United Kingdom (the)

Remind me, do I live in “United Kingdom” or “United Kingdom (the)”? 😂

Dropdown select box for Country with options including "United Kingdom" and "United Kingdom (the)".


The Eyebrow Painter

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

There are a whole bunch of things that could be the source for the name, e.g. where we found most of their work (The Dipylon Master) or the potter with whom they worked (the Amasis Painter), a favourite theme (The Athena Painter), the Museum that ended up with the most famous thing they did (The Berlin Painter) or a notable aspect of their style. Like, say, The Eyebrow Painter.

Guess what kind of pottery the Eyebrow Painter made?

Collage of three Hellenic plates decorated with fish. The fish all have strange-looking eyebrows!


Just excellent.

A frowning fish, painted onto a plate, surely makes for the best funerary offering.


A Stupid Joke About Elephants


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You’ve probably been taught that you can tell the difference between African Elephants and Indian Elephants by looking at their head and ears. The larger African Elephants have a rounded cranium and big ears (with a shape somewhat like the continent of Africa itself!), whereas the smaller Indian Elephants have a two-lobed skull and diminutive ears that tuck tidily alongside their heads.

An African Elephant and an Indian Elephant, with the different head & ear shape clearly visible.
If you’re inside the elephant or have access to an extraordinarily-large X-ray machine, you can also differentiate by counting the ribs: African Elephants tend to have 21 pairs, Indian Elephants only 20.

But suppose you don’t manage to get a glimpse at the front end of the elephant as it passes you. What hope is there of identifying the species? Well: you can look at its back!

Concave back of an African Elephant.
Never forget: this back belongs to an African Elephant.

African Elephants, it turns out, have a concave back, whereas Indian elephants have a convex back (a bit like a hump)!

Convex back of an Indian Elephant.
You could probably come up with some kind of mnemonic if you wanted, like “African Elephants back down when Indian Elephants back up.” But perhaps a better one than that.

I was having difficulty sleeping one night during the UK‘s current heatwave, so naturally I opted to practice my newfound ability to distinguish elephant species by their spines. Indian, Indian, African, Indian, African, African… etc.

And then I came across this one:

A flat elephant back, neither concave nor convex.
What is this thing?

African Elephant backs are concave. Indian Elephant backs are convex. But what does it mean when you see a flat elephant’s back?

It turns out…

…that’s a grey area.

Dan with a stuffed toy (African) elephant.
You’re welcome/I’m sorry. Delete as applicable.
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Screenshot from a Gender field on a form (with radiobutton options "Genderqueer/Non-Binary", "Man", "Woman", and "Fill in the Blank"). A wrapping/spacing issue has made a "clear" link appear very close to the field label "Gender", making it look like the word "Genderclear", which sounds a little like "Genderqueer".

Breakpoint issues always make me feel a bit “genderclear”.


Do-It-Yourself Country & Western Song

I saw a variation of this email back in the day, which provides a Mad Libs style approach to formulating a country & western song. When I was reminded of it today, I adapted it for Perchance. Give it a go!

you are a printer we are all printers

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Anyway, here’s the best printer for 2024: a Brother laser printer. You can just pick any one you like; I have one with a sheet feeder and one without a sheet feeder. Both of them have reliably printed return labels and random forms and pictures for my kid to color for years now, and I have never purchased replacement toner for either one. Neither has fallen off the WiFi or insisted I sign up for an ink-related hostage situation or required me to consider the ongoing schemes of HP executives who seem determined to make people hate a legendary brand with straightforward cash grabs and weird DRM ideas.

It’s sort-of alarming that Brother are the only big player in the printer space who subscribe to a philosophy of “don’t treat the customers like livestock”. Presumably all it’d take is a board-level decision to flip the switch from “not evil” to “evil” and we’d lose something valuable. Thankfully, for now at least, they still clearly see the value of the positive marketing the world gives them. Positive marketing like like this article.

The article is excellent, by the way. I know that I’m “supposed” to stir up hatred about the fact that its conclusion is written by an AI but… well, just read it for yourself and you’ll see why I don’t mind even one bit. Top notch reporting. Consider following the links within it to stories about how other printer manufacturers continue to show exactly how shitty they can be.

I recommended a Brother printer to the Vagina Museum the other month. I assume it ‘s still working out fine for them (and not ripping them off, spying on them, and/or contributing to the destruction of the the planet).

A Proper Cup of Tea

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

Screenshot from "A Proper Cup of Tea", showing the start of the game.

This “choose your own adventure”-style game about making the perfect cup of tea is just… excellent.

If you lack the imagination to understand how a game like this could have dozens of possible endings, you desperately need to play it. My favourite path so far through the game was to add a teabag, then hot water, then remove the teabag, then add some milk, then add a second teabag, then drink it.

Genuinely can’t stop laughing at this masterpiece.

Young Squirrel Talking About Himself

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

This week, Parry Gripp and Nathan Mazur released Young Squirrel Talking About Himself.

You might recognise the tune (and most of the words) from an earlier Parry Gripp song. The original video for the older version is no longer available on his channel, and that’s probably for the best, but I was really pleased to see the song resurrected in this new form because it’s fabulous. I’ve been singing it all day.

Loud Helpline

I guess installing a sign was cheaper than retraining the helpline operators not to shout at everybody.

A sign advertising a number for a "Customer Helpline" directly above a sign that advises "Ear protection must be worn".



I’m pretty sure that Wally/Waldo, Woof, and Wizard Whitebeard must be out on this mountain somewhere, too.

Composite image showing (1) a woman at an alpine terrace bar wearing a red-and-white striped jumper, and (2) a skiier wearing a yellow-and-black striped snowsuit. They look somewhat like Wilma and Odlaw from the Where's Wally?/Where's Waldo? series of books.


Installation of Windows has Stalled

I was told Windows installation should take less than 20 minutes, but these ones have been sitting outside my house all day while the builders sit on the roof and listen to the radio. Do I need a faster processor? #TechSupport

A pile of window frames, factory-fresh and covered with tape. propped against the side of a white house, on a gravel driveway.



Brainfart moment this morning when my password safe prompted me to unlock it with a password, and for a moment I thought to myself “Why am I having to manually type in a password? Don’t I have a password safe to do this for me?” 🤦

KeePassXC authentication screen on Windows; no password has been entered.


[Bloganuary] Paws to Hear my Scents-ible Idea

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

Come up with a crazy business idea.

Smell-based social networking for dogs.

Hear me out…

A white-and-brown bulldog lies flat, his tongue sticking out, on a rug.
“Tank sleepy. But Tank listen your idea in case it tasty idea.”

I’ve tried to explain to our occasionally-anxious dog that, for example, the dog-and-human shaped blobs at the far end of the field includes a canine with whom she’s friendly and playful. She can’t tell who they are because her long-distance vision’s not as good as mine1, and we’re too far away for her to be able to smell her friend.

If this were a human meetup and I wasn’t sure who I’d be meeting, I’d look it up online, read the attendees’ names and see their photos, and be reassured. That’s exactly what I do if I’m feeling nervous about a speaking engagement: I look up the other speakers who’ll be there, so I know I can introduce myself to people before or after me. Or if I’m attending a work meet-up with new people: I find their intranet profiles and find out who my new-to-me colleagues are.

A trio of small dogs wearing warm jackets meet in a mowed grassy field. They appear excited to have recognised one another.
“Oh! Is you! Hurrah!” /buttsniffing intensifies/

Wouldn’t it be great if I could “show” my dog who she was going to meet, in smell-form.

I imagine a USB-C accessory you can attach to your computer or phone which can analyse and produce dogs’ unique scents, storing and transmitting their unique fingerprint in a digital form. Your subscription to the service would cover the rental of the accessory plus refills of the requisite chemicals, and a profile for your pooch on the Web-based service.

Now, you could “show” your dog who you were going to go and meet, by smell. Just look up the profile of the playmate you’re off to see, hold the device to your pupper’s nose, and let them get a whiff of their furry buddy even before you get there. Dogs do pretty well at pattern-matching, and it won’t take them long to learn that your magical device is a predictor of where they’re headed to, and it’ll be an effective anxiety-reducer.

A laptop keyboard with a black man's hand and a cream-coloured dog's paw resting on it, seen from above. (Almost-matching) sleeves can be seen on the limbs of both.
Seeking investors for a genuinely terrible crazy business idea. Photo courtesy SHVETS production.

The only question is what to call my social-network-for-dogs. Facebutt? Pupper? HoundsReunited???


1 Plus: I get contextual clues like seeing which car the creature and its owner got out of.

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