Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hard water

So, how is your week going? Need a drink yet? Need several? How about a spot of Adam's Ale?
In case you're not too familiar with this most English of colloquialisms, Adam's Ale is nothing more than water. I'm guessing it has less to do with that celebrated hairy cueball of Mythbusters fame and more to do with the Biblically alleged first man.

Pedantry aside, water is probably the best thing you can drink, as long as it's not contaminated. Me, I love the stuff, which is just as well as I generally need to drink lots of fluid in the course of a day in a dusty warehouse. Even then, I do find that water on its own can leave my mouth and throat feeling quite dry, ironically enough. Not only that, but it's nice to have a little flavour in it, too.
Julie is less fond of water as a drink. However, needs must when the devil drives and all that... er, sorry. Another colloquialism. That said, if there's nothing else available and you are thirsty, you're not going to turn down a sip of water, are you?
Julie won't, at least. My wife came into the room where I was busy working at the table one day, and we chatted for a little while. After a few minutes, her voice cracked and she asked if she could have a sip of my drink. Naturally enough, I passed my glass over and she took a sip. No sooner had she swallowed, though, than she grimaced in an exaggerated fashion. I was a little surprised, as I hadn't thought it to be that bad.

I would have asked Julie with what she wished the water to be 'diluted', but I was too busy writing the Gem down.
In the spirit of fairness, I suppose I had best point out that the water had come straight from the tap and we live in what is known as a 'hard water' area. This gives the stuff a certain taste, it's true, and even I have to admit it's not the best flavouring in the world. Still, you have to love the turn of phrase, right?

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Silence of the Cinema

So, by the time you read this, the prizes from our World Book Night draw will be in the postal system and thereafter winging their way to the lucky people whose names we pulled out of the hat. Finally. Sorry about the wait, folks.

As you may have gathered from various posts and the few videos we have managed to share with you, Gem does have a tendency of begetting Gem. Thus it was that, while I was trying to set the camera up for making the video of the actual draw that I suddenly found myself in the situation of having to hastily scribble something down. You see, after I had the focus and framing to be of semi-acceptable standard, I had Julie sit in her chair and then hit the button to begin recording. As I prepared to move around to sit next to my wife, I waved my hands at her, trying to get her to begin talking, rather than just sit there, watching and waiting for me to sit next to her. Unfortunately, it appeared that my hand-waving was not too clear, and Julie didn't have a clue what I was trying to convey.
Oh well.
I sighed, went back the camera, switched it off, and then explained to her what was needed. "We don't want any 'dead air', as radio parlance has it," I said.
"Oh!" Julie exclaimed, "I get you now. You could have said that before, you know, instead of just waving your hands as me and hoping I'll understand it."
This was very true, and I admitted as much. But then Julie continued, and totally shot herself in the foot.

It's difficult to write when you're simultaneously facepalming, you know.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pinocchio vs Prince Charming

OK, so here's something of a classic scene from an OK film. Shrek the third had some good moment, but they were generally lost in a morass of bad ideas. Much as I liked Monty Python, having Eric Idle play the same role as he always does was not a good moment. Even worse, he couldn't even do THAT well.

However, one of the saving graces in the film was the moment when Prince Charming tried to quiz the Gingerbread Man as to Shrek's whereabouts.

When this scene played out, I just looked at Julie, who was suddenly very interested in how badly the carpet needed vacuuming...

By the way. This is one of my other favourite scenes. Seeing Snow White go all badass is pretty... well, badass. Plus Led Zeppelin were amazing.
Then again, the scene where the bad guys invaded works well for me, too. Because it uses this excellent tune.

Happy Sunday, folks!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Marty McFly had a cool time

I just wanted to share this with you. Not sure why, but it seemed oh-so-apt to share it here...

Logic and language obviously have a problem when it comes to dealing with the fourth dimension...

Friday, 25 May 2012

A ding-dong at the drugstore

Those of you who know me, know that I have a life-long problem with severe headaches and migraines. I have tried loads of things. Various preventatives, pain-killers, homoeopathic remedies (yes, I have been that desperate) and even a bizarre experience with a Chinese herbalist.*
Currently, I'm on pregabalin, which is technically an anti-convulsant and generally used in the treatment of epilepsy.

The thing is, pregabalin works by affecting the brain's electrical impulses and thereby has the serendipitous side-effect of helping to prevent and ease head-related pain.
Which is a good thing.
Of course, nothing I take is ever 100% effective, but it has dramatically reduced the amount of incidents I have had, and their severity.
Which is also a good thing. Especially since the HR department at work were taking a rather dim view of things.
A few days ago, me and Julie were walking into town, passing a small chemist (drugstore). It's not part of a large chain company, so it's sometimes limited in what it does and does not have in stock. Bearing that in mind, Julie thought to question me on the subject. Considering she was about to mention an unfamiliar medical term, it was with very unfortunate timing that Julie suddenly had an attack of The Rambles...

Count yourselves lucky - she could have said "Pregaba-labba-doo!"


*Quite some years ago, before I met Julie, there was a family get-together in Southend-On-Sea. Everyone and his dog were invited. At the time, there was a core group of four of us that did most things together; me, my sister, my best mate and his friend, who was dating my sister. As I was unattached and my mate would have been left out, I asked if it would be OK if he came as my "+1".
Oh boy. 
The gossip and misunderstandings from that simple choice took years to die down.
That's beside the point though.
The family, over the years, has spread over a large part of England. Me, I was living in a small town called Thame, which is a little less than 90 miles away from Southend. The plan was that our little group would make our separate ways to Southend and then get together for a wander around.
We were in a shopping centre when we saw a Chinese herbalist. At that point, I was willing to try anything to kill the headaches up to, and possibly including, trepanning. We went inside and this woman started to take my details. When it got to my address, she suddenly became rather excited.

     "Thame? You know Thame?
     "Er... yes - I live there. Wh..?"
     "You know Piece of Cake?"

It turns out that this Chinese herbalist in Southend visits, every now and then, a small town in the middle of nowhere, with the sole intention of giving talks on how to decorate cakes. And then yours truly wanders into her shop looking for a headache cure.
Don't you just LOVE coincidence?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Lusting and leaving

Let's go to work.
You may remember Iain, one of my colleagues. More precisely, you may remember his somewhat irreverent approach to our work. The last time he featured on Julie's Gems, I gave you nothing to go on regarding the stock with store and despatch. It's time to amend this. Basically, we supply hair salons with all manner of washing, conditioning and styling products.
'So what?' I hear you cry.
Just get a load of these names; Glamour Whip, Roughman, Magic Finish - that's not styling product, that's a script for a cheesy (and kinky) 70's porn movie!

Do yourself a favour. Don't google this without safesearch on.

Well, once more, we were checking orders had been picked correctly, and the dodgy names for the products got us to talking about fetishes.

Yeah. NOW you're nervous, aren't you?

As it turned out, we'd hardly started when Iain said to me something that frazzled even my relatively cosmopolitan mind.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Julie and the Gems of Time

First up, I need to take a few deep breaths. I did something at the weekend which was stupid, irresponsible and has me beating my head against the walls.* I lost one of my Gem notepads, one which contains many, many fine Gems, including at least two platyposts. There has already been some discussion over on our Facebook page, so if you want to pop along and berate me or commiserate with me, then feel free.
The one glimmer of light in this debacle is that I can remember one Gem perfectly.

Now, Julie has a sort of love/hate relationship with this blog. On the one hand, it's a tad embarrassing for her. On the other hand, she's actually rather pleased and touched** that so many people find her witty, charming and entertaining. So it is, then, that Julie likes to know what I have posted and how I have presented it. Some days I'll nail it and other days I'll get an unexpected smack around the back of the head. Normally, the question is a supremely cynical, "So, what have you said about me today?" However, there can be occasions when Julie isn't quite so guarded about how she's phrasing things (yeah, I know, I know).

...and then there are times when I have to jump into a TARDIS to find out what I'm posting. Apparently.

* Gently. I'm not into pain.
** Yes, a lot of people would say Julie is touched...

Friday, 18 May 2012

"Yesterday, upon the stair...

I met a man who wasn't there..."

You may recognise the above quote as the opening lines of the poem "Antigonish" by Hughes Mearns; I was reminded of it quite strongly by today's Gem. Read on and see if you agree.

I had not long returned from work and we were sat having a nice cup of tea and a chat. Apropos of nothing,* Julie commented on her leg, which was had been revealed by the riding up of her trouser leg.
"I've got hairs on my legs!"
I explained, in my picky, slightly anally-retentive manner, that humans have hair all over, apart from the soles of our feet and the palms of our hands. After a brief bout of denial, brought on by the fact my wife couldn't - and wouldn't - believe me when I said that she even had hair on her chest, Julie asked if we had hair on our fingers. I replied that we did, but only on the tops, "treat the underside of your fingers like they were extensions of your palms."

Oh dear...
At least Julie had the self -awareness to burst out laughing when she realised what she had just said.

*Let's face it - this is Julie's modus operandi, isn't it?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Platypuses. Now with inferiority complexes

Yes, it's the return of the Platyposts!
As if the poor beast wasn't enough of an outsider, eh? Restricted in their habitat to one of the less-welcoming islands in the world, an appearance that even the chimera-mad Victorians thought was too unbelievable and one of the incredibly small number of venomous mammals on this planet. Mind you, on Tasmania, venom, poison (yes, there is a difference) and simple aggression seem almost de rigueur.
On top of all that, they have Julie (and, I have to admit, plenty of others) to contend with. I mean, if the platypus didn't already have an identity crisis courtesy of its looks, then Julie somehow mistaking it for almost every other creature under the sun is really going to mess with its mind. Remember the conversation I had with her back in January? For those who want to stick with this page, here's the majority of our exchange.

(By the way, as Kevin, one of the winners in our recent
prize draw will know already, the above image
is the first official Julie's Gems bookmark)

Yeah. Still gets me every time, that one does.
And it gets worse. Not content with taxonomical confusion, Julie has now decided it's time to get personal.
I can't recall the original conversation, but we were looking at a series of pictures of baby animals and going through the obligatory 'oohs' and 'aahs'. And then we came to this one.

Considering the recent brou-ha-ha about platypuses, this picture tickled me. I especially loved the way their skin appears to be several sizes too large for them. Julie, however, was not impressed.

There's just no convincing some folk, is there? I nearly asked what she thought they could have been instead, but I've just finished my medication...

Monday, 14 May 2012

World Book Night 2012. Boy, do we have a prize draw for you. Finally.

As promised, we pulled some names out of a hat - literally. We're old school like that. We even committed it to video. Finally. We really need that camcorder so we can save ourselves a fortune in AA batteries.
Like we said before, there would be five winners, each winning a special edition of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens'. As we added later, there would be an especially lucky person who would also win further prizes. Take a look.

Not a bad haul, eh?

Just to recap the prize situation, everyone will get a special edition of Good Omens and an official, laminated Julie's Gems bookmark. One lucky person also gets a special edition of The Time-Traveler's Wife and a slap watch (seriously, who come up with these stupid names?)
Last night, after Julie came home from work, we cobbled together a quick video clip for the prize draw. As you will see, we had no script (as per usual), not much expertise, and certainly not much of a clue. It also didn't help much that we hadn't agreed how we were going to go about things. As a result, right from the word 'go', I was pretty much wrong-footed for the whole clip.

So, there you go. Four lucky people and one very lucky person. Congratulations to Jules, Sharron, Kevin, Peter and the winner of the extra book and watch, Dimitra! Your goodies will be winging their way to you in a short while - well sort of. Kevin didn't have to wait long at all, the lucky so-and-so.

As you can see, Kev only won the book and bookmark. He seems pretty
happy about it though, doesn't he?

Heh - I did a quick little presentation, showed him the video clip and handed him the book. He then asked me if we had made that video in the library. I had to explain to him that the books behind us were actually ours. And represented less than half of our own personal library.
[/bragging mode]

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The quotable Pratchett

Nothing much to say today, despite the massive backlog of Gems, both from Julie and friends who have passed on humorous situations to us. (Think you know someone who is worth Gemming? Drop us a line at the usual email address or via our Facebook page.)
No; today being the last full day of our competition, I thought we could share quotes from Terry Pratchett. After all, I know we could do with a giggle, right? Leave comments below with your favourite quote - if you can think of a single one, that is - and I may collate them in a few days in a special celebratory post.
To get the ball rolling, I wanted to share this Gem-like quote with you. It's not from any of his books, that I can think of, at least, but is worth displaying just for the sheer fact most of us will be sitting here nodding and grinning our heads off like Roundworld versions of Nanny Ogg.

Come on, admit it. You spent a few seconds staring at it before you started nodding, didn't you?

Like I said; the free draw ends tomorrow, so get those entries in!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Spike slanders the British royal family

Yesterday, Thursday 10th of May saw an unusual event in a Scottish BBC TV studio. During the regular airing of the lunchtime news, the newsreader, Sally Magnusson did the usual handover to the weather report. What made this particular event so special was that Britain's crown prince, Prince Charles, had taken the place of the normal weatherman.

Granted, Charlie had been given a special script, one which was - oddly enough, hem hem - rather focussed on areas where there were royal residences, but I have to admit that, looking at the picture above, he seems to suit the job quite well. For a British BBC weatherman, that is. I'm not entirely sure if it was 100% scripted, but Chaz even managed to fit in a jokey reference to our beloved weather patterns and the apparent poor timing with regard to public holidays.
"...but a cold day everywhere, with temperatures eight degrees centigrade and a brisk northerly wind. Thank God it isn't a bank holiday."
It's not laugh-out-loud funny, I'll grant you, but it's typical British humour; a wry recognition of certain immutable facts of life.

You may have gathered from my rather over-familiar references to the queen's successor that I don't go overboard in my flag-waving Jingoism. Don't get me wrong though, I don't dislike the royal family completely. I'm not sure how politically potent they are these days. Queen Victoria was pretty much the last reigning monarch to be actively involved in the running of the country, although it may be that that could change if Charley gets the crown. He's been noted for - how shall I phrase this - trying to influence the opinions and practices of the British people and businesses. Some see him as a welcome positive influence and possible role model, others just think he's an interfering busybody without a clue. Me? I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since he's done some good things, raising awareness of environmental issues being just one example.

So that's Charles. But what of the other members of the royal family? The Duke of Edinburgh is hilarious, albeit in a teeth-suckingly and completely cringeworthy embarrassing uncle way. Harry is an earnest young chap, although he's made some howlers himself in the past. I think he's going to grow up to be one of the best people though. And then there's Prince William, Charles' eldest son and therefore second in line to the throne. He's OK, I suppose, but his future role means that he has to watch what he says and does very carefully, with the net effect that he comes across as an amiable and serious-minded fellow - with about as much charisma as a soggy chip (or french fry, for our colonial cousins).

Of course, I can't ignore our current monarch. But... I can't really think of much to say. She appears to be nice, but all I really know of her is that she gets to go on holiday a lot and probably has to see a physiotherapist about RSI in her wrist from all that gracious waving. Having said that, I do recall a sketch on the satirical puppet show, Spitting Image, which had a puppet of the queen, singing 'One Will Survive', to the tune of the classic Gloria Gaynor song, 'I will survive'. In the sketch, Queenie sings about the possibility of abdicating so that Charles has a shot at the throne before he kicks the bucket himself. Well, more precisely, she sings about there being NO possibility of abdicating... As I recall, it was absolutely hilarious.
As you can see, blind obeisance isn't a huge part of my psyche.

Getting back to the point, my friend Wolf mentioned Prince Charles' stint as a weatherman and handily posted a link. I wasn't too worried about watching the clip myself, although I was interested in my friend's opinion; apparently, Charley handled it rather well, which led Wolf to believe there was an alternative future for him. I wasn't too sure myself, and responded in my usual, cynical and none-too-reverential manner...

It might not have been all that bad, except that I have something of a reputation for twisting the meaning of words and sentences, often to a salacious end. A reputation that came back to bite me right where it hurts...
Heh.. oh well.


By the by, Wolf is the generous soul who sent me one of his copies of The Time-Traveler's Wife to offer as a bonus prize to one lucky person in our World Book Night draw. If you want a special edition of this book, then email us or comment below, just to say you want in. I'd hurry though, as we will be making the draw on Sunday evening (GMT).

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bonus post - It's a nice way to kill time

A friend of mine from gaming days of yore has graciously allowed me to share this little event with you...

Paul and his wife, Lisa, were waiting for a TV show to begin and were successfully avoiding the ads by having themselves a pleasant natter. They both enjoy the show, but it so happens that it's actually Lisa's favourite. Paul was lost in the conversation, but Lisa, who had been keeping a weather eye on the TV, saw that the show was about to begin. With a pithy ability to get right to the point, Lisa cut into the conversation with this...

Um. Yes, dear...
(shutting up now, dear)

When I saw this, I knew I had to appropriate it for Julie's Gems. However, I needed a little background first. After all, the only thing I knew at first was a simple sentence on Facebook.

See what I mean?
Apparently Lisa "has a thing for serial killers. Long story."
Erk. Having asked the question, I was now reminded of a quote from Terry Pratchett's 'Mort'

Yes, it definitely served me right.

In case you happened to be interested, the TV show in question was Criminal Minds.
Many thanks to Lisa and to Paul, who is probably in for a world of pain when Lisa finds out he allowed me to post this.


Now I've managed to shoehorn a Terry Pratchett quote into the blog, I may as well take the opportunity to once more plug the free book draw taking place. If you want a special edition copy of 'Good Omens' and an official Julie's Gems bookmark (with a chance to also blag a copy of Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time-Traveler's Wife' and a slap watch), then send us an email by this Sunday to

Alphabetically abnormal sudoku

You know what a sudoku puzzle is, right? A grid of 81 squares. 9 squares long, 9 squares wide. The whole thing is subdivided into 9 squares, 3x3, each containing 9 squares. In some of those squares are numbers. The basic idea is to work out, using logic alone, no mathematical skills needed, what numbers should go into the blanks spaces. Bear in mind that all vertical and horizontal lines and each 3x3 square must contain the numbers 1-9 with no repeats or absences. Here's an example.

Obviously, the top line is missing the numbers 1, 4 and 8. Since there is a 1 in the 2nd and 3rd sub-square, the 1 should then go into the 1st slot, between the 6 and the 5.
And so on. It's pretty easy, but then again, there are quite a few starter numbers. Me, I like doing the variety known as 'killer sudoku' or 'sumdoku'. See if you can work out what the rules are.

Anyway, both Julie and myself like to do sudoku - although Julie prefers the basic type. Not that that's a bad thing; she's actually pretty good at solving them. However, I sat in the lounge one day, poring over my puzzles, when Julie piped up with an offer of assistance...

Er. No, love. I'm still using numbers. Same as ever, same as you.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What's a wotnot not?

I've said it before, and I'll no doubt be saying it again before much more sand has passed through the timer's pinch - context is everything. The stupid thing is this; the first time you saw me mention it, I was also bemoaning the fact that I had been quite short-sighted by jotting down only the Gem itself, and not the circumstances in which it took place.
Guess what? I've done precisely the same thing once more. In my defence, and looking at my notes, it seems I was struggling to keep up with Julie as she came up with Gem after Gem after Gem. It also doesn't help that I appear to have had my hands full at the time.

Again, if you have any suggestions as to what the missing/replaced words may have been, then feel free to comment below, or email them to us (along with your entry to the free book draw - hint, hint!) at
Personally, I'm actually dreading some of the answers here. No matter what I come up with for 'wotnot', there's nothing good for 'dubris'.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Say what??

That was close. I put this Gem together, all the time having this nagging feeling of deja vu, and finally committed myself to starting up a new blog post with the title above. Except that after typing the word 'say', I was then given the auto-complete option of 'Say you, say what?' With a sinking feeling, I trawled the archives in search of the post with that title, hoping it wouldn't be the same thing. That I had re-used something, having failed to cross it out before...


As it happens, 'Say you, say what?' is a completely different post, one from the murky depths of time before I started getting cocky and adding pretty pictures to each Gem. Take a look.
Today's Gem admittedly riffs off a very similar theme, albeit set to a rambling time signature in the key of 'eh?'

You know what, love? It may well do, but I'm damned if I know...


Just a few days left to enter the free book draw, folks. Just comment below or send us an email to enter.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Magnificent motors, post-haste!

This weekend, there were a couple of events taking place in Eastbourne. One was a semi-regular 'continental' market along the seafront promenade, which sells product from Europe and the UK - and, for some reason, native American Indian-themed clothing and accoutrements. Hence the use of quote marks above. There were plenty of foodstuffs - mostly pricey foodstuffs. Admittedly, they were tasty, but they were still pricey. Baklava (or however you wish to spell it), churros, paella (so very tempted by this), noodles, biscuits, cakes, cheeses (including a cheddar infused with Guinness. VERY nice melted onto toast) and sweets. There was even a guy trying, in the chill wind, to sell slush puppies. Yeah. I'm guessing he wasn't making much of a profit this weekend.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the long prom (and back a bit), there was the annual event known as Magnificent Motors. We're not petrolheads, not in the slightest. Any interest in cars, vans, buses or lorries is going to be on a purely cultural basis. We don't care how smooth a ride it is/was, or what goes on under the bonnet (or 'hood' for our American friends). However, it was something to do on a bank holiday weekend, so we wandered along, grateful that there was no entry fee.

Last year, it turned out that I was far more interested in one of the bands playing than in anything else - as we approached, I heard the strains of a cover of a tune by The Specials. All of a sudden, Julie found herself talking to thin air (I know, I know...), as I peeled off at speed and a tangent, and made a beeline for the stage where Ska'd 4Life were banging out some great tunes. There was a half decent crowd, but only myself, a couple of young children and one woman (who turned out to be a band WAG) near the stage showed any inclination to pump elbows and dance along. Julie, in the meantime, maintained a cautious distance.
Sadly, the music this year wasn't up to par, although I had to give the singer we saw some credit for singing the Joni Mitchell hit 'Big Yellow Taxi' at a motor show.* I'd have put a pile of money on nobody else getting the joke, though...

It didn't take us long to wander around, although we did stop and have a chat with one guy who was running a stall devoted to making and selling DVDs of old film footage of various forms of public transport around the South of Britain. I was very tempted, but Julie persuaded me not to bother. I'm still thinking about it though. Hmm, look at that, I seem to have his website....
Shortly after that, we came across this beautiful old car.

Apologies for the quality, I was only using my phone-cam.
Now, bear in mind that, as I said before, neither of us have any knowledge or interest of a car's workings, I was curious as to what that brass plate I have pointed out was actually for. In fact, it put me in mind of something else...

Facepalm time. Well done, love, you caught me out with that one. Terrible pun, but you got me, nonetheless.

*Oh come on, you know the lyrics; "... they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..."

OK, so we're now into the final week of our prize draw. If you haven't put your name in yet, then do so immediately, if not sooner. The prizes, as if you need reminding, are as follows.
1 person wins a special edition of 'Good Omens' by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, a special edition of Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time Traveler's Wife, an official Julie's Gems bookmark and a funky slap-watch.
4 people will win a special edition of 'Good Omens' by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman and an official Julie's Gems bookmark.
Remember, anyone can enter, the prizes will be sent to anywhere in the world at no cost to you. All you have to do is send us an email (no postal addresses yet!) to
The latest date for entries is this Sunday, 13th of May

Time to finish with a video - a little bit of Ska'd 4 Life, anyone?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Memory almost full - of WTF

OK, it's best that I get the news out of the way first - you're certainly not going to be in any fit state to take it in following today's Gem.
Regarding the World Book Night free draw for copies of Good Omens, I have made the executive decision to extend the time for entries for another week. This is nothing to do with the draw itself, but more to do with the fact I will be sending out the prizes on the back of my next pay packet. Ultimately, this means that any waverers now have a little longer to try and make up their minds, as the closing date is now Sunday, May 13th.
Go on, drop us a line at and tell us you want a free book. Or books and a watch. Actually, why not drop us an email anyhow? We like to hear from people. Tell us what you like or don't like about our blog, and maybe even suggest something or other. You never know, you may even have a Gem yourselves and want to see it posted here... don't look at me like that - it's happened. A lot.


And now for something completely wotnot.
Today's Gem is all Julie and was a status update on her personal Facebook page.* The first I knew of it was that one of our mutual friends had commented upon it and requested - nay, demanded - that it be transferred here to make it official.
Anyway, no fannying about, here's the Gem. Make of it what you will, because I'm out of options...

Now, if you're anything like myself and our friend, you will have just spent the best part of five minutes reading and re-reading that, just to try and work out if the internal logic holds up.
In fact, if you're anything like me, you have also just developed a sharp pain behind your left eye and given it up as a bad job...

Have a great weekend folks (especially to those of you in the UK who now have a three-day weekend to look forward to. Barring people like Julie who work in hospitals and the like. My sympathies.)

*Don't forget that Julie's Gems also has a Facebook page. If you become a fan of the page, then you'll have access to all the Gems plus a few FB-only posts.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ships sounding out a physics fail

Every now and then, you'll come across something that causes a sea-change in the way we perceive the universe and its workings. Einstein proved that Newton didn't have it all covered. Darwin showed us there was no cosmic watchmaker. And Julie now tells us that hitherto indivisible physical concepts can actually be separated out.
See this piece of string?

What do you have if you cut it in half? Instead of one piece of string, you have two smaller pieces of string.
What don't you have if you cut it in half? You don't have two half  pieces of string.

Odd, isn't it? If someone rips a piece of paper in half you have two pieces of paper, not halves. On the other hand, if that swine rips up a twenty-pound note in front of you, then there will be two halves of a note. And a mad scramble for a roll of sticky tape. It seems it's only when things become more specific and defined that you are allowed to half, quarter, fifth (etc) them.

The same principle applies to noises. If someone whistles, then it's a whistle, even if they are suddenly cut short. On the other hand, if you talk about it musically, then our friend with the pursed lips can be said to have tweeted a minim, crotchet, or whatever.


That said, some things are still indivisible. A hole is a hole is a hole. You can't prise apart a clap.* And a bell peal is a bell peal, regardless of length.
Until now. Fancy another Trivial Pursuit question? Of course you do.

Tell me; what's the weath... physics like on your planet?

*Death of Terry Pratchett's Discworld would beg to differ with this statement.