Thursday, 30 December 2010

How to Determine Your Hat Size

Before you purchase the perfect hat to complete your wardrobe, take careful measurement of your head to ensure that the fit is just right.

  1. Place a flexible tape measure around the circumference of your head, 1 inch above your eyebrows and around the widest part of your head.
  2. Measure the circumference at least twice to be sure that you are getting an accurate measurement.
  3. Record the measurement in inches and/or centimeters.
  4. Use a hat-sizing conversion chart to determine your exact size. These are available at hat stores, or at


Monday, 20 December 2010

Who's Got the Biggest Pencil?

Faber-Castell has a significant history in the pencil industry and has several entries in the competition for the Worlds “___est” pencil. A “Grip 2001 “ measuring 12 meters is displayed at the company’s headquarters in Stein, Germany.

Not to be outdone Faber-Castell’s Malaysian subsidiary has the Guinness Book of World Records certification achieved in November 2002 for the World’s “Longest” Pencil at 19.75 meters.

See full article at

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Coin condition and the Sheldon Scale

In coin collecting, the condition of a coin is paramount to its value; a high-quality example is often worth many times more than a poor example. Collectors have created systems to describe the overall condition of coins. In the early days of coin collecting-before the development of a large international coin market-extremely precise grades were not needed. Coins were described using only three adjectives: "good," "fine" or "uncirculated". By the mid 20th century, with the growing market for rare coins, the Sheldon system was adopted by the American Numismatic Association and most coin professionals in the North America. It uses a 1-70 numbering scale, where 70 represents a perfect specimen and 1 represents a barely identifiable coin. The Sheldon Scale uses descriptions and numeric grades for coins (from highest to lowest) is as follows

  • Mint State (MS) 60-70: Uncirculated (UNC)
  • About/Almost Uncirculated (AU) 50, 53, 55, 58
  • Extremely Fine (XF or EF) 40, 45
  • Very Fine (VF) 20, 25, 30, 35
  • Fine (F) 12, 15
  • Very Good (VG) 8, 10
  • Good (G) 4, 6
  • About Good (AG) 3
  • Fair (FA, FR) 2
  • Poor (PR, PO) 1

While the Sheldon Scale is universally acknowledged, coin experts in Europe and elsewhere often shun the numerical system, preferring to rate specimens on a purely descriptive, or adjectival, scale. Nevertheless, most grading systems use similar terminology and values and remain mutually intelligible. Damage of any sort (e. g., holes, edge dents, repairs, cleaning, re-engraving or gouges) can substantially reduce the value of a coin. Specimens are occasionally cleaned or polished in an attempt to pass them off as higher grades or as uncirculated strikes. Because of the substantially lower prices for cleaned or damaged coins, some enthusiasts specialize in their collection. When evaluating a coin, the following-often subjective-factors may be considered:

  1. "eye appeal" or the aesthetic interest of the coin;
  2. dents on the rim;
  3. unsightly scratches or other blemishes on the surface of the coin;
  4. luster;
  5. toning;
  6. level of detail retained, where a coin with full details obviously is valued higher than one with worn details.

If the coin is judged favorably in all of these criteria, it will generally be awarded a higher grade.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Alfred Hitchcock quotes

The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.

Someone once told me that every minute a murder occurs, so I don't want to waste your time, I know you want to go back to work.

In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director

When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation?, ' I say, 'Your salary.'"


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Man Changes Name to "Captain Awesome"

In a move that seems like it was lifted straight out of an episode of 'The Simpsons,' an Oregon man has legally changed his name to Captain Awesome. The name change wasn't in homage to lovable oaf Homer's brief stint as Max Power (a name so great it vaulted him into Springfield's power elite), but was instead inspired by the television show 'Chuck.' That show features a character named Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb.

Australian news site reports that Douglas Allen Smith Jr. , an unemployed cabinet maker, appeared before an Oregon judge to make it official last month. After verifying that Smith was 100% serious about the name change (and really, could anyone who wanted to be known as Captain Awesome be anything less than totally committed?), the judge approved Smith's new moniker.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

According to cognitive dissonance theory, (developed by Leon Festinger, 957) there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions).
When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviours (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behaviour, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behaviour.
Two factors affect the strength of the dissonance: the number of dissonant beliefs, and the importance attached to each belief. There are three ways to eliminate dissonance:
(1) reduce the importance of the dissonant beliefs,
(2) add more consonant beliefs that outweigh the dissonant beliefs, or
(3) change the dissonant beliefs so that they are no longer inconsistent.
Dissonance occurs most often in situations where an individual must choose between two incompatible beliefs or actions. The greatest dissonance is created when the two alternatives are equally attractive. Furthermore, attitude change is more likely in the direction of less incentive since this results in lower dissonance. In this respect, dissonance theory is contradictory to most behavioural theories which would predict greater attitude change with increased incentive (i.e., reinforcement).

Consider someone who buys an expensive car but discovers that it is not comfortable on long drives. Dissonance exists between their beliefs that they have bought a good car and that a good car should be comfortable.
Dissonance could be eliminated by

    * deciding that it does not matter since the car is mainly used for short trips (reducing the importance of the dissonant belief) or
    * focusing on the cars strengths such as safety, appearance, handling (thereby adding more consonant beliefs).

The dissonance could also be eliminated by getting rid of the car, but this behaviour is a lot harder to achieve than changing beliefs.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Black tie

Unlike white tie, which is very strictly regulated, black-tie ensembles can display more variation. In brief, the traditional components are:

  • A jacket with ribbed silk facings (usually grosgrain) on a shawl collar or peaked lapel (while a notched lapel is a popular modern choice, it is not traditionally considered correct)
  • Trousers with a single silk or satin braid covering the outer seams
  • A low-cut waistcoat or cummerbund
  • A white dress shirt with a turn-down or wing collar collar, shirt studs (optional), and cufflinks (a marcella front is traditional, but other styles are also accepted. A black ribbed silk bow tie matching the lapel facings (self-tie bow ties are preferred but not necessary)
  • Black dress socks, usually silk or fine wool
  • Black shoes, highly polished or patent leather Oxfords, or patent leather court shoes


White tie

White tie, or formal evening dress is strictly regulated, and properly comprises:

  • Black tailcoat with silk (grosgrain or satin) facings, horizontally cut-away at the front
  • Black trousers with a single stripe of satin or braid in the US or two stripes in Europe; trousers are fish-tail back, thus worn with braces instead of a belt.
  • White plain stiff-fronted cotton shirt (usually cotton marcella (US: piqué))
  • White stiff-winged collar
  • White bow tie (usually cotton marcella (US: piqué))
  • White low-cut waistcoat (usually cotton marcella (US: piqué), matching the bow tie and shirt, which should not extend below the front of the tailcoat)
  • Black silk stockings (long socks)
  • Black court shoes


Saturday, 27 November 2010

What is a Dobson Unit?

A dobson unit is the most basic measure used in ozone research.

The unit is named after G.M.B. Dobson, one of the first scientists to investigate atmospheric ozone (~1920 - 1960). He designed the 'Dobson Spectrometer' - the standard instrument used to measure ozone from the ground. The Dobson spectrometer measures the intensity of solar UV radiation at four wavelengths, two of which are absorbed by ozone and two of which are not.


Monday, 22 November 2010

Stu Ungar, poker legend

Stu Ungar is considered by most professional poker players to be the best Texas Holdem poker player who ever lived. No poker player equals Stu’s reputation, and currently the only player who could contend is Phil Ivey. Honestly he has a good chance with his WSOP main event final table.

If this were not enough, he is also widely considered to be the greatest player of gin rummy who ever lived, and gin rummy is a rather different game than poker without any bluff occurring.
Stu Ungar was so good at gin rummy and dominated his opponents so artfully than he could not find player willing to play gin for money. This is why he turned to poker and became once more the best player in his game.

Stu Ungar is the only poker player to have won the WSOP main event competition three times (Johnny Moss won three times as well by the first time was by vote). He also has the highest winning rate ever in high buy-in tournaments, winning over ten in the thirty he enrolled in.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Double First

A "double first" can refer to first-class honours in two separate subjects, e.g., Classics and Mathematics, or alternatively to first-class honours in the same subject in subsequent examinations, such as subsequent Parts of the Tripos at Cambridge. The term "double-starred first" is used at Cambridge in the same fashion. At Oxford, this term normally refers to a first-class honours in both Honour Moderations and the Final Honour School.


Monday, 15 November 2010

What is a Woodruff key?

A device with a flat top, flat sides, and a semi-circular curved bottom. Woodruff keys are used to assemble components on a shaft by fitting into a matching curved key slot.
More at

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Canon of Sherlock Holmes

Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In this context, the term "canon" is an attempt to distinguish between Doyle's original works and subsequent works by other authors using the same characters.


Monday, 8 November 2010

The Cockney Alphabet

Here we present a couple of versions of the classic Cockney alphabet. As taught to me by my grandfather. Teach it to your kids, it'll make them grow up to be well-rounded, learned individuals who can get along in any social situation.

A for Horses (or A fer Gardener - thanks David Campbell)
B for Mutton
C for Miles (or Seaforth Highlanders - thanks Geoff Firth)
D for Kate (or D fer Ential)
E for Brick
F for Lump (or F fer Vescence)
G for Police (or G for Get It)
H for Consent (or H for Bless You)
I for Novello (or I for the Engine)
J for Nice Time (or J for Oranges)
K for Restaurant
L for Leather
M for Cream (or M for Sis)
N for Lope
O for the Wings of a Dove (O for the Rainbow)
P for Relief
Q for the Loos
R for Mo (or R fer English - thanks David Campbell)
S for you, you can take a hike (or S for Rantzen)
T for Gums (or T for Two)
U for Me (or U for Mism - thanks Andrew W Llewellyn)
V for Espana
W for a Quid (or W for the Winnings)
X for Breakfast
Y for Mistress
Zee for Moiles (or Z for Wind)


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Blackwing 602

The Blackwing 602 is a discontinued model of pencil that has developed a cult following as "the best pencil ever made". It was produced by the Eberhard Faber company until 1998. Initially sold for 50 cents, Blackwings were being sold for $20 in 2006, and as of 2009 cost about $35 on E-Bay.

It was a very soft pencil with wax addition to the lead, and has been advertised as requiring only half of the usual physical effort to produce the marking. The wood was made from cedar. The pencil was used mainly by artists and writers, some of them famous, for writing text. After the pencil was discontinued, these known writers (Joseph Finder, Stephen Sondheim) tried to convince to continue production or at least said some warm words about the tool they were used to. This likely popularized the pencil, creating its cult following.

While the company says that other pencils with similar leads are available, the devotees are convinced that there is no adequate substitution.

The Blackwing used a special eraser ferrule, which required special clips that could only be manufactured by a custom-made machine. By the time Eberhard Faber was acquired by Faber-Castell in 1994, this machine was broken; however, a sufficient backstock of ferrule clips enabled Blackwing manufacture to continue until 1998. At this point, the company ceased production on the Blackwing, claiming it was not commercially successful.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

The language of darts

It is almost impossible to start to play darts without knowing some of the language which goes with the game.

  • 3 in a bed - throwing 3 darts at the same number/area on the board
  • Bag o’ nuts - score of 45
  • Bed and breakfast - score of 26
  • Downstairs - bottom of the board
  • Heinz - score of 57
  • Lord Nelson - score of 111
  • Robin Hood - sticking one dart into the back of another
  • Shanghai - hitting a single, double or triple of the same number in a row
  • Sunset strip - a score of 77 which is obtained in one throw
  • Trombones - scoring 76 in one throw
  • Wet feet - feet that have crossed the throwing line

See the full list at

Thursday, 28 October 2010

A tot of rum / Splice the mainbrace

The association of rum with the Royal Navy began in 1655 when the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica. With the availability of domestically produced rum, the British changed the daily ration of liquor given to seamen from French brandy to rum. While the ration was originally given neat, or mixed with lime juice, the practice of watering down the rum began around 1740.

To help minimize the effect of the alcohol on his sailors, Admiral Edward Vernon directed that the rum ration be watered down before being issued, a mixture which became known as grog. While it is widely believed that the term grog was coined at this time in honour of the grogram cloak Admiral Vernon wore in rough weather,the term has been demonstrated to predate his famous orders, with probable origins in the West Indies, perhaps of African etymology.

The Royal Navy continued to give its sailors a daily rum ration, known as a "tot," until the practice was abolished after July 31, 1970.

Today the rum ration (tot) is still issued on special occasions by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II order "Splice the mainbrace"! Such recent occasions have been Royal marriages/Birthdays, special anniversaries. Splice the main brace in the days of the daily ration meant double rations that day.


Monday, 25 October 2010

Narsil - the sword that was broken

Narsil, the sword of Elendil that broke beneath him when he fell in the War of the Last Alliance.
Its shards were returned to Arnor, where they were kept as an heirloom for three thousand years.
The sword was reforged as Andúril, and borne by Elendil's heir Aragorn in the War of the Ring.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Scottish Water's Top 20 weirdest things found in sewers

1) A live badger in a pumping station well at Drongan. The SSPCA rescued him and he made a full recovery.

2) A live six-foot Mexican Desert King Snake at Dunfermline waste water treatment works.

3) A live goldfish, “Pooh”, turned up at Philipshill waste water treatment works in East Kilbride and is now a permanent resident at the works after an employee donated a tank.

4) A sheep fished out of a manhole chamber.

5) A fully grown cow in the storm tank at Gatehead.

6) A deckchair.

7) False teeth - one of the most frequent items.

8) A platoon of toy soldiers appeared at the Troqueer works in Dumfries. They are now mounted on the wall in the office.

9) Mobile phones – these are getting found more often as they get smaller.

10) A live frog, recently found inside a pump right next to the propeller. When workers removed the lid he just hopped out and was on his way.

11) A pair of trousers at Kirkcaldy waste water treatment works.

12) An Action Man figure, still wearing his boots.

13) An orange that had been flushed down the loo.

14) Rings turn up frequently and are handed in to Police.

15) Watches also turn up frequently and are handed into Police.

16) A traffic cone.

17) A football.

18) A fully functioning clothes iron.

19) Timber – from a railway sleeper to small chunks of wood.

20) A parcel trolley.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Club sandwich

A club sandwich, also called a clubhouse sandwich or double-decker, is a sandwich with two layers of fillings between 3 slices of bread. It is often cut into quarters and held together by cocktail sticks.

The traditional club ingredients are turkey on the bottom layer, and bacon, lettuce, and tomato on the top, sometimes specifically named a turkey club.

Other common club sandwiches generally vary the bottom layer, for example a "chicken club" or a "roast beef club".

Variations might include ham (instead of bacon), egg and/or additional cheese slices.

As with a BLT sandwich, the club sandwich is usually served on toasted bread.

Mayonnaise and mustard and sometimes honey-mustard are common condiments.

It is thought that the club sandwich was invented in an exclusive Saratoga Springs, New York, gambling club in the late 19th century by a maverick line cook named Danny Mears.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Anatomy of a needle

The key features of a standard machine needle are called out below. Their configuration varies from needle type to type.

Shank Top of needle that inserts into machine; most often has round front and flat back, which seats needle in right position.

Shaft Body of needle below shank. Shaft thickness determines needle size.

Front groove Slit above needle eye, should be large enough to "cradle" thread for smooth stitches.

Point Needle tip that penetrates fabric to pass thread to bobbin-hook and form stitch. Shape of point varies among needle types.

Scarf Indentation at back of needle. A long scarf helps eliminate skipped stitches by allowing bobbin hook to loop thread more easily. A shorter scarf requires a more perfectly timed machine.

Eye Hole in end of needle through which thread passes. Needle size and type determine size and shape of eye.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

History Test

The following were answers provided by 6th graders during a history test. Watch the spelling!

1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

2. Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

3. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

4. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

5. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

6. In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java.

7. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul . The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus."

8. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw.

9. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah."

10. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

11. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet.

12. Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

13. Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence . Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

14. Abraham Lincoln became America 's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865 , Lincoln went to the theatre and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

15. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.

16. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

17. The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered the radio. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers

from uk.rec.humour

Monday, 4 October 2010

Pandora's Pithos

The mistranslation of pithos, a large storage jar, as "box" is usually attributed to the sixteenth century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam when he translated Hesiod's tale of Pandora into Latin. Hesiod's pithos refers to a large storage jar, often half-buried in the ground, used for wine, oil or grain.

It can also refer to a funerary jar.

Erasmus, however, translated pithos into the Latin word pyxis, meaning "box". The phrase "Pandora's box" has endured ever since.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Sentence spacing

Sentence spacing is the horizontal space between sentences in typeset text.

Since the introduction of movable-type printing in Europe, various typographical conventions have been used in languages with a Latin-derived alphabet, including a normal word space (as between the words in a sentence), a single enlarged space, and two full spaces.

Although modern digital fonts can automatically set up visually pleasing and consistent spacing following terminal punctuation, most debate is about whether to strike a keyboard's spacebar once or twice between sentences.

Until the 20th century, publishing houses and printers in many countries used single, but enlarged, spaces between sentences. There were exceptions to this traditional spacing method-printers in some countries preferred single spacing. This was French spacing.

Double spacing, or placing two spaces between sentences, then came into widespread use with the introduction of the typewriter.

From around 1950, single sentence spacing became standard in books, magazines, newspapers, and webpages. Regardless, many still believe that double spaces are correct.

The majority of style guides opt for a single space after terminal punctuation for final and published work.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Signs that Your Computer is Poorly Organized

If your computer is a mess, you’re probably already aware of it. But just in case you’re not, here are some tell-tale signs:

  • Your Desktop has over 40 icons on it
  • “My Documents” contains over 300 files and 60 folders, including MP3s and digital photos
  • You use the Windows’ built-in search facility whenever you need to find a file
  • You can’t find programs in the out-of-control list of programs in your Start Menu
  • You save all your Word documents in one folder, all your spreadsheets in a second folder, etc
  • Any given file that you’re looking for may be in any one of four different sets of folders

See the full article at</A< a>

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Tír na nÓg

Tír na nÓg; roughly meaning "Land of Youth") is the most popular of the Otherworlds in Irish mythology.

It is perhaps best known from the story of Oisín, one of the few mortals who lived there, who was said to have been brought there by Niamh of the Golden Hair. It was where the Tuatha Dé Danann settled when they left Ireland's surface, and was visited by some of Ireland's greatest heroes.

Tír na nÓg is similar to other mythical Irish lands such as Mag Mell and Ablach.


Monday, 20 September 2010

English the funniest language

We will begin with BOX and the plural is BOXES.
But the plural OX should be OXEN and not OXES.
Then one fowl is GOOSE but two are GEESE.
Yet the plural of MOUSE should never be MEESE.
You may find a lone MOUSE or a whole set of MICE.
But the plural of HOUSE is HOUSES not HICE.
If plural of MAN be always MEN
Why shouldn’t the plural for PAN be PEN?
If I speak of a FOOT and then you show me your FEET.
And I give a BOOT, would a pair be called BEET?
If one is TOOTH and a whole set are TEETH,
Why shouldn’t the plural of BOOTH be BEETH?
The one may be THAT and three may be THOSE.
Yet HAT in the plural would never be HOSE.
And the plural CAT is CATS not COSE.
We speak of BROTHER and also BRETHEREN.
But though we say MOTHER we never say MOTHEREN.
Then the masculine pronouns are HE, HIS and HIM
But imagine the feminine SHE, SHIS and SHIM!!
So English, I fancy, you will agree Is the FUNNIEST LANGUAGE you ever did see!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Is Dracula an Epistolary Novel?

An epistolary novel is also called a novel of letters, because the narration takes place in the form of letters, possibly journal entries, and occasionally newspaper reports. An epistle is an archaic term for a letter. The epistolary novel is an interesting literary technique, because it allows a writer to include multiple narrators in his or her story. This means the story can be told and interpreted from numerous viewpoints.

The first true epistolary novel was the 17th century work, Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister penned by Aphra Behn. Unlike many novels to follow, several volumes of the work also include the voice of a narrator, who ties together letters and comments on all of the characters. This aspect would disappear in later works when the epistolary novel became popular in the 18th century.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is also considered an epistolary novel that is very effective and continues to capture the imagination of modern audiences.

See full article at

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Norman goes to the Timber Yard

The variety of timber in a specialist yard is far greater than “sheds”. The range of mouldings, (architraves, skirtings, beads, etc.), the species of timber, from redwoods to mahogany, the widths, the lengths. You just don’t get this at “Wickesbase”.

See full article at

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Socratic method

The Socratic method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defence of one point of view is pitted against the defence of another; one participant may lead another to contradict him in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point.


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Rohan, Riddermark & the Mark

Rohan is a realm in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy era of Middle-earth. It is a grassland which lies north of its ally Gondor and north-west of Mordor, the realm of Sauron, their enemy (see maps of Middle-earth). It is inhabited by the Rohirrim, a people of herdsmen and farmers who are well-known for their horses and cavalry.

Rohan is also referred to as Riddermark or the Mark. The realm is of significant importance in the author's most famous book, The Lord of the Rings.


Snooker Etiquette / Gamesmanship

Some negative "gamesmanship" behaviour that has been observed over the years

  1. Do you ever stand by the pocket that your opponent is attempting to pot a ball into?
  2. Do you ever chalk your cue "loudly" as your opponent is taking their shot?
  3. Do you ever talk to your opponent in the hope that you can reduce the effectiveness of their concentration or their performance?
  4. Do you ever find yourself rushing around the table as your opponent is making a break and ending up accused of interfering with his line of sight?
  5. Do you continuously complain about your luck so that eventually your opponent reduces their concentration due to your ever readiness to complain about their good fortune or your bad?
  6. Do you ever talk to bystanders perhaps asking if a particular ball goes in order to disrupt an opponent’s concentration?
  7. Do you ever refuse to accept that you have committed a fowl, perhaps by lightly touching a ball and then not admitting it?
  8. Do you ever question the scoreboard or make inaccurate movements of the pointers to benefit your position?
  9. Do you ever make unnecessary fuss about re-spotting balls to distract your opponent?
  10. Do you ever deliberately miss-announce the score as your opponent is on a break in order to disrupt his concentration?


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) is a scale intended to measure daytime sleepiness that is measured by use of a very short questionnaire. This can be helpful in diagnosing sleep disorders. It was introduced in 1991 by Dr Murray Johns of Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

The questionnaire asks the subject to rate his or her probability of falling asleep on a scale of increasing probability from 0 to 3 in eight different situations.The scores for the eight questions are added to obtain a single number. A number in the range 0–9 is considered to be normal while a number in the range 10–24 is considered to indicate that specialist medical advice should be recommended.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What is Vultures Row?

Simply put Vultures Row is the observation area(s) located on the island of an aircraft carrier. From these vantage points you can observe flight deck operations.


Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Balrog is come

The ranks of the orcs had opened, and they crowded away, as if they themselves were afraid. Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.

It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.

'Ai! ai! ' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come! '

Gimli stared with wide eyes. `Durin's Bane! ' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.

'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. `Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. `What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'

The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, The Fellowship of the Ring, the Lord of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, 15 August 2010

“August Seven”, "August seventh" or "August the seventh"

A reader asks why it is (as it seems to him) increasingly common for Americans to say "August seven" instead of "August seventh" or "August the seventh" for 08/07/09 ("Coming August seven to a theater near you!"). I have done no investigation on this (it would need intensive quantitative corpus study over dated corpora that do not have Google's propensity for collapsing common typographical variants). The reader may be wrong to think the practice has been increasing: the Recency Effect has not been repealed. So I offer nothing but the following observation. For some time there has been a trend toward abolishing typographical clutter in print ("Mr Jones" for "Mr. Jones"; even "ie" and "eg" for "i.e." and "e.g."), particularly though not exclusively in published American English; and American English also idiomatically eliminates various prepositions here and there (as in "See you Tuesday" for "See you on Tuesday"). If such abbreviatory practices led to writing "7″ for "7th" or "the 7th", spelling pronunciation might be responsible for the resultant habit spreading in spoken American English.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Paprika Hendl

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh.  Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.
from Jonathan Harker's Journal, Dracula by Bram Stoker

Recipe. Brown chicken in olive oil in large cast iron skillet or stockpot. And add diced onions to skillet/pot. Brown onions and stir in 1/2 the paprika. Add V-8 juice and place chicken over onions. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour. Beat flour and remaining paprika into sour cream. Fold this into chicken. Cover and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with dumplings, or pasta, or potatoes.
Full details at

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Am not shewer what tha's on abaht owd lad

There is the West Yorkshire dialect which uses these old forms, as in a conversation that would be heard on many a doorstep in Heckmondwike:

"What's tha got wi thi nah"?
"Well it dunt look like nowt t'me, it looks a reyt mullock".
"Ah fan it aht laikin".
"Look at at the state of thi, tha'd better get thissen t'bed afore thi fatther cums ooam".
"Am bahn nah. Neet".

It would be understood by most northerners - and probably a lot of non-northerners in the UK in speech, in real life, in a dramatic presentation or in writing.

from alt.usage.english

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Steve Wright One Liners

It doesn't matter what temperature the room is, it's always room temperature.

I got a dog and named him 'Stay'. Now, I go 'Come here, Stay!' After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.

Right now I'm having amnesia and deja-vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.

Sponges grow in the ocean. I wonder how much deeper the oceans would be if that didn't happen.

In school, every period ends with a bell. Every sentence ends with a period. Every crime ends with a sentence.

I have an answering machine in my car. It says "I'm home now. But leave a message and I'll call when I'm out."


Monday, 26 July 2010

Why Hollywood?

The film industry’s move to Hollywood, early on in the 20th century, was not entirely an accident.

Out west, good weather was more constant, the light better and the scenery more varied than on the East Coast.

Hollywood, then still a sleepy hamlet 10 miles north of Los Angeles, was conveniently central between the bustling city and the natural splendour further afield.

See more at

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The world’s largest printed atlas of the sky

The Great Atlas of the Sky, Jubilee Edition, is the world’s largest printed atlas of the entire sky, available on the market. It comprises of 296 maps, each covering the area of 15°x10°. The size of the maps is 24x17 inches (61x43 cm), and their scale is 1.38 inch/° (35 mm/°).

A total of 2,430,768 stars, up to the stellar magnitude of 12, are plotted on the maps of the Atlas, in addition to over 70,000 galaxies, clusters and nebulae.

Maps are inserted in the special binding allowing for easy removal of the maps. Once placed in the dedicated protective film, the map can be used outdoors, without risking damage to the map. The Atlas is supplied with a grid film that facilitates the finding of precise coordinates of every point on the map and to plot objects of known coordinates, e.g. current position of comets taken from ephemerides.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Bogan, Chav, Ned, etc

The term bogan (rhymes with "slogan") is Australian and New Zealand English slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for a person who is perceived to be from a lower class background or someone whose limited education, speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies such a background.

Similar slang terms and concepts exist in other countries, including:

  • chav in England; 
  • ned in Scotland; 
  • scanger in Ireland; 
  • zef in South Africa; 
  • tokkie in Holland; 
  • Proll in Germany; 
  • red neck in North America;
  • Ars in Israel; and 
  • Gopnik in Russia.

A derivation of the term is "cashed-up bogan" (CUB) which emerged during the economic boom of the early 21st century.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Symptoms of Anatidaephobia can include:
* A Dry Mouth
* Gasping or Shortness of Breath
* Muscle Tension
* Overall Trembling
* Hyperventilation
* Feeling Out of Control
* Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
* Overwhelming Feeling of Impending Disaster

What is it, you ask? Fear of being watched by a duck!.


Friday, 9 July 2010

The Great ...

Alexander the Great
Alfred the Great, the king of Wessex
Canute the Great
Cyrus the Great
Llywelyn the Great
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Comet of 1882
The Great Exhibition
The Great Lakes Storm of 1913
The Great Masticator, Fletcher
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
The Great Plague of 1665
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Red Spot
The Great Rift Valley
The Great Salt Lake
The Great Wall of China
The Great White Shark

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Types of Hats


A balmoral is a traditional Scottish hat that features a pompom on the top and a checkered band.

Baseball Cap

A baseball cap is a popular casual hat worn by people of all ages.


A beanie is also known as a knit cap, skully or stocking cap. Whatever you call it, a beanie is a popular choice in hats in the winter.


A beret is a round hat that is usually made of soft wool.

Boonie Hat

A boonie hat normally features camouflage print fabric and has a stiff, wide brim.

Bowler Hat

The bowler hat is also known as a "derby" in the United States.

Bucket Hat

Gilligan isn't the only one who wears a bucket hat. Bucket hats are popular among men and women as a casual hat that offers sun protection.


You probably have seen the capuchon hat worn at Mardi Gras. This party hat is decorated using vibrant colors, designs and textures.

Cloche Hat

Popular in the 1920s, the cloche hat has become fashionable again in recent years.

Cowboy Hat

The cowboy hat is a fashionable and functional hat. Many men and women wear cowboy or western hats on a regular basis.


You may associate the fedora with Indiana Jones or gangsters. However, these soft felt hats are a popular choice among many men.


A fez is a hat that is the shape of an abridged cone. Of Greek origins, this hat is not commonly worn today.

Newsboy Cap

Newsboy caps, also known as baker boy caps, were popular around the turn of the century. They have made a return back into style in recent years.

Panama Hat

The Panama hat is traditionally made using the Toquilla straw plant.

Porkpie Hat

The porkpie hat is part of the classic attire of American jazz and blues musicians. It has a short, indented top and sometimes has a band.

Top Hat

Abraham Lincoln was the first American to popularize the top hat and it later became popular among many men in the 19th and early 20th century.

Trilby Hat

Celebrities from Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake have popularized the trilby hat in modern times.


Monday, 5 July 2010

How to Get a Drink at a Busy Bar

1. Always, always, tip.

2. Know what you’re going to order before you start yelling for service.

3. Don't call the bartender Chief, Boss, Bro, Scout, Partner, Dude…

4. Don’t stand at the server station.

5. Be a regular.

See full article at

Sunday, 4 July 2010

3 pigs

This is a true story, indicating how fascinating the mind of a six year old is. They think so logically.

A teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to her class. She came to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home.

She read, "... and so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said, 'Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'"

The teacher paused...... then asked the class, "And what do you think the man said?"

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly "I think the man would have said, 'Well, f**k me! A talking pig!'"

The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

More True Family Fortunes and Other Quiz Answers

Greg Scott: We're looking for an occupation beginning with 'T'.
Contestant: Doctor.
Scott: No, it's 'T'. 'T' for Tommy. 'T' for Tango.
Contestant: Oh, right . . . (pause) ... . . Doctor.

Kelly: Which French Mediterranean town hosts a famous film festival every year?
Contestant: I don't know, I need a clue.
Kelly: OK. What do beans come in?
Contestant: Cartons?

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester.

Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm.
White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're ... . .?
Contestant: Strong.
White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis.
White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy?
Contestant: France.
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

DJ Mark: For Pounds 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

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

Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

Presenter: What is the name of the long- running TV comedy show about pensioners: Last Of The ...?
Caller: Mohicans.

Greg Scott: We're looking for a word that goes in front of 'clock'.
Contestant: Grandfather.
Scott: Grandfather clock is already up there, say something else.
Contestant: Panda.

Phil: What's 11 squared?
Contestant: I don't know.
Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?

Q: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
A: Forrest Gump.

Leslie: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er . . .
Leslie: He makes bread .. .
Contestant: Er . . .
Leslie: He makes cakes .. .
Contestant: Kipling Street?

Presenter: In what year was President Kennedy assassinated?
Contestant: Erm .. .
Presenter: Well, let's put it this way - he didn't see 1964.
Contestant: 1965?

Phil Tufnell: How many Olympic Games have been held?
Contestant: Six.
Tufnell: Higher!
Contestant: Five.

Jodie Marsh: Arrange these two groups of letters to form a word - CHED and PIT.
Team: Chedpit.

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.

Presenter: How many toes would three people have in total?
Contestant: 23.

NOTTS AND CROSSES QUIZ (BBC RADIO NOTTINGHAM) Jeff Owen: In which country is Mount Everest?
Contestant (long pause): Er, it's not in Scotland, is it?

Girdler: I'm looking for an island in the Atlantic whose name includes the letter 'e'.
Contestant: Ghana.
Girdler: No, listen. It's an island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Contestant: New Zealand.

Question: What is the world's largest continent?
Contestant: The Pacific

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta.

O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... er ... er ... three?

Eamonn Holmes: There are three states of matter: solid, liquid and what?
Contestant: Jelly.

Allinson: What international brand shares its name with the Greek goddess of victory?
Contestant (after long deliberation): Erm, Kellogg's?

Girl: Name a book written by Jane Austen.
Boy: Charlotte Bronte.

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?

Ulrika Jonsson: Who wrote Lord of the Rings?
Contestant: Enid Blyton

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

Eamonn Holmes: Dizzy Gillespie is famous for playing . ... what?
Contestant: Basketball.

Jeff Owen: Where did the D-Day landings take place?
Contestant (after pause): Pearl Harbor?

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

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?

Dale Winton: Skegness is a seaside resort on the coast of which sea:a) Irish Sea, b) English Channel, c) North Sea?
Contestant: Oh, I know that, you can start writing out the cheque now,
Dale. It's on the east coast, so it must be the Irish Sea.

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?
Contestant: Jewish.
Presenter: That's close enough.

Chris Moyles: Which 'S' is a kind of whale that can grow up to 80 tonnes?
Contestant: Ummm .. .
Moyles: It begins with 'S' and rhymes with 'perm'.
Contestant: Shark.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

10 Office Rules

10. Never walk without a document -- People with documents look like hardworking employees headed to important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're headed for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they're headed for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you really do.

9. Use computers to look busy -- Any time you use a computer, it looks like "work" to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, chat and have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren't exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about, but they're not bad either. When you get caught by your boss -- and you will get caught -- your best defense is to claim you're teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.

8. Messy desk -- only top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we're not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year's work looks the same as today's work; it's volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you'll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

7. Voice mail -- Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don't call you just because they want to give you something for nothing -- they call because they want YOU to do work for THEM. That's no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they're not there -- it looks like you're hardworking and conscientious even though you're being a devious weasel.

6. Look impatient and annoyed -- According to George Costanza, one should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give off the impression that you're always busy.

5. Leave the office late -- Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and storybooks that you always wanted to read. Make sure you walk past the boss' room on your way out. Send important e-mails at unearthly hours (i.e. 9:35pm, 7:05am, etc.) and during public holidays.

4. Creative sighing for effect -- Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

3. Stacking strategy -- It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor, etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).

2. Build vocabulary -- Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember, they don't have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.

1. MOST IMPORTANT -- DON'T forward this to your boss by mistake!


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Attractive Andersen afeard ....

"Attractive Andersen afeard aggressive Acherontia acquiring advancing arsenal."

The above sentence is composed entirely of words that appear only once in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Top 10 Worst Student Essay Topics


The Lighter Side of Grammar & Composition

By Richard Nordquist, Guide

10. OMGYG2BK: A Twitter Essay in 23 Tweets

9. How I Spent My Summer Vacation Trying to Make Up Interesting Stuff to Write About My Summer Vacation

8. Bet You Can't Tell That I Bought This Essay for 20 Bucks on!

7. Creative Corporate Communications: The Bottom Line Set in Stone Outside the Box at the End of the Day

6. Poke Me on Facebook, Doc, and I Promise to Quit Stalking You

5. A Descriptive Essay About That Mushy Blue Thing on My Grandpa's Big Toe

4. Would You Still Have Become an English Major If You Knew That You'd End Up Reading Student Essays for the Rest of Your Life?

3. A Wikipedia Research Paper: How Noah and Joan of Ark Met Thomas and Weezie Jefferson in the Olive Garden of Eden

2. The Top 10 Top 10 Lists on My Top 10 Favorite Websites

1. When You Say "Compose a 500 Word Essay," Do You Mean 500 Different Words, or Can We Repeat the Same Word Over and Over and Over--and Do the Words in the Title Count?


Thursday, 17 June 2010


bodge, v. — To improvise in the repairing or construction of material objects, often employing work man ship or materials of a less than satisfactory standard.

A British slang term, the Oxford English Dictionary links it to botch, in the sense of repairing some thing badly. Its most common use is probably for home repairs or otherwise indifferently per formed “do it your self” projects.

Originally a Bodger was a pole lathe worker, who made wooden goods from green wood, such as chair legs or candle sticks. These hand made chair legs were not of a lesser standard, and would be sold on to furniture factories for assembly. This craft industry still exists, although not to service the mass production furniture industry.

It can be generally used as a synonym for hack or kludge.


Saturday, 12 June 2010


The cheroot or stogie is a cylindrical cigar with both ends clipped during manufacture. Since cheroots do not taper, they are inexpensive to roll mechanically, and their low cost makes them particularly popular.

The term stogie is often misused to refer to any cigar with a foul stench, or as slang, to a cigarette.

Many stogies are made of flavored tobaccos, and given that a stogie may last a half hour, as opposed to the 2–8 minutes that a cigarette typically lasts, there can be quite a pungent and pervasive aroma produced.

The word stogie is short for Conestoga. The cigar was the smoke of choice for teamsters driving Conestoga wagons in the cigar-making Conestoga valley area around Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

"Elementary, my dear Watson" and other Famous Misquotations

"Elementary, my dear Watson" - Sherlock Holmes

This phrase was never uttered by the character in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's written works. Though "Elementary," and " dear Watson." both do appear near the beginning of The Crooked Man (1893), it is the " dear Watson" that appears first, and "Elementary" is the succinct reply to Watson's exclamation a few lines of dialogue later. This is the closest these four immortal words ever appear together in the canon.

The association of this quote with the Sherlock Holmes character likely comes from the closing lines of the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

"The end justifies the means" - Machiavelli

Attributed to the political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli's work The Prince. The line is actually from a book in which a fictional Machiavelli is a character.

"Play it again, Sam" - Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca)

Actual quote: "Play it Sam, for old times' sake, play 'As Time Goes By'."

"My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump

This famous line is spoken by Tom Hanks, playing Forrest Gump in the 1994 film of the same name. However, in Winston Groom's original novel, the "box of chocolates" line is rather different: "Bein' an idiot ain't no box of chocolates." Groom reportedly dislikes the change.

See more at

Friday, 4 June 2010


SOS is the commonly used description for the international Morse code distress signal (· · · — — — · · ·).

This distress signal was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1, 1905, and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, which was signed on November 3, 1906 and became effective on July 1, 1908. SOS remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. SOS is still recognized as a visual distress signal.

From the beginning, the SOS distress signal has actually consisted of a continuous sequence of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits, all run together without letter spacing. In International Morse Code, three dits form the letter S, and three dahs make the letter O, so "SOS" became an easy way to remember the correct order of the dits and dahs. In modern terminology, SOS is a Morse "procedural signal" or "prosign", and the formal way to write it is with a bar above the letters.

In popular usage, SOS became associated with phrases such as "save our ship" or "save our souls". These were a later development, most likely used to help remember the correct letters (a backronym). As the SOS signal is a prosign, its respective letters have no inherent meaning per se, it was simply chosen due to it being easy to remember.

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Top 20 Western Movie Themes


1. A Man With Harmonica ( Once Upon A Time In West -1968) by Ennio Morricone

2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) by Ennio Morricone

3. Once Upon A Time in West (1968) by Ennio Morricone

4. For a Few Dollars More (1965) by Ennio Morricone

5. High Noon (1952) by Dimitri Tiomkin

6. A Fistful of Dollars (1964) by Ennio Morricone

7. Unforgiven (1992) by Lennie Niehaus

8. The Magnificent Seven (1960) by Elmer Bernstein

9. Rio Bravo (1959) by Dimitri Tiomkin

10. Johny Guitar (1954) by Victor Young

11. How The West Was Won (1962) by Alfred Newman

12. My Name Is Nobody (1973) by Ennio Morricone

13. Wand'rin' Star - Paint Your Wagon (1969) by Frederick Loewe and Nelson Riddle

14. The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford (2007) by Nick Cave Warren Ellis

15.Alamo (1960) by Dimitri Tiomkin

16. Comancheros (1961) by Elmer Bernstein

17. The Big Country (1958) by Jerome Moross

18. Ride the High Country (1962) by George Bassman

19. Dances with Wolves (1990) by John Barry

20. Wyatt Earp (1994) by James Newton Howard


Thursday, 27 May 2010

Good password?

I was told my password had to be at least 8 characters long and include one capital

I used - MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofyLondon

from uk.rec.humour

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Beware the Office Refrigerator!

One great way to save money is to bring your own lunch to work, and more people are doing so in these tough times. Unfortunately, that means tangling with that workplace battlefield known as the office fridge ...  and the lunch thieves ... 

Do not, as many suggest, consider adding unpleasant substances to your lunch to trap the thief. If you actually like sardine, marshmallow and jalapeno sandwiches, it’s the thief’s problem if she gets nauseated. If a thief with a peanut allergy goes into anaphylactic shock after munching on your chicken satay, you’re not responsible, either. But if a lunch thief becomes ill after a meal that you yourself would not eat, you will not only get fired, you will face criminal charges. In the 1990s, The Press-Enterprise reported on a California nurse who was charged with a felony after she spiked her own water bottle with formalin, sending her thirsty, thieving co-worker to the hospital for two days.

See full article at

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Jury Tampering

Jury tampering is the crime of unduly attempting to influence the composition and/or decisions of a jury during the course of a trial.

The means by which this crime could be perpetrated can include attempting to discredit potential jurors to ensure they will not be selected for duty. Once selected, jurors could be bribed or intimidated to act in a certain manner on duty. It could also involve making unauthorized contact with them for the purpose of introducing prohibited outside information and then arguing for a mistrial.


Friday, 14 May 2010

Jury Rig

Jury rigging refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand.

Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast.


Monday, 10 May 2010

Types of forks


  • Beef fork
A fork used for picking up very thin slices of meat. This fork is shaped like a regular fork, but it is slightly bigger and the tines are curved outward. The curves are used for piercing the thin sliced beef.
  • Berry fork
  • Carving fork
A two-pronged fork used to hold meat steady while it is being carved. They are often sold with carving knives or slicers as part of a carving set.
  • Cheese fork
  • Chip fork
A two-pronged disposable fork, usually made out of sterile wood (though increasingly of plastic), specifically designed for the eating of chips (known as french fries in North America).
  • Cocktail fork
A small fork resembling a trident, used for spearing cocktail garnishes such as olives.
  • Cold meat fork
  • Crab fork
A short, sharp and narrow three-pronged or two-pronged fork designed to easily extract meat when consuming cooked crab.
  • Dessert fork (or Pudding fork in Great Britain)
Any of several different special types of forks designed to eat desserts, such as a pastry fork. They usually have only three tines and are smaller than standard dinner forks.
  • Dinner fork
  • Fish fork
  • Fondue fork
A narrow fork, usually having two tines, long shaft and an insulating handle, typically of wood, for dipping bread into a pot containing sauce
A utensil combining characteristics of a knife and a fork
  • Meat fork
  • Olive fork
  • Oyster fork
  • Pastry fork
  • Pickle fork
A long handled fork used for extracting pickles from a jar
  • Pie fork
  • Relish fork
  • Salad fork
  • Sporf
A utensil combining characteristics of a spoon, a fork and a knife
A utensil combining characteristics of a spoon and a fork
  • Tea fork
  • Toasting fork
A fork, usually having two tines, very long metal shaft and sometimes an insulating handle, for toasting food over coals or an open flame
Novelty forks
  • Spaghetti fork
A fork with a metal shaft loosely fitted inside a hollow plastic handle. The shaft protrudes through the top of the handle, ending in a bend that allows the metal part of the fork to be easily rotated with one hand while the other hand is holding the plastic handle. This supposedly allows spaghetti to be easily wound onto the tines.

See also


Friday, 7 May 2010

Word meaning unchanged by addition of 'in'




Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Bayesian Bomb

Bayes' theorem

In probability theory, Bayes' theorem shows the relation between one conditional probability and its inverse; for example, the probability of a hypothesis given observed evidence and the probability of that evidence given the hypothesis.

It is named for Rev. Thomas Bayes (pronounced /bejz/) and often called Bayes' law or Bayes' rule.

See full article at

1966 Palomares B-52 crash

The Palomares Incident or 1966 Palomares B-52 crash occurred on January 17, 1966, when a B-52G bomber of the USAF Strategic Air Command collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refuelling at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. The KC-135 was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four crew members. The B-52G broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.

Of the four Mk28 type hydrogen bombs the B-52G carried, three were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, Almería, Spain. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impacting the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 2-square-kilometer (490-acre) (0.78 square mile) area by radioactive plutonium (akin to a dirty bomb explosion). The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a 2½ month-long search.

The search for the fourth bomb was carried out by means of a novel mathematical method, Bayesian search theory, led by Dr. John Craven. This method assigns probabilities to individual map grid squares, then updates these as the search progresses. Initial probability input is required for the grid squares, and these probabilities made use of the fact that a local fisherman, Francisco Simó Orts,popularly known since then as "Paco el de la bomba" ("Bomb Frankie"), witnessed the bomb entering the water at a certain location.

See full article at

Monday, 26 April 2010

Chinese Woman Grows Big Horn on Her Head

Chinese woman Zhang Ruifang, aged 101, has become a star in her Linlou village, Henan province. The elderly woman grew a horn on her forehead, above her left eye a year ago. Now the woman grows another horn – above the right eye, Express Gazeta wrote.


Saturday, 24 April 2010


Asterisms are star-shapes which aren't constellations in their own right, but are instantly recognisable to amateur astronomers who invariably find their way around the night sky by referencing them.

An asterism is a familiar (to night-sky watchers) group of stars which forms a pattern and the stars aren't part of a related cluster but just a chance alignment.

See full article at

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Witch Trials - Salem or Danvers?

If you’re feeling really brave, take a trip to see the grounds of the Salem witch trials in person.

Be warned: If you journey to quaint Salem, Mass. , to explore witch-hunting sites, you’ll be disappointed. After the witch trials took place, Salem Village changed its name to Danvers . If you do find yourself in the area, however, you’ll still get to see some nifty exhibitions dedicated to the witch trials. See the Salem Wax Museum , or visit The Salem Witch Museum , which hosts tours of Danvers and the surrounding towns affected by the witch trials.

See full article at

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Perfect pangrams - phrases using exactly 26 letters of the alphabet

Some perfect pangrams (containing exactly twenty-six letters) have been written but they rely on obscure words and border on the non-sensical.

Cwm fjord-bank glyphs vext quiz
(an eccentric's annoyance at finding ancient inscriptions on the side of a fiord in a valley).

Vext cwm fly zing jabs Kurd qoph
(an annoyed fly in a valley, humming shrilly, pokes at the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet drawn by a Kurd).

Nth black fjords vex Qum gyp wiz
(an esteemed Iranian shyster was provoked when he was cheated: an alleged seaside ski resort he purchased turned out to be a glacier of countless oil-abundant fiords).

Blowzy night-frumps vex'd Jack Q (self explanatory)


Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Since the mid 1990s, the practice of sagging has been popular at times among young men and boys.

This fashion trend consists of wearing the trousers very low on the hips, often exposing the underwear and buttocks of the wearer.

This urban style, which has roots tracing to prison gangs and the prohibition of belts in prison (due to their use as weapons and devices for suicide) has remained popular into the 21st century, particularly among pubescent boys.


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Read the Riot Act

Because the authorities were required to read the proclamation that referred to the Riot Act before they could enforce it, the expression "to read the Riot Act" entered into common language as a phrase meaning "to reprimand severely", with the added sense of a stern warning. The phrase remains in everyday use in English.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

A trip down memory lane

The the houses were numbered 64K, 128K, 256K, 512K and 1MB. 

from uk.rec.humour

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Irreversible binomials (part 2)

... another thing to note about toasties/toasted sandwiches is the order in which their fillings are listed. In the US, I'd have a toasted cheese or a toasted bacon and cheese, whereas in the UK, I'd be more likely to have a cheese and bacon. In both countries, it would be cheese and tomato (though, of course, the pronunciation of tomato would differ). These are what is known in the linguistics trade as "irreversible binomials": two words on either side of a conjunction (and in these cases) that idiomatically occur in a particular order. So, one says bread and butter rather than butter and bread and gin and tonic rather than tonic and gin. A generali{s/z}ation that one can usually make about such food binomials is that the first item is the one that's more "substantive"--the "meat", as it were, in the formula (hence meat and potatoes/meat and two veg, not potatoes and meat or two veg and meat). So, the gin is the stronger item in gin and tonic and it goes first, and bread is the heart of the bread-and-butter combination.

See full article at

Friday, 26 March 2010

Smart comments about bad umpiring

AFL: John Kennedy was asked about the standard of umpiring after Hawthorn had done it tough.

"Normally I have no comment, but today I have no comment whatsoever!"

And Rugby League legend Roy Masters' reply to the same question:

"I've always had a policy of never criticising bad umpiring!"

from uk.rec.humour

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Types of Mustaches (Mousetaches)


A thick and wide mustache, usually worn long to cover the top border of the upper lip.


A narrow mustache with long points bent or curved steeply upward. Named for artist Salvador Dali.


A narrow divided mustache that begins at the middle of the upper lip, with long whiskers pulled to either side of the center. The areas beyond the corners of the mouth are typically shaved.

Fu manchu

A mustache that begins on the upper lip and whose whiskers are grown very long to extend down each side of the mouth down to the to jaw. The areas just past the corners of the mouth are shaven, thus differentiating this style from the "horseshoe" (see below).


A handlebar mustache can be worn large or small ("petit handlebar"); it is characterized by the fact that it is bushy and must be worn long enough to curl the ends upward, which is usually achieved with styling wax.


A full moustache with vertical extensions grown on the corners of the lips and down the sides of the mouth to the jawline, resembling an upside-down horseshoe. The whiskers grown along the sides of the mouth in the horseshoe are sometimes referred to as "pipes." Not to be confused with the "fu manchu" which is grown long from the upper lip only-- the sides remain shaven in the fu manchu.


A large mustache growing from both the upper lip and cheeks, whiskers from the cheeks are styled pointing upward.


A mustache similar to the "painter's brush," but with corners angled slightly, resembling the shape of a lampshade.

Painter's brush

A thick mustache covering the width of the mouth, usually worn short, with slightly rounded corners.


A thin, narrow, closely clipped mustache that outlines the upper lip. Pencil style mustaches can be trimmed in different manners (see below). Also sometimes called a "mouthbrow."


A general name for mustaches shaped narrow on top and wide on the bottom, like a pyramid. Pyramidal mustaches can be shaped in a variety of ways, as shown below.


A thick mustache, shaved to be about an inch wide in the center.


A large, bushy, droopy mustache that hangs down over the lips, often entirely covering the mouth.


Saturday, 13 March 2010

How to Cook Something in the Dishwasher

An oven is an insulated box with a heating element inside. Looked at that way, is the dishwasher that much different? Sure it has spray arms for water and uses soap, but it is also insulated and has a heating element. That makes it an oven—with a few extra features thrown in.

Cooking in the dishwasher is not much different than baking; you just need to keep the food from getting soapy.

Go to to see how to make dishwasher chicken, hot dogs, or vegetables

Sunday, 7 March 2010

These are sentences actually typed by Medical secretaries

1. The patient has no previous history of suicides.
2. Patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital.
3. Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.
4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.
5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
6. On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.
7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
9. Discharge status:- Alive, but without my permission.
10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert, but forgetful.
11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
12. She is numb from her toes down.
13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.
14. The skin was moist and dry.
15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.
16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.
17. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until she got a divorce.
18. I saw your patient today, who is still under our care for physical therapy.
19. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
20. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
21. Skin: somewhat pale, but present.
22. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.
23. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.
24. When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.
25. The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.
26. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.
27. She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.
28. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Smith, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.
29. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.
30. By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Is there any difference between ‘happen’ and ‘transpire'?

Grammatically, ‘happen’ is a collaborating inductive that should be used in predatory conjunctions such as: ‘Me and Norm here would like to buy you two happening mommas a drink.’' Whereas ‘transpire’' is a suppository verb that should always be used to indicate that an event of some kind has transpired.

WRONG: ‘Lester got one of them electric worm stunners.’
RIGHT: ‘What transpired was, Lester got one of them electric worm stunners.’


Venezuela to shift clocks half an hour

Venezuelan prez Hugo Chavez today postponed a scheme to secure his place in the pantheon of classic comedy Latin American despots by shifting back his country's clocks half an hour, Reuters reports.

Chavez rather gamely admitted that his cunning plan, slated for activation today and which "would allow children to wake up for school in daylight instead of before sunrise", might be considered in some quarters "crazy", but decided to go ahead anyway with just eight days' notice. He announced that the move would liberate the nation from the shackles of Yankee imperialist hourly divisions - a slur likely to earn him a congratulatory exploding cigar from the CIA, we suspect.

Naturally, there was no advance publicity campaign to herald the realignment to four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and Chavez himself got a bit mixed up in announcing the masterplan when he "told Venezuelans to move their clocks forward, when really the measure requires them to be turned back".


Thursday, 18 February 2010


Sidney Morgenbesser (September 22, 1921 – August 1, 2004) was a Columbia University philosopher.

Morgenbesser was known particularly for his sharp witticisms and humor, which often penetrated to the heart of the philosophical issue at hand.

  • During a lecture the Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin made the claim that although a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which Morgenbesser responded in a dismissive tone, "Yeah, yeah."
  • On the independence of irrelevant alternatives: After finishing dinner, Sidney Morgenbesser decides to order dessert. The waitress tells him he has two choices: apple pie and blueberry pie. Sidney orders the apple pie. After a few minutes the waitress returns and says that they also have cherry pie at which point Morgenbesser says "In that case I'll have the blueberry pie."
  • Interrogated by a student whether he agreed with Chairman Mao’s view that a statement can be both true and false at the same time, Morgenbesser replied “Well, I do and I don’t.”
  • Morgenbesser once set this as an exam question: “It is often said that Marx and Freud went too far. How far would you go?”
  • When challenged why he had written so little, he fired back: "Moses wrote one book. Then what did he do?"
  • "The only problem with pragmatism is that it's completely useless." When asked his opinion of pragmatism, Morgenbesser replied "It's all very well in theory but it doesn't work in practice."
  • In response to Heidegger's ontological query "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Morgenbesser answered "If there were nothing you'd still be complaining!"[


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Pronunciation of goal = jail?

In the case of "gaol" we have a spelling that reflects the Norman word (gaiole, gayolle, gaole) while the pronunciation is that of the Central French word (jaiole, jaole, jeole, geole), better reflected by the spelling "jail".

from alt.usage.english