A hermaphrodite is an organism that possesses both male and female sex organs during its life.Umm, thanks Wikipedia?
There used to be only one kind of Ving card lock. Now there are two kinds, as I discovered to my horror a while back while at a convention. The first and possibly "classic" version is all-mechanical, while the second is optical with an electronic controller. I did a longish article on the mechanical one back when I got to take it apart, which I will send to anyone who asks, and since the time of that writing discovered a few more things about it. I believe this article was sent to this very list years ago...I love stuff like this. These things were spoken about on a security list in '89 with horror and how they ran across them a while back and discussed them "years ago". Not only do these things seem trivial to copy, but seeing the regular pattern in the holes seems to suggest you could easily reverse engineer the algorithm and make keys for every room in the hotel given the room number. I guess you don't need high security in a country where people say they don't even lock their front doors. Good times.
Margaret Dickenson is the wife of a Canadian diplomat. I learned from her book the hierarchical placement of guests around the dinner table that diplomats use. The most important sits to the right of the host, the second most important to the left. I have used this dinner table tactic to divide and conquer my guests, making them jealous of each other for my attention. I had Jeremy Saltmaven over for vermouth the other day and made him sit to my left, leaving a vacancy to the right. With this subtle trick I suspect I probably let Jeremy Saltmaven know he needs to give me more finery to secure my favour. Margaret Dickenson also explores dinner party themes, but this is where I went soft on the book. For my Hieronymus Bosch themed party, I assembled a nice costume from one of Bosch's panels. I heard the first knock at the door, and hurriedly threw on my bird mask, mounted a copper cauldron on my head, and leapt up onto my stilts. In the process of taking my first step I spilled headfirst into the front door, misjudging the weight imbalance of the cauldron on my neck. My guests later told me they first heard some shuffling, the single sonorous knell as of a large bell, and then nothing. After waiting patiently on the porch for 5 minutes, it took them a few moments longer than normal to open the front door, heaving it, unwittingly shifting my dumped motionless body across the vestibule floor. So, Margaret Dickenson, that's why I can't give this book anything higher than 3 stars.
A BBC photographer embarked on a project to talk to, "... people you see every day but never meet. Urban living is full of these close encounters where we never make contact."
Tony, from London, had the following to say, "Oh, stop it, you touchy-feely freak! I live in London precisely because people here are NOT overly intimate. I like the fact that I walk amongst strangers, I love the fact I am not subject to tedious drivel from people who happen to impinge upon my geography. If you want to know your neighbours, go live up North or something - stop assuming we all want to be like you."
From the New York Times:
In the annals of international diplomacy, it is not exactly Yalta. But today's visit to Graceland — the ticky-tacky Elvis Presley mansion here — by President Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan brings a little bit of shake, rattle and roll to American foreign relations.
The prime minister is a die-hard Elvis fan; the two share a birthday, Jan. 8, and a pompadour hairstyle, though Mr. Koizumi's locks are longer and grayer than those of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. On Thursday, in a joint appearance with Mr. Bush at the White House, the prime minister had a message for the United States:
"Thank you very much, American people, for 'Love me Tender,' " he said
With Mexico's presidential election two weeks away, the drug wars are a central issue in the race, and the main candidates are all trying to look tough on the issue, while splitting over whether U.S.-style solutions are needed. Roberto Madrazo of the former ruling party claims the toughest law-and-order platform: One of his campaign ads depicts a criminal wetting his pants out of fear of Madrazo's proposals for stiffer sentencing. "Criminals can't play around with me," Madrazo tells voters.
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