The Operation Was a Success But…


If you discover one of these real notations from medical transcriptions on your own record, maybe it’s time to get a second opinion. Or perhaps a rewrite. Or a refund. Something.

Though if you want real dubious medical commentary, toss a lawyer into the mix.

Lawyer from court records: Now, Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?

Yep. We’ve also heard it’s hard to solve some murders because the victims won’t coöperate.

Filed 6/23/17

A-a-a-a-h-h-h, Summer!

summer171 summer172 summer173

Yes, summer started yesterday, but today’s the first full day and that’s what counts by our reckoning. Besides, what does it matter? Most people don’t come here for calendar news. Heck, most people don’t come here for any reason whatever. At any rate, spring cleaning is over and now we can proceed to our summertime to-do list. Though we got some of it done already. Might be the first year we run through the entire list. Though things keep getting added. Funny how that is. Just like summer. There’s another one every year.

Filed 6/22/17

See Run Run. Run, Run, Run.


It’s curious, to us at least, how one word can have so many completely different meanings and not be confusing when it crops up. There are lots of such words. In fact, the word lots is one. “He owned lots and lots of lots.” Lots can mean many, or parcels of land. It can also be chances, as in drawing lots. Still, the quote is not confusing as to what lots means in each instance. Still is another such word. Still is unmoving or something for brewing hootch or means yet. Yet has multiple meanings… we could go on and on. On is another. It’s maddening.If you discover one of these real notations from medical transcriptions on your own record, maybe it’s time to get a second opinion. Or perhaps a rewrite. Or a refund. Something. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day, it disappeared. Discharge status: alive but without permission. Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches. She is numb from her toes down. Though if you want real dubious medical testimony, toss a lawyer into the mix. Lawyer from court records: Now, Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning? Yep. And it’s hard to solve some murders because the victims won’t coöperate.On the other hand, we have the reverse case. That is, one meaning with multiple words. We have a term for that, synonym. What’s the term for the the other? We’re not entirely sure, but there is this:

homograph (hŏm′ ə-grăf, hōm′ ə-grăf) noun, a word of the same written form as another but of different meaning and usually origin, whether pronounced the same way or not, as bear “to carry; support” and bear “animal,” or lead “to conduct” and lead “metal.”

As you can see as in the word lead, a heteronym is a homograph, though not always the other way around. (You just knew we’d squeeze heteronym in here one way or another.) Then there is…

polysemy (pŏl′-ē sē-mē, pə-lĭs′ ə-mē) noun, a condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation.

Think of the phrase, “all over.” Which could mean everywhere or totally finished.

English Words with the Most Multiple Meanings

Whether the words at the link qualify as homographs or not, we’re not entirely clear. Nor do we know what you call a word that can be pronounced more than one way. Though, considering accents and dialects, that might include half the dictionary.

Filed 6/20/17

A New Old Pic from Diablo Magazine of 1999


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Because there’s just not enough cooking shows on TV. At least no witch cuisine show. Or medieval cooking shows, for that matter. That would be the true all natural cooking, eh? Pass the health gruel, please.

Filed 6/19/17

On the Horns of a Di-llama


A goofy follow up to a previous post with a Dr. Doolittle twist. Proving we can be as silly as we want. We are the editor and art director and publisher and bottle washer and everything else. We answer to no-one. Which is a mixed blessing of total freedom combined with absolutely no responsibility whatsoever. And that, dear reader, sums up the web in a nutshell.

Filed 6/15/17

Pointless Inanimation


You may have noticed the activity hereabouts lately has slowed to a snail’s pace. How slow is that? The desert snail can sleep for two years at a time. Wonder how they tell it’s asleep. Studying snails can’t be the world’s most exciting job, can it? Lot of down time, we imagine. “Call me when it wakes up.”

Filed 6/14/17

A-a-a-h-h-lmost Summer


Hot today, hot yesterday. Feeling summer-like. Windy, too. Maybe it’s just us, but there seems to be a lot of windy days around here this spring. Maybe the wind gods are angry. Or would they be happy when it’s windy? Anyway, just to keep our hand in, here’s an old spot from Chicago magazine that more or less fits the bill. Minus the windy part.

Filed 6/12/17

On the Horns of a Dilemma


OK, we admit the visual pun, or whatever you’d call it, is an idea stolen from Mad magazine’s “Horrifying Clichés” bit. So sue us. Though it won’t do you any good because they didn’t originate the idea of literal depictions of figures of speech as a gag. That goes back to an Italian cartoon strip Bilbolbul begun by Attilio Mussino in 1909.

A dilemma is a choice between two equal options. Latin, from Greek dilēmma, DI- (double) plus lēmma, proposition. These might be equally good or bad options. Though for a pessimist equally good is equally bad since you are going to miss out on one good option no matter what. Vice-versa for an optimist.

Life is full of dilemmas, unclear choices and trade-offs with upsides and downsides. Many have multiple choices and so might actually be trilemmas, quadralemmas or dodecalemmas. But it’d be ridiculous to have all those specific words when dilemma fairly well fits the bill for them all. Anyway, you could simply substitute the word quandary instead. You have two equal options. Not much of a dilemma, but there you go.

Filed 6/9/17

Making the World Safe for Kleptocracy


Another Reason magazine “Brickbats” rerun, anyone?

In Worcester, England, Bill Malcolm put barbed wire around his tool shed and vegetable plots after thieves struck three times in four months. Shortly after that, local officials ordered him to remove the fence because burglars might get hurt climbing over it.

One wonders if he was allowed to keep the oh-so-dangerous-when-broken glass in the windows.

No thieves were harmed in the making of this post.

Filed 6/8/17

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time; Not


“The purpose of thinking is so our ideas can die instead of us.”  –Karl Popper

Filed 6/7/17

We’re Oblivious All the Time


Infrequently Answered Question #116: Are you one of those people who take everything for granted?

A: Of course. Everybody is. For the most part. That’s because you have to be or you’d probably worry yourself to death or go raving mad with distraction in short order. You can’t pay attention to everything. Think about it, everything, every thing. That’s a heckuva lot of things. You pay attention to what matters at the moment and ignore the rest. The rest being 99.999…% of everything.

Right now, are you aware of every sound in the room? How about how the room smells? Are you noticing what your feet are doing? Are you paying attention to your breathing and heartbeat? As long as all the objects in the room aren’t acting up like something from The Exorcist or singing and dancing as in Cinderella you don’t give them a second thought, eh? You’d never dare go for a walk if you didn’t take it for granted people would drive their cars on the road and not the sidewalk.

We simply haven’t got the brain power to keep track of everything, or even a lot of things. So we ignore most everything. Which works because most of the time most of everything works as expected and so can be ignored, taken for granted. Taking nothing for granted, mistrusting everything and everyone is insane. We have a word for that, schizophrenia. How well does that work?

Filed 6/5/17

June First Musings


Who came up with alphabetical order? Why is it in that order? Why didn’t they include more vowels? There are five vowels for twenty English vowel sounds. Aren’t we short fifteen letters?

Perhaps this is one reason English will never be written phonetically. Besides, which accent’s pronunciation would be the standard? Or would you spell differently depending where you lived? For example, while a Canadian says been as bean, Americans say been like ben or bin. We’d have to translate texts from American to Canadian to Yorkshire to Cockney to Cornish to… you get the picture.

This leads us to a bit of language use trivia hockey fans might be familiar with. And soccer fans, too. Which is Canadian and English announcers treat team city names as plural while Americans don’t. For instance, all would say, “The Maple Leafs are playing well.” Or they might, depends on the game. But we digress. On the other hand Americans would say, “Toronto is playing well,” while a Canadian or English announcer would say, “Toronto are playing well.” Not that there are many hockey announcers from England, so just apply that to soccer. Same deal.

Which way is better? Both are clear in meaning, yet perhaps the Canadian and English way is more proper. That’s because they aren’t referring to the city itself, which would be singular, but to the team, the Maple Leafs, which is plural. Then again, the plural of maple leaf is maple leaves, but that’s another story.

Filed 6/1/17

Crazy Cussing


Life around terry colon dot com global headquarters just got 0.375% stranger. Of course, it’s not really possible to quantify that, but putting a number on things just makes it truer or trustworthier somehow. Anyway, the staff are early risers who like to relax with a cuppa joe and a smoke or four on the back stoop in the quiet of the morning before all the motors of modern life come alive. You know, cars, motorcycles, lawn mowers, weed whackers, and so on.

This was interrupted by our brand new neighbors, morning TV watchers. No big deal? They watch at high volume with the windows open. And, more peculiarly, one shouts things while doing so. Things like, “Homer-r-r-r!” and, “I fe-e-e-e-l good!” a la James Brown. Still, there is no cursing, so it’s maybe some kinder, gentler form of Tourette syndrome or something.

Speaking of Tourette’s, isn’t it strange these folks curse rather than simply shout out any old nonsense that comes to mind? There’s a reason for that. The neuro­logical pathway for swearing is not the same as what makes us speak. It’s more like a loud vocalization such as many animals make when alarmed, frightened, angry, in pain, etc. Think of a dog’s bark, growl, yelp, howl, and so on. It’s just people have learned to curse when they do that. We just can’t help it. People with Tourette’s are in a constant emotional state of alarm, anger, whatever. That’s why they preferentially curse.

Filed 5/30/17

Memorial Day 2017


In which we remember the cattle who sacrificed all so we could barbecue. Disrespectful, sorry. It’s the day we remember victory over Italy in WWII. Hm-m, when is V-I day anyway? Funny how we seem to think of the Italian war effort almost as a joke. Can you think of a Hollywood film where the Italians are the truly bad guys and not comic relief?

Anyway, since we have the day off, despite not having any scheduled days on, we thought we’d reprise this old spot from the art archives for the occasion.

Filed 5/29/17


Filed under Gag Cartoon Gallery 5/26/17

It’s the Law, of Sorts


And now for some real court transcripts from the book, Law and Disorder.

Attorney: What did the doctor tell you was the condition of the body when he performed the autopsy?
Witness: He described it as dead.

Attorney: Were you involved in a romantic relationship with her?
Witness: I ain’t involved in no romantic relationship with her. I’m married to her.

Counsel (to witness): Are you telling the truth?
Prosecutor: Objection; irrelevant.

Yep, the law works in mysterious ways. And lawyers, clients, and witnesses even myteriouser and mysteriouser. Which might explain this actual Denver law firm ad copy: “Just because you did it doesn’t mean you’re guilty.”

Filed 5/25/17

There Is No Three in 3-D


Is there really a fourth dimension? Can there be fifth, sixth or whatever-th dimension? Ask yourself this, is there a first dimension? What is the second dimension?

Nothing in the real world exists as a one or two dimensional object. Those are mathematical abstractions we can use, but nothing real exists that way. Three dimensional items are not three things at once, they are one. 3-D is not three parted, it’s one thing, volume. We subdivide volume to measure or locate objects, but the dimensions exist together as a single unity. There isn’t anything anywhere that cannot be totally located and spatially described within three dimensions. Talk of extra dimensions is meaningless as Euclidean three-space already encompasses everything.

Thing is, you don’t have to go with length, width, and height to determine size, shape and place. You can also use longitude, latitude and altitude. Both work. It all depends on if you want to imagine the universe as a cube or a sphere. It’s a choice on how you want to do the math. Now your three dimensions are different. Which are the real three dimensions? The only thing that doesn’t change from a cubic to a spherical universe is volume, that’s what’s real.

When people say time is a fourth dimension, we say they’re mistaken. Volume is a single concept, time is another concept entirely. You might say there are two dimensions, but we don’t think that works because dimension applies to how we describe volume and time isn’t volume. Volume exists in time, or over time, but we wouldn’t say it has the dimensions of time. What would those be? Past, present, and future? Would it mean anything to say a cube has length, past, width, present, height, and future? These concepts are so different they don’t work together in any way. Time isn’t a dimension.

Anyway, we’re claiming the universe is not three-dimensional, it’s one thing, voluminous. And time is another unrelated, and non-interactive aspect of reality altogether and not a fourth dimension. The three dimensions are creations of math, but the universe wasn’t created by mathematicians.

Filed 5/23/17

It’s “Brickbats” Monday


Brickbat, a piece of brick usually used as a weapon. Or a highly critical, often insulting remark. Though when presented here in quotes it’s a snippet from the Reason magazine archives. We do it today because we’re also doing the upcoming “Brickbats” spots today. To be seen here sometime in the future. Maybe.

Australian Capital Territory health officials have forbidden parents to sell homemade foods containing meat or dairy at school fund-raising events.

Filed 5/22/17

Pondering the Meaning of Light


They tell us light is a photon particle that acts like a wave. Particle and/or wave, can’t seem to make up its mind, it’s confused. Or we’re confused. Anyway, these photons enter our eyes, strike the retina, which sends a signal to our visual cortex that forms a picture. That’s how we see. Well, something like that. The eye is part of the brain and sends signals directly to the spine or muscles, too. That’s how we flinch. It would take too long to go through the visual cortex to “see” something coming and then react to protect ourselves. But we digress.

Our question, what happens to the photons after they hit the retina? Where do they go? What do they do? Do they get absorbed into the atoms there or what? Do we have fantastically huge numbers of photons racing around our innards? Are these photons then radiated away as heat, or rather ultraviolet light? We’re emitting UV all the time, that’s what night vision goggles detect.

At any rate matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. All those energetic photons can’t simply go poof at the back of our eyeballs or in our skin since that gets bombarded with even more of the little buggers. They have to go somewhere and do something. Are they keeping us alive or what? God only knows. Maybe “Let there be light” means a lot more than we might ever imagine.

Filed 5/20/17

“I Shoulda Knowed That”


Do you run across clues or answers in a crossword puzzle, assuming you do them, and realize in a forehead-slapping moment it’s a word you’d come across numerous times and never really knew the meaning of? Sort-of like not getting a joke until years later. “NOW, I get it. Haw, that’s good.” Or maybe you never even wondered what the word meant when you read or heard it, just kind-of glossed over it, let it slide without a second thought? Distinctly uncurious of you, eh? Okay, maybe not you, I admit that’s me I’m talking about.

Anyway, here are three examples from somewhat recent puzzles: Pied, hoary, roan.

Pied, as in pied piper. Pied simply means multi-colored. I don’t think I ever considered pied meant anything. I figured it was part of the guy’s name or title. The Pied Piper of Hamlin. Just a fairy tale or nursery rhyme name like Bo Peep. That doesn’t mean anything, or does it?

Hoary is a word that sounds worse than what it is. Probably because it sounds akin to whorish or horrid. Hoary means old and trite. A usage I’m guessing derives from the other meanings of hoary: grayish white, having gray hair. Though that can also be used to describe animals and plants. Which might relate to…

A roan horse. Roan is usually used for a horse. Is that a breed or something? I never considered what it was. Roan simply describes its coat, what we might say for a person is like salt and pepper hair. A coat overall of one color with differently colored hairs distributed all over. Rather like the fuzzy pants or furry pattern I use from time to time. See illustration.

Just goes to show, even after all these years and old dog can learn new tricks. Even ones he probably should have already known. File it under frivia, if I was still filing things in categories. Did you notice that change? Maybe I’m not the only one who doesn’t pay attention to every little thing.

Filed 5/19/17

More Ships Aho-Ho-Hoy!


To outdo the Greek biremes and triremes the Majorcans built the battle hexareme. Never heard of the Majorcan Navy? Now you know why.

Another one of our goofball ships that didn’t make the grade for Reader’s Digest “Humor in Uniform” department. But, having multiple million fewer readers to please, it’s good enough for us.

Filed 5/18/17

Formula Films


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Here’s another old Fortean Times spot from 1997. The original art was titled “motiontracker.” Why? I don’t know. Obviously something about formula film sequels. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I seem to have come up nine hundred fifty or so short. Still, enjoy it for what it is, whatever that is.

Filed 5/16/17

Ships Aho-Ho-Hoy!


While the “ship of the desert” made life in the Sahara possible, the Satrap of Benghazi’s “camel of the sea” made fighting in the Mediterranean ridiculous.

Pretty silly, eh? That’s one of four goofball ships that didn’t make the cut for Reader’s Digest. But they did use two others. Look for them in an upcoming issue filed under “Humor in Uniform.”

Filed 5/15/17

Life, Liberty, and…


They say money won’t buy happiness. Is it true? While not having what you need makes you miserable, having what you need doesn’t make you happy. It’s like this, being hungry makes you feel bad. So you eat. Does that elate you, make you do a fist pump in celebration? Nope. It makes the want go away, but doesn’t fill you with a rush of happiness. You satisfy your hunger, you don’t happify your hunger.

Don’t get us wrong, alleviating want is good, but it won’t make you live happily ever after. Owning stuff, buying stuff doesn’t really make you happy. At least not for long. Being happy is a process not a goal. The Declaration of Independence has it wrong. It’s not the pursuit of happiness, it’s the happiness of pursuit that’s the thing.

Which reminds us of an old fable about a young and an old cat. The little cat circles around like mad chasing its tail in frustration and finally exhaustion. The old cat asks, “Why are you doing that?”

The young cat explains, “I have discovered happiness is in my tail and I’m trying to catch it.”

“I, too, have discovered happiness is in my tail,” replies the old cat, “but if I go about my business acting like a proper cat it follows me wherever I go.”

Filed 5/11/17

It’s Apics Wednesday


Huh? What’s Apics, I hear myself imagining the reader asking. Apics is the trade publication for the Materials Handling Association, a regular client. We’ll not try to explain what materials handling is all about, since we don’t really know all that well ourselves. It has to do with the supply chain management for manufacturers. Since illustrators don’t deal with inventory or supply it’s Greek to us. So we’ll let it go.

Still, we feel the need to explain the pic. Though we suppose if we had done it well it would be self explanatory. Kind-a like a joke, if you have to explain it it’s a poor joke. All the same, we’ll belabor the (maybe) obvious anyway.

There’s two kinds of innovation. First is a new thing itself, like the proverbial better mousetrap. The second type is a method of doing something better. If the point of the pic wasn’t obvious before it should be now. That’s a lot of what this materials handling business is about, how to better make mousetraps, not making better mousetraps. Or widgets, or gizmos, or thingies, etc.

Anyway, we slapped it on the site today because we’re doing a new spot for them and we just thought you might like to see what we do to pay the bills. It’s not all glamour, but it beats cleaning toilets for a living.

Filed 5/10/17

Animals Just Ain’t Human


Infrequently Answered Question #115: What separates man from beast?

A: Tool use? Nah, some animals, chimps and birds for instance, fashion and use simple tools. Language? Many animals communicate with calls and such. Music and art? Well, songbirds sing and bower birds decorate their nests, or bowers actually.

Looking around we’d have to say what really separates man from beast is clothes. People wear clothes. Animals never do. Not if they can help it, that is. Sure, some people dress their pets, but that’s human doing not Mother Nature. Anyway, animals go around stark naked and aren’t embarrassed doing so. By their expressions, we get the idea dogs are embarrassed wearing clothes rather than not. Cats, by contrast, look positively pissed when dressed up.

Though one might say some animals kind-of dress up. Hermit crabs don abandoned mollusk shells. Which is more armor than clothes. Elephants cover themselves with dirt and pigs with mud. Not really clothes, though. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is only a saying not a real thing wolves do. Non-human mammals don’t wear clothes because, well, they grow their own. Fur. Or hair or wool in some cases. Except big, fat ones like hippos and whales who have nothing.

Now then, big, fat animals in clothes would look absurd. On the other hand, big, fat people without clothes… we don’t even want to think about it.

Filed 5/9/17

The Play’s the Thing, Again


“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Is that just something losers say to console themselves a la sour grapes? Like Leo Durocher said, “Nice guys finish last.” Or do we really believe the adage? Does it mean more or other than what we think it does upon closer scrutiny? We think it does.

While sports and games are, of course, competitive, they are also coöperative. They’re both at once. After all, every player agrees to play by the same rules, that’s the coöperative bit. That’s how you play the game, right? That’s why there are penalties within the game. You might win the play, but you don’t get to keep it if you didn’t play the game fairly.

Folks who only care about whether you win or lose and not how you play the game are cheaters, sore losers, bad winners, arguers, and crybabies. Who wants to play games with such folks? There’s the rub. Cheaters, sore losers, bad winners, arguers, and crybabies might win the game, but nobody’s going to invite them to play any more. In the end they’re losers. They lose the chance to play in the future.

At least if the good sports have their say about it. Sometimes you’re forced to play a rigged game. But that’s another story we won’t go into.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 5/8/17

The Invention of Cossacks


Cossacks fall into the category of bigger than life figures along with ninjas, vikings, pirates, and gladiators, perhaps more legend than reality. Cossack is an English spelling and pronunciation of what a Cossack will say as Kōzăk. The word is Turkic in origin and roughly means wanderer or freeman. The same word lends itself to Kazakhstan, land of nomads, though there are no Cossacks in Kazakhstan.

Cossacks go back about five hundred years and are a self-created ethnicity, if you will. Cossacks gravitated to a kind of no man’s land on the Black Sea to get away from the four local empires of the time, Muscovy, the Polish Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Tartars. The various hordes, or tribe settlements, could have come from any of those areas and were loosely united in Orthodox Christianity and a desire to not be serfs or slaves or minions of empire.

To remain independent surrounded by hostile empires the Cossacks had to be physically fit and martially fierce. Some liken them to Spartans who drank a lot. As you’ve probably seen in the movies and such Cossack dancing is darned athletic, part dance and part acrobatics. You might say it was the original break dancing. It evolved from martial arts training. As far as dance fighting goes, a Cossack could probably kick the bejeezus out of those finger-snapping gangs from West Side Story.

Then there were bands of brigands who looked and fought like Cossacks, but weren’t part of any horde settlement. Whether they arose from Cossack ranks is hard to say. These are generally what people think of as Cossacks. Whether they were or not is debatable.

Filed 5/5/17

There’s No Place Like Home


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Here’s an old Fortean Times spot from 2002 about people being killed by everyday household items. Not the most joyful topic, but what do you expect for a rag that runs a monthly “Strange Deaths” department? We don’t have the story text, so we’ll just have a bit of fun with old saws about the home. Home is where the hurt is. Wherever I hang myself is home. Calamity begins at home. Home sweet release of death home. A house is not a home, it’s a death trap.

They also say you can’t go home again. All things considered maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Filed 5/4/17

A Caboodle of Redundant Common Phrases


Kit and caboodle –A kit is a collection, like a tool kit. A caboodle, originally boodle, is a group. (Not that people commonly say either boodle or caboodle any more.) Collection, group, pretty much the same thing. If your kit or caboodle is mismatched or haphazard you might say it contains…

This and that –This and that are obviously not the same item, but in the phrase nobody differentiates what’s this and what’s that, they’re both whatever. A lot like…

Odds and Ends –Odds are unmatched items and ends are leftovers. They’re pretty darn close to the same things. Just like…

Bits and bobs –Lo and behold we have this and that odds and ends. Which leads us to…

Lo and behold –Lo means look. Behold means see it, or look at it. To say the phrase another way…

Look and see –This might not be all so redundant as see can also mean understand while look doesn’t. To which we say…

Fine and dandy –Perhaps dandy is a little better than fine, but they’re still rather the same sentiment. Our likely reaction when something is…

Fair and square –Fair deal, square deal, same thing. A square has four equal sides, what could be more fair? Much better than…

Rack and ruin –The rack isn’t like the torture device, but a variant of the now defunct word wrack, which became the modern word wreck everywhere except in this phrase. Unfortunately we’ve run out of segues to lead into the last two, but here they are anyway…

Hard and fast –The fast here isn’t speedy, but firmly affixed or sturdy. (Fast is the root of the word fasten.) In which case fast pretty much means the same as hard: firm, not easily broken or detached. The phrase originated as a nautical term meaning a ship was firmly beached or run aground.

Beck and call –Call means just what you’d think. Beck only exists now-a-days in the phrase so you wouldn’t know what to think, except it means call. Sort-of. Beck is a shortened form of beckon, which is to call with a gesture, a nod, a hand motion, a curling finger, that sort of thing.

So then, why do we have so many redundant phrases such as these? Quite simply as a rhetorical device, repetition adds emphasis. Even better when words rhyme, like fair and square; or are alliterative, like rack and ruin. While popular phrases come and go these go on and on. Even when the redundancy is as obvious as on and on.

Filed 5/3/17

All Those Women in Our Pasts


One more little bit about the math of your ancestry. You have a lot more multiple-great grandmothers than multiple-great grandfathers. In fact, twice as many. How is that possible, you might wonder. Think of it this way, if every mother had one child and every father two… there you go. Anyway, that’s pretty much the math of how it happened. A lot of males were never fathers.

What happened to all those men? Quite a number were warriors who died fighting, that accounts for some never having kids. Men also did all the dangerous jobs, accounting for more. Women also did, and still do, marry up the status pyramid, they go for successful men. So all the loser men who couldn’t get a woman were flushed out of the system childless, to put it rudely.

Also, childbirth was a lot more dangerous in the past. Mothers often died giving birth. Leaving a successful man to have a second wife/mother leaving the poor loser men without. Yeah, it was no good for a man to be at the bottom. Still isn’t. Toss in polygamy along with the remarrying widowers and you can see how it can work out so twice as many women as men passed their genes on to wind up in you.

Filed 5/2/17

May We Say, “Mai Oui, C’est Mai”

alluphill alluphill2

It’s another interactive cartoon. This time, a two-fer. Mouseover the pic for the second joke. Did we do it because we couldn’t decide on the gag line? Just what does the headline have to do with it? Is there some secret meaning to it all? Another unsolved mystery? You may never know.

Filed 5/1/17

Unsolved Mysteries as Not Seen on TV Not Narrated by Robert Stack


Truth is often stranger than fiction. Join us as we explore the unexplained, investigate the enigmatic, inspect the spooky, probe the peculiar, and mull over mysteries that remain unsolved, because solving them would mean they wouldn’t be mysteries.

A stranger arrives at an out of the way roadside diner in rural Montana, orders a cup of coffee and a donut. Without another word, he drinks his coffee, eats half his donut, pays his tab and leaves, never to be seen again. Who was this mysterious stranger, why didn’t he finish his donut, and why did he leave such a small tip? We may never know.

In a small Nevada dessert town a man returns home to discover every LCD clock and appliance display in his home is flashing 12:00. There’s no sign of a break-in or intruder and all clocks and appliances are otherwise in perfect working order. The man resets all the clocks and appliances which have displayed the correct time unfailingly to this day. Was it some sort of elaborate scheme of an unknown practical joker, or something more sinister? We may never know.

A seemingly average American man driving down a well-travelled Cleveland thoroughfare sees a single shoe by the side of the road. Yet no sign of a man wearing only a single shoe is anywhere to be found. How did this mystery man loose a single shoe on the road only to disappear without a trace, just where was the other shoe? We may never know.

On a warm, humid summer night in Peoria a woman watches Seinfeld on TV with the inexplicable feeling she knows what every character will do and say before it happens, just as if she has seen and heard it all before down to the smallest detail. Was it just a case of déjà vu as some suggest, or was she somehow reliving an entire day of her life? We may never know.

On a typical Spring afternoon a Nebraska woman is doing her laundry without a care in the world. As she sorts her socks she notices one is unmatched. She retraces her steps, checking the hamper, basket, washer and dryer to no avail, the sock has vanished without a trace. Whatever happened to the missing sock, and where did all that lint come from? We may never know.

In San Francisco’s Chinatown after finishing his restaurant meal a man breaks open an ordinary looking cookie and finds a message hidden inside. The cryptic message reads, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” The very next year this same man wins $10,000 playing the daily lottery. Was it mearly an uncanny coincidence or did the annonymous fortune somehow know he should buy a ticket a full year ahead of time? We may never know.

One morning before work a Chicago woman looks desperately for her missing car keys. In her favorite easy chair she finds thirty-seven cents in change and three kernels of popcorn, but no trace of the car keys at all. Whatever happened to the keys, where did the money come from, and who was eating popcorn in her favorite chair? Was there a link between these seemingly unrelated items? We may never know.

Filed 4/28/17