Depending how you define “best selling” you could make the argument the Ford Model T would top the list. In its heyday this single car had a fifty percent market share, half the cars on the American road were Model Ts. Try outselling that. It wasn’t the top selling in total numbers, but there were a lot fewer people around back then.
By volume the Volkswagen Beetle wins the title of best selling car at over thirty million units sold. Of course, unlike the Model T, it sold all over the world in a much more populous world. It helped that they built the thing for about forty years, more than twice as long as the tin Lizzy.
Still, the VW doesn’t get the crown as the best selling motor vehicle of all time. Notice we said motor vehicle and not automobile. At over 80 million units sold, the winner is… the Honda Cub. That’s right, the ultimate people’s car is a motorcycle. Or is it a scooter? Or, with its large, narrow wheels a sort-of cross between the two? Whatever it is, its the king of the road.
Now then, if you want to say a vehicle that has changed over time but carried the same badge is the same model, the T isn’t the best selling Ford model ever. It’s the Transit van which has been selling world-wide in all its iterations some five decades and counting.
Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 8/23/16
America doesn’t have an official dialect, or even language, which isn’t the case elsewhere. Many countries have a standard version of their particular language for official communication. In Germany, which has a dozen different dialects, they have Dachsprache, based on the Hannover dialect. In England, the unofficial official accent is Received Pronunciation, or RP. Some call it the mid-Atlantic accent, a sort-of mix of English and American someone living on an imaginary island halfway between the two might sound like.
Some professions also have their own way of speaking. For instance there’s what you might call media-speak. Newscasters, documentary narrators, and advertising voiceover artists speak in ways that don’t really match up to any regional, natural, conversational way of speaking. As Jack Lemmon said about Tony Curtis’ Cary Grant imitation in Some Like it Hot, “Where did you come up with that phony accent? Nobody talks like that.”
Another example is a speech pattern many airline pilots have informally adopted when speaking on the intercom to passengers during flight. It has a relaxed, folksy, confident feel to it based on the West Virginia accent. Why West Virginia? Because that’s where Chuck Yeager hails from. You want to sound like a top pilot, talk like Chuck Yeager.
Are these dialects or accents? Or something else?
argot (är′ gō; är′ gət) noun, A specialized vocabulary or set of idioms used by a particular group or class; especially the jargon of the underworld.
jargon (jär′ gən) noun, 1. Nonsensical, incoherent, or meaningless utterance; gibberish. 2. A hybrid language or dialect. 3. The specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, class or fellowship.
patois (păt′ wä; pă twä′) noun, 1. Any subliterate regional French dialect. 2. Any regional dialect. 3. The special jargon of a group; cant.
So, we seem to have a number of synonyms, some with multiple meanings. None of which hit the bullseye. English, what a language.
Filed under Word Meanings and Origins 8/17/16
My next-door neighbor is having his driveway redone today. True to the stereotype, by an Italian concrete contractor. Which one supposes is appropriate since the Romans invented concrete, a sort-of artificial stone. Maybe not artificial really, since it’s made of natural stone material. Perhaps more like reconstituted stone. Or perhaps artificially hardened stone. Whatever the apt description, it’s stone you can pour and mold into whatever shape you need rather than chiseling it like marble or something.
Like the previously mentioned corrugated cardboard, concrete is also a ubiquitous, relatively cheap wonder material. Only not so modern. And it makes lousy packaging.
What I’m wondering is how they pour concrete in places like San Francisco. What I mean is, some of the streets there are pretty steep grades, how do they keep it from simply running down the hill when it’s wet?
Filed under Odds & Ends 8/15/16
Infrequently Answered Question #99: Paper or plastic?
A: Something of a vague question, but for my money it’s paper. Not so much for shopping bags, but for another container, the cardboard box.
Corrugated cardboard is one of the greatest, if least celebrated, inventions of all time. Strong, light, versatile, cheap, ubiquitous. How much damage has been spared goods by shipping and storing in corrugated cardboard? How much time, energy and space has been saved by replacing wooden crates with cardboard boxes? Forget plastic, corrugated cardboard is the modern wonder material.
I came across the following and figured there wasn’t much I could say about the wonderfulness of cardboard to beat it, they’re making houses out of the stuff. I’m not talking about the homeless sleeping in cardboard boxes, real homes.
Folks like to make claims about things that haven’t proved out yet, so you’ll understand if I don’t take the “lasts 100 years” as fact. Remember Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion house? How about Thomas Edison’s concrete house?
For a little backstory on the origins of corrugated cardboard, there’s this from Gizmodo:
Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 8/10/16
Now that I know a thing or two about web animation, I’ve updated an old lift explanation companion article, “The Trouble With Airflow Diagrams.” Since this bit was all about how wings and air and whatnot move, what better than to have diagrams that, you know, move. Seems a natural. These should make it much easier to understand what I was getting at.
It’s brand spanking new old content, if you will. Even if you don’t really know, as I don’t, why something new is brand spanking.
Filed under Odds & Ends 8/9/16
Forget Hoffman, not that anyone remembers him, Porsche is the German car guy to remember. Ferdinand Porsche is famous as the founder of the car company bearing his name, the first offering of which was a relatively affordable sports car. Not something the outfit is known for these days. He’s also renowned as the creator of the Volkswagen Beetle. Perhaps less well-known are his highly successful Auto Union (now Audi) mid-engine race cars of the 1930s.
Herr Porsche was an auto innovator of the first stripe from the beginning. His first effort was a revolutionary electric car where the wheels were electric motors. A highly efficient design since there was no loss of power through mechanical connecting shafts and whatnot. His second car was a gasoline engine/electric hybrid. Pretty much the same system in hybrid cars today, only about a hundred years ago.
Elon Musk is but a pale imitation of the real genius that was Ferdinand Porsche.
Filed under Links & Sites to See 8/5/16
I reprise an old Suck.com spot that just seemed appropriate considering the time in the political cycle. Only this time around, I’ve animated the spot for your enjoyment. Too bad I didn’t know how to do that back in the day. Would it have made it funnier? Would it have made Suck better? Would it have saved my job? We’ll never know.
All we know for sure, for this election we have some different liars telling different lies. Have no fear, many of the old lies and liars are still going strong. The classics never die. Enjoy that, too.
Filed under Snippets 8/2/16
Not that anyone tunes in to terry colon dot com for handyman advice, but I made a promise of a few tips so here they are. Hopefully, they are not the usual tips you’ve run across before and are possibly useful. If not, well, a couple are animated. Just as good as an instructional video, only not.
Ten DIY Tips for Revamping Your Studio (or Any Room, Actually)
You may have noticed I have no tips for painting windows. I don’t have to paint windows because my old place sports 1950s aluminum windows. Not the panes, which are glass of course, but the frames, sills and so on are unpainted aluminum. Not all that energy efficient, but they have that mid-century modern look that suits me right down to the ground.
Filed under Top Tens and Other Lists 7/29/16
Not every Brazilian is a soccer star, not every Frenchman can cook, and not every German is a brilliant car engineer. To wit, the misbegotten automotive monstrosity, the Hoffman. Never heard of it? Well, there’s a very good reason for that. See for yourself:
While the dedicated reader may have noticed my fancy for bubble cars, not all bubble cars are created equal. The Hoffman is a lot less equal than the rest.
Filed under Links & Sites to See 7/25/16
Believe it or not I’m amongst the richest people in the world. The key phrase is, “in the world.” Globally, over $77,000 in net worth puts you in the top ten percent.
Then again, the comparison is a bit misleading because the local cost of living makes a difference. Plus, things like income and GDP are calculated in terms of commerce rather than actual production or goods. For instance, paint the house yourself, no GDP. Hire a painter, GDP. Did more work get done because you paid for it rather than doing it yourself?
Subsistance ruralists grow crops, herd animals, build housing, make textiles, tools and pottery, yet generate no income or GDP simply because they didn’t buy or sell any of it. Doesn’t mean they created no wealth, it just doesn’t show up as GDP or income. So when they tell you such-and-such country has some really low per capita income, what does it really mean?
On the flip side of the above, when American moms got jobs in large numbers starting in the 1970s an entire daycare industry emerged to do the work for money mothers had been doing unpaid. When the wife works and then hires out the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, GDP goes up. Yet no more work is done than if they stayed at home and did those things themselves as they used to do. Makes you wonder how much GDP growth in the last 50 odd years has been phony?
Speculations aside, in light of how little effort I’ve been putting into terry colon dot com of late, I guess it makes me the idle rich. I can live with that.
Filed under Talkin’ Bout Money 7/22/16
A very early Suck.com that pretty much sums up my current attitude to frequent blogging, if blogging’s what I’m doing here at terry colon dot com. Not that I’m actually at the beach sunbathing, just enjoying the great outdoors of summer. Working, actually. Only on homeowner type stuff. I’ll get back into the swing of internetty things later. How much later? Time will tell.
And considering that spot of art is nearly twenty years old, time flies, too.
Filed under Snippets 7/18/16
There’s this bit about a square pegs and round holes, but how about square pegs that are round holes? Which won’t make any sense until you go watch the video:
Filed under Links & Sites to See 7/13/16
Got the studio redone and all systems are back online. Finally. Took longer than expected and didn’t work as planned. The initial plans were left in tatters, as they say. As I drew. I’ll spare you the details.
One thing in the aftermath I also didn’t foresee or plan on I discovered when I sat down to draw this pic and some sketches for a Reason job, I’m out of drawing practice. Take almost two weeks away from putting pencil on paper and you lose your touch. Just goes to show, practice, practice, practice. Hey, the best athletes and musicians in the world practice constantly to keep their edge. Same thing applies to third rate illustrators.
Can’t tell whether it’s effected my writing. Well, that wasn’t all that good to begin with. Onward and upward. Onward, at any rate.
Filed under Odds & Ends 7/11/16
Seven DIY Rules of Thumb
While the last sounds like a weak joke, it’s actually true. They studied it. Something to do with adrenaline or dopamine or something, I’m not sure. Still, screaming with pain is natural, you gotta figure it must have a purpose. Cursing is just putting words to the scream. If having your mother kiss the owie will make it better... I have no information on that.
Filed under Top Tens and Other Lists 7/1/16
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