dress in America.

It became known as the tuxedo when a fellow asked another at the Autumn Ball, "Why does that man's jacket not have coattails on it?" The other answered, "He is from Tuxedo Park." The first gentleman misinterpreted and told all of his friends that he saw a man wearing a jacket without coattails called a tuxedo, not from Tuxedo. This all took place at The Autumn ball, which still exists today.


Friday, 29 May 2009

White's Green (Blue?) Tree Frog

The Australian Green Tree Frog, simply Green Tree Frog in Australia, White's Tree Frog, or Dumpy Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) is a species of tree frog native to Australia and New Guinea, with introduced populations in New Zealand and the United States. The species belongs to the genus Litoria. It is physiologically similar to some species of the genus, particularly the Magnificent Tree Frog (Litoria splendida) and the Giant Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata).

The Green Tree Frog is a large species compared with most Australian frogs, reaching 10 centimetres in length. The average lifespan of the frog in captivity, about sixteen years, is long in comparison with most frogs. Green Tree Frogs are docile and well suited to living near human dwellings. They are often found on windows or inside houses, eating insects drawn by the light.

Due to its physical and behavioural traits, the Green Tree Frog has become one of the most recognisable frogs in its region, and is a popular exotic pet throughout the world. The skin secretions of the frog have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may prove useful in pharmaceutical preparations.

The common name of the species, "White's Tree Frog", is in honour of the first person to describe the species, John White. The Green Tree Frog was the first Australian frog scientifically classified. The species was originally called the "blue frog" (Rana caerulea); although the Green Tree Frog is green, the original specimens White sent to England were damaged by the preservative and appeared blue. This is because the colour of the frog is caused by blue and green pigments covered in a yellow layer. The preservative destroyed the yellow layer and left the frog with a blue appearance. The specific epithet, caerulea, which is Latin for blue, has remained the same. The frog is also known more simply as the "Green Tree Frog." However, that name is often given to the most common large green tree frog in a region, for example, the American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea).

From Pocket Wikipedia,

What did thought do?

"You know what thought did? He didn't do anything - he just thought he did."

A piece of nonsense which basically points out the futility of thinking that something has been done without actually going and assuring oneself that it has in fact been done. So for example

"The basement's flooded!"

"But I thought I turned the faucet off..."

"Well, you know what thought did."


He buried a feather and thought it would grow a chicken

He pi***d in bed and thought he was sweating.

He pi***d on his head and thought it was raining.

He followed a muck-cart and thought it was a wedding


Thursday, 28 May 2009

Pontefract cake

Pontefract cakes (also known as Pomfret cakes and Pomfrey cakes) are a type of small, roughly circular black sweet measuring approximately 2 cm in diameter and 4 mm thick, made of liquorice, originally manufactured in the Yorkshire town of Pontefract, England.

The original name for these small tablets of liquorice is a "Pomfret" cake, after the old Norman name for Pontefract. However, that name has fallen into disuse and they are now almost invariably labelled "Pontefract cakes".

Originally, the sweets were embossed by hand with a stamp, to form their traditional look, but now they are machinery formed. The embossed stamp was originally a stylised image of Pontefract Castle.

The liquorice root used in these cakes was exported to Australia for the first time by a member of the famous Carter family who hailed from Pontefract.

Healthcare professionals have warned against overindulgence on Pontefract Cakes after a 56 year old woman was admitted to hospital after overdosing on the confectionery.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

US Government Advice on the Swine Flu Pandemic

My fellow Americans, our country faces a deadly threat and we must prepare ourselves to meet this threat.

To minimise the spread of Swine flu, please buy at least 2 weeks worth of provisions and store them in your home. Buy canned food, bottled water, flash light batteries and also panic buy as much duck tape as you can possibly lay your hands on.

If you don’t already have a secret nuclear bunker in your back yard located under the swimming pool, now might be a good time to consider having one installed. I also urge you to panic buy as much gasoline as possible. Keep you car task full, so you can evacuate the area at a moments notice. Please also keep an emergency supply of gasoline in a 50 gallon drum in the basement of your home.

Use the duck tape to seal the doors and windows of your house (assuming you don’t have a secret nuclear bunker) This will help to stop germs from entering your home.

Listen to the radio and keep the supply of extra flash light batteries near it. Wait for the all clear to be broadcast and stay inside until it is.

Under no circumstances should you go outside or start to riot. Please do not use the 50 gallon drum of gasoline to make Molotov cocktails. You should not attempt to purify your neighbourhood by burning down the houses of suspected swine flu victims.

Thank you for cooperation.

US Government Plague Control Committee

from uk.rec.humour

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Fun Practical Jokes to Play at Work

Having trouble getting through the workday without falling asleep at your desk?

Here are a few pranks that are sure to liven up the cube farm.

(NOTE: Don't be stupid enough to actually try any of the items below, or you'll find yourself in jail, in the hospital, or, even worse, in the unemployment line!)

  1. Change the settings in a coworker's word processing software so that any instance of the letter "x" is auto-corrected to read "xxx."
  2. Introduce the new intern by a different name to each person he/she meets.
  3. Tear a few graphic pages out of an adult magazine, slip them into an assistant's large photocopying job.
  4. Babble incoherently to a co-worker then ask, "Did you get all of that?"
  5. TP the VP's office...while he/she is in the room and on a conference call.
  6. Post a fake memo on the office bulletin board announcing Friday as "You're the Boss" Day, where all employees are to come into work dressed as a member of upper management.
  7. Pass around a sheet of paper asking other staff members if they'll sponsor a co-worker in a spelling bee for dyslexics.
  8. Wander the halls, slapping your head repeatedly and mutter, "Will you please shut up?"
  9. Wrap plastic wrap over the urinals in the executive washroom.
  10. Turn off the receptionist's ringer.
  11. Pretend you work at a collection agency during your lunch hour. Call your imaginary clients and loudly threaten bodily injury if they don't "pay up."
  12. Tape a piece of toilet paper to your shoe--the longer, the better--and do a few laps around the cube farm and through the cafeteria.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Roman Roads

The Romans were famous for their roads. They built roads so that the army could march from one place to another. They tried to build the roads as straight as possible, so that the army could take the shortest route.

How the Road was Built...

  1. First, the army builders would clear the ground of rocks and trees.
  2. They then dug a trench where the road was to go and filled it with big stones.
  3. Next, they put in big stones, pebbles, cement and sand which they packed down to make a firm base.,
  4. Then they added another layer of cement mixed with broken tiles.
  5. On top of that, they then put paving stones to make the surface of the road. These stones were cut so that they fitted together tightly.
  6. Kerb stones were put at the sides of the road to hold in the paving stones and to make a channel for the water to run away.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Euler, Leonhard (1707-1783)

Swiss mathematician who was tutored by Johann Bernoulli. He worked at the Petersburg Academy and Berlin Academy of Science. He had a phenomenal memory, and once did a calculation in his head to settle an argument between students whose computations differed in the fiftieth decimal place. Euler lost sight in his right eye in 1735, and in his left eye in 1766. Nevertheless, aided by his phenomenal memory (and having practiced writing on a large slate when his sight was failing him), he continued to publish his results by dictating them. Euler was the most prolific mathematical writer of all times finding time (even with his 13 children) to publish over 800 papers in his lifetime. He won the Paris Academy Prize 12 times. When asked for an explanation why his memoirs flowed so easily in such huge quantities, Euler is reported to have replied that his pencil seemed to surpass him in intelligence.

Euler systematized mathematics by introducing the symbols e, i, and f(x) for a function  of x. He also made major contributions in optics, mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. He made significant contributions to the study of differential equations. His Introducio in analysin infinitorum (1748) provided the foundations of analysis.  He showed that any complex number to a complex power can be written as a complex number,  and investigated the beta and gamma functions. He computed the Riemann zeta function for even numbers.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009


A neologism is an invented or artificial word.

For example, when scientists invent or discover something new, it requires a name or some other way of referring to it. Sometimes it is named after the inventor or discoverer, like Murphy's Law, and sometimes this leads to a new word entering the language, like 'diesel' for the engine invented by Rudolf Diesel and the fuel it runs on. At other times a new word is used that finds its way into everyday language (or is at least recognised by nearly everyone). A good example of this is the word laser, which is an acronym of Light Amplification through the Stimulated Emission of Radiation and was coined in 1959 by Gordon Gould1 based on the acronym 'maser'2. Similarly, 'radar' stands for 'RAdio Detection And Ranging and was coined by US Navy researchers in 1942. New words in science are often based on existing words, especially Latin and Greek ones, like the term invented by Marie and Pierre Curie for the newly discovered phenomenon 'radioactivity' which shares a Latin root with the name 'radium' for one of the radioactive elements. (And after the potential of radioactivity was fully realised by the wider scientific community, Marie had a element named in her honour, 'Curium'.)


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Wenger "GIANT" Swiss Army Knife

The biggest Swiss Army knife in the world

What more can we say... just look at the picture and marvel at THE WENGER GIANT of all Swiss Army Knives...

This is the largest Swiss Army knife ever built. It weighs in at nearly 1 kg (2lbs). What it does not have, you do not need.

It is really intended for collectors of Swiss Army Knives and collection display, as opposed to a pocket tool, it is just TOO BIG for practical use.

This Wenger Swiss Army knife is NOT a pocket tool, it is for display - collector's only.

Please do not purchase if you are under the belief that it is the top of the range Wenger Swiss Army knife, that is the Wenger ULTIMATE. This unit is made to order for collectors of Swiss Army Knives.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Mistakes on a CV / resume

These are from actual resumes:

  • "Personal: I'm married with 9 children. I don't require prescription drugs.
  • "I am extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don't let them know of my immediate availability."
  • "Qualifications: I am a man filled with passion and integrity, and I can act on short notice. I'm a class act and do not come cheap."
  • "I intentionally omitted my salary history. I've made money and lost money. I've been rich and I've been poor. I prefer being rich."
  • "Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job."
  • "Number of dependents: 40."
  • "Marital Status: Often. Children: Various."


  • "Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."


  • "Responsibility makes me nervous."
  • "They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 every morning.
  • “Couldn't work under those conditions."


  • "Was met with a string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches."
  • "I was working for my mom until she decided to move."
  • "The company made me a scapegoat - just like my three previous employers."


  • "While I am open to the initial nature of an assignment, I am decidedly disposed that it be so oriented as to at least partially incorporate the experience enjoyed heretofore and that it be configured so as to ultimately lead to the application of more rarefied facets of financial management as the major sphere of responsibility."
  • "I was proud to win the Gregg Typting Award."


  • "Please call me after 5:30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job."
  • "My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I have no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage."
  • "I procrastinate - especially when the task is unpleasant."


  • "Minor allergies to house cats and Mongolian sheep."


  • "Donating blood. 14 gallons so far."


  • "Education: College, August 1880-May 1984."
  • "Work Experience: Dealing with customers' conflicts that arouse."
  • "Develop and recommend an annual operating expense fudget."
  • "I'm a rabid typist."
  • "Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain operation."

from uk.rec.humour

Friday, 15 May 2009

Types of Chairs

Armchair - high back, low-back, stick back & with writing desk

Barber chair - with stool

Conversation chair

Dentist chair

Dining chair

Easy chair

Folding chair - folding rocking chair & folding dining chair

Hall chair

Invalid chair

Lawn/Outdoor chair

Lolling chair

Lounge chair

Office chair - with wheels & with arms


Rocking chair

Roundabout or Corner chair

Shaving chair

Side chair

Stacking chair

Straight chair

Swivel chair

Table chair

Throne chair


Writing chair


Thursday, 14 May 2009


When members of the armed forces are promoted, and these promotions are published in the London Gazette, the person is said to have been “gazetted”.

Being "gazetted" (or "in the gazette") sometimes also meant having official notice of one's bankruptcy published.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009


British people place considerable value on punctuality. If you agree to meet friends at three o'clock, you can bet that they'll be there just after three. Since Britons are so time conscious, the pace of life may seem very rushed. In Britain, people make great effort to arrive on time. It is often considered impolite to arrive even a few minutes late. If you are unable to keep an appointment, it is expected that you call the person you are meeting. Some general tips follow.

You should arrive:

  • At the exact time specified – for dinner, lunch, or appointments with professors, doctors, and other professionals.
  • Any time during the hours specified for teas, receptions, and cocktail parties.
  • A few minutes early: for public meetings, plays, concerts, movies, sporting events, classes, church services, and weddings.

If you are invited to someone's house for dinner at half past seven, they will expect you to be there on the dot. An invitation might state "7.30 for 8", in which case you should arrive no later than 7.50. However, if an invitation says "sharp", you must arrive in plenty of time.


Monday, 11 May 2009

I am just going outside and may be some time

Captain Oates was the 'very gallant gentleman' who walked to his death in a blizzard, hoping to save his comrades on Scott's disastrous South Pole expedition in 1912. As he crawled from their tent on to the ice in temperatures of -40 °C, Oates achieved immortality with the famous parting remark: 'I am just going outside and may be some time.'


Sunday, 10 May 2009

Lake, Grubb and periscopes

A periscope, is a optical device for conducting observations from a concealed or protected position. Simple periscopes consist of reflecting mirrors and/or prisms at opposite ends of a tube container. The reflecting surfaces are parallel to each other and at a 45° angle to the axis of the tube. The Navy attributes the invention of the periscope (1902) to Simon Lake and the perfection of the periscope to Sir Howard Grubb.

For all its innovations, USS Holland had at least one major flaw; lack of vision when submerged. The submarine had to broach the surface so the crew could look out through windows in the conning tower. Broaching deprived the Holland of one of the submarine’s greatest advantages – stealth. Lack of vision when submerged was eventually corrected when Simon Lake used prisms and lenses to develop the omniscope, forerunner of the periscope. Sir Howard Grubb, designer of astronomical instruments, developed the modern periscope that was first used in Holland-designed British Royal Navy submarines. For more than 50 years, the periscope was the submarine’s only visual aid until underwater television was installed aboard the nuclear powered submarine USS Nautilus.

Thomas Grubb (1800-1878) founded a telescope making firm in Dublin. Sir Howard Grubb's father was noted for inventing and constructing machinery for printing. In the early 1830s, he made an observatory for his own use equipped with a 9-inch (23cm) telescope. Thomas Grubb's youngest son Howard (1844-1931) joined the firm in 1865, under his hand the company gained a reputation for the first-class Grubb telescopes. During the First World War, demand was on Grubb's factory to make gunsights and periscopes for the war effort and it was during those years that Grubb perfected the periscope's design.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

Quarantine for lonely Afghan pig

Afghanistan's only known pig has been quarantined because of fears over swine flu, officials from Kabul Zoo say.

The pig, a curiosity in a country where pork products are illegal, lives at the zoo, where he had previously enjoyed grazing next to deer and goats.

However visitors expressed fears that the animal could be carrying the H1N1 virus and he was moved into isolation.


Friday, 8 May 2009

Swine Flu British Government Advice FAQ

Q. What’s is swine flu?
A. It’s a new strain of flu, that may develop into a pandemic.

Q. Is this likely to develop into the end of the world?
A. CERTAINLY NOT! Remain calm, this is not Hamageddon.

Q. What should I do if a major outbreak hits the UK?
A. Simple… Dress like Whacko Jacko at an airport and don a face mask.

Q. I hear there is a rash associated with the illness how should I treat it?
A. Get to a chemist quick as you can and buy some Oink-ment

Q. Is it safe to eat pork?
A. Yes! Swine flu is a respiratory infection, just try not to inhale any fumes from your bacon sandwich.

Q. Are politicians more like to develop the illness?
A. No! But they are very susceptible to infections like lying swine flu.

Q. Will many Brits die?
A. Solidly built British geezers will survive anything, only weedy Quiche eating salad munchers should be concerned.

from uk.rec.humour

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Structure of the Roman Army

The Roman army was broken down into different groups to have a clear chain of command during battle.

The smallest unit was the conturbenium, which was a group of eight soldiers. These men marched together and shared a tent or a room at a fort. Ten conturbenium made up a century (only eighty men on average) which was commanded by a centurion. Six centuries would be combined to make up a cohort. Then ten Cohorts would be combined to make up a legion or about 6,000 men.

The first cohort of the legion was usually twice the size of a normal cohort, and had the best soldiers in it. The legion, all of which was infantry, was the backbone of the Roman army. "Each legion contained four lines, or groups, of soldiers. The front line soldier was the velites, who was trained to throw spears at the enemy. Behind the velites was the hastatus and the preinceps. These soldiers did most of the fighting. They had light armor and used swords. The last line was the triarius, who wore heavy armor". In addition to the legionaries, auxiliary cohorts of cavalry or specialists such as archers, would also be part of the unit.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Origin of Mayday

Our modern celebration of Mayday as a working class holiday evolved from the struggle for the eight hour day in 1886. May 1, 1886 saw national strikes in the United States and Canada for an eight hour day called by the Knights of Labour. In Chicago police attacked striking workers killing six.

The next day at a demonstration in Haymarket Square to protest the police brutality a bomb exploded in the middle of a crowd of police killing eight of them. The police arrested eight anarchist trade unionists claiming they threw the bombs. To this day the subject is still one of controversy. The question remains whether the bomb was thrown by the workers at the police or whether one of the police's own agent provocateurs dropped it in their haste to retreat from charging workers.

In what was to become one of the most infamous show trials in America in the 19th century, but certainly not to be the last of such trials against radical workers, the State of Illinois tried the anarchist workingmen for fighting for their rights as much as being the actual bomb throwers. Whether the anarchist workers were guilty or innocent was irrelevant. They were agitators, fomenting revolution and stirring up the working class, and they had to be taught a lesson.

Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engle and Adolph Fischer were found guilty and executed by the State of Illinois.

In Paris in 1889 the International Working Men's Association (the First International) declared May 1st an international working class holiday in commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs. The red flag became the symbol of the blood of working class martyrs in their battle for workers rights.

Mayday, which had been banned for being a holiday of the common people, had been reclaimed once again for the common people.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Victorinox or Wenger?

Swiss Army Knife - Victorinox or Wenger?

Elsener, through his company Victorinox, managed to corner the market until 1893, when the second industrial cutler of Switzerland, Paul Boechat & Cie, headquartered in Delémont in the French-speaking region of Jura, started selling a similar product. This company was later acquired by its then General Manager, Theodore Wenger, and renamed the Wenger Company.

In 1908 the Swiss government, wanting to prevent an issue over regional favouritism, but perhaps wanting a bit of competition in hopes of lowering prices, split the contract with Victorinox and Wenger, each getting half of the orders placed. By mutual agreement, Wenger advertises as the Genuine Swiss Army Knife and Victorinox uses the slogan the Original Swiss Army Knife. However, on April 26, 2005, Victorinox acquired Wenger, thus once again becoming the sole supplier of knives to the Swiss Army. However, on the consumer side Victorinox has stated that it intends to keep both brands intact.

In 2006, Wenger produced a knife with 85 devices and 110 functions to commemorate Wenger's 100th anniversary in the Swiss Army knife business. The Giant, as it's called, is a novelty collector's item that is nearly 9 inches thick, and retails for about U.S. $1200 (See complete list of implements, p.4).


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mapping the Seven Deadly Sins

Last month, the Las Vegas Sun reported on an unusual study in which researchers attempted to map the distribution of the seven deadly sins. Researchers primarily looked at Nevada, which for some unexplained reason is associated with sin, but the maps they put together for the U.S. as a whole are far more interesting, particularly the maps showing standard deviations from the mean. They arrived at these maps by finding a statistical stand-in for each sin:

  • envy is represented by thefts,
  • wrath by violent crime,
  • lust by the rate of sexually transmitted diseases,
  • gluttony by the number of fast food restaurants per capita, and so on,
  • with pride as the aggregate of the other six.

The Sun calls it “a precision party trick — rigorous mapping of ridiculous data.” More fun than useful. Via Catholicgauze.


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Egg War

The Egg War is the name given to an 1863 conflict between rival egging companies on the Farallon Islands, 25 miles off San Francisco. It was the culmination of several years of tension between the (Pacific) Egg Company, which claimed the right to collect the eggs on the islands, and several rival firms. The resulting violence claimed two lives, but left the Egg Company in sole control of the islands' eggs. Its victory was short lived; the company sold the rights to use the islands in the late 1870s and the federal government removed all egging companies from the islands in 1881.


Friday, 1 May 2009

Longest name for a person

The award for the longest name for a person belongs to a German immigrant to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The name he was given at birth, and which somehow fit on his passport was:

(First and "middle" names)
Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvim John Kenneth Loyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor Willian Xerxes Yancy Zeus

(Last name)


In case you didn't notice, he has one given name for every letter of the alphabet plus his surname. Needless to say, he shortened it, and was commonly known as Mr. Hubert Wolfe, though officially it was said that he signed his name Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr.