Listed Newest to Oldest

Headlines Torn from the Pages of History (and Thrown Away  Things That Didn’t Happen in 2015

USA No Way  Fake But Accurate News

Compare & Save Big-Time  Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices for Exaggerated Differences?

Mess Transit  Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

Win Any Argument  Using Paralogic and Surreason

Quick and Easy Housekeeping  Or Sisyphus Unbound and Unkempt

The Disunited States of America  A Preview of Coming Attractions?

E-Z P-Z House Selling  Redirect, Repackage, Relabel

Gag Cartoon Gallery  Jokes Without a Lot of Reading

Chartology Made Stupid  Connecting the Dots

Lights, Camera, Reaction!  The Periodic Table of Hollywood Plot Elements

How ESP Works  Mind Reading Diagramed and Explained

Mysteries of UFOs Revealed  They’re Here, They Are, They Are, They Are

Money Blather  Your Guide to Economic Jargon, Lingo, and Gobbledegook

A Short Long Good-bye  It's the End of the Year as We Know It

Space Warps and Wefts  What Fabric Is The Fabric of Space Made Of?

Uranimals  Beastly Beasts

American History 101 2.0  The Fake But Accurate Story

Cosmology-Wiz  A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Winless Wear  2008 Detroit Lions Merchandise

Government Machinery at Work  How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

Happy New Year  2007 in Review

Star Dreck  Musings of a Semi Hemi Demi Trekker

Those Darn Cats  Our Deal With the Devils

Dangerous Hot Air  The Truth About Inconvenient Global Warming

Don’t Look Down  Everthing You Never Wanted to Know About Air Travel

Not-so-Special Winter Olympics  Olympic Events You’ll Never See


Reader’s Digest

The B-B-Q Pyramid  For the Cooking Unimpaired

Mythic Snowmen  And More Snowmen

Venn Again, Again  More of the Same, But Different

Venn Again, Maybe Not  Another Last Laugh

Quick and Easy Meals  For the Cooking Impaired


Landmark Remodeling

Just Plane Stupid

Bizarre Business Cards We Hope We Never See

Trojan Horse Designs That Didn’t Quite Make it

Baseball Stadia for the ’90s

Personalized Remotes

Roller Coaster Mania

CRACKED's Plan to Balance the Federal Budget in ONE Year

Complete Guide to Piercing

History’s Least Successful Proto Humans

The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be

Tanks, But No Tanks

Police Line-ups Around the World (and Beyond)

Umpire Outfitters Catalog

Ye Olde Transport Catalogue

Suck School of Comic Art - Graduate Course  How to Draw Funnier

Suck School of Comic Art  How to Draw Funny

Crash Course  Cartoon Motorcycle Accidents Versus Cartoonist Motorcycle Accidents


Listed Newest to Oldest

Great War Bloopers and Tactical Jokes  Tommy Foolery, Fritz Flops, Pierre-Balls, Atta-Turkeys and Igor-Blymies

Discovery of the Element of Surprise  Pathétic News Presents

Middle-Aged Mundane Made Over to Modern  A Video Guide

Webio-Bot Illusion  A Little Fun With Optical Illusions

Webio-Bot Rerun  Getting Into the Net With the Web-a-Tron 9000


Listed Newest to Oldest

Webio-Bot Maze  A Lab Rat Game, Only With Your Mouse

Just What Kind of a Person Are You Anyway?  Take the Personality Test and Discover the True You

Happy Suckiversary  Play Art Director

The Copy Copy Isn't Really a Copy  A Double Word Quiz

Bizarro.TerryColon.www  Goodbye, Earthlings

Elusiver, Mysteriouser Creatures  Another Search Game

Mystic 8 Ball  Ultimate Mystic Service Answers Any Yes-or-No Question

Whack-a-Bot  Quick, Get ‘Em!

Webio-Bot Rescue  A Game Where You're the Hero

Webio-Bot Invaders  Save the Planet

Terra Incognita  A Trick Tricky Geography Quiz

Find the Secret Message  A different Kind of Word Search

Hollywhat?  A Movie Trivia Quiz of the Funny, the Obscure, and the Strange

Internetelepathy  I Will Read Your Mind

99 & 44/100 % Pure Amusement  A Pop Quiz About Percentages and Probabilities

Unanimated Gif Monte  A Little Optical Illusion Fun

What Was That Nym Again?  Some Fun With Words


Listed Newest to Oldest

Counter-Steering Made Easy-Peasy  Balancing a Bike by Turning

Notes for Young Illustrators  Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

Folk Etymology  From the Greek Meaning “Fake it”

Moving Goalposts  It's Harder to Make Ends Meet Because We Keep Moving Them Apart

Billiards Bits for Beginners  The Shape of Cheating the Pocket With Throw

Unsurprising Yet remarkable  One Step at a Time to One Step Beyond

Works for Me  Prosperity Is As Energy Does

The Futility of Fashionable Foods and Fitness Fads  Is It a Paradox or Not?

Changes that Changed Everything  The 10 Greatest Inventions of All Time?

Better Than Sliced Bread  Uncelebrated Inventions Great and Small

“Pass the Honey, Sugar”  The Processed Food Processed Food Haters Love

Bikes Don’t Turn By Leaning  Proving Cones and Gyroscopes Are Futile

Flying Made Simple  Understanding How Planes Can Fly Without all the Messy Details

Bernoulli, Coanda & Lift  What Is What and What Is and Isn’t Doing What

How Planes Can Fly  The Correct Explanation of Lift For Non-Engineers

My First Car  How I Almost Ran Myself Over With a Jerry-rigged Jalopy

Optical Illusions You Often Run Into  Don’t Worry, They Don’t Hurt


The Casual Sportsman…talks sports, of course

Fun Facts & Trivia…and frivia

Infrequently Answered Questions…you never asked

Links & Sites to See…with a simple click

Odds & Ends…and bits & bobs

Quotes & Sayings…or so we've heard

Snippets…from the art archives

Talkin Bout Money…because talk is cheap

Top Tens & Other Lists…of links, gags, whatever

Word Meanings & Origins…of real words…

…Fauxcabulary…joke words I made up


Top Ten Shorts… 2015201420132012201120102009Older


Crossword for Illiterates

The Daily Obviouser

The Entertainment Curve


Hooray for Hollywar!

Kicking the Debt Can

The Ministry of “Quotations”

2012 - Not Done

Not Done Redone - 2014 Post-dictions

NuSA? We Rename the States

Over the Horizon - 2014 Predictions

Peak Future?


The Startler

Ten Keys to Super Bowl Victory

Ten Things You Don't Want to Hear Your Boss Say

Ten Signs You Might Be Getting Old

Ten More Signs You're Getting Old

This Is the Year that Will Be

Welcome to the S___burbs

Whither Urban Legends

Why SCOTUS Decides

Wildly Improbable Medical Palpitations (WIMPS)

Worthless Paranormal Powers


Are We Living in Mouse Utopia?

Deep Focus Plasma Fusion

Eat Less Fat, Have a Heart Attack

Explaining the Union Jack

How lb. and £ Mean Pound

Ignorance is Confidence

Sodium Is Dangerous, Salt Not so Much

Spinflation: Cheaper Though It Costs More

Sports Nicknames Quiz

Sports Clichés and Berraisms

Turn Vice into Virtue by Acting Naturally

Why a Mile Is 5,280 Feet

Why a Nautical Mile Is Not One Mile

Why There Are 24 Hours in a Day and 60 Minutes in an Hour


How to Deal with Barbarians, Roman Style

Click pic to play animation

Here’s a little bit of trivia for military history buffs. Or historical martial arts aficionados. Or something along those lines. This is trivia correcting trivia you may have run across concerning the Roman pilum. That spear thingy pictured in the toon above.

There is this idea that the pilum’s thin metal shaft with the spearhead attached is intended to bend after impact so the enemy can’t return fire. Well, not fire, this is pre-gunpowder. Return volley. Return serve? What­ever. Where this notion comes from I don’t know, but it didn’t come from the Romans.

First of all, a weapon that bends on impact is a lousy weapon. That’s because bending means the weapon is absorbing part of the impact, not a good thing for inflicting maximum damage. That’s why they use rubber knifes in stage fighting. The real reason for the long metal shaft bit is for better penetration.

Here’s how it works. Say a normal pole spear pierces a shield, which were often made of wood covered in animal hide. After the spearhead breaks the surface the shaft will have to follow through the opening to get any kind of deep penetration. Not so easy to for a fat, round, wooden shaft to get very far through the opening created by a leaf-shaped spearhead, too much resistance. Such a spear might get a foot through the shield. If the intended victim were holding the shield a foot out from his body, no harm no foul.

By contrast, once a pilum spearhead breeches a shield, the thin, metal shaft easily passes through the opening losing little energy. Which means a pilum can penetrate the depth of the metal shaft length, about three feet. If the intended victim were holding a shield a foot in front of them, well, do the math.

The same thing applies to hitting a man, once you pierce his protective armor, mail, padding, whatever, the pilum will get much better penetration than a pole spear. It is true that some­times the pilum would bend, but it wasn’t designed to. Then again, a wooden spear shaft would sometimes break, which nobody ever figured was a feature.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 4/28/16

Then They Banned It outside Because It Causes Global Warming


Ye olde “Brickbats” spot for Reason magazine in 2008.

Code enforcement officials in Maidenhead, England, have ordered the staff of the Greyhound to close the pub’s windows. When people smoke outside, the authorities explained, the smoke could drift into the pub, causing it to be in violation of laws banning smoking indoors.

There used to be this newspaper cartoon called There Ought to Be a Law. This wouldn’t work nowadays because there probably is.

Filed under Snippets 4/27/16

Up and Down Pyramids


And now, back to our regular posting content. Or maybe not, it is that time of year again. “What time is that?” I hear myself imagine the reader asking. It’s when winter seems finally to have had its last hurrah, cabin fever finally breaks and I long to be outside doing something, anything. Hence, away from the computer and the Internet. Hence hence, less new content here at terry colon dot com.

Not that the world at large will notice very much. After all, this site is in the basement part of the Pareto pyramid. “What’s that?” I once again rhetorically ask. That’s the old 20-80 rule. As in 20% of the websites get 80% of the traffic. Meaning, 80% must be satisfied with only 20%. Though I imagine most are not that satisfied with such, but what can you do?

Still, the Pareto principle applies all the way down the pyramid. That is, 20% of the bottom 80% of sites get 80% of the 20% of the traffic. Which means between them the bottom 64% of sites divvy up 4% of the total web traffic. Repeat that and you wind up with about half the sites getting around one percent of the page views.

Funny thing about this Pareto distribution, even though it manifests itself over and over in nature, society, and economics, nobody knows why. What is the mechanism that crosses all platforms, so to speak? It’s the riddle of the universe. Apparently the universe doesn’t believe in equality.

Anyway, if the Shorts additions become fewer and lesser, you will know why.

Filed under Odds & Ends 4/25/16

Now Playing


Another old spot seems just the thing to introduce our lastest bit of interactive animated nonsense where the little mouse cursor actually makes sense…

Webio-Bot Maze

Filed under Odds & Ends 4/22/16

Not Seeing Is Believing


“It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. Ardent belief manifests itself not in moving mountains, but in not seeing mountains to move.”

–Eric Hoffer

“The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”

–H.L. Mencken

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.”

–Mark Twain

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 4/21/16

Is the Fat v Carb Debate a Sideshow?


Some people zealously advocate a low-fat diet as the ideal for health and weight loss. On the flip side, others vociferously champion a low-carb diet for the same reasons. Could they both be wrong? Could they both be right? Remember this from childhood?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

While this bit of old doggerel wasn’t dietary advice, it may have stumbled upon the truth. Some people do well on low-fat, others on low-carb. Hunter-gatherers and ruralists thrive on diets from 60% carbs to 10% carbs. Which seems to imply the fat/carb content is not the be all end all of eating well.

There are three basic nutrients, fat, carbs, and protein. Why is protein seemingly overlooked by all? People everywhere on most every diet are getting about the same amount of calories from protein, around 15%. Since this varies so little folks tend to ignore it, figuring if it’s pretty much the same for everyone it can’t be making a difference.

On the other hand, if every diet comes in around 15% protein, maybe that content is the most important factor. Maybe there is a minimum amount of protein everyone needs and the fat/carb ratio is secondary. Maybe a protein poor diet makes you overeat either carbs or fat, or both, to get the needed protein. Which would mean a small change in protein percentage could make all the difference.

The Protein Leverage Hypothesis

Under this hypothesis the bandied about term “empty calories” has a different implication, food without protein.

Filed under Links & Sites to See 4/20/16

Frivia for Font Fanatics


We revisit something mentioned recently here in the Shorts for no good reason other than we want to. While the typeface Helvetica is almost entirely without quirks, blond some would say, there is one letter that is more “designy” than what you might call the standard form. It’s the upper case R. Compare the various sans serif cap Rs above. Which is the odd man out?

For most the leg under the bowl is obviously angled and pretty much straight. The leg on the bottom right R is practically vertical and has a little curling, almost serif-like terminal. The last cap R is Helvetica.

Why the departure from the most basic form? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s explained in the movie, Helvetica. A film about a font. Eat your heart out, Frutiger. (Adrian Frutiger designed Univers, a very similar contemporary of Helvetica. Both font families were based on Akzidenz-Grotesk from 1898.)

Helvetica - the movie

There are many clones or imitators of Helvetica. Geneva, Swiss, Zurich, to name a few. Notice they all seem to reside in the Swiss Alps. The Swiss call the place Confœderatio Helvetica after all.

While most folks with a passing knowledge of typefaces know what a serif, ascender and descender are, they likely aren’t familiar with the terms for all the parts of letterforms. Like many specialities, type design has a jargon all its own. If you want to know all about that, try this link:

Anatomy of a Character

To be super font geeky, here’s a typeface that blurs the line between serif and sans-serif, Optima. The strokes are not straight, they’re all curved, flaring outward at the terminal which renders somewhat of a visual impression of a serif, but there really is no serif. See for yourself:


Filed under Links & Sites to See 4/19/16

When Not In Rome


Yet another “Brickbats” spot for Reason magazine. This time from 2014.

In Saudi Arabia, religious police beat up a British man after they saw him using a supermarket checkout with a woman as cashier. Such checkout lines are reserved only for women.

No comment. I just liked the pic.

Filed under Snippets 4/18/16

A Rose Is a Rows Is a Roes


There are no spelling bees in Italy. Why? Spelling is no challenge in Italian because, unlike English, words are actually spelled how they sound and vice-versa. You don’t need to memorize spellings, you need only hear the word and you can spell it. A spelling bee in Rome would never end and everyone would win.

The French, on the other hand, seem to add pointless letters on the end of words as mere decorations. Water in French is eau, pronounced “oh.” You can see that at the end of Bordeaux. What’s the X tacked on the end for? Renault also ends with an “oh” sound. Why the LT on the end? Then there’s les, chalet, and allez, all ending in a “lay” sound. Is there any point to the S, T and Z? I guess they just make the words look more Francophied.

Meanwhile, English spelling is a hodgepodge of inconsistency. One problem is most spellings became set around the 15th and 16th centuries while the Great Vowel Shift, a major change in English vowel sounds, didn’t finish until 1700. For instance, Shakespeare would rhyme blood and moon in his dialog, which don’t rhyme now but did then. Had all the vowel sounds changed alike for words spelled alike, it might have worked out. Unfortunately, different words changed, well, differently. Hence, spelling bees.

Great Vowel Shift - Oxford English Dictionary

Of course, English is also full of adopted foreign words. Oh-oh, cultural expropriation. That’s bad. Or is it multicultural? That’s good. Oh well, all we know is the double-Os in good, blood and moon don’t rhyme.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 4/15/16

Fresh Clichés by the Dozen


Alas, poor Yorick. Wherefore art thou Romeo. To be, or not to be. It’s easy to spot many a quote from old Willie Shakespeare. Other coinages have worked their way into the language to the point we aren’t aware they came from the Bard of Avon. All the same, who knows if he made them up or was simply glomming ye olde slang of the day?

William Shakespeare 400th anniversary: 60 everyday words and phrases you never knew came from the Bard

Filed under Links & Sites to See 4/13/16 Comics Spoof Redux Two

And now for something slightly different.


Find at least six differences in details between panels.


Click here for answers

Filed under Snippets 4/12/16 Comics Spoof Rerun One

I didn’t just draw cartoons for the old e-rag, I helped write content from time to time. Whether that actually helped is for the reader to decide.


Find at least six differences in details between panels.


Click here for answers

Filed under Snippets 4/11/16

Rhymes with P and That Stands for Billiards


Billiards was first played with mallets instead of cues. It was sort-of like table croquet. The trouble with that was when the cue ball was frozen to the rail they couldn’t get the mallet head on it. In which case the shooter would poke it with the mallet’s handle end, called the queue in French. These days we dispense with the mallet head and use a long handle with a bit of leather on the end, which we call a cue.

Why is it called both billiards and pool? The billiards name came first. Pool comes from the venue where the tables started showing up for public use: betting parlors. You’re likely familiar with football pools or similar betting schemes. Pools are a common way to bet and old betting shops were called pool halls or pool parlors. These put in billiards tables for the betting clientele who started calling them pool tables. Eventually the game played on them became pool. Gambling and pool have gone together a long time.

After a time pool tables made their way out of stately homes and pool halls into middle class homes. Now, not everyone has a room big enough to accomodate a full-sized regulation billiards table. Or pool table. Same thing. There must be enough room around the table to swing a cue, after all. Well, not swing it, but when the cue ball is on the rail draw it back its full length, about four feet or so. Anyway, the point is folks often go for undersize tables.

One might think it’s easier to play on a smaller table, shots are shorter, right? Actually, in another respect it can be harder to play on a small table. Having less surface area there will be less space between object balls, which are still standard size. Cue ball control, maneuvering the cue ball around for your next shot, can be more difficult as a result.

There’s an 8-ball hustle that plays into that. The shark will offer to spot you five balls of their choosing after making their first ball. How it works, they remove balls of yours that are in the way making it easier for them to run the table. The sucker thinks they’re getting a break, but it’s the hustler who gets the advantage.

Size is not the only difference between tables. An average player who watches 9-ball played on cable TV might be frustrated they can never seem to get the kind of action the pros get on breaks or draw shots. There may be a reason for this other than skill. The felt, or baise, on those tables is different from felt you commonly find on home, bar and many pool hall tables. It’s competition felt, which is smoother offering less rolling resis­tance. In pool parlance, it’s a fast table.

If you get the chance to play on a fast table you will notice a marked difference. (There’s a pool hall near me that has them.) It will take some adjustment because your strokes will have to be a bit lighter or the cue ball will just keep going and going well past where you would expect on a slow table.

Just some additional trivia bits to tack onto my article…

Billiard Bits for Beginners

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 4/8/16

Pennies and Manna and the Bottom Line


They might seem like the same thing, folks use them as if they were, but they aren’t. Inflation, the consumer price index (CPI) and the cost of living. While related, they aren’t triplets, more like two brothers and a cousin. Or it could be a brother and sister, but the exact analogy is not important. They’re different. Like pennies from heaven, manna from heaven, and do you eat manna.

Inflation is the value of currency, CPI is the value of product, cost of living is the price a person pays to live they way they do. Inflation is due to increasing the currency supply, like pennies from heaven, which make prices rise, which makes CPI go up.

On the other hand manna from heaven makes prices go down, which makes CPI go down. After all, it’s cheaper and easier to simply pick up manna strewn about than it is to make manna from scratch yourself. Or whatever it is you would have to do to get manna. I don’t eat manna, I don’t even know what it is.

The point is, CPI can reflect inflation, but other things, too. If productivity increases more than the currency supply increases prices will go down despite there being inflation. To equate CPI with inflation is simply, well, wrong.

Saying increased productivity is deflationary is also a mistake. Manna from heaven doesn’t change the penny supply, though it means you can spend the pennies on something else. That’s increased prosperity. On the other hand, pennies from heaven don’t change the manna supply, it just makes it cost more. Why central banks think pennies from heaven make us better off is a mystery.

Leaving that aside, one wonders if inflation can even be accurately calculated. How do you separate out the effect of manna from heaven on pennies from heaven? Heck, they have half a dozen measures of the currency supply, starting at M0. (Why begin at zero instead of one? Another mystery.) If they can’t even settle on what the currency supply is, how can they know what effect it has on prices?

Finally, the CPI and the cost of living are not the same thing either. If you don’t eat manna, getting it free falling from the sky won’t effect your cost of living no matter what free manna does to the CPI. If you’re tired of all the manna talk, think of it this way: the price of yachts is totally meaningless to Joe Six-pack; prices at Wal-Mart have no effect on Richie Rich.

It’s like this, the CPI isn’t the cost of living because folks don’t all buy the same amounts of everything on the list, which go up and down in price differently for various reasons. If you spend ten percent of your income on rent and it doubles, it’s very annoying. If you spend one third on rent and it doubles, you wind up living in your car.

Now then, how does this all fit together and what does it mean? I really don’t know. I question whether the powers that be who tweak, nudge, and generally try to fine tune the economy actually know, either. They talk as if they do. But I will add this: The Fed gives us pennies from heaven, God gave the Israelites manna from heaven. The Fed ain’t God.

Related: Spinflation

Filed under Talkin’ Bout Money 4/7/16



Here’s a new one on me. The other day I got a phone call from a robot recording gizmo asking for someone unknown to me immediately followed by, “If we have dialed a wrong number, please call…” I don’t know what this ploy is, but it seemed pretty goofy. The only thing I can imagine is a return call where they charge you by the minute, like a psychic line or something of that ilk. I didn’t stay on the line long enough to hear the number.

Still, why would I return a wrong number phone call to tell them it’s a wrong number? Especially a wrong number robot solicitation. Not my problem or for me to waste time correcting phone solicitors calling a wrong number. I can’t imagine a less tantalizing sales hook. At least the Nigerian Prince offers a pot of gold, this one doesn’t even offer a rainbow.

Filed under very Odds & Ends 4/6/16

The State of Great Taxes


Infrequently Answered Question #96: It’s April. Have you done your taxes yet?

A: What did you have to go and bring that up for? From our perspective we don’t do taxes, taxes do us. All year round and for more than some might think: income tax, sales tax, property tax, gas tax, liquor tax, tobacco tax, and so on. Plus hidden taxes such as business tax. You think businesses just eat that tax and don’t pass it along as a cost of doing business?

On top of that are taxes that aren’t called taxes. Filling out government forms and complying with regulations is work done for the government. Which the government does not pay for. When businesses do that they pass the bill to the consumer with higher prices.

From a Hoover Commission report of 1963. Imagine the costs today.

“No one knows how much it costs American industry to compile the sta­tistics that the Government demands. The chemical industry alone reports that each year it spends $8,850,000 to supply statistical reports demanded by three departments of the Government. The utility industry spends $32,000,000 a year in preparing reports for Government agencies...”


How long did it take to fill out your income tax forms? Or did you pay to have them done? Was it for yourself or for the government? So, how high are taxes really? More than they let on, that’s for sure.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 4/5/16

Big Bank Index


Number of bankers prosecuted for all the various frauds committed and admitted by the big banks in the last 20 years: Zero, nada, zip, nought, zilch

Personally realized ill-gotten gains returned by the perpetrators of those crimes: Zero, nada, zip, nought, zilch

The free pass for Wall Street fraudsters and market riggers started under Clinton, continued under Bush, and was formalized under Obama with “systematically important institution” status (AKA, too big to jail). So, for everyone out there who wishes the two major political parties would stop squabbling and work together in a bipartisan manner, there you go. Ain’t it great when all the pols are on the same page?

Fraud Key Profit Center for Wall Street - interview with William Black

Filed under Links & Sites to See 4/4/16

One Step beyond the Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone


The above illo rerun leads us into the topic du jour: the most dangerous day of the year, news and rumor-wise. April Fools Day. On this date in years gone by many people have been burned repeating nonsense written as spoofs as being true. Is it because people are gullible? Is it because authors don’t know how to write parodies that are, you know, actually funny? Or is it because real news and people have become so absurd a spoof seems all too real?

Have we finally breached the Parody Horizon? An imaginary boundary where satire can’t surpass actuality which is already absurd beyond belief, though people believe it anyway. A singularity of infinitely dense thinking, a comedic black hole where the line between sensible and ridiculous vanishes.

Can you say, modern art? How about negative interest rates? It seems April Fools Day never ends. Maybe Abe Lincoln was wrong. Maybe you can fool all of the people all of the time. Or at least enough of the people enough of the time to make a lot of money.

Filed under Snippets 4/1/16

Where the Calories Go (That Aren’t Turned to Fat)


About one third of the calories you burn are used by a single organ. Can you guess which? Guessing is using it. Your brain. Breathing, pumping blood, moving food through the digestive track also takes energy. Building enzymes, hormones and all the other chemistry going on inside you takes energy, too.

You know how some diets, pills or whatever promise you can lose weight while you sleep? Now you know how that’s feasible. Your innards are busy 24-7-365 burning most of the calories you scarf down every day. If not, you’d wake up dead. A very bad way to start the day.

Skeletal muscles are very efficient and make do with not all that much fuel. While exercise helps keep you in the pink, as a way to lose weight… don’t count on it. Thirty minutes of strenuous exercise a day will get you all of about five pounds of weight loss a year. Losing 50 pounds would take ten years. Does that sound like a good plan?

Doing calculus, solving brain teasers, or pondering the riddle of the universe won’t increase your brain’s energy use much. Though if it did, it would mean diet books might work much better. Just by reading them.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/21/16

When the Alarm Sounds, Eloi Are to Procede to the Safe Zone in an Orderly Fashion


Another Reason magazine “Brickbats” spot from 2011.

Safety officials in Great Britain have recommended the removal of fire extinguishers from communal areas in apartment buildings. They say extin­guishers are actually a safety hazard because they could encourage people to fight a fire rather than leave the building.

We mustn’t allow people to take such matters into their own hands or it’ll be anarchy, I tell you, anarchy.

Filed under Snippets 3/29/16

Bubble Motors Part Two

bubblecar2 bubblecar2

If bubble cars, a la the 1950s, are not poised for a big comeback, how about bubble motorcycles instead? Bubble cars must comply with the safety standards applied to all cars. That adds cost and weight reducing mileage. Which rather defeats the main reason to buy a bubble car, to be cheap to buy and operate. I mean, Bentley doesn’t make bubble cars, right?

Motorcycles, not being autos, don’t have to meet auto standards. So, they can be cheaper, lighter and more fuel efficient. Just what you want out of a bubble car. Having a high power to weight ratio makes them pretty peppy, to boot.

I don’t know about you, but if I were in the market for a new car I’d like to have something like the completely enclosed, three-wheeled bike from Elio Motors. Over 80 mpg for under ten grand. Beats the heck out of any overpriced electric or hybrid car in my book. Check it out:

Elio Motors

Filed under Links & Sites to See 3/28/16

Full Frontal Offensive


Last Friday we launched a sortie on your wallet with The Terry Colon Shop. This week we assault your sense of humor and maturity with…

Great War Bloopers and Tactical Jokes

Whether this is the stuff to feed the troops or shovel in the latrine is for the reader to decide. If nothing else, it at least shows the kind of nifty things that can be accomplished with a few lines (quite a few lines, actually) of basic HTML animation code.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/25/16

So Everyone Around the World Can Not Understand


A few fauxcabulary (made up) words from the world of computers:

iconundrum: A strange or confusing symbol or icon nobody but the designer of the thing knows the meaning of.

incorrection: A typo created by auto spellcheck that doesn’t understand you were using slang, jargon or coining a gag word.

qwert dirt: The filth that builds up between the keys on your computer keyboard.

tyupio: A typo resulting from your fat fingers hitting more than one key at a time.

Iconundrums often use that blocky, stick figure generic human doing something, with something, in some­thing, or whatever. You know the dude I mean, the one identifying the men’s room. In graphic design circles its called Helvetica Man.

Now that computers and online self-publishing have conquered the world and everyone knows about typefaces, or fonts, the Helvetica reference is probably understood by all and sundry. Not so back when I started in the business a few decades ago. Anyway, I suppose folks think Helvetica is boring, plain, humdrum, or whatever, which was sort-of the original intent.

Helvetica comes from the Swiss school of typeface design, along with Univers. It was designed without quirks or embellishments to color up well at any size and so be easy to read. It was supposed to be the universal, standard, highly legible sans-serif font. Which it pretty much is.

Filed under Word Meanings & Origins 3/24/16

Does the Moon Orbit the Earth?

Seems an odd question. Everyone knows it’s obvious the Moon orbits the Earth. They always say it does and it certainly looks that way. It rises in the east and sets in the west. Just like the Sun. Oops. The Sun doesn’t orbit the Earth, does it?

Thing is, the Sun applies more gravitational force on the Moon than does the Earth. The Moon is actually orbiting the Sun. At no time does the Moon move backwards in its orbital path around the Sun, there is no loop. The Moon and the Earth follow wavy paths around the Sun, speeding up and slowing down as it were. Of course, the Moon much more than the Earth.

Here’s a simple way to visualize it. Imagine a three lane highway with a semi in the center lane and a sports car directly behind it. The semi slows a little, the sports car accelerates and passes the truck in the left lane, then moves in front of big rig back into the center lane. Next, the truck speeds up slightly, the car slows down moving into the right lane. The truck passes the car which then moves back into the center lane directly behind the truck to the starting position where the sequence then repeats over and over.

road car semi

From the point of view of the truck driver the sports car is circling the rig. Yet at no time did the car go in reverse and back up along the road. Now, imagine the highway as a big circular racetrack with you at the center. From your point of view both the truck and the car are circling you weaving back and forth passing each other as they go around.

Replace the semi with the Earth, substitute the sports car with the Moon and turn yourself into the Sun. No easy task, so just imagine it. There you go. The Moon orbits the Sun, not the Earth. If you still don’t see it, check out the link:

Moon and Earth Orbiting Sun

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/23/16

Ah-h-h, the First Snowman of Spring


Yes, a silly gag. I couldn’t resist. And yes, spring actually began Sunday. But it was too chilly to get into the spring of things until today when it promises to approach 60 degrees hereabouts. Hopefully. At least, that’s the prognos­tication of the weatherbot, or whatever these weather websites use. So, go unpack the white shoes, break out the short pants, dig out the straw trilby, and prepare your wardrobe for the warm, sunny days to shortly arrive. A nice new Tee from the Terry Shop (hint, hint) might make a nice addition to the spring wardrobe, too.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/22/16

We Get What We Like, then Don’t Like It?


Another old spot (available at the shop, hint hint) that leads me to a thought or two. I don’t know about you, but in these days of digital broad­cast TV with ever more split signals where stations send out a multiplicity of sub-channels, I find there’s less I want to watch than ever. In fact, I hardly watch at all any more.

There’s this old saying about too much of a good thing, folks who say having too many choices is worse than a limited number. Have you looked at the barbecue sauce shelf at your local grocery lately? Dozens of brands, each with a handful of varieties. Do we really need that many? There’s also this saying about less is more, right?

Some suggest too many choices makes deciding between all the options unsatisfying because the more things you imagine you will miss out on with a bad choice leads to anxiety. It’s like an extensive restaurant menu, there’s so much it’s hard to decide. You order, the meal comes, it’s good, but it gnaws at you, “Man, I should have ordered the surf and turf.” Heck, surf and turf is an order where you can’t decide between steak or lobster.

You buy any of that? I’m not so sure. Does anyone understand what makes folks happy? Or that folks can even be made happy or if happy is more a personality trait? Of all the soft sciences, psychology might be the softest, to the point of squishiness. Like the old gag about trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Bottom line… I guess there isn’t one. At least not here because I don’t know what makes people tick. Not satisfied? Hey, there are millions of other websites you could be reading. Think of all the possibilities you’re missing out on. Maybe there’s some­thing to having too many choices after all.

Filed under Snippets 3/21/16

Suck Lives (Sort-of)


While may have stopped publishing in 2001, it hasn’t been forgotten. At least, not by The Atlantic who have a feature story on the old fish, barrel and smoking gun. You can read that, and/or relive the memories forever with a T-shirt, mug, or poster of your very own. OK, relive them as long as the items last. Anyway, you can buy more when they inevitably wear out. Mindless consumerism is good for the economy, you can tell yourself.

Suck-Webzine - The Atlantic

The Terry Colon Shop

Filed under Links & Sites to See 3/18/16

Couch Potatoes and Cave Layabouts

There is a common notion we’ve become a species of sedentary sloths listlessly goggling our TV screens at the expense of all else. This seems to be accepted as obviously true. Is it? This assumes two things: One, if there were no TV people would be doing something active; Two, before there was TV people were more active in their leisure hours.

What were people doing in their spare time that was all so very active before the gamma ray mesmerizer invaded our homes? For one, they listened to the radio. Unlike many folks today, they didn’t do this while jogging. Radios then were the size of a microwave tethered to the wall jam-packed with glowing hot vacuum tubes, so they listened nestled in comfy chairs and on couches. They also went to the movies which then, as now, involved a lot of good old sitting.

What did they do before radio and movies? Well, they read books and periodicals, wrote letters, knitted, did needlepoint, played piano, attended lectures and performances, collected stamps, whittled, chatted on the front porch or parlor, played checkers, chess, dominoes and cards, smoked, and drank a lot. Pretty much all sitting down. Chairs and lounging in them are hardly a new phenomenon. Besides, don’t they also say the pace of life in the olden days was slower?

Can you imagine cavemen after a day’s hunting and gathering doing sit-ups, pilates, or jazzercizing? The idea of running to go nowhere probably would smack your average caveman as the height of absurdity. Has TV really turned us into tube tubers, or simply given us something different to do in our off hours when we’d be loafing around anyway? I wonder.

Nobody really knows how active folks were in the past, but the English compared kids in rich schools with lots of extracurricular activity to kids in poor districts offering little. They found no difference in total activity, kids found things to do regardless of their environment. Maybe folks are as active or inactive as they want to be, whether there’s something on TV or not.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/16/16

Double Rerun


This is an old spot I came across going through the archives. It just seemed to still fit today’s stock market somehow. I say, if the NYSE can keep repeating itself, so can I.

Filed under Snippets 3/14/16