Some Diversions While We Wait for Shakespeare


Forget a million monkeys banging on typewriters, there’s a billion of ‘em on computers. Also known as the World Wide Web, producing a billion times more content than our little cadre of simians ever could. We say, if you can’t beat ‘em, link to ‘em.

Curious Links

  1. Well-balanced people with time on their hands: Gravity defying pics
  2. More evidence Mouse Utopia is alive and unwell and all around us: People are strange pics
  3. Why do current astrophysicist use Einstein’s field equations to calculate black holes when Einstein wrote a paper in the 1930s saying black holes were impossible? Video by Eric Lerner
  4. Better than 3D movies: History of Smell-o-rama, the Tingler, Hypno-Vista and Duo-Vision
  5. The worst laid plans of mice and men: Design fail pics and some more bad design pics
  6. Seeing is believing the impos­sible: Optical illusion photos
  7. We don’t have Star Trek trans­porters, but maybe we do have replicators: Al Fin on 3D printing

You didn’t think I’d let all that coding work I did on the typing monkeys go to waste, did you?

Filed 12/30/15

Was the American Revolution Pointless?

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Click pic to replay animation

One imagines most Americans think of the American Revolution as a great achievement, a blow for freedom and democracy. After all, the rebels threw off the tyranny of the British crown, right? Yet, was British rule all that bad? We don’t even have to go into heavy details to consider the question, just ask a Canadian.

Think about it, minus the revolution American history could have been more or less like that of Canada. Was there horrible tyranny, repression, suf­fering and whatnot in Canada under British rule? How did the story of Canadian expansion and develop­ment compare to that of the US? Didn’t the British end slavery throughout their empire without civil wars?

Let’s play counterfactuals, what might have happened? Britain could have obtained Louisiana from the French after the defeat of Napoleon. Maybe Anglo Texans and Californians would still have seceded from Mexico and joined with the British American provinces. The British could have bought Alaska from the Russians.

Maybe there’d be one big country with pretty much the same type of government and culture as now. Call it Canamerica or Americanada. Looked at in a certain light, perhaps in the grand scheme of things the American Revolution didn’t really accomplish all that much after all.

There might have been an impact on the rest of the world had America been part of the Empire into the 20th century. How might the last hundred years have differed had Canamerica or Americanada entered the Great War in 1914?

Filed 11/30/15

Everything New Is Old Again

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

Filed 11/12/15

To Don’t 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 10/27/15

It’s October, Time for Something Completely Similar

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Look familiar? It would if you’ve been viewing terry colon dot com for a while. I’m allowed to plagiarize myself, aren’t I?

Filed 10/1/15

Just for the Fun of It


Ten Things to Think about (but Not Too Much)

  1. Fast means to go without food. So, what is fast food?
  2. People in countries that don’t play baseball wear baseball caps.
  3. A tracked vehicle basically lays down and takes up its own road wherever it goes. You can’t go off-roading in a tank.
  4. Sharks kill nine times as many men as women. Sharks are sexist!
  5. Beef contains a lot of fat though cattle only eat grass and grain.
  6. Most of the gas burned by a car is to move the car, not the occupant. Will driverless cars not bother with passengers at all?
  7. Astrophysicists keep detecting matter and forces that are undetectable.
  8. Why do we say nape of the neck and scruff of the neck? Are there other napes and scruffs on our bodies? And aren’t the nape and scruff the same thing?
  9. Despite having the largest slice of the food pyramid, the minimum daily requirement for grains and cereals is zero.
  10. Shouldn’t Mother’s Day come after Labor Day?

On item six, does it really take 4,000 pounds of vehicle to move around a 200 pound person? Then again, if we drove around in a vacuum we could save gas. That’s because once you’re up to cruising speed a lot of the energy used to keep the car going is for pushing air out of the way. I wonder if you get better mileage living at high altitude. Which makes eleven things to think about.

Filed 9/9/15

The Most Mysterious Cookie In the World

It’s the best-selling cookie brand around. You know it. You’ve seen it. You’ve eaten it. They put it in ice cream. It’s ubiquitous. It’s the Oreo. As famous as it is, have you ever wondered what the name means? As familiar as it is, have you ever won­dered about the design on it? You know, the oval with what looks like an old-time TV antenna on top.

Well, keep wondering because I haven’t got an answer. It seems nobody else has, either. Not even the Nabisco company. There’s lots of speculation about both, but nothing definite, no hard evidence, no paper trail, no smoking gun.

Some say the name has a Latin root of some sort, as in oro, gold. Some surmise the O on each end of the word are the two chocolate cookies sand­wiching the cream center. Though why cream is RE is rather odd. Still, nobody really knows.

The origin of the Nabisco logo, the double crossbar cross atop an oval, gets even wilder speculation. It’s claimed to be Christian or satanic. That’s a pretty wide spread. Is it the Cross of Lorraine on top of the world? Is it a Masonic symbol? Is it a UFO? Is it a football radio? Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing is certain, Nabisco is an acronym for NAtional BIScuit COmpany. Now then, the Brits call cookies biscuits. Maybe the whole thing is some sort of devious English plot to… what? Colonize the world with sandwich cookies? Ah yes, the sun never sets on the Biscuit Empire.

Filed 8/26/15

No Clever Headline, Links


Not Top and Not Ten List of Unrelated Links

  1. Fashion is something so awful it must be changed every six months, but to this?
  2. Lost flyer humor found here
  3. Newspaper headlines can be hilariously bad
  4. Photographic proof lowlifes are getting lower and more cartoonish than any cartoon of a lowlife
  5. Bike that really counter-steers, or maybe I should say counter-counter-steers

I’ve written about turning and counter-steering a bike, but link number five is something else. It’s a video of a bike with reverse-wise steering, turning the handlebars clockwise rotates the front wheel counter-clockwise, and vice-versa. Nobody could ride it. However the narrator taught himself to ride it and… that would be giving it away. Check it out and see.

Filed 8/18/15

T-shirts Are Socks Worn on the Torso


Have you ever noticed, unlike every other kind of shirt, T-shirts don’t have a seam running down the side? You know, from the armpit on down. Other kinds of shirts have front and back panels sewn together. T-shirts are a seamless tube sewn together at the shoulder with sleeves and a collar band added.

This means T-shirt fabric is made as a tube rather than as sheets. Just like tube socks are. And so the horizontal threads (whether that’s the warp or weft I can’t say) are wound around the body in extremely long strands from top to bottom. Which is sort-of like the way you knit a sweater. Well, maybe you personally don’t knit, but you know what I mean.

So I ask, is T-shirt fabric woven or knitted? What exactly is the differ­ence? Does it matter? Do you care?

More frivia at it’s finest you’ll get only from terry colon dot com.

Filed 7/20/15

America Celebrates

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Click pic to play animation

It’s July fourth and so it’s The Fourth of July. Independence Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The document that once and for all estab­lished the right of a people to break political bonds and rule themselves.

“Once and for all” meaning eighty years as Americans then fought another war to “preserve the union.” So, if you win the war you have the right to independence; if you lose, you don’t. Thus establishing the true ruling principle: might makes right.

These wars are called the American Revolution and the American Civil War. If we called both wars of inde­pendence it’d be obvious Americans were both for and against indepen­dence, depending. This follows the principle that history is written by the winners. To coin a paraphrase, might makes write makes right.

This only goes to show people don’t always follow the rules. Even ones they write themselves. See, the founders made a big mistake with both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they wrote them on parchment. If they wanted people to pay heed, they should have been written in stone. Like the Ten Com­mandments. Then again, most folks don’t take them very seriously, either.

Enough of that. Let’s go bar-b-q and watch the fireworks. Just don’t bar-b-q the fireworks. Wait an hour before swimming. Wear a helmet. Do not eat toner.

Filed 7/4/15

Nothing Works Like Not Working


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

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

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

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

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

Filed 6/28/15

Ah-h-h-h, Summer


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

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

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

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

Filed 6/21/15

Cashless: No Cents or Sense


Top Ten Reasons the Ivory Tower Elite Advocate the Cashless Society

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

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

Filed 6/19/15

Engineer Joke


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

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

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

The doctor says, “I’ll ask my col­leagues if anything can be done for them.”

The engineer says, “Couldn’t they play at night?”

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

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

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

Filed 6/1/15

Surfing the Globe

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A Variety Six-Pack

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

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

Filed 5/19/15

Fun With Flags


People like flags. What exactly the appeal is I couldn’t say, but you can’t deny people like flying them, wearing them, and sticking them on things. All the same, in my view there are only a handful of national flags that are both visually appealing and distinctive.

Way too many flags are hard to tell apart. Europe is full of non-distinctive striped flags. I mean, if you can’t tell what it is in a black and white picture it’s not all that distinctive. The best European flag is the UK union jack, both visually appealing and distinctive. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best national flag in the world. Though the union jack is really three flags in one, all explained here.

The Japanese flag is very good distinctive-wise, though perhaps a bit sparse. China’s is OK, but how could they pass up having a dragon? The US flag is distinctive, but too busy with all those stars and stripes. With the blue panel in the upper corner it looks like a flag within a flag. Overall rather lopsided and ungainly. Plus it just looks wrong facing right-to-left.

Let me offer a new design for the US flag. To be less busy we lose the red stripes. Or are they white stripes? Whatever, ax the stripes. Fifty stars is a lot of stars. I get that they represent the fifty states, but states don’t mean much as now-a-days the feds run everything.

So we’re left with one white star on a blue field. Not that great. Besides, blue is not very inclusive, think of all the colors left out. Can’t have that. Let’s go with black and white. White covers the entire light spectrum, black makes all that color diversity pop. This leaves us with a white star on a black field.

Five-pointed stars on flags are a dime a dozen, plus too many com­munist countries use them. So let’s swap out the star for something else. Since it’s supposed to be a democracy we need some­thing to represent people, like a human head. But it has to be generic, no ethnicity or sex. The flag should also have something to remind all foreigners that the US of A is the most powerful country on the planet. I think I’ve got it.

Mouseover to see the new, improved US flag

Now, that’s a flag!

Filed 3/31/15

More More Fun All Over

device greenspot zapper spiral squiggle bot flyerbot mexican redgreen twins doctor catbot

Half a Dozen Side Trips Through the Web Portal

  1. Need a joke flyer, take a joke flyer
  2. Don’t cross this Mexican pedestrian at the pedestrian crossing
  3. Do-it-yourself you never thought to do yourself
  4. One is not like the other — Oh wait, it is
  5. Don’t tell Elaine Benis what doctors write on medical charts
  6. If you don’t like cute cats catnapping cutely the link is optional

Try as you might you’ll be hard pressed to find a link between the links. They’re just various collections of various things, and one video, that made me smile. Though these days I guess you’re supposed to say diverse instead of various.

Filed 3/28/15

Daylight Savings Time Time


It’s that time of year when the time of day changes. Spring ahead, even though it’s not spring yet. DST is sup­posed to save energy. Nice thought, but some studies show the opposite. What we do get is a lot of sleep-deprived folks on Monday following the change with an uptick in driving and work accidents. Hope you haven’t scheduled surgery for tomorrow.

At least they haven’t tried anything more radical, like switching to a dec­imal clock. Ten hours, 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute. Afterward, when computers take over and go all binary on our butts there will be 1010 hours, 1100100 minutes per hour and 1100100 seconds per minute. And just what time will we have to wake up each morning during Binary Daylight Savings Time to serve our computer masters? Whatever the time might be by the clock, it’ll be too late.

Filed 3/8/15

Coldest February in 140 Years


Glad that’s over. Good thing February is only 28 days this year. Who needs one more day of below zero temper­atures? Like we need the first R in February. At least the sunlight is on schedule. A little more day and a little less night every 24 hours.

This changing sunlight comes from living in the north. At the equator the sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm every day. Twelve hours of sunlight day after day, year after year. The seasons would still change, but in a whole different way. Winter, hot becoming very hot; spring, very hot becoming hot; summer, hot becoming very hot; autumn, very hot becoming hot.

Monotonous? If you grew up there you might not think so. That’s just the way it always is and you mightn’t pay particular notice. Anyway, there’s still weather. Rain or shine, windy or calm. It never snows or gets below zero, but I doubt folks there miss it. It gets snowy and frigid here and when it’s gone I don’t miss it. And we’re back to where we started.

Filed 3/1/15

Romeo and Juliet, or Fools in Love


Were Romeo and Juliet victims of cruel fate, or maybe some­thing else? Greek dramatists would say character is destiny. Shakespeare had it…

“The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

In Act I Romeo first appears mooning over… Diana. Who? She never appears, yet Romeo is ga-ga over her. Until our hero crashes a masquerade party, meets Juliet and, bingo-bango, he’s in love. Again. Last we hear of what’s-her-name, Romeo drops her like yesterday’s news. Shows you what kind of a guy he is.

So he hangs around Juliet’s court­yard peering in her window. Rather stalker-ish, actually. After a bit of sneaky hooking up the pair run off and get secretly married. What was the long-term plan there, having secret children and living in a secret house or what? Teenagers, sheesh.

Then Romeo butts into a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio, in so doing his cousin is accidentally run through and dies. So Romeo runs down Tybalt and kills him, not accidentally. The guy is never at a loss for rash acts. Now he’s a wanted fugitive. And who’s to blame? Oh yeah, Romeo.

Now, Juliet isn’t faultless as she undertakes a half-baked plot of her own: faking her own death. You’d think you’d make darn sure your co-conspirator would know the plan before proceeding, but no, not Juliet. Anyway, Romeo finds her “dead,” isn’t wise to the scam, and kills him­self. Impetuous and clueless to the end, this Romeo fellow. Then Juliet awakens from her “death,” sees Romeo has gone to meet his maker and offs herself with a dagger.

Whenever the shite hits the fan we find Romeo and Juliet at center stage, literally and figuratively. Who killed them in the end? They did it them­selves. A pair of adolescent nitwits if you ask me.

One might say if not for the feud it all would have been hunky-dorie. Well, if a window were four feet up instead of forty you could jump out safely. But knowing it’s forty feet, do you jump out, break your neck, and then blame the window? Which brings us to something Shakespeare didn’t write…

Look before you leap.

Filed 2/27/15

Spinflation: Cheaper Though It Costs More


Say there are only two car types in the whole world, Deluxmobiles and Econoboxes. Deluxmobiles have the latest and greatest of everything car-wise and sell for $50,000. Econoboxes are basic transportation selling for $20,000. A car costs $35,000 on average.

Then Econoboxes are upgraded to be the equal of Deluxmobiles. With improved manufacturing methods the improved Econobox sells for $40,000. Meantime, Deluxmobiles get even more deluxe and sell for $70,000. Cars now cost $55,000 on average.

Has the price of cars gone up? That seems a no-brainer: which is bigger, $35k or $55k? How can you argue with that? Well, people can and do. What they’ll say is “You’re comparing apples to oranges. The new Econobox is the equivalent of the old Deluxmo­bile. Comparing like to like the price has actually gone down $10,000.”

This is small consolation to the per­son buying the cheapest car possible for transportation. Comparing like to like, the cheapest available car, the price has doubled. Despite the hedonic adjustment of costing $10,000 less, this buyer must pony up $20,000 more.

Yes, the car is better. How better? Does the new, improved, twice-as-expensive Econobox get you to work twice as fast? Does it get twice the gas mileage? Does it carry twice as many passengers? Provide twice the protec­tion from the elements? Cost half as much to operate and maintain? Is it twice as easy to drive? What does twice the price actually get you?

We’re up against the law of dimin­ishing returns. That’s where it gets harder and more costly to increase performance after you’ve picked the low-hanging fruit. For instance, an Econobox is a vast improvement over walking. By comparisson a Deluxmo­bile is not as big an improvement over an Econobox as an Econobox is over walking. In basic utility of getting from point A to point B the improved Econobox is improved, but it’s debat­able by how much.

This sort of thing happens in other areas where some new and improved item replaces an older version, but the new and improved replacement costs more. So there you go: spinflation, cheaper and costs more at the same time.

Filed 2/21/15

New Old Things


Ten More Signs You’re Getting Old

  1. Every new technology you’re just getting up to speed on is out of date
  2. Every new trend you’re just getting up to speed on is out of date
  3. Every new… Get the idea? You’re just plain out of date on everything
  4. You realize items 1-3, and it doesn’t bother you
  5. You realize items 1-3, and you brag about it
  6. Staying up really late means past 11pm
  7. You stay up really late, watch the Tonight Show, and wonder, “Isn’t Jay Leno too young to have retired?”
  8. The phrase, “for someone your age” doesn’t sound very complimentary any more
  9. A successful day has been redefined down to good bodily functions
  10. Losing track of time doesn’t mean what time of day, but what year it is

The reader might wonder what brought this on? Just some overheard comments about how music CDs were so-o-o primitive. What? I play music on CDs. They seem pretty modern to me. I remember the first music I ever bought, “The Beatles Second Album,” was vinyl. And mono. Oh, and a brand new release.

Filed 2/19/15

Diabolical Crosswords


Arthur Wayne created the very first crossword puzzle which appeared in the New York World on December 21, 1913. Early puzzle answers were one word, multi-word answers are more recent. Themed puzzles began around the early 1940s. Though you might say the first puzzle had a theme, the word ‘FUN.’

See the very first crossword puzzle here

These days crosswords are full of wordplay and cryptic clues which can be confusing, misleading, or down­right diabolical. Still, sometimes it’s simple clues that really throw you for a loop. Especially since they seem harmless when you run across them. Take a simple one-word clue like ‘bean.’ What is it? A legume? Your head? Getting hit in the head with a legume? Out of context there’s no telling.

Then you have heteronyms, two words with the same spelling but different meanings and pronun­ciations. For instance, if the clue is ‘bass,’ does that mean a fish or a deep voice? Is contract something you sign, how you get a disease, or to shrink? There’s plenty more. How many? More heteronyms than you ever thought of.

Experienced puzzle solvers like their puzzles to be a challenge. There’s no satisfaction in solving a simple puzzle. So the clues and answers get more diabolical all the time. In Spanish the Devil is el Diablo, from Latin diabolicus. And so diabolical means appropriate to the devil, fiendishly cruel, very wicked. In a word, devilish. Not being a crossword puzzle maker but an illustrator, I put my wordplay in the pictures. Nobody calls that pictureplay as far as I know.

Actually, I did create one puzzle many years ago which broke a lot of rules. But then, it was a gag puzzle. I’ve recreated it below.

Crossword For Illiterates

An Xtra special, Xciting, Xtraordinary puzzle designed to leave you in Xtasy

Mouseover for answers

1. John Doe’s band
2. Mexican beer
4. Moonshine
6. Marks the spot
7. Times
8. Thirty to Caesar
10. __L, very Big
11. The other brand

1. Wins at tic-tac-toe
2. Four kisses
3. Unknown factor
5. Malcolm
6. Hard porn
9. Ray type
10. Mystery Madame

Filed 1/13/15

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