Friday, 31 August 2007
But think of the multiple opportunities I have to ruin someone's day! In the space of 10 minutes, I can refuse 4 leave requests, heap curses on the head of the maintenance brigade and send out the relief sheets to completely the wrong place. Somewhere in the Lettings department, a very unhappy Allotments Officer thinks he is going to spend the week in the Shopping Centre - where they don't even have Allotments
Once upon a time in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess came upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.
The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: " Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so. "
That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sauteed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself: “I don't effin think so”
BBL – Be back later
BBS – Be back soon
BCNU – Be seeing you
BRB – Be right back
BTDT – Been there, done that
BTW – By the way
EM? – Excuse me?
FOAF – Friend of a friend
FOHCL – Falls of his/her chair laughing
FWIW – For what it’s worth
GMTA – Great minds think alike
HAK – Hugs and kisses
IMHO – In my humble opinion
IOW – In other words
IRL – In real life
KFY – Kiss for you
KPC – Keeping parents clueless
LMK – Let me know
LOL – Laugh out loud
L8R – (See you) later
NALOPKT – Not a lot of people know that
OSIF – Oh (dear) I forgot
OTOH – On the other hand
PAL – Parents are listening
PAW – Parents are watching
PIR – Parent in room
POS – Parent over shoulder
P911 – Parent alert
ROTFL – Rolls on the floor laughing
SMEM – Send me an e-mail
SO – Significant other
SOHF – Sense of humour failure
WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get
and my favourite
AAAAA – American Association against Acronym Abuse
If you would to see a more extensive list see –
1. In language - using a pronoun or similar word instead of repeating a word used earlier. “He threw the ball which bounced..”
2. In rhetoric - the repetition of a word or phrase, often at the start of successive utterances and used for emphasis. e.g. “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans...”
Thursday, 30 August 2007
My future son-in-law, Mark, has a Blog entitled ‘Tales from an English Coffee Drinker’ – which even has coffee shades in its template. I suspect, therefore, that he will like one of the current crazes shown on the Sky News site – coffee art.
On this day in
30BC Cleopatra, the seventh and most famous queen of Egypt, commited suicide.
1885 13,000 meteors were seen in 1 hour in the area of the sky around Andromeda
1888 Lord Walsingham killed 1070 grouse in a single day
1968 The Apple Label produced its first record - The Beatle's “Hey Jude”
1987 Ben Johnson of Canada ran 100 m in a world record 9.83 seconds.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock
I saw Susie sitting in a show shine shop,
Where she sits she shines, where she shines she sits.
I want a proper cup of coffee in a proper copper coffee pot.
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Peterson received every major American award for natural science, ornithology, and conservation, as well as numerous honorary medals, diplomas, and citations, including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 1996 at his home in Old Lyme, Connecticut. The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, New York is named in his honour.
Astronomers have found an enormous void in space that measures nearly a billion light-years across. It is empty of both normal matter - such as galaxies and stars - and the mysterious "dark matter" that cannot be seen directly with telescopes.
The "hole" is located in the direction of the Eridanus constellation and has been identified in data from a survey of the sky made at radio wavelengths.
The void discovered by a University of Minnesota team is about 1,000 times the volume of what would be expected in typical cosmic gaps.
"It's hard even for astronomers to picture how big these things are," conceded Minnesota's Professor Lawrence Rudnick.
"If you were to travel at the speed of light, it would take you several years to get to the nearest stars in our own Milky Way galaxy; but if you were to go to this hole and enter one side, you'd have to travel for a billion years before you would get to the other side," he told BBC News.
The void is roughly 6-10 billion light-years away and takes a sizeable chunk out of the visible Universe in its direction.
The reason the void exists is not known. "That's going to be a challenge for people that work on the development of structure in the Universe. It's a very hot topic in the cosmology right now," said Professor Rudnick.
There are many ways of cooking hash browns. This is not only one of the simplest but, of those I have tried, the one which yields the best results.
1 pound potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)
2 tablespoons oil, such as sunflower
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Scrub the potatoes. They do not need to be peeled. Grate with a shred-size grater. Heat a 12-inch frying pan, preferably non-stick, over a medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter. When hot, add the potatoes and push down with a spatula to spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper - be generous with the pepper. Fry until the bottom is browned and crispy (about 5 minutes). Do not try to flip until it is browned, or the potatoes might stick. Flip the potatoes, in sections if necessary, and fry another 5 minutes, or until browned and crispy on the other side. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200° F oven.
Monday, 27 August 2007
Titan Italian artist, dies
Surely Gods cannot die so does it mean Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) was subsequently deified? Perhaps it was done in gratitude by all those Cardinals whose portraits he painted...
Cardinal Pietro Bembo by Titian
Sunday, 26 August 2007
What fascinated me, in the light of all the articles one can find on pest control of slugs, was the Google advert at the bottom of the page.
Who would want to buy slugs????
It is a fictional Blog - being an account of a pupil barrister undergoing the trials of pupillage at the English Bar. The entry for August 21, 2007 was most amusing -
It was Old Smoothie who pointed out to me months ago that medical records are littered with coded acronyms. In-jokes for the medics who don’t dream that those same records might one day end up in a court of law. The one he was at pains to explain was an entry he had spotted which said, “TUBE”. Apparently this was very commonly used in the past and refers to a “totally unnecessary breast examination.” Then there’s “NFN” or “normal for Norfolk” which refers, perhaps unfairly, to that particular county’s reputation for in-breeding. Curiously, the Scots apparently use Fife instead of Norfolk. One that you’d hope not to see on the record of anyone you are fond of is “TF BUNDY” which though I’ll spare you the full details basically stands for “totally [finished] but unfortunately not dead yet”. Oh, and of course, there’s “LOBNH” which is “lights on but nobody’s home”.
Well, that was all certainly an eye-opener for me. However, it doesn’t stop there as there’s also plenty to be gleaned from the medico-legal reports themselves. They’re often full of innuendo and you don’t have to think very hard to work out, for example, that when a male doctor fancies a patient he calls her “this attractive lady” or when she couldn’t fit through the door he describes her as “somewhat large”. However, today a doctor outdid himself.
Under marital status he wrote: “Single. Right-handed.”
An early Nineteenth century print of the island
Krakatoa is a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. (Interestingly it is to the West of Java despite the 1969 film being entitled ‘Krakatoa East of Java’). The name is used for the whole island group, the main island (also called Rakata), and the volcano as a whole. It has erupted repeatedly, massively and with disastrous consequences throughout recorded history. The best known eruption culminated in a series of massive explosions on August 26-27, 1883.
The 1883 eruption ejected more than 25 cubic kilometres of rock, ash, and pumice, and generated the loudest sound in recorded history: the cataclysmic explosion was distinctly heard as far away asPerth, Australia, approx. 1,930 miles (3,110 km), and on the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius approx. 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away. Near Krakatoa, according to official records, 165 villages and towns were destroyed and 132 seriously damaged, at least 36,417 (official toll) people died, and many thousands were injured by the eruption, mostly from the tsunamis which followed the explosion.
Photo of the volcano of Krakatau taken in 1883 before the major eruption
The eruption destroyed two thirds of the island of Krakatoa. Eruptions at the volcano since 1927 have built a new island in the same location, called Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatoa).
The tsunamis reached heights of 40 m above sea level, devastating everything in their path and hurling ashore coral blocks weighing as much as 600 tons. Every recording barograph in the world documented the passage of the airwave, some as many as 7 times as the wave bounced back and forth between the eruption site and its antipodes for 5 days after the explosion. Tide gauges also recorded the sea wave's passage far from Krakatoa. The wave "reached Aden in 12 hours, a distance of 3800 nautical miles, usually traversed by a good steamer in 12 days". The volcanic dust veil created unusual sunsets across the globe for the next three years.
Saturday, 25 August 2007
When our son David died Jo and I were heavily involved in the establishment of the Alder Centre which offers bereavement counselling for anyone affected by the death of a child.
Appointments can be offered at the centre, as a home visit (Liverpool and surrounding areas offered), or alternatively outreach clinics.
The Centre also established a helpline which is now run a s a joint initiative with Great Ormond Street Hospital and is staffed by volunteers, all of them bereaved parents.
Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust Alder HeyEaton RoadL12 2AP
0151 252 5391
9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, 9am-4.30pm Friday
7pm-10pm everyday; 10am-1pm Monday-Friday
1724 George Stubbs England, animal painter (House Frightened by Lion)....
Presumably his work looked something like this –
Friday, 24 August 2007
79AD Mt Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii & Herculaneum .
410 Rome was overrun by Visigoths - symbolically the fall of Western Roman Empire .
1572 King Charles IX ordered the massacre of thousands of French Protestants.
1814 The British sacked Washington, DC, and burned the White House turning it into a black house...
1961 Former Nazi leader Johannes Vorster became South Africa's Minister of Justice.
1990 Iraqi troops surrounded US & other embassies in Kuwait City.
Smoked (red) herrings were once used to train hunting dogs by dragging the fish across the trail of the fox in an attempt to sidetrack the dogs. Poachers are also said to have used red herrings to sidetrack the hounds from the quarry which they then took.
John Dennis (1657-1734), a critic and unsuccessful playwright, devised a method of making the sound of thunder backstage. In 1704, Dennis's play Appius and Virginia was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, using his new method. The play soon failed but shortly after the producers of a run of ‘The Scottish play ' used his thunder making idea. Dennis is alleged to have shouted “Damn then! They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder.”
The two websites below are useful in tracing the alleged origins of some of the more interesting phrases in our language...
Thursday, 23 August 2007
They told me of a sea serpent, or snake, that lay quoiled up like a cable upon the rock at Cape Ann; a boat passing by with English on board, and two Indians, they would have shot the serpent, but the Indians dissuaded them, saying that if he were not killed outright, they would all be in danger of their lives...
The above report by John Josselyn in 1638 is one of the earliest sightings of an animal that would haunt the coast of New England, and especially the port of Gloucester, for more than three centuries and be seen by hundreds of people. The report is of a creature that science says does not exist: A sea serpent. The harbour of Gloucester, Massachusetts is located just north of Boston on the lower part of Cape Ann which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Although sea serpent incidents occurred occasionally off the coast of Cape Ann and the rest of New England during the 17th and 18th centuries, it wasn't until the 19th century that the arrival of the sea serpent off the coast became a nearly seasonal phenomenon. The real action started in August of 1817 when two women claimed they had seen the creature swimming into the harbor. The same sea-serpent was seen at almost the same time by the Captain of a coasting vessel.
The caption of this engraving read "taken from life as appeared in Gloucester Harbour, August 23, 1817."
There were eighteen sightings of the "sea serpent" in 1817. Most from Gloucester, but a few from different parts of New England. Most of the reports were very similar: A snakelike creature, sixty to one-hundred feet in length, with the head the size of a horse and the body the diameter of a barrel. Observers noted that the creature swam with a vertical motion and his body appeared as "humps" behind him. A very full and credible report was made by Cheever Felch aboard the United States schooner Science with confirmation from various officers of his crew.
Reports off the New England coast continued strong through the 19th century. Twelve sightings in 1839, nine in 1875 and thirteen in 1886. A total of 190 for the whole one hundred years. Sea serpent reports became fewer in the twentieth century: A total of 56, and most of those before 1950.
There have also been many sightings of a sea serpent that supposedly lives in the Chesapeake Bay, USA. Appropriately the creature has been nicknamed "Chessie." Enough reports have been filed about Chessie that Mike Frizzell, Director of Project Enigma, a study of the Chessie phenomena, was able to correlate it's appearances with motion of Bluefin fish in the area, suggesting that the serpent uses the fish as a food source. The description of Chessie is so similar to the Gloucester sea serpent that some have speculated that the New England creatures migrated south to the Chesapeake Bay at the beginning of the century.
As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with what Mbembe described as 'a rather curious look on its face', stared at him for several tense moments. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away into the bush.
In July 2007, Mbembe was walking through Chester Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son John were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its hind foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe was convinced this was the same elephant. Despite the notices he climbed over the concrete barrier and jumped across the muddy ditch into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and they stared at each other in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, lifted its leg, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe' s legs and slammed him against the wall, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Crash Probe Told
Stolen Painting found by Tree
Ability to Swim may save Children from Drowning
Cold Wave linked to Tempertatures
British left waffles on Falkland Islands
Police Kill Youth in Effort to Stop his Suicide Attempt
(I particularly liked this one. Suicide is against the law. A law officer killing the perpetrator of a crime which would lead to the death of an individual may be quite legal. So, it seems, the police did the right thing!)
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
(Note the Dan Quayle spelling of potato!)
I have a way around this that I have used from my earliest computing days. It consists of a webpage with my links on it. This can either be stored on all machines and updated from one to the other as and when or can be uploaded to a website. Although I use the former method, the latter is preferable since it stops the problem of having two different sets of amendments going at the same time which can easily lead to losing the latest additions to one machine. I use the latter method for Jo’s page to save me accessing her machine and anything she wants added she can just e-mail to me.
It lacks the immediacy of hitting the favorites button but tends to make you more disciplined in what you decide you are really likely to revisit and has the advantage of adding value judgements by either positioning or direct text.
All that has to be done then is to make this the home page in your browser and ‘hey presto’ easy access to all your favourite sites...
Monday, 20 August 2007
I might also point out that I shall always endeavour to use photos which are either my own or in the public domain. The Ferrari was, sadly, not my own... I cannot say the owner of the faux fur particularly appealed so ownership of her was not one of my ambitions.
and that for any other day of the year at
So far the site has had over 8 million hits so I am obviously not alone in liking it. As with most such sites it has an American bias so you have to ignore references to the Phillies and Yankees (apparently ‘sports’ teams that play some sort of bat and ball game).... You also have to ignore the fact that it uses the present tense, a most annoying habit...
Amongst the things that happened on 20th August...
1896 The dial telephone – remember them? - was patented (pronounced ‘paytented’ or ‘pattented’ depending upon which side of the Atlantic you are on. I wonder what they say in New Zealand?)
1940 British PM Churchill, in a speech to the Commons, said of the Royal Air Force, " Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few "
1965 The Rolling Stones released "Satisfaction" (their first #1 US hit and in my view their best ever song).
Sunday, 19 August 2007
August 19th 1960 saw Sputnik 5 carry two dogs (Belka and Strelka) and assorted rodents into space. They became the first animals to return to Earth alive from orbit. Belka means Squirrel and Strelka means Little Arrow. Whilst NASA lists the 2 dogs as crew members it doesn’t include the names of the 40 mice or two rats...
At the moment I am more concerned about things that disappear into cyberspace – and do not return to earth.... A few times during the creation of an e-mail (for which my browser uses Word) everything disappears (presumably through pressing a combination of Control and Shift while hitting a particular letter?). I tend to call this disappearing into Cyberspace as if it were a void, a sort of black hole in or between computers. I know others who use Cyberspace in the same way and yet when one checks the definitions of Cyberspace, of which there are dozens, none look upon it as a void but rather as a totality. The whole World Wide Web and inter-connectivity of computers. “Coined by author William Gibson in his 1984 novel "Neuromancer," cyberspace is now used to describe all of the information available through computer networks.” In which case – does anyone know what the black holes in cyberspace are called?
Mind you, I should think most of the British miosquitoes have drowned this week..
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Juan Manuel Fangio driving a Mercede-Benz W196
Friday, 17 August 2007
It lists the works of all major authors and tells you the consecutive order of the various series.
Fermat's Last Theorem states that
xn + yn = zn
has no non-zero integer solutions for x, y and z when n > 2. In his notebook Fermat wrote “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.” It took three centuries for someone else to prove it.
On this day in 1961 the building of the Berlin Wall began and in 1962 the Beatles replaced Pete Best with Ringo Starr. And in 1987 the Nazi Rudolph Hess died, aged 93, after 46 years in Spandau Prison.
Thursday, 16 August 2007
I got the general drift of what a laparoscopy must be but as the term was new to me I looked it up – (www.havingbabies.com/) -
The insertion of a long, thin, lighted, telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope into the abdomen through an incision usually in the navel to visually inspect the contents of the pelvic and abdominal cavities. Other small incisions may also be made and additional instruments inserted to facilitate diagnosis and allow surgical correction of abnormalities. The surgeon can sometimes remove scar tissue and open closed fallopian tubes during this procedure.
Makes me wonder what T****y Road’s equivalent of the fallopian tubes are... Think I’d rather not go there!
Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com that is best known for operating a website that provides information on the web traffic to other websites. Alexa collects information from users who have installed an "Alexa Toolbar," allowing them to provide statistics on web site traffic, as well as lists of related links.
Alexa also operates the Wayback Machine (another new term). This service allows users to see archived versions of web pages across time—what the Archive calls a "three dimensional index." Snapshots become available 6 to 12 months after they are archived. Users who want to permanently archive material and immediately cite an archived version can use the Archive-It system instead. As of 2006 the Wayback Machine contained almost 2 petabytes of data and was growing at a rate of 20 terabytes per month. Its growth rate eclipses the amount of text contained in the world's largest libraries, including the Library of Congress. The name Wayback Machine is a reference to a segment from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in which Mr. Peabody, a bow tie-wearing dog with a professorial air, and his human "pet boy" assistant, Sherman, use a time machine called the "WABAC machine" to witness famous events in history.
And if you are wondering what a petabyte and terabyte are –
a byte is 8 bits and a bit is a binary digit, taking a value of either 0 or 1. For example, the number 10010111 is 8 bits long, or in most cases, one modern PC byte.
kb (kilobyte) is 1000 bytes
MB (megabyte) is 10002
GB (gigabyte) is 10003
TB (terabyte) is 10004
PB (petabyte) is 10005
or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
then come EB (exabyte); ZB (zettabyte); YB (yottabyte)
and so ad infinytum....
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
The front page says there are two posts and yet only one appears and the second one I did has vanished into cyberspace. We will see if this post works.
Another question - why does the Blog say I have posted the entry at a totally different time to GMT - it seems to be about 8 hours out. (Sorted this now...)
Anyone who looks at my profile will notice that I have used a photo from the mid 1980s. It was taken by the Liverpool Echo photographer as I sat at my desk just after hearing that Knowsley had been granted a reprieve by the Boundary Commission and was not to be added to Liverpool. I was so relieved and so pleased that all our hard work had paid off that I forget to be self-conscious. So I use the excuse that it is a ‘natural’ photo of me and forget the vanity of liking a picture that has twenty years’ fewer facial lines and twenty years’ more hair on it.
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- Sadness - an update
- A Modern Fairy Tale
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- Nothing makes the news....
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- Black Holes
- On this day in 1888 the first beauty contest was...
- Juan Manuel Fangio
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