Monday, 31 March 2014

The Anchor Graveyard

This one's right up there with the Easter Island heads in terms of haunting landscapes: hundreds of massive iron anchors standing in perfect rows in the sand on an isolated Portuguese island.

Not merely the detritus of the ocean, they are the last remnants of Tavira's once thriving tuna-fishing industry – an enterprise that fed Portugal for hundreds of years.

But when the tuna dried up, the ships stopped sailing. And whenever one of them docked for the last time, they'd leave their anchor on Barril beach. After a while, there was enough that someone decided they needed to be kept in order, as if waiting for the moment when the island's lifeblood would return. Sadly, it never did.

See photos at

Saturday, 29 March 2014

World's Largest Fork

As road trippers, we often come to a fork in the road and have to choose which path to take…or, we may come to a giant fork in the road and stop to take photos!

Located in the parking lot of Noble & Associates advertising agency in Springfield, Missouri, this 35-foot tall utensil is the world’s largest fork!

See photos at

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Name some jobs that have the word "man" in them

bin man
cable man
delivery man
door man
maintenance man
middle man


Tuesday, 25 March 2014


The banshee, from Irish: bean sí ("woman of the sídhe" or "woman of the fairy mounds") is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.

In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die.

In Scottish Gaelic mythology, she is known as the bean sìth or bean-nighe and is seen washing the bloodstained clothes or armour of those who are about to die. Alleged sightings of banshees have been reported as recently as 1948.


Friday, 21 March 2014

The Orient and the Occident

The Orient means the East. It is a traditional designation for anything that belongs to the Eastern world or the Near East or Far East, in relation to Europe. In English it is largely a metonym for, and coterminous with, the continent of Asia. 



The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident, is a term referring to different nations depending on the context. There is no agreed upon definition about what all these nations have in common.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche lorraine is a classic dish from the French cuisine which originally was an open pie with a filling consisting of an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon.

Quiche actually originated in Germany in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under German rule, and which the French later renamed Lorraine

The word quiche is from the German Kuchen meaning cake.

See full article at

Monday, 17 March 2014

Josip Belušić

The speedometer was invented by the Croatian Josip Belušić in 1888, and was originally called a velocimeter.

See full article at

Friday, 14 March 2014

Duffel / Duffle

Duffel is a municipality in the Belgian province of Antwerp.

The town gives its name to a heavy woollen cloth used to make overcoats, especially for the military, and various kinds of luggage.

Items made from this material are sometimes spelled duffle as in Duffle Coat and Duffle bag.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pulp Fiction – The Shadow, Doc Savage, …

Pulp fiction / magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") are inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s.

The typical pulp magazine was 7 inches (18 cm) wide by 10 inches (25 cm) high, 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, and 128 pages long.

Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed.

Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art.

Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Phantom Detective.

See more at

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Drop, Smidgen, Pinch, Dash and Tad

Measure Equivalent
Drop 1/64 teaspoon
Smidgen 1/32 teaspoon
Pinch     1/16 teaspoon
Dash     1/8 teaspoon
Tad    1/4 teaspoon

See more at

Sunday, 9 March 2014

12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms

English has changed a lot in the last several hundred years, and there are many words once used that we would no longer recognize today. For whatever reason, we started pronouncing them differently, or stopped using them entirely, and they became obsolete. There are some old words, however, that are nearly obsolete, but we still recognize because they were lucky enough to get stuck in set phrases that have lasted across the centuries. Here are 12 lucky words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms.


1. wend

You rarely see a "wend" without a "way." You can wend your way through a crowd or down a hill, but no one wends to bed or to school. However, there was a time when English speakers would wend to all kinds of places. "Wend" was just another word for "go" in Old English. The past tense of "wend" was "went" and the past tense of "go" was "gaed." People used both until the 15th century, when "go" became the preferred verb, except in the past tense where "went" hung on, leaving us with an outrageously irregular verb.


2. deserts

The "desert" from the phrase "just deserts" is not the dry and sandy kind, nor the sweet post-dinner kind. It comes from an Old French word for "deserve," and it was used in English from the 13th century to mean "that which is deserved." When you get your just deserts, you get your due. In some cases, that may mean you also get dessert, a word that comes from a later French borrowing.


3. eke

If we see "eke" at all these days, it's when we "eke out" a living, but it comes from an old verb meaning to add, supplement, or grow. It's the same word that gave us "eke-name" for "additional name," which later, through misanalysis of "an eke-name" became "nickname."


See full list at

Friday, 7 March 2014

Abstainers, moderators and temptation

In a nutshell, when facing a temptation, abstainers do better if they abstain altogether, while moderators do better if they indulge a little bit, or from time to time.

See full article at

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Thieves' cant

Thieves' cant or Rogues' cant was a secret language (a cant or cryptolect) which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in Great Britain and to a lesser extent in other English-speaking countries.

The classic, colourful argot is now mostly obsolete, and is largely relegated to the realm of literature and fantasy role-playing, although individual terms continue to be used in the criminal subcultures of both Britain and the U.S.


See also the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence) by Francis Grose, ay the Project Gutenberg online digital library,

Monday, 3 March 2014

Ems and ens, muttons and nuts

Printers do not measure their types in inches or centimetres but in "points".

There are roughly 72 points to an inch (more precisely 0·9962").

Twelve points, still referred to by the old name of "pica", is a unit used for measuring the lengths of lines of type.

There is also the "em". This is the square of any body size -, it is correct to speak of 6 pt. ems, of a 10 pt. em, and so on - but if no size is referred to then the "em" meant is the 12 pt. ot Pica em.

Half an "em" is known as an "en"; these words sounding so alike many printers refer to them as "mutton" and "nut" respectively.

Below the em and en there are other standard spaces; as fractions of the "em" they are: 1/3 em or "thick", 1/4 em or "middle" and 1/5 em or "thin"; there is also the "hair" space of 1/12 em.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Fayre, Fair and Fare

Generally speaking, a fair is a gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment whereas fare is a range of food (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1999).

However, the archaic (15th to 17th century) spelling fayre is confusingly used for both words by those who think it lends an historic flavour.