Now you did it! You broke the Internet. What part of "Do not click" didn't you understand? Why is it when you tell someone not to do something, that's the first thing they do? Guess Oscar Wilde was right, "The only way to rid yourself of temptation is to yield to it."

Yet, as the old adage says, "Curiosity killed the cat." So now that you're a dead cat, what are you going to do? Ever think of that when you clicked that explicit warning not to click? Guess not, smarty pants.

You can try hitting escape. You might try command undo. If that doesn't work, try command-shift-control-Q-# and double-clicking the right mouse button while standing on one foot. Or use the easy way out we have generously provided: Click anywhere to restore everything.


Kangaroo Words

kangaroo1 kangaroo1A

“What are kangaroo words?” we hear ourselves imagining the reader asking. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a connection or similarity among the listed words. Or does there? Kangaroo words contain synonyms of themselves. Not a clear explanation? Mouseover list box above and you’ll see.

What we have is a momma word with a closely related baby word tucked inside. Hense, kangaroo word. To complete the metafor, the contained synonym is called a joey word.

kangaroo2 kangaroo2A

This particular bit of word weirdness doesn’t have a fancy Greek or Latin term, like endonym or whatever. That’s because it’s really a pretty useless attribute, just a curiosity to make you go, “Wow.” You know, like a palindrome; a word that reads the same forward and backward. Like, “Wow.”

Filed 3/19/18

We certainly hope you learned your lesson and won’t try that again.

warning warning2

A Tiny Surprise


We’ve been wasting so much time and effort on these opening animations we’ve neglected to create any other new content. But never fear, others have not been so remiss. Here’s a link to a talk on a new theory of atomic structure. One big take­away, the neutron is not a fundamental particle but a combination electron and proton. Which makes sense in light of the fact that neutrons do not survive outside the nucleus, rapidly decaying into, guess what, a proton and an electron.

Edwin Kaal: The Proton-Electron Atom – A Proposal for a Structured Atomic Model

Filed 3/14/18

Know Your Nomenclature


The returns and variations on a theme never stop here at terry colon point com. To wit: another of our word quizes, in the usual multiple choice form, for you to test the breadth of your word wherewithal.

Click on text to select or change your answer. Double-click to unselect.

Hobbledehoy (hŏb′-əl dē-hoi)

  1. One-legged seaman
  2. Invisible forest gnome
  3. Child’s wheeled riding toy
  4. Bygone precursor to hopscotch
  5. Gawky teen

Factotum (făk-tō′ təm)

  1. Pole or kiosk displaying official decrees
  2. Multi-purpose assistant
  3. Briefcase
  4. Double-checker
  5. Something assumed to be true

Malefactor (măl′ ə-făk tər)

  1. Degree of bendability of a metal or alloy
  2. Division by zero
  3. Baddie
  4. Y chromosome
  5. Mustache connected to sideburns

Termagant (tûr′ mə-gənt)

  1. Small orange-winged songbird
  2. Baby born over one week late
  3. Nasty bitch
  4. Little white liar
  5. Lame duck

Suzerain (sōō′ zə-rən)

  1. Precipitation in egypt
  2. What’s left after lawyers get their cut
  3. Economic oracle
  4. Country that’s the boss of another country
  5. Underling of a Sultan

Mouseover for answers

Hobbledehoy (e) Gawky adolescent boy

Factotum (b) Assistant serving many functions

Malefactor (c) Evildoer

Termagant (c) A harsh-tempered woman; shrew [Historical, an imaginary deity of violent and turbulent character, often appearing in morality plays]

Suzerain (d) A sovereign or a state exercising political control over a dependent state

5 – Bravo!
4 – Kudos
3 – Good on You
2 – Not bad
1 – None too good
0 – None, too bad

Filed 3/12/18

It’s another dated update. A downdate? No, already used that term for new software worse than the old software. What we called a dimprovement. Anyway, it’s been tweaked slightly because we can’t leave well enough alone. Rounding out our rerun-return roundup for the week.

Accidental Optical Illusion

illusion2 illusion

At first I thought a picture hanging on the wall was crooked and went to straighten it, but it was already straight. I had to step back and look again. It looked crooked. Took a minute to figure out why. Sunlight streaming through the mini­blinds casting angled stripes on a framed photo created an optical illusion. I recreated it above in simplified form.

Mouse over the image and see what it looks like without the light bands. It’s square, eh?

The frame, mat and photo are square, but it looks cock-eyed on the bottom. Appearing as if the bottom right-hand corner is drooping, so to speak. Thing is, we run into optical illusions quite often without always noticing. I wrote about this a while back, and updated recently for your semi-fresh perusal.

Optical Illusions You Often Run Into

Originally filed 11/29/09

Entertaining an Idea


It’s a visual pun, pictured play on words, or mixed media mixed metaphor, or maybe combination text/cartoon syllepsis. Whatever it is, we admit we’ve done this sort of thing before. A lot. It’s a cartoon classic. The idea of it, not necessarily this particular one. At any rate, it’s return variation on a theme week, so what the hey.

Filed 3/8/18

Back Again and Again

lickety-bg lickety-junk lickety-road lickety-flame lickety-bot

Pointless opening animation remains returned. Which might be a downloading problem if you don’t have a lickety-split web connection. While we control the horizontal, we control the vertical, your speed is one step beyond our power to influence. (Old TV reference, ask your grandparents.) If the page comes up all glitchy: refresh, reload, relaunch, reboot, review your ISP.

To answer a question nobody asked, why does lickety-split mean fast? Where does that come from? From the U.S. of A. Where it stayed, as nobody else says it. Lickety smacks of Scots’ speak, and may have been brought here by Scottish immigrants. It might be from lick, as in ‘going at quite a lick.’ That usage was known by the early 1800s; as in this example from Thomas Donaldson’s Poems in the Scottish dialect: “Ere I get a pick, In comes young Nannie wi’ a lick.”

Split was tacked on because… who knows? It’s very old slang and who knows why it appealed to folks way back when. The split bit might not mean much of any­thing because there were other variations used before they settled on lickety-split. There was licketty-cut, lickety-click, and lickoty-split. One might infer an onomato­poeic origin of the phrase as it brings to mind the likes of clickety-clack, as in trains speeding along tracks.

Onomatopoeic, schmonomatopoeic. Spell or combine it any way you want, likely as not it’s gibberish pertaining to nothing specific. There’s just no telling at this point.

Reference source:

Filed 3/7/18

One Good Return Deserves Another

returnblog returnspiral returnbg returneyes

Yesterday, the return of the origin of the British Union Jack. Today, the return of pointless home page opening animation. Perhaps not terribly exciting, and only about ten seconds long, but how much of your day do you want to devote to terry colon point com anyway? We’re doing you a favor. Waste less time; get more done; lead a more fulfilling, happier life.

That’s a better deal than you get from daylight savings. Think of it as daytime savings. You don’t need to reset your clock, wake up an hour earlier, or any­thing. No need to thank us, it’s just what we do.

Filed 3/6/18

Flag Fun Redone

This is an update of something we did years ago, only this time webby and interactive. Because we know how to do that sort of thing now. We rewrote some bits, too. Redone and more fun, or rerun and no fun? You decide.

england flag2
scotland flag3
ireland flag3
jack flag3

We have mentioned before our favorite national flag is the United Kingdom’s Union Jack. Though maybe it’s our three favorites, because it’s actually three flags in one. First is Saint George’s cross, which is England. (Mouseover tag to see each flag) Next is Saint Andrew’s cross, for Scotland. Finally there’s Saint Patrick’s cross, representing Ireland, or rather Northern Ireland since the rest of Ireland is a separate country. Mash them all up and you get the Union Jack.

You might wonder, what happened to Wales, where’s the Welsh flag in this combination Union Jack. After all, the Prince of Wales becomes the King, right? Wales was considered part of England when the very first Union Jack was devised in 1606 combining only the flags of England and Scotland. Ireland was added in 1801.

The Welsh flag has a dragon and not a saint’s cross for reasons we don’t know. (Mouseover “Wales” tag) Anyway, Saint George (England) slew the dragon, which might be another reason for its absence. Besides, adding the dragon rather makes a mess of the flag in our view. (Mouseover “Welsh Jack” tag)

wales flag2
welsh flag2
scottish flag2
revised flag2

Many a Scotsman doesn’t care for that dominating England cross, preferring the flag have the Scotland cross foremost. (Mouseover “Scottish Jack” tag) Perhaps if they’d’ve had a better battle record against the English they’d get a little more sympathy for that view. At least they’re on the flag, unlike Wales. While slapping on the dragon is a bit much, an alternative update might be to add the green field from the bottom of the Welsh flag. (Mouseover “Revised Union Jack” tag)

Not sure that works all that well, but inclusiveness, diversity, equality, fraternity and all that. Just a thought.

Filed 3/5/18

The Future of Europe Is in Good Hands?


European Leader – Number of Children

If, as they say, children are our future, what do we make of that? Coincidence, Zeitgeist, or omen, boys and girls? … Boys and girls? … Hello, anyone there?

Filed 3/2/18

Time Marches On

dayroad mask-bg
pendulum pendulum clock

It’s March and spring starts this month. (Woo-hoo!) Unfortunately it starts toward the end of the month. (Boo-hoo) All the same, as the season change nears we would like to issue a warning to all our vampire readers, the nights will be getting shorter, so schedule outdoor activities accordingly. Or wear some SPF 1,000,000 sunscreen. And don’t get burned by that sneaky daylight savings trick the powers that be pull every year. Who gave them power over time, anyway? Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to command the tides. Wait, the IPCC already does.

Filed 3/1/18

Helots that Sell Themselves


“Debt is the slavery of the free.”
—Publius Syrus, circa 50 BC

There sure seems to be a grain of truth in that. Or is it a kernel of truth? Seed of truth? Dollap? Nugget? Healthy dose? Let’s forget the specified amount and just say there’s some truth in the quote. Make that a lot of truth.

All that aside, if debtors are slaves, we reckon that makes lenders slave owners. Perhaps underworld types have it right; when you borrow from a loan shark, in their parlance they own you. Own, owe, a small differ­ence in spelling and effect, eh?

While many folks enter into indentured servitude voluntarily, we’re all kinda born into it. We all pay taxes, right? Excepting the poor who collect from the government rather than pay. Rather like the old feudal noblesse oblige without a return. Hm-m, just who owns who here?

Filed 2/28/18

Are You a Word Wolf?


Time for another vocabulary quiz. This episode: words uttered by Nero Wolf in the mystery novels ostensibly written by Archie Goodwin. Well, the stories are narrated as if written by Mr. Wolf’s factotum, but the novels were actually penned by Rex Stout. In case you’re wondering, ‘factotum’ is not one of the words. We’ll get to that some other time.

Click on text to select or change your answer. Double-click to unselect.

Footling (fŏŏt′ lĭng)

  1. Menial servant
  2. Baby shoe made of soft fabric
  3. Trivial and irritating
  4. Twelve inch tall elf
  5. Being a good dancer

Subdolous (sŭb′ də-ləs)

  1. The layer immediately below the dolous
  2. Cunning
  3. Unconsolable
  4. Less than ideal in taste
  5. Below the threshold of human hearing

Flummery (flŭm′ ə-rē)

  1. Parade with outlandish costumery
  2. Coughed up wad of phlegm
  3. Navel lint
  4. Store selling flum
  5. Nonsense

Contumacy (kän′ tū-mü-sē)

  1. Resentment
  2. Fear of being buried alive
  3. Ability to determine wind direction with a raised wet finger
  4. Disrespect for fat geniuses
  5. Pig-headed disobedience

Witling (wĭt′ lĭng)

  1. Wannabe wit who’s a half-wit
  2. Act of carving wood with a knife
  3. Child of a comedian
  4. Frivolous
  5. Victim of a practical joke

Mouseover for answers

Footling (c) Trivial and irritating

Subdolous (b) Sly; crafty; cunning

Flummery (e) 1. Nonsense; empty compliments [2. A sweet dish made with beaten eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings]

Contumacy (e) Stubborn refusal to obey or comply with authority, especially a court order or summons

Witling (a) [derogatory] A person who considers themselves to be witty; A would-be wit

5 – Wolf
4 – Panzer
3 – Goodwin
2 – Cramer
1 – Durkin
0 – Rowcliff

Filed 2/26/18

Five Letters Dropped from the English Alphabet …


…and our own possible, plausible, but mostly unsubstantiated explanations of why we no longer have them.

Thorn was a single letter for the ‘th’ sound. Typesetters who didn’t have a thorn character would substitute a Y in its place. That’s where the Y in ‘Ye Olde Shoppe’ and such comes from. Which should be pronounced ‘the’ and not ‘yee.’ If these quaint boutiques wanted to be really old-timey accurate, they’d use thorn instead of Y. Though most folks wouldn’t know how to say that, either.

Eth was a single letter for the ‘th’ sound. Wait, didn’t we just do that? Oh, that was thorn. Why there were two letters for ‘th’ is a mystery to us. We suppose it was a mystery to other people as well since they jettisoned eth along with thorn way back when. Plus, if you dotted your i’s, but forgot to cross your eth’s, they’d be d’s. We dink dat’s right.

Sharp S was a funny-looking S that’s hard to tell from a lower case F. You see it in the Declaration of Independence and other period writing. The sharp S sounded exactly like an S and was only used in specific cases depending on… We don’t know. The rules for when to use which S are persnickety and confusing. And rather pointless, really, since it’s an S in either case. Which we suppose is why they axed the thing.

Wynn was the original W. Maybe. The English alphabet is picked up wholesale from the Latin alphabet, except there was no W because V was W, or vhatewer. So V was wee and not vee. Again, maybe. English needed another letter because it had both sounds. Still does. So V was vee and they grabbed that Greek-looking wynn to use for wee. Well, not everybody and not always and not for long. Some folks used ‘uu’ for wee. Which eventually got fused together as one letter, double-u. Though it looks like a double vee (VV, vv) and not a double-u (UU, uu).

Ampersand at one time was a letter, said as ‘and,’ meaning ‘and.’ You might call it a letter-word, though you couldn’t spell other words with it and so not very h&y. To us, that makes ampersand a symbol for a word, like $ and which are not in the alphabet, and not a letter. It would seem other folks came to the same conclusion as ampersand was demoted to the alphabet extensions ranks joining the numbers, punctuation and whatnot.

Filed 2/23/18

Very Special Delivery

dafedsex2 dafedsex3
dafedsex2 dafedsex3

Another snippet of old “Brickbats” art from the Reason magazine archives. Pointlessly animated as is customary hereabouts.

The Pentagon has admitted shipping live anthrax spores to labs in as many as nine states and one foreign country via a commercial carrier. The labs expected the spores to be dead.

On the other hand they might have used the USPS. Though we’re not sure we’re all that comfortable with packages of live anthrax “going postal.”

Filed 2/22/18

Unwitting Court Jesters


More actual court transcripts from the disorder in the court files. Which makes life easy for us, we just steal plagiarize cite them. We even “borrowed” the phrase “disorder in the court” from an old Three Stooges short. Well, it’s a new picture, anyway.

Lawyer: Now isn’t it true that on the fifth of November last year, you rode naked through the streets on top of a garbage truck, letting off fireworks and singing “I did it my way” loudly?
Witness: What was that date again?

Lawyer: I take it that before this accident happened, you lived with your brother-in-law and sister.
Witness: Yes.
Lawyer: You got on quite well?
Witness: Yes.
Lawyer: And you saw him interact with your sister, and I believe they had one child?
Witness: I didn’t see the actual interaction, but they did have one child.

Defendant (representing himself): You sell drugs out of your house don’t you?
Witness: No.
Defendant: I know that’s a lie, I’ve bought [crap] there myself.


Filed 2/21/18

Assess Your Word Arcana


While breezing along happily reading some book or other, we are suddenly confronted with a word that makes us go, “wha-?” So we leg it for the dictionary to devine what the heck the author is getting at. Maybe. Sometimes we just let it slide because the suspects are all gathered and the detective hero is about to name the murderer. Breaking the suspense to look up some obscure word just won’t do; the killer could get away!

Here’s a packet of just those kind of words we stumbled across and over. Which is to say they stumped us. How many do you know?

Click on text to select or change your answer. Double-click to unselect.

Celerity (səl-ĕr′ ə-tē)

  1. Fibrous green vegetable
  2. Fame for no apparent reason
  3. Unduly famous fibrous green vegetable
  4. Like a bat out of Hell
  5. Good-natured ribbing

Gallimaufry (găl ə-mô′ frē)

  1. Belowdecks of a bireme
  2. Hodgepodge
  3. Airline food
  4. Offensiveness of bratty kids
  5. French as spoken by non-Francophones

Thaumaturgy (thô′ mə-tûr jē)

  1. Unpleasant dreams
  2. Wickedness
  3. The set of beliefs of postmodernists
  4. Magic
  5. The application of suction cups as medical therapy

Labile (lā′ bīl)

  1. A mobile that has fallen on the ground
  2. Of the common people
  3. Too old to get married
  4. Unmentionable body part
  5. Oversensitive and flighty

Concatenation (kŏn kăt ə-nā′ shən)

  1. State of indecision
  2. Dislike of cats
  3. A chain of events, for instance
  4. Embarrassment at forgetting someone’s name
  5. Din made by the percussion section of an orchestra playing Modern music

Mouseover for answers

Celerity (d) [Archaic or literary] Swiftness of movement

Gallimaufry (b) A confused jumble or medley of things

Thaumaturgy (d) The working of wonders or miracles; magic

Labile (e) Of emotions that are easily aroused, and tend to alter quickly; emotionally unstable

Concatenation (c) 1. A series of interconnected things or events 2. The action of linking things together in a series

5 – Excellent
4 – Excellent
3 – Excellent
2 – Excellent
1 – Excellent
0 – We didn’t know them either

Filed 2/19/18

A.I. (Artificial Imbecility)

botprogrammer3 botprogrammer4
botprogrammer5 botprogrammer1
botprogrammer7 botprogrammer6 botprogrammer7

Click pic to replay animation

“You never know how smart a moron is until you try to program a robot” —Unknown (by us, anyway)

Which is to say we’re a lot further away from cyborgs and the like than computer engineers hoped or imagined.

Filed 2/16/18

Supercharge Your Word Savvy


We switch things up a bit this time around by couching all the choices prosaically instead of in formal dictionary speak. You’ll get that in the answers. So be warned, the correct choice may not be a literal definition, but close to the actual meaning. Also, as many words have multiple meanings, we pick one and run with it for brevity’s sake. Other than all that, the game is the same multiple choice business as before. Let’s get to it.

Click on text to select or change your answer. Double-click to unselect.

Spate (spāt)

  1. The past tense of spit
  2. A really bad combover
  3. When things come fast and furious
  4. Spell of bad luck

Ichor (ī kōr)

  1. The CPU of a Mac
  2. Blood of the Gods
  3. Fish scale disease
  4. Mad genius’ assistant

Officious (ə-fĭsh′ əs)

  1. Arranged in cubicles
  2. Clumsy and stupid
  3. Like a nitpicking busybody
  4. In the manner or character of unwritten rules

Comity (kŏ′ mə-tē)

  1. Funny act or performance
  2. Officious assembly of people
  3. Person confined to a sanitarium
  4. Courtesy, politeness

Volplane (vōl′ plān)

  1. Type of flying rodent
  2. To dive right in
  3. Swedish flying car
  4. A carpenter’s tool for shaping volutes

Mouseover for answers

spate (c) A large number of similar things or events appearing or occurring in quick succession.

ichor (b) The fluid that flows like blood in the veins of the Greek Gods.

officious (c) 1. Assertive of authority in an annoyingly domineering way, esp. in trivial matters. 2. Intrusively offering help or advice; interfering.

comity (d) Courtesy and considerate behavior toward others.

volplane (b) 1. A controlled dive or down­ward flight at a steep angle. 2. To make such a dive or downward flight.

5 – super-duper
4 – superior
3 – so-so
2 – stalled
1 – sub-par
0 – sad

Filed 2/14/18

The Motor City –Now Under New Mismanagement

detroit-water1 detroit-water2 detroit-water3

Another snippet of old “Brickbats” art from the Reason magazine archives. Pointlessly animated as is customary hereabouts.

Bishop Daryl Harris was stunned to learn the city of Detroit was suing his church for $170,000 in back electricity payments. For one thing, the church’s landlord is responsible for paying its utility bills. For another, the energy provider is DTE Energy, not the city. The next day, the city cut off the water at Harris’ home. It turns out it had made a mistake in both cases: The church it meant to sue was a different one with a similar name, and Harris was up-to-date on his water bill. But officials said he would still have to pay $30 to have his water turned back on.

Yet somehow such a well-run city still went bankrupt and the former mayor is in prison. Still, it might have been worse, the good bishop may have been on the neigh­boring Flint water system. Though on second thought, cutting off his water would have been doing him a favor.

Filed 2/12/18

Gracias Where Gracias Is Due

don-quixote1 don-quixote2 don-quixote3 don-quixote4

What Do the Following Common Turns of Phrase Have in Common?

We have Cervantes to thank. They all come from Don Quixote (or as some have it, Donkey Hotey) which was initially published in 1604, under the title The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha. Old William Shakespeare ain’t the only one who could coin a good cliché. The book is also where the phrase ‘tilting at windmills’ comes from. Tilting is jousting. In the book our eponymous hero attacks (tilts at) windmills under the delusion he’s fighting giants. As Cervantes wrote:

“Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”

“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

“Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

“Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills.”

Another term with a similar meaning to tilting at windmills –quixotic. One guess where that comes from.

Filed 2/9/18

Legendary Creatures We Didn’t Invent


We could play name the creatures, but the names should be pretty easy to match with the pics. Besides, the reader has perhaps had enough of that by now. The old art above, done years ago for Omag, inspired our recent menagerie of fictitious fauna. Anyway, here’s what they are:

Do they exist or don’t they? Are they so elusive as to be dubious like the yeti, or extinct like the dodo bird? The Tasmanian Tiger was real and now thought extinct. By most. Some claim recent sightings. Then again, there are sightings of yetis, chupacabras, death worms, and bigfoots, too. Reliable? We make no call.

In case you’re wondering, all the recent kookie critters have been relocated as a feature here:

Mythical Monsters and Concocted Creatures

Or you might try another variation on the theme we did here:

Elusiver Mysteriouser Creatures

Filed 2/7/18

Don’t Say We Didn’t Try to Warn You


Top Ten Reasons Why Not

  1. You’ll poke somebody’s eye out
  2. You’ll catch your death of cold
  3. You’ll break your neck
  4. You’ll go blind
  5. You’re too young
  6. You’re too old
  7. It’s not as easy as you think
  8. It won’t do any good
  9. You’ll just make it worse
  10. We’ll tell mom

Filed 1/19/18

Hop Up Your Word Horsepower


A new year, a new chance to know your nouns, verify your verbs, and perfect your prepositions. Take the quiz to test your grip on the language. Need we explain how a multiple choice quiz works? One word, one answer. Go.

Click on text to select or change your answer. Double-click to unselect.

Adamantine (ă də măn′ tēn)

  1. Unbreakable
  2. Stubbornly stupid and proud of it
  3. Adolescent from adaman
  4. Teeny-weeny, especially applied to a person; Lilliputian

Homologate (hō mäl′-ə gāt)

  1. Scandal involving diluted milk
  2. To approve; confirm or ratify
  3. To process extracted seed oils into margarine
  4. Metaphorical door that separates the men from the boys

Morass (môr-ăs′)

  1. Wild Scottish donkey
  2. Third buttock
  3. Complicated or confused situation
  4. To repeatedly abuse with a slap to the face or a two-fingered poke in the eyes

Omphaloskepsis (ŏm fŭ-lō skĕp′-sĭs)

  1. Disbelief in little green chocolatiers
  2. Contemplation of one’s navel in meditation
  3. Male crotch rot
  4. Transverse crest on a hoplite helmet

Tactile (tăk′ tīl)

  1. Self-stick flooring
  2. Shaped like a tiny nail
  3. In a discreet manner
  4. Perceptible by touch

Mouseover for answers

adamantine (a) Unbreakable
homologate (b) To approve; confirm or ratify
morass (c) Complicated or confused situation
omphaloskepsis (b) Contem­plation of one’s navel in meditation
tactile (d) Perceptible by touch

5 – word stalion
4 – word thoroughbred
3 – word workhorse
2 – word mule
1 – word nag
0 – off to the glue factory

Filed 1/17/18

Avian Arsonists Down Under


Some time back we reported how Australia has some of the most poisonous critters around. Mostly reptiles and spiders. Well, it seems they also have bird firebugs. Raptors that help spread brush fires. Australia, the land of great big hopping marsupials, killer arachnids, deadly snakes in the grass, and plumed pyromaniacs. Makes you wonder what Mother Nature is up to down there. From Australia’s National Post:

Raptors on at least four continents have been observed for decades on the edge of big flames, waiting out scurrying rodents and reptiles or picking through their barbecued remains.

What’s new, at least in the academic literature, is the idea that birds might be intentionally spreading fires themselves. If true, the finding suggests that birds, like humans, have learned to use fire as a tool and as a weapon.

Read it all: Australian birds have weaponized fire…

Filed 1/15/18

No News Year End Roundup


Ten Things that Didn’t Happen in 2018

  1. Words spelled with XY combination purged for toxic masculinity; Foxy, waxy and xylophone become foxish, waximal and zhelophone
  2. Mayor declares San Francisco nuclear family free zone
  3. Retailers criticized as racist for running TV ads without interracial couples
  4. Physicists discover subatomic transtrons which can be positive, negative, or whatever they choose; Bent space-time gets even more bent
  5. French Left amends old slogan to “Europe for the Africans!”
  6. DC bureaucrats celebrate milestone ten millionth law; All government computers replace “command save” function with “command spend”
  7. Writing left to right declared Eurocentric; Writing becomes more egalitarian from the bottom up
  8. Disney buys CNN; relocates offices to Fantasyland
  9. Mathematicians discover new whole number ‘twone’ between one and two; Near infinite gets farther away
  10. Russians hack Bible code; Satan elected Pope

Filed 1/12/18

Back from the Might as Well Be Dead


Our slumber is over and so we return you to our irregularly unscheduled content. Which we are sure the reader has been eagerly anticipating with bated breath. Bate. Another one of those old words you rarely run across outside of a clichéd old phrase. “With bated breath.” Though you sometimes run across its synonymous sibling, abate.

In fact, bate is an aphetic version of the original word, abate. Aphetic simply means a word has lost bits. For example, the trailer containing fuel behind a locomotive is called a tender, which is a shortened version of attender. Along the same lines, bus is a shortening of omnibus. We suppose a modern example is blog being an aphetic version of weblog.

Asides aside, you also don’t much stumble upon bate’s other meanings. From the sport of falconry you have bate as a verb meaning the action of a falcon held by the talons beating its wings to take off. From which comes a noun variant, a state of violent agitation. From tanners we get a verb definition, to soak leather after liming in an alkaline solution to soften and remove the lime. That alkaline solution was called bate, now its a noun.

See what you’ve been missing? Well, we’re glad we’re back anyway.

Filed 1/10/18


Due to unfortunate conditions the site has been put to sleep. Temporarily. At least we hope it’s only temporarily and we’ll be up and at it again soon.

Filed 1/3/18

Happy New Improved Year!

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Official notice for 2018: As of January 1st we are no longer terry colon dot com. The new and improved, bigger and better, oh so modern and lucky name is terry colon point com. The one and only original point com on the known Internet. Bookmark us today!

Less official notice for the coming year: As it seems these days every other blog or website has a whacky and/or cryptically meaningful name, we decided to jump on that overcrowded bus. Only we can’t make up our minds what that off-kilter rife-with-hidden-significance name should be. And so… well, you’ll see.

The new year brings a slightly new look to boot. Not a rebuild, more like a tune-up. The color scheme has been tweaked and the masthead font (very top) has changed from Terrifix to a new version of an old typeface from our Face Front collection, Beatnix Bold. And as last year, the archives have been culled of the less interesting or dated bits. Think of the archives as a highlight reel. Or maybe an oldies station, where it’s a blast from the past and not crap from the past.

Filed 1/1/18

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