10 Ten things for 10/10/10

Here it is, October 10th, 2010. Or 10/10/10. How could I resist making a list?¹ Here are 10 “ten” things:

  1. 10: the number of fingers of a typical human
  2. decimal system: the base 10 system of numbers, the numeric system most commonly used in the world, likely due to people liking to count on their fingers
  3. a scale of 1 to 10: used to rate various things, from degree of pain to physical attractiveness, or athletic performance, such as olympic gymnastics
  4. a perfect 10: an expression meaning that the entity to which the expression is applied has achieved the highest score possible, particularly when the scale is of something positive.
  5. Perfect 10” a song by The Beautiful South [on youtube]
  6. 10 (1979): a coming of (middle-)age movie about a man (Dudley Moore) who stalks a younger woman he doesn’t know (Bo Derek) after seeing her on her way to her wedding, and deciding that she is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. (Oddly enough, this is a romantic comedy, and not a suspense/thriller.)
  7. 10: the start of many countdowns, and either the beginning or end of various counting rhymes, counting games and counting songs, such as “The Ants Go Marching,” “10 in the Bed,” and “10 Little Indians
  8. The 10 Commandments: a list of (10) religious rules from the Old Testament, and a 1956 movie based on the same
  9. decimate: to reduce something drastically, but historically by 10%:

    c.1600, in reference to the practice of punishing mutinous military units by capital execution of one in every 10, by lot; from L. decimatus, pp. of decimare (see decimation). Killing one in ten, chosen by lots, from a rebellious city or a mutinous army was a common punishment in classical times. The word has been used (incorrectly, to the irritation of pedants) since 1660s for “destroy a large portion of.” Related:Decimated; decimating.

  10. top 10 lists: 10 is a popular number for itemized lists of things that are “best ofs” or “worst ofs.” In poking around for this 10 list, I came across quite a few intriguing lists. Here are 10 of them just for you:

So, there you go. 10 ten things.²

¹Seeing as I had a 7/7/7 list, an 8/8/8 list and a 9/9/9 list…
² Yes, I realize that there are really more than 10 things in my list, seeing as some of hte items themselves contain multiple items. But here are another 10 10 things I left off the list, anyhow: 1) 10-foot pole (something you wouldn’t want to touch something with), 2) Ten (Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut album), 3) tithe (donate 10% of your earnings), 4) 10 pin bowling, 5) 10 (the numeric value given to face cards in a game of blackjack), 6) X: the roman numeral 10, 7) decagon (a 10-sided polygon), 8) 10th (the tin wedding anniversary), 9) dime: A ten-cent coin in the US or Canada, and 10) Perfect 10, a magazine³
³ This was new to me. I found it on Wikipedia, where the entry said this:

a quarterly men’s magazine featuring high resolution photographs of topless or nude women who have not had cosmetic surgery and focused in particular on slender models with piercing eyes and medium to large, youthful breasts in pensive or artistic poses.

Um, okay, does anyone else find the attachment ambiguity here highly entertaining? How, pray tell, does one portray youthful breasts in pensive poses?
¹º I know I should have 10 footnotes, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this list. So I’m not going to. Except by way of cheating.

Images from WP Clipart.

9 nine things for 9/9/9

Oh, number nine, you are so fine.

Today is September 9th, 2009. The ninth day of the ninth month of the year. Or 09/09/09.

So, I really don’t have time to be posting this. I’m going absolutely bonkers getting the posters together for the conference. But 9 is my favorite number, and having posted 7 movies on 7/7/7 and 8 things on 8/8/8 it bothers me not to put up my 9s. Plus I’ve actually had scraps of this post drafted for 2 years. So, let’s see if I can spare a few minutes (9 perhaps?) to get this post up.

A list of 9 things:

  1. Revolution #9: A song by the Beatles “number nine…number nine”
  2. “9 times.” A quote from Ferris Bueller. Refers to the number of time Ferris was absent from school.
  3. nine circles: Hell has them. Not actually sure much about it, and I don’t have time to look. Something to do with Dante. Anyone want to enlighten me?
  4. The Ninth Gate (1999): A thriller starring Johnny Depp.
  5. nine lives: it’s said that cats have nine lives, perhaps because they seem to be able to survive rather extraodinary predicaments.
  6. The word for “nine” in French is also a word for new. , 9 = neuf = new.
  7. dressed to the nines: an expression meaning “really dressed up.”
  8. cloud nine: a good place to be. When I finish these posters for the conference, I will be on cloud nine.
  9. And one of the coolest things about the number 9 has to do with math. Have you ever noticed that the digits of any multiple of 9 add up to 9, or to another multiple of 9, the digits of which also will then add up to 9?
    For example:
    9 x 3 = 27 and 2 + 7 = 9
    9 x 5 = 45 and 4 +5 = 9
    9 x 273892 = 2465028 and 2 + 4 + 6 + 5 + 0 + 2 + 8 = 27 (and 2 + 7 = 9)

    How cool is that?

For more than 9 other things about 9, the 9 wiki page is dressed to the nines.

Now I’d best get back to my work before it’s too late. A stitch in time, and all that.

Eight 8 things for 08/08/08

Today is August 8th, 2008. As in 08/08/08. Which is a very cool date. I decided to forego my usual Themed Things Thursday list in favor a special 8-themed Friday list. (Actually, I wanted to do 8 lists of 8 8 things⁸, but I came down with an attack of temporary sanity, and decided I should get some sleep instead.)

8 8-related things

  1. octave: the musical interval between a note and one of half (or twice) its frequency in hertz. It’s divided into 8 tones to make a scale.
  2. octagon: a polyhedron with 8 sides. A red octagon is iconic as the stop sign.
  3. spiders: eight-legged arthropods. (You can visit my spider ThThTh list for lots of spiders.)
  4. the 8 ball: The black ball from the set of pool or billiards balls, emblazend with the number 8. There’s also the Magic 8 ball, a toy used to tell fortunes.
  5. crazy 8s: a card game (played with at least one other person) where the goal is to discard all your cards. 8s are “wild.”
  6. octopus. An 8-legged cephalopod. (I came so close to making an octopus list…)
  7. 8 Days a Week: a song by the Beatles. (What should the 8th day be named? Maybe Pantsday?)
  8. Figure 8“. The School House Rock song about the number 8:

⁸ Here are 8 scraps from the various 8 lists I envisioned: 1) section 8 (a former military discharge for psychiatric reasons) , 2) The Eight (a book by Katharine Neville), 3) Eight Men Out (a 1988 directed by John Sayles), 4) Eight is Enough (a 1970s TV show), 5) 8-track tapes, 6) 2³=8, 7) V8 (a juice) and 8) After Eight (a candy).

Image sources:
octopus: Chandler B. Beach, The New Student’s Reference Work for Teachers Students and Families (Chicago: F. E. Compton and Company, 1909), from etc.usf.edu.
music scale/piano keys: Kantner Book of Objects from etc.usf.edu.
cards, spider, stop sign: public domain images from wpclipart.com.
Magic 8 Ball: wikipedia

Happy Pi Day!

pi.jpgIt’s Pi Day, people! Woohoo! It’s 3-14. And I didn’t even see it coming. (And here I just mentioned a book called Life of Pi yesterday. Of course, that was a pi-free Pi reference.)

Here are some tasty pi goodies for you to help you celebrate your day:

  • Be sure to check out the official Pi Day website. (Thanks to Tina of Omphaloskepsis (one of the grandest blog names out there) for pointing me there.)
  • I highly recommend the musical pi stuff, like pi rap videos, and the pi(ano) song, where someone has converted the digits of pi to a melody.
  • You can also see a hundred thousand digits of pi. Here’s a preview:


  • Not enough digits for ya? How’s about a million?
  • Kate Bush has a song called “π”. Or “Pi,” if you must stick to ASCII. In it, part of the refrain is seeing 150 digits of pi. Shockingly, it seems that she has, according to Confusablility, gravely erred in her digits:

    I got hold of the lyrics and checked them against an online version of Pi. All was well for the first 53 decimal places but then Kate sang “threeeeee oneeeee” when she should have sang “zeeeeeeerooo” instead. She recovered for the next 24 digits but then it went to hell in a handbasket when she missed out the next 22 digits completely before finishing with a precise rendition of her final 37 digits.

  • Inga of Arbitrary Ruminations is celebrating the day with a list of Pie quotes, which may be safer.
  • Or you might want to watch a movie. Like Pi (1998). A movie sadly lacking in pie.
  • I think that later today, I will have to bake a pi. I mean, a pie. Seriously. I’ve keep meaning to bake a pie, but haven’t found the time. But now the pi forces are conspiring to make pi a piority. I mean, priority.
  • Finally, let me leave you with this classic pi joke:

    A young man goes off to college from his rural home. When he comes back for a visit, his less educated father wants him to show off his fancy learning. “Say something smart, son,” he commands.
    The young man thinks back to his classes, and figures a formula from math should sound impressive enough. He offers up the formula to calculate the area of a circle. “Pi r squared,” he says.
    His father looks embarrassed, and shocked. Shaking his head gravely, he says, “What are they teaching you, son? Pie are round, son. Cornbread are square.”

π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π

11 11 bits for 11/11

It’s now 11:00. And today is 11/11. So it seems only fitting that I should bring you some 11-related content.


  1. 11:11 My favorite time to see on a digital clock. Whenever John or I notice it, we always say “eleven eleven.” (I suppose unless we are in some sort of situation where that might be inappropriate. [Insert inappropriate situation here.] )
  2. I came across this little poem when I was little. (Before I was 11, even.) Each digit should be pronounced by name. (So for any “1” say “one.”)

    11 was a racehorse
    22 was 12
    1111 race 1 day

  3. 11 is 3 in binary
  4. musical eleventh:

    In music or music theory an eleventh is the note eleven scale degrees from the root of a chord and also the interval between the root and the eleventh.

  5. Apollo 11: landed on the moon in 1969. With people in it.
  6. The movie “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960) and the (2001) remake.
  7. The Armistice ending WWI went into effect on the 11th day of the 11th month. At the 11th hour, no less.
  8. The eleventh hour: the last minute before a deadline. As in “I’m usually scrambling to get my work done up to the eleventh hour.”
  9. The eleven o-clock news: a common time, and label, for late-night TV news.
  10. Elevenses. A light, late-morning snack traditional in the UK. Now seen as a bit old-fashioned. (As if snacking could ever go out of style.)
  11. “These go up to 11.” Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap is proud of his amplifiers, whose volume control dials have numbers that go all the way up to 11. Not 10 like other amps. So it must be better. And this list goes up to 11, too, you know. Lists that go up to 11 are better than lists that only go up to 10.

I’m a word freak, don’t you know

A few weeks back I wrote a post in which I claimed that some posts a few folks wrote (for a meme) had used too much of a thing. Too much, in fact, to fit the name they’d used for that meme. So I wrote a post of my own, played that same game, and stuck to the rule.

Well, I had fun with that post. I had to choose my words with care. And then I thought it might be hard to write a whole post that way. But I thought I’d give it a try. It’s not as hard as I thought. As I sit here, I can find quite a lot of words to use. (The sad thing is, I can’t name the thing, the rule, since to tell you would break that “one” rule of this post. You’ll have to guess what it is. Or in case it’s not clear, just go back to that old post. )

Since I may find it hard to write with much depth, as I find that there is a tense or two that I can’t use, I think I’ll tell a tale. Here goes.

There was once a young girl who loved words. She loved to say them, write them, and play with them like toys. She’d bounce them, flip them, or squish them up. She liked to roll them off her tongue.

She could talk all day, and use lots and lots of words. But the sad thing was, she did not have much to say. At least not much that was worth while. Most of what she said made no sense at all.”Truck, muck, shoe, socks!” she would say to her dog. “Boo, blue, too, true,” she’d tell her mom. “Dude, prude, dance, pants” she’d shout to the man at the store. All day long, words would pour out of her mouth. Lots of words, short words. But not much sense. Blah, blah, blah, blah, she might as well have said.

One day as she was on her way home from school, she saw a strange red cat. She stopped to have a look at the way the bright red fur shone in the sun. As was her way, she spat out some words of no sense. “Bird, turd, drop, fraught,” she sang.

“What do you mean by that?” asked the cat.

Kate, for that was the girl’s name, paused. She had not known that cats could talk. “Cow, crow, coo, phlegm,” she said, once her first shock had passed.

“Why do you talk like that? I don’t get it,” The cat said.

“Hmmpf,” Kate said. “Well, I’m not sure. I know I like to play with words, though,” she told the cat. (For she could make some sense when she chose to.) “It’s fun. Roof, tooth, duck, shale.”

“Oh,” said the cat. “I see what you mean.” He thought for a bit and said: “Flip, trip, burp, plow.”

Kate smiled. “Scoop, stoop, tree, sine,” she said right back. And the two of them walked off hand in hand.

The end.

“Wait,” you say. “Cats don’t have hands.” Well, that’s true. But I made the rest of it up, too. So there.

One last thing. Can you give a thought as to how to end this phrase:
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their _____.

the eleven-o’clock salad

lettuce.jpgIt’s just past 11:00 p.m., and I just ate a big salad. I realized that before you know it, it will be time for my next CSA pick-up, and I still had 3 heads of lettuce, plus lots of other greens, onions, and kohlrabi. You will be proud of me to know that I opted to make and eat salad rather than going right to the freezer to get out the ice cream which we bought earlier this evening. (Note that I have not yet forgotten the ice cream. Its time will come.)

The salad was good. I do like salad. Especially when it’s been tossed with the dressing in a bowl, so that the dressing is all evenly spread around. An equal distribution of wealth, as it were. (I like to eat a good helping of socialist metaphors.) And by the way: boy-oh-boy has our salad spinner been seeing a lot of action lately.

I keep feeling like I want to record more of my life, of our life. I’m not sure why, exactly. Part of it is that I like my life, and imagine that some day I’ll look back fondly on this time, and feel a bit sad if I don’t remember what my day to day life was like. My future self will think things like: “Back when I was a new mother, did I eat enough vegetables?” or “Did I get enough sleep when I was a grad student?” or “I wonder what I thought about pants when I was in my 30s?”

I keep meaning to update the Phoebe Blog more frequently. Phoebe keeps growing and changing, and well, doing things. Again, things that I feel like I’ll want to remember. My memory fades so quickly, and the days blur together. Hell, the weeks and months blur together. I just managed to post a bit to the Phoebe Blog last night, but there are gaps. It’s strange this feeling that I need to record all of it. I don’t think my parents recorded too much about me, or even my sister (the first-born). I wonder if it’s partially my packrat tendencies making me want to store things away. (The packrat in me badgers me to squirrel things away? Can I fit a rabbit into this somewhere?)

The trip plans are coming along moderately well. I have squared away an apartment in Paris. I have filled out the form from the conference organizers to get a hotel room in Saarbrucken, who seem to have reserved every last hotel room in the town so that you must go through them. (Which means you may not actually get a choice about which hotel you’re going to stay in. Which may lead to some difficulties, as we have special public transportation and crib needs due to travelling with a toddler. I sent an email. I think I’ll be known as a troublemaker to the conference organizers. Because I also questioned their request to have a letter faxed from “the head of my institution” stating that I am a student in order to get the student discount for registration, in addition to sending a scan of the student ID. They claim that such a letter should only take “2 minutes” and is standard procedure. Which is a load of hooey.) I also still have to look more into trains.

And I keep thinking it would be nice to watch a movie. It’s possibly been weeks since I watched a movie. Oh yeah, and I’m supposed to be doing work. Oh wait. Now I’m supposed to be sleeping. Crap.

And you know how I felt compelled to write more 7 lists? Well, as I anticipated, I didn’t have much time. Phoebe’s nap ended, followed by needing to get her a meal, and get her dressed, and who knows what all, resulting in a time lapse of two hours. Then we went out a shopping excursion to get a birthday present for John’s aunt. (We’re going to her 80th birthday party tomorrow. Possibly not the 80th such party that she’s had.) We didn’t get home till 8 or so, then it was time for Phoebe to get a bath and get to bed. It was 9 by the time she was in bed. (Way past her bedtime, but she seems to have her parents’ night owl proclivities.) So, no time to work on lists. But since I don’t want to throw them away, or toss them into the compost pile with the beet greens, I’ll lay them on you here.

So, here are some sevens (and sevenths) I thought about incorporating into some lists.

More than seven more seven things.


  • The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (I haven’t read it, but it seems to have a Phoebe.)
  • The Seven Dials Mystery, by Agatha Christie
  • The 7 habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey (Not that I’ve read it. I have a low tolerance for self-help books)
  • Seven Spiders Spinning, by Gregory Maguire (one of his kids’ books)
  • Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, a young adult novel by Barbara Cohen, based on an Iraqi folktale.
  • music:

  • Seven and the Ragged Tiger, an album by Duran Duran
  • “lucky number 7 passed me by,” a line from Cracker’s “Lonesome Johnny Blues”
  • “Love is the seventh wave,” a song by Sting
  • A line from “Monkey Gone to Heaven” by the Pixies:
  • If man is five (if man is five…)
    and the devil is six (and the devil is six…)
    then god is heaven (then god is heaven…)
    this monkey’s gone to heaven

  • There are also seven days in a week, seven deadly sins and seven wonders of the world. You can be in seventh heaven, you can get seven years of bad luck if you break a mirror, or you can sail the seven seas. Agent 007 is Bond. (James Bond.)
  • If you’ve got more 7s for me, toss them my way. Toss them like a salad.