Saturday, November 29, 2008

Top 10 reflex saves

Funny football moments

Ronaldinho vs Cristiano Ronaldo

Kindergarten kings

Exploding football

How penalties should be taken

Ronaldo trick

Drogba trick

Crossbar challenge

Take a bow Messrs. Almunia, no one from Chelsea two years running, and those that could (and couldn't) do it!

Henry's trick kick

Now that's true class.

How to take a penalty

Johann Cruyff's mickey-taking penalty, and then Pires' much-poorer imitation. I mean if even Brondby could do it...

Nike: The Mission

El Nino in slow-mo

12-year-old Fernando Torres vs AC Milan

He was that good even at 12.

Zoran Tosic & Adem Ljajic - United's new Serbian starlets

Perhaps Fergie got Vidic to recommend a player a-la Football Manager?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras Part II

Town Council to Start Own Casino by Nyonya Kway (must be Talking Cock)

After its sinking fund investment, um, sank, Bukit Gorblok Town Council intends to recoup its losses by starting its own casi… sorry, sorry, integrated resort.

“Since Marina Bay Sands is facing problems, we may have a window of opportunity,” said Bukit Gorblok Town Council (BGTC) spokeswoman Ms Betty Ng.

Ms. Ng revealed earlier this month that they had invested a portion of the estate’s sinking fund, supposed to be deployed for maintenance and upgrading, into high risk equities like DBS High School Musical Notes 5, and Lemon Brothers Minibombs.

When asked why a non-profit organization like a town council would want to take such huge risks with residents’ money, especially for paltry returns like 3% p.a., Ms. Ng replied, “We take our cue from the Gahmen. To succeed in Singapore, you must follow the Lee men. So of course we invested in Lehman, lah.”

But now that the global economic crisis has wiped their investments out, BGTC isn’t just shrugging its shoulders and accepting the situation as just “L.L.”, said Ms. Ng.

“We’ve come up with a solution we think will earn all our money back.” BGTC will be starting its own casino.

“It makes a lot of sense,” said Ms. Ng. “In our constituency, everybody is suffering – hawkers, shopkeepers, residents. But one business attracts long lines every week, week after week – the 4D booth. This tells us something.”

According to Ms Ng, BGTC has entered into joint ventures with several experts in the local gambling scene, such as the Chap Sar Tiam Tattooed Blood Brother Society of Geylang Lorong 69. “I don’t have too much information about them at the moment,” said Ms. Ng in response to press inquiries. “They’re society is a bit secretive.”

BGTC will offer less luxurious, but still appealing gambling options to customers. “Maybe we won’t have a roulette wheel or baccarat salon, lah. But we think people will still come and place money at our mahjong, chapjikee and paikow tables, and also our own innovation – Texas Hold’em Cheekupak.”

Aside from gambling, there will also be other entertainments, Ms. Ng promised, “like karaoke, peidu mamas and shih-tzu massage, where customers can have their bodies rubbed all over with a small dog.”

BGTC has also planned to limit the deleterious social effects that gambling might have on its own residents. “So we’re going to charge all residents extra $50. If you come from Toa Payoh or Sengkang, can just come in and puak, but local residents, too bad.”

BGTC will have its ribbon cutting ceremony next week, officiated by MP and Senior Mini-star of State for Boring Affairs Dr. Potongaji Salaribigwan. “Dr. Potongaji has also kindly agreed to place the first bet,” said Ms. Ng. “His office says he needs to make up for his pay being cut somehow.”

And what about BGTC’s casino’s name?“We thought that since Marina Bay Sands will be delayed,” said Ms. Ng. “We would call ours Kanina Bay Hands.”

Serangoon Central comes alive in 2010!

Well, whodathunkit? Now it doesn't really affect us in terms of property prices nor rental as we don't actually own anything but I think Agape was on to something when we set up shop in Serangoon Central.

By end-2010, Serangoon Central will have a new six-storey mall which will include a new bus interchange and the Circle Line MRT extension. It will also have 24-hour F&B & retail outlets, 10-screen cineplex. It will also boast "balcony dining", food court, supermarket & department store. The eco-friendly project will also have numerous green areas & landscaped sky gardens.

I'm personally looking forward to the sky gardens, cineplex & Circle Line MRT. =]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

While and whilst

Whilst is synonymous with while in standard British English and Australian English; in American English and Canadian English, it can be considered pretentious or archaic.

Whilst is chiefly used in British English and Australian English. Whilst is synonymous with while in standard English, although to many it sounds slightly old-fashioned, and is rare or archaic. In their style guides, some modern publications on both sides of the Atlantic disapprove of its use (along with "amidst" and "amongst").

Hors d'œuvre

Hors d'œuvre (French [ɔʁˈdœvʁ] literally 'outside the work'; English IPA: /ɔrˈdɝv/) or appetizers are food items served before the main courses of a meal. The French (singular and plural) is hors d'œuvre; in English, the œ ligature is usually replaced by the 2-letter sequence "oe" with the plural often written as "hors d'oeuvres" and pronounced IPA: /ɔrˈdɝvz/.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Antipasto means "before the meal" and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives, small pickles, various cheeses, such as provolone or fresh mozzarella and peperone which are marinated small green bell peppers, (not to be confused with the sausage, pepperoni). Other additions may be anchovies, or bruschetta (toasted bread, upon which one may put the meats or cheeses). The antipasto is usually topped off with some olive oil.

Antipasto is served at the table and signifies the official beginning of the Italian meal, more like a starter. Many compare antipasto to Hors d'oeuvre, but there are differences. Hors d'oeuvres are served at a cocktail party, or at many receptions, as a single meal, and served while guests are still standing, and tend to be served off trays in the most formal settings, or placed on a table.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


An apéritif (also spelled aperitif) is an alcoholic drink that is usually served to stimulate the appetite before a meal. It is often served with something small to eat, such as crackers, cheese, pâté, olives, and various kinds of finger food.

The word is derived from the Latin verb aperire which means “to open.”
Source: Wikipedia

Monday, November 24, 2008 - Jonathan Haidt: The real difference between liberals and conservatives

Whose Line Is It Anyway - Robin Williams - Series 3


/əˈpærəl/ [uh-par-uhl]
noun, verb, -eled, -el⋅ing or (especially British) -elled, -el⋅ling.
–noun 1. clothing, esp. outerwear; garments; attire; raiment.
2. anything that decorates or covers.
3. superficial appearance; aspect; guise.
4. Nautical. the masts, sails, anchor, etc., used to equip a vessel.
5. Ecclesiastical. a piece of embroidery, usually oblong, on certain vestments, esp. on the alb or amice.
–verb (used with object) 6. to dress or clothe.
7. to adorn; ornament.
8. Nautical. to equip (a vessel) with apparel.
1200–50; ME appareillen < OF apareillier to make fit, fit out < VL *appariculāre, equiv. to ap- ap- 1 + *paricul(us) a fit (see par, -cule 1 ) + -ā- thematic vowel + -re inf. suffix


/ˈskɜrələs, ˈskʌr-/ [skur-uh-luhs, skuhr-]

–adjective 1. grossly or obscenely abusive: a scurrilous attack on the mayor.
2. characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive: a scurrilous jest.


/ˈkɒgnəzənt, ˈkɒnə-/ [kog-nuh-zuhnt, kon-uh-]

–adjective 1. having cognizance; aware (usually fol. by of): He was cognizant of the difficulty.
2. having legal cognizance.


A word that means bowler, coming from the German word Kegel, which means bowling pin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Battlefield Tour photo essay

The poppies are a symbol of the war dead. Rubble created by sustained bombing began to leach lime into the soil, coincidentally conducive for this blood-red flower to bloom in unprecedented quantities. After the lime was absorbed deeper into the ground, the poppies disappeared just as mysteriously as they had arrived. They now symbolise the blood shed for the noble cause.

The cross, a Christian symbol of salvation, stands resolutely over the cemetery, a pleasant reassurance of Christian soldiers eternal destination.

Our first stop - Changi War Museum. Photography was not allowed inside the museum so most of the photos are of the replica chapel found inside the old Changi Prison.
The Battlefield Tour photo essay is out. Here are some selections, but view it in its entirety at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SMRT removes seats so we can be "more comfortable"

SMRT is removing at least 30% of seats from some trains so that, wait for it, "commuters can have a more comfortable travel experience".

Did I miss something? How does taking away the seat I sit on make it MORE comfortable. Last I checked, my legs needed a rest, and my butt wasn't complaining about sitting down too long.

If the issue is about overcrowding, I'm sure there remain other options that SMRT has considered before getting to this drastic step. It seems we've reached saturation point during peak hours.

I hope SMRT considers the needs of all people. Some elderly folks do need seats and this would deprive them not just of comfort, but cause them pain from standing.

When we get on a train, we know we are playing the lottery. We might get a seat, or we won't. If we don't, we stand like sardines. That's fine. Nice old ladies will still get their seats.

With this new scenario, where's the risk? I've got more space to stand (though I doubt it, as they'd just white-glove me into packed trains), but I've got a zilch chance of getting a seat, as little old ladies would be head of the queue. Where's the fun if I can't play the game of "Where do I stand so I might get a seat?"

Already I know to wait near the foreign workers when the train nears Little India & Farrer Park. Please don't take the fun out of train travel.
Sent to

Suri Cruise

OMG! She's the spitting image of mummy Katie Holmes! Supposedly a good thing, cos you'll end up with a husband who looks like Tom Cruise. =]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Flixster Plot: DreamWorks is back in franchise mode with Madagascar. The talent roster is ridiculous, and no doubt the animated cinematography will be nuts as those wacky New York Zoo animals are still stuck on a big, far away island.
My take: Disappointing and sometimes plain irritating.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Flixster Plot: Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country's water supply.
My take: Casino was better, but this was not too shabby at all. Bumped up to 3.5 because Olga Kurylenko has short hair and did not die. Makes such a change from all the usual Bond girls who die with long tresses.

Pick-up lines you must avoid! by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates,

1. “What’s your sign?”
The epitome of cheese, this line, which has been around since the Beatles came to America, ranks as the very worst line in dating history. The fact that it’s still in use says a lot about the decay of our society’s standards and the glaring desperation of some singles.

2. “Pardon me, I seem to have lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?”
Maybe this was funny around 1910 or 1915—back when the telephone was a novel appliance. It does not inspire smiles now, only scared and doomed looks.

3. “You must be a broom because you’re sweeping me off my feet.”
Maybe your dad used this one on your mom and for nostalgia’s sake, you’re bringing it out again. Nostalgia does not get you dates, only pity. “I actually had a guy say this to me during happy hour,” says Kim, a vivacious flight attendant who gets her share of pick-up lines. “I didn’t hold it against him because I don’t know how much he’d had to drink and he was cute. But if he hadn’t been cute, I would have dodged him.”

4. “Do you have a license? Because you’re driving me crazy.”
Caution! Watching too many stupid teen movies impairs your judgment. This probably sounded clever to the person who swiped it from an Annette and Frankie beach party flick.

5. “I gotta thirst and baby, you look like my Gatorade.”
Generally, comparing potential dates to food or drinks is not a winning move. “I had a guy use this one on me and I rolled my eyes and walked way,” says Susan, a marketing representative who doesn’t usually go for lines. “But a couple of weeks later, I saw this hot guy at the gym and I used that same line and it worked! I guess there are gender preferences when it comes to lines. He was really flattered, where I was insulted when it was used on me.”

6. “Are you lost? Because heaven’s a long way from here.”
Maybe angels like this one, but real women don’t.

7. “Are you religious? Because you’re the answer to all my prayers.”
Prayer is something that anyone who uses this tacky line desperately needs.

8. “Can I take your picture? I want Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas.”
This line is popular with both men and women who think references to Santa are cute and charming, which are qualities that they never possess personally.

9. “Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?”
“A stunning woman I had been staring at used this on me,” says Mark, a tawny-haired, gregarious copywriter. “I know it’s an old one but it took guts to say it. I’m afraid I happily fell for it.”

10. “Well, here I am. What are your other two wishes?”
A personal favorite, this one takes a certain amount of arrogance, as well as delusion, to pull off.

The worst pick-up lines... that ever worked! by Matt Christensen,

The Corniest Line Ever Award
“This guy who was so not my style came over to me and my friends and asked: ‘Do you happen to know how much a polar bear weighs?’ We said no and kept walking, and then he said, ‘Well, it’s enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m Brian.’ We all cracked up and kept talking to him.”
– Charity, 29, Cincinnati, OH

The Artistic License Award
“I was shooting pool with friends, and some guys offered us a friendly challenge. Midway through the game, one of them looked at me and said, ‘Do you remember Crayola crayons? Well, they used to have this color called Blizzard Blue. It was my favorite color, and your eyes are actually Blizzard Blue.’ I thought it was so cute—he had me right there.”
– Erica, 21, Brunswick, OH

The Balls of Steel Award
“I was at an office party when a guest of a co-worker introduced himself and said, ‘Blueberries or strawberries?’ Confused, I asked what he meant, and he replied, ‘I just want to know what kind of pancakes to make you in the morning.’ He said it with such a straight face that it was like a scene in a funny movie. I didn’t eat breakfast with him, but I did give him my number.”
– Jan, 33, Cleveland, OH

The Dumb and Dumber Award
“This random guy came up to me at a party, looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Baby, you’re sexier than socks on a rooster.’ I had absolutely no idea what he meant, but I thought it was funny and I liked how unusual it was. It got us talking, trying to figure out what that line meant!”
– Holly, 19, Milford, OH

The Mama’s Boy Award
“I was at a local bar one night, and this guy sat next to me and said, ‘Would it freak you out if I said that I’ve already told my mother about you?’ I said, ‘No, why?’ Then he told me that he’d actually stepped outside, called his mother and asked her how to approach me. I thought it was adorable that he was a mama’s boy.”
– Michelle, 25, Erie, PA

The Oddest Use of a Parking Space Award
“I fought tooth and nail with a guy over a parking space and won. When I came back out to my car, there was a note on it that said, ‘I like your style. Call me.’ It was very unexpected, and I loved the approach. See, it pays to be a lover and a fighter.”
– Lynn, 36, Boston, MA

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mr Bean's Holiday

Flixster plot: Plot: In his latest misadventure, Mr. Bean - the nearly wordless misfit who seems to be followed by a trail of pratfalls and hijinks - goes on holiday to the French Riviera and becomes ensnared in a European adventure of cinematic proportions. Tired of the dreary, wet London weather, Bean packs up his suitcase and camcorder to head to Cannes for some sun on the beach. Ah... vacation. But his trip doesn't go as smoothly as he had hoped when the bumbling Bean falls face first into a series of mishaps and fortunate coincidences, far-fetched enough to make his own avant-garde film. Wrongly thought to be both kidnapper and acclaimed filmmaker, he has some serious explaining to do after wreaking havoc across the French countryside and arriving at his vacation spot with a Romanian filmmaker's precocious son and an aspiring actress in tow. Will Bean be arrested by the gendarmes or end up winning the Palme d'Or? It's all caught on camera as Atkinson again applies his awkward athleticism to a comedy of errors in Mr. Bean's Holiday.
My take: It's just a lengthier version of the TV series really. Nothing really new. Just a schmaltzy waltz revisiting his age-old antics and his copious quantities of good and bad luck. The fact that I find the 'oui, non & gracias' joke the funniest tells you that this isn't the funniest thing in the world.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!
JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because it recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me...
GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing the road together, in peace.
BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(% .......... reboot.
BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?
AL GORE: Chicken shall not shit while crossing the road. This is for a green environment.
LEE KUAN YEW: We have installed crossing lights at all traffic junctions. All chickens should follow instructions while crossing the road.
SAMY VELLU: Gantry points have been set up. All chickens wanting to cross the road are advised to top up their cash cards first.
SHAHRIR: All foreign chickens are welcome in Malaysia but they must not cross over the road within 50km of the border.
NAJIB RAZAK: What chickens? I don't know any chickens - especially those from Mongolia.
ABDULLAH BADAWI: We have to be fair to all chickens. Some want to cross over the road, some do not. ...zzz...zzz... Now what were we talking about? Ah yes, chickens. We will form a Royal Commission to decide whether it is right for them to cross the road.
MAHATHIR: Now even non-bumi chickens want to cross the road! How can they disrespect and disregard apa nama bumi chickens? We must be allowed to cross over first. It is our special privilege and no one can challenge that!
Toh Puan Rosmah (Deputy PM - Najib Razak's Wife): What chicken? I don't see any on the road. I thought they were all bombed and sent to the forest.
ANWAR: We have enough chickens waiting to cross over in September.

London Times Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn't always fair;
and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place...
Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate;
teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch;
and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student;
only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
If you still remember him, pass this on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pay It Forward

Flixster Plot: Eugene Simonet, an emotionally and physically scarred social studies teacher, challenges his young students to devise some type of philanthropic plan and put it into effect. A young boy, whose own life is far from rosy, takes the assignment to heart and invents the "pay-it-forward" philosophy, which encourages paying back favors in advance. The whole town embraces the boy's concept, and random acts of kindness become a community pastime. Though celebrated by acquaintances and the media, the boy struggles at home with his alcoholic mother, and the only one who recognizes his lonely fight is Eugene Simonet.
My take: A simplistic tearjerker, but inspiring nonetheless. Great performance from the cast all-around.

Remembrance Day

Why the Poppy?

Today, fields of brilliant poppies still grow in France.

A writer first made the connection between the poppy and battlefield deaths during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, remarking that fields that were barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.

During the tremendous bombardments of the First World War the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing 'popaver rhoeas' to thrive. When the war ended the lime was quickly absorbed, and the poppy began to disappear again.

After John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields was published in 1915 the poppy became a popular symbol for soldiers who died in battle.

Three years later an American, Moina Michael, was working in a New York City YMCA canteen when she started wearing a poppy in memory of the millions who died on the battlefield.

During a 1920 visit to the United States a French woman, Madame Guerin, learned of the custom. On her return to France she decided to use handmade poppies to raise money for the destitute children in war-torn areas of the country. In November, 1921, the first poppies were distributed in Canada.

Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear flowers each November, the little red plant has never died. And neither have Canadian's memories for 116,031 of their countrymen who died in battle.
And here's Singapore's boring version:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coach Carter

Flixster Plot: Based on a true story of the man who locked his boys out of the gym until they focused on their schoolwork, this by-the-numbers crowd-pleaser holds together because a steely Samuel L. Jackson refuses to notice the parade of clichés he's trumpeting (the dialogue sticks to platitudes like, "Success in here is the key to success out there"). Coach Ken Carter (Jackson) takes over an unruly team of Richmond, California basketball players and teaches them how to play--and behave--like champions. His plight, which pits him against an uncooperative school board and parents who've given up hope, holds some interest, but the film is too concerned with giving us a Big Game every twenty minutes or so. The teens all have the spark of life in them (including pop star Ashanti, who features in a surprisingly well-handled teen pregnancy subplot), though the film's plodding familiarity means it's never really rousing, adding up to simply a good-natured amalgam of Stand and Deliver, Hoosiers, Dangerous Minds, and even Dead Poet's Society (one of the tougher players actually recites some inspirational poetry). --Steve Wiecking
My take: Showed this to my P5 class. Kept having to skip the gratuitous boy-girl scenes. Well for once the popular team did NOT win, but this is flick is more than just about who won. In the case of the boys on Carter's team, it really was more about the journey than the destination. On the lighter side, look out for Maraoune Fellani & Patrice Evra lookalikes.

Machiavellianism (Wikipedia)

Machiavellianism is the term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person's tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. A less technical variant of the term is fawce. The concept is named after Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe (The Prince). In the 1960s Richard Christie and Florence L. Geis developed a test for measuring a person's level of Machiavellianism. This eventually became the MACH-IV test, a twenty-statement personality survey that is now the standard self-assessment tool of Machiavellianism. People scoring above 60 out of 100 on the MACH-IV are considered high Machs; that is, they endorsed statements such as, "Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so," (No. 1) but not ones like, "Most people are basically good and kind" (No. 4). People scoring below 60 out of 100 on the MACH-IV are considered low Machs; they tend to believe, "There is no excuse for lying to someone else," (No. 7) and, "Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives" (No. 11). In a series of studies undertaken by Christie and Geis and Geis's graduate assistant David Berger, the notion of machiavellianism was experimentally verified. It is also a budding religion and belief system based on the tenet that there is nothing except logic and yourself worth upholding.

Bond in HD

Tautology (rhetoric)

In rhetoric, a tautology is an unnecessary (and usually unintentional) repetition of meaning, using different words that effectively say the same thing twice (often originally from different languages). It is often regarded as a fault of style and was defined by Fowler as "saying the same thing twice". It is not necessary for the entire meaning of a phrase to be repeated; if a part of the meaning is repeated in such a way that it appears as unintentional or clumsy, then it may be described as tautology. On the other hand, a repetition of meaning which improves the style of a piece of speech or writing is not usually described as tautology, although it may be a logical tautology.

A rhetorical tautology can also be defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, whereby the statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of its length or complexity. The statement "If you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological, as is "It is always in the last place you look". It is true, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bullseyes, could be called a "tautological" game. The player wouldn't lose. Any argument containing a tautological statement is thus flawed logically and must be considered erroneous.

A tautological argument is not an argument; a tautological game is not a game. Mathematical equations, such as E = mc2, are not tautologies. The terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently. The equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather equal to, thus establishing an equivalence. Acceleration and mass independently don't equal force but their product MA as derived by Newton does, hence the equation F=MA isn't a tautology, but F=F would be.

A common form of tautology is using two forms of the same word in the same construction. E.g., the British supermarket Tesco sells a brand of lemon thyme which it describes as having an "aromatic aroma".[citation needed] Synonyms may also produce a tautology; "free gift" is tautologous because a gift, by definition, is something given without charge. Other such examples of tautology include "sufficiently adequate" and "new innovation". In phrases, tautology is present in sayings such as "I can see it with my own eyes", "suddenly, without warning" and "forward planning"/"planning ahead".

Repetitions of meaning in mixed-language phrases
Repetitions of meaning sometimes occur when multiple languages are used together, such as "the La Brea Tar Pits" (the The tar Tar Pits), "monsoon season" (season season), "the hoi polloi" (the the many), "Sierra Nevada mountain range" (Snowy Mountain Range mountain range), "Sahara Desert" (Deserts Desert), "Gobi Desert" (Desert Desert), "shiba inu dog" (short-haired dog dog), "Jirisan Mountain" (Jiri mountain mountain), "shrimp scampi" (shrimp shrimp), "Mississippi River" (Great-river river) "cheese quesadilla" (cheese cheesy-thing), "Lake Tahoe" (Lake Lake), "Faroe Islands" (Sheep Island Islands), and "Angkor Wat temple" (Angkor Temple temple). The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (The The Angels Angels of Anaheim). Possibly the most extreme example is "Torpenhow Hill" (Hill-hill-hill Hill, in four languages).

The tautological status of these phrases is somewhat subjective and can be harder to detect than monolingual varieties, since they are only perceived as tautologous by people who understand enough of each of the involved languages, and because of the way that words change meaning as they drift from one language to another. For example, chai is Hindi for "tea", but in the United States, where the phrase "chai tea" is common, what is referred to as "chai" is more precisely "Masala chai."

Similar examples of repetitions occur when multiple languages are used in the same geographic area, even when the populations are generally well aware of the meaning of the redundant words. In bilingual (French and English) areas of Canada, for example, people may refer to the "Pont Champlain Bridge" (Bridge Champlain Bridge). Tautologies like these occur more frequently in spoken English when printed materials compress the bilingual presentation (e.g. from the expected "Pont Champlain / Champlain Bridge" to "Pont Champlain Bridge"), a technique commonly used in Canada, New Mexico and other bilingual areas to save space on road signage, grocery packaging, etc. A New Mexico example is the Spanish placename Arroyo del Oso (a ravine running through Albuquerque), known in English as Bear Canyon, but sometimes appearing as "Arroyo del Oso Canyon" (Small-canyon of-the Bear Canyon) or even "Bear Canyon Arroyo" (Bear Canyon Small-canyon). Another example of this, both in Las Cruces, New Mexico and north of Tucson, Arizona, is that of Picacho Peak (picacho being peak in Spanish).

Redundant expansion of acronyms
In some cases an acronym or abbreviation is commonly used in conjunction with a word which is actually part of the shortened form. One of the better known examples of this is "PIN number", which is often used when explaining the concept. Other examples include ATM machine, RAID array, AC/DC current, LAN network, LPG gas, RPG game, ISBN number, Hot Water Heater and "HIV virus". This phenomenon is humorously, self-referentially referred to as RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome - syndrome).

For more details on this topic, see RAS syndrome.

Intentional repetition of meaning
A repetition of meaning may be intended to amplify or emphasize a certain aspect of the thing being discussed. For example, a gift is by definition free of charge, but one might talk about a "free gift" to emphasize that there are no hidden obligations, financial or otherwise, or that the gift is being given out of free will. This is related to the rhetorical device of hendiadys, where one concept is expressed through the use of two, for example "goblets and gold" meaning wealth, or "this day and age" to mean the present time. Superficially these expressions may seem tautologous, but they are stylistically sound because the repeated meaning is merely a stylized way to express a single concept.

Much Old Testament poetry features the same thing said twice, but in slightly different ways ('Deceit is their sole intention, their delight is to mislead', Psalm 62). In this example, it is not exactly the same statement in both cases (in the first, the singleness of purpose is highlighted, in the second the pleasure), but more or less the same thing is being affirmed. This can be found very many times in the Psalms, and in other areas of the Bible as well.

Further examples
Some of the notable quotes said by, or attributed to, baseball player and manager Yogi Berra are considered humorous because they are, on the surface, tautological, including "It ain't over till it's over", "We made too many wrong mistakes" and "You can observe a lot by watching."
In a 1988 campaign speech in Ohio, George H. W. Bush said, "It's no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or another."[1]
The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution: In New York v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stated, "The Tenth Amendment likewise limits the power of Congress, but this limit is not derived from the text of the Tenth Amendment itself, which, as we have discussed, is essentially a tautology." O'Connor reasoned that the Tenth Amendment simply reiterated what was already built into the structure of the Constitution generally: When the States consented to the Constitution they expressly delegated certain powers to the Federal government. Implicitly, what was not given was necessarily retained by the states.
In his book Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams used the phrase, "Anything that happens, happens. Anything that in happening causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that in happening happens again, happens again. Though not necessarily in that order."
A story arc of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who was titled "The Deadly Assassin" — one only becomes an assassin by successfully committing murder. Originally, the title was intended to be "The Dangerous Assassin," but the title was changed by the producers as the title just "didn't sound right."
Richard B. Frank's history of the end of the Pacific War is titled Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. By definition, an empire is imperial.
The phrase "digital download": given that downloading is the transfer of binary or digital data from a higher level system to a lower one, all downloading is inherently digital.
Avenue Road is tautological since in most cases, an avenue is also a road.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are tautological, since tigers are cats, but its name is a merger of two earlier Hamilton teams.
In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon refutes his own argument when describing Haruhi as "Haruhi is Haruhi, nothing but Haruhi", because it is tautology.
Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrases by Charlotte Bailey,

Heading the list was the expression 'at the end of the day', which was followed in second place by the phrase 'fairly unique'.

The tautological statement "I personally" made third place – an expression that BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys has described as "the linguistic equivalent of having chips with rice."

Also making the top 10 is the grammatically incorrect "shouldn't of", instead of "shouldn't have".

The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework.

The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources.

The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.

As well as the above expressions, the book's author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and "synergy".

Other phrases to irritate people are "literally" and "ironically", when they are used out of context.

Mr Butterfield said: "We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language."

The top ten most irritating phrases:
1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science
Should add my own:
1. To be honest
2. At this junction
3. Mul-tai as opposed to mul-tee
4. In my own personal opinion
5. No harm done
6. That's what I'm about
7. Anything Joey Barton says
8. There's never an easy game
9. Get his head examined
10. Hold my hands up
11. Anchor
12. Unpack
13. Framework
14. Hopefully (used in lieu of 'I hope')
15. Minimum spend of

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nikon D90

Ooh this looks good. A microsite that focuses on how the camera panders to the five photographic genres of Landscape; Architecture, People; Portraits, Sports; Action, Nature; Wildlife and Travel; Culture. survey

You have a good everyday life at home, but it would not take a lot to make it even better.

You’re not entirely crazy about your everyday life at home (who is anyway!). But neither do you think you’ve got it real bad. Thank heavens for your computer; it makes everywhere at home seem bearable! If this is how you live, then perhaps this is how you should plan your everyday life at home – seeking solutions on how to make your computer migration (to wherever you are at home!) even more simple and functional without compromising on how things look! And while you’re at it, you might as well take a look at how home really could be when you’re not on the computer. Because chances are, your everyday life could be even better if you had also planned your life at home without the computer.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama wins!

What a magnificent orator! It's a wonder his speeches are not prepared by Lincoln himself.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Not content with being a Scrabble buff's get-out-of-jail card when he has an 'X', the axolotl is perhaps the most naturally photogenic animal on Planet Earth. I mean, it doesn't even have to try! It just has this goofy smile plastered across its face.
The axolotl (aːʃoːloːtɬ), Ambystoma mexicanum, is the best-known of the Mexican neotenic mole salamanders belonging to the Tiger Salamander complex. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species originates from the lake underlying Mexico City and are also called ajolote (which is also the common name for Mexican Mole Lizards). Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate most body parts, ease of breeding, and large embryos. They are commonly kept as pets in the United States, Great Britain (under the spelling axlotl), Australia, Japan (sold under the name wooper rooper (ウーパールーパー, Ūpā Rūpā?)) and other countries.

Axolotls should not be confused with waterdogs, the larval stage of the closely related Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum and Ambystoma mavortium), which is widespread in much of North America which also occasionally become neotenic, nor with mudpuppies (Necturus spp.), fully-aquatic salamanders which are unrelated to the axolotl but which bear a superficial resemblance.

As of 2008, axolotls are near extinction, due to urbanization in Mexico City, and polluted waters. Nonnative fish have also recently been introduced to the waters. These new fish have been eating the axolotls' babies, as well as its primary source of food. The axolotl is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's annual Red List of threatened species.
Source: Wikipedia

Mexico City's 'water monster' nears extinction
By DAVID KOOP, Associated Press Writer David Koop, Associated Press Writer – Sun Nov 2, 1:14 pm ET

MEXICO CITY – Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster — and a Muppet — with its slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile.

The axolotl, also known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish," was a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Against all odds, it survived until now amid Mexico City's urban sprawl in the polluted canals of Lake Xochimilco, now a Venice-style destination for revelers poled along by Mexican gondoliers, or trajineros, in brightly painted party boats.

But scientists are racing to save the foot-long salamander from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat and deteriorating water quality. In what may be the final blow, nonnative fish introduced into the canals are eating its lunch — and its babies.

The long-standing International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the axolotl on its annual Red List of threatened species, while researchers say it could disappear in just five years. Some are pushing for a series of axolotl sanctuaries in canals cleared of invasive species, while others are considering repopulating Xochimilco with axolotls bred in captivity.

"If the axolotl disappears, it would not only be a great loss to biodiversity but to Mexican culture, and would reflect the degeneration of a once-great lake system," says Luis Zambrano, a biologist at the Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM.

The number of axolotls (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) in the wild is not known. But the population has dropped from roughly 1,500 per square mile in 1998 to a mere 25 per square mile this year, according to a survey by Zambrano's scientists using casting nets.

It has been a steep fall from grace for the salamander with a feathery mane of gills and a visage reminiscent of a 1970s Smiley Face that inspired American poet Ogden Nash to pen the witticism: "I've never met an axolotl, But Harvard has one in a bottle."

Millions once lived in the giant lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco on which Mexico City was built. Using four stubby legs to drag themselves along lake bottoms or their thick tails to swim like mini-alligators, they hunted plentiful aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans.

Legend has it that Xolotl — the dog-headed Aztec god of death, lightning and monstrosities — feared he was about to be banished or killed by other gods and changed into an axolotl to flee into Lake Xochimilco.

The axolotl's decline began when Spanish conquerors started draining the lakes, which were further emptied over time to slake the thirst of one of the world's largest and fastest-growing cities. In the 1970s, Lake Chalco was completely drained to prevent flooding. In the 1980s, Mexico City began pumping its wastewater into the few canals and lagoons that remained of Xochimilco.

About 20 years ago, African tilapia were introduced into Xochimilco in a misguided effort to create fisheries. They joined with Asian carp to dominate the ecosystem and eat the axolotl's eggs and compete with it for food. The axolotl is also threatened by agrochemical runoff from nearby farms and treated wastewater from a Mexico City sewage plant, researchers say.

Local fisherman Roberto Altamira, 32, recalls when he was a boy, and the axolotl was still part of the local diet.

"I used to love axolotl tamales," he says, rubbing his stomach and laughing.

But he says people no longer eat axolotls, mainly because fishermen almost never find them.

"The last one I caught was about six months ago," says Altamira, a wiry gondolier with rope-like muscles from years of poling through Xochimilco's narrow waterways.

Meanwhile, the axolotl population is burgeoning in laboratories, where scientists study its amazing traits, including the ability to completely re-grow lost limbs. Axolotls have played key roles in research on regeneration, embryology, fertilization and evolution.

The salamander has the rare trait of retaining its larval features throughout its adult life, a phenomenon called neoteny. It lives all its life in the water but can breathe both under water with gills or by taking gulps of air from the surface.

On a 9-foot-wide canal covered by a green carpet of "lentejilla" — an aquatic plant that resembles green lentils — Zambrano's researchers test water quality and search for axolotls. The air smells of sulfur and sewage.

A team member suddenly points to the trademark water ripple of an axolotl, and the crew hurls its net. But they only come up with two tilapia in a sopping-wet mass of lentejilla.

So far, scientists disagree on how to save the creature. But a pilot sanctuary is expected to open in the next three to six months in the waters around Island of the Dolls, so-called because the owner hangs dolls he finds in the canals to ward off evil spirits.

Zambrano proposes up to 15 axolotl sanctuaries in Xochimilco's canals, where scientists would insert some kind of barrier and clear the area of nonnative species.

Without carp, the water would clear, and plants the axolotl needs to breed could flourish again, said Bob Johnson, the curator of amphibians and reptiles at the Toronto Zoo.

"If you take the insults away, the lake has an amazing latent potential to heal itself," he said.

Veterinarian Erika Servin, who runs the Mexico City government's axolotl program at Chapultepec Zoo, is studying the possibility of introducing axolotls from the lab into the canals. But more study is needed to make sure the process doesn't lead to diseases and genetic problems from inbreeding.

Xochimilco residents could be another source of resistance.

Hundreds of people make a living pulling tilapia from canals or growing flowers, lettuce and vegetables on nearby land. Efforts to remove the fish or shut down polluting farms could face stiff opposition.

But while the debate goes on, time is running out.

Given its role in research alone, Johnson says, "We owe it to the axolotl to help it survive."

Rory Delap - throw-in superstar

Eat your heart out, Ronaldo! Meet the new king of set-pieces!

Financial crisis

I have a question: If everyone is losing money, who's making a windfall out of this whole calamity? Or is it a natural correction of the rich-poor divide?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Danny Cepero

Teachers need to earn their respect too (Caroline Lim, Today, 30/10, p24)

I refer to “Different strokes required” (Oct 29), and would like to highlight that not only are students of current times different from those of yesteryears’ but that teachers have changed with the times.

Most local teachers are products of the educational system and our changing society and it is appalling to read of teachers being convicted or investigated for molestation or outrage of modesty.

A week ago, in the first case of its kind here in Singapore, a female teacher was charged with having sex with an underage student. And there was a recent media report about teachers moonlighting as bar top/pole dancers.

Besides paper qualifications, are teachers’ character assessed before they are hired? When more than 90 per cent of Singapore students rely on private tutors and commercial tuition centres as helping hands towards attaining academic excellence, I wonder what exactly are the roles of current school teachers?

What has gone wrong that teachers who spend at least six hours a day, five days a week with their students are not commanding sufficient respect? Do they themselves lack discipline in the first place? Are they worthy of respect in the first place?
Gee thanks for tarring everyone with the same brush. That's really fair and well-deserved.

The role of a teacher is supposed to be simple - to teach. But the moment things start coming in that detract from it, we start running out of time. When we do that, we have to rush. When we rush, learning inadvertently drops. And that's where tutors, who earn more than us by the way, come in. MOE has to decide if they want teachers to focus on teaching, or if they want the children to turn to tutors instead. Tutors may do a better job because of one word - ratio. Let's have them teach 40 and see if they can handle it.

I laugh to myself when you ask if MOE considers character when they hire teachers. I'd like to see you get off your high horse and propose how you'd measure the character of someone you are interviewing. You don't even know the character of some of your colleagues whom you've worked with for years. How then do you expect MOE to get all the bad apples out of the basket?

Moreover, do your research before you shoot letters off to the press. Since when do teachers spend six hours (at least!) with our students. We'd be lucky to get three. Factor in school holidays, exams and other special events, and the average goes way down. And what character values can you effectively impart when your focus is on getting their attention when they are over-stimulated at home by parents who use the TV/PC as a babysitter, and then again with virtually all time-proven discipline methods banned by MOE because of aforementioned over-protective parents?

You really can't have your cake and eat it. If you don't want us to discipline, do it yourself. And if you want us to do it, stop telling us we can't do anything remotely effective.

Finally, I say the main reason children lack respect for teachers is partly because of what parents do. I witnessed a parent call a maid stupid in front of her children. Gee, that will really make the children listen to the maid when the mum's not around.

Children no longer have fear of discipline. Inconsistent discipline at home teaches them how to get away with it and they pull the same stunts at school. But our hands are tied. How long before they call our bluff? Epiphany: "Hey! You can't do anything to me! Even if you call my parents, they don't do anything either!"

Spare the rod and spoil the child. But our generation has chosen to spoil the future of our nation instead.

Callie Shell - Obama -

An excellent photojournalism essay on Obama, back when he was still only a senator.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fornication Under Consent of the King

In ancient England, people could not have sex without consent from the King. When people wanted to have a child, they had to solicit permission from the monarchy. In turn, they would supply a plaque to hang on their door when they had sexual relations.

The plaque read: "Fornication Under Consent of the King". I'm sure you can put it together.


During historic civil wars, when troops returned without any casualties, a sign was put up for all to see that read "0 Killed". From here we get the expression "O.K.", which means all is good.

Dr. Seuss - The Vet Who Did Not Vet