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~ Thursday, June 30, 2005


Some trampoline moves:

roller / fliffus / seat drop / tuck / dolphin / Miller-plus / pirouette / cat twist / full full / Arabian / barani / triffus / turntable / bomb / lazy back / honey pot / swivel-hips / porpoise / cradle / corkscrew / somersault / Bluch / pike / back pullover / Poliarush / half in back / Adolph / twister / bounce roll / periwinkle / Rudolph (rudi) / killer / ball out / log roll / Randolph (randy) / kaboom / salto / barrel roll / airplane / crash dive / quadriffus / back drop / Cody

Moves named after trampolinists seem to be prone to misspelling:

Barani – named after Alfonso Baroni
Bluch – named after Jim Blutch
Cody – named after Jim Cotys
Rudolph – named after Dave Roudolph

Source: various
~ Monday, June 27, 2005

Lots of people did the last VitQ trivia quiz, so here's another quiz (easier this time!) on people who were / are famous for more than one thing.... the site asks you to put your email in so it can give you the scoretable - put or something if you are unsure...

Some comments on the tastes of unusual meats:

Lion tastes like liver (or rare pork)
Sea turtle tastes like chicken
Rattlesnake tastes like fish
Camel tastes like venison
Iguana tastes like chicken
Ostrich tastes like beef
Alligator tastes like frog
Crocodile tastes like chicken
Walrus tastes like liver that has sat out for 2 weeks in the sun
Fermented beaver feet are disgusting
Shark is not very tender and the flavor is fairly nasty
Porcupine is good meat, real tender
Jellyfish tastes like sautéed rubber bands
Grasshopper tastes like potato chips
Moose tastes like beef, only a little darker
Penguin tastes like chicken
Kangaroo tastes like wallaby
Fruit bat tastes like really delicious chicken
Fox tastes like onions and has a musky smell

Source: various (Thanks to Jonathan for this list)

Bad etiquette when doing jigsaws with others:

1 Referring to beaks and bays as innies and outies (or vice versa).
2 Getting snack crumbs in the pieces.
3 Insisting that others follow your rigorous sorting strategy.
4 Making 'jigsaw noises' such as sucking air through teeth or tutting.
5 Hiding the last piece and pretending to find it later.
6 Saying repeatedly, 'why did you buy this one?' when it was you all along.
7 Hoarding pieces of one colour.
8 Forcing pieces where they don't fit.
9 Homing in on interesting bits, shunning sea and sky.
10 Being an edge Nazi.
11 Hogging the lid with the picture on it.
12 Placing your drink too near to jigging area, risking catastrophe.
13 Being smug because you have a Jig-Roll.
14 Not separating pieces which are still joined in the box.
15 Using jigsaw clichés, such as ' I've been looking for that bit for ages.'
16 Talking of the 'much harder' 2000-piecer you once did of baked-beans.
17 Leaning over to place a piece into a gap where your co-jigger is working.
18 Leaving a large dull patch hoping the cat will do it.
19 Placing corner pieces inappropriately early.
20 Raising a panic about a 'definitely missing' piece which is there all along.

Some spaceship names from Iain M Banks' sci-fi novels:

The Little Rascal
The So Much For Subtlety
The Limiting Factor
The Prime Mover
The Kiss My Ass
The Of Course I Still Love You
The Just Read The Instructions
The Gunboat Diplomat
The Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence
The Flexible Demeanour
The Yawning Angel
The Sleeper Service
The Jaundiced Outlook
The Grey Area
The Killing Time
The Serious Callers Only
The Shoot Them Later
The What Is The Answer And Why?
The Use Psychology
The Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival
The Fate Amenable To Change
The Not Invented Here.

(names from The Player of Games and Excession).

Thanks to Stuart N, who points out that many of these would make good band names...
~ Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NameVoyager is a fascinating application showing changes in the popularity of first names in the USA over the last century. VitQ sought out some names which have become recently popular and others which have faded with the years:

10 names with recent boosts in popularity:

Kylie - 1300 per million babies; rare until early 1980s
Serenity - 430 pmb; rare until 1990s
Candace - rare before 1930s, peaked in 1980s, now uncommon again
Paris – rare until 1970s, increasingly popular since for both genders
Abigail – although considered old-fashioned in the UK, in the US Abigail was rare until the 1970s and is now in the top ten girls' names
Xander – recent leap in popularity, formerly barely used
Nadia – now common – barely known before 1960
Brad – rare before 1930s, peak in 1970s (666 pmb); oddly, marked dip in past decade
Logan – big riser which barely registered in the mid century
Tyler – dropping after huge surge in the 1990s; not many men over 45 have this name

10 names which have fallen from favour:

Durward - relatively common 1890-1930
Barbara – very common 1920s to 1960s, now increasingly rare
Theodora - rc 1900-30
Carl – very popular 1890s -1920s, dropping ever since
Theda - rc 1880-1940
Fern – popular 1890s-1920s, rare since 1960s
Edna – v popular in 1890s and 1900s, rare since 1970s
Jeanette – very popular 1920s-1940s, now negligible
Fannie – in the top 100 for decades until the 1910s, now rare
Vernon – popular between the wars, now barely used
~ Saturday, June 18, 2005

This week, posters at the Derren Brown forum have been hurling 'Rubbish Insults' at eachother. Here are some of my favourites:

1 Syd kills eggboxes by stamping on them
2 Mr Twain thinks horse racing is medicinal
3 Tina sucks at kerby
4 Kelly doesn't really care if cockroaches get cancer
5 Plasma thinks purple makes a moo sound
6 Titanja tries to eat pink butterflies but she misses her mouth and they escape
7 SSJ's nan picked him up from school one day and called him Sweetpea and everybody laughed and he went red
8 Titanja cuts the labels out of her clothes and puts them in a box
9 SSJ's biceps are so big, he can't put his arms down the side of his body properly and looks like he's carrying two sheep all the time
10 DBS collected tokens from a cereal box and sent off for some Sea Monkeys and cried when they arrived and didn't look like they did on the picture with little faces and crowns and things
11 A Friend goes into a room and forgets what she went in for
12 A Friend spent 3 hours on a sand mansion. Then a dog weed on it
13 STOWTB thinks High Wycombe is in Wales
14 Syd likes to trip herself up and pretend she's flying
15 Kelly tries to pick up her own toes when she's tidying her room
16 Tina can't spell 'fish'
17 Tina touches old ladies' hair on the bus when they're not looking
18 Kelly likes looking at animals from behind
19 STOWTB thinks it's funny when people drop magazines
20 Balloon animals make WSM cry

Derren Brown is a British illusionist who used to live round the corner from me. You might call him the British David Blaine but his fans probably wouldn't like that.

There are over 100 pages of this. If you really like it.
~ Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lots of people tried the last quiz. Try the new VitQ quiz on things beginning with Q... the quiz website asks for your email to send you the results - but I have had no spam via it after using it many times. Use or something if you are worried...

here is the quiz
~ Friday, June 10, 2005

N and I were discussing boy's names which would be unlikely to transfer well to dogs. I decided to try a few of these in Google by looking for hits for 'my dog XXXX'. In each case, I tried to find a name that would have less results.

1 'my dog Steve' - app. 25 hits
2 'my dog Tyler' - 78
3 'my dog Jeremy' - 12
4 'my dog Christopher' - 6
5 'my dog David' - 10
6 'my dog Nigel' - 16
7 'my dog Trevor' - 17
8 'my dog Thurston' - 4
9 'my dog Wayne' - 3
10 'my dog Darren' - 1
11 'my dog Murdo' - 0
12 'my dog Roddy' - 4

Results have been cleared where possible of repeat mentions of same pet, and mentions which turn out to be things like 'I love my dog Steve said to Lisa'.

Some alternatives to the biblical quotation 'Physician, heal thyself!':

Fashionista, chenille thyself!
Pharmacist, pastille thyself!
Fishmonger, eel thyself!
Francophile, ville thyself!
Friar, zeal thyself!
Financier, deal thyself!
Farrier, heel thyself!
Fleshmonger, veal thyself!
Ferryman, keel thyself!
Foundryman, steel thyself!
Fusspot, ideal thyself!
Footpad, steal thyself!
Fabulist, surreal thyself!
Phlebotomist, congeal thyself!
Fowler, teal thyself!
Fruiterer, peel thyself!
Fortune-teller, reveal thyself!
Philatelist, seal thyself!
Factotum, ordeal thyself!
Flyfisher, reel thyself!
Fisherman, creel thyself!
Fitter, wheel thyself!
Footman, genteel thyself!
Farmer, oatmeal thyself!
Freelancer, piecemeal thyself!

...and, from another angle:

Carpenter, heal thy shelf!
Zookeeper, heal thy sloth!
Legolas, heal thy elf!

OK, that's (more than) enough of that.
~ Thursday, June 09, 2005

An old nugget of 'strange but true' trivia offers the information that the word 'therein' contains within it ten words:

the / there / therein / he / her
here / herein / ere / rein / in

VitQ set out to widen the goalposts and find another ten:

re is a perfectly good word meaning either a note of the sol-fa scale ('a drop of golden sun', as the song says) or concerning in which sense it is not, as many think, an abbreviation of 'regarding'.

ein is the German word for a, one.

th is the name given to a rune symbol, a Y-shaped letter in Olde English script, or a Latin version of the Greek letter theta.

erein – a Basque word for to spread or sow, it is also the name of a publisher.

ther is a Chaucerian variant of the word there. Also known as a surname, as a short form of the first name Therajid, and as a part of personal names in Thailand and in the Middle East.

er is a word expressing a hesitation in speech.

ei is the German word for egg.

Herei was formerly a German model railway manufacturer. It is the Romanian name for the goddess Hera.

Erei is a mountainous region of Sicily.

rei is a Japanese word meaning zero (among other things). It is the Catalan word for king.
~ Wednesday, June 08, 2005

50 famous people who died in air crashes:

1 Graham Hill (UK racing driver 1975)
2 Roberto Clemente (US baseball player 1972)
3 George, Duke of Kent (UK prince 1942)
4 Jim Reeves (US singer 1964)
5 Jack Heinz (US senator 1991)
6 Amy Johnson (UK aviator 1941)
7 Sir Frederick Banting (Canadian scientist 1941)
8 Yuri Gagarin (Russian astronaut 1968)
9 Ronnie Van Zant (US musician 1977)
10 Aaliyah (US singer 2001)
11 Dag Hammarskjold (UN Secretary General 1961)
12 Carlos Gardel (Argentinian singer 1935)
13 Milan Stefànik (Slovak politician 1919)
14 Will Rogers (US entertainer 1935)
15 Prince Gustaf Adolf (Swedish heir 1947)
16 Otis Redding (US singer 1967)
17 Humberto Castelo Branco (Brazilian president 1968)
18 Payne Stewart (US golfer 1999)
19 Sanjay Gandhi (Indian politician 1980)
20 Thomas Selfridge (UK pioneer aviator 1908)
21 Jacques Thibaud (French musician 1953)
22 Rocky Marciano (US boxer 1969)
23 William of Gloucester (British prince 1972)
24 Wiley Post (US aviator 1935)
25 John Alcock (UK pioneer aviator 1919)
26 Jim Croce (US singer 1973)
27 Roald Amundsen (Norwegian explorer 1928)
28 Stevie Ray Vaughan (US musician 1990)
29 Carole Lombard (US actress 1942)
30 Francisco Sà Carneiro (Portuguese prime minister 1980)
31 Mike Todd (US actor 1958)
32 Lin Biao (Chinese politician 1970)
33 Patsy Cline (US singer 1963)
34 John Denver (US songwriter 1997)
35 General Zia ul-Haq (Pakistani politician 1989)
36 Antoine de Saint Exupery (French aviator and author 1944)
37 Glenn Miller (US musician 1944)
38 Ricky Nelson (US singer 1985)
39 Audie Murphy (American serviceman 1968)
40 Wilbur Shaw (US racing driver 1954)
41 Hanse Cronje (S African cricketer 2002)
42 Grace Moore (US actress 1947)
43 Paul Wellstone (US senator 2002)
44 Samora Machel (Mozambique president 1986)
45 Duncan Edwards (UK footballer 1958)
46-47 Joe Kennedy Jr (1944), Kathleen Kennedy (1948)
48-50 Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens (US singers 1959)
~ Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Pidgin English (Tok Pisin) words (used in Papua New Guinea) often use the construction 'bilong' signifying 'belonging to', 'of', or 'from'. Some of these are fascinating and sometimes comical.

sole - ananit bilong lek (underneath belonging to leg)
government headquarters - asples bilong gavman (place you put your ass belonging to government)
glove - soken bilong han (sock belonging to hand)
dictionary - buk bilong painim mining (book belonging to find meaning)
antiseeptic - marasin bilong kilim jem (medicine belonging to kill germ)
wing - han bilong pisin (hand belonging to pigeon)
winter - taim bilong kol (time belonging to cold)
binoculars - glas bilong kapten (glass belonging to the captain)
dentist – dokta bilong tit (doctor belonging to teeth)
condom - gumi bilong cock (inner tube belonging to cock)
eyebrow - gras bilong ai (grass belonging to eye)
grapes - ol pikinini bilong rop wain (those babies belonging to wine rope)
female genitals - sem bilong meri (shame belonging to Mary / a woman)
ham - lek bilong pik (leg belonging to pig)
dripping - gris bilong bulmakow (grease belonging to cow)
washbasin - dis bilong was was (dish belonging to wash wash)
alarm - belo bilong klok (bell belonging to clock)
lipstick - pen bilong maus (pen belonging to mouth)
contraceptive pill - samting blilong pasim bel (some thing belonging to fasten belly)

The derivations in brackets are literal rather than understood – I'm not suggesting Tok Pisin speakers really think of grapes as babies. Words have often achieved a wider sense than in the langauges they come from.

Source: various but mainly here.
~ Friday, June 03, 2005

VitQ puts 10 macho American stereotypes through the Village People Test and the My Little Pony Test:

Members of the Village People disco act dressed as stock characters from American life and work. In the late 80s, Hasbro extended their My Little Pony toy range by bringing out Big Brother Ponies, burly plastic stallions with individual identities.

1 Cowboy Was there a Village People character? Yip, with fringed jacket, big-buckled blue jeans, checked shirt and ten gallon hat. Was there a Big Brother Pony? Yes, cookie-coloured Tex, who wore his mint-green stetson with pride on his pink mane. A cactus motif was emblazoned on his side.

2 Football Star - Village People? No sporting figures in the Veepers (as their fans apparently call them). Big Brother Pony? Yes, the blue-haired Quarterback who had a pink helmet with a red strap.

3 Construction Worker - Village People? Yes. Check shirt with ripped off sleeves, bulging tool belt, big boots, hefty gloves, sweatbands, hard hat. (Colin Powell dressed up in a version of this costume at a security meeting in Indonesia in 2004 to perform YMCA with diplomatic staff.) Big Brother Pony? Nothing to compare.

4 Marine - Village People? No, but for the song 'In the Navy', Alex Briley (who wore T-shirt and jeans before settling on the GI costume) wore a navy uniform. Big Brother Pony? A turquoise stallion named Salty, who wears a fetching sailor hat atop his purple mane, with SS Pony written on it.

5 Biker - Village People? Not surprisingly, yes. Leather waistcoat, tight black T, chains, studded bracelets, peaked cap, leather gloves. Big Brother Pony? No, but Steamer, with his purple engineer's cap ('PONY RR'), streaked blond hair, spangled cheek and gold train tattoo, looks like he has seen quite a bit of engine grease.

6 Indian Chief - Village People? Yes, with feathered headdress or Mohawk crest, warpaint, beaded neckwear and skin trousers. Big Brother Pony? Yep – Wigwam, whose yellow feathered headdress set off his orange plastic beautifully.

7 Trucker - Village People? No – maybe too downmarket and blue-collar for the Studio 54 showbiz set? Big Brother Pony? Yes ('4-Speed') – complete with yellow hard hat and bandanna, with a dump-truck symbol on his side.

8 Baseball StarVillage People? No. Wrong kind of diamonds perhaps. Big Brother Pony? Slugger, the Ty Cobb of Pony World, sported a blue MLP cap and bandanna and a floor-length blonde silky tail which must have got dusty as he pranced around the bases.

9 Soldier - Village People? Yes, though the costume, mostly tight khaki fatigues, is more adaptable than others in the band. Big Brother Pony? No – perhaps war was too scary for 'pony mommies', as MLP collectors are known. But Barnacle, the pirate pony was quite frightening too, with his flaming neon orange tail, skull and crossbones hat and hairy blue hooves

10 Cop Village People? Correct and present, sir. With holster, tight breeches, big boots and peaked cap, ready to patrol the mean streets of Disco City. Big Brother Pony? No, perhaps there are too many police horses already, but there was Chief, a fire horse in a scarlet helmet, ready to put out your blazing saddles.
~ Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Some long and strange band names:

1 The Kids Who Never Learned To Color Inside the Lines
2 Scoring Dope for the Ultimate Woman
3 Anthrapology Will Remain Spelt Like This
4 The Child Who Was A Keyhole
5 Touch Me Again and I'll Break Your Arms
6 People With Chairs Up Their Noses
7 Gee That's A Large Beetle I Wonder If It's Poisonous
8 The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower
9 Mr. Quintron and the Flossy Unicorn Puppet Show
10 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
11 Root Boy Slim and the Sex-Change Band with The Rootettes
12 The Number Twelve Looks Like You
13 Bernie the Trailer Park Queen and the Deadbeat Dads
14 Drinking Coffee from Counselor Troi's Head
15 Gregg Turner and the Blood Drained Cows
16 Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her
17 How To Recognize Different Types Of Trees From Quite A Long Way Away
18 Red Smed and the Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band
19 My Wife Was Breathing Just Fine When You Borrowed Her
20 Congratulations on Your Decision to Become A Pilot
21 When People Were Shorter and Lived By the Water
22 And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead*
23 I Am The World Trade Center
24 I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House
25 The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band with Choir

* originally known as: The Clouds That Fondle Jagged Crags And Raging Storms Conspire And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

Source: various (note, most of these are confirmed as true, various websites contain odd band names which, um, only appear on these websites and may well be made up)

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