Monthly Archives: August 2006

What’s E.T. short for?

He’s only got little legs.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised…

…but I am to learn that one at least one of the big shifts in English language of the last twenty years the emoticon (smiley πŸ™‚ has a specific inventor. His name is Scott Fahlman and he invented πŸ™‚ and 😦 to point out which posts were jokes and which ones weren’t on a server, and this was back in 1982. Some people do talk about a guy called Kevin Mackenzie who suggested -) to be like a tongue sticking out the – is the middle of the tongue and he did that back in 1979 but most people say that it was Scott who did the business. I tend, if I do use emoticons to use πŸ˜‰ the most as it seems the most friendly and also the most useful way of pointing out that something is tongue and cheek.

I went to a talk by the playwright Alan Aykbourne a few years ago [you may want to read about the whole week starting here, and in that talk he said that he despised the use of emoticons. He said that “if something was supposed to be funny then it should be funny enough to be identified as funny by the person reading it laughing at the end. They shouldn’t need a pointer at the end”. He effectively compared smileys to the laughter track on television.

He was wrong of course because, at least in my experience, they aren’t used to say “this is a joke” after a bona fide joke. They are used to say “this is a joke” after something which could be taken deadly seriously.

Now I should find out about that other shift in English Language: text speak. Oh wait I already did.

I have a pet lobster called Mike…

He’s a little terror I can tell you.

The main problem with having a pet lobster is that they like to go outside and frolic a lot more that you are probably willing to entertain. When you want to stay in they want to go out, and when you want to go out they want to curl up next to a pat of butter.

It’s very very tricky to deal with, because when they go in and out they like to hold the door open for a long time, I don’t know why they do this, cats don’t do this with a cat flap. They simply must like doing things very very slowly (except when they go for a little clip of your finger, then it’s ultra fast). And the door being open for such a long time means that the temperature in your house drops a lot in the winter and rises a lot in the summer, and this is a terrible terrible thing.

So I have been searching long and hard for a solution to this particular problem, but could I find one? Could I heck fire! Until just this very morning when via e-mail I was sent a picture of the exact thing, apparently it provides two doors which allow the lobster to step through the first door as slowly as it likes, which then seals behind it and then, the lobster steps through the next. The process is repeated the other way around when it comes back in.

I believe the product is called:

…wait for it…

A Lobster Thermos Door.