Monthly Archives: January 2011

Ma hoovercraft’s breemin’ ower wi eyls

Two weeks ago on Friday I went to Edinburgh again. It was pretty much a last-minute plan, caught in the honey trap laid by my friends K and Z:

J is having a house New Year Party on the 15 January, also, we haven’t seen you for ages…

On my first trip in summer 1995 I had no idea that the people I was meeting there would end up the finest friends one could hope for, all at once easy-going, sharp, warm, open and understanding. They taught me much (and not only wine, whisky & song!), and without them I surely wouldn’t be as outgoing as I am today. Which, if you know me, should send a shudder down your spine.

Quite possibly some of their radiance washed out on my perception of Edinburgh. Well, surely the city has its own undisputable brilliance, but do locations not also shine from the light of the people who dwell there? Continue reading


Head in a cloud

Before a more substantial post hopefully some time next week, here is an update on last week’s quizzes, plus five brand new Word Cloud Puzzles!

Quiz #1 – the word cloud was correctly identified as from the Arabian Nights. ‘Vizier’ and ‘Sultan’ were “a bit of a giveaway”.

Quiz #2 – not the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, not Stevenson, but interesting guesses nonetheless.

Let’s reprint it for convenience. The following haikus (actually, ordinary sentences which happen to be breakable into groups of 5, 7, and 5 syllables) are found in the same book. The question is: which one?

Who was I? What was
I? Whence did I come? What was
my destination?

Who can describe their
horror and consternation
on beholding me?

On that night he had
determined to consummate
his crimes by my death.


And now five brand new Word Cloud Puzzles! The following word clouds have been created from famous texts; the size of words in the cloud increases with their frequency in the texts. This time, to avoid another viziergate and make things trickier, I also deleted the more identifiable words (mostly proper names).

Good luck! Continue reading

A quick one, while he’s away

I will be away over the next two weekends, and won’t write any new post during that time. So to keep you amused a little bit during that time, let me show you a few text processors to play with. Processor here is to be understood as in “food processor”, not “word processor” — you input the text and something comes out at the other end. Continue reading

Another year over, and a new one just begun

So this is 2011, fresh out of the shelf. And in accordance with tradition, this New Year is a good time for pondering and resolutions. Quite probably due to the change of year, that large friendly number which went on with us for twelve months on calendars, appointment notices, documents being signed, magazine covers, whatever. We’ve had time to get used to that big fellow, with a few humorous quiproquos at the beginning of January:

Checkuary – The thirteenth month of the year. Begins New Year’s Day and ends when a person stops absentmindedly writing the old year on his checks.

I think it was Douglas Adams who came up with the term. In any case, with checks having fallen out of grace this may well become an obsolete word.

Anyway. There we are, getting used to 2010 and hop! it switches to 2011, in a process full of symbolism due to cycles and renewal and fresh starts, so it is little surprise that some of us find it an opportune timing to ponder things past, and to make resolutions for things ahead. Continue reading