tccBlog

We Write up the Yin-Yang

Yin-Yang

The Yin-Yang symbol. Iconic, graphic, full of meaning, and it just looks good. Not being a picture of a particular thing from a particular time or place, it’s universal. And it’s not trademarked, anyone can use it, no charge. (Though some idiots might accuse you of cultural expropriation. But then, they’re idiots so ignore them.)

Yin-Yang. The duality of nature, the duality of being, the positive/negative dipole of existence. Male/female, order/chaos, good/evil, nature/nurture, yes/no, on/off, less filling/tastes great, six of one/half dozen of another. Like the idea how a thing does not exist without its opposite. Would darkness have meaning if there wasn’t also light?

The symbol shows motion without moving. Equal and oposite halves moving toward or into each other. As in the eternal battle between order and chaos. It’s like, chaos is exciting and order is boring, yet order is safe and chaos is dangerous. You don’t want all one without the other. You know what they say about Jack and all work and no play, right? Yin-Yang. The dots in each half represent that there is a bit of each in the other, a balancing act of having one foot in each domain straddling both. Anyway, there's always a snake in the Garden of Eden, eh? Yin-Yang.

Then there’s the individual/society duality. Needless to say without individuals there is no society. But without society there would be no individuals. Everyone had to have parents, and they had parents, etc. It’s the chicken and the egg gag, each produces the other. Yin-Yang. Every society throughout history struggles to balance what’s good for the individual with what’s good for the community. What’s good for the present and what’s good in the long term. The whole don’t eat your seed corn business, sacrifice now and save for the future. Everything is a trade-off, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Yin-Yang.

We could go on, but there wouldn’t be an end to it. The more you think about it the more you’ll see Yin-Yang applies to everything. Or at least can be force fit to everything with a little imagination. You can’t do that with an eye in a pyramid, a skull and crossbones, or a smiley face, can you? That’s why we think it’s the world’s coolest symbol. Even though we’re not sure which bit is Yin and which is Yang.

Filed 8/30/17

The Silliest Car Ever Manufactured

Reliant-Robin

We phrase it ‘manufactured’ and not ‘built’ to distinguish between prototypes, one-offs, short-run failures, and home-made contraptions on the one hand and cars that went into production in the hundreds or thousands over many years. We also ignore bizarre contrivances from the very early days of motoring before folks figured out what a car was supposed to be.

There have been other famous flops and unmitigated turkeys like the Edsel, the Brickland, and the Yugo, but these were not necessarily outstandingly bad cars. Our nominee is worse than any of these. Oddly enough this car is not universally hated, people find them an amusing curiosity despite being unroadworthy enough to chill the spine of Ralph Nader. It’s a vehicle only the British could love and drive. Mad dogs and Englishmen and all that, what?

The car in question is Mr. Bean’s nemesis, the Reliant Robin. It was ungainly, it’s steering wheel came off, the doors creaked in the wind and it was voted the worst car ever by the British public. Despite all this it was produced for thirty years. What made this car so dreadful? Simple, it had only three wheels.

Reliant Robin Pics

Now, there have been other three-wheelers built, but their makers had the good sense to put two wheels for steering and stability in the front. Having only one wheel up front made the Robin prone to rolling over in a turn at even moderate speeds. With side-by-side seating if driven without a passenger it was unbalanced to the driver’s side making rollovers even more likely. Some folks took to keeping something heavy, like a toolbox, on the passenger side to mitigate this unfortunate happenstance.

Rolling a Robin Video

There is a caveat here. According to British officialdom because it had fewer than four wheels the Robin wasn’t a car but a motorcycle. This despite having a completely enclosed car body, steering wheel and car-like controls, car seats and everything else car-like. By those measures it was a car, and so we deem it a car. Also unlike a motorcycle, the driver didn’t have to put his feet down to keep it toppling over when stopped. The real problem was toppling over when on the move. So, like a motorcycle after all.

Filed 8/28/17

Infrequently Answered Questions

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words (at a Million Dollars a Word)

MarlboroMan

Q: What’s the most successful propaganda campaign ever?

A: Leaving aside politics and religion, and as advertising is propaganda, speech intended to convince, we’d have to say it’s the Marlboro Man. The smoking cowboy has made Marlboro the number one cigarette brand worldwide for fifty years now. Are they that much different or better? Not really. Guess folks all over the world just want to be cowboys.

Legend has it Marlboro was originally launched as a lady’s cigarette. Sort-of an early Virginia Slims. This didn’t work so well, so they switched to the Marlboro Man, passed Winston as the top brand in the 1960s and never looked back. The brilliance of the Marlboro Man was, though it had them, it didn’t even really need slogans; the picture of a rugged cowboy in the great outdoors, free and manly, said enough. Beat the heck out of “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should,” “You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby,” and “Show us your Lark.”

Think back, what was your reaction the opening toon of this bit? Did you think of the Marlboro Man even before reading further? If so, the propaganda worked. Though if you didn’t rush out and buy a pack of Marlboro, maybe it wasn’t a total success. While the Marlboro Man isn’t subliminal advertising, it seems to approach it. Call it liminal advertising. Or perhaps inkling advertising.

liminal (lĭ′ mĭ nəl) adjective. Relating to the point (or threshold) beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced.

Filed 8/25/17

What’s Gravy for the Goose Is Spittle for the Gander?

workpov

TV, books, media, and popular culture generally paints the picture that a job is a soul-sucking rat race where you’re under the thumb of The Man. The battle cry of freedom of the downtrodden working stiff, “Take this job and shove it.” Unless you’re a woman. In which case a job is considered the path to liberation and fulfillment. So, which is it; wage slavery or paid freedom?

“Feminism is mixed up with the muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employer, but slaves when they help their husbands.”  –G.K. Chesterton

Filed 8/23/17

One Last Tank Bit (For Now. Maybe. Who Can Tell? We Don’t Plan That Far Ahead.)

horsetank

Here’s an old Suck art spot from 2001. We put it up because we’ve had some other bits about tanks lately and it’s a picture of a tank. Speaking of the motive power of tanks… Were we talking about that? Well, the picture is sort-of about that. Were there horse drawn tanks? Don’t be so literal, it’s a cartoon.

Anyway, speaking of the motive power of tanks and how folks like to point out the Sherman was gasoline powered; guess what? British tanks had gasoline engines, too. (That would be petrol engines to Brits.) And, despite what you may have heard, German tanks used gasoline engines as well. On the other hand Russian tanks were diesel engined, but they were the exception and not the rule.

Filed 8/21/17

Ivory Tower of Babble

Xcorpse1 Xcorpsespring Xcorpsehead Xcorpse2

Have you even read some bit of jargon-filled professorial text and thought, “It looks like a sentence, it reads like a sentence, but it’s all Greek to me.” Is it because you don’t understand, or is it in fact utter gobbledegook? Or double-talk? Or an exquisite corpse?

From exquisitecorpse.com:

In the early years of the Surrealist movement, a typical evening spent among its poets and artists might include a game of “exquisite corpse.” Based on an old parlor game, Exquisite Corpse was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau” (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: “The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right” and “The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread.” These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” resulting from a process of what Ernst called “mental contagion.”

Read that last sentence again. Does “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” say anything real, or is it itself an exquisite corpse? Anyway, just for fun we give you our mini exquisite corpse generator below. Just click on the category menus, select various words, and presto! Grammatically correct, yet incoherent sentences. You, too, can write like an academician.


Filed 8/18/17

Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

pregnantdoc

If, as they say, laughter is the best medicine then you might want to be attended by the medicos who made these real-life patient chart notations:

We wonder what was jotted on the chart of the college student whose medical excuse for dropping out of class was that she, “Contracted pregnancy.” We can only assume she got it from sitting on a tractor seat.

Filed 8/16/17

Grandpa Fought in WWII? These Brothers Grandpa Fought in the War of 1812 and They Can Tell You about It Today

Tyler

John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States taking office in 1841 upon the death of William Henry Harrison. He’s remembered as the Tyler in the campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too.” He’s not much remembered for being elected to congress. Of the Confederate States of America, that is. None of which is too terribly interesting as trivia. What’s more interesting, or perhaps surprising, are his two grandsons.

Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. and Harrison Ruffin Tyler, are alive today, 227 years (and counting) after their grandfather, John Tyler, was born in 1790. Both are the sons of Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr. who was born when John Tyler was 63 years old. Harrison Tyler was born in 1928 when his father, Lyon Tyler Sr., was 75 years old.

John Tyler was 22 years old in 1812. And he was in the Army. And he fought in the War of 1812. If only he had also fought at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 this trivia snippet would have been just that extra bit better.

Filed 8/14/17

Another Tiny Mystery (Or the Frivia Just Keeps Getting Frivialer All the Time)

C
Fbutton Fflat
Ebutton E
Esharpbutton Esharp

My iTunes music list reads, “Beethoven: Symphony #3 in F flat, Op 36.” Which confused me. Here’s why. The pic above shows a bit of a musical keyboard. The keys are labeled with the notes of C major. The black keys are sharps or flats, depending. Sharps are a half step above, flats are a half step below. Now then, as you can see there is no black key between E and F. So, what and where the heck is F flat?

From Basicmusictheory.com:

The F-flat major scale has 1 double-flat, 6 flats.

Warning: The F-flat key is a theoretical major scale key.

This means:

> Its key signature would contain either double-sharps or double flats.

> It is rarely used in practice, because it is too complex to use.

Why on earth would Herr Beethoven compose in F flat major, especially since it’s the very same notes as E major? (Mouseover the bottom buttons to see.) Well, he didn’t. His third symphony is in E flat. The listing in my iTunes is a typo. But don’t blame me, it was automatically downloaded that way.

Of course, it might be worse. You could go a half step up from E and get the theoretical E sharp major key. Which would mean three sharps and four double sharps. (Mouseover button to see.) Why bother with such a scale? Compose in F, get the same results and save the bother.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of possible scales to learn. C major is the easiest, just play the white keys. C minor substitutes two flats, E flat and B flat. Being the third and seventh note they make for easy fingering because… just take my word for it. Now then, with modern electronic keyboards it would be possible to assign any note to any key. In which case you could learn the two easy C scales and at the push of a button transpose to another key signature and pretty much play any pop tune going.

This is not a new idea. A transposing piano does that very thing. Only mechanically, the keyboard could be cranked back and forth to line up the keys and thus transpose to any scale while playing in C and C minor. In fact, Irvin Berlin used one just to make composing tunes easier

Filed 8/11/17

Hooray for Hollywar Redux

SStank

Here’s an old Suck spot that fits the bill of some new content better than most of our repurposed old spots. Well, except for the guy getting crushed. Still, it continues our WWII theme of late.

Things we wonder about in Saving Private Ryan (other than how the entire mission is pretty stupid)

  1. Why were the U.S. infantrymen swarming atop the German tank?
  2. Why didn’t the German tank use its machine guns?
  3. How did Captain Miller shoot into the German tank’s driver’s view port?
  4. How probable was the Mustang tank buster?
  5. How probable was the kill shot through the sniper’s scope?

1. There’s nothing an infantryman can do climbing on a buttoned up tank, except maybe put something in the ventilation opening. So, what were they trying to accomplish? Other than getting shot to pieces by the German infantry.

2. The hull machine gun on the tank wasn’t just for looks, was it? It’s an anti-infantry weapon. Same for the turret mounted coaxial machine gun. The Germans loved machine guns. The infantry was based around them. Why weren’t they using them?

3. German tanks had really thick glass in the driver’s view port to prevent some infantryman from sticking a gun in and spraying the crew. The very thing Captain Miller does.

4. While a Thunderbolt was a more likely tank buster, the fact was neither were very effective in that rôle. Tank kills by either plane were extremely rare.

5. Not only improbable, probably impossible. At long range the bullet travels in an arc and would be heading slightly downward when it hit the scope. The possibility it would strike the optical glass and turn up to get through is incalculably infinitesimal.

Filed 8/9/17

WWII Tank Trivia Part Two

cump

You likely know the Sherman Tank was named after American General William Tecumseh Sherman, but do you know who named it that? It wasn’t the U.S. Army, it was English Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Thing was, the Americans didn’t called it the Sherman during the war. Nor did they use any of the other American general tank names: Stuart, Lee, Grant, Pershing. Those were used by the British.

Churchill came up with those names because he couldn’t keep the American alpha-numeric designations straight. U.S. troops called the Sherman the M4 medium, or just the M4 or the medium. It wasn’t until later that American writers picked up on the British nomenclature and started using it. Now everyone calls it the Sherman. Anyway, Churchill did have a point, Lee, Grant, and Sherman are much easier to keep track of than M2, M3, and M4. Plus names simply sound better. Just like with planes. P51, OK. Mustang, cool.

On the other hand the British had a tank called the Churchill, which wasn’t named by Winston Churchill or after Winston Churchill. Or actually it was, just after the first Winston Churchill, Marlboro, not the WWII Prime Minister. So, why not name it the Marlboro? Because that doesn’t start with C. The British system was to name what they termed cruiser tanks with C names: Cromwell, Crusader, Churchill. They continued that after the war: Centurion, Chieftain, Challenger.

Is that why the pic shows the tank being renamed “Cump”? Nope, that’s your bonus trivia. General Sherman’s nickname among his friends was Cump.

Filed 8/7/17

Smart-Ass Phone

smartphone

Does your computer and phone know way too much about you? Or rather, the folks on the other end gathering all manner of information about you via the magic of the Interwebs. Does Amazon really know what you want before you do? Is targeted advertising a case getting what you want or wanting what you get? Perhaps this 2002 art spot done for Business Week still works fifteen years on.

You’ll be relieved to know we at terrycolon dot com know absolutely nothing about you. We don’t keep tabs on anyone or anything. Call us oblivious. Or call us aloof. Call us whatever you want, we’ll never know.

Filed 8/4/17

America’s Tank in WWII

Sherman

Myth or Reality?

  1. It took five American Shermans to knock out one German Tiger.
  2. The Sherman’s hull was too tall and under-armored because Americans didn’t understand modern tank design (or whatever).
  3. The Sherman had a propensity to catch on fire from using a gasoline engine rather than a diesel.
  4. The Sherman was the most reliable main battle tank of WWII.
  5. German tanks were just plain better.

1. Shermans didn’t take on Tigers all that much, Tigers were rare. The late war German main battle tank was the Panther. Still, American tanks often outnumbered german tanks in combat. Not because they had to, but because they could, the U.S. had a lot more tanks.

2. The height of the Sherman was due to the size and shape of the available engines of the time. The armor thickness was limited by engine power and by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. What? In order to get tanks built in North America (some Shermans were made in Canada) to where the war was they had to be loaded on ships. Which back then meant being lifted onboard by cranes. The Sherman’s weight had to be kept below what most dockside cranes of the time were capable of lifting.

On the plus side, the Sherman’s size and weight meant it could be easily transported on railroad cars and cross bridges heavier tanks couldn’t. Anyway, what good is a “better” tank that can’t get to the battle?

3. The Sherman was no more likely to burn than other tanks. Besides, over 90% of the time it was the ammo propellant that caught fire, not the fuel. When the U.S. switched to a damp ammo storage system it was less likely to catch fire than other tanks.

Was the Sherman a death trap as sometimes claimed? The Sherman had, perhaps, the best escape hatches (after adding a second turret hatch for the gun crew) so if it did get hit the crew had a better chance of escaping alive. The Sherman was near the top of the survivability rankings.

4. Reliable? If you mean doesn’t break down, the Sherman was a bit better than most. If you mean it can be relied on to be ready to fight, it wins. That’s because it’s design made it quicker to repair and spare parts were readily available since the U.S. Army logistical support and parts supply far outpaced everyone else. So U.S. Army commanders could rely on tanks to be working when needed.

5. Folks like to compare tanks’ running speeds, armors, gun sizes, shell penetrations and whatnot. But specs are one thing, combat effectiveness is another. Like other types of gunfight, the winning formula is getting your kill shot on target first. In that the Sherman was a winner.

In order to shoot the other guy you first need to acquire him, see him and train your gun on target. Three things helped the Sherman excel in that area. The gunner’s periscope had a wider and higher field of view. The turret traverse was faster. The main gun had a stabilizer. (Though not every crew learned how to use it. But that’s another story.) These all helped the Sherman get in the first shot. Because it was less cramped inside it could also be reloaded faster for followup shots.

When you tally it all up, you might make the argument the Sherman was the best medium tank of WWII. Despite scoring near the bottom on looks.

Filed 8/2/17

Fair Trade?

equatron

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”  –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

On the other hand, what if everyone were born with the same capacities, would everyone come out equal? Have you ever played Monopoly? Everyone starts out equal and plays by the same rules, yet at the end of the game one person has all the money and property while the rest have nothing. So, what does inequality show anyway?

Filed 7/31/17

Let Slip the Mad Dogs of War

madjack

France, June 1944, Churchill assaults the Normandy beaches brandishing a sword. Later in the war he takes out a German soldier with his crossbow. Never heard of any of that? Well, we’re not talking about Winston, but Lieutenant-Colonel “Mad Jack” Churchill. How mad? If he really said what he’s reported to have said, well, you be the judge:

“If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another ten years.”

Not crazy enough? How about a man who would habitually throw his briefcase out of the train window as he approached his station? Why? Because his home bordered the tracks and rather than bother schlepping his briefcase home from the station he’d chuck it in the backyard.

Short, Snappy Bio of “Mad Jack” Churchill

Full Bio of “Mad Jack” Churchill

Filed 7/28/17

Instant Fossils

zotfossil

It takes hundreds or thousands of years to petrify something to stone, right? Wait, not so fast. Or rather, not so slow. Eric Milton describes his examination of a petrified tree trunk in Alberta, Canada:

“The piece was pure clear silica inside, it was coated with a rougher opaque crust of partially fused sand. The tree, whose stump was petrified, was alive five years ago! After the tree was cut down to accommodate the right of way for a new power transmission line, an accidental break allowed the live high-voltage wire to contact several tree stumps still in the ground. The power was cut off within hours of the break. All of the tree roots which contacted the broken wire were fossilized.”

Perhaps now we know what really happened to Lot’s wife. She didn’t turn to salt, it was basalt. Kerzap!

Peter Mungo Jupp: Electric Fossilization

Filed 7/26/17

Two Bit Trivia About the U.S. Money In Circulation

money1 money1 money2
money1 money1 money2
money3 money4
money3 money4
money3 money4

On that last one, is rag paper not paper? While it’s not made from wood it is from vegetable fibers. As opposed to vellum which comes from lamb, kid, or calf skin. Anyway, dollar bills are not some kind of currency cloth woven from cotton/linen threads, it’s pulped and made just like wood based paper. In fact, paper made from rags came first, wood pulped paper came later.

Filed 7/24/17

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

healthcare

This old Suck.com spot just never seems to go out of date. The government run National Health Service in the U.K. reports: about 20 percent of those trying to schedule an appointment with a G.P. can’t get one within seven days; over 11.3 percent can’t get an appointment at all; over 27 percent said they had problems simply reaching a doctor’s office by telephone.

Filed 7/21/17

Foody Frivia

pizzas

Do you like cold pizza? Some do, some don’t. For us, pizza fresh out of the oven, yummy; Pizza fresh out of the fridge, yuck. Is it just the temperature, the texture, the look? Not really.

Despite being the same ingredients in the same arrangement hot pizza and cold pizza tastes different. But it’s not the pizza, it’s us. Taste receptors work differently at different temperatures. That’s why many things need to be spiced up a bit when eaten cold. Like leftover fried chicken. Just needs a little more salt and pepper, right? Or is that just us?

Know what else makes a difference? Packaging. The French gave experts the exact same wine poured from a high-price brand bottle and a low-price brand bottle and the experts declared the high-price brand wine was better. So then, you can feel better for buying that store brand box-o-wine. Just decant it into a fancy bottle and, “Voila, tres magnifique.”

One more trick. Want diners to laud your culinary offerings? Give it a fancy description. Folks will compliment the chef’s herb-crusted calamari, but will rate lowly the fried squid. Same dish, different name. Guess Shakespeare got it wrong. A rose by any other name… stinks.

Filed 7/19/17

Happy Anniversary

anniversary

A 2011 art spot from the Fortean Times “Strange Deaths” file. For which strange death? Take your pick.

A devoted couple married for 56 years died within a minute of each other. Donald Dix, 85, a retired steelworker, collapsed at home in Cardiff and his wife Rosemary dialled 999 for an ambulance. Mrs Dix, 76, stayed at home to call their two daughters with the bad news as her husband was driven off – but she was found dead with the phone still off the receiver. Mr Dix died in the ambulance on the way to hospital at almost exactly the same time Mrs Dix died. “They didn’t know how to live without each other,” said their daughter Jacqueline. The couple met at a dance in Nottingham, married in 1956, and were buried together.

Another devoted couple who were inseparable for more than 70 years died on the same day. Bert and Doreen Swan met in Birmingham in the late 1930s, married in 1941, and had three sons. Mrs Swan, 91, died at the nursing home in Marlborough where they both lived at 11:30am while Mr Swan, 93, who was not told of his wife’s death, died in hospital of a chest infection at 10:30 that night. He had been a pioneering metallurgist. The couple retired in the 1980s and spent their time ballroom dancing and tandem riding.

In October 2008 Robin Rothwell was travelling to visit his 90-year-old father George in a nursing home when he got a call saying he had died of pneumonia. Then his phone rang again, with the news that his mother Kate, 89, had been found dead at the couple’s home in Torbay, Devon. Neither knew the other had died. Another couple died within hours of each other the following month, after being married for 60 years. Farmer Austin Debenham and his wife Jean were in different hospitals. Mr Debenham, 82, died of bronchial pneumonia at 11pm on 7 November. Mrs Debenham, 79, who had a heart operation, passed away at 2am that night, not knowing her husband had died.

Frank Kemp, 79, father of Martin and Gary Kemp who found fame in the Eighties band Spandau Ballet, died of a heart attack in Bournemouth Hospital in January 2009. His wife Eileen, 77, who was in the same hospital after a heart bypass, died 48 hours later “of a broken heart”. They had been married for 55 years. Kevin and Liz O’Connor had been married for 35 years. Mr O’Connor, a 61-year-old store manager, had a fatal heart attack near his home Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, in February 2009 after popping out to the corner shop. His wife, 58, collapsed with breathing difficulties after hearing the news and died later that day in hospital.

Ronnie and Connie Pilling of Emley, West Yorkshire, were married for 67 years. Mr Pilling, 86, died of pneumonia on 16 May 2009 with his wife at his bedside. She died at home the next morning of a suspected blood clot. Olga Whitfield, 61, had a heart attack at 10pm on 18 October 2009. Her husband Stewart Whitfield, 56, dialled for an ambulance but also suffered cardiac failure. Shortly afterwards, paramedics found them both dead at their home in West Boldon, South Tyneside. Fred Launder, 95, and his wife Dorothy, 93, died at home in Newport, Isle of Wight, on the same day in December 2009 after 69 years of marriage.

A widow died at the exact moment the funeral began for her husband of nearly 70 years. Irene Edwards, 88, was in hospital for a broken hip and the night before the service she checked: “It’s 11 o’clock, isn’t it?” She died at exactly that time the next day as her beloved husband Fred, 96, of Stourport, Worcestershire, was laid to rest.

Filed 7/17/17

What’s This?

zenniA
no1 zenniB
no2 zenniC
no3 zenniD

What are we looking at above? Are they black squares with blue stripes or blue squares with black stripes? What if we remove the black?

Mouseover box 1: Do we still have squares and stripes or just some triangles and slashes? Let’s go another step and add more bits.

Mouseover box 2: Are we seeing anything but squares, stripes, and triangles? Is there something more to it? Finally, let’s add a black background all around.

Mouseover box 3: Aha! Now we can see it easily. It’s not a bunch of iconundrums, it’s type. ZENNI.

The reader might still be asking what’s this. Or maybe what’s that. It’s the trademark for a brand of eyewear. We just thought their typography was rather clever. And it shows how the human eye can read the most abstract letter forms. Which is also pretty clever. Can a computer optical reader do it? Nope. That’s why online forms use those twisted up numbers and letters to test if someone is a real person or a bot. Computers might be very powerful, and perhaps smart, but they aren’t very clever. But then, there are people like that, too.

One more thing. Once you see it as type it’s hard to unsee it. They’ll always be boxes and stripes and shapes and letters all at the same time. Try it and see.

Filed 7/14/17

Another Damp and Desultory Day in Motor Town

luggagespotter

Mouseover pic to enlarge

Raining a lot hereabouts this year. Keeps the garden green. That’s good. Rather dampens getting out in the fresh air on the scooter and whatnot. That’s not so good. Meaning the terry colon dot com staff lolls about inside our global headquarters lacking for something to do. We haven’t been reduced to luggage spotting, as depicted in this old mystery art spot from 2000. Still, we wouldn’t object to getting outside more. Even if it were only to mow the lawn or clean the garage. Something. Anything.

Instead we’ve settled on penning this drizzly day blog babble packet of piffle. A sentence we guarantee you’ll never read anywhere else. Lucky you.

Filed 7/13/17

The Casual Sportsman

Motor Sport Old News

ACcobra

Being the Casual Sportsman we admit to not following the sports ticker daily. (Is there even a sports ticker?) In place of daily we might substitute the word accidentally. Which is more-or-less how we stumbled upon the following items.

What happens when a chicken farmer puts a pickup truck engine in a twenty year old chassis from a company making wheel­chairs? You win Le Mans and dethrone Ferrari as GT world champion. In other words, you get the Shelby (AC) Cobra.

Cobra Ferrari Wars

Something that happened over fifty years ago is beyond old news, it’s history. Something that happened last year is old news. Combine the two and you get the story of the triumphant return of the Ford GT to Le Mans on the fiftieth anniversary of its one-two-three finish in 1966.

Ford Returns to Le Mans

One bit of trivia while we’re on the subject. The now traditional wildly spraying the big bottle of champagne all over was started spontaneously by Dan Gurney after the GT 40s second Le Mans victory in 1967.

Filed 7/11/17

A-a-a-h-h-h, Choo

insaddle

Bit of an unplanned break there as the entire terry colon dot com staff (of one) was under the weather, as they say. Why they say that we don’t know, not seeing how the weather has anything to do with it. Anyway, we’re back in the saddle. In a chair, actually. Or on a chair. Either one. Can you be on the saddle or only in it? We know you can only be on the couch and not in the couch. Same for a stool and bench; for sitting on only, not in. Though a pew is a bench you can sit in or on…

All this inane on/in blather suggests we’re not quite back up to snuff. Up to snuff, another peculiar turn of phrase. Though for this one we have a derivation. In which you’ll find the smart drug of the past was tobacco. Ah-choo.

Up to snuff

Filed 7/10/17

Fourth of July On Tap

july4bbq

Since declaring independence from Britain two hundred and whatever-it-is years ago tomorrow, America has become a land of plenty. And there’s plenty of plenty beyond milk and honey to go around. Even excess. Some of it good, some of it not so good. But we’ll leave others to debate those points. The plenty we concern ourselves with is foodstuffs since that’s what we’ll stuff ourselves with at Fourth of July barbecues from coast to coast. Which sort-of leaves out Hawaii, but they can have a luau so it’s all good.

There’s really not much more for us to say, the picture should speak for itself. Not literally, that’s just a figure of speech, you will have to read the callouts.

Mouseover to enlarge

Now then, if we hadn’t split with Britain what would we be barbecuing? Fish and chips, bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, haggis? Nah. Likely pretty much the same as now, great slabs of meat and burgers and such. We know they barbecue over the pond, but they’re not exactly famous for it so we don’t know what they make. One also wonders about continental barbecue, too. None of the cooking shows of TV seem to feature Euro-BBQ. Caribbean, South American, Asian, yes; European, no. Just what do they barbecue in France, Germany and Italy? It’s a mystery to us.

Filed 7/3/17

A-a-a-a-h-h-h, July

July-us

It’s fairly widely known July and August were renamed after Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar respectively. Quick quiz: what were the names of the months they replaced?

July was originally Quintilis, August was originally Sextilis. These fell into the whole month name by number business: September, seventh month; October, eighth month; et cetera. If you know your Latin number prefixes you can tell that Quintilis meant fifth month and Sextilis meant sixth month. (If we knew Latin we might explain why it was Quintilis and not Quintember, but as we don’t know Latin we’ll just have to let it slide.)

But wait, isn’t July the seventh month? Well, yeah. Thing was, the original Roman calendar had only ten months and lasted 304 days with unaccounted for days in the winter. We don’t know how that was supposed to work. Neither did the Romans really because it didn’t. Which is why they added January and February in about 700 BC. They tacked these new months on the beginning of the year and so the numerical month names didn’t make sense any more.

Even then the Roman calendar didn’t add up and the seasons got out of whack. So much so they sometimes added a thirteenth month, Intercalaris, to try to rejigger the seasons back in line. Then the two Caesars got involved and reformed the thing to the calendar we enjoy today. If you don’t enjoy it, that’s on you.

The Roman Calendar

Filed 7/1/17

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