Tag Archives: Wikipedia


12 Dec

Today has an interesting date.  I wouldn’t mention it, however, except that there won’t be another like it for many years.

Having mentioned it, I can’t think of anything interesting to say about it.

Having nothing interesting to say about it, I did some Google research.  I came across this little exchange on Yahoo! Answers:

Question: What word do you use when all numbers in the date are the same?  For example, tomorrow is the 8/8/2008. is there a word for this numerical phenomenon?  I’m in Australia. Its the 7th now.

Answer: 666 called the devil’s number…………….

Answer: August.

Answer: Umm… isnt the day after tomorrow the eighth?

There’s a surprising amount of stupidity on the internet.


I assumed there are only twelve occasions in a century when the numbers in a date are the same e.g.  1/1/1, 2/2/2 etc., but I read elsewhere – on the internet, of course – that there are 14.  The writer cited 1/11/11 and 11/11/1 but what about 11/1/11 and 1/11/1?  And isn’t it cheating because 1. There should be a zero in front of the ones and 1.1. One is not the same number as eleven?

If I use those arguments, I have a little problem myself: I lose nine dates i.e. 01/01/01. 02/02/02, etc.


The best source of information for today’s date was Wikipedia.  I can’t guarantee its accuracy, but I can repeat it:


Twelve! (Photo credit: Mrs Logic)

  • 12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13.  (I’m pretty sure that’s right.)
  • The word twelve is the largest number with a single-morpheme name in English.  (You get no argument from me.)
  • Twelve is a composite number, the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Twelve is also a highly composite number, the next one being 24. It is the first composite number of the form p2q; a square-prime, and also the first member of the (p2) family in this form. 12 has an aliquot sum of 16 (133% in abundance). Accordingly, 12 is the first abundant number (in fact a superabundant number) and demonstrates an 8 member aliquot sequence; {12,16,15,9,4,3,1,0} 12 is the 3rd composite number in the 3-aliquot tree. The only number which has 12 as its aliquot sum is the square 121. Only 2 other square primes are abundant (18 and 20). (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…)
  • The duodenum (from Latin duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.  (Gross but fascinating.)  (See what I did there?  Made a little number 12 joke.)
  • 12 appears a lot in religion and mythology.  (That last bit was paraphrased because there’s a massive chunk that I’m not going to c+p.  I want you to still like me after this post.)  (There’s an even bigger chunk about twelve in sports but, yawn…)
  • Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.  The Chinese go one better and use a 12 year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.  (I have to take Wikipedia’s word for that; I’ve never seen one on the high street.)
  • Twelfth Night is a play by William Shakespeare.  (Speaking of which, can’t forget ye olde Twelve Days of Christmas.  But the less said about that, the better.)  (Twelfth Night in 1996 starred Helena Bonham Carter; HBC was in Novocaine with Kevin Bacon, giving her a Bacon Number of 1.  Kevin Bacon is the key component in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  From AR15OK, this is a trivia game that takes its name from the Movie “Six Degrees of Separation”, which refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.  There you have it: today’s date belongs to Kevin Bacon.)
  • Films:
    • 12
    • 12 Angry Men (1957 and 1997)
    • Cheaper by the Dozen (Oddly, no mention here of a re-make…)
    • Ocean’s Twelve (Baffling sequel, redeemed only by Brad Pitt.  He didn’t have to do anything, just look gorgeous)
    • 12 Monkeys (Brad Pitt again, proving he can act as well as look gorgeous)
    • The Dirty Dozen
    • 12 Rounds
    • Twelve
    • (No Twelfth Night.  Wikipedia’s obviously not a Shakespeare buff.)

Today’s post has been brought to you by the Number Twelve, and by a whiff of desperation.


1 Nov

Having done interesting numbers to death this year, I have nothing new to say on the subject of one.  That must be why it’s the loneliest number. 

I will, instead, lift this paragraph from my third post of 2011 (I blogged three times on January 1st, while everyone else was nursing hangovers; if you didn’t know then what you were letting yourself in for, you can’t blame me):

1.1.11 [for 1.1.11 read 1.11.11]: Isn’t that a great date? It’s like 2011 is saying, Yes, you had some interesting numbers in 2010; but let me show you what I’ve got…

2010 had the consecutive (8/9/10, 11:12:13), the repetitive (10/10/10) and the palindrome (01/11/10). Of course, it all depends on your perspective: my American friends won’t have had the same first one because they put the month before the day; here in the UK 8/9/10 happened in September but in the States it was in August. Then there’s the manipulation: if I had added or subtracted zeros then 8/9/10 would have been 08/09/10 and rather dull; 01/11/10 would not have been a palindrome at all as 1/11/10.

I then went off at a tangent, so I had to do some research on the number 1.

There is some useful info on Wikipedia:

  • it is an integer
  • it comes after zero and before two (seriously?)
  • one is the identity for multiplication, so if you multiply any number by one, it remains that number

I needed Wikipedia for that?

What else can one share about one? 

  • it is the atomic number of hydrogen

And that’s all I got.  That’s just ace, isn’t it?

Turns out I did have a little something new to say on the subject of one after all; but I never said it would be interesting.  One forgets, sometimes, just how dull one can be.


9 Sep
Albino camel
Image by Kai Hendry via Flickr

I’ve talked about the number nine; I’ve talked about the number eleven.  What else is there?  Homonyms are funny; how about homonyms of nine and eleven?

There is a homonym of nine, of course: nein.  No.  That’s German.  I couldn’t find a homonym of eleven.

The only answer is to cheat: instead of making this post about the numbers or the date, I’ll make it about homonyms via my sneaky segue (‘I’ll make it about homonyms’).

For those people who have never heard of homonyms because they have a life, the definition I am talking about is of two words that sound the same but have different meanings:

homonym: a word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning, and often a different spelling.

huminim: a street response to the question, ‘What is the peculiar noise coming from that fellow over there?’  ‘Hum, in’ ‘im?’


Interesting facts about homonyms:

  • …um…moving on…


What Wikipedia has to say about homonyms:

  • The state of being a homonym is called homonymy

What Tilly Bud has to say about Wikipedia:

  •  Good grief.  Is that the best you can come up with?

What Wikipedia has to say about Tilly Bud’s response:

  • No; try this for size:    A further example of a homonym, which is both a homophone and a homograph, is fluke. Fluke can mean:
    • A fish, and a flatworm.
    • The end parts of an anchor.
    • The fins on a whale’s tail.
    • A stroke of luck.

What Tilly Bud has to say about Wikipedia’s response to her response:

  • Is there a homonym for ‘moronic facts that are of no interest to my readers’?

What Wikipedia has to say about Tilly Bud’s response to Wikipedia’s response to her response:

  • …um…moving on…


Common Homonyms:

  • hear/here
  • there/their
  • everywhere/everywear/everywere
  • beetles/Beatles
  • sense/cents/scents as in: Have some common sense – don’t spend your cents on expensive scents (unless it’s a gift for me)


And that’s all, folks.  This post was brought to you today by the number

and the number

Sesame Street has got nothing on me.


Note: the image at the top of this post is of an albino camel.  I included it for two reasons:

  1. I like saying, ‘albino camel’.
  2. Albino camels have got nothing to do with this post.
  3. Just as homonyms have got nothing to do with today’s date.
  4. And because I can’t count.


A Hot Shot Bald Cop Is After Me

2 Sep

Image by Adriano Gasparri via Flickr

I don’t know my own strength: my vigorous complaints (added to those of every other WordPress user) have worked and I have my subscription button back.

Thank you, WordPress, for listening to us.  Flattery alert: That’s why you are better than any other blog host and most social mediawotsits.  I’ll be sticking around.


I have had a packed week offline and it’s starting to show: comments left unanswered; blogs unvisited.  I apologise if I haven’t been to see you for a few days; I’m doing my best to catch up.  Please don’t leave me.


A Hot Shot Bald Cop is after me.  A man of many websites, he has occupied my spam box in a most polite yet slightly seedy manner.  He is slowly making his way through my back catalogue of posts, and having a one-sided conversation with me:

Excellent thoughts.

Properly said and with excellent timing.

Preach it my brother.

Do actually suppose this is true?

This made me snort for a long time.

Never thought of it that way.

Great views on that!

Well mentioned & with glorious timing.

He has even made it over to my other blog, where he asks me, Why is it I always feel like  you do?  Maybe because you’re a creepy stalker, HSBC?

Oo, oo…I know who he is – he’s a banker:


I have not yet responded to his wiles, but I admit to a growing fondness for him.  I did, however, succumb to temptation and click on one of the links.  I can thus reveal his true identity: my Hot Shot Bald Cop is none other than…Ed Lauter.  The actor everyone recognises and no one can name.

If ever there was a case for the Trades Description Act….

I wonder if his agent is trying to start the spam equivalent of Rickrolling?

If you haven’t heard of Rickrolling, here’s Wikipedia:

Rickrolling is an Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song Never Gonna Give You Up. The meme is a bait and switch; a person provides a hyperlink seemingly relevant to the topic at hand, but actually leads to Astley’s video. The link can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. Persons led to the music video are said to have been rickrolled. Rickrolling extended beyond web links to playing the video or song disruptively in other situations, including public places, like a surprise appearance in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a televised event with tens of millions of viewers.

And, always looking for an excuse to hear this song, here’s Rick in action (I hope; I’m still having trouble embedding videos):

<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/v/dQw4w9WgXcQ?version=3“>

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

12 Aug

This was taken by the Hub: it is a beach in Burundi, on Lake Tanganyika.  He was on a business trip with a colleague.  He says you can see The Democratic Republic of Congo from this beach.  In the background you can see what Wikipedia calls ‘the mountainous walls of the Great Rift Valley.’ 

The Hub also tells me that they came back to this beach at night and they could see, by the light of their torches, crocodile eyes.  Many crocodile eyes.

They didn’t stay on that beach for long.



More Clearing Out Of The Inbox

22 Jun
Mock the Week
Image via Wikipedia


When was the last time you changed your mind?

Yesterday.   No, the day before.

What war is worth fighting?

The Cold War.

What?  They did that one already?  Who won?  Lemsip or Vicks?
Today’s joke brought to you courtesy of BBC2’s Mock the Week.

Is courage made, grown or found?

Courage makes, grows and can be found in all good pubs (at the bottom of a glass).  But not for long, apparently: Wikipedia says they are ‘haemorrhaging sales’.  Not a good look in a beer.  I hope they’re not bitter.

Do you believe in life on other planets?

Yes, because I saw this great documentary series a few years ago about a spaceship that boldly went where no one had gone before…to split infinitives and beyond.



Fascinating False Facts?

1 May
Nara period wooden scrapers called chu-gi. The...

Image via Wikipedia

Viewfromtheside offered fascinating as the weekend theme.  I thought you might like some fascinating facts.  Can you guess which, if any, are true?

  • You can’t fold paper more than seven times.  You can, actually, if you are young and determined and rope in your family and a shopping mall.  From Wikipedia:

    In January 2002, while a junior in high school, [Britney] Gallivan demonstrated that a single piece of toilet paper, 4000 ft (1200 m) in length, can be folded in half twelve times…Gallivan succeeded in folding a very long sheet of toilet paper in half 12 times. She calculated that instead of folding in half every other direction, the least volume of paper to get 12 folds would be to fold in the same direction, using a very long sheet of paper. A special kind of $85-per-roll toilet paper met her length requirement. Not only did she provide the empirical proof, but she also derived an equation that yielded the width of paper or length of paper necessary to fold a piece of paper of thickness t any n number of times.

  • So, proof, if it were needed, that you have to be rich to debunk myths – $85 for a roll of toilet paper!  I know where I wouldn’t be using it.
  • Brad Pitt once had a summer job posting warning signs at coal mine entrances
  • Milk causes mucus.  But you should still drink it, especially if you’re old and female: lack of calcium causes osteoporosis.
  • Elephants are the only mammals who can’t jump.  Not true: rhinos and hippos can’t jump either.  Also sloths, but that’s more a case of disinclination than inability, I’m guessing.
  • Anyone convicted of animal cruelty in Sedalia, Missouri, is sentenced to a month’s confinement in the county animal shelter. 
  • Haggis was invented in Scotland.  No it wasn’t: we can blame the Scandinavians for that one. 
  • Which puts paid to the myth that Vikings were mean – you can’t be mean on disgusting slop.
  • No doubt now I’ll get a testy comment from Viv, putting me right on haggis.  You might as well save your fingers, Viv, because I’ll never be convinced.
  • Penguins can smell toothpaste from several miles away.
  • With the exception of a small 200-square-mile section of Antarctica, every single square kilometer of dry land on the planet has been walked on by at least one human being.  Probably looking for an open public toilet.
  • This one is for that notorious plant killer, Sarsm: if you place a fresh Viagra tablet in a houseplant’s soil every six months, the plant will not wilt.
  • If a cricket were the size of Mount Rushmore, it could jump to the moon.  But it won’t have to bother: if crickets ever get that big, I suspect we’ll all be living on the moon.
  • Frank Sinatra didn’t want to record the song “My Way” but was forced to by his record label.  Don’t you just love the irony?

So tell me: which initial statement is false, and which true?

101/1001 (2)

1 Apr
Cover of "Modesty Blaise"

Cover of Modesty Blaise

Sarsm and I have agreed to update you weekly on how our challenge is going.  So, how has my challenge gone in its first week?


I watched one film, Robin Hood, and enjoyed it.  I started three others but they didn’t grab me in the first ten minutes, so I turned them off.  Life is too short to do something you don’t have to do.


I have read one book: Moonraker’s Bride.  It is an old favourite that I have never owned a copy of until this week, when I managed to get one from Readitswapit.  I’ve never been so glad to have a sore arm because I was able to sit, read and drink tea all day yesterday.  What am I always telling you?  There’s always a silver lining.

Madeleine Brent was really Peter O’Donnell, the author of Modesty Blaise.  From Wikipedia:

At the request of publisher Ernest Hecht, he began writing gothic romance and adventure novels under the pen name of Madeleine Brent. The novels are not a series, but feature a variety of strong female protagonists. They are written in first person, take place in the late Victorian era, and although every protagonist has connections to England, part of each book is set in various locations around the world—including China, Australia, Afghanistan, and Mexico. Identity—the need to discover who she really is—is often a major part of the protagonist’s struggle.

They are all fabulous stories and I have read them to death.  I learned some years ago that he also wrote Garth for a long time: a comic strip in The Daily Mirror that I think now would be called a graphic novel.  I loved that too but I lost my only Garth book years ago and they’re not in print any more.

I am halfway through another book, Bleak House.  I’ve been halfway through that for six months, so it’s time I finished it.  Not Boz’s finest hour, though it was the BBC’s, which is what persuaded me to read it in the first place.


Wrote two new poems: abysmal rate.  Must try harder.


Walked the dogs for six and a quarter hours.  I need to do seven hours a week so I’m already behind.


Told seven jokes which, frankly, got a more enthusiastic reception than I anticipated – thank you, dear readers.  Also gave me the bonus of realising I’d found a way to count down 1001 days.


I’ve added ten new challenges to the list.  I can’t remember what they are because I added them aesthetically instead of chronologically.  There was definitely a balloon and some Maltesers in there, though.


Blogged seventeen times.  That doesn’t include posts to my other blogs; just this one.


Hit the big 4-0-thousand hits.  Time to part-teyyy.*

*I can’t carry that off, can I?

Big Day

2 Apr

Big.  That’s the theme for National Blog Posting Month.  In April, like NaPoWriMo, and to which I have also signed up.  Problem is, I have no big announcements and all I can think of is Tom Hanks in the movie Big.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  I thought I would for once avoid the obvious self-deprecating fat jokes so I Googled ‘Big’ to see what came up.

I should have realised that there would be more than one movie with the word ‘big’ in the title: The Big Lebowski and The Big Chill, for starters: the former is famous for having a dude Jeff Bridges and the latter for having a dead Kevin Costner, preternaturally foreshadowing his career after Waterworld (which I rather liked, incidentally).  He played the corpse in TBC and his scenes ended up on the cutting floor. 

Google also reminded me that there is Big Ben (a time machine), Big Brother (a time waster) and The Big Issue (time to do your bit for homeless people).   Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the tower?  According to Wikipedia, ‘Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.’  Hmm.  This post is so dull it’s practically a horology story.

But I was surprised by the number of companies using the initials B.I.G.  – two.  I thought there’d be loads more.  I did like the home page of the Bjarke Ingels Group.  Check it out for yourself and try not to snigger if you’re English and reading this: http://www.big.dk/

I also liked the name of a little tourist attraction in Devon: http://www.thebigsheep.co.uk/  The blurb invites us to ‘Take yourself on a tour of our website and you will find out how our unique North Devon attraction is devoted to sheep.’  You’ve got to love a place devoted to sweaters and Sunday dinner and offering ‘9 live sheepy shows every day.’

Going off topic now, it is time for Day 2 of NaPoWriMo, but before that, I have hidden the word ‘BIG’ twice in the above paragraphs; see if you can find them.  What else do you have to do?  All of the shops are shut and there’s nothing on the telly. 

I’m afraid I’m going to be a day behind as far as the writing prompts are concerned; I hope you don’t mind.  Yesterday’s prompt was to take five song titles and work them into a poem.  I will give you the titles after the poem; see if you can spot them.


Frances Farmer Wanted A Life


Picture this:

her mama tried. 

Her mama tried;

her mama tried. 

Her mama failed. 


She was

just another nervous

wreck on a bleak life ride,

always moments away

from crazy jail.

Poor Frances. 

They called it ‘madness’ –

those who, safe in their

sanity, electrocuted her

soul; they called her mad.



The songs are:

Picture This – Blondie (or Wet Wet Wet)

Mama Tried – Merle Haggard (my Dad was a massive country & western fan)

Just Another Nervous Wreck – Supertramp

Moments Away – Mango Groove

Madness  –  Madness


Quite Interesting

25 Feb

I was watching QI recently and I learned two interesting facts:

  1. The Netherlands now has its own version.  I first typed ‘Holland’ but luckily I remembered that an episode of QI explained why that is incorrect.  I’m not going to bother telling you why it is, because I’ve forgotten. 

I checked out the QI website and I don’t think it’s that helpful for the kind of information I was looking for – which other countries have their own version?  But it did steer me towards the QI entry in Wikipedia , the first time I have known that to happen, and this in spite of QI’s regular mockery of the veracity of Wikipedia’s entries.  The answer was The Netherlands only.  (Wikipedia cleverly avoided the Holland trap by saying ‘The Dutch’.)  The only reason it hasn’t been picked up by other countries, apparently, is the issue of copyright of the images broadcast.

It took me so long to type that, I’ve forgotten what number 2 is.  How annoying.

Took a chocolate break and it came flooding back; chocolate is clearly brain food – how else do you explain the number of degrees given out each year to 21 year-olds who believe that three years of eating crisps, chocolate, pizza and Coke constitutes a balanced diet? 

There is – allegedly – a website in America called seeitrot.com, where you can buy a webcam for a coffin and watched your loved one moulder to dust away.  I say ‘allegedly’ because of course I had to check it out, and nothing came up except lots of laments about rotten food, and advice on protecting your boat because salt water will otherwise kill it off.  Didn’t know that either.  This self-educating business is fun.

I found the seeitrot.com thing interesting because of my Mum.  I hasten to assure you I had no desire to watch her rot away – it would have been kind of dull, anyway, because she’s a pile of ash – but she had a phobia of being buried or burned alive in her coffin and  I’m sure she’d have insisted I sign up if she’d known about it.  She made everyone she knew swear to stick a pin in her when the time came, to confirm she was truly dead.  Everyone agreed to do it – well, you have to placate crazies, don’t you? – but only the Hub and I followed through.  Just as well, really as, with that many holes in her, the pall bearers would have had embalming fluid stains on their suit shoulders at the funeral.  Now that would have been interesting.

Bits & Pieces

15 Feb

This is the first chance I’ve had to blog today, for reasons which will be revealed later in the week (I’m following the old showbiz adage Always leave them wanting more; it works for chocolate). Some snippets:

H.L. Mencken:

Journalism is to politician as dog is to lamp-post.

The Hub:

The bloke in the car behind me had his finger so far up his nose he scraped the dandruff off his scalp.

Jason Manford in The Sun last week (this won’t appeal to non-cat people):

Dear Cat,

If your idea of a gift is a dead mouse at the foot of my stairs then please leave me off your gift list or get me some HMV vouchers.

Your Human

Dear Human,

It’s not a gift, it’s a warning.


Your cat

Sad Fact:

Dick Francis died today, aged 89. I love his books.

An Interesting Fact:

Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife was first made famous by Louis Armstrong but is from The Threepenny Opera, by Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill, based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. It was originally sung by Lotte Lenya, who was married to Weill and is mentioned in the lyrics – wonder how she felt about her husband naming her as one of the victims of a serial killer, and then making her sing it? Maybe that was why she divorced him; though they did remarry. Depending on which Wikipedia page you read, however, Louis Armstrong inserted the line, ‘Look out, Miss Lotte Lenya!’ when he recorded it.

When I told the Hub this fascinating fact he was distinctly underwhelmed; I was forced to threaten him with more fascinating facts if he didn’t at least pretend to be interested; he fell asleep before I’d finished sharing with him that Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechuan used to be called The Good Woman of Szechuan in ye olden days of the 1970s and is based on the tale of Solomon and the two women who claimed the same baby was theirs – no, no, I was thinking of The Caucasian Chalk Circle

…Hello? Where did everybody go? Where did all those letter zeds come from?

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