Wednesday, October 26, 2011


While editing today I came across the term Luddite and didn't know what it meant, so looked it up on Wikipedia:

The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanised looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.[1]

The article was actually very interesting. In modern terms a Luddite is someone who is against technology; in the manuscript I was editing it was used to describe someone who didn't know how to use a computer for a particular task,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


According to my Macquarie Dictionary, the term bower (from card games like euchre and 500) for the jack is derived from the German Bauer meaning peasant.

And the joker is "often" called the "best bower" -- can't say I've heard that one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mosquitos and what a man is worth

Stephen Fry says that more than half of the people who have ever lived were killed by mosquitos.

And the ones that give you malaria don't hum.

And if we sold all our body parts a person would be worth more than 400,000 pounds -- but if broken down into component chemicals they would only be worth about 10 pounds, 50 pence of which would be from gold.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Golden Screw

I put this in my 3BT blog as well, I just enjoyed it so much I had to share it.

In The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, Kvothe tells a story around a campfire. Condensed: A boy is born with a gold screw in his belly button. No one knows what it is for -- not his parents or grandparents or the wise folk of the town or anyone he meets in his travels. Eventually he meets with the most powerful king in the world and asks him about the gold screw in his belly button. The king opens a gold box on a gold platter and behold, there is a gold screwdriver. He takes it out and turns the gold screw in the boy's belly button. Once, twice, three times. And the boy's ass falls off.

Monday, July 25, 2011


These are the hilarious results of a competition for the funniest first lines of imaginary novels.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


This is my response to a flash fiction challenge on unicorns proposed by Chuck Wendig at http://terrible

Gerald polished his pearly horn on his flank and then checked his reflection in the lake.

“Looking good!” neighed Simon. “They won’t be able to resist you.”

Gerald straightened his neck. Was the horn really big enough? Sure, it gleamed in the moonlight and all that, but he’d feel a lot more confident if it was just a little bigger. He knew Simon was admiring, but he hardly counted. Simon was still practically a foal. He wouldn’t get his initiation night for years.

The other stallions were watching from the nearby trees. Magnificent, every one of them; with noble necks and shiny hooves and glowing white coats. And big horns.

Gerald grimaced a goodbye to Simon and trotted towards the other males. They spun in perfect unison and led him away through the forest. Like the ghosts of horses, they flowed through the warm night with an elegance no other creature had ever attained. They cantered through burbling streams, wove between ancient trees, and galloped across moonlit glades until at last they reached the edge of the forest. A human town lay across the fields, lit by the huge bonfire that marked the midsummer festival.

“The festivities are well underway,” said James, the eldest. “They will all be drunk by now, relaxed and lusty. Go, find your virgin.”

Gerald nodded to them, and started to make his way around the edge of the field, staying in the shadows. He was looking forward to his initiation, but he still wasn’t sure his horn was big enough.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The finger

Stephen Fry says that the legend about flipping someone the finger deriving from British archers showing the French (who threatened to cut them off) they still have their bow-drawing fingers is just rubbish that started circulating in the 1970s. It is more likely that the gesture is a two-horned cuckold.

He knows everything, doesn't he.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


More from QI - apparently cows burp out their methane, not fart it out.

Friday, January 21, 2011


A friend told me today that he read somewhere that hiccups originated from when we had gills, it is an automatic movement to make the water pass over the gills so we could get oxygen. Babies in the womb hiccup so much because they are still in that physical stage. I have no idea if this is true, but it sounds interesting.