Monday, March 26, 2007

Alphabetical Reorder

Up until the early 1920's, N came before M in the alphabet. But the composer of the "Alphabet Song," which became a huge hit in 1922, accidentally reversed the letters. Educators complained loudly. But with small children singing the catchy bridge ("H, I, J, K, LMNOP"), the previous ordering was soon forgotten. In 1925, the Harry Snelling Orchestra released a competing song, called "Pardon Me, It's LNMOP." But the melody was so uninspiring that the record remained largely unheard, and unheard of.

By 1927, libraries all over the United States and Great Britain were forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars re-ordering their catalog card files.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to Rotate Your Tires

Always rotate your tires in the counter-clockwise direction. If you rotate them in the clockwise direction, the wear will accumulate along a Fourier transform function and reduce the lifetime of the tire by 1/3.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Apple Owner Manuals

In California, it is now illegal to sell apples in grocery stores and fruit stands without an instruction manual that describes how to eat an apple, and that informs the consumer of the risk of swallowing an apple without chewing it. The manuals must be printed in English, Spanish and Korean.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I was wondering why every time I get a package from FedEx, it's busted up in some way, and then I was watching the History Channel's Modern Marvels. They were showing FedEx's central sort facility in Denver, Colorado. Most packages that are shipped FedEx will cross through this sort facility at some point. It's a massive, impressive operation, and truly and amazing feat of engineering.

The basics of the facility are this. Each truck backs into the warehouse and utilizes the dump function, like a dump truck, dumping all the packages onto the ground, which is much faster than loading and unloading them. (the ground is padded so boxes don't get smashed up.) Planes don't even land, they just air drop packages into the sort facility like the UN airdrops supplies into a war zone. Once the packages are on the ground in piles, FedEx Union operators push them to the central sort machine with specialized package dozers. They're not really a dozer but more like what they use to load gravel into a dump truck.

Once the packages arrive at the center of the warehouse, a gigantic man eating robot known only as X-321 reads the destination code on the package and kicks it into the proper destination truck or plane like a soccer ball. X-321 was originally developed by the military but they quit using it when they found it couldn't tell the difference between a terrorist with a grenade launcher and a child with an ice cream code. A video of X-321 kicking a small child's head like a soccer ball ended up on youtube and the military sold this robot to FedEx.

Although X-321 occasionally does smash up merchandise, it's only if the box doesn't have enough peanuts or packing material. Think of it as a cushion. The best thing you can do to protect items shipped by FedEx is to put them in the center of a large, hollowed out Nerf ball. If you want a package to get smashed so you can get the insurance money for it, put a turban on top of the box. FedEx hasn't properly deprogrammed X-321 yet and he'll rip it to pieces and try to eat it for fuel.

As bad as all this sounds, it's no where near as bad as what UPS does to packages with their cargo cannons.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Be Careful of Hot Slides

One day when I was a kid, I was playing on the metal slide in the park, and it was so hot that I stuck to the slide halfway down like a burnt sausage on a frying pan. I was getting pretty cooked until the fire department peeled me off with a surgical spatula. While they carried me to the ambulence someone said "Mmmm! Smells like bacon!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

National Banana Nut Ice Cream Day

Today is National Banana Nut Ice Cream Day. I would take the day off, except last week I took a day off for National Upholstered Ottoman day.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I Dream Backwards

As long as I can remember, my dreams always go backwards. Like a movie going backwards in a projector. Like, when I fall asleep, I'm being chased by two secret agents, but we're running in reverse, until I get back to my living room, where I'm startled looking at the window where the secret agents just broke in, except they're disappearing in the bushes, and I'm quietly reading a book.

My doctor said to call him and take two aspirin in the morning.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mexican pizza

The food we call pizza is actually called tacos in Mexico.  What we call tacos didn't actually exist in Mexico until long after they were developed in Arkansas in the 1940s.  In Mexico, they call them tacos Americanos, so nobody gets confused.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The toothpaste that the dentist has

Most people think that you can't buy the same kind of toothpaste as the dentist because they use special equipment.  It's actually because it's highly corrosive, and that's why you're only supposed to have it in your mouth when the dentist does it.  It really cleans your teeth, but if you used it every day, it could melt your face.  That happened to this guy my cousin knows.  He stole some from the dentist, because he liked how clean his teeth felt every time he went.  He ended up having to have a robotic jaw installed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Finished Reading!

Yup, thanks to that speed reading class I took, I finished reading the whole Internet last night. Boy, were my eyes tired. Some of it was pretty interesting, but to tell you the truth it was kind of a letdown. The last thing I read was a blog about a woman in Iowa who took her infant to the mall for the first time.