Cool Stuff

This page is for things I see that I think are cool, but don't know what else to do with them.

Why is it that when we're young, we never want to take a bath and go to bed, but when we get older, that's all we want to do?

Here are a couple of cool things I've seen that are brilliant examples of the way English can be used for humorous purposes:

1) How I Met My Wife

2) A poem on English pronunciation

Here's something on a very beautiful poem, which we know as a lullaby, All Through the Night.

Self-Referential Sentences

Back in the early 1980s, a brilliant man named Douglas R. Hofstadter published an absolute masterpiece: Gödel, Escher, Bach. This book was such a success that he was forced (coerced, whatever) into writing a new book, in which he expounded on some of the themes he had used in columns written for Scientific American magazine. This book was called Metamagical Themas, and it contains some truly wonderful writing. This is must reading for anyone interested in computer science, graphics, art, math, psychology, biology, sociology, or just about anything else; he brings it all together in a wonderfully orchestrated cacophony of meaning.

One of the chapters is devoted to sentences who have things to say about themselves. Go here to unearth some of these priceless (and addictive) gems.
And this is just simply unbelievable....

I still can't believe this is an actual sentence, but it is, and apparently, it's a good tongue-twister, even for native speakers of Swedish!

And here are some German tongue-twisters.

I'm working on a program for a card game called "Tricks" that I used to play in college with a bunch of friends. They'd invented the game, so you've never seen it before, but the people we've recruited to play it love it! Here are the rules. I don't know whether I'm going to just give the program away or what, though. I will tell you, to see the Arabic characters, you need to have the font "Baghdad" installed. I don't know whether it's commercial or not, but I can't include it here on the page. You can find it like I did, though. (I'll see if I can find a shareware version.)

E-mail me if you want to know more....

Here was a cool way to spend New Year's Eve 1999.

How about this for a fascinating fact? Shakespeare was 46 years old when the King James version of the Bible was published. If you look at the 46th Psalm, you will find that the 46th word from the front of it is "shake", and the 46th word from the end is "spear"! Someone must have really had no life at all, to find that one out!!

A poem, written by Dylan Thomas (1952) on learning of his father's terminal illness:

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

For those of you who think that German is a brutal, harsh language, I have to disagree. Yes, we all have images of Hitler standing up there in front of his adoring mobs, barking out these hacking, stiff, punctuated hellish sounds, but that's not what German is. I want to share with you a poem which is Anonymous, but which was set to music by Schubert. It's a cradle song, and is wonderful just the way it is. If you hear it sung (a link to the mp3 is on the page), you will not believe it's the same language. When will we understand that languages are specific, and they have superficial differences, but they all equally represent the inner "mind-speak" that is common to all humans?

Go here to see it.

Some presidential quotes:

"I cannot tell a lie." - George Washington

"A nation divided against itself cannot stand." - Abraham Lincon

"Speak softly, and carry a big stick." - Theodore Roosevelt

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." - FDR

"The buck stops here." - Harry Truman

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - JFK

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" - Ronald Reagan

"That depends on what the definition of the word 'is' is." - Hmmmmmmmm...

Something I thought of after watching a TV show about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. You know, the show that shows you people dialing their phone 75 times, or washing their hands till they bleed, or turning on and off the light switch 100 times? Well, I thought of something that may just show you the true depths of my cynicism:

If you think you have OCD, you have to get diagnosed by a professional, right? A psychiatrist -- someone who had to go to school for years and years, become a doctor, be obsessed about getting perfect grades, and studying compulsively to get them. Are you getting my point? We all have our obsessions and compulsions -- some of them just pay better than others!

The words to Louie, Louie:

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

A fine girl, who waited for me.
I catch a ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I wondered when I'm gonna make it home.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

Three nights and days I sailed the sea.
I think of the girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose that's in her hair.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

I see Jamaican moon above.
See the girl I'm thinking of.
I take her in my arms and then
Say I'll never leave again.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

Oh, I gotta go now.
Uh-huh I gotta go.

© 1999 Dan McGlaun