CARTOON: Super Powers

Here’s my latest cartoon!
TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES
 
Description: I’m laying under a medical scanner, with a blanket on me and a display screen above. The doctor stands next to me, monitoring.
“The Nuclear Medicine doc injected me with Technetium 99 to test my gallbladder.
I was radioactive for two days but did not get ANY super powers!”
CARTOON_Technetium-7

AUTISTIC / ASPERGER'S CARTOON: Irony

Jokes-on-ceiling-fan
Cartoon of myself (a middle-aged white woman with short hair and glasses) inside a room. ¬†I’m looking upwards with a raised eyebrow and puzzled expression. ¬†The word IRONY has a pair of wings and swooshing lines where it flies over my head towards the ceiling fan. ¬†The tops of the fan blades bear pile-ups of repeated, mixed words: IRONY, JOKE, and SATIRE. ¬† ¬† ¬† My thought ballon reads, “Being autistic, sometimes irony goes right over over my head. I think it’s time to clean off the ceiling fan again.”

Fractal flakes

To decorate for our winter party before the semester-end break, we made paper snowflakes in art class at school.
Being the geek that I am, I made a mobile from the fractal of the Koch snowflake, which starts from a single equilateral triangle, and keeps adding triangles onto the triangles. The mobile is made from the first three iterations, cut out as nested pieces, plus the background to the largest, which is trimmed as a circle.
(The mobile’s crossbar is the metal edge that came loose from a ruler; it’s being employed in this manner to prevent misuse by unruly students.)

mobile made of three successive fractal iterations of the Koch snowflake, and the background piece of the largest
mobile made of three successive fractal iterations of the Koch snowflake, and the background piece of the largest

More on the Koch snowflake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_snowflake

I bequeath the world a neologism, because there is need:

Te·di·a [tee-dee-uh]
noun
1. a plural of tedium.
2. the quality or state of multiple media being wearisome; irksome; tedious.
3. the quality or state of overwhelming tedium resulting from multiple, unrelated sources.
Overcome by the tedia¬†of so-called “news” coverage and inane blather that displaced any real information, she resorted to drawing political cartoons and posting them on the Web.
Lacking sufficient mental stimulation from either of his jobs, and commuting without a working radio, he found himself daydreaming and telling himself jokes to allay the suffocating tedia.
_____
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I bequeath the world a neologism, because there is need:

Neither daft nor a bit deaf, just —

Well, more than once-in-a-while I misunderstand what I hear. Especially if I’m preoccupied, or the environment is noisy, and rather much if the other person is mumbly.
Quite likely the funniest Auditory Processing glitch I’ve had yet:
A grocery customer comes by and asks, “Do you have any haggis?”
(Mind you, I’m in the States; most groceries don’t even¬†carry haggis, traditional or vegetarian.)
Turned out he was enquiring about
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
hacky sacks!
And no, we don’t generally carry those either, tho’ at the beginning of summer we get various toys in our seasonal aisle (sidewalk chalk, soap bubbles, jacks, pool floats and such).
Sometimes people ask for the oddest things at the grocery … this week someone wanted a printer cable — a serial port* printer cable! At least we got ourselves sorted before getting as far as the breakfast cereal aisle.
__________
* For you non-technical folks, that’s an older piece of equipment, not something you might find at a big supermarket, like cheap headphones, CDRs, or power strips.

One Or More

Do you like odd words? If so, today’s post is for YOU!
I enjoy words. I love learning new words, and now and then feel the need to make nifty neologisms. I take pleasure in playing word games and punning around. I use a vigorous vocabulary for producing prose and programming. I revel in vicious verbiage when needing venomous invective.
Weird words are wonderful. Exceptions excite intrigue. Luckily for us, the English language (in its multitudinous international forms) is known for being an absolute mish-mosh of exceptions to dang near every orthographic rule that has been imposed upon it over the centuries. This is not surprising considering how many other languages have been sources for our vocabulary!
Being familiar with many of those weirdnesses is great when one is an editor, writer or proofreader. (Alas, not everyone shares such passions, so we logophiles must sometimes refrain from exercising too much pedantry.*) It also gives me a number of opportunities for musing …
Today I ran some errands on the way home, which caused me to take a different pathway. En route, I espied a¬†cellular antennae tower array (mobile phone mast), one of those tall poles with transceivers and other prickly bits plated upon them.¬†Several of those tower arrays or television UHF/VHF (Yagi-Uda)¬†sets atop houses are called antennas. But — insects sniff their environments with antennae.
Some words are the same whether you have one or more; not just the same spelling in singular and plural, but also the same pronunciation:
Fish (As children, many of us learned this from Dr Seuss, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”). Ditto salmon and trout. (I bet readers can inform me of other species of fish.)
Thrips (A small insect that often infests flowers and spreads diseases; especially problematic in greenhouses.)
Sheep, deer, moose.
Bison – pedantic technical note: the North American animal is a bison, not a buffalo, but buffalo is so entrenched in history (i.e. Buffalo Soldiers, buffalo nickel) that the term “bison” seems reserved for ecological/zoological discussions.
The American buffalo has just one¬†species: Bison bison.¬†A single category of interbreeding organism is a¬†species, several are different kinds are also¬†species.¬†“Specie” refers to coins, such as our buffalo nickel. If I recall correctly, one of the new coins the U.S. mint has released in their recent series is a nickel with a bison on one side. Series is another word that is the same in both singular and plural.
Swine (unlike pig -> pigs or hog -> hogs)
Complaint: ¬†people calling plural bovine animals “cows”; the cow is a female that has calved. Call them a herd of¬†cattle. Of course, then one has the problem of knowing if the single animal is a calf, cow, [castrated] steer, or bull.¬†Then again, depending upon where you are, most of the cattle one passes might be breeding or milking cows, or maybe young steers shortly destined to be burgers and roast-beast. But like “buffalo”, “cows” seems to be a common-usage term.
(Except, of course, amongst small children, who invariably call them “moo-cows”, which is odd because I’ve never heard any preschoolers saying “quack-ducks”, “neigh-horses”, “baa-sheep” or “meow-cats”; go figure.)
Interestingly, draft bovine (used for ploughing) are ox -> oxen. There are few words that retain this archaic plural: child -> children, one brother -> several brethren, and hose -> hosen (from when one tied their individual hose onto the hem of a garment). Clothes is one of those words that just comes in single form, except it is by default plural.
When I teach gardening classes, I add a couple seconds pause after explaining, “If you’re making a new garden bed, you can either kill what’s there with glyphosate, or slice off the pieces of turf and re-use them, or compost the turves.” Turves is the correct plural for pieces of turf, but we don’t use the term much, so there’s a bit of a mental speed-bump.
Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien invented dwarves as the plural for his Middle-Earth race? All other sorts (cutesy fantasy beings, or small-growing forms of plants or animals) are dwarfs.
In Zoology class we learned that the plural of penis is penes. Common usage (when not using one of the many silly slang terms) is penises. But if you are needing to talk discretely over the heads of younger folk, penes will likely be off their radar.
Right now I’m listening to Etta James singing¬†the blues; no one ever sings “a blue” (tho’ you can blow a blue note).
Then there are the pluralisation questions about which only geeks worry: one Mus musculus is a mouse, and several are mice. But what about the computer accessory (um, Mus digitus ?) Рcomputer mouses or computer mice?
One datum, a bunch of¬†data. But when or how the hell does a person have just ONE datum? A single point? ¬†I suppose that’s possible, unlike news. Good or bad, there’s never just one news. A “new”? I tend to get out of the news loop when on holiday; but invariably when I catch up, I find that the news seems more like recycled “olds”!
One spectrum, a wide spectra, as in “spectral analysis” – unless of course, one is doing a bunch of analyses on your spectra data.
How about one index -> two¬†indices.¬†Indexes is a verb: “My program indexes everything for me!” Then of course, it turns around and creates¬†indexes¬†to hold that data. Hmn. Meanwhile, we still have¬†one¬†index¬†-> two¬†indices¬†in science, and on the radio news¬†I hear indices used as indicators of how the world is going.
In geometry, our geometric shapes have sides (planes). Each pair of planes intersect at edge, and several will meet at the corner, called a vertex. A triangular pyramid has four vertices and a cube has eight.

And lastly, Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message,” meaning that what is used to spread the message is important. Newspapers, YouTube videos, and blogs are all kinds of media.¬†So too are my choice of growing medium for my seedlings.
If some yahoo grabs a can of spray paint as their medium of choice, and scrawls a graffito on the side of a building, you can be sure that someone else will want to join in and next thing you know, there will be graffiti everywhere.
My thanks (always plural) to all my readers!
______

*Unlike those grammar mavens dedicated to eradicating excessive and misused apostrophes, whom I heartily encourage to be ever-ready with their jumbo-size bottles of correction fluid!
Also, thank you everyone for your tireless efforts trying to rid the world of misspellings; Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I know that I shall be wanting to face-palm with each sale banner for ¬†Valentines Bokay’s.

Life in elastic, it's fantastic!

So I set another knee support the counter, when the pharmacist noticed my compression gloves, which I wear for arthritis & Raynaud’s.
“Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!” I joked, riffing a line from the chorus of a pop tune. That got me a friendly smile, but I’m not sure she had heard the song, “Barbie Girl” by the Danish pop group, Aqua. (Fun trivia: the toy company that owns the rights to the Barbie doll, Mattel, filed a lawsuit against the record company, but¬†Judge Kozinski opined, “The parties are advised to chill.”)
Of course, the thing about pop tunes is how well they stick in your head; and I finally got around to writing the rest of my own version!

(Unofficial version of¬†just the music and captioned lyrics, in case you’re not familiar with it; the original is slightly risqu√©.)

I’M A BENDY GIRL

Hi Bendy
Hi there!
Do you wanna go for a spin?
Sure do!
Jump in…
I’m a bendy girl, in a bruising¬†world
Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!
Dust my derrière, I fall everywhere
Articulation, brace for recreation.
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
I’m a bendy girl, in a bruising world
Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!
Cinch and tie my splint, secure my ligament
Hyper-extensible, I’m too flexible.
I’m a spry stretchy girl, in my rubbery world
Strap me right, make it tight, loose is folly.
Oh rag doll, trip and fall, feel the footings you take,
hold my arm, what’s the harm, I’ll uphold you.
You can lift, you can help, if you say: “Just when you need,”
oo-ooh-ooh
I’m a bendy girl, in a bruising world
Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!
Reinforce my knees, fortify me please.
Irrepressible, we’re adaptable.
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
Make me bind, make me brace, do whatever it takes
I can strengthen myself, to avoid further breaks.
Come bounce in, bendy friend, let us try it again,
rejuvenate, renovate, let’s go mend ye!
You can lace, you can zip, if you say: “Just where you want,”
You can wind, you can wrap, if you say: “Just where you want,”
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
I’m a bendy girl, in a bruising world
Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!
You never lack in care, unhinge me anywhere
Lest subluxation, need relocation.
I’m a bendy girl, in a bruising world
Life in elastic, it’s fantastic!
Watch my limber pose, stretching neck to toes
Flexibility, my resiliency.
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
ah-ah-ah-yeah
Come on bendy, let’s go mend ye!
oo-ooh-ooh, oo-ooh-ooh
Oh my, I feel so nimble!
Well Bendy, we’re just getting started
Aw, I love your class!