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American History 101 2.0  The Fake But Accurate Story

Chartology Made Stupid  Connecting the Dots

Compare & Save Big-Time  Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices for Exaggerated Differences?

Cosmology-Wiz  A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Dangerous Hot Air  The Truth About Inconvenient Global Warming

The Disunited States of America  A Preview of Coming Attractions?

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

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

Gag Cartoon Gallery  Jokes Without a Lot of Reading

Government Machinery at Work  How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

Happy New Year  2007 in Review

How ESP Works  Mind Reading Diagramed and Explained

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

Mess Transit  Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

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

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

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

Quick and Easy Housekeeping  Or Sisyphus Unbound and Unkempt

A Short Long Good-bye  It's the End of the Year as We Know It

Space Warps and Wefts  What Fabric Is The Fabric of Space Made Of?

Star Dreck  Musings of a Semi Hemi Demi Trekker

Those Darn Cats  Our Deal With the Devils

USA No Way  Fake But Accurate News

Uranimals  Beastly Beasts

Welcome to the Burbs  Whatever it Is

Win Any Argument  Using Paralogic and Surreason

Winless Wear  2008 Detroit Lions Merchandise


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

Better Than Sliced Bread  Uncelebrated Inventions Great and Small

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

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

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

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

Folk Etymology  From the Greek Meaning “Fake it”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Powerplant in Your Garage?  Dense Plasma Focus Fusion

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

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

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

Works for Me  Prosperity Is As Energy Does


Bizarro.TerryColon.www  Goodbye, Earthlings

The Copy Copy Isn't Really a Copy  A Double Word Quiz

Elusiver, Mysteriouser Creatures  Another Search Game

Find the Secret Message  A different Kind of Word Search

Hollywhat?  A Movie Trivia Quiz of the Funny, the Obscure, and the Strange

Internetelepathy  I Will Read Your Mind

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

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

Terra Incognita  A Trick Tricky Geography Quiz

Unanimated Gif Monte  A Little Optical Illusion Fun

What Was That Nym Again?  Some Fun With Words

Webio-Bot Video Games and Animation

Whack-a-Bot  Quick, Get 'Em!

Webio-Bot Illusion  A Little Fun With Optical Illusions

Webio-Bot Invaders  Save the Planet

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

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



The Casual Sportsman…talks sports, of course

Fun Facts & Trivia…and frivia

Infrequently Answered Questions…you never asked

Odds & Ends…and bits & bobs

Quotes & Sayings…or so we've heard

Snippets…from the art archives

Talkin Bout Money…because talk is cheap

Top Tens & Other Lists…of links, gags, whatever

Word Meanings & Origins…of real words…

…Fauxcabulary…joke words I made up


President Announces Affordable Government Act


President Obama announced the Government Affordability and Tax­payer Protection Act last night. The new executive order only awaits Congressional inaction to go into effect beginning last January. Surprisingly, the new law contains only two paragraphs. The first establishes the new Department of Government…

Read it all… filed under Humor


Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices for Exaggerated Differences?

Branding is all about creating a perceived difference in the mind of the consumer about products that are essentially the same. Like different brands of vodka, a flavorless, colorless distilled spirit. How much difference can their be? While various cars seem to be quite different (that’s the whole point of styling) in basic utility they differ hardly at all. Cars are machines a person can easily use to travel protected from the elements from point A to B. Let’s compare some cars based on that and see what we get…

Read it all… filed under Humor


Click pic to play animation

Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

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

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

Read it all… filed under Humor


Balancing a Bike by Turning

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

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

Read it all… filed under Fun & True


Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

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

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

Read it all… filed under Fun & True


Worth the Wait?


Behavioral economist Dan Ariely ran a little experiment where he offered subjects a choice of rewards: either half a box of chocolates now, or a full box in a week. About three quarters took the half box immediately rather than waiting. In other cases he offered a half box in 6 months, or a full box in six months and one week. All took the full box.

In both cases the difference between a half box and a full box is one week. Yet if the difference is six months off folks can wait, if the difference starts right then and there most can’t wait. The tendency to want an immediate payoff rather than a larger gain later is called hyperbolic discounting. Yeah, economists have a jargon all their own.

While the time difference is the same in both cases, one week, the time frames are not. A week and six months is not much longer than six months. On the other hand, a week is 10,080 times longer than one minute. All the same, immediacy makes all the difference.

Hyperbolic discounting is how credit card companies make money. Folks will pay the purchase price plus interest to buy now rather than wait while they save up the money. Then again, waiting pays a price in time. What’s that worth? Guess it would depend. You can’t afford to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unless you plan to live two lifetimes. Though as far as I can tell from TV ads, once-in-a-lifetime offers come along every other day.

Hyperbolic discounting works in the other way, too. Folks would rather forego a little pain now though it means more pain in the future. You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Kicking the can down the road.” This is related to, “Ignore it, it’ll go away.” It usually doesn’t, but “out of sight, out of mind.” There is one way to buy now and never pay later, get someone else to pay later. That’s how Social Security works. Which leads to our final old saw, “Take the money and run.”

Filed under Talkin Bout Money 11/27/15

NASA Never Did This

flame botrocket

Click pic to replay animation

If you like gee-wiz space travel news here’s a video of the first successful vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing (VTVL) rocket that took place this November 23rd. I’m not talking about the opening web animation with the bot-rocket, the real thing with a real rocket complete with an amazing pin-point landing smack dab in the middle of their landing pad.

There is an incongruous bit of CGI midway through which turns the video into something of an ad to take this ultimate thrill ride to the very edge of space. Rather ruins the effect, but you can still color me impressed.

Blue Origin test flight, 11/23/15

Filed under Odds & Ends 11/25/15

Oil and Water Mixed Trivia


Modern extracted vegetable oils were first developed in the 19th century to replace whale oil, to make candles, and for other non-food uses. When the advent of petroleum and electricity put the kibosh on all that they repurposed them as food. These oils are liquid even when refrigerated so they hydro­genate them to make them solid at room temperature, which is how shortening is made. Crisco, woulda-been candles you eat. Yummy.

You might wonder what canola oil is. I mean, have you ever run a cross a canola plant? There is no such thing. Canola oil is made from rape seeds. Manufacturers figured folks wouldn’t buy rape oil. Sounds pretty unsavory for more than one reason. Since a lot of the rape plants are produced in Canada, they named it can(ada)ola oil. Don’t know what the ‘-ola’ part is.

Every living thing is mostly water. Think of how much smaller a raisin is than a grape. So, most everything you eat is loaded with water, unless you dehydrate it, like a raisin. Meat is also watery, sirloin steak is 71% water. Care for a swig of roast beef?

Every food containing fat contains all three types: saturated, monounsat­urated, and polyunsaturated. There is more unsaturated fat than saturated fat in red meat, fish, nuts, and seeds. Dairy products have more saturated than unsaturated fat. The award for highest saturated fat goes to… coconut oil.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 11/24/15

Laughter Is the Best Mnemonic Tonic

back hole masks greek balloon front

Click pic to replay animation

“An optimist is a person who doesn’t give a whoop what happens so long as it doesn’t happen to him.”

That Vaudeville one-liner from the act of Howard & McCane is a lot like an old bit by Mel Brooks along the lines of: Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall in an open manhole and die.

There can be truth in comedy, recognizing a common human foible in a joke is partly what makes it funny. The reverse is true as well, there is comedy in truth. Spotting the nonsen­sical in human behavior can also be funny. You know, good old observa­tional humor. Which began... who knows?

The ancient Greek orators probably included jokes to make their points. I’m guessing. I really don’t know what passed for a joke in old Athens. Maybe they had “dumb Spartan” jokes. “How many Spartans does it take to change lamp oil? Two. One to hold the lamp and one to whip the Helot changing the oil.”

The thing about stating a truism with a joke is that funny is memorable. Humor is a mnemonic device, like rhyming is. It’s easier to remember a funny line or a poem than straight, dry prose. Combining the two renders a line you won’t forget. As for instance Ogden Nash’s: “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Which was a reply to Dorothy Parker’s, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

Not that the truth in a humorous aphorism is always so profound. Hey, jokes aren’t always funny, either. Then again, if it isn’t funny maybe it isn’t really a joke.

On the other hand, things that used to rhyme don’t rhyme now because word pronunciations change over time. That’s why a lot of Shakespeare seems to only sort-of rhyme. When he wrote it, it did. Which means some of the wordplay and puns in Shakespeare are lost on modern audiences. The Bard of Avon just isn’t as funny as he used to be.

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 11/23/15

Every Morning Students Recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the Hag


Once again, another Reason magazine “Brickbats” spot art rerun, another bit of what-the-heck-are-they-smoking.

Parents of students at California’s Calimesa Elementary School weren’t happy with a new policy that required students to kneel before Principal Dana Carter and a few other admin­istrators. Officials described it as a safety measure.

Now then, class, what can we learn from educators? Anyone?

Filed under Snippets 11/21/15

Banting, Banting, and Banting

banting4 banting3 banting2 banting1

Infrequently Answered Question #90: They say Edgar Allen Poe begat the detective story and Henry Fielding pioneered the novel, who started diet books?

A: The very first diet book was pub­lished in London in 1864, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public by William Banting. Though it was more a diary than a how-to guide like today’s diet books.

Mr. Banting was a rolly-polly little man, five feet four, two hundred pounds. On the advice of his doctor he drastically cut sugar and starches and successfully began to shed the pounds. He was so impressed with the results he wrote a diary describing all his meals and the weight he lost, forty-six pounds altogether. The diary became the book, a best-seller in its time. Avoiding sugar and starches as the way to successfully lose weight held sway for next one hundred years.

While the Atkins low-carb, high-fat diet is generally considered radical or revo­lutionary (the book’s titled Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution after all) Dr. Atkins recommended essentially the same diet described by Banting. In South Africa today they don’t call low-carb, high-fat eating the Atkins diet, they call it Banting. Only they use it like a verb, to bant, the act of banting.

In an interesting twist, one of the two men who first isolated insulin, the hormone controlling fat storage, was Frederick Banting. No relation to William as far as I know.

One might wonder how we went from carbs being fattening to today’s conventional wisdom of fat being fattening. That’s a whole ‘nother story of bad science, big business, and government meddling. A complicated tale too long to be told here and now.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 11/19/15

Where’s That?

Dutch door, Dutch uncle, Dutch treat, Dutch courage, go Dutch, double Dutch. Why so many Dutch terms in English? Why Dutch when they come from Holland? Shouldn’t they be Hollandaise? Or is the country the Netherlands? How do you get Dutch from either Holland or Netherlands? Then there’s the Pennsylvania Dutch who aren’t Dutch but German. Then again, Germans aren’t German in Germany, they’re Deutsch in Deutsch­land. Deutsch, Dutch, must be some connection there.

English speakers don’t always call places what the people there call them. That’s why those oval country stickers on cars can be confusing. Then again, it works the other way around, too. Ever hear of l’Angleterre? That’s what the French call England.

Here’s the fun and games part of this entry. From which European countries are the stickers on the car in the opening picture? For the answers, hover the mouse over the sticker. In one case you might think, “A country named after a typeface?” Of course, it’s the other way around. Oh yeah, one sticker is not European. Or is it two or three?

Meanings of oval car stickers around the world

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 11/17/15

An Ocean Apart


“America and England are two nations divided by a common lan­guage.”

A quote variously attributed to G.B. Shaw, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Winston Churchill. It also comes as, “…two people divided…” and “…one people separated…” and “…two coun­tries separated…” and more. I can’t find the definitive version or attribu­tion. For now it doesn’t matter.

Both Yanks and Brits find some of the words used by the other odd. Like bathroom and loo, cell phone and mobile, trunk and boot. Mostly we find the differences amusing or inter­esting and not much more. Until it comes to sports, or in Britain, sport. Some folks actually get annoyed when the terms differ.

When talking about soccer, mention the field, the game, or the stadium to a Brit and be prepared for a bemused snicker or a sneer. They’re the pitch, the match, and the grounds. Don’t dare mention uniform, cleats, or goal­keeper, either. It’s kit, boots and keeper. Plus, those boots have studs, not cleats. Maybe it’s better for an American to say nothing. Or should that be, say nil?

Of course, those are minor offenses. To really send a Briton over the edge an American need merely mention the abomination, soccer. “It’s football, you ignorant Yank. We invented the bloody game, get it right.” Let’s examine the situation while properly using football in place of soccer: The problem with Americans calling football football is football is called football, and to stop calling football football and start calling football football would only confuse fans of football and football alike.

You do the math, there isn’t any good way around calling soccer soccer in the US. Then again, they don’t do math in England, they do maths.

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 11/14/15

Everything New Is Old Again


Click to enlarge

If the horse is dead what will it hurt to beat it some more?

Filed under Odds & Ends 11/12/15

And You Thought Bottled Water Was Pricey


Another old Reason magazine spot, another Brickbat.

In April, Tom Hoffman got a $66,000 water bill from the city of Dallas, Texas. Because he has autopay and the bill was for more than he had on hand, his bank locked down all his accounts, including his ATM and credit cards. He eventually fixed the problem and got an apology from the city. He also canceled his autopay. Smart move: The city recently sent him a new bill for $67,000.

Filed under Snippets 11/10/15

Old Saws, Sly Foxes, and Dog Tricks


You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Beauty is only skin deep.

Russia began a captive arctic fox breeding program in the 1950s. They found these foxes had one of three basic behaviors around humans: aggression, avoidance, or calm and curious. The last being what you might call tame, or perhaps dog-like. So the Russians bred their captive foxes for tameness, it just made them easier to deal with.

Then the unexpected happened. While wild arctic foxes are all black, the bred-for-tameness foxes developed white patches. When these tamer foxes were cross-bred back with the wilder foxes the patches disappeared. In other words, even though the foxes were selected and bred for temperament, the appearance changed.

You can’t judge a book by its cover? Considering the Russians experience, maybe you can judge a fox by its cover.

Compare this to the experience of dog breeders. It is well known that different dog breeds have different temperaments. Many show dog breeds were selectively bred for appearance, not temperament. Yet with similar, if reverse-wise, results as with foxes: change the appearance and the temper­ament changes.

Beauty is skin deep? Con­sidering the above, it may go deeper than that.

Gene expression is not so simple as geneticists first thought. Changing one bit of code changes some seemingly unrelated bit of code. Kinda like a Three Stooges bit, close one filing cabinet drawer and another pops open. Get it? The files hold information like DNA holds information…

Now that we’ve tortured those analogies and sayings to death, we have another old saw about leopards changing spots… Aw, skip it.

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 11/7/15

Just Asking


Why do we say tuna fish sandwich? Not that folks go around muttering it under their breath for no real reason, like Rainman or Brick Heck. What I mean is, do we really need the word ‘fish’ in tuna fish sandwich? Nobody ever says ham mammal sandwich, right? Is there another tuna that’s not fish so we need to specify it’s the fish version?

Is there something about the letter L that saps energy? As in lackadaisical, laggard, laid-back, languid, languor, lassitude, layabout, lax, lazy, leaden, lethargic, limp, linger, listless, loaf, loll, lolligag, low-key, lull. Even the letter shape is lazy, like a capital I that sat down.

Is there really such a thing as a bottomless pit? Without a bottom it’d have to go entirely through the Earth. Is that a pit or a tube?

There is a difference between soon and too soon. What’s the differ­ence between early and too early?

Is a skilled criminal a pro con? Is an innovative new business an upstart startup? Is wordplay a script tease? Are we done yet? Almost. We are… wait, too early… now.

Filed under Odds & Ends 11/5/15

Maybe the Hormones Are Evil, Ever Think of That?


The beef cattle industry uses what’s called feed efficiency to control both costs and how cattle grow. When ranchers finish cattle, fatten them up for the slaughterhouse, they don’t just put down more feed and say “Eat, eat, you look like a scarecrow.” They give the cattle hormones, insulin, to stim­ulate fat production.

Feed efficiency grew out of Nobel-winning science from the 1960s when the technology was developed to map out the mechanism. Insulin moves calories into fat cells for storage and prevents calories coming out. Basic­ally, high insulin means fat creation, low insulin means fat burning. Carbo­hydrates drive insulin, eating carbs and sugar raises insulin levels.

Normally a body cycles between fat storing and fat burning. It only burns fat when insulin levels are low, which is some hours after eating carbs. For people it’s mostly during sleep or fasting. As you might know, breakfast means break fast. So, to make cattle fat they keep insulin levels higher than usual so they stay in fat storing mode.

It’s complicated, but growing a fat cow is about hormones. Just like growing a big cow is about hormones, growth hormones. Every biologist agrees with all this. So far so good.

When people get fat all the science above is thrown out the window by the experts who instead say people get fat simply because they eat too much and don’t exercise. It’s not hormones or metabolism or anything like that, it’s gluttony and sloth which people were lured into it by junk food, fast food, TV, and video games made by greedy corporations.

Cows get fat because of hor­mones, people get fat because of the seven deadly sins. How very scientific.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 11/3/15

Easy Can Be Difficult


Infrequently Answered Question #89: What are the easiest and the hardest things for a person to do?

A: Change their mind.

It takes maybe a second and one calorie to change your mind. What could be easier? There’s more time and effort expending in changing seats. On the other hand, changing your mind about some long-held, deeply-held belief is really not so easy, is it? A comfortable chair is one thing, a com­fortable idea quite another.

Getting someone else to change their mind is a whole heckuva lot harder than getting them to change seats. Torturing people won’t change their minds. Bribery won’t either. But a mild threat or a couple bucks might get someone to change seats.

Then again, if they firmly believe in sitting in that seat it’ll take a lot more force or money to get them out. Rather than bother with all that, maybe it’d be better to change your own mind and sit somewhere else. Now, that seems pretty easy, right?

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 11/1/15

Significant Differences


significant (sĭg-nĭf′ ĭ-kənt) adj. 1. Having or expressing a meaning; meaningful. 2. Having or expressing a covert meaning; suggestive. 3. Impor­tant; notable; valuable.

The word significant came from the Renaissance preoccupation with alle­gory. Objects and events had symbolic meanings beyond the objects or events themselves. They were a sign, they were significant. That’s definition one, meaningful, full of meaning.

Renaissance thinkers took their allegories seriously. They thought there was a real connection between something and its symbolic meaning. Since we don’t think like that these days it’s hard to fully grasp. Maybe it’s sort-of like a two-way voodoo doll. The doll effects the person symbolized, and vice versa. Sounds like something maybe Rod Serling could have explained.

Beyond the derivation, this word and its meanings probably aren’t exactly news to you. What you might not know is what significant means to a scientist. Surprisingly, it is none of the above. Scientists use the word to express a level of confidence. If they are at least 95% sure a result was not due to chance, it’s a significant result.

For example: In a dietary trial researches lowered salt intake by 80% and had a 2% reduction in blood pressure. (Real study) Would anyone think a 2% reduction in blood pressure is important, notable, or valuable? Would that have an important, notable, or valuable impact on your health? No, in both cases. However, to the researchers it was a significant result because they are pretty darn sure it wasn’t a fluke.

Keep that in mind when Doctor Scientist, PhD introduces you to his significant other. It might only mean he’s 95% sure they didn’t marry by accident.

Filed under Word Meanings & Origins 10/30/15

Snippet List


“You’ve got a Snippet in my Lists. No, you’ve got a List in my Snippets. It’s two, two Shorts in one.” Two dated pop culture references for one old Suck dot com pic. And now, the new content:

Ten Habits of Ineffective People

      2.  Poor organization
      b.  no atention too details<
      3.  Not finishing what

4. Inconsistency
      Losing track of things
      6.  Duplication of effort
      7.  Duplication of effort
    10.  Getting ahead of yourself
      9.  Skipping important steps

If that wasn’t worth the time it took to read, this bit of text underneath might be less so. Still, you went ahead and read it, didn’t you? One more thing to add to the list, poor time manage­ment. Now, stop surfing the web and get to work.

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 10/27/15

Noted Quotes and Sayings Notated


“Question authority.” –Unless you agree, then cite authority.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.” –Just don’t get your heart set on it.

“It takes one to know one.” –Is the person saying that an idiot? I wouldn’t know.

“You can’t legislate morality.” –Like those ridiculous laws against theft and murder.

“There’s no time like the present.”
–Like Gerald Ford said, “Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.”

“It takes a village.” –Village, massive government bureaucracy, same thing.

“Executing a murderer won’t bring the victim back to life.” –Has anyone ever claimed it would?

“Cheaters never prosper.” –Just ask Wall Street.

“Government is the name we give to the things we choose to do together.”
–Because it’s hard to screw things up so monumentally on your own.

“Just because.” –That explains every­thing.

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 10/23/15

L.H.O.O.Q. Deux


Quick. What’s the opposite of an iconoclast? In the current usage it’s a conformist or conservative.

iconoclast (ī-kon ə-klăst′) n. 1. One who attacks or seeks to destroy tradi­tional or popular ideas or institutions. 2. A destroyer of sacred images.

Definition two is a clue to the origin. Sacred image, icon. The rest of the word comes from the Greek, klastĕs, breaker. From the Byzantine Empire, iconoclast pertains to the doctrinal disputes between Donatists, Monotheletes and other Christian sects. While iconoclast has stayed with us, its Byzantine opposite is no longer used. In fact, it’s not in my dictionary. This would be one who venerated icons, an iconodule.

So, an iconoclast was something of a vandal. However, the Vandals came from Germany, outside of Byzantium. Yet there wasn’t a Germany in the fourth and fifth centuries. Then again, a vandal destroys anything, not just icons. Perhaps we shouldn’t use the word vandal. Isn’t that a slur? Though I suppose there are no Vandals around today to take offense.

All I can say is those ancient Germans really got around. Goths, Visigoths, Gauls, Angles and Saxons, Vandals. Guess they’ve all gone native by now. Still, I wonder how much of Europe is genetically German.

I admit I’ve fallen back to my old mystery headline habit. This time, all is explained at the link below.

Meaning of L.H.O.O.Q.

Filed under Word Meanings & Origins 10/21/15

A Little Bookkeeping Change

toons toons gag jokes webtron lights
bot eyes

As I wasn’t adding any new toons, I dropped the Cartoons department from the Shorts and redid it as “Gag Cartoon Gallery” under Humor. I may or may not add more toons sometime.

Gag Cartoon Gallery

There’s also a new navigation pull-down menu at the top, Favorites. As you can see it’s attached to the Shorts button. Shorts-Favorites, see? Thanks to the brilliant way my brother, Craig, engineered the page it was easy to add, no muss, no fuss. This provides more room for more favorites. After all, I’ve been doing the site for a while now, you gotta figure some of the old bits are worth a look.

Filed under Odds & Ends 10/19/15

Eat Your Vegetables, Even When They’re Fruits and Flowers


Simple Fruit Salad: Mix one half cup diced cucumber, yellow pepper and tomato. Drizzle with ranch dressing and top with ripe olives. That’s it.

Perhaps cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives don’t leap to mind as fruits, but they are. Then again, who thinks about it that much? If it makes a yummy pie, fruit. If mom made you eat it because it was good for you, vegetable.

Fruits are sort-of roundish, fleshy things with seeds growing on trees, bushes and vines. Zucchini, pumpkin, eggplant, avocado, and squash are fruits despite not all making a yummy pie.

Vegetables are leafy greens, pods, roots, and bulbs. Yet leafy greens are not always green, as in purple cabbage and red kale. You can argue if tubers, legumes and fungi are veggies or not, but it doesn’t matter for now.

So then, what of broccoli which isn’t like the things mentioned above and we don’t eat the leafy green bits? Broccoli is a flower. Ever see yarrow? Broccoli is like edible yarrow. Also a flower is cauliflower –of course, it’s right in the name.

Many leafy greens are flowers harvested before they bloom. Let lettuce mature and it will flower, called bolting. Many bulbs and roots are flowers. Where do you suppose the seeds come from? Queen Anne’s lace is a flowering wild carrot. How about asparagus? In some places it’s called sparrow grass and so… actually, it’s a perennial flower.

We rarely eat anything but the fruit from a fruit plant. Sometimes we eat the seeds, often not. Some seeds, like apple seeds and peach pits, contain arsenic. We eat various parts of vege­tables: flowers, leaves, pods, roots and bulbs. Sometimes we eat just the stalk, like celery and rhubarb. Good thing, too, because rhubarb leaves are toxic. Which leads us to…

Simple Death Salad: Cut up rhubarb leaves and angel wing mushrooms. Drizzle with ranch dressing and top with yew berries. It can be any kind of dressing, that’s the only non-lethal part.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 10/17/15

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