Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Neologism

Scrabble Letter O

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words … and the winners are:

  • Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
  • Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  • Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  • Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  • Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
  • Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
  • Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
  • Gargoyle (n.), gross olive-flavored mouthwash.
  • Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  • Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  • Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
  • Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
  • Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
  • Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

How to Measure the Height of a Building

Empire State BuildingSir Ernest Rutherford, President of the Royal Academy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, related the following story: “Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

I read the examination question: “Show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer.” The student had answered: “Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to the street, and then bring it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building.”

The student really had a strong case for full credit since he had really answered the question completely and correctly! On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could well contribute to a high grade in his physics course and certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this. I suggested that the student have another try. I gave the
student six minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he hadn’t written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said he had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one. I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on. In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read: “Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula x=0.5*a*t^2, calculate the height of the building.”

At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded, and gave the student almost full credit. While leaving my colleague’s office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were.

“Well,” said the student, “there are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. For example, you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building, and by the use of simple proportion, determine the height of the
building.”

“Fine,” I said, “and others?”

“Yes,” said the student, “there is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and his will give you the height of the building in barometer units.” “A very direct method.”

“Of course. If you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g [gravity] at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference between the two values of g, the height of the building, in principle, can be calculated.”

“On this same tack, you could take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of the building by the period of the precession”.

“Finally,” he concluded, “there are many other ways of solving the problem.”

“Probably the best,” he said, “is to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent’s door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows: ‘Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of the building, I will give you this barometer.”

At this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to teach him how to think.

The name of the student was Niels Bohr.”

Will we still get EuroEnglish?

Now that the UK is not in the EU anymore, I wonder if this wonderful plan for a sanitized Enlish (the EuroEnglish) will still be implemented. 

So far the plan had been that…

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”… Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favor of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

There was hope that for a growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with the “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”‘s in the language is disgraceful, and they should go away.

By the 4th yar, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaiining “ou” and
similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

ZE DREM VIL FINALI KUM TRU!!
Zank Yu!!

Comprehending Engineers

TAKE ONE
Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said: “Where did you get such a great bike?” The second engineer replied: “Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, ‘Take what you want.'” The second engineer nodded approvingly: “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”

TAKE TWO
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

TAKE THREE
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed: “What’s with these guys? We must have been waiting for
15 minutes!” The doctor chimed in: “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such ineptitude!” The pastor said: “Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let’s have a word with him.” “Hi, George what’s with that group ahead of us? They’re rather slow, aren’t they?” The greens keeper replied: “Oh, yes, that’s a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.” The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said,: “That’s so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.” The doctor said, “Good idea. And I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them.” The engineer said, “Why can’t these guys play at night?”

TAKE FOUR
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion-dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated: “This is where your problem is”. The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly: “One chalk mark: $1.00. Knowing where to put it: $49,999.00.” It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

TAKE FIVE
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers? Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.

TAKE SIX
The graduate with a Science degree asks, “Why does it work?” The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, “How does it work?” The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, “How much will it cost?” The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

TAKE SEVEN
Normal people … believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough Features yet.”

TAKE EIGHT
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there. The engineer said: “I like both.” “Both?” Engineer: “Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done.”

TAKE NINE
An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said: “If you kiss me I’ll turn into a beautiful princess”. He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said: “If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I’ll Stay with you.” The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out: “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want.” Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally the frog asked: “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess, that I’ll stay with you and do anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?” The engineer said: “Look I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool.”

Good Question

Did you hear about the guy who lost his left arm and leg in a car crash?
He’s all right now.

Did you hear about the man who was tap dancing?
He broke his ankle when he fell into the sink.

How do you get holy water?
Boil the hell out of it.

How does a spoiled rich girl change a lightbulb?
She says, “Daddy, I want a new apartment”.

What did the fish say when he hit a concrete wall?
“Dam”

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?
Polaroids

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?
A stick

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?
Nacho cheese.

What do you call Santa’s helpers?
Subordinate Clauses

What do you get from a pampered cow?
Spoiled milk

What is a zebra?
26 sizes larger than an “A” bra

What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic?
Sanka

And what kind of lettuce?
Iceberg

What’s the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer?
The taste

What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef

Where do you find a no legged dog?
Right where you left him

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
Because they have big fingers

Why are there so many Smiths in the phone book?
They all have phones

More Difficult English

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.  English muffins weren’t invented in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted.  But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.  And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese.  So one moose, two meese?  One index, two indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.  If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?  If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.  In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?  Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?  Have noses that run and that smell?  How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why,when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

P.S. Why doesn’t “Buick” rhyme with “quick”?

Things I Learned In The Movies

  1. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people — whether they are employed or not.
  2. At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.
  3. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don’t worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.
  4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.
  5. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts: your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
  6. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.
  7. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.
  8. Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.
  9. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their archenemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.
  10. During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
  11. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.
  12. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.
  13. It’s easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
  14. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off — even while scuba diving.
  15. You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
  16. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German or Russian officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German or Russian accent will do. (It used to be an English accent for the German.)
  17. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
  18. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
  19. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
  20. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.
  21. Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.
  22. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
  23. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.
  24. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
  25. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you meet will know all the steps.
  26. Police departments give their officers personality tests to makesure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.
  27. When they are alone, all foreign military officers prefer to speak to each other in English.

Things you always wanted to know…

…  but were afraid to ask.

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. (Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (Now that’s more like it!)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet. (O.M.G.!)

A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.)  (I’m still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Do not try this at home… maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. (“Honey, I’m home… What the….?!”)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes… can you imagine??)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still want to be a pig in my next life…quality over quantity.)

Butterflies taste with their feet. (Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmm……..)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. (If you’re ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animal that cannot jump. (OK, so that would be a good thing….)

A cat’s urine glows under a black light. (I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that too.)

Polar bears are left-handed. (Who knew?!)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about that pig??)

Flying into LAX all by myself

A Youtube video by Niko’s Wings of a night approach and landing at Chicago’s O’Hare reminded me that I had done a similar stunt a bit further west at LAX.

If you have no first-hand experience with the navigation of the airways you will not know that landing at one of those big airports like O’Hare is virtually impossible for a private pilot with one fan in front.

You sometimes get routed through a Bravo airspace (the highly protected space around major airports) but to enter, you have to get explicit permission in the form of a clearance like “Piper Warrior N8300L cleared to enter Bravo airspace.” But landing at the airport that this Bravo airspace protects, you don’t’ even think about it  – – –  normally.

But maybe I am not normal. So, in the 90s, I was playing in the airspace west of Burbank – my home airport,  one late night, probably after 1 am. The radio was quiet most of the time and suddenly the idea hit me – why not shoot a practice approach into LAX, just 20-30 miles to the South-East.

So I tuned into LAX approach (now SoCal approach) – “LAX approach, PA28 N8300L, request!” I might have woken up the controller but he came back shortly “N8300L, LAX approach, go ahead.”

I gathered all my courage and asked for a practice-approach into LAX. Unfortunately, the answer was that no practice approaches are permitted at LAX. But – – – you can have a full stop landing. Wow – that was even better! For all you non-flying peeps, a practice-approach is the pretense to land at an airport as if there were clouds so that you have to land only using your instruments. Then, when you are close enough to ensure a safe landing, you give full power and get out of there – often turning around, flying another approach – that’s why it’s called ‘practice’ approach.

Now, really landing at LAX with my Piper Warrior – that would be something to tell the grandchildren about, many, many years later.

So, yes, Sir – I’ll take that approach and landing at LAX!

I got my clearance into the Bravo airspace and radar vectors to the ILS Runway 24R. (ILS stands for Instrument Landing System – a radio signal coming from the beginning of the runway that guides us down to the landing zone vertically and horizontally.)

And then I flew like a young god – holding my assigned altitude within 50 feet and pegged my directional gyro exactly where the controller had told me. I intercepted the ILS and slid down towards 24R.

Then it was time to switch from approach control to tower. Just saying “Los Angeles tower, Cherokee 8300L with you for 24R” grew some serious hair on my chest.

But I did not get to complete my landing at LAX after all. Tower told me that I should finish my approach and then fly a missed approach. That was the friendly way of giving me my practice approach without violating their rule that there are no practice approaches at LAX. It might have been a bit of a loss for me but, on the other hand, I might have owed LAX a landing fee.

I was handed over the approach control again which guided me out of the Bravo airspace and shortly I landed at my home base Burbank, tied down and went home a hero.