# Sunday, 25 September 2011

Are you a lover of fine words? If so, read on my sesquipedalian friend!

A pointless, but amusing program for those who like long words

Those who know me are used to the fact that i find it hard to use one word when ten will do, or a short one when a long one is perfectly sufficient. I blame my mother who gave me all manner of fine books to read when I was a boy!

Anyway, I have long enjoyed peppering my speech, and indeed e-mails and blog posts, with unnecessarily long and obscure words. This amuses me, and confuses others! Being a programmer by profession, and a tinkerer by nature, I decided some time ago to write myself a small application for my computer, which could pop up with ease and help me insert lovely words into whatever I was typing. This gave me great (if childish) satisfaction.

Perhaps I’m foolish for doing this, but I decided to release this little program to the unsuspecting world. If you would like to spice up your e-mails, you can download it from here (Note that this works on Windows only). It consists of two files, the program itself, and a file that contains the words. Put these two files somewhere safe, for example in a folder called “Loquacious” in your “My Documents” folder.

When you are typing, and you want a nice word, call up the program and choose one from the list. When it is selected, click the Enter key and the window will close. If your e-mail (or whatever) was the last window open, then the word will automatically be pasted in. If not, go back to your e-mail and click Ctrl-v (or choose Paste from the Edit menu if you prefer).

The main Loquacious window

Note that as I am a keyboard fan, and use the mouse as little as possible, I wrote this program to be keyboard friendly. This means that it doesn’t really use the mouse, and if you try double-clicking a word, nothing will happen. I know this is easy to do, I just never got around to it!

A quick way to start the program

If you are using Vista or Windows 7, you can make this even easier. When the program is running, look for the icon on the taskbar, it looks like a yellow submarine…

My taskbar, showing the Loquacious icon fifth from the left

Right-click on the yellow submarine, and from the little menu that pops up, choose “Pin this program to taskbar” (I know, they missed out the word “the” in that sentence. Don’t blame me, I didn’t write Windows!).

The pop-up window that allows you to pin programs to the taskbar

This will leave the Loquacious icon on the taskbar, even after you close it. Now, when you want to start Loquacious, you can click the little yellow submarine on your taskbar and it will start. Much quicker eh? But wait, it gets better…

An even quicker way to use it!

Now, here’s a little–known, but jolly clever trick for Vista and Windows 7 users (no, it doesn’t work in XP, I tried it!). If you hold down the Windows key on your keyboard, and press the number 1 on the numbers across the keyboard, it will open up which ever program is the first one pinned to the taskbar. in my case, that would be the program with the red icon with the two plus signs you can see above. If you choose Windows+2, you get the second icon (mine would be the purple and white “N”0 and so on. This is a great way to open your favourite programs quickly.

Now, if you drag the Loquacious icon towards the left end of the taskbar, so that it is one of the first nine icons (ignore the Start button, that doesn’t count), then you will be able to open it by clicking Windows+5 (in my case, your number will depend where you put the little yellow submarine).

The benefit of all this is that inserting words becomes very quick when you are typing. For example…

  1. Whilst typing an e-mail, you want to insert a nice word, so you click Windows+5. Up pops Loquacious.
  2. You use the arrows keys to move up and down, or type a letter to jump to the first word that starts with that letter. Do this until you find the word you want.
  3. Press the Enter key on your keyboard. Loquacious closes, and inserts the chosen word in your e-mail.

Can’t get much easier than that eh! If you decide not to insert a word, press the Esc key (usually in the top left corner of your keyboard) to close Loquacious without inserting.

Adding and deleting words

To add a new word, just open Loquacious and press Ctrl-a. This will pop up a small window where you can add a new word and its meaning. To delete a word, choose it in the main list and click either the Del key or the BackSpace key (often just has a left-pointing arrow).

I hope this program amuses you. If so, please leave a comment and tell me (politely) what you thought of it. Just click the “Comments” link below.

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Speed of light

Apparently, scientists have now decided that they may have managed to accelerate particles to a speed that exceeds the speed of light – something that dear old Einstein stated was impossible according to the laws of physics.

Now, not wishing to embarrass the eminent scientists around the world, and especially not at that august institution known as CERN, where it all seems to have originated, so I will refrain from commenting on the subject directly, but will merely quote an appropriate little ditty…

There was a young lady named Bright
who could travel much faster than light
She went out one day, in a relative way
and came back the previous night
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# Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Gittel in a new dress

The Boss bought Gittel a new dress, and we had a Grand Trying-On session today. Here is the result, with Gittel almost sitting up on her own (but not for very long)…

Gittel in her new dress

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# Monday, 19 September 2011

Nice story that probably isn’t true, but is cute enough to be true!

Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn't seem to get to work on time.

Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their "Older Person Friendly" policies.

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk. "Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here; but your being late so often is quite bothersome."

"Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it."

"Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear.”

Yes sir, I understand your concern and Ill try harder.”

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment, “It's odd though your coming in late. I know you're retired from the Armed Forces. What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning so late and so often?"

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled. He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin, "They usually saluted and said, Good morning, Admiral, can I get your coffee, sir?

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# Thursday, 15 September 2011

They didn’t really mean that did they?

I went across the road for mincha yesterday, and someone showed me an old siddur that had been left there. being interested in old seforim, I took a look, however, I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw! The title page looked innocent enough at first glance…

An old siddur

Now you probably can’t read the small line of print above the word “Radelheim” (which I assume was the town where it was printed), so here’s a close-up of that bit…

A close-up of the small print

Well, at least they were honest about it!

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# Sunday, 11 September 2011

Brilliant e-commerce site!

HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4th, 1926, in Amsterdam. Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands.

Take a look at HEMA's product page - just wait a couple of seconds and watch what happens. Don’t click on any of the items in the picture, just wait.


This company has a sense of humour and a great computer programmer who has too much time on his hands!

P.S. Before anyone e-mails me to tell me that this isn’t the real catalogue page – I KNOW, I just thought it was funny enough to share.

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Who is it?

OK, this is a bit weird, but it works! If you look at the picture below, you’ll hopefully recognise it as someone pretty famous.

Who is it?

Now, stand as far back from the screen as you can, and look again. Who is it now?

If you can’t see the difference, don’t worry about it! If you can, please tell me how they did it!

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# Sunday, 04 September 2011

Finally managed a half-decent photo of Chaya Devoira!

As anyone who has a child with Down’s Syndrome will know, they are generally extremely affectionate, loving and characteristic children, but correspondingly difficult to photograph! Despite my best efforts, my attempts to get a decent photo of Chaya Devoira have generally been doomed to failure. Most of them make her look gormless (which she isn’t, but you wouldn’t know if from my photography!) or half-asleep!

There was one very funny photo I caught of her eating a piece of cucumber. She loves food, and grabbed this cucumber as if it were a prized possession. She then climbed up on a chair (I guess where she thought we wouldn’t be able to take it off her!), and ate it with great relish. This photo (actually from the end of May) shows a lovely mischievous face as she keeps half an eye out for intruders…

Chaya Devoira eating cucumber

Anyway, whilst on holiday, we visited Foot Fell Park, which is superbly beautiful park on the southern tip of Lake Windermere. Towards the end of our day there, we had a nosh party (crisps, pretzels, etc) on a secluded piece of grass. I managed to catch Chaya Devoira off guard, and although she isn’t actually looking at the camera, it’s still a nice picture…

Chaya Devoira in Foot Fell Park

It’s taken me nearly three years to get that one! I hope it doesn’t take as long to get the next!

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# Monday, 29 August 2011

Banana flies

We learnt an interesting thing yesterday… if you go away on holiday for two weeks, and leave a bunch of bananas in the cupboard, then when you return, you will have a black, smelly mess that once resembled bananas, and a cupboard of flies! If you then open the cupboard door, you will end up with a kitchen full of flies! They are jolly hard to get rid of as well.

However, in the interests of public information, I am able to reveal a secret, but highly effective method of getting rid of them. You wait until they are all quiet and unsuspecting, and you sneak up on them with a vacuum cleaner (preferably with the end taken off the hose), and surprise them. They all fly up into the air, and you can suck them all up! Takes a few goes, but it’s a pretty good way of clearing them out. We got rid of loads that way.

Of course, the best advice is not to forget the bananas in the first place!

More useful advice in future posts… maybe.

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# Tuesday, 02 August 2011

News to make you kvell, Fred Flintstone was Jewish!

Fred Flintstone

I know you can’t believe everything you read, but some things are just so enticing that you can’t bring yourself to question them. I just discovered that the man who did the voice for Fred Flintstone was Jewish! Apparently the man behind the Fred Flintstone was one Alan Reed, born in 1907 as Edward Bergman, who based Fred’s voice on the mannerisms of his zeide from Galitzia, and the arguments he had with his Litvak father (as someone commented, mixed marriages didn’t go down well even in those days!).

Ah, doesn’t it make you shlep nachas that such a fundamental part of our misspent youth was One Of Us? Maybe not, but it’s an interesting bit of trivia!

Read more at Fred Flintstone: A Stone Age Star With A Jewish Voice.

Interestingly enough, the man who voiced Barney Rubble (Fred Flintstone’s next door neighbour for those too young to remember the Flintstones) was Mel Blanc, who was also Jewish. However, as he also did the voices for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig (somewhat incongruous, but business is business!), Sylvester the cat, Tweety Pie, Foghorn Leghorn, and, well, just about every Hanna-Barbera cartoon character going, I suppose it’s not so surprising that he was behind Barney Rubble as well.

Back with more irrelevant, pointless news right after this commercial break…

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