September 17, 2006

Mousetrap - 70

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur
Latin Quotes and Phrases
Veni, vidi, vici, you know. And if you’re an Asterix fan, chances are you know a few more. Like perhaps, nunc est bibendum and alea iacta est. (Of course, if you’re a lawyer, you can probably write a dictionary yourself.) Many of the words we use today in English (and indeed many other languages) have Latin roots, but while that’s a good reason to study this small index, the fun bit is finding a few more shall we say, not-so-classic terms. For instance, the Latin for “That's the way the cookie crumbles,” which is “.Sic friatur crustum dulce.” Or “Obesa cantavit,” which means “The fat lady has sung.” The title to this paragraph, by the way, means “Anything said in Latin sounds profound.” See what I mean?

Breaking up is hard to do
Ruined Music
Yeah, it was your song, the song that meant so much to both of you, filled with meaning, tied to special events and great times. And then s/he dumped you. And just hearing the first bars of that song is all it takes to send you into depression. (Or perhaps rage?) There, there. You’ll feel better soon. Promise. Well, maybe not so soon. Meanwhile, why don’t you hop over to this site and read about the songs other people have had ruined for them for ever and ever? You’ll find the most unlikely songs there—Macarena, would you believe?—aside from the soft ’n’ sentimental. And the site encourages submissions, so perhaps want to write about it?

Less is more
The 5K
Recently, while I waited for my ISP to install a new connection, I had to spend several hugely frustrating days using dialup. Most web designers these days take their audience’s broadband access for granted, so even seemingly simple sites take ages to load down a phone line. As I turned the air blue, I remembered this competition from around the millennial year. Its challenge: produce an entire web page, graphics and scripting included, that was under five kilobytes. Considering that today’s designers consider ten times that too little, they should go see the wonderful, quirky, original work that came out of that contest. Unfortunately, the 5K contest moved to its own site after that contest, but the archives don’t show up there now. Lucky for you, though, that I had this bookmarked: the list, and the 2000 winner.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 17th September, 2006.

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