Dassler Brothers Shoes was founded in Germany in 1925 by Adi and Rudi Dassler. After the Second World War Rudi left to start his own company, Puma. Since it was no longer brothers running it, Adi renamed Dassler Brothers Shoes after himself, Adi Das(sler), Adidas.
If you order a pepperoni pizza in Italy try not to look surprised when they bring you a veggie pizza. There is no sausage called pepperoni there, or any word pepperoni. Peperoni (no double P) is Italian for bell pepper. The bell peppers on your pizza might be red, orange, yellow or green, which are all the same fruit in various stages of ripeness. Just like the difference between black (ripe) olives and green (unripe) olives.
A second is called a second because it’s the second division of an hour, the first division being a minute. Making a second more minute than a minute. We can’t explain why a minute is called a minute, nor why we are so amused by heteronyms.
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 1/21/17
Here’s a recent bit of art from Reason magazine’s “Brickbats” department. The old rag got a new art director recently who, as new art directors often do, wanted to revamp things a bit, including the color pallet throughout. So we came up with a new three-color scheme for the spots. Of course, it’s really printed in CMYK so it’s three-color from four-color. The scheme is black plus two colors and tints of those two colors which change from month to month.
The new art director originally wanted me to revert to an old drawing style I used in Cracked about twenty tears ago. As seen in Roller Coaster Mania. I convinced her this was the preferable option. Besides, I’m not sure I could go back to that old style. New habits die hard. Anyway, as is the customary pratice here’s the text for the spot:
France is the first country to ban disposable plastic cups and plates. The new law requires “all disposable tableware to be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials that can be composted at home by January of 2020.”
Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 1/20/17
Infrequently Answered Question #106: If there’s nothing new under the sun, where do inventions come from?
A: From people working indoors. Mostly garages. Or maybe basements. Which is why a lot of inventions never see the light of day. A rather feeble Q&A segue to get to the real issue at hand.
Forget building a better mousetrap, the thing invention-minded tinkerers really like to tinker with are firearms. Over the centuries the gun has been reinvented more times than wheels and mousetraps put together, a combination some inventer has probably tried. There’s been many improvements, and many what we like to call dimprovements, bad improvements, backward advances, or whatever you’d like to call them. Among these might be gravity guns, chain guns, and turret pistols. Some gun tinkerers were Q from MI6 before there was an MI6. These guys came up with knife guns, cane guns, watch fob guns, guns concealed in handbags and hats, and so forth.
Then there were gun reinventions we’d call dumbprovements, to coin a new word. For instance, one gun that shot rocket powered bullets. Which might not sound so absurd until you consider it took the bullets time to get up to speed meaning it was worthless at close range. Next was a pistol with triangular bullets for no reason anyone can figure out. The bullets of which were called trounds, triangular rounds. To go one better was the gun that was supposed to fire round bullets at Christians and square bullets at heathens. We don’t know what to call, or how explain a square round.
If you like obscure and oddball weapons, and perhaps even want to buy one at auction, check out…
Forgotten Weapons –You Tube Home
Whether, as building a better mousetrap is supposed to do, building a better handgun will have the world beating a path to your door is an open question. Though we imagine building some types of weaponry in the basement might bring the FBI. After which you might be reduced to fashioning a handgun out of a bar of soap and some shoe polish.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 1/19/17
We’ve written in the past about how bikes and motorcycles lean into a turn. Planes, trains and automobiles also lean into turns. Or at least NASCAR automobiles do on a banked track. Planes don’t run on a track, they bank themselves. But trains? Yep, trains lean into turns so they don’t topple over, which is bad for business and for anything that happens to be sitting by the side of the tracks.
Most folks don’t own or drive trains, so the need to lean them into turns isn’t something they ever need worry about. Yet, we suppose most kids in America have played with toy trains (or model railroads if you prefer) so they’ve likely noticed what train wheels look like, that flange and slightly tapered shape of the flat bit that sits on the rail. Have you ever wondered why they’re tapered? That’s what makes trains lean into a turn.
The taper means the wheel at the flange is a bigger diameter than on the tapered side. In other words, the wheel is a truncated cone. As the train track turns left, say, the wheel, which wants to go straight, rides up the rail until the flange hits the rail turning the train left. When it does the outside wheel rides on the large diameter part of the wheel and the inside wheel rides on the smaller diameter part of the wheel. Any vehicle with bigger wheels on one side will be lopsided and lean. Presto, the train leans into the turn.
Looking at the pic it ain’t much of a lean. Two things, trains don’t take sharp turns and compared to bikes or cars trains are very tall and top-heavy so a little lean goes a long way. Besides, you don’t want them leaning too much inside the turn or they’d tip over that way, which is bad for business etc.
To really see the difference, mouseover the pic.
There is a second advantage to this. Through a turn the outside wheel covers more ground than the inside wheel. For two wheels rotating at the same pace the outside wheel needs to be bigger so it has a greater circumference to cover more ground. If both wheels were the same size connected to a single axel, one or the other would roll too fast or too slow depending. That’s friction, that makes the engine work harder and adds wear and tear. So if the wheels are small inside and big outside… voila! No problem.
This is pretty ingenious engineering, elegantly simple, totally passive, set it and forget it. No need for a complicated suspension with motors, actuators, servos or gizmos of any kind. We doff our metaphorical caps to whoever devised it.
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 1/17/17
We mentioned before how the “Ar-r-r” pirate talk thing was supposed to be a Bristol accent. That’s because Bristol has one of the few rhotic accents left in England.
rhotic (rō′ tĭk) adjective, of, relating to, or denoting a dialect or variety of English in which R is pronounced before a consonant and at the ends of words.
Most of England dropped or softened the R in the 18th century. As America was initially settled before that, Yanks still pronounce the R at the end of words the old fashioned way. Except for some places on the east coast, notably Boston. On the other hand, Australia was settled later and, like the English, have dropped the R.
While many criminals suffered transportation to the land down under, we doubt very many were pirates. Especially since the Pirate Age ended in the early 18th century. Which means back then, everyone talked like a pirate.
Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 1/15/17
Some pro sports teams have mythical names: San Francisco Giants, Tennessee Titans. Others have fierce animal names: Chicago Bears, Detroit Tigers. Others are not-so-fierce animals: Toronto Blue Jays, Indianapolis Colts. And yet others are just plain stupid: Miami Heat, Utah Jazz. But this is Pirate Week so we can ignore all that. Here are the pirate related team names.
Pittsburgh Pirates Story goes the team was originally the Spiders, but due to their raiding other teams rosters for talent folks started calling them pirates. So they changed the name to Pirates.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Another name for pirate is buccaneer, which comes from the French boucanier, from boucaner, to smoke meat. So that’s bacon…bacon maker…pirate. Connect the dots on that one, ‘cause we can’t.
Oakland Raiders Not pirates strictly speaking, but their logo has a guy with an eyepatch and crossed swords, pretty darn piratey in our book.
Minnesota Vikings Not exactly pirates, Vikings were sea raiders that looted towns instead of other ships. Still, they sailed around plundering like pirates, so that’s close enough for us.
Los Angeles Clippers Man a clipper ship with a crew of violent thieves, hoist the Jolly Roger and there you go. Pirates.
Buffalo Sabers Admittedly pirates used cutlasses and not sabers. We list them all the same because pirates and swords go together like mom and apple pie. Actually pirates are nothing like your mom or ours, but you know what we mean.
Vancouver Canucks Most folks don’t know that canuck is the native Chinook word for pirate. Not buying it? Didn’t go for the Saber bit either? Oh well, guess that pretty much means we’re out of pirate material and Pirate Week is well and truly over.
Filed under The Casual Sportsman 1/14/17
Because Pirate Week just wouldn’t be complete unless we added something pirate related to every Shorts department, including “Words, Phrases, Sayings and Quotes.”
“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be Pirates.”
“It is when Pirates count their booty that they become mere thieves.”
“The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a Pirate.”
“Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum.”
–Long John Silver
We wish we had more pirate quotes to quote, we looked, we found, but most were not worth repeating. So to fill out our “Words…Quotes” Pirate Week entry we add this one last tidbit:
Believe it or don’t, in the entire Pirate Age, roughly 1690 to 1720, not a single person was ever hung for piracy. You can look it up yourself. In a dictionary. Just like in the opening pic, pictures are hung, pirates are hanged.
Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 1/13/17
I owe my talent and career largely to my dad who took me into his studio, Art Works, as a young man. The results were an unplanned and happy accident.
Nobody has ever come across a bonafide pirate treasure map. As a general practice pirates didn’t hoard their ill-gotten gains, they spent it like drunken sailors. Which they were.
Pirates believed piercing their ears would enhance their eyesight. Which is no more absurd than modern people thinking piercing their nose will enhance their appearance.
Another term for pirate is freebooter, which comes from the Dutch vrijbuiter, plunderer. Your average pirate didn’t speak Dutch so they decided to be a freebooter and to heck with the Dutch.
A privateer was a sort-of pirate licensed to kill. Something like James Bond. Countries engaged privateers to wage undeclared war on enemy ships using a black budget navy they could deny responsibility for. Something like the CIA.
The whole “Ar-r-r, matey” pirate talk business came from a 1950 movie version of Treasure Island. It was actor Robert Newton’s version of a Bristol accent as it’s thought Blackbeard was born in Bristol. Blackbeard did his pirating out of South Carolina, but “Hey, y’all” just doesn’t sound very piratey, does it?
Early 16th century pirates the “Flying Gang” inspired Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow manner of speech is patterned after Keith Richards who was not born in Bristol and isn’t a pirate.
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 1/12/17
Infrequently Answered Question #105: Who was Roger of the Jolly Roger and what made him so jolly?
A: Skulls with a full set of bared teeth look to be smiling. Though more of an evil grin, a ghoulish rictus or an all-the-better-to-eat-you-with smirk than a jolly smile. Which is beside the point because that’s not what makes Roger jolly or a Jolly Roger.
The first pirate flags were all black, signaling a targeted ship that should they submit without a fight the crew would be spared. If resisted the pirates would hoist a red flag indicating no quarter would be given. It is thought this red flag was the original Jolly Roger. Folks debate about the origin of the name. Some speculate it’s from the French jolie rouge, meaning “pretty red.” Others say it was named after Sicilian King Roger II who they believe was first to fly it. Nobody really knows for sure.
Not every Jolly Roger sported the now cliché skull and crossbones, or Death’s head. Even so, they were usually festooned with something scary which was the whole point of the flag, instilling fear. Besides skulls, full skeletons were popular as were swords and drinking. The flag was a warning label: ship contains armed and dangerous drunkards. Many were personalized as sort-of pirate logos, a kind of terror branding. Below are our renditions of six Jolly Rogers from some notorious pirates in history.
Top row: Calico Jack, Edward Low. Middle row: Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Stede Bonnet. Bottom row: Thomas Tew, Terry and the Pirates. OK, that last one was our little joke. The real number six is the right flag in the opening pic: Edward England.
While pirates have a colorful, swashbuckling image today they were nothing but sea gangsters who went around robbing and murdering people. To this day there seems to be some kind of connection between flamboyant attire and thuggery. Might be a hedonism thing, we couldn’t say.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 1/11/17
A usage of brace you don’t hear much these days, “The pirate sported a brace of pistols.” Quite simply, a brace is two. The pirate carried two pistols. So, why not say a pair of pistols? we hear ourselves ask. We hear ourselves guess, back in the day if they weren’t a matched set they weren’t a pair. Think of a pair of glasses or a pair of gloves. Two the same, pair; two of a type but different, brace.
We think the British call suspenders braces. So they might wear a pair of braces, but not a brace of braces. Which would be two pairs of suspenders, four suspenders in total. A single suspender would be a Sam Browne belt. Which didn’t hold up pants, rather it held up itself, if that makes sense.
Pirates didn’t wear Sam Browne belts that we’re aware of, so perhaps we shouldn’t have brought them up. We have no information on whether pirates wore suspenders or not. They did wear eye patches, though never in pairs. They also had hooks for hands and peg legs. Or sans peg leg a crutch, a different kind of brace. The pirate business was obviously pretty hazardous.
Most pirates didn’t have a brace of pistols, they fought with cutlasses. A short saber-like sword with a large hand guard. If the more colorful reports are to be believed, they also fought with tooth and nail, which we imagine means in the heat of battle they’d bite people or claw their eyes out. Which might explain all the eye patches.
Pirates kept monkeys and parrots for pets. Perhaps just to be colorful, or maybe because cats don’t go in for sailing. On the other hand there were sea dogs, which weren’t actual dogs but the ship’s crew. Then there’s Chicken of the Sea which…
We seem to have strayed from the word brace through some guff about pirates winding up at some silliness about tuna fish. Chalk it up to our unplanned pirate theme that started over the weekend. Will there be more pirate shorts or just the
brace pair two so far? At this point we don’t know ourselves.
Filed under Odds & Ends 1/10/17
A slight variation of our usual suspect methods, a snippet from the terry colon dot com archives befitting the Pirate Treasure Hunt splash page. Here’s where it first appeared:
If you’d rather not bother covering old ground, here’s something new. Our red-bearded pirate sports beard braids, fashioned after the infamous Blackbeard who also went about with smoldering fuses sticking out from under his hat to set off cannons. Though we suppose only during battle and not as some kind of everyday pirate fashion statement.
Speaking of cannon, in days of wooden ships and iron men not all the ship’s big guns were cannons, which were a specific size and shape of big gun. There were also demi-cannons, culverins, demi-culverins, carronades, and paixhans guns. For landlubbers cannon is pretty much a generic term for them all. Though we’re still not sure if the plural for cannon is cannon or cannons.
Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 1/9/17
Mouseover to see full size
Filed in Gag Cartoon Gallery 1/6/17
Infrequently Answered Question #104: It’s cold as hell today. Last July it was hot as hell. Just what the hell is hell’s temperature?
A: Not having been there, we don’t know. But if there’s nine levels of hell, it could be extremely hot in parts and unbearably cold in other parts. Whatever the case, we’re certain, as both phrases suggest, it’s pretty darned unpleasant. That being the whole point of the place.
There are other common idioms that seem to contradict each other while they don’t. If your house burns up it burns down. A fat chance is a slim chance. Some hot new thing can be really cool, man. A hot/cold thing which brings us back to where the hell we started. (Though shoving “the hell” in sentences the usual way seems rather grammatically nonsensical. Why exactly? We the hell don’t the hell know the hell why.)
All this hell talk has us wondering, should hell be capitalized? After all, it’s the name of a place. Like Detroit.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 1/5/17
Esprit de l’escalier is French for “wit of the staircase.” This refers to coming up with a snappy comeback way, way, way too late. As the phrase has it, as you climb the stairs on your way to bed. Trompe l’oeil is French for “deceives the eye” which refers to ultra realistic still life paintings with things like a fly on them a viewer is tempted to try shooing as it looks so real. Now for the fauxcabulary part:
goofstep (gōōf′ stĕp) verb. To stumble at the top of a staircase from treading on an anticipated top step that isn’t there.
ghost step (gōst stĕp) noun. The expected but nonexistent top step of a flight of stairs that causes you to goofstep.
trompe l’oof (trömp lōōf) noun. The momentary sensation of falling one has when goofstepping on a ghost step.
In animated cartoons a character can continue walking up a flight of stairs after it ends as long as they don’t look down and see there’s no stairs there. This never happens in everyday life as reality doesn’t buy into the notion of “Ignore it it’ll go away.” That’s Looney Tunes physics, the laws of nature according to Wile E. Coyote. Which doesn’t seem to deter some philosophers proposing reality is all a state of mind and nothing is really real. Which there’s no other words for except looney tunes.
Lightning is much more powerful than long suspected. Unlike in Back to the Future with its Professor Brown shocking 1.21 gigawatts, strong lightning bolts can be in terawatts. A terawatt is 1,000 gigawatts. A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts and a megawatt is 1,000 watts. And you thought a 150 watt lightbulb was bright?
Odd how a watt is named after James Watt who built the improved steam engine and not any kind of electrical gizmo. Though technically a watt is a measure of power, how much work an electric current can do. One watt is equal to one joule per second, if that means anything to you. We would explain it, but, since we don’t actually understand it, we won’t. Make that can’t.
Of course, Mother Nature really rolls up her sleeves and goes to work out in space. The sun is 3.9x10^26 watts, or if you can’t make sense of exponents 390,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 watts. That’s per second, by the way. Though a number with that many zeros is hard to relate to as you never count anything in your everyday life that high. After all, nobody takes inventory by molecule count, do they?
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 1/2/17
It’s the newly retooled terry colon dot com, smaller and better than ever while retaining all the pointless animation, aimless verbiage, and silly pictures you’ve come to expect. Yep, rather than the usual bigger, we go the reverse. We’ve reduced the Shorts departments from ten to six by rolling Links, Lists, Money, and Quotes into other departments. Also, many entries and features were whittled down and others eighty-sixed in toto.
We also retitled some articles and wrote a smear of new Shorts headlines so they actually tell you what the heck the thing is about. Perhaps not as clever wordplay-wise, but better utility-wise. Speaking of which, readers can now navigate to every page from every other page with the new menu thingy at the top.
Observant readers might also notice the new, more consistent headline fonts used throughout. No more boring old Ad Lib available to everyone and used all over the place. Instead, all custom fonts designed by us with an occasional bit of something article specific tossed in. For you typeface wonks, here they are on display.
The new header type, where it says TERRYCOLON.COM at the top, is Terrifix. Humor bits use Neutronix Bold, Webio-Bot has Robotix with an outline, and the rest get Atomix Bold, mostly. Below are custom faces used here and there or in the past.
For your amusement, or more like our amusement, here are some other uniquely unique fonts from our typeface foundry, which we dub Face Front.
Can you tell we have a thing for the -ix suffix? The old folks out there from Motor Town might recognize Orbitronix. Just lop off -ronix and there you go. For everyone from everywhere, only 365 days until the next redesign. Enjoy!
Filed under Odds & Ends 1/1/17
Here’s an oldie from the art archives which sets the mood for the day, even though fireworks are more a Fourth of July thing than a New Year’s Eve thing. All the same the spot hints at things to come here at terry colon dot com. Stay tuned, one year’s end is another year’s beginning.
Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 12/31/16
As the year winds down we reprise our old bit of reporting fake but accurate newsworthy items for the 366 days past. Or at least list the headlines since non-news is generally rather skimpy on details.
Top Ten Things that Didn’t Happen in 2016
“Wait a minute, that’s eleven, not ten” we suppose the reader is saying in their head at this point. Ah, but, we object, number eleven happened so there are only ten that didn’t happen. We simply couldn’t resist shoving that one in at the end as a bonus gag. Devious, eh? Anyway, it was leap year so you get one extra. That’s our story and we’re running with it.
Filed under Odds & Ends 12/29/16
Did Santa bring you what you hoped for this Christmas? Did he forget the batteries which were not included? Hey, it probably warned as much on the package. Or did you get something that didn’t need batteries but did have one of the following real warnings on actual products?
Are people really that stupid? We doubt it. More likely these warnings exist because litigious lawyers are really that weaselly.
This site intended for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute life advice. Before taking any of it in part or whole to heart contact your local minister, rabbi, guru, psychiatrist, commissar, or parole officer.
Filed under Odds & Ends 12/27/16
Professor Frank N. Bienz explains the world situation to the Sucksters (not shown) in 1997 or thereabouts. I don’t know why, but this spot always makes me smile even though I have no idea what the heck it was supposed to be about. If you have a similar reaction, consider it my Boxing Day gift to you, keeping in mind nobody expects much in a Boxing Day gift.
Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 12/26/16
Winter arrived for its annual visit at about 5:00 this morning. Did you feel it? If not, try going outside. Without a coat. Which might not help depending where you live. The holidays are fast approaching and we all know what that means: Lists.
Shopping lists, wish lists, naughty lists, nice lists, best of the year lists, worst of the year lists, New Year’s resolution lists, prediction lists, lists of lists. And coming soon to a web device near you, our annual “Not Done” list.
Without lists modern life would not be possible. We mean lists like indexes, tables of contents, appendixes, directories, menus, sub-menus, sub-sub-menus, and so on. We simply couldn’t manage modernity without lists. We at terry colon dot com have a hard time managing with them.
By the way, that “Ah-h-h-h-h” in the headline is not said the same as an “Ah-h-h-h-h” we say for summer. More like an “Ah-h-h-h-h” we’d say if our computer crashed. But not so much like an “Ah-h-h-h-h” we’d say if we crashed our car into a Mack truck. It’s all in the inflection as “Ah-h-h-h-h” doesn’t have a definite meaning. Interjections just sort-of work that way.
Filed under Odds & Ends 12/21/16
More Infrequently Answered Questions We Cannot Answer
Just as before, the staff here at terry colon dot com have no good answers for these questions. Perhaps they are not even good questions, which might account for it. On question seven, we don’t mean to imply women are to be likened to apes and chimps. If you thought that, that’s on you.
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 12/19/16