the cYBERbORE


They really are an insult to common sense
but we have all seen them so often, we just tend to accept them—no questions asked.
So here goes, to keep you on your toes. (There's no sense to their order of appearance either).


binoculars
When somebody uses those in movies or strips
what he gets to see is always matted out like this:
bino
But binoculars really should be adjusted
so you see only one circle:

Not bloody much left to look at, is there? Hmmm...
reminds you of a CinemaScope movie on television


On this same subject, you must have read how Our Hero spots a crook spying at him through binoculars, because the sun reflects to his eyes in the front lens. The chances of this happening are, let us say, remote. Try to hit somebody's face with the sun reflected in a mirror from some distance and you'll find out: Our Hero will only catch a reflection when he's on a straight line between the sun (behind him) and the binoculars. Think it out...

You can buy special mirrors for signing in Morse code when your cellular battery is empty. But wait: It's even worse, because the binoculars I've met had a convex front lens, which blows virtually every chance to hit the bird you're leering at with the sun and so give yourself away. So don't worry — keep watching those birds while preserving your incognito.



chicken bones/dog food
They warn you against giving that particular nasty-looking sharp bone in a chicken leg to a dog.
I've had several dogs and many thousands of chickens, but those dogs devoured chickens lock, stock and barrel
whenever they got a chance, and the only ones who felt any ill effects were the chickens.
So feed all the bones to your dog... Maybe you'll get lucky?


Salt, Sweat and Tablets
I was born and raised in the tropics; have been living there most of my life. So I sweat a lot. So I drink a lot and like my food very salt. People keep telling me how bad this is. They even claim it causes kidney stones, but all I know is, I've never had one (till know). Small wonder, those are mostly made up of calcium; salt is just about the easiest soluble stuff in the world, which tends to explain how the oceans are full of it, and your urine can contain lots more. The strange part about this "advise" is that they will invariably tell people who sweat a lot (like, they go to the tropics) to eat salt tablets. You'll never guess what these contain. Oh, you did guess? Wise guy.


In the Past, There Was Less Color
This has become one of the most boring movie clichés. They show you a flashback, or a movie is set in historical times, so they de-saturate the colors. Who could possibly understand the reason behind this? Awful habit. Please get rid of it.


Let's Go Metric!

The USA is just about the only country left in the world that sturdily keeps rejecting the metric system
— but does it?

Time and Date
In the USA Jack Ass seems too dumb to figure that a calendar day has 24 hours and to adapt his reasoning to it. It's too complicated for him, so even now when they have digital watches, these still show only 12 hours, and airline schedules list am or pm. What a drag. Mentioning in passing those who still insist on having a watch with hands moving around a dial. It's just hopeless. Our date format is pretty stupid, too. As so often, the Japanese have the right idea: Year - month - day. After all, what's the first thing you want to know? And it neatly corresponds with the time formula as well. Imagine you'd have to say: It's 42:14 when somebody asked you the time. I agree, of course you'd get used to that just as well. In time. After all, the Americans even think it handy to use a month-day-year format, which is just about as clumsy and confusing as you could devise.

Mosquito Coils
Please, Do Not Follow Instructions!


cola nuts
People will tell you ****-Cola is bad for your teeth and general health because,
when you leave a chicken bone in it overnight, it will turn all rubbery as the calcium in it gets dissolved.
I never took the trouble to try this; it may well be true. All those soft drinks contain citric acid which will dissolve calcium.
So does your stomach contain hydrochloric acid, by the way; now that's a real calcium dissolver! No, I wouldn't advise drinking it.
Of course, so all fruit juice I ever tasted contains citric acid as well (and sugar). Just as bad for your teeth.

They will also tell you that a rusted nut is guaranteed to come loose when you pour ****-Cola over it.
Well, my father-in-law, a hopelessly addicted car mechanic, desperately tried this and it will not.
He also used to discard his still-glowing cigarette butts in a can of gasoline. It will not explode.
[The Management does not accept any liability]
Yet another oft-told urban legends on ****-Cola is, mix it with aspirin and it's guaranteed to:
1 - knock you out or 2 - make a girl so horny she'll fuck anything in reach (meaning even you)
I never tried any, but Richard Feynman tried #1 (judging from what else he tells us, #2 would have been superfluous anyway):
it didn't work.
In case you wonder why I take such troubles with the Marca Registrada, check here.


doubly drunk
I never had such double vision
not even when blind drunk
snowy
except in a misaligned 3-d movie; ugh!
But if you do have it, get thee to a doctor right away:
You may have food poisoning
picture from Tintin's Secret of the Unicorn



banana peels
This used to be quite common in strips and B/W movie comedies:
A guy slips over a banana peel and so loses or wins in a chase
or breaks his neck—anything for a hearty laugh
I even have tried to do this, but never succeeded in slipping up
at least, not over banana peels; be they fresh, old, dry, or rotten
[Big Fat Mouth Dept.: I'm still looking for a picture—
but of course my taste in comic strips and movies is rather sophisticated?]

a guy measured this scientifically:
non-results here


internal lens reflections
It used to be that when you made a photograph which inluded the sun or another strong light point,
the light was reflected from different lens surfaces and you got weird circles and blobs of light all over the picture.
Many a good UFO or ghost picture has resulted from that. As lenses got to be better, you see this less and less
(Zeiss doesn't like the effect, nor does Nikon appreciate UFOs caused by their lenses).
After all, if your eyes let you see this, you go to the optician.
So, naturally, to heighten the sense of reality, in virtual reality programs like a flight simulator
program makers often imitate this effect — while you never get to see those reflections in real reality.
Remember how in Doom your viewpoint was rolling and shaking all the time, because they had tried to imitate the realistic head movements while you walked or ran? Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens once told me that, way back when, they had actually built a dolly that moved that way. Of course, it hadn't worked out: Your brain corrects this away, just as the upside-down image your eye delivers.
(I refrained from telling him "I could have told you so.")



surgeons' masks
They use these all the time in operating rooms
—even dentists are acquiring the habit

But is this really of more help
in avoiding infections than smelling "tushie-mushie"
flowers against the plague? Well, slightly...
The manufacturer of these claims 95% of bacteria will not get through. Better than everything...
Still, are these "household bacteria" or antibiotics-resistant operation room bacteria?
Anyway, too bad if you catch one of the 5% that do get through.
But that's not nearly as bad as condoms - they don't do the job in 1 of 3 times.

Al this reminds me of a guy I used to know.
He was being operated upon (no doubt from the best of motives, mainly, money)
and while, as still was the custom at that time, the anesthetist/executioner's cap was slipped over his head
he kept yelling I'm van der Horst, and I need a knee operation!



Equal Opportunity!
Really, I hope I am no bigot — but this has been getting ridiculous long since.


wine tasting
This ritual used to belong in the better class of restaurants
the waiter uncorks the bottle and pours out a little bit, which the customer tastes and then nods his approval (you dare!)
this ritual is supposed to check whether the wine doesn't taste of cork.
So, naturally, in these days of plastic corks and screw tops, the habit persists
makes one wonder for how many ages more...


blisters
You're excused for judging this belongs on the medical page, but it really doesn't:
You always get the advise to prick blisters with a needle, not a pin,
because pins used to be made of copper; needles are steel.
While copper is poisonous, all pins are made of steel as well, long since.


ingrowing toenails
These can be a real pain. How to prevent them? Some people advise to cut them square — others, to cut corners.
My suspicion is, they will grow in no matter how you cut them so you'll get nice claws while you're losing your teeth;
so you can still fight.


tar
How often have you read about a guy having "nicotine" stained fingers, or teeth, or even a beard, from smoking tobacco?
Check any mystery novel, or a yet more reliable source of information, and you'll find that nicotine is colorless.
It's the tar, baby, dribbling down those baseball players' chins.

bitter cucumbers
When you get a bitter cucumber, people are bound to ask you: Where did you start peeling it?
When you reply From the stem they'll exclaim Aha, you dummy! You should have started at the other end! Or vice versa.
This does not happen so often any more; it's a question of self-pollution oops! self-pollination versus pollination by bees.
Some cucumbers are grown in hothouses and some out in the open; they breed different kinds for the purpose.
If a bee enters a hothouse and, fooled by the name of the establishment, starts pollinating like mad, you get bitter cucumbers.
It's nothing to do with where you start peeling.



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