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.