Things You Never Knew Had Names

1.AGLET – The plain or ornamental covering on the end of a shoelace.

2.ARMSAYE – The armhole in clothing.

3.CHANKING – Spat-out food, such as rinds or pits.

4.COLUMELLA NASI – The bottom part of the nose between the nostrils.

5.DRAGÉES – Small beadlike pieces of candy, usually silver-coloured, used for decorating cookies, cakes and sundaes.

6.FEAT – A dangling curl of hair.
7.FERRULE – The metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place.

8.HARP – The small metal hoop that supports a lampshade.

9.HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER – A 64th note. (A 32nd is a demisemiquaver, and a 16th note is a semiquaver.)




13.and QUIMP – Various squiggles used to denote cussing in comic books.

14.KEEPER – The loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle.

15.KICK or PUNT – The indentation at the bottom of some wine bottles. It gives added strength to the bottle but lessens its holding capacity.

16.LIRIPIPE – The long tail on a graduate’s academic hood.

17.MINIMUS – The little finger or toe.

18.NEF – An ornamental stand in the shape of a ship.

19.OBDORMITION – The numbness caused by pressure on a nerve; when a limb is ‘asleep’.

20. OCTOTHORPE – The symbol ‘#’ on a telephone handset. Bell Labs’ engineer Don Macpherson created the word in the 1960s by combining octo-, as in eight, with the name of one of his favourite athletes, 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe.

21.OPHRYON – The space between the eyebrows on a line with the top of the eye sockets.

22. PEEN – The end of a hammer head opposite the striking face.

23.PHOSPHENES – The lights you see when you close your eyes hard. Technically the luminous impressions are due to the excitation of the retina caused by pressure on the eyeball.
24.PURLICUE – The space between the thumb and extended forefinger.

25.RASCETA – Creases on the inside of the wrist.

26.ROWEL – The revolving star on the back of a cowboy’s spurs.

27.SADDLE – The rounded part on the top of a matchbook.

28.SCROOP – The rustle of silk.

29.SNORKEL BOX – A mailbox with a protruding receiver to allow people to deposit mail without leaving their cars.

30.SPRAINTS – Otter dung.

31.TANG – The projecting prong on a tool or instrument.

32.WAMBLE – Stomach rumbling.

33.ZARF – A holder for a handleless coffee cup.

I Love Puns

Oldies but goodies. Thought I’d share them with anybody who would rather do an eye-roll and emit a groan then laugh out loud.

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.
2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”
3. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.
4. A dyslexic man walked into a bra.
5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm, and says: “A beer please, and one for the road.”
6. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”
7. “Doc, I can’t stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home.”
“That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome.”
“Is it common?”
“Well, It’s Not Unusual.”
8. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”
“I don’t believe you,” says Dolly.
“It’s true; no bull!” exclaims Daisy.
9. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.
10. Deja Moo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.
11. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn’t find any.
12. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, “Doctor, doctor, I can’t feel my legs!”  The doctor replied, “I know, I amputated your arms!”
13. I went to a seafood disco last week… and pulled a mussel.
14. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fish.
15. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, “Dam!”
16. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the raft. Not surprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
17. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office, and asked them to disperse. 
“But why,” they asked, as they moved off.
“Because,” he said. “I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
18. A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt , and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain ; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, “They’re twins! If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”
19. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate  very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him. a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
20. A dwarf, who was a mystic, escaped from jail. The call went out that there was a small medium at large.
21.And finally, there was the person who posted twenty different puns for his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

This is for Real

Could Cow Urine Cola Make a Splash?
Proprietor Says Drink Has Health Benefits; Nutrition Experts Remain Skeptical
New Delhi, India, Feb. 16, 2009 —
In a country where cows are sacred, drinking their urine is close to godliness. And better yet, it’s marketable.
Along with protecting the bovine beast, the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) wants to make a cola from the cow’s urine, which they say has curative properties.

“It has been established that cow urine is capable of curing even cancer, so imagine a drink which would not only be tasty but also healthy,” Om Prakash, leader of RSS, told ABC News.

Curing cancer with cow urine? Cancer prevention experts said this seems like an unlikely stretch.

“It’s a claim from somebody that does not have any distinction or credentials, and it’s an empty claim without scientific basis,” said Dr. Sam Epstein, emeritus professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, chairman of the Division of Preventive Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agreed. “I think I’m perfectly comfortable in saying that I’m aware of no data that cow’s urine — or any other species’ urine — holds any promise … in treating or preventing cancer.”

So How’s It Taste?

The cola concoction is currently undergoing laboratory testing in the northern city of Lucknow. The group hopes it will be launched in the market by the end of this year. The RSS does not have the budget to compete with other major soda companies, but Prakash believes the product is unique.

“It won’t be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxics or pesticides. What do you get by drinking colas? Nothing. It’s all gas, and that too is not good for health,” he said.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob, nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said there are a couple of potential problems with the drink, including the taste.

“Just trust me on this — this drink really will require flavoring,” Ayoob said. “If they use sugar or a caloric sweetener, then the world probably doesn’t need another drink that’s just a source of sugar calories, although this drink will probably have its 15 minutes because of its novelty.”

Pasteurization may also be necessary, he said.

One thing the cola does have going for it: cost.

“It won’t be possible to make any guess or give you a rough idea about the price, but it will be cheap,” said Prakash.

Winky Dink and You

1950s Winky Dink and the 21st century version.

This morning I ran across a mention of a TV program from the ’50s that brought back some fond memories. The program probably innovated interactive entertainment, a TV program that even Bill Gates once saluted as a revolutionary use of the medium — a 1950s show called Winky-Dink And You.
The program was designed to be interactive (though I doubt that word was used in those days) and required kids to order a special kit through the mail. It included a piece of clear flexible plastic, which was called a ‘magic window’, along with some special crayons. The idea was that kids would use static electricity to stick the plastic over their TV screen, then use their crayons to help Winky-Dink out of a jam each episode by drawing whatever Winky needed (rope, ladder, bridge, etc.) on the TV screen, and to trace letters on the screen at the end of each show to read a secret message.
The Winky-Dink Kit was sold by mail for fifty cents, and I can assure you that I willingly parted with the money for one of my own, as did millions of other kids all across the country.
Winky-Dink and You originally ran at 10:00am Saturday mornings from October 10, 1953 until April 27, 1957 on the CBS network. Broadcast in black and white, the program featured the adventures of a star-headed cartoon lad named Winky-Dink and his dog Woofer – interspersed with the in-studio antics of a host and an audience of kids.
Joining host Jack Barry was Dayton Allen as Mr. Bungle, the assistant that never gets anything right. The voice of Winky-Dink was Mae Questel.
And this all came to my attention when I read that Winky Dink is back. You can purchase a Winky Dink kit, complete with the magic window, crayons, and nine DVD adventures. Two other DVD volumes are currently available, each one containing nine episodes as well. I’m sure these are not being marketed to today’s kids to whom interactive means Play Station or Wii games. These are for us old timers who want to relive the simpler days of our own childhoods.

Will I succumb to the allure of reliving this part of my childhood? I doubt it. You no longer can buy in for fifty cents. The kit is $24.95 and each additional DVD is $9.95. But I am glad to see that it’s available, for this indicates that there just might still be a longing for this simpler time and what it represents.

But I do wonder how much different the world would be if Winky Dink was still the state of the art interactive game. How much more of a sense of wonder would today’s kids have if they had to use imagination instead of electronic stimulation to feel a sense of participation? How different would the world be if that were the case? I can’t believe that it wouldn’t be better.


The simple fact of not HAVING to do ANYthing is the single biggest advantage of retirement. I hadn’t planned to retire until this July, but I don’t regret for a minute having retired in April. Sure, there was a monetary penalty for doing that, but it was SO worth it. The freedom to decide that doing NOTHING is the ‘order of the day’ is beyond price or adequate description. To NOT have to dance to someone else’s whims is a thing beyond measure. The fact that I call my own tune now is liberating beyond belief. Was it worth the few bucks I gave up? Hell, yes!

Weekends, once reserved to do those mundane but necessary chores for which weekdays did not allow adequate time, now are relaxing and joyous. Weekdays, once so structured as to what time to get up, what time to go to bed, what time to eat, and all the rest of modern life, are now slow paced and enjoyable. They are what I want to make of them on any given day.

Retirement allows me time to reflect on my life in ways I could never do before. It gives me a true appreciation for each single day that I now live and those which I hope my future will provide. Mostly it gives me time to remember.

This morning I have been reflecting on my childhood, growing up in the fifties, and lamenting the loss of much of the innocence and wonder of those days.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a hopscotch diagram drawn on a sidewalk. In my neighborhood growing up, you could see them on sidewalks and in the middle of the quiet streets. The lines were always drawn in white chalk, and they were seldom straight. But they signaled an active and interactive youth. You could tell walking down the street in those days that kids lived in a neighborhood and they spent a lot of time outdoors and with each other. You don’t see those signs much these days.

Being a kid was easy. I don’t remember worrying about anything unless we were close to Christmas, and I was pulling a balancing act between naughty and nice. Getting my clothes dirty was no big deal. It was proof positive of a day of fun in the field, swamp and woods. Food didn’t have to be healthy. My mother never read a label when she went grocery shopping. Bread could be white and squishy. After all, Wonder Bread built strong bodies eight ways. Oreo cookies were our snack of choice. Every kid I knew was an expert at separating the two sides to get at the creamy middle. We loved Hostess Sno-Balls, and I haven’t even seen one in twenty years. I used to peel off the marshmallow cover and eat the cupcake first, saving the best part for last. Every puddle was a target. Soaking wet shoes squished when we walked. We didn’t care. We were kids.

I miss a lot of people, places and things from my childhood, and I wouldn’t mind reliving a few. It would be fun to roam the aisles of a five and dime with a quarter in my hand. That was my weekly allowance then, and I never felt that it was less than adequate. I could buy five packs of baseball cards with the flat, pink gum inside. Or I could buy a bag of penny candy every day after school and money left over. And that bag held enough candy to share with my brother or some of my friends, and I still had plenty for myself.

I’d like to order a cherry coke at the drug store and watch the soda jerk make it from syrup and carbonated water. A nickel a glass.

My friend Donald and I walked to school together for four years until he moved away. I’d like to it again with the same enthusiasm. I wonder if Donald remembers those days, those walks, our conversations, or if he even remembers me at all.

My elementary classrooms had wooden floors, huge, tall windows, shades which tied at the bottom, hissing radiators, real slate chalkboards and cloak rooms right outside in the dark, cool halls. The floors creaked and squeaked as the teacher roamed around the room watching us as we took quizzes or toiled over our work books. I loved those rooms and wouldn’t mind seeing them again through the eyes of a seven year old.

I wish the swamp was still there on the other side of the field behind our house at the time. It was an all-season swamp. We played on the ice in winter, caught tadpoles in the spring, and wandered the paths from island to island in summer when the water level dropped, exposing the cracked clay that was a muddy ooze the rest of the year.

I wish Westphal’s diner, Toms’ bakery, Doc Fisher’s drug store, the five and dime, and the hobby shop were back again so I could spend one more Saturday wandering around up town. Maybe I could take in a matinee if the Strand Theater was still open and still charged only fifty cents for a double feature.


The air smells of rain.
I should turn off the TV;
I’m quite sure that it would be
pretty much the same
as turning off my headache.
But I didn’t turn it on
(the TV -nor the headache-),
so I just let it drone on.
I’m at peace with my headache by now,
it’s become just some friendly humming noise
in the back of my head.
Or maybe that’s the TV, too
with which I will make no peace.
The thing is simply this:
it’s just annoying enough
to ruin my evening, hence my day.
Even the music on my iPod
is steeped in melancholia,
and yet my body didn’t assimilate it
through the usual alchemy
that ends up with me being (at least)
as melancholic as the music I’m listening to.
That’s an unmistakable sign
that my day was way too long.
Or so it now seems
in this last hour before sleep.
Well, so be it.

A Day in Spring

The marsh bird sings his tune,
unseen among the cattails.
This day will end too soon,
as the daylight pales.
Wild violets, purple spread,
and vines climb the beech.
Life springs from the dead
as spring extends its reach.
The geese honk in alarm
at my intrusion there.
I pass by and do no harm,
this moment now so rare.
A bluejay far above me
screeches out his concern
as I sit against a tree
and take my slight sojourn.
Just to be in this place,
this moment lost in time,
fills me with a humble grace,
and gives to me this rhyme.
To witness spring’s promise now,
at winter’s cruel edge,
causes me to furl my brow
at the sight of greening hedge.
The sounds and sights,
and smells of life newborn,
fill the warming days and nights
with a hopeful view of morn.
All is right, I now know,
as spring, triumphant, reigns
as buds and flowers now do show
along these forest lanes.