I’m currently refurbishing the studio from ceiling to floor so everything is more or less broken down and out of sorts. So, nothing really new from me here, content-wise. But there will be some hard-learned DIY tips in the aftermath. So stay tuned. OK, not tuned really, but bookmark and come back later for the goodies on how you can redo your room the Terry way.
For the time being, enjoy this old Suck.com Jackson Pollack spot of art. Or is that a splot of art? Some pun.
Filed under Odds & Ends 6/27/16
A few days late, but still timely enough. I mean, summer lasts for months. Anyway, the word summer comes from… oh, who cares? It’s summer. Relax. Enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Take your shoes off and stroll barefoot through the grass. You’ll feel better. It’s good for you. At least, if the grounding/earthing people are right.
Filed under Odds & Ends 6/23/16
Forget battery electric cars, could be the 200 year-old Sterling engine is the future of motoring.
Filed under Links & Sites to See 6/20/16
Infrequently Answered Question #98: If you park on the driveway and drive on the parkway what do you do on the freeway and highway?
A: To follow form I guess you drive freely on the highway and drive high on the freeway. Well, some folks do, at any rate.
OK, admittedly silly. Here’s a road related segue question: Why is, as they tell us, driving a privilege and not a right? Just because the government decided so? How about walking or riding a bike, privilege or right? What’s the actual underlying principle here? They say it’s a free country, but look how many things you need a license for. Meaning, all the things you need government permission to do. Hunt, fish, own a dog, cut hair, start a business and on and on. Could be worse, I suppose, in England you need a license to own a TV.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 6/17/16
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blog blog, blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog, blog. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Whether that’s an entire case of the blahs or maybe just half a box is hard to tell. Still, just because there is a terry colon dot com doesn’t mean it’s required writing. I mean, we’re not locked into updating regularly, as depicted in the old magazine (forget which one) spot from 1997. Enjoy it for what it’s worth, blah blah blah.
Filed under Snippets 6/14/16
Do imaginary lines of longitude and latitude move and break causing earthquakes? Well, we suppose if astrophysicists did geology that might be the theory. They talk about magnetic reconnection, magnetic field lines of force that break and spew energy.
A magnetic field is a continuum, there are no lines of force to them. There is also no flow of magnetic particles or whatever. How can NASA get it so wrong? I thought they were, you know, rocket scientists.
Filed under Links & Sites to See 6/9/16
For some reason I’m feeling a bit more ambitious this year. About improving the old homestead not posting to the site. There’s a whole laundry list of things I’ve been wanting to do for some time and this year I’m actually going to do them. For a change.
Funny thing about this rehab business, one thing leads to another. That is, attending to some obvious problem reveals a hidden problem. Like when I decided to rejuvenate the overgrown yews in the front, cutting them back revealed a part of the stoop previously hidden was sorely in need of attention. So, what seemed an easy fix, pruning bushes, became a difficult bit of masonry repair. Removing bits is almost always easier, and cheaper, than adding stuff.
At any rate, now you know why there’s hasn’t been a lot of fresh content lately. Nor is there likely to be for some little time. For the time being enjoy the somewhat apt old Suck.com spot.
Filed under Snippets 6/7/16
A while back we mentioned something to the effect watching women’s soccer was like watching schoolboys play. Well, we admit we were wrong. It’s not that good.
So, the best of the best women soccer players in Australia, the national team, couldn’t keep up with 15 year-old boys. Or is that 14 year-old boys? Not sure what “under-15s” really means.
Filed under The Casual Sportsman 6/3/16
The other day I noticed the neighbor across the way struggling to do a bit of yard/home work one-handed. Not that she was handicapped or anything, she just was constantly using her cell phone device thingy with her left hand. Which leads me to speculate that perhaps the next big money-making idea is kitchen gadgets and household tools to allow people to do everything one-handed. Maybe everything could be motorized and controlled with a joystick or something.
Or perhaps you could have an attachable mechanical third arm. I haven’t really thought it about it all that thoroughly. Then again, perhaps it’s not really worth thinking about. Like they say…
“Million dollar ideas are a dime a dozen.”
OK, they don’t actually say that, I made it up. Feel free to quote me on that. You can even reuse the old Suck.com spot I reused.
Filed under Quotes & Sayings 6/1/16
Not Christmas, Memorial Day. Break out the baggy shorts, breezy Hawaiian shirt, the BBQ gear and all the fixings ‘cause it’s the unofficial start of summer. Being a day off for most, no work for me either. Instead, an old FHM magazine spot repurposed for the occasion.
Filed under Snippets 5/30/16
The Earth is electrically active with an electric field of between 50 and 200 volts per meter at its surface. A six foot man will experience a potential of up to 400 volts from head to toe. The average potential between ground and the ionosphere is 240,000 volts and can reach as much as 400,000 volts.
More from Gerald Pollack, the electrically charged water man:
Filed under Links & Sites to See 5/26/16
A“Brickbats” spot from Reason magazine way back in 2007.
Kallen Ford and a friend were playing hacky sack outside Colorado’s Boulder County Courthouse when a police officer approached. The cop took their sack and issued Ford a $250 fine for “releasing projectiles on the mall.”
This was during the great hacky sack epidemic. Congress members demanded registration of all bean bags. Children were expelled for bringing Beanie Babies to school. The ATF employed teams of bean sniffing dogs. Thanks to the tireless efforts of law enforcement the hacky sack menace is now under control.
Filed under Snippets 5/23/16
When it comes to trauma, gashes, broken bones, burns and such, modern medicine works wonders. Get twisted like a pretzel in a car crash and doctors and surgeons can restore you like Humpty-Dumpty after a fall. When it comes to chronic diseases modern medicine is often… what’s the word I’m looking for?… lunatic.
Would you advise a lactose intolerant person drink lots of milk and then combat the results with drugs? Crazy, right? Yet what do the experts advise diabetics to do? Why, eat a low-fat high-carb diet. That’s right, people who can’t handle sugar in the bloodstream are told to eat lots of foods that elevate sugar in the bloodstream. Which they then must counter with drugs.
Medical advice often combats healing, too. For instance, applying ice to reduce inflammation. One problem, inflammation is part of the bodies repair response, reducing it interferes with that, it make healing take longer. Similarly they recommend aspirin to reduce a fever, yet the fever isn’t caused by the flu or a cold bug or whatever. Fever is the body warming up to enhance the imune system. You want the fever.
It would seem modern medicine ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some say the third leading cause of death is health care.
Filed under Links & Sites to See 5/20/16
Ever been “left on tender hooks,” as they say? (Not that folks say it that much these days, the phrase has pretty much been replaced with left hanging. Though the two are more or less the same, both figuratively and literally.) Anyway, how can a hook be tender? It seems ridiculous.
Well, it is ridiculous because tender hooks is not the real term. It’s tenter hooks. Maybe it got mixed up because of the way a lot of people pronounce tees in the middle of words. Especially Americans. You may not have noticed, since most of us do it, but we Yanks pronounce little bottle as “liddle boddle.”
In days of yore tenter hooks were a series of small hooks fabric would be hung on for stretching. So, to be left on tenter hooks was to be left hanging. Need we say more?
Think of it with this connection, tent and tenter. A tent is a shelter of stretched fabric, a tenter is a frame for stretching fabric. Both derive from the Old Latin tendere, to stretch. Hm-m, the Romans had it with a D and not a T. Maybe it should be tender hooks after all.
Filed under Quotes & Sayings 5/18/16
Your typical major league ballplayer has 20/12 vision. OK, what’s that 20/20 vision business mean anyway?, I hear myself asking. It means a person can see clearly something at twenty feet that is normally seen clearly at twenty feet. 20/12 means something at twenty feet is as seen as clearly as something at 12 feet. Big league hitters have the proverbial eagle eye.
Though an eagle is estimated to have 20/4 vision. Plus they have big-time magnification in their lenses, but we’re getting off track.
So, does 20/12 vision help hit a fastball? Maybe, maybe not. Some ballplayers wear contacts. Anyway, the amazing thing about hitting a 90+ mph fastball is the amount of time a batter has to see, decide, swing and make contact to drive the ball into fair territory. Actually, how little time they have, about the literal blink of an eye. Incredibly, major leaguers can often place their hits, which one guesses takes micro-second timing.
Hitting a Major League fastball should be physically impossible - a short video
Of course, scientists also used to say bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly. Now then, what’s the batting percentage of scientists?
Filed under The Casual Sportsman 5/16/16
Infrequently Answered Question #97: What’s the easiest foreign language for an English-speaking American to learn?
A: That depends on whether they want to speak it or also read and write it. The U.S. State Department has five categories of difficulty for learning foreign languages based on how long it takes to learn. A category five language takes roughly five times as many hours to learn as a category one.
In category one are the western European languages, Dutch, French, Spanish and so on. These are also easy to read and write since they use the same alphabet as English. Of these, French might be the easiest because English is already full of French words thanks to the Norman Conquest. Some say Dutch is the easiest to learn to speak. Though there’s not much need for an American to learn Dutch because practically every Nederlander speaks English. And French and German, if I have my facts straight.
There is only one category two language, German. Even though English has Germanic roots, the two have diverged so much they aren’t much alike these days. What makes German hard is its complexity, such as having three genders. If I knew more about it I could explain, but I don’t so can’t. You’ll just have to take the State Department’s word for it.
Within category five are east Asian languages like Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Of course, there is no one Chinese language, except to read and write where there is because they all use the same pictographic system. Korean is the easiest of these to read and write because it is written by combining syllable symbols rather than ideograms or letters. There are less than thirty different Korean syllables, making it the simplest writing system in the world.
At the other extreme is Thai which has an insanely complex writing system. I can’t even begin to explain it, but here’s a short video that will give you an idea of the complexity of it all:
So, if you want to travel to foreign lands and speak to the natives without a lot of language study your best bet is the Netherlands or the Scandinavian countries where most of the locals speak English as a second language. In fact, some of the regional dialects in Scandinavia are so different from each other, two Norwegians, say, from different parts of Norway can only understand each other if the speak in English. So they do.
English is also widely spoken in India because it’s simpler to be bilingual with English as a second language than to learn all the various native languages and regional dialects, of which there are many. That’s why call centers are in India and not China.
If you plan on visiting South America the most widely spoken first language there is… no, not Spanish, Portuguese. Brazil is that big. As a matter of fact, Portuguese is the fourth most spoken first language around. Though mostly in Brazil. Again, Brazil is that big.
One little tidbit because of all those Brazilian soccer players you see all over the place. The Portuguese NHO at the end of a name is the equivalent of a Spanish ÑO, and said the same way, nyō. It’s a suffix signifying little. So, Ronaldinho means little Ronaldo.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 5/13/16
The heart doesn’t pump blood by stretching and contracting like a balloon, it twists. You might think of it as working more like wringing out a sponge.
When a major artery to the heart is constricted or partially obstructed, the body can grow a secondary network of blood vessels to provide blood. The body does its own coronary bypass, only without surgery.
Donating blood can lower blood pressure and reduce harmful excess iron in the blood. Meaning the old practice of bleeding patients might actually have been beneficial at times. Who’d-a figured?
You’ve likely heard your blood contains so-called good and bad cholesterol, as in LDL and HDL. Funny thing about that, the L at the end of each stands for lipoprotein. Notice: protein. Lipoproteins “carry” cholesterol through the blood, but are not cholesterol. In fact, the attached cholesterol in each is identical. There really is no such thing as good or bad cholesterol as such.
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 5/11/16
Top Ten Minus Seven for a Net Three Accountant Jokes
A pretty scanty list. So, let’s pad it out with a corollary to gag number three: A government subsidy is a reward for doing badly. And a bail-out is for doing absolutely miserably.
Markets reward success with profits and punish failure with losses. The company bottom line is information, it’s how you know you’re doing things right. Profit and loss are the grading system of economic life. It’s a good thing, what works survives, what doesn’t perishes.
Governments turn this on its head, they punish success and reward failure. It would appear Government wants what doesn’t work to keep on not working. Basically, government rewards losers at the expense of winners. Which is why losers love government and government is for losers.
Filed under Top Tens and Other Lists 5/10/16
I’ve had the same eight place setting flatware set for thirty years or so. Recently I noticed there were only seven dinner forks. This rather baffles me. I don’t leave the house carrying flatware about with me. It only comes out of the drawer when I eat, then goes back to the kitchen sink to be cleaned. I don’t leave dirty dishes laying about the house to be dropped behind or kicked under the furniture or anything. And it’s not like a fork can get washed down the drain.
How do you lose a dinner fork? Where did it possibly go? Anyway, in the nursery rhyme the dish ran away with the spoon, not the fork. I just don’t get it.
Filed under Odds & Ends 5/9/16
Ar-r-r, here be a “Brickbats” spot from Reason magazine in 2007.
In England, Morgan Smith’s parents decided to throw him a pirate-themed party for this sixth birthday. They even ran a Jolly Roger up the flagpole at their home. But a neighbor complained about the skull and crossbones to the Stafford Borough Council. Council officials feared the flag might be “unneighbourly” and said the couple must apply for permission, including a study of the impact the flag would have on the neighborhood before they could fly it.
How about an impact study on the effects of stupid government?
Filed under Snippets 5/6/16
In what some are calling the greatest story in football (soccer) history, Leicester City Foxes, a 5,000-1 bet at the start of the season, have won the Barclays English Premier League championship. While major upsets happen from time to time, most are in the form of single events or games, Leicester City’s rags to riches story ran over a 38 game season making it all the more improbable and amazing.
Not being sportswriters we won’t report all the details, which you can find all over the web in much finer form. We will just add a couple little curious twists to the Foxes tale. The title was clinched Monday when Chelsea tied second place Tottenham 2-2. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri once was the manager of Chelsea. Eden Hazard scored the tying goal for Chelsea which cliched the championship, the same player who score the title clinching goal for Chelsea last year.
Lastly, we link to a video about the club’s amazing run made a month ago before the trophy race was decided. Anyway, now you know how the film should really end. No doubt the complete story will soon be told on video. Until then…
Filed under The Casual Sportsman 5/4/16
In the garden do you have a green thumb or are you all thumbs? If you number among the latter here’s a few simple tricks on how do make your yard the envy of one and all.
Eight Ways to Turn Your Yard from Yuck to Yeah
OK, with our advice you won’t have the best-looking property on the block, it’s not all bad. If you look a bit less well-off than your neighbors crooks are less likely to target your house as a potential bounty of valuables.
Filed under Top Tens and Other Lists 5/3/16
Now they want to remove Andrew Jackson from the twenty dollar bill. Which would probably OK by him if he were alive today, the man was no friend of central banking. His proudest moment was the ending of the Second Bank of the United States. In point of fact, the headline to this Shorts entry is the inscription on Andrew Jackson’s tombstone.
So one wonders, why was Andrew Jackson’s effigy on a Federal Reserve note to begin with? Was it ironic or something? Who knew the Treasury were a bunch of jokers? I mean, kidders. Jokers they may otherwise well be.
Filed under Odds & Ends 5/2/16
Navigating the super interacta-matic, oh-so modern Interwebs is much easier than hinted at in this oldie but moldy Suck.com spot. What with our handy-dandy pull-down menus and auto-zoomery, it’s easier than ever to read and enjoy terry colon dot com on any device plugged into the magic of the world wide web. While it may not be hands-free, it’s no sweat, and you can keep your shoes on.
Of course, we’re actually bragging about features that have been standard fare for over a decade now. All the same, how many other sites have you seen with their own custom cursors, eh? Scroll over the pic and see. The itty-bitty fun never ends at terry colon dot com.
Filed under Snippets 4/30/16
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
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
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
Another old Suck.com spot seems just the thing to introduce our lastest bit of interactive animated nonsense where the little mouse cursor actually makes sense…
Filed under Odds & Ends 4/22/16
“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.”
“The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.”
Filed under Quotes & Sayings 4/21/16