13 Things About The English Language You Probably Never Knew

Home, Life Tips, Musings, PUBLISHING, QUIRKY


(1) Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them use to burn their houses down – hence the expression “to get fired.”

(2) In Celtic pubs, ale was ordered by pints and quarts. So, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It’s where we get the phrase “mind your P’s and Q’s.”

(3) Stewardesses is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.

(4) The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle.

(5) The longest one-syllable words in the English language are screeched and scratched.

(6) The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. The only other word with the same amount of letters is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses, its plural.

(7) The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the “General Purpose” vehicle, G.P.

(8) The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

(9) The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

(10) The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

(11) Underground and underfund are the only words in the English language that begins and ends with the letters “und.”

(12) There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, “therein”: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

(13) To “testify” was based on men in the Roman court swearing to a statement made by swearing on their testicles.




7 Speed-Reading Techniques.

Life Tips, QUIRKY

Speed reading has long been a skill peddled by supposed experts, and a slew of cheap apps, but in reality it can be quite simple to learn to read over 1,000 words a minute. But before you get started, eliminate distractions. Get rid of anything your mind could think about besides the reading material. Fool yourself with your iPod if you wish—but if you really are serious about reading faster, eliminate distractions—including music.

1. See the book as a mine full of ore not gold. Speed readers learn how to go for the gold and discard the ore. One reads a book to get the message, not to obsess about the individual words. Switch your mindset and go for the gold.

2. Quit vocalizing. Most of us learned to read by sounding out the words. The trouble is, many of us never stopped. To become a speed reader learn to discard this habit (or at least reduce it). Instead, adopt the eye-to-mind method. Let the books pass into the mind directly from your eyes, skipping the mouth. Go ahead and try it—your eyes can send the content directly to your mind bypassing the sluggish vocalizing method.

3. Use your finger. Your finger can set the pace. It leads you forward at a speedy pace, and keeps you on focus so you can avoid back-skipping. There are several ways to use your finger (or hand) but try it out for starters. Run your finger ahead of your eye pulling along your mind at a faster pace then you are used to. Watch yourself improve!

4. Break the Back-skip habit. When most of us read along a line of type (like this one) our eyes jump back once in a while to recover a word we just passed and somehow missed. We do this without even knowing it. How to stop? First, confess you do it. Then while you are reading notice your temptations back-skip and refuse to go back. Treat your book like watching a movie. When you miss a phrase at the cinema you don’t ask them stop the movie and replay the last phrase do you? No. You let the movie flow on figuring you’ll still get the over all point eventually.

5. Look for key words. Read this sentence: “Yesterday when I was driving to school in my car and I saw a huge hawk swoop down from the telephone lines beside the road and grab a sparrow that never saw it coming.” What if you could train your mind and to see only the key words in that sentence: “Yesterday when I was driving to school in my car and I saw a huge hawk swoop down from the telephone lines beside the road and grab a sparrow that never saw it coming.” You could save 50% of your reading time! You may even learn to grasp the meaning by reading even fewer words: “…hawk… swoop…lines…grab…sparrow…” Training your mind to find key words, it will speed your reading tremendously!

6. Eliminate “Bus Stops.” A period at the end of a sentence is not a required stop. You can keep moving! Try to reduce your eye rests to 1-2 per line, then even less as you get better. Eventually you can skip all bus stops and keep your eyes moving smoothly line after line, as your mind drinks in the content of a book. Try it!

7. Take breaks. The research is clear. Steady reading hour after hour is less efficient than taking a five minute rest-stop break every hour or so. Try to read 100 pages in the next hour in total concentration using the above tips. Maybe even set an alarm. Then when the alarm goes off reward yourself with some candy or a sandwich or a quick walk outside. The pit stop will refresh you for the next 100 pages. Just try it and see!

To summarize, remember that speed-reading is not some magical secret you can pick up in ten minutes by reading this article. It takes practice and time to develop. To become a life-long rapid reader (like becoming an expert race car driver) will take more time. This short article will get you started though. Try and see!

To help you develop rapid reading skills consider getting one of the Must-Read books when you click on the image below.


Why do Adults have Trouble with Simple Logic?


According to Harvard University only 1 in 7 adults can answer these 5 simple questions


1. The first question with B as the correct answer is:
A. 1
B. 4
C. 2
D. 3

2. The answer to Question 1 is:
A. D
B. C
C. B
D. A

3. The answer to Question 4 is:
A. D
B. A
C. B
D. C

4. The number of questions which have D as the correct answer is:
A. 3
B. 2
C. 1
D. 0

5. The number of questions which have B as the correct answer is:
A. 0
B. 2
C. 3
D. 1


7 Classic Cult Novels You Must Read.

Musings, QUIRKY

So what exactly is a cult novel? A cult novel is one that the critics hated but the fans love, or sometimes it’s one that both readers and critics like, but a certain group of readers really, really love. Cult novels often come from the fringes, they often represent counter-cultural perspectives and they always experiment with form. As always, there are many more good ones out there, but here are seven that you must read.


No.7.  Dune, Frank Herbert.
This novel might just have the most intense fans of any work of science fiction ever. In fact, Herbert was famously asked — repeatedly — if he was building up a cult, which anyone who has read any of the Dune books should know was ironic to the point of hilarity. But whether or not Herbert reigned supreme over it in a fancy hat, his novels had and still have a cult following — and by now, a popular one, too.

fearof f

No.6  Fear of Flying, Erica Jong.
This book — a frank-talking, progressive bildungsroman about a young woman trying to figure out love/sex/life — is over 40 years old, still a legend, and still a subject of contention. And while it was never really not a bestseller, it still feels like a cult book — not least because of how many have held it aloft, yelling “this” for hours on end.

No.5  Ice, Anna Kavan.
A surreal end-of-the-world novel first published in 1967, before such things were all the rage, and secretly passed from apocalyptic youth to apocalyptic youth ever since.


No.4  Masters of Atlantis, Charles Portis.
Now here’s a triple-whammy: a cult novel by a decidedly cult author that is also about a cult. Doesn’t get any better than that. Portis saw a little uptick in popularity after the adaptation of True Grit hit the big screens, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not enough. This is probably the most hilarious book that you’ve never read, and it’s not even his best one.


No.3  Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs.
A trip in a book, banned all over the place for its obscenities and profanities and needle drugs, it has also been clutched to the chest of many an open-minded reader as they shouted against censorship. And hey, this cult novel has a cult film to match.


No.2  Speedboat, Renata Adler.
Renata Adler was a formidable critical and literary figure in the ‘60s and ‘70s, with the kind of obstinate, intellectual-badass reputation that delights some and faintly terrifies others. Her self-constructed fall from grace, at least with the critical world, is well known, but she is cherished more for her first novel, Speedboat, a non-linear, delicious wisp of a thing, which immediately became a cult classic among writers and lovers of experimental literature.


No.1  Neuromancer, William Gibson.
Like Pynchon, Gibson himself is a figure who inspires cultish devotion. But Neuromancer probably had — and still has — the most immediate cult appeal.


Hope you enjoyed our list 🙂

Sponsored by The DD Book Award, which honours the most distinguished contribution to literature by an Indy Author in the genre of fiction http://www.drunkendruidawards.com/

The 2016 Drunken Druid Gold Award

Book Vending Machines That Offer Knowledge Instead of Junk Food.


BooksActually, a local independent bookstore in Singapore, has recently installed two book-only vending machines at high-traffic areas of the Asian city-state. Located at the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Visitor Centre, they feature a curated selection of up to 150 books with a special focus on community publishers and authors.

This ingenious concept serves a public that has a distinct lack of bookstores. “The whole idea is about accessibility and eyeballs,” its owner Kenny Leck explained. “These vending machines could be a visual touchpoint. You may not buy (a book) but we’ll let you know these exist. And from there, there could be more possibilities.”

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A third machine will soon be installed at the Goodman Arts Centre, which doubles as Singapore’s headquarters for the National Arts Council.

w704 (2)


w704 (3)

Lessons from and how to apply scripture.


What guides the process of sorting through the inconsistencies, contradictions, different perspectives, and theological views in the universe in which we live? The scriptures themselves give us hints. The answer is not explicit, but it is implicit.

In the The Book of Risks, we question the pourpes of existance “To live is to risk dying” (BOR V6). I read this metaphorically, not literally, but the description above depicts a vivid, mystical image, which functions both as a revelation and a guide.

So, from the outset of every human’s journey, we could be described as mystic, capable of immersing others in the same journey. The Scriptures often speaks of people’s intimate awareness and experience of life, employing language like: “Love is beautiful. Love is wonderful” (2:1); “Treasure Friendship, for it cannot be acquired in the market place, but must be nurtured in relations imbued with trust and amity” (8:6), etc. Another hint that we drew from personal experience of past generations is seen in this instruction to love others, “A human must be deeply committed to the care of the young, the elderly, the sick, the infirm and the handicapped” — Book of Family. Verse 2.

Certainly there are many passages in the scriptures that speak of the love and compassion of humans. There is a story I love to tell, which I first heard from Mark Brongstein, that beautifully illustrates the limitations of scripture in a particular context. A fugitive was fleeing the Nazis who had just overtaken his small village. He fled to the door of the farmer in the local village. The farmer had been warned that any person or family caught hiding a fugitive would not only bring the wrath of the Nazis upon their house but upon the whole village. So the farmer had the young man step inside, while he went to hope for guidance and read the scriptures. As the farmer searched the scriptures, he came upon the verse that read, “Leave the world a better place than you found it.” Feeling confident that he had his answer, and though it was hard for him to do, he hid the young man and kept him safe and gave him a science book. Over the course of 2 years the fugitive became an expert in science and went on the work on the Manhattan project and the rest as they say in history.

What this teaches us, however, is not what life is like or what the future is for our lives, but how people can choose a life that is harmful or helpful, life-diminishing or life-enhancing, oppressive or liberating. Perhaps the most important value of our scriptures is that they invite critical thinking and promote values like Love, Work, Life Skills, Health, Knowledge and Family.

The scriptures do not offer us easy or simple answers, but they confront us with the questions that really matter. If we put our trust in education then we will gravitate toward the truly enlightened, transformative texts that can help transform our personal lives, communities, and our world.


Selena Yustman

(c) 2016

How The 9th Planet Changed The Truth

Musings, QUIRKY

  Imagine believing something for many years. You were certain it was true. Everyone around you said it was true; the teacher, the priest, the policeman, even the books in your local library said it was true. Then one day you wake up and Boom! The world has changed. Pluto is not a planet. Now there are only 8 planets in our solar system. This is an example of how the truth can change, and now, the truth may change again.

  The paper from scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of Caltech have set the solar system alight with their claim of a giant planet hiding well beyond Pluto and the Kuiper-belt.

A planet of at least 10 Earth masses with a 19,000 year orbit, so far from the Sun that any solar heating is pitifully small, has potentially been discovered. Neptune is about 17 times the mass of the Earth, so this world is more like an object on the low-end of ice-giant worlds rather than on the high-end of rocky planets. Until now the solar system has seemed to be somewhat unusual in terms of its planetary contents. Specifically, a majority of planetary systems around cool stars seem to contain at least one world with a mass between that of the Earth and Neptune.

So if the planet proposed by Batygin & Brown is the 9th major planet, it is a perfect example of how with new evidence the truth can change.


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