Monday, January 31, 2011


On a Watch lost in a Tavern.

A Watch lost in a Tavern ? that's a Crime,

You know how men in drinking lose there time :

A Watch keeps time, and if time pass away.

There is small reason that the Watch should stay.

The key hung out, and you forgot to lock it,

Time scorns to be kept tame in any pocket.

Hereafter if you keep't, thus must you do,

Pocket your Watch, and watch your pockets too.

-“Humour, wit, and satire of the 17th century”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google's domain

Just found out from a college friend who spent most of her life in South Africa that the country has a slang term for markers, "cokies." I looked it up on Google and as it turns out, there's next to nothing about it on the internet. There's one blog where someone talks about how surprised she was to find out about the term, but nothing else anywhere. This is the first thing that I've found on my own that hasn't been well-documented on Google.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

those Magic Tree House books

The author really wrote herself into a corner when she titled the first one Dinosaurs Before Dark, and followed it with The Knight at Dawn and Mummies in the Morning. Now she has to have some kind of measurement of time in every title. She was fine for the first twenty books or so, but it turned into her cash cow,* and she's on book number 45 now.

First she had Vacation in a Volcano, which isn't really a time of day. She's also expanded to complete days of the week, like Monday with a Mad Genius, and randomly specific ones like Dark Day, Early Morning, and Late Winter. She's even repeated herself with Night of the Ninja and Night of the New Magicians, which is unforgiveable. Her latest is A Crazy Day with Cobras, and I expect the titles to get even more entertaining from here.

*Not sure about the etymology of that phrase. It's like the "goose that lays the golden eggs" one, but cows don't lay eggs. That I know of. I haven't witnesses a cow birthing as of yet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All is discovered.

There is a tradition to the effect that Noel Coward once sent identical notes to the twenty most prominent men in London, saying, ‘All is discovered. Escape while you can.’

All twenty abruptly left town.

– Paul C. Sherr, The Short Story and the Oral Tradition, 1970

Friday, January 21, 2011


For many years Rutland was the smallest county in England, being only 152 square miles. In April 1974, owing to an appalling planning blunder on the part of the British government, it literally ceased to exist. shortly afterwards Sir Nat Kosher realized the enormous tax benefits of broadcasting from somewhere which didn't legally exist and formed Rutland Weekend Television, Britain's smallest TV station. From its very first broadcast RWTV was greeted with praise from Accountants and Taxation Experts in every walk of life.
--The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book, Eyre Methuen Ltd., 1976

Friday, January 14, 2011

Be Always Good

Be good, be good, be always good,
And now & then be clever,
But don’t you ever be too good,
Nor ever be too clever;
For such as be too awful good
They awful lonely are,
And such as often clever be
Get cut & stung & trodden on by persons of lesser mental capacity, for this kind do by a law of their construction regard exhibitions of superior intellectuality as an offensive impertinence leveled at their lack of this high gift, & are prompt to resent such-like exhibitions in the manner above indicated — & are they justifiable? alas, alas they
(It is not best to go on; I think the line is already longer than it ought to be for real true poetry.)
– Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seven fingers

"What if we had seven fingers on each of our hands? [...] We could name our fingers after the days of the week, and if we didn't like something, we could flip that person a "Wednesday." If you were clumsy, you could say, "Sorry, I'm all weekends."  -Roger von Oech

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Opening Credits Exist

You know how people enjoy something more if they’ve paid a lot for it? They also want to buy something more after they’ve held it. The same principle applies to those opening credits for movies. They remind the audience that it’s a movie, that it’s been paid for, and hey, look, it’s so cool already, but you still have the rest of it to look forward to. It’s a marketing ploy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An approach to insurrection

Inspiration just struck me. It was rather heavily, and in the back of the head, so I can't account for the quality of my poem.

An approach to insurrection

To avoid revolution
Takes a strong constitution
Do you think, good sir, to achieve it?

King, to risk being smarmy
In regards to their army
I’ll tell them, most kindly, to sleeve it

It gives me satisfaction
that their faction’s a fraction
Of our troubles in this current age and day

The economy will bother me
Even greater, gastronomy
So I won’t leave my supper to attend to the fray

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Random facts about guns

A fatal bullet through the heart can leave a guy up and shooting for over ten seconds — obviously an eternity for a law enforcement officer in a point-blank shootout.

A guy can get shot and not know it. Police officers are trained to check themselves carefully when any shots are fired, because it has happened that officers thought they were unharmed, went home, laid down to rest, and bled to death.

A guy can be in a shootout and THINK he got shot, and it turns out there’s not a mark on him. They get knocked over, feel intense pain, cry out, etc. There were enough of these cases that the researchers were able to find some involving officers who were previously decorated for valor and had in fact been shot before.

A guy can get shot multiple times with a powerful weapon and get lucky, or he can get shot with a tiny weapon and get unlucky. I still remember the story used to illustrate this: a fight between roommates got ugly, and one guy shot the other six times in the chest with a .45. The second guy went to his attic, found his great-grandfather’s Civil War-era relic small caliber revolver (something like a .22), went back downstairs, and shot his roommate through the heart, killing him. Forty-eight hours later, his desire for medical care overcame his aversion to getting caught, and he walked into an emergency room. He recovered completely.