Monday, October 1, 2012

Popcorn by The Colonel

Eleven Sitcoms Since 1960 Have Aired More Than 250 Episodes

A Canadian friend told The Colonel that most English-speaking Canadians are descendants of Tories who left the rebelling thirteen colonies. There was no systematic English colonization of Canada. If Britain had averted the U.S. war of independence by wiser policy, Canada might today be more French than it is. But “alternative history” is a risky business. Change one variable and you unleash the law of unintended consequences.

English has many strengths as a language, but the burden of being the de-facto world language (air travel, Internet, European Union, Indian subcontinent, etc.) puts evolutionary pressures on it. Some argue that English has already broken up into several languages.

“Whoever speaks two languages is worth two [people].” (A Berlitz motto.) Americans generally aren’t embarrassed that every American isn’t at least bilingual. In some quarters it’s a badge of patriotism to speak only English. It should be a national goal for every American to be proficient in at least two languages, and a badge of shame to be unilingual (monoglot).

Ever wanted to generate any of the following symbols on your Windows keyboard? 

Happy paleface <☺> ALT+1
Happy person of color face <☻> ALT+2
Round bullet <•> ALT+7.  
Paragraph symbol <¶> ALT+20
Section symbol <§> ALT+21
Cents symbol <¢ > ALT+155
Degree symbol < º > ALT+167
Approximately equal sign <≈> ALT+247
Large black square bullet <■> (ALT+254). 
Here’s the lot, between “paren marks”: (☺ ☻ • ¶ § ¢ º ≈ ■). 
The Colonel cannot locate code for the interrobang <‽>!!!???

There is a story that when Marines find themselves in battle with no chance for victory or escape, so the only attainable goal is death with honor, they sing a song called, “Who Wants to Live Forever?” At first blush the title seems to mean, “We all gotta go sometime,” but on reflection it seems to mean, “If you want immortality, join us.”

The Colonel is running a contest with a $1 billion prize and a $250 entry fee. It’s called “Who Will Be the First to Live Forever?”

“Reports of my immortality are greatly exaggerated.” --Mark Twain, through a medium

“[T]he fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” --Carl Sagan

Ever wonder why the letters of our (Latin) alphabet don’t have written, spelled-out names, like “aleph” in Hebrew and “beta” in Greek? The Colonel doesn't know, and has no theory. If you know or have a speculation, please share in a comment, as this itch has long gone unscratched.

No comments: