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About me and terrycolon.com

Interview of me at Existable

Interview of me at The Setup

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

features1 archives1 cracked1

American History 101 2.0  The Fake But Accurate Story

Chartology Made Stupid  Connecting the Dots

Cosmology-Wiz  A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Dangerous Hot Air  The Truth About Inconvenient Global Warming

The Disunited States of America  A Preview of Coming Attractions?

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

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

Government Machinery at Work  How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

Happy New Year  2007 in Review

How ESP Works  Mind Reading Diagramed and Explained

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

Mess Transit  Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

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

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

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

Quick and Easy Housekeeping  Or Sisyphus Unbound and Unkempt

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?

Star Dreck  Musings of a Semi Hemi Demi Trekker

Those Darn Cats  Our Deal With the Devils

Unnatural Empty Junkfood Words  Half-Baked Buzz Phrases and Overcooked Terms

Uranimals  Beastly Beasts

Welcome to the Burbs  Whatever it Is

Win Any Argument  Using Paralogic and Surreason

Winless Wear  2008 Detroit Lions Merchandise

Reader's Digest

The B-B-Q Pyramid  For the Cooking Unimpaired

Mythic Snowmen  And More Snowmen

Quick and Easy Meals  For the Cooking Impaired

Venn Again, Again  More of the Same, But Different

Venn Again, Maybe Not  Another Last Laugh

Suck.com

Crash Course  Cartoon Motorcycle Accidents Versus Cartoonist Motorcycle Accidents

Suck School of Comic Art  How to Draw Funny

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

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

Better Than Sliced Bread  Uncelebrated Inventions Great and Small

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

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

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

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

Folk Etymology  From the Greek Meaning “Fake it”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Powerplant in Your Garage?  Dense Plasma Focus Fusion

Science Legends
Things People Know to Be True That Aren’t

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat  Three Card Monte Math Which May Surprise You

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

Works for Me  Prosperity Is As Energy Does

Bizarro.TerryColon.www  Goodbye, Earthlings

Elusiver, Mysteriouser Creatures  Another Search Game

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

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

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

Superest Super Bowl League  What Is the Best Pre-Merger League at Winning the Big Game?

Terra Incognita  A Trick Tricky Geography Quiz

Unanimated Gif Monte  A Little Optical Illusion Fun

What Was That Nym Again?  Some Fun With Words

Webio-Bot Video Games and Animation

Whack-a-Bot  Quick, Get 'Em!

Webio-Bot Illusion  A Little Fun With Optical Illusions

Webio-Bot Invaders  Save the Planet

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

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

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Ultimate Mystic Service Answers Any Yes-or-No Question

Another Search Game

Getting Into the Net With the Web-a-Tron 9000

Animated Optical Illusions

Using Paralogic and Surreason


updates

How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

I Will Read Your Mind

Lift Explained


reruns

Cosmology-Wiz

A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Remembering WWI As It Really Wasn't

Proving Cones and Gyroscopes Are Futile


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Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

Taking the bus is the newest hot trend folks around the country are flocking to in droves. Okay, that's obviously a lie, but I need a catchy lead-in to this bit. Anyway, sheep come in flocks and cattle go in droves, and who wants to commute like livestock? For the sake of argument, or rather to avoid any argument, let's pretend the opening line were true.

Folks who've never ridden a bus will benefit from some tips on how it's done safely and effectively. Therefore we present this Bus Riding Primer for Dummies. Which is not to say you have to be a dummy to ride the bus, but you may be one if you follow our advice…

Read it all

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Balancing a Bike by Turning

It's hard to believe some people don't believe counter-steering is a real thing. This despite the century or so of motorcycle racers doing it. For those readers unfamiliar with counter-steering, it is some­times stated as, "Turn right to go left." It might sound absurd, but it works.

The first thing we need to clear up is that counter-steering is not really about turning so much as about leaning and balance. Which means "turn right to go left" is misleading though accurate. I'll explain that in a bit.

If you read my article Bikes Don't Turn by Leaning you know why leaning a bike can't possibly make it turn. The reverse is completely contrary, turning a bike will make it lean. Which might sound somewhat inconsistant until you think about it for a minute…

Read it all

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Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

There comes a time in life when one feels duty bound to pass on the benefit of one's experience to the younger generation whether they like it or not. Then one can retire and collect Social Security so the younger generation can pass on part of their income in return. Whether this is an equitable trade is debatable. After reading said benefit of one's experience and realizing how paltry one's contribution is, one might conclude there's no debate about it.

One might also realize calling oneself one or oneself sounds pretty stilted and stupid and one should cut it out forthwith. And never again say forthwith, either.

I was going to call this article, "Advice for…" but thought that might be doing the young illustrator a disservice. Truth be told, I don't know that I have any great pearls of wisdom to pass on. Or nuggets either as wisdom comes packaged that way, too. Experience is the name we give to all the dumb things we've done. Wisdom is realizing afterward just how dumb they really were…

Read it all

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Come enjoy Whack-a-Bot, the video game that's endless fun for the whole family. Though you'll have to take turns unless watching someone else play is fun to you. Then again, the fun might not be endless, but the game can be. That's because, well, try it and see.

Play Whack-a-Bot

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Maybe the Sample Size Wasn’t Big Enough

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The health and nutrition experts tell us eating fat will give you a heart attack. So, let's look at the data from the largest test of this hypothesis ever, the eating habits of the entire population of Europe. The following is from the World Health Organization's European Heart Study of 2008.

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Notice anything odd? France has the fattiest diet and the lowest coronary heart disease (CHD) death rate. Georgia has the leanest diet and the second highest CHD death rate. The French eat almost twice the fat as Russians and have less than one tenth the CHD death rate. The overall trend shows the more fat the lower the CHD death rate.

Yet somehow a low fat diet is "heart smart." Why do they say this? I don't know, but medical experts can believe two totally contrary things at the same time.

After a recent study by the British Heart Foundation the investigators concluded there was no evidence that saturated fat is bad for your heart. At the same time they claimed saturated fat raised cholesterol levels which is bad for your heart. Meaning saturated fat does and doesn't cause heart disease. It's not saturated fat, it's Schrödinger's fat.

Not all the experts are buying it. To quote Dr. George Mann, former head of the Framingham Study (where the fat causes heart disease hypothesis originated back in the 1950s): "The diet-heart idea –the notion that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease– is the greatest scientific deception of our times… The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century."

The Cholesterol Hypothesis Is Wrong on YouTube

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 6/30/15

Nothing Works Like Not Working

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We could avoid the current brouhaha over increasing the minimum wage by taking a page out of the current farm policy playbook. That is, simply pay people for not working. We offer the Labor Price Support Act of 2015.

This will have a double effect on raising wages. It will reduce the labor supply thus driving up wages as employers compete for fewer available workers. Also, a high non-working wage will force greedy employers to offer much higher working wages to entice workers away from a life of liesure to take a job.

Capitalist apologists may argue this will drive up the prices of labor-intensive goods and services. Not so. Employers currently squeaking by on thin margins will be happy to operate at a loss. Investors are already buying negative-yielding bonds, so why not negative-yielding businesses? Since IPOs of money-losing companies are all the rage, unprofitable businesses won't be problems, they'll be golden opportunities for Wall Street to drive up the stock market and super­charge the wealth effect. Boom times here we come.

Besides, if too many businesses go under the government can always start paying them for not producing any goods or services under the Business Support Act of 2016. There is no unproductive activity the government can't pay for to make the economy work like a well-oiled Keynesian juggernaut.

Now, if you don't think producing less makes us richer, you're no economist. Some will tell you natural disasters and war are good for the economy. That's right, destroying things make you rich. It's a wonder Beirut isn't the richest city on Earth.

Filed under Talkin 'Bout Money 6/28/15

She Said She Had to Catch a Plane

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Because I'm not motivated to write or draw anything new, you get an old spot illustration from the Reason magazine archives. Though if you haven't seen it before it's new.

Early one morning in Newport, England, a speed camera snapped a photo of Tom Matthews' 12-year-old cab. He later received a notice informing him he'd exceeded the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit –by about 390 miles per hour. "I drive an old Cavalier –not a jumbo jet," Matthews told the London Sun. "According to this, I've broken the land speed record."

Filed under Snippets 6/25/15

Sodium Is Dangerous, Salt Not so Much

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Infrequently Answered Question #85: What's with low sodium foods and diets? Sodium is an alkali metal that reacts exothermically with water. Meaning it explodes. Are sadistic food conglomerates or terrorists lacing the food supply with sodium or something?

A: They don't mean sodium, of course, they mean salt, sodium chloride, NaCl. Don't know why they omit the chloride part. Is it because the chlorine part makes no difference? Though very few have studied it, what evidence there is shows low blood chlorine (serum chloride) is a bad thing, being associated with higher mortality risk.

So, low sodium is supposed to be good and low chlorine is shown to be bad. Yet you don't get the two separately as they come together as salt. Meaning, if you have low sodium, good, you also have have low chlorine, bad. How does that work?

According to numerous studies, it doesn't work. To quote one recent Australian study, "In a multivariate-adjusted model, those who consumed less than 3000 mg of sodium per day had a 25% increased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events compared with those who consumed between 4000 mg and 5990 mg/day (reference group)." In plain English, a low salt diet increased the risk of heart attacks and death. In Newspeak, low salt bad.

Here, too, they speak of sodium as if test subjects were somehow getting it minus the chlorine. Weird. Maybe it sounds more sciency and convincing to say sodium instead of salt.

Anyway, consider the following: Very ill hospital patients who cannot eat or drink are given an IV drip to replace fluids. That's a saline solution of about 0.9% salt. A commonly administered dose of two liters a day delivers 18 grams of salt into the bloodstream – which has no effect on blood pressure by the way.

Yet dietary experts tell people to limit themselves to six grams of salt a day. Unless you're in a sickbed when other medical experts pump 18 grams a day into you to keep you alive. Modern medicine works in mysterious ways.

Hat tip to Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's blog. To confess, I basically took much of what he wrote and rewrote it my way. So, not so much a hat tip as a lift notice.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 6/23/15

Ah-h-h-h, Summer

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The longest day of the year is here. Day being sunup to sundown. Before the mechanical clock daytime was twelve hours sunup to sundown no matter how long it lasted. So every day the length of an hour was different. Time was local east to west as well. It was like there were 360 time zones. Try running a train schedule with different length hours every day in 50 time zones.

I'm guessing before mechanical clocks the minutes and seconds didn't change every day. I mean, if you're timing a cake in the oven you need the minutes to be the same every time. If seconds got longer and shorter the world record for the 100 meter dash would have been set on the winter solstice. Or the 100 yard dash since mechanical clocks arrived before the metric system.

Not too many people go by sun time any more. Though all of the natural world does. If you did go by sun time, sunrise would be the same time every day, six o'clock. Though maybe it wouldn't be o'clock as you're not using a clock. So, the sun comes up at six o'sun and sets at six o'son every day. Just like it does at the equator. OK, we've already done that one.

All that aside, it's summer. Let's go out and enjoy the sunshine. Baseball, hot dogs and all that.

Which brings us to one of the dumbest health advice/scares ever: beware of sun caused skin cancer, never go outside without skin protection. Skin cancer is very rare, sun exposure represents a very low risk. What they don't tell you is sunshine reduces the risk of the three most common cancers people get. Which means dermatologists advise us to avoid the sun to decrease a tiny risk of melanoma while increasing the much greater risk of the most prevalent cancers.

Frédéric Bastiat warned about the seen and unseen in economics. Well, something similar applies to health. That is, you won't know the disease you did not get from bathing in the sunshine. You can't see what does not happen.

Filed under Odds & Ends 6/21/15

The Hits to Sanity Just Keep on Coming

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Top Ten Reasons the Ivory Tower Elite Advocate the Cashless Society

  1. To end the black market in used goods, you know, garage sales.
  2. They're sick and tired of co-professors borrowing ten bucks for lunch and forgetting to pay it back.
  3. So there's no way to pull your money out of the banking system and store it where they can't charge you negative interest which they also think is a good idea.
  4. To make cash only express lanes slower.
  5. So during the next major power outage no-one can price gouge because all commerce will be impossible.
  6. So no-one can live independently off the matrix grid.
  7. Because cash, anonymity and liberty are barbarous relics of the unenlightened past.
  8. There just aren't enough surveillance drones to go around.
  9. Just one more in a long line of college pranks. They're still laughing about that 'whole language' one.
  10. They're insane.

What do you call someone with more eduction than common sense? Professor.

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 6/19/15

Rag Arms Are as Dead as the Dead Ball

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Because baseball is managed so differently today than 100 years ago, there are many pitching records that will likely never be approached let alone broken. These have to do with decisions, innings pitched, and complete games. What with deeper rotations, middle relievers and closers, starting pitchers just don't get the chance to ever approach, let alone break, those kinds of records.

I mean, if a pitcher won 20 games a year for 20 years they'd have 400 wins. Cy Young won 511 games, lost 316, pitched 7,335 innings and completed 749 games. All records. Now-a-days with a four man rotation your ace will get 41 starts. Jack Chesbro won 41 games in 1904. He also started 51 and completed 48 in a 154 game season instead of the current 162. These records were all set were during the dead ball era which might have something to do with it. Still, nobody has won 30 games in a season since Denny McLain in 1968, almost 50 years ago.

All the same there is one modern era (since 1920) pitching record that will likely never be broken. Cincinnati Red pitcher Johnny Vander Meer threw consecutive no-hitters against Boston and Brooklyn in 1938. Why this feat will probably never be topped is simple, to do so a pitcher would have to throw three consecutive no-hitters.

Trivia bonus: Vander Meer's no-hitter against the Dodgers was the first night game ever played at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. Houston Colt 45s (Astros) Ken Johnson is the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter, 0-1 against, coincidentally, the Cincinnati Reds in 1964.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 6/17/15

Time Travelling Twin and Other Modern Science Silliness

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The time travelling twin paradox. Heard of it? It's the whole Relativity Theory business where a twin travelling in a spaceship at the speed of light leaves and returns to the Earth and is then younger than his Earthbound twin because time is supposed to slow down as you near the speed of light.

Yet according to Relativity there are no absolute reference frames and it is equally valid to say the Earth travelled away and returned to the spaceship at the speed of light. In which case the Earthbound twin will be younger. So either twin is younger than the other depending on which twin was referenced as moving.

Maybe they're the Schrödinger twins where each is both older and younger than the other at the same time. So we wind up with parallel universes where we get both outcomes with each twin in both universes, but only experiencing one or the other universe.

Now suppose a third person, maybe a second cousin, watched all this from a distant planet directly above. He sees the spaceship and Earth separate then come together at the speed of light. Who's older now?

Still, why do we need people moving at the speed of light? Wouldn't anything travelling at the speed of light have the alleged time effect? Consider photons emitted from opposite sides of the sun. Relative to each other they are travelling twice the speed of light. Is time running in reverse? Consider all the photons moving in every direction from the sun each with a different relative speed to the other. How many alternate time multiverses are there in that case?

Here's another problem, speed is distance over time. Slowing time would increase speed. Say you travel a light-year, which at the speed of light slows time to, say, half a year. In which case you cover a light-year in six months meaning you're travelling twice the speed of light, which slows time down to three months, so now you're travelling at four times the speed of light, which slows time… where does it end?

Ah, but you can't travel faster than the speed of light, you say? Well then, to remain at the speed of light time can't slow down. Meaning there can't be any slowing of time from travelling the speed of light because your speed would have to slow and it'd be self-negating. Do you suspect the time travelling twin paradox is just plain silly?

Modern physics is rife with silly things. Like a zero point singularity of infinite mass, temperature, and density. A point is a mathematical entity of zero height, zero width, and zero length. 0x0x0=0, in other words nothing and no space at all. Temperature is a measure of motion. How do you get infinite temperature when there is no space in which anything can move let alone exist?

Let's consider infinite density. Density is mass divided by volume. A zero point singularity has a volume of zero, so infinite density is derived by dividing some unknown amount by zero. Division by zero is mathematically impossible and meaningless. Is there any real physical meaning to a zero point singularity?

Still, some will say it's near infinite mass, density, and temperature. Infinity itself is undefined. One wonders what near infinite means. Infinity minus one or what? Can you subtract an unknown amount from an undefined amount and get a meaningful result?

As far as I can figure physicists simply assign a symbol or Greek letter to things which have no real physical meaning and stick them into formulas. Presto, the impossible becomes a mathematical fact. They call astrophysics the Queen of the Sciences. Tarted up with nonsense math and undetectable hypotheticals it's now the Drag Queen of the Sciences.

"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality."  —Nikola Tesla

"Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little."  —Bertrand Russell

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts."  —Richard Feynman

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."  —Douglas Adams

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 6/14/15

Tomorrow Never Arrives

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Top Ten Things Only Ten Years Away and Counting

  1. Soviet Union outproduces the west
  2. Great Society ends poverty
  3. Moon colonies
  4. Cubs win World Series
  5. Practical nuclear fission
  6. Cure for cancer
  7. Coronation of King Charles III
  8. Japan owns the world
  9. Paperless office
  10. Runaway global warming

We admit the clock is no longer running on number one. Let's substitute People's Republic of China for Soviet Union and start counting all over starting from 2010.

As somebody once said, "Brazil has had a bright future for fifty years now." Yessiree bob, it's hard to forecast the future. Though some folks see trends better than most. Jack London, for instance. In The Iron Heel written between 1906-08, London fictionalized the following:

  1. A world war in the second decade of the 20th Century
  2. A Russian revolution
  3. A second world war in the fourth decade of the 20th Century instigated by a charismatic leader who began speaking to working class men in the streets and bars.
  4. The U.S. Navy suffers a defeat at Hawaii, and recovers to win the war.
  5. The war results in a world economy managed by an American-European banking cartel enforced by a world-wide U.S. military presence.

That's only five of many more in the book. Read about it: American Prophet

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 6/11/15

Lose Over a Quarter Million Dollars in Bets, Never Pay Off the Winners, Yet They Don’t Complain

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After American Pharoah's victory in the Belmont Stakes it seems a great many people would rather have a two dollar souvenir betting ticket than the $3.50 it paid. As a result Aqueduct racetrack had a $315,829 windfall in uncashed winning tickets. In all, 90,237 two dollar winning tickets went unclaimed.

Having previously won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, American Pharoah becomes the first triple crown winner in over three decades. Coincidentally, Barçelona completed the soccer treble on the same day. But that's another story.

With over 90,000 of them out there, as a sports collectable on some future Antiques Roadshow we can't imagine one of these winning tickets being worth much. Though a set of winning tickets from all three races might be a nice addition to a horse racing fan's collection.

In a similar vien, we've also heard some personal checks from famous people go uncashed because folks keep them for the signature. It's not a check, it's an autographed momento. Heck, for a small payment some signatures might be worth more than the the check anyway.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 6/9/15

Barça Takes Treble

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The Casual Sportsman tuned in for the Super Bowl of soccer over the weekend, the UEFA Champions League European Cup or whatever it's called. We say Super Bowl because it's an annual championship of club teams rather than national teams. Anyway, we wanted to see if Barçelona was all it was cracked up to be, the new dream team with the South American strike force of Leo Messi, Neymar Jr. and Luis Suarez.

The answer… we don't know. They looked pretty darn good, but we don't know and haven't seen enough to judge how good. How do they compare to the great Real Madrid teams with Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás? We never saw the Blond Arrow or Galloping Major play, so what do we know?

That's one problem with trying to compare players or teams from different eras, most folks around today don't get to see 50s era Real Madrid play. Nor are there endless highlights on cable tv or the internet. The only thing the Casual Sportsman feels safe to say, Barça 2015 have by far more idiotic hairstyles and bad tattoos.

There is one comparison we can make from watching soccer over the weekend. The European Cup was Saturday, some women's World Cup was shown Sunday. While we said comparison there really is no comparison between the two. Imagine school boys playing in lead shoes, that's women's soccer. Less than scintillating. How do people even watch it?

How much difference is there between men and women athletes? Well, here's a story of how the number 203 ranked men's tennis player clobbered both Williams sisters, 6-1 and 6-2, in one afternoon. How would they rank in the men's game? We doubt they'd even get to the pro ranks to be rated.

Oh yeah, in case you weren't paying attention, the Catalan Kings beat Juve 3-1 to become the first two-time treble winner. That's league champs (La Liga), national cup champs (Copa del Rey) and European Cup champs. Funny thing, if Jeventas had won they'd have won the treble. Only the Italian version.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 6/8/15

The Indisputable Facts about Greenhouse CO2

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Bet you thought the headline was about global warming. It's not. I'm not going to write about global warming. That's old news, so 1990s. Literally, there hasn't been any global warming since then. One more switch-aroo, I'm talking about actual greenhouses and not the so-called greenhouse effect.

If you really want to be green you need to increase CO2 not decrease it. I'm using green in the old having a green thumb sense. Thing is, CO2 is good for plants, it's like airborne plant food. Here's where I tie in the headline, many commercial greenhouses deliberately pump up the CO2 level inside to increase plant growth and yield.

Now the kicker, increased CO2 works the same way outside of greenhouses, too. The world is measurably greener since the man-made increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll have more trust in world renowned physicist Freeman Dyson.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 6/5/15

Baseball Hall of Frame

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When asked about Jackie Robinson in 1952 this retired ballplayer told The Sporting News:

"The negro has the right to compete in sports and who's to say they have not?"

Who said it? Perhaps the last person most would suspect, Tiger great Ty Cobb. A good deal of what folks "know" about the man, not the ballplayer, is twisted or an outright lie. From the New York Post: How Ty Cobb Was Framed as a Racist

Which only goes to show baseless smears and libelous untruths can live on for decades. Heck, the fabricated equine perversion of Catherine the Great has lasted centuries. Once a thing like that sticks it's hard to shake, facts be damned.

Sub-file under 'people we love to hate' and cross-referenced to 'don't confuse me with the facts my mind is made up.'

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 6/2/15

Engineering a Joke

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Golf and golf jokes are very popular. There are entire books of golf jokes. Even people who don't play and have no real interest in golf tell golf jokes. I suppose that's because many golf jokes really don't have much to do with golf, but are stereotype jokes in a golf setting. You know, "A lawyer, a physicist, and an economist are playing golf..." Somehow things that happen on a golf course are rich fodder for setting up gags. Here's one:

An engineer, a priest, and a doctor are playing golf. They're held up by the group of outstandingly bad golfers ahead. In frustration the three ask the greenskeeper for an explanation. "That's a group of blind firefighters." they are told. "They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free."

The priest says, "I will say a prayer for them tonight."

The doctor says, "I'll ask my colleagues if anything can be done for them."

The engineer says, "Couldn't they play at night?"

See. It's really a joke about the stereotypical engineer offering a purely practical solution to the immediate problem. Here's another engineer gag:

A pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
An optimist sees the glass as half full.
An engineer sees the glass as too big.

Ever logical and practical, the engineer doesn't feel about it, he thinks about it. The glass isn't a metaphor, it's simply an over-built object. At any rate that's the stereotype. Without it there is no joke.

Filed under Odds & Ends 6/1/15

You Can Hear a Lot by Listening

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"They tell me his music is better than it sounds."
—Mark Twain on Richard Wagner

While Twain's bon mot sounds like a criticism of Wagner, perhaps it's a comment on his fans, too. It's like poking fun at the way some folks say you can't judge a picture by how it looks but for it's meaning or personal expression or whatever. Seems to me the job of the modern art and music critic is to explain why something moronic and ugly is smart and beautiful in words that seem vague and esoteric but are in fact meaningless.

Then there's the old "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" gag. This is supposed to mean it's all subjective. Yet I wonder if you could give a different interpretation. More like seeing is believing, or if it looks good it IS good.

Of course, there's always a bit of snob appeal to the arts. You know, sneering at the great unwashed who say, "I may not know what art is, but I know what I like." While much has been written about the irony of Pop Art, I wonder if they're missing the forest for the trees. As Andy Warhol said…

"Pop Art is about liking things."

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 5/29/15

Relabeled and Rejiggered

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The new and improved bigger and better than ever Shorts section has arrived. Well, it didn't just arrive it took a lot of work on our part. You'll be happy to know it involves no work or effort on the reader's part. Just click, read, enjoy.

The change isn't major, just a reorganization of the pagination. Instead of arbitrary numbered pages the categories are put together by years. This will make it much easier to update and keep track of things. For us, that is. For the reader I can't imagine it makes much difference. The content hasn't changed, just the files. Old clowns in new shoes.

Filing bits by year means once a page is done it's done and won't be further fussed with. Unless we get a time machine and change the past. Unlikely. Besides, if we had a time machine there are better things to do with it than post-updating terry colon dot com.

There are no doubt a few stray internal links that are now defunct. We'll get around to fixing them all in due time. Being lazy we can't say when that time is due.

Filed under Odds & Ends 5/26/15

Nobody Expects… You Know

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Another oldie but goodie spot illustration from the Reason magazine archives.

Darling Velez waited years to become a Spanish citizen. But after finally accepting the Colombian woman's application, the government reversed itself. Spanish law forbids the government to register names that do not clearly indicate gender or might provoke ridicule. Registry officials suggested Darling change her first name to that of a saint to clearly indicate her gender, but she wants to keep the name she has had for 33 years.

Filed under Snippets 5/22/15

Surfing the Globe

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A Variety Six-Pack

  1. No better mouse trap, but clever redesigns of simple objects
  2. Bathroom humor, literally
  3. Peoples of the world mapped according to other people, or plotting stereotypes of stereotypes
  4. All signs point to huh?
  5. There's a reason boats have boat tails: boat tails for trucks save gas
  6. Some people are wildly indignant over just about anything it seems

There's really no link among the links other than we found them interesting or amusing.

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 5/19/15

Star Trek Is Real (Sort-of)

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"Make it so." A familiar phrase to Trekkers. You know, Jean-Luc Picard, TNG. The first time I heard the character say it I thought it was contrived. The writers attempt to create a catch-phrase for their new non-Kirk captain. I have since learned this bit of naval jargon goes way back in British naval history.

It seems Captain Picard was continuing an old British ship captain's tradition. Which by his time would have been a thousand years old. Still, Picard was supposed to be French, despite Patrick Stewart's obviously English accent. Shouldn't he have spoken like Pepe LePew or something?

OK, all very trivial. How about this? Remember transparent aluminum from Star Trek IV? Guess what, it's a real thing: Transparent Aluminum

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 5/15/15

Halloween in New York

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In honor of National Police Week I present this spot of art from Reason magazine of February 2008. OK, I admit not so much in honor really. National Police Week recognizes good police work, not the kind of police work below. If you can call it police work.

When officers Thomas Elliassen and Michael Danese caught a 14-year-old boy tossing eggs at cars on Staten Island last Halloween, they did what any cops would do. They took him to a swampy area, made him strip to his shorts and socks, and left him there.

Filed under Snippets 5/11/15

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