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Celtic Toe

I recently learned that my freakishly long second toe is proof of my Celtic heritage.

New Hobby

My new sports hobby is candlepin bowling, which I plan to do while knitting, at Sacco's Bowl Haven.


This is a nice collection of photographs of children who are terrified by Santa Claus.

Dem Bones

The creative stacking in the catacombs is interesting, but there are even better things to do with human bones.

Just a minute ago, KaiCarver logged onto IM...

or so I thought.

tracy_the_astonishing: hey!
tracy_the_astonishing: nice to see you pop up!
tracy_the_astonishing: I missed you
kaicarver: Sorry ? Are you a relative of Kai Carver ?
kaicarver: I'm from IBM, I'm using one of his machine where he left an automatic connection
tracy_the_astonishing: oh
tracy_the_astonishing: drat
tracy_the_astonishing: no, I'm just a friend
tracy_the_astonishing: he's been out of touch lately
kaicarver: right, I'm desperately seeking him for business purpose
tracy_the_astonishing: good luck
kaicarver: thanks..
tracy_the_astonishing: bye.

I Love to be Loved

Matt put up this picture of one of the things I made for la Superette.

I'm So Popular

Today someone started a fan tribe for me.

On one hand I'm flattered to the brink of blushing, and on the other hand I feel like I am obviously spending a bit too much time on the computer.

Since I noticed that readership of my weblog (or commentership, at least) rose significantly when homosexual issues were addressed, I decided to find some more.

Googling Old Pals

While working today, I started to think of a girl I knew in high school, who was very interesting. She was beautiful and fairly weird. She had a crazy mom. She and I used to do improv together at thespian competitions. So I just decided to google her. And I found her.


Meanwhile, a long, long way from Jesusland...

France now has a gay TV channel called Pink TV, sponsored by TF1, Canal+, M6 and le tout-Paris. It includes a daily Wonder Woman episode and four porn movies a week. Details and more details. Its ad campaign has some catchy slogans and images: Liberté, égalité, télé. They did get a little carried away with this one, this being Armistice Day and all. I noticed their (many and very visible) ads in the subway get defaced almost as badly as Le Pen ads, so all is not rosy yet (sorry).



Straight to an image. Useful with the handy increment and decrement bookmarklets (drag them to your toolbar, click on the image link, then click on increment in the toolbar to go to the next image).

Four Square League

I was intrigued by the flyer at the Someday Cafe, urging hipsters to join the local competitive Four Square League.

Dog Blog


Write definitions for computer-generated neologisms.

edit: That link got broken. Here is a list of all the interesting games they made.

New Homo

Tiny extinct Homo floresiensis discovered.

That's a Moiré

"When new lines hit your eye from two screens when they ply, that's a moiré."

Angela Crabtree

I'm looking at my sister's website again in preparation for writing her a nice, long letter.


Those Orcadians must have dreadful weather to invent stuff like this. I'm actually more into cashmere myself. I've been wearing my silk long underwear every day for the past week.

Another Silly Quiz


As the New England weather starts to chill, my desire for warm socks increases. This site is pretty exhaustive, and this one is interesting because of the historical value of its socks.

If you're wondering what to get me for Christmas...


5. Are the bedrooms at below zero temperature?
Absolutely! Around -5 degrees Celsius is the indoor temperature in Icehotel. If outdoor temperature falls below -30, then it may be -8 inside, but not colder!

6. Can I really sleep well in Icehotel?
Of course. All overnight guests at Icehotel have a guided tour upon check-in either at 2 pm or 5 pm - whichever suits You best. Then You will find out how to actually sleep well during the night. You can read more about this under Equipment.

There's also a church and a theater. Here's the story.

If you'd rather not go that far into the Arctic Circle, you can visit Milan, Italy, and have a drink out of an ice glass at the Icebar (ads), which opens tomorrow.

Another species of ape may be in the process of being discovered in the Congo.

An hour and a half from home sits the Montague Book Mill. It's the most beautiful cafe I've seen yet, snatching the title fom Caffe Driade in Chapel Hill.


Listen to the varied sounds of foreign accents.


You know what to expect when you visit the Stupid Store. This game is pretty interesting. And this is pretty evil. There is also a stupid cartoon theater for those of us who like to waste time watching flash animations.

Look it Up

Just the facts, about any US city.

Brick Testament

Body Art

Can you find the naked bodies in these pictures?

Personalize your candy hearts.

I just signed up for NaNoWriMo.

Self Improvement

I played this US geography test from Metafilter and failed it the first four times I played it, but I've been doing it a couple times a day the past three days or so. I can now do them in alphabetical order without a mistake (rather than fill in the ones you know and then figure out the rest). Next I'll get them in any random order.

I thought it would be good to find something like this for the rest of the world, since I have a typical American's grasp of world geography and feel a little embarassed about it.

This quiz is pretty straightforward. I got 81 out of 111 on the Europe quiz (damn those Balkan States).

Syvum dot com has a vast array of tests I haven't really explored yet.

Silver Star

I've listened to this, like, 20 times (lyrics). Warning: I have poor taste, notably in music.

I'm trying this out as my new motto.

Happy and Horny

How F**ing American Are You? (Flash) (Farners keep out!)

Result: I'm "definitely not F**ing American", but "definitely not a traitor to our country". Whew.

Not that great a quiz, but I kinda like the music.

A pleasant exercise.

Don't Forget

That instant messaging is really not all that private. This is another reason to have a pseudonym for messaging, I guess.


Heard on the radio, this nurses' slogan:

"Ni nonne ni bonne ni conne"

(very hard to say quickly and repeatedly).

I think my favorite on this site are the Nicholas Cage Pachinko commercials. I just love the sound of the word, "Pachinko".

Tyson (from XoF).


Awfully Good

It is fun to explore Something Awful.



It would be fun to live in an exotic foreign country and have as your job making up hilarious nonsense English to print on fashionable t-shirts.

Da Vowel Code

Photo (Sh)Op

True. False.

I wish it was the early seventies again.

Cute Doggie

Because warped is cute.

Personal Postage

I can't believe I hadn't heard about this personalized postage possibility.

Shelburn Falls

I spent the night in Shelburn Falls and saw the glacial potholes Marstall used to swim in as a kid.


Fine Photos

Seniors Rule and Hall of Douchebags had me laughing, a bit in the style of Svenska Dansband. The mean comments and relentless repetition get my giggles going. This comic device even works for as bland a subject as the classic grading the world's flags.

(from Mefi: I waste time so you can waste time more efficiently).

Utility Kilt

Anything that gets men wearing skirts...

That guy drilling in his utilikilt in photo gallery 1 is hot.

Sous Sol

This gives new meaning to the term "underground cinema."

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Just how cold does it get in New Zealand, anyhow?

A Bush America I think we can all vote for.

I liked this place, where a packed mixed crowd dances with equal abandon to Pussy Control and to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
I liked it, that is, after I picked my jaw off the floor and had a few beers. You kinda had to be there to know what I mean. If a lot of bars are like this maybe I need to get out more. (It was also a big contrast with Blue, one of uptown Charlotte's most romantic restaurants, where we'd been talked into dining by the TVT girls, in the new Hearst Tower and near the Touch My Building art work.)
I guess there could be feminist and/or conservative objections to this kind of place. It's part of a chain and seems to be sponsored by Playboy. It looked like a DIY strip club, or a gay club, but for heteros. Bizarrely I couldn't stop thinking of the Bush twins. It also felt like I'd fallen into MTV, or into one of those "Wild Spring Break" videos. But everyone really seemed to be having fun, so it was better than the photos suggest. Some things just can't be blogged.

Say Cheese

Can you spot a fake smile? I got 15 out of 20.

Up Close Protest

My friend Matt took these pictures during the protest in NYC.

Practical Origami

This has the potential to radically optimize my life. Now if I could get a private demonstration...

The link comes from the Paris Perl Mongers (French), coincidentally my biggest source of clothing tops.


Ask not how many hours I spent on Rogue (Java) (history) and its illustrious descendant, NetHack.

I don't play computer games much. Maybe it's cause I was spoiled playing the Best Game Ever in my formative years. Who needs graphics! Oooh, maybe I can play it on my next phone... It does require a keyboard, however.

Lovely Boston

interesting photos from an MIT building hack.

I, Dog



I'm sure that ever since I last posted about it, everyone has been rabidly reading the prolific language log. Linguists! Such entertainers!

Be that a dismay, I enjoy its eggcorn coverage (lots more).
(Compare folk etymology, malapropism, and mondegreen.)

I was reminded of Ladle Red Rotten Hut (translation) and other explorations of the Anguish Languish.
Poisoned gulls, beware! Madness may ensue. You may find yourself humming "Harm, hormone derange".
And my apologies to any "farmers" who may have trouble getting this.

Ew! à la Al Awe


Noble Litterature

Let's all do something for this potentially lucrative writing exercise and see what happens.

Mini Bottles

South Carolina's cute little drinking problem. Road trip anyone?

Dog latin

Checking up on Tom Friedman led to my discovery of what appears to be a nice geeky group language log which may just be the tip of the lblogosphere.

Mass Ponds

Maps of all the ponds in Massachusettes, including our own beloved White Pond.

Art for Housewives

This is a wonderful, ugly website.

These would solve my problem of not being able to see the phone I'm talking into. Did this obnoxious MIT student have the idea first?


Aibo's master?

Watch Qrio march, hop, pitch and do a sexy Japanese fan dance.

A True Story

Ran across this poignant short account by Mark Twain, which includes his original manuscript. (via MeFi thread from 3 years ago (don't ask)).


People in Raleigh are at least 25% better-educated than people in Boston (and pretty much everywhere else in the country), statistics say (and they don't lie! via MeFi).


Station X codebreakers in search of the Holy Grail.


Amphibious, human powered works of art. Yes!
(via /.)

Less fun transportation news: 5000 people die from air pollution every year in France. I wonder how many in Paris. *cough*

Fun and morphemes

Euro Time-Waster

Hey, Europe just grew! It's hard to see a down-side to this.

To celebrate, take a silly BBC quiz on the 10 new member countries.

Mole rats

I've posted about these creatures before, but just tonight I discovered the naked mole ratcam via the naked mole rat Tribe.

The poor, tortured souls.

But a Tub

I've been shopping for bathtubs. I think I'm in love with La Scala™ (details).


Guess who might like this?

A nice piece of writing (mentioned in a Mefi comment).

Pretty Nails

Official Passion Merchandise.

Invented Slang

We've all heard of Cockney rhyming slang and Verlen, but I have recently discovered through a Tribe dot net "Wordfreaks" group a rare American slang called Honkish and gay British slang called Polari.

There's no website for Honkish outside of Tribe (yet), but here's some information from the Tribe:
"It all started at a high scool in Essex Junction, Vermont, during the mid 80's. The perpetrators originally wanted some code words so they could talk about boozing and smoking and hooking up with girls without being overheard and busted. But some of the personalities involved were, and are, pretty obsessive and creative, and the code word project rapidly grew into a species of pig latin. This part is not unusual--a lot of high scool kids do things like this. The unusual part is how it has managed to stay alive and just continues to grow.
After high school, a couple of the Honkish guys (including the obsessive nutcase who really drove this project) went to college together at the University of Vermont. That's where I met them. They had a band, which I also did, plus they were active in theater. One of my best friends from high school and college was a big guru in the theater department and they were friends of his.
A lot of people would have let the high school pig latin die when they got to college. But these weren't most guys. They kept it up without missing a beat. They spoke it to people who had no idea what they were saying and then acted like those people were ignorant for not understanding. They were, at times, really annoying about the whole thing. There are people in this world who really don't like them, mostly because of the incessant use of Honkish.
So that was the lever--they just wouldn't speak anything else. And so their friends joined in. It was good fun. At that age, after all, anything that makes you part of an exclusive group is per se fun, plus it was very advantageous to be able to talk about how you'd like to get your cubs with the snig right in FRONT of the snig, without her having any idea what you were saying.
These guys kept it up after graduating from college, and still speak it today. They are now in several different bands, but are all still friends. Their immediate circle has now spread Honkish to the next layer of people out. Plus the original Honkish guys spent a few years living in Chicago (now they're in Brooklyn and LA) and worked a lot in England. So all of those places contain people who can Honk, or (more properly), puz. The fact that a couple of the original guys are now medium famous (and getting more so) has given the whole thing some lift. The fact that I have now volunteer my services as a Honkish instructor to the general public is (a) very weird, (b) funny, and (c) a sign that it is now bigger than all of us.
That's your basic history. I hesitate to name names just yet, but if you stick with the program you'll eventually find out who the guys are.
OK, here are some basic Honkish terms you will need. For each, I explain the derivation or the origin. Since there is no hard-and-fast system underlying Honkish, I think the best way of empowering you to make up your own is to explain how the currently accepted vocabulary came into being.
Tup Keewah. Hello / What's up? / What's Going On? / Nice to meet you. Tup Keewah is derived from "what peak" or "what's peaking?" Literally--what is it that is coming to fruition right at this moment? As with almost all Honkish words, the meaning is somewhat dependent on context of use.
Shet. or Shet gat. (means the same thing) Goodbye, also, leave. This is derived from "achete gateau" which is french for "buy cake." This is a play on words--"Bye, 'kay" becomes "buy cake" in french. So first that phrase got mis-translated into French, and then shortened. You would say you're ready to go by saying you're "shetty" or "shetty to ret"--that is, ready to shet.
Barg. (adj) Good / cool / I approve / you go, homie. Comes from "good bargain."
Fat. (adj) Bad / gross / evil / sucks. As in, "I can't believe you're being so fat--hoat tub right now." or "that movie was totally fat, I almost fell asleep." Why? Because fat is bad.
Buff. (v) to inflict damage upon, castigate, or injure. Usually used in the first-person passive ("I got buffed"). Example: I went to the DMV to renew my fat tags, but I got totally buffed at the inspection, or, I went up to her and said hey, but she buffed me; are you shetty? I don't really know the full story with this one, but it doesn't come (as many people think) from "rebuffed." It's actually derived from Buffalo, the city. The story was something to the effect that one of the guys had a long-distance love interest from Buffalo who he got in a fight with while she was visiting Vermont and who he sent back to Buffalo following some sort of harsh scene. Or maybe it was him that got sent to Buffalo. Either way, if you've ever been to Buffalo this verb makes perfect sense.
Jed. Sleep / go to bed / crash. Jed is a guy. A guy who used to sleep all the time. Now his name is a Honkish verb. If you're feeling tired, you would say "I'm getting jeddy" (i.e. jeddy to red, that is, ready to jed). If you just had an epic sleep, you might describe yourself as a Jedi. Good Honkish uses double and triple entendres as much as possible.
Tub. Cigarette. Do I really need to explain this one?
Tile. A light. See tub for explanation. Example--hoat tile. Merce.
Merce. Thanks. Shortened from Merci, french for thank you.
I got my cubs in. I had sex with her/him. I don't actually know the origin of this one.
Pig. v--to hook up (but not necessarily have sex). The origin isn't anything but crass. It means what it sounds like. Example--did you pig her? Totally pigged her. Did you get your cubs in? Naw, not this time.
Snig. n--hot woman. Adj. Sniggly. This is derived from the verb to pig. "Piggins" are the raw materials for pigging, i.e. hot women. Reversed it becomes Ginsip, and then snig.
Slab. n. balls.
Kid. n. dick.
Sgurds. n. figure it out.
Deewah. n. weed.
Reeb. n. beer
Peep kacking. imperative verb. Keep packing (as in, that bowl). This one gets used in a lot of other contexts as well. Pretty much anytime you want to tell someone to keep doing anything you'd tell them to peep kackin'.
From peep kacking you also get "peep my/your kacks", meaning "get me/you high." And the simple, hopeful question "peep?"
Gnob tihi. n. bonghit. The g is pronounced. The whole thing is pronounced ga-nob tihi (both i's like the the i from fish).
Lowb. n. Bowl. Pronounced like loud.
Eef. n. coffee. EefoCK! as an early morning order.
Naish. imperative verb. Shut up. Derived from "shut ain"--shut yer ass. But you would also use naish to tell someone to put something away or hide something. Example--Naish that deewah; spocs are at the trop.
Trop. n. door. From the french word for door, "porte."
Spocs. Cops. It's important not to be too doctrinaire with reversals. "Cops" reversed is spoc, but "spoc" means a single cop.
Lain. v. to lock. Comes from "lock ain." As I think I may have mentioned, "ain" is a pretty ubiquitous word in Honkish, with a broad variety of meanings.
Hoat. Hoat has a lot of meanings. As an active verb ("I hoated it") it means to acquire or obtain. As an imperative verb ("hoat tub") the closest translation is "gimme a", but it actually doesn't translate. "Hoat tub" is not at all rude, whereas "gimme a cigarette" is. Probably because in that sense hoat means not only "gimme" but also "do you have." Because I could say to you "hoat tub?" as a question, which could mean either "do you have a smoke for me" or "would you like a smoke" depending on context. As a noun, a hoat is a score, a success, a win. Example--I got front row tickets! What a hoat! Hoat's original derivation is long since obscured by usage. It comes from hoat kanger--coat hanger. Way back at the very beginning it meant "hey, use that coat hanger there to get me that thing off the table without getting up." That's where the "give it here" meaning derived from. Pronounced "hote."
Hubble. double. Comes from hubble doat (double hoat), but is always used in place of "double", usually without the doat. There is another play on words that derives from hubble doat. Hubble doat! as an exclamation means D'oh x 2 (think Homer Simpson). Example: Dude, did you see that snig? Doat! Well guess what? I pigged her! Hubble doat! (I warned you it was all totally crass--it was invented by teenage boys, what do you expect?)
Futz. v. to putter or do nothing in particular. Comes from "stuff." Example: Tup keewah? Eh, futzing. Peep kacking?

Ghost Town

Hot Russian biker chick visits Chernobyl: here's her spooky story, with pictures (from Slashdot).

Strange thinking "How cool!" and wanting to cry at the same time.


Listen to this informative program about what to do with all the pet hair littering your home.

Stalin's last army

Hordes of gigantic crabs on their way to invade Europe:

Millions of giant Pacific crabs ... devouring everything in their path ... leaving in their wake what one expert described as "an underwater desert".

The Kamchatka or Red King Crab: a snap of its claw is enough to remove a man's finger ... one leg is enough to provide a grown man with a filling meal.

Transporting the monster crabs to the Barents Sea was originally part of a Stalinist era scheme to provide food for the populations in the north-western Soviet Union.


This is the website of my favorite campground from our travels last summer.

Les Catacombes

Sock Puppet

I've been making sock puppets for Vigo's birthday party and found these cartoons looking for ideas.

Svenska Dansband


A Google search for the word "dorky" brought me this page. I'm still confused by it. I'm a little too hungover to completely understand the whole project.


Robot Fish

You want an aquarium, but you don't want to feed the fish? Robot fish, of course.

Amazing Adventures

I was kept up well past my bedtime last night reading a book called The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

Folk Recordings

I read about this in the local paper. Newly-released recordings of interviews with former slaves.

January 25

On this day in 1890 Nellie Bly ended her trip around the world in under 80 days.

Famous people who share my birthday include:
Virginia Woolf
Robert Burns
W. Somerset Maugham
Corazon Aquino
Eduard Shevardnadze


Never be disquieted by someone's use of a fancy plural again.

Coop fridge

This isn't interesting at all, just a convenient place for Tracy to access these pictures anywhere.




112 Gripes About The French

56. "French women are immoral."

Which French women ?

Most French girls before the war had far less freedom than our girls back home. A great many were not permitted to go out without a chaperone. France is dominantly Catholic in religion and in morals.

The immoral Frenchwomen are, of course, the easiest women for us to meet. That's why we meet so many of them.

Pillow Blog

Japan is cool nowadays. I quite enjoyed Zatoichi, Last Samurai and Lost In Translation. So why not take a look at a Japanese blog?

This girl seems kind of spacy and eccentric and stylish:

Things I think are elegant

* A white coat over a violet waistcoast
* Duck's eggs
* Sherbet ice, liana syrup, in a nice new silver bowl
* Rock crystal
* Wistaria
* Snow on plum blossoms
* A pretty little girl eating strawberries

She has an interesting love life:

One time, I had a boyfriend who would always mail me the day after we had slept together. Once he said that he saw no point in our relationship and didn't have anything left to say to me.

The next day came, and there was nothing from him. I was pretty fed up when the dawn came with no next-morning mail. "Well", I thought as the day wore on, "I guess he actually meant it."

The day after that it rained really hard. Dawn came, noon came, and still no word; he'd forgotten all about me. Then I was sitting outside on the veranda in the evening, and a boy came up with an umbrella in one hand and a letter in the other. I tore open the letter, and the message was: "The rain that swells the water".

I thought this was more beautiful than a whole pile of poems.

Too bad she's been dead for over a thousand years...

((stunned smiley) Perl people show up in the most unlikely places... I'm impressed.)

Life Expectancy

This from Birgit:
The life spans of animals.


How about some web art, and I don't mean flash animations.


Name statistics are always fascinating. "Tristan" was the 45th most popular boy name in France the year Vigo was born. There are bo-koo of French name sites offering statistics. This one is easy to use. I didn't find anything quite so good for America.

How popular is your first name in Norway?


It must have been thrilling to be Thomas Jefferson's mentor.


From Michael Carter:
I was just having an enjoyable wander through your Sputterly Utter and it occurred to me that your viewers may enjoy this site: museum of hoaxes. The best part of it is the "Hoaxes Throughout History" section. I'm a big fan in particular of Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography (1887) and The Fortsas Bibliohoax (1840).


Elmo's is listed on Dincercam but the link on the site doesn't show the inside of Elmo's. It just goes to the lame website.


I'm slowly reading a very interesting book called The Measuring of America by Andro Linklater. In this early chapter, the author is talking about the inexactitude of measurement in the olden days. My favorite inexact measure so far is the French hupee, which is the distance a voice carries.


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