Monday, December 13, 2010

On this date in history

December 13, 1642: Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted what we now call New Zealand.

December 13, 1918: President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, the first U.S. President to visit Europe while in office.

December 13, 2003: Saddam Husein was captured hiding in a hole under a farmhouse near Takrit in Iraq.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Faster than a speeding bullet

No matter how fast light travels, darkness got there first and was waiting for it.
—Terry Pratchett

Fast? I'm so fast I can turn out the light and jump into bed before the room gets dark.
—Muhammad Ali

I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
—Steven Wright

I watched the Indy 500, and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast.
—Steven Wright

I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really fast, and stick it out the window.
—Steven Wright

To fly as fast as thought, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.
—Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.
—Eric Liddell

The trouble with talking too fast is you might say something you haven't thought of yet.
—Ann Landers

Moving fast is not the same as going somewhere.
—Robert Anthony

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Solution? One solution.

Here is the solution they gave in the textbook, but certainly not the only one. The instructions don't put restrictions or conditions other than to attach the candle to the wall. It doesn't say you have to use all the materials. In the solution above, it appears the candle has been lit and drops of wax hold the candle upright, though that isn't clear. There may be a tack on the bottom which isn't shown (that's how I would have done it. You don't need the matches at all in that case. Actually you don't need the box either if you just tack the candle to the wall through the wick.

I wonder how many engineering or design students couldn't visualize this rather unchallenging problem? I think those students would be weeded out by the end of the first year, hopefully.

Did you know that the best Systems Analysts don't come from the programming community? Or any other technical field, for that matter. They come from the arts: photographers, artists, filmmakers. Technical people never seem to be able to see the big picture amongst all the details that interest them so much. They tend to stay in their boxes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Human reasoning

"The candle problem" is a classic experiment of insight put forth by Karl Duncker in 1945.

Each subject is given a candle, a box of tacks, and a book of matches and asked to attach the candle to a wooden wall.
If you were a subject in the test, how would YOU do it?

Tomorrow: the Duncker solution.

Relax Max's supplimental: Duncker's problem is fine for college students, but much too simple for the people who read my blog, sooo... can you do it without the matches?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Keep it short?

Blogger Law #36:

"The longer an online discussion goes, the greater the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler becomes."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't tell me Republicans have no sense of humor. Just don't.


1. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the current Speaker of the House.
2. The Speaker of the House is elected by the House, but is by custom the ranking majority member (longest with their snout in the public trough of the party in power.)
3. Now that the Republicans will have a majority in the House (come January when the new thieves come to Washington) Nancy will, of course, no longer be the head honcha who sits up front with the gavel, and who decides what legislation will be accepted for debate. The job of Speaker of the House will fall upon the ranking member of the (new) majority party. This is one John Boehner (R-OH). Pronounced "beaner," I think (though he is not Hispanic.) John spends a lot of time in the tanning bed or is a heavy duty self-tanning cream user. At any rate, his face is orange. He looks quite healthy, in a sickly sort of way.
4. Nancy Pelosi announced today that she will be running for minority leader. Yo. Republicans had expected her to run back to San Francisco and hide under her bed, I think. But no.

Nancy says she feels an obligation to run for the leadership position and stay in the fight since so many things remain unfinished. She especially wants to "continue" her fight for jobs for Americans.

Republicans seemed happy at the news:

"Given that there are now 60-plus defeated Democrat House members urgently seeking jobs due to Nancy Pelosi's failed leadership, we welcome her decision to run for House Minority Leader based on her proven ability to create jobs for Republican lawmakers." So said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Oh, touche. I thought we were going to work together?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A quick smack to the snot box? Really?

I was trying to find out who a guy by the name of Andrew Neil was today. Apparently he is some roach of a prima donna gossip reporter that Rupert Murdock fired for being too stupid to live. I googled him and, oddly, he came up under "cunt." You know how reserved the British are. I think he is of Scotish-cunt extraction, they said. Nicknamed Brillo Head, don't know why. Has a good red dye job on his hair. Well, not that good, I guess, if you can tell.

Apparently he used to be a real reporter with legitimate news organizations, but then began to fancy himself a playboy and lost his cred. Sort of like a cross between Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer, only not so intelligent as Geraldo and not as classy as Springer. Which is to say a real low-life National Enquirer type of "reporter."

I wish the British weren't so reserved, so I could find out the truth. These are the only British opinions of Neil that I could find:

Andrew Neil a cunt

Andrew Neil, for the roasting he gave Devil's Kitchen,
is a cunt.

although counter-cunted...

Devil's Kitchen, for being a
surrender monkeying prick of a cunt.
Thanks matey, for a Fanfare for the Common Man.

Nominated by Brickbat, seconded by Fidothedog
Barking Spider said...

I wouldn't have let that cunt, Neil, browbeat me into apologising for telling the truth!

banned said...

'Counter Cunted', interesting concept.

Captain Haddock said...

I'd pay good money to see someone "trim the lamps" one of these bullying, hectoring interviewers ..

People like Neil, Paxman etc ... They seem to believe that because they've become "celebs" they're bombproof ..

A quick smack in the old "snot-box" might just serve to remind them how fortunate they are to lead such cushy, over-paid lives ..

Well, I don't know. The feelings about him seem to be mixed, no? Do any of YOU know who he is? Help me out here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dead but still funny

My wife said to me, "I want to be cremated." I said, "How about Tuesday?"
—Buddy Hackett

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Losing an old friend

In other news, the French government has been quietly dismantling the Eiffel Tower to make room for the staging for a Lady Ga Ga concert.

When interviewed, young fans were not sure why the tower was there in the first place.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If I had only known...

... how hard it was going to be to teach a pet honeybee how to walk upright, I would never have begun the task in the first place. Now that I am finally ready to reap my financial reward, I find out her life-span is 4 months, and it took 3 to train her.

Ah, Molly, I hardly knew ye. On the bright side, I don't have to spring for a Christmas present.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Solving problems

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I am finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
—Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cherry pie please, and step on it

3-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West and sidles up to the bar. "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."

How do you save a drowning man? Take yer foot off his head.

A chicken sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. The barkeep says, "Sorry, we don't serve food here."

So the couple stopped after three because they heard that every fourth child born is Chinese.

Kirk materializes standing on top of the VIP front table at the Federation Ambassadors' wives testimonial dinner and immediately gets on the communicator. "Very funny, Scottie. Now beam up my clothes."

Run like hell if a blonde throws a pin at you because it means she still has the grenade in her mouth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's not too late, not while we're living...

Oh can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm.

(from "The Poseidon Adventure")

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Drink special

Today at McDonald's get an extra large coke for just a buck.

Regularly 85¢

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Flotsam is the stuff that is seen floating after a ship sinks.

Jetsam is floating stuff purposely thrown overboard, for whatever reason.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Clint Eastwood as Will Munny: "Funny thing, killin' a man. You take away everything he's got and everything he's gonna have."

The Schofield Kid: "Yeah, well he had it comin'."

Munny: "We ALL have it coming, Kid."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Phunk With My Heart

The BlackEyed Peas are an American hip hop group that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1995. The group is composed of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and vocalists, Taboo, and Fergie. Since their third album, Elephunk in 2003, the group has sold an estimated 35 million albums worldwide and 41 million singles and 76 million copies with both sales combined [That would be 35 and 41. RM.] [Note: not sold door-to-door. RM.] They scored their first worldwide hit with "Where is the Love?" in 2003, which topped over ten charts [Over 10? 11? 117? RM.] worldwide. Another single was the European hit "Shut Up". Their next album Monkey Business was another worldwide hit, certified 3x Platinum in the U.S., spawning [having a life of it's own, apparently. RM.] two hit singles "My Humps" and Don't Phunk With My Heart".

Other thoughts: 80 more infants died today in Darfur, if today is an average day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moby Ringo Starr The Flamin' Groovies

I seen her with the gypsies
Dancin' in the wood
She's always been unfaithful to me
She ain't never been no good
I say, "Please don't talk to strangers, baby"
But she always do
She say, "I'll talk to strangers if I want to
'Cause I'm a stranger, too"
—Randy Newman

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I wish to reproduce, please.

I miss the visits of a wonderful lady who used to come around BritishSpeak quite a lot, before her move and before her life got quite so busy as it is now. I still hang around Wise Herb blog though, and I really like her sense of humor. A lot of the time I just read and don't comment. I do that on a lot of blogs, so beware. Today I noticed something in her sidebar, that brought me up short:

"Contents are (C) Copyright, but if you wish to reproduce, just ask."

Don't anybody EVER say people aren't neighborly in Cornwall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obama forgives BP; NASA head Charles Bolden: "I misspoke, goddammit!"

So.... according to Angelika, the assassination attempt on Hitler led by his officers DID result in him being shot but by himself and not by Tom Cruise. "After receiving an extra large dose* of WTFium, Hitler shot himself in..."

Oh, man! Don't leave it there and don't make me come back and read the whole comment.

Hitler shot himself in... IN WHAT???

The foot? The head? The Tampax aisle at the Berlin Walmart? What? What? WHAT?

*Extra large Hitler-sized dose. Probably three times the dosage for regular person WTFium.

Post not long enough, so caption this picture of 30% sober lady holding full bottle of WTFium. And the winner is: "She's between Barack and a hard place." (Free movie pass goes to...Charlie Bolden)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Would you care to make your closing statement now, counselor?

No thank you, your honor. The jury has reached its verdict ages ago.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Banjolele King: George Formby

I was putting together some music by Herman's Hermits not too long ago, and of course included Leaning on the Lampost, though it was considerably more popular in the U.S. than in Britain apparently. A good friend mentioned that George Formby had made that song popular earlier, or had at least sung it a lot, playing the ukulele, and I said, "Who's George Formby?"

After watching old stuff of him on YouTube, I told my friend with arrogant certainty that it was the banjo he played, not the ukulele. Further research proves us both right: it was a hybrid they called the "banjolele". A rather odd duck, this George Formby, though pretty talented in an old music hall sort of way. His father before him had been a VERY big music hall star, so I suppose it was no surprise. Americans call them "variety acts." George Formby video here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Harry bounces quite well

Your Prince Harry is in New York, in case you were wondering and have missed him. So is his pop.

He bounces quite well. He did get up and remount his pony. I mean got back in the saddle again. You know what I mean.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm really sorry

I want to apologize to my throngs of South African readers for writing the word fag in one of my other posts today. I want to say it was just a slip of the tongue but somehow that seems even worse. Just put down the vuvuzelas and go home. The party is over anyway.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Singing America

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes,
Nobody'll dare
Say to me
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.
—Langston Hughes

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Save time, call in your order

[March 25, 2010] Det. Lt. Michael Gagner of the Fairfield Police Department in Connecticut told reporters that they [police] had ample warning when it came to the robbery attempt at People’s United Bank branch in Fairfield. This is because the robbers decided to go the ‘easy’ route and call ahead to place a to-go order for the cash.

The alleged attempted bank robbers apparently called the bank and demanded that the teller get a bag of cash, containing one hundred thousand dollars, and have it ready for them when they showed up to get it. The alleged attempted robber went on to say that if the money was not ready, there would be a “blood bath.”

According to the Sgt, James Perez, the two men, residents of Bridgeport, 27-year-old Albert Bailey and an unidentified 16-year-old boy, showed up within ten minutes of making the phone call, and were arrested by the police on charges of attempted robbery and threats. He said that the two males were “not too bright.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thank God it wasn't Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney PA March 27 (AP) - Police say they charged a Pennsylvania man with public drunkenness after he was seen trying to resuscitate a long-dead opossum along a highway.

State Police trooper Jamie Levier says several witnesses saw 55-year-old Donald Wolfe, of Brookville, near the animal Thursday along Route 36, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The trooper says one person saw Wolfe kneeling before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance. He says another saw Wolfe attempting to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The AP says they couldn't find a home phone number to contact Wolfe for comment.

I know, I know. Phil is a groundhog. Still, thank God.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repulsiveness R Us, Part 47: What has Algore's internet wrought now?

Subject: Found a moth in my stool.
Category: Entertainment & Pop Culture

26 minutes ago Dennis "are you not entertained?" A. says: It was the size of a quarter - Is it time to call a doctor?
It kinda freaked me out....i started thinking about 80s horror movies where insects would take over people's bodies.

25 minutes ago Tony "Get me off this crazy thing!" A. says: wow, I never look close enough to see what's in my stool.... nor have a desire to look :)

24 minutes ago Kim W. says: what did it taste like? I find that the corn often has a nice nutty flavor.

23 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: Did your sh*t come out like dust?

21 minutes ago Marie "knit master" K. says: I only clicked on this thread because I thought, "Maybe Dennis made a type-o like the way he misspelled 'mout.'"

21 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: Does anyone make moth ball suppositories?

20 minutes ago Kim W. says: Think hard. Were you eating light bulbs last night?

20 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: Does it smell like grandma's house?

20 minutes ago K "X" O. says: I'm pretty sure it couldn't survive in your body. Now worms....that's another story *shivers*

19 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: This thread makes me want to put on some coveralls, sit in a rocker on the porch, and watch Dennis sh*t near a bug zapper.

19 minutes ago steven r. says: What did the moth say to Dennis? Made you look!

19 minutes ago Dennis "are you not entertained?" A. says: I tried to come up with a scenario, but cannot - for the life of me - figure out how a quarter sized moth could end up....there....

18 minutes ago Mike Z. says: If you eat a lot of cheese and don't shit for a few days, you might find caterpillars in your stool. How awesome would that be?

18 minutes ago Christina "get your dick out of your heart" S. says: Does it smell like the bus going through chinatown?

18 minutes ago Alice A. says: Call CDC. It probably laid its clutch of eggs inside of you before it succumbed.

18 minutes ago Miles "Farmer Ted" F. says: Oh crap, is it a death's head moth?

15 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: Could you go back and sh*t a couple more times? I need an Elephant Beetle and a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach for my entomology class.

14 minutes ago Alexandra "the Tsaritsa-- Get thee to a nunnery!" N. says: Dennis "are you not entertained?" A. says: Maybe it flew into the crap after you had expelled it? They do turn to dust when you touch them, I always have moths in my apartment.

11 minutes ago Mike Z. says: Have you checked the poop report? http://www.poopreport....

11 minutes ago Dennis "are you not entertained?" A. says: Sasha - i hope that's what happened. Ether that, or it sought sanctuary in between my cheeks moments before.....

10 minutes ago Kelly G. says: This is the grossest thread I have ever read. That being said, DENNIS..STOP TRIPPIN'. You swallowed a moth during sleep most likely. We all consume a certain number of bugs each year, mostly when we are asleep.

8 minutes ago Mike Z. says: If it exists there's a website for it.

7 minutes ago Tsada K. says: Fishbits says we swallow 2-3 spiders per year.

6 minutes ago Alexandra "the Tsaritsa-- Get thee to a nunnery!" N. says: There was a spider crawling in my bed last night and I just flicked it away, but it makes you wonder how many insects use your body as their wonderland...

5 minutes ago steven r. says: I can top that. Found a butterfly in mine.

4 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: How would said moth survive the enzymes en route to the stomach where hydrochloric acid awaits? Accept the fact that Dennis has a magician's ass. Sheesh!

3 minutes ago Pablo "Tr0oGl0dite" D. says: Moths and flies carry tape worms. Yeah, That's not a rubber band.

3 minutes ago Frank "The Time Traveling Rabbit" Z. says: Dennis, could you sh*t me some chicken and waffles? I'm hungry.

2 minutes ago Mike Z. says: I think it's been discredited, but I like the rumor that spiders drink the spittle from the corner of your mouth and the fluid from your eyes while you sleep.

1 minute ago Alexandra "the Tsaritsa-- Get thee to a nunnery!" N. says: Mike, don't forget about the Snapple bottle cap fact that we eat 8 spiders per year! High in protein!

Note: Post-heading picture of Al Gore claimed as Fair Use

Thanks to

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My idea of what a pub is. Or was.

In the early days of British rule in America, travel was by horse on really bad trails. I hesitate to call them actual roads. Along the way were "inns" where one could stop for the night and put up his horses. These came to be called public houses. You could get something to eat and a bed for the night. Sometimes you had to share your bed with a stranger, I've read. It wasn't very long before the landlord also discovered he should be serving alcoholic beverages as well. Maybe 8 or 9 minutes it took him to figure this out.

In my mind, this was the beginnings of the concept of pubs (which is still short for public house, I think) in America. Public houses for travelers had been around much longer than that in Europe, of course.

Today, in America, the concept has changed. Now we have bars. In my mind, a bar and a pub are two different things. Bars in America evolved from the concept of public houses. The name of the game at first was the same as a pub: hospitality, fellowship, a place to unwind with people you knew (more or less.) Today, in America, there are still neighborhood bars, of course, and there are bars in small towns where people still know each other (more or less) but more and more American bars are just places to go to drink. Food sometimes. Friends sometimes. But mostly to drink. Sometimes it isn't very pretty.

The laws have gotten more and more intrusive until one can't really go to a bar anymore like one could years ago. The bartender has to keep track of how many drinks you've had and probably even will have to find someone to drive you home if he doesn't want to get sued. In America, those days of drinking and then dragging yourself out to your car are gone. That's a good thing. Time was the horse knew the way home, but fewer and fewer Americans drive buggies anymore.

Besides the regular bars, you have your entertainment joints where loud music is supposed to bring in more drinkers. And you have the food joints where the food is supposed to bring in families, and drinking is secondary. Oh, you have pubs in America, but they are by design. Patterned after English pubs and probably franchised. They offer "authentic" fish and chips and 137 kinds of micro-brewery wares. Tres chic.

To me, you have to search far and wide to find a real "pub" in America. I don't drink anymore to speak of, so I am not motivated to search - so maybe you CAN'T find a real pub in America.

That brings me to describing what I think a pub really is, Britishly speaking. I may be wrong.

1. It is a pretty old building. It has been there for a long time. It has seen generations come and go. A lot of old pubs with "atmosphere" have probably closed down in recent years, either due to not being able to compete or just getting fed up with new laws.

2. It is a neighborhood thing. People go there not just to drink, but to be with other people they know. Like the fictional Cheers in Boston, everybody knows your name. It is not just a place to drink. It is a club of sorts. It is a place to hang out. Strangers come in, for sure; I'm not saying it is a REAL club. Often the unknown faces are guests of regulars though, I would think.

3. Furnishings are wood chairs and high-backed booths and wooden tables. There are exceptions, but I don't see much padding and plastic covers in my American vision of an English pub.

4. Food. You can get a sandwich in a pub. Or some fish and chips maybe. Some have house specialties. Bangers and mash. Pasties. Things I have only come to learn about in the past couple of years. The so-called "gastric pubs" (what a horrible name) you can keep, I think. If I want to go to a fine restaurant, then I will go to a fine restaurant. I'll order a drink with my meal. I won't expect to sit on a wooden chair in front of a roaring fire in the winter and wash down my sandwich with heady stout.

If I had to come up with a one word description for "pub", I suppose it would be "atmosphere". If I just want to get drunk, I'll pick up a 12-pack of Bud Light on my way home from work.

I've never been in an authentic English pub, because I've never been to England. How far off am I?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


You are stranded on a desert island with Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin and a Lawyer.

You have a gun, but only two bullets. What do you do?

Answer: shoot the lawyer twice.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Per capita beer consumption

If you are sober enough to decipher the below truncation, you will be able to see which country drinks the most beer. If you are NOT sober enough, then go see the chart here.

Consumption per capita (2004)[1]Rank
(633 mL
↓Total national consumption
(in ML[B])
↓11 Czech Republic156.9-3.21,87822 Ireland131.1-7.152133 Germany115.8-3.29,55544 Australia109.9-7.61,67855 Austria108.3-3.685566 United Kingdom99.0-3.65,92078 Belgium93.0-4.797087 Denmark89.9-9.8486916 Finland85.011.74371010 Luxembourg84.4-0.539119 Slovakia84.1-8.54561212 Spain83.80.93,3761313 United States81.6-0.323,9741411 Croatia81.2-4.33651514 Netherlands79.0-2.71,2691615 New Zealand77.0-1.93131717 Hungary75.32.87551818 Poland69.1-2.72,6701919 Canada68.3-0.22,1832022 Portugal59.63.66272126 Bulgaria59.54.44482223 South Africa59.23.02,5302329 Russia58.99.38,4502421 Venezuela58.60.01,5252524 Romania58.21.41,3022625 Cyprus58.11.7452720 Switzerland57.3-2.24262827 Gabon55.8-0.9762932 Norway55.58.72493030 Mexico51.80.65,4353128 Sweden51.5-3.94643231 Japan51.30.66,5493333 Brazil47.61.38,4503434 South Korea38.50.01,8973536 Colombia36.80.31,658 --[A] China22.13.828,640

To this, we add Soubriquet at 112.1 liters per annum. This ranks him before Australia, but after Germany.