March 31, 2005

Words and phrases that sound gross but aren't

Words and phrases that sound gross but aren't

EDIT: The link doesn't work anymore since I posted this about 74 years ago, but thanks to the magic of the google I found the list in a memory hole. Here it is, as posted by someone with the suspiciously unconventional name of Sea Horse.


Sea Horse, if that is her real name, said these are real definitions found in either Merriam-Webster Online or the Oxford English Dictionary:


A quartet of an hour's relaxation allowed to the boys in the middle of the afternoon school in summer to give them an opportunity of disposing of beevers, a portion of bread and allowance of beer laid out in Winchester School Hall.

Brown Creeper
A small, thin, nearly camouflaged bird with white belly, long stiff tail, and thin curved bill. Obvious white line above dark eye.

Canonical Erection
The rite by which the house of a religious order is sanctified and officially recognized by the [Catholic] Church.

1. orig. Apparently a nursery term, applied to anything a child rides astride upon, as a stick with a horse's head, a hobby-horse, any one's leg or knee. Hence ride on a (or a-) cockhorse.

A small upper loft; a small apartment under the very ridge of the roof to which the access is usually by a ladder; ‘the room over the garret’.

One who rears game-cocks

1. An obsolete medical preparation: see quot.

2. ‘A stream of water brought in a trough, through a long pole, in order to wash out the sand of the tin-ore into the launder, while it is bruising in the coffer of a stamping mill’ (Chambers Cycl. Supp. 1753).

: a common migratory black-throated finch (Spiza americana) of the central U.S.

Dick test
: a test to determine susceptibility or immunity to scarlet fever by an injection of scarlet fever toxin

A vote manufactured for party purposes, by the transfer to persons, not otherwise legally qualified, of sufficient property to qualify them as electors.

Some kind of net for fishing.

A performer on the bassoon, bassoonist.

: any of a genus (Scrophularia) of chiefly herbaceous plants of the snapdragon family with leaves having no stipules, an irregular bilabiate corolla, and a 2-celled ovary.

Pertaining to the fornix (an anatomical arch or fold, esp. an arched formation of the brain)

Etymology: Latin, seaweed, archil, dye obtained from archil, from Greek phykos
1 obsolete : a face paint
2 [New Latin, genus name, from Latin] : any of a genus (Fucus) of cartilaginous brown algae used in the kelp industry; broadly : any of various brown algae

Etymology: Middle English votek, futtek
: one of the curved timbers scarfed together to form the lower part of the compound rib of a ship

Gay Deceiver
Bust pads, usually of foam rubber, inserted into a bra to give a fuller appearance.

obs. ff. JAIL, JAILER.

A place for rubbish or odds and ends, as a housemaid's cupboard, or a lumber room.

: a covering of minute ice crystals on a cold surface; also : ice particles formed from a gas

1 : gray or white with or as if with age
2 : extremely old : ANCIENT
- hoar·i·ness noun

One that never was away from home; a fondling or wanton.

Nude Contract
Without consideration given, where no action can arise.

A frenzy occasioned by seeing one of the nymphs; from Greek lambano, I take.

Rarely used term for a morbid desire to eat.

Lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity.

A flurry, temper. Also in the form pussivent.

1. (More fully shittim wood.) The wood of the shittah-tree, acacia wood.
Sometimes erroneously used for SHITTAH tree.

A scatological figure of speech

: a lightweight conical object with a rounded often rubber-covered nose that is used in badminton

Spooning, in rowing, is dipping the oars so little in the water as merely to skim the surface. The resistance being very small, much water is thrown up and more disturbed.

Grating through the hearth in which the ashes fall, leaving the cinders.

Special bastard
A child born of parents before marriage, the parties afterwards intermarrying.

An evergreen shrub or tree

A bird of the subfamily Parinae (Swainson)

: a thin layer of ectoderm that forms the wall of many mammalian blastulas and functions in the nutrition and implantation of the embryo

A seaweed of the genus Ulva, which includes sea lettuce, U. lactuca

Of an organism or group of organisms: having the ability to disperse or be dispersed in a given environment. Hence vagility (also fig.).

A little sheath or vagina; esp. in Bot. the capsule or theca enclosing the base of the seta in certain mosses.

A door of a large building by which the crowd is let out.

White-Breasted Nuthatch
Slate gray bird with white belly and black cap and neck. Long thin bill slightly upturned. Chestnut colored under tail.

1.) Name for the kestrel [species of Hawk].
2.) fig. as a term of opprobrium.

Inflected Form(s): plural woodcocks
1 or plural woodcock : a widespread Old World woodland bird (Scolopax rusticola) that is related to the sandpipers and snipes; also : a smaller related game bird (Scolopax minor syn. Philohela minor) of eastern No. America
2 [from the ease with which the woodcock is snared] archaic : SIMPLETON

Interjection expressive of wonderment or surprise.

March 22, 2005

Building a Better Mouse Boob

Stem Cell Research.
Lab Animal Testing.

In a lab at the U. of Illinois in Chicago, Jeremy Mao is developing a latticework directed growth technique "to develop a stem cell material that could be useful in society."

Like, to make boobs.

To be fair: Mao envisions the development of suitable tissues for reconstructive surgeries using his stem cell scaffolding techniques, and he reported his work a few weeks ago at a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC.

But I'm not here to be fair. I'm here for salacious amusement, mostly my own.

This guy gave breast implants to mice. He used human stem cells to grow fat on a latticework that he was able to shape into little mouse ta-tas.

This is far safer than giving mice silicon breast implants, and the important news is that the grown implants maintained shape and size for four weeks. Normally, stripper mice have to return to the plastic surgeon three or four times each month, which really cuts down on the pole swinging.

New Scientist Story

March 21, 2005

Environment HAH!

Notice your lights flickering lately?

It appears the Uber Blogger Machine is sucking energy from the grid faster than the grid can supply it.

So many bloggers are pushing so much content to so many eyeballs that Google's problem is actually keeping up with the electricity to run their city of servers.

What will the environmental blogs say about this conundrum?

InfoWorld Story

March 19, 2005

Test Her for Banned Truth Serum

You jump, you see your score, it's good enough to win. So you protest. You refuse the gold medal, because you didn't jump that well.

This story makes for a nice after-school special, starring Robbie Benson or Marie Osmond or, well you get the idea.

But it happened.

This Gal insisted she could not possibly jump as far as the scoreboard showed on her final long jump at the European Indoor Championship earlier this month. In fact, she's sure she jumped a good foot shorter than the apparently erroneous posting.

My humble grades in college were obtained in exactly the same way.

March 15, 2005

... Unless You're Hungry ...

It must get boring down in the basement of the big pots and pans company.

Under a single hanging lightbulb slaves away the copywriter gnome, crafting the fine "Directions and Care" paragraph; sculpting the "Our Promise To You" blurb; and literally composing, under the most ungracious conditions and against all computable odds,the vaunted "Limited Lifetime Warranty". That one includes addresses, phone numbers and time zone references. Astounding work.

So, explain the following.

Somewhere in paragraph 3, after advisement against using electrosol dishwashing detergents, and after the highly practical instruction to use only non-abrasive pads or plastic mesh puffs for cleaning the patented Never-Stick Never-Scratch Never-Succumb-to-Aunt-Betsy's-Glass-Melt-Egg-Brick Surface, comes this [and I'm quoting it verbatum, from the real honest-to-goodness insert in our just purchased cooking technology]:

"The oven should be completely preheated before placing pan in oven as temperature may exceed 350 degrees F during preheat period. CAUTION: For safety, please keep pet birds out of kitchen."

Pet Birds.

(Oh, and, emphasis added by me).

Yes, I guess when you're shackled to a quill and a stone in the warranty-writer dungeon, you might do just about anything to amuse your constituency. Perhaps there is a very keen ornithological mind behind such a warning.

My psychobabble instinct would tell me the writer in question feels trapped, like the imagined kitchen-dwelling caged creature, and is projecting his lust for freedom into my kitchen, the home of my beloved, carefree, no-stick pan.

Or maybe he's trying to send a code to the outside world. Perhaps "pet birds out of kitchen" is some secret anagram cipher for "locate nearest kin". I don't know, I'm too lazy to look further into it.

I will now have a grilled cheese on wheat, and for a moment wonder why Polly doesn't ask for a bite. Eventually I'll remember where I put Polly before I sparked up the stove.

Can I Have a Podcast With That?

The logistics of ordering a Big Mac have just gone quantum. Well, that's a little overstated, but see if this idea won't make your mad dash for junk food a smidge more pleasant:

You drive up, wait a few seconds, and out from the speaker comes perfectly pronounced English, so you can order your blob-n-coke without having to first establish which language or dialect to engage. You order, and the calm and reasonable voice tells you exactly how much it will cost you at the first or second window, and you even probably hear a "you're welcome" after yelling your thanks and accelerating.

Could happen soon, at least at McDonald's:

"The world's largest fast-food chain said on Thursday it is looking into using remote call centres to take customer orders in an effort to improve service at its drive-thrus.

Call centre professionals with 'very strong communication skills' could help boost order accuracy and ultimately speed up the time it takes."


But, I'm not getting too excited yet. I don't see anything in this story about McDonald's upgrading the speaker systems at any of the drive-thrus. Maybe the order-takers are already speaking perfectly. How would you know?

March 14, 2005

Little Bits of Donsense? Inconceivable!

I'm testing this little sidebar gateway so I can post even more irrelevant and meaningless chomps of reality in smaller and even less palatable morsels.