Archive | May, 2011

I Like The Sun, And That’s A Fact

31 May


Today when I got up, the sun was shining for the first time in months.

Actually, I know that the sun always shines (and not just on tv): I was once on an Aer Lingus plane that left Zürich in the middle of winter, climbed through mountains of snow clouds, and when we broke through the top there was the sun, waving to us. 

There were nine people on that plane, including the crew, and the Hub ate three breakfasts because, rather like Everest, they were there.

I thought I’d look up some interesting sun facts for you.  I’ll start with this one, because it gives the most stupid explanation I’ve ever heard:

  • It is a medium size star, it also has medium brightness.  Some stars are many times brighter, and some are many times fainter.

Thanks for clearing that up.  Now explain this: if it is medium, how can it be large?

  • Containing more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System, the Sun is by far the largest object in the Solar System.

I suppose it’s the same way I can be beautiful yet repulsive, and for a similar reason:

  • The Sun also emits low density streams of particles, also known as the solar wind. These winds blow through the solar system at 450 km/sec and consist mostly of electrons and protons.

The blow factor is about the same but my wind consists mostly of smells and smells.  Talking of gas,

  • The centre of the Sun is made of helium.

I pity the poor bloke whose job it was to check that out.  But not to worry, we’ll all be dead soon:

  • The Sun is heating up, and will kill all life on Earth.

That’s not very nice, is it?  His mother won’t be happy.

  •  It’s becoming 10% more luminous every billion years. In fact, within just a billion years, the heat from the Sun will be so intense that liquid water won’t exist on the surface of the Earth. Life on Earth as we know it will be gone forever.

Better stock up on the Evian.

  • On its trip around the sun, the earth travels over a million and a half miles
    per day.

Did you buy enough Evian?

  • In Spit Bergen, Norway, at one time of the year the sun shines continuously for three and a half months.

And don’t forget the suntan lotion.

  • Light from the Sun reaches Earth in around 8 minutes.

Unless you live in Stockport, when it’s every eight years.  I blame Norway.

  • There are sometimes “Mock Suns” (parhelia) which are called Sun dogs because they follow the Sun around.

The Earth’s equivalent are known as “Paparazzi”.

I listened to a programme on Radio 4 last night that told me (children and impressionable adults look away now) you can stare at the Sun for thirty minutes if you are high on cocaine, I think it was, and not suffer any lasting retinal damage because your pupils are already dilated, I think it was (I wasn’t paying attention, if I’m honest).  It is commonly known as ‘Actus Moronus’. 

Don’t try it at home; I don’t want to read about you in The Sun.

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I Love This

31 May

It combines two of my favourite things – satire and The Terminator movies.  Throw in some chocolate and I think I could expire of happiness.

Click on the link to see more Madam & Eve – the best cartoon strip ever.

Joke 68

31 May

There was a man sitting at a bar, and he looks over at the gentleman sitting next to him and says, “Hey, you look familiar.  Are you from around here?”

The man answers, “Yeah, I live down the street.”

“No kidding?” says the first man, “well, so do I. And hey, you look about my age. Where did you go to high school?”

“Oh I went to Francis Lewis over on Utopia. Graduated in ’66.  How ’bout you?”

“Get out. I went to Francis Lewis. And I graduated in ’66, too.  Where’d you go to college?”

“Beloit, in Wisconsin.”

“No way! I went to Beloit too. What dorm?”

“Kevin Sullivan dorm.”

“Sullivan? You’re not going to believe this . . .”

Joe the bartender walks over, and the first guy says, “Joe, you won’t believe it in a million years. This guy went to the same high school as me, graduated the same year I did, and went to the same college. We were even in the same dorm. Isn’t that amazing?”

Joe looks at them both and says, “Yeah, that’s just plain amazing.”

A third man comes in and says, “Hey Joe. What’s new?”

Joe says, “Not much. The Johnson twins are drunk again.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Water

30 May


Alexandra Park was given to the district of Edgeley by the Sykes family.  We can walk, fish (with a licence and so long as we throw them all back), go on the swings, picnic, play games.  It’s a nice park.

Every Tuesday afternoon, a bunch of old men gather on one side of the reservoir to sail boats and ignore passersby.

Why is that an interesting thing to do?  Same with remote control cars: why not drive the real thing?

I just don’t get it.

Broken Promise

30 May
Books I've Read: Ender's Game

Image by Myles! via Flickr

Who is the character from a book that has made you feel so close to him/her that you simply can’t stop thinking what’s gonna happen next?

Gonna?  Really?  In what purports to be a serious question?

I’m annoyed: I had taken up Nancy’s challenge not to make fun of the WordPress prompter for a stretch but, really, ‘gonna’?  Now I have to start all over again.

Gonna have to cut&paste an old post for some of my answer because I’m too irritated to write anything new:

Desperate for something to write about, I turned to Plinky Prompts again. It asked me ‘What book would you read over and over again?’

I would have to say, Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. It started life as a short story that became a novel and then a series of books, the Ender Saga and the Bean Saga (Bean is a minor character in the first book). I prefer the Bean Saga because they are more like Ender’s Game; the Ender Saga is dreadful, apart from the first book.

Ender’s Game is the story of a child trained to save the world; but also the story of a child who has to survive the world. When my boys came up against bullies, I gave it to them to read. I must confess, however, that putting your enemy’s nose through his skull is not a path I hope they take: it is the philosophical angle I hope they will consider.

Above all, it is the story of negotiating childhood. In space.

Here’s a review from I know not who on Amazon:

Whenever I talk about this book, it’s hard not to make it sound like I am a science fiction junkie. I love and defend sci-fi, but I am not limited to the genre. Neither, I think, is this magnificent book. To label it simply a sci-fi classic would be like labeling “Moby Dick” a great book about boats. All great books, regardless of the genre, say something truly profound about the human condition.

Ender is a good child trying to do the right thing, but circumstances forced upon him make him a killer.  He is sweet and vulnerable and ruthless.  I love him. 

It’s such a shame that the rest of his story is dull dull dull.  He deserves better than OSC gave him.

There are constant rumours that there’s going to be a movie of Ender’s Game.  Now that technology has caught up with Card’s imagination, I’m hopeful that eventually the rumours will prove to be true.  This is probably the only instance, however, where I hope that if they do film it, the sequels don’t follow the book’s sequels. 

Ender deserves better.  Ho!

Joke 67

30 May

A man goes on a 2-month business trip and leaves his cat with his brother.  Towards the end of the trip he calls his brother.

Brother 1: So how is my cat doing?

Brother 2: She’s dead.

Brother 1: She’s dead!  What do you mean, She’s dead?  I loved that cat.  Couldn’t you think of a nicer way to tell me? I’m leaving in a few days. You could have broken the news easier. You could have told me today that she got out of the house or something. Then when I called before I left you could have told me, Well, we found her but she’s up on the roof and we’re having trouble getting her down. Then when I called from the airport you could have told me, We tried to scare her off the roof and she died when she hit the ground.

Brother 2: I’m sorry…you’re right…that was insensitive; I won’t let it happen again.

Brother 1: Alright, alright, forget about it. Anyway, how is Mum doing?

Brother 2: She’s up on the roof and we’re having trouble getting her down.

Cat cartoon by Steve Langille.

From Top To Toe

29 May

Would you ever consider running for Prime Minister?

I have several answers (and they all mean ‘no’):

  • I thought he had aides to do that for him
  • What, with these feet?  (Thank you, Ronnie Barker)
  • Tory Boy would be a bit miffed because that’s his future job
  • Would I have to give up blogging?

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