Sunday, February 28, 2010


Off Topic : When the tsunami (from the Chile earthquake) hits Hawaii, I fully expect it to wash away Obama's birth certificate. Yet another Republican conspiracy illusion ;-)

Comments (1) :
Mary Ellen commented : "They're going this way an' that, mr. savory. and that's as much of your posts as i can comprehend. multiplying roman numerals??? very clever, but i am even less mathematically inclined in latin.... and i hope the tsunami does NOT wash away the president's birth certificate! for that matter, where is george w. bush's birth certificate. i think he 'was not born, he was come across! the parish priest found him in the poor box.' "

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quality Problems :-(

And you thought Toyota had Quality Problems ? :-(

Comments (3) :
Yvonne (B) points me to Real chairs as Art, "...designed to be uncomfortable".
Viktor (RUS) writes : "Here is a UK satire about Jap car quality problems. Enjoy! ;-)"
Peter (UK) puns : " Yup, 'fruit satin', you eat it." Ha ha! That's an anagram of 'unfair tits' ; coincidence?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pompey Fail :-(

Portsmouth(UK) Football Club (aka Pompey) is going into administration, i.e. are bankrupt. That doesn't surprise me at all, since their fans are so ignorant they even fly their own national flag upside down (see photo above) :-(

Portsmouth is a significant base for the Royal Navy so there should be many flags flying there. All these ignorant and unobservant fans needed to do was look at them!

Do UK schools no longer teach the children how to display the Union Jack ? Blogmate Four Dinners ranted about the immigrants in the UK in his blog yesterday, but in this photo we see how ignorant a Pompey football fan is : so proud of his country that he can't even get its flag the right way up! I really do despair!

Note for non-UK readers* : Look at the diagonals. The white stripes on either side of the red are wide or narrow. The wide white diagonal should be on top next to the pole. If there is no pole used, it should be assumed to be on the left. Dead easy innit? :-)

* : Yes, Furtheron, this includes you, you got it wrong too last week :-(

Comments (2) :
Chuck (TX,USA) says "That may have been intentional! Here in the US an inverted flag is a sign of distress, which would certainly apply if they are bankrupt :-). FWIW, here is the US Flag Code." That's as maybe Chuck, but in England and Wales it counts as Lèse majesté afaik, which is still a crime there; not in Scotland however :-) Here in Germany, under German criminal code (§90a StGB) it is illegal to revile the German federal flag as well as any flags of its states; also to insult foreign heads of state.
Jean (F) is surprised : "I always thought it was symmetrical; you live and learn!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whither Camouflage today and tomorrow?

The newspaper headline shown above got me curious about the state of the art in camouflage techniques. The first thing I found out was that the British army is being issued with new camouflage gear, probably by a bean-counter civil servant intent on reducing the amount of kit from two uniforms to just one :-(
The picture below shows all three pieces of kit.

On your right, the 'old' desert camo kit as used in Afghanistan. Centre, the 'old' woodland camo kit as used in northern Europe. On your left, the new camo kit, a compromise which allegedly works in both environments. I don't think so!

The picture above shows a soldier wearing the new camo kit in a dense woodland environment. Call that camo??? Now look just to the left of him and see the guy carrying the artifical fir tree/shrub disguise. You can hardly see him in a woodland environment. Only his boots give him away. That's what I call appropriate camo!!!

But what is really interesting is the research being done on invisibility cloaks using special materials with negative refractive indices. The aim is to get you up to what I call 'Predator' standards (after the Hollywood movie starring Arnie).

But if you use infrared thermal imaging glasses you should be able to see outlines of the figures both in woodlands and deserts because their heat emission gives them away even if the camo hides them optically in daylight :-(

Modern IR monoculars are light enough to be helmet-mounted and show thermal images even in total darkness. So any new invisibility-cloak camo is going to need to disguise the IR emissions too. Difficult, as the heat convecting away above a body may be seen by an appropriate IR detector too (c.f. the thermal imagery equipment used to see how efficient your house's insulation is). So my question remains : whither camo?

Comments (2) :
Staff Sgt. Nameless : "Here's the new camo for any couch potatoes ;-)"

Airforceman : "The US Air Force's next generation stealth fighter ;-)"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Roman Numeral Long Division

C ontinuing the theme of doing arithmetic in roman numerals, I want to tackle the more difficult problem of how they did divisions. Again I'll use an example from the Carolingan court of 810 AD and show the working.

One of the annual problems for the monks of the time was to determine the date of easter, an arbitrarily dated festival celebrating the death of a fictitious figure they worshipped. They had a complicated set of rules for finding the date of easter which involved using the remainder of a division by 19.

Aside : A period of 19 tropical years is almost exactly equal to 235 synodic months, something the early Greeks (Meton of Athens) discovered in 432 BC. The Jews used this relationship too and the monks adopted it (and much else) from Judaism.

Anyway, in order to detemine the date of easter in the year 810 AD, the monks would have had to divide 810 by 19 to get the remainder. Dividing in roman numerals!

Problem : Divide DCCCX by IXX

Just as we do long division, they also used trial and error, getting the nearest number below the DCCCX for a test multiple of IXX, and then reiterating on the difference as often as necessary. So let us do that with them :-)

First, realise that IXX is nearly XX and that XX times L is DD, equals M (using the table I showed you last friday). Convert IXX to XVIIII as required by carolingan law. So the first trial multiplication will be L * XVIIII. Using the inflation table I showed you last friday, L * XVIIII = DCCCCL which is larger than DCCCX, implying the trial inflator L is too large. So, since L=XXXXX, the next trial inflator would have one digit less = XXXX.

Inflating XVIIII by XXXX using last friday's multiplication table gives CCCC LLLL XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX = DCCLX, which is less than DCCCX, the difference being L.

Reiterating on this difference L, we find that XVIIII * III = LVII, i.e. larger than L. And so we try XVIIII * II = XXXVIII, smaller than L, leaving XII as the remainder.

Result : Dividing DCCCX by IXX gives XXXXII remainder XII, all in roman numerals :-)

Historical Note : The medieval (latin) text tells us that there was a Jewish merchant - Isaak - at the Carolingan court, who may(?) have done things differently. So I checked with Jewish blogger Elisson on the traditional Hebrew numbering system - which as far as he knows is the same as was in use 1200 years ago - which does not use a zero and thus operates like the Roman Numerals too (i.e. no positional notation). BTW, Isaak went on Karl's expedition to Baghdad and brought back a present for him to Aachen from Harun al Rashid - a white elephant - from whence the idiom came I suspect ;-)

Comments (1) :
Anon sent this clip from a cartoon. Hint taken.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Roman Numeral Multiplication

Back in March 2009 I blogged about doing arithmetic in roman numerals and suggested therein how they might have done multiplication. It turns I was wrong, they had an early form of the abacus, of which only two have survived to this day (one is in a museum in Rome). However, I was talking to Prof. Oberschelp (of RWTH Aachen) last thursday and he tells me how roman numeral multiplication was being done without an abacus around the time of Charlemagne (800 AD). So let me pass on this little gem of knowledge on to my blogreaders. The monks and merchants had a little (wooden?) multiplication table - called an inflation table, for inflating numbers - as shown below :-

Obviously this is symmetrical around the TL-BR axis. Read it like this V*X=L, L*L=MMD etc. The bars over letters lower right mean 'times 1000', so VII with a bar over the top would mean 7000, OK? So you don't need a row/column for M or I, just leaving a little 5 by 5 table. Bit like the 10 times table we learned as small children, but much smaller.

Now let's do an example. Try NOT to convert to arabic numerals!

To do : multiply MXXV by CCVII

'Inflating' by each digit of the smaller number (CCVII) and working right to left gives:-

Step I : MXXV inflated by I remains as MXXV.

Next Step I : MXXV inflated by I remains as MXXV also.

Step V : MXXV inflating each digit by V gives VbarLLXXV (V times M is Vbar, V times each X is an L, and V times V is XXV - which you can see from the table).

Step C : MXXV inflating each digit by C gives Cbar MMD.

Next Step C : MXXV inflating each digit by C gives Cbar MMD again.

Concatenating all results gives CbarMMD CbarMMD VbarLLXXV MXXV MXXV.

Sorting into groups by letter value gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LL XXXXXX VVV

Swapping the two right Vs for an X gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LL XXXXXXX V

Swapping five of the right Xs for an L gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LLL XX V etc etc

eventually gets us to our final result (CCXII)barCLXXV, which is the right answer :-)

Check me in arabic numerals if you need to and then try an example of your own before amazing your friends down at the pub with your roman numeral fluency; it is even more flabberghasting if you have memorised the multiplication table as shown :-)

Comments (2) :
Richard (Wales) : "How about division?" Coming up on Monday, Richard :-)
Four Dinners asks " Why is it that as soon as you write 'obviously' I know I am in trouble? I can count to twenty reasonably well....;-)" In Roman Numerals? In latin?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Rumour** has it that Pete Doherty's ex, Kate Moss, was in room 298 on a modelling assignment for an advertisement in Dubai last week. Was that too a Moss Ad job? :-(

Comments (2) :
Judith (IL) : "...bloody awful English pun too :-)" Thanks, Judith, I was just showing off by making up puns in two different languages all in the space of two lines. I'll go away and wash my mouth out now ;-) Shame you think it's anti-semitic though :-(
Four Dinners regurgitates "A Moss Ad job??????....I'll get your coat...;-)"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hot off the press ;-)

Blogreader Ina (D) has requested that I do more blog articles about current affairs; hence this satirical one, which is however based on real headlines ;-)

Today's newspaper headline* : "American soldiers making advances in Afghanistan". Reporting on progress, retiring General 'Eyes' Hardie said "We are over the hump". Asked about his retirement plans, the general said he would be touring Alaska and going up the Inside Passage. In a separate report made earlier, the Pentagon loudly announced it would be bending over to actively recruit gays as part of its new policy.

Meanwhile, reports from the Vatican tell us that the Pope is "looking at the Irish bishopricks in some detail" to see what can be done about child molestation there.

Sometimes I do wonder if such headlines are deliberate :-

You couldn't make this stuff up!

Comments (3) :
Wendy (Oz) writes "Hm. Us journos can and do make this shite up all the time, but it usually gets edited out at the last furlong. One time I was subbing a story on DHL's (then) new service which involved Pakistan and Afghanistan. We came up with the head: "DHL takes it up the Khyber". The editor changed it to "DHL carries on up the Khyber", but we changed it back when he wasn't looking and it ran to print. Puerile. Utterly puerile. But when you've got such a boring job...." Love the Carry-On films :-)
Four Dinners notes " I'm surprised Tiger has the opportunity!!!!" Aha, you mean you think he's got his hands full?
Wendy (again) added "And on an even more puerile note, I'm reading a Fritz Spiegl book where he mentions that apparently in about 1969 the Financial Times ran a cryptic clue in its crossword which was: "Listen carefully, or a sexual perversion" (5,2,4,4). However, apparently, they deny all knowledge of this. " Hmmmmmmmm, too cryptic for me :-(

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cool Calling Cards

C ool in the sense of really impressive.

Just last week, my good blog friend Four Dinners gave us his CV. I quote :-
"Farm Labourer, Police Cadet, Cotton Mill Labourer, Furniture Salesman, Machine Operator, Forestry Worker, Carpet Salesman, Airport Car Park Cashier, Fork Lift Driver, Machine Setter, Computer Tape Librarian, Warehouseman, Stock Controller, Materials Planner, Mini-Cab Driver, Security Doorman, Financial Advisor, Customer Services Agent, Chocolate Production Manager, Mini-Cab Driver again, Bus Driver, Litho Production Controller, Record Production Runner, Gymnastics Coach, Truck Driver, Double Glazing Salesman, Cargo Handler, Cargo Agent, Union Rep and now Driving Instructor." Not necessarily in that order. "Occupationally gregarious" he says.

So when my neighbour Ria threw her 70th birthday party last wednesday, we old age pensioners reminesced about our humdrum careers and the conversation turned to 'Cool Calling Cards'. What would be coolest? One guy there still had his last one, it read "Sales Rep"; we guessed Benedict XVI might have one saying "God's Rep" ;-)

Harking back to my student job days, I could claim "Washer of Corpses" :-( Ria's late husband (RIP) used to manage the sewage works, so had a card saying "Fritz E. - I cope with your crap" ;-) Cool! We fantasized that Camilla, before she became Duchess of Cornwall, might have had one saying "Camilla Parker-Bowles, Mistress to the P.o.W" ;-) Imagine the cat-fight that would ensue when 15 voluptuous women turned up at a Florida cocktail party, ALL with calling cards reading "Tiger Woods' Mistress" ;-)

But we wanted to talk about real calling cards rather than fantasy ones. One guy had spent his life as a corporate (in both senses) accountant at Siemens; for the lighter moments (if there were any) he had a card reading "George A. - Bean Counter". When he retired his colleagues presented him with gilded and scalloped calling cards reading "George A. - Has-Bean Counter", that didn't come across at all well :-(

I remember Jotzek (going through a difficult phase in his life about 35 years ago) having a card which read "Jotzek - no address - no woman - no money - no problems". Bitter, huh?

I had a Jewish friend many years ago who's father had survived a concentration camp. Not only did he have a number tatooed on his wrist to show for it, but for 'special occasions' (what were they?) he had a calling card bearing just that number, not even his name. Now that IS impressive. Certainly impressed me as a teenage schoolboy!

25 years ago, almost to the day, I was talking to Edward Teller (how's that for name-dropping?) at the WEF in Davos and was teasing him about the design errors he had made in the early hydrogen bombs. No sense of humour, that man. But if I remember correctly, he had a self-important calling card "Edward H. Teller - Father of the Hydrogen Bomb". Pretty impressive! I wonder if Wernher von Braun had one "Wernher von Braun - Guided Missile Designer" or, better, "Wernher von Braun - Rocket Man"? Come to that, did Einstein ever have a calling card "Albert Einstein - just a relative" ;-)

Getting back to Four Dinners; he is to be congratulated for passing the theory exam part 1 towards becoming a driving instructor. So now he gets to practice on the roads. Oooh er missus! I can just see him saying "Turn left here", his pupil turning right instead, and them both landing in the river Thames. Of course, if this scenario instead happened in the river through Berlin, Dinners could have printed on his calling card :

Four Dinners - Driving Instructor (in Spee) ;-)

What are the coolest calling cards you have ever seen? Your best fantasy card idea?

Comments (4) :
Wendy (Oz) comments - "Not necessarily 'cool', but my friend woke up one morning after a 'lively' night on the town to discover a card in her pocket which said: "Gary Parker -- Emissions Manager". This of course begged the questions: A) Who the hell is Gary Parker? B) What does he emit? And C) And how does he manage it? We may never know.." A night on the town? Does that make them 'nocturnal emissions' ? ;-)
Thomas (D) tells us a tale of carneval in his home town - "Not necessarily on the topic but right next to it... Yesterday - Carnivalparade (Karnevalsumzug) in the town we live in : As you probably know the spectators in our homely rhinish surroundings are calling, asking and yelling (or all of it together) for "Bützjer" ( Kisses) and "Kamelle" ( sweets) and the lovely people in the parade throw sweets ( literally tons of ) from the parading floats and marching-corps and -bands and or give/throw you roses or tulips in exchange for a kiss. Well, my good buddy Michael and myself were standing and watching the parade and there was this really cute woman in one of the parading dance corps. Both of us - on the top of our lungs - were yelling : "Bützjer, Bützjer,..." And really, she came running over, kissed him on the cheek, looked him deep in the eye and said : "CALL ME ! " and handed him - a local telephone book... Classic. Took him about an hour to get over that one. " Now he's going to have to read it, page for boring page, to see if one of the names is (faintly) underlined ;-)
Sigrid (D) tells me I blew it :-( "Your pun is a FAIL. The river through Berlin is called Spree, with an R in the middle. Spee, OTOH, was a German admiral in WW1; there was a big WW2 battleship named after him". You are correct Sigrid; I blew it badly :-(
Four Dinners commented " Ta very much for your congrats old bean...Part II is now in motion as they say... If anyone turns right when I say 'left' I will A) Thump them if they are male or B) Throw them out to walk home if they are female (or male and smaller than me as I'm not a bully)....;-) My 'calling card' will say -

'Dinners Driving School'
'Please arrive at The Five Bells in Harmondsworth in good time'
'The car will be the one attached by a chain to the lampost outside'
'Please drive around in circles until I emerge'
'Thank You'
....note there will be a thank you as I will always be polite to my pupils..."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Er, what??? Auntie BBC contradicts herself

Oh and FWIW, in China, they are just celebrating the Year of the Tiger.
They say there is no better aphrodisiac than grinding Tiger's penis regularly ;-)

Comments (1) :
Four Dinners said " Ahhh!!! But 'numbers' are different!!! As for Tigers...they can keep their bits and bobs well away from me thank you very much."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mister Frisbee, RIP :-(

The man who invented the frisbee, Walter Fredrick Morrison, has died, aged 90 :-(

On behalf of all the other dogs in the world, my two bulldogs asked that I show you this YouTube video (not mine), showing you the fun dogs have with his invention :-

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fours Dinners' Venn Diagram ;-)

M y good blog friend Four Dinners is starting a new car rear career as a driving instructor, subject to passing the exam he takes today. So here's wishing him GOOD LUCK. Obviously he has had an accelerated training course over the past weeks, but I know how he feels this morning.

This is the nightmarish Venn diagram I just drew for him ;-)

You'll breeze through, Dinners!

Update : As expected, 4D has passed his theory exams :-) Congratulations, 4D!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reformation propaganda coin

During the reformation (mid 16th century) many of this kind of propaganda coin were in circulation. The engraver has been very subtle in his criticism of the Papal regime when he made the die for producing these coins. Look at the photo on the left and you see the Pope of the day, very PC. But when you invert the coin (photo on the right) you see an engraving of the Devil ;-) Neat propaganda, given that many folks could not read back then!

Nowadays we have unretouched press photographs ;-)

Comments(2) :
Four Dinners : "How about a version of this today? A pound or even two pound coin with Bliars head on it devised this way?...if not...Mandelson would do equally well!!!!!"
Re this or the previous post, Jenny sent this link to another ancient Roman coin ;-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yet More Gay Catholic Pedophiles :-(

Yet another case of Catholic priest pedophiles gayly sexually molesting the children put in their charge :-(

I hope there is a special corner of Hell reserved for them!

Ex-teachers at the Jesuit Canisius college in Berlin, Pater Peter R. and Pater Wolfgang_S. and Dr.h.c.(mult) Pater Bernhard E. are accused of sexually molesting the children there. The latter has publicly confessed. This went on over many years; the church knew about it and did NOTHING! But at least the current head teacher, Pater Klaus Mertes has now exposed the abuse. Well done. Mind you, it is probably too late to take them to court :-(

Quoting directly from the Bible from which they preach :-
"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination."(Leviticus 18:22)
"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable; they must be put to death; ".....(Leviticus 20:13)

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TNIV): "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

These morally reprehensible *******s certainly didn't practice what they preached :-(
Is it any wonder that I have nothing but contempt for The One True Church® ?

Comments(1) :
Four Dinners : "Catholic Priests? Only surprise is anyone's surprised when one turns out to be a perv. Odd chaps at best."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Braking News ;-)

Toyota Prius owners are putting their foot down! . . . But to no avail :-(

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow Crash ;-)

Goddamned snow is getting deeper all the time! Much deeper than the dogs are tall :-(

Photo of Bulldog Chilli resurfacing; taken by Anke Teloudis last week :-)

Mac Users will know what a Snow Crash is. It is for them that Neal Stephenson wrote his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. The blurb read :- "From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse-- looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible." Recommended reading, even for WinDoze users :-)

Pergelator commented " Stephenson is one of my favorite authors. I read Snow Crash some years ago. I read The Confusion last summer during my trip to Ohio. I have part 3 of the Baroque Cycle, but I haven't started it. I had The Confusion for years before I read it. You have to be pretty sharp to be able to really enjoy it. Right now I am reading Otherland by Tad Williams, which has a story line very similar to Snow Crash, but it is different. More and different story lines, much longer, not as difficult to read as Stephenson's recent stuff. I'm not sure how difficult I would rate Snow Crash, it was a long time ago that I read it." -- I think I liked Cryptonomicon best.
Doris (USA) sends this photo of her bulldog Willie almost submerged in the snow:-

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Apple blew it

Apple supposedly do a quality check before releasing 3rd party Apps. But this week they blew it, accepting an App providing Hitler's book Mein Kampf, complete with Swastikas etc. :-( Doubtless this made them popular with the Jewish community and with the German government. And some people noticed and complained. Maybe they were told 'Withdraw the App or we'll shut the store here' ? Be that as it may, they have now - very quietly - withdrawn the App from their Store :-)

The Bavarian government own the copyright and are very restrictive with it. So I expect whoever wrote the App - and perhaps even Apple's "quality approval" team - are going to be in legal hot water! :-)

Comments(3) :
Petra points us to today's FailBlog.
Schorsch tells me that the next official and annotated version is due in 2015.
Four Dinners : "...I bet the BNP will be buying them in droves!!!" They read German?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I am a GoogleWhack :-)

Darren Siggers has written to tell me that I am a GoogleWhack, his very first one! GoogleWhacking : find that elusive query (two words - no quote marks) with a single, solitary result! Obviously, I can't tell you directly what those two words are, because that would double the number of hits, thus demoting me from being a GoogleWhack :-(

So take the underscores out of these two words - Dendro_filous Hit_ler - and google for the result. When Darren did that he got exactly one result, in my June 2009 blog :-)

These GoogleWhacks are hard to find, as I found out when I described this photo of an old Concorde cockpit as a hypersonic gruntfuttock and STILL got three hits :-(

Comments(2) :
Wendy (Oz) : "Well, I can't remember if you posted this or not, but you do know that Pamela Stevenson and Billy Connolly named their rather posh house Gruntfuttocks back in the 80s. Apparently it infuriated all the twin-set and pearls surrounding them (lowered the tone, I think)." They were probably remembering the ever-complaining character J.Peasmold Gruntfuttock (professional telephone heavy breather and dirty old man, played by Kenneth Williams in his usual camp style) from the BBC Radio show Round the Horne. The original definition being the wedges used to hold masts in their sockets on a sailing ship. Later (after Round the Horne?) bellringers (at Oxford at least) used it to describe pulling a bellrope slightly early or late, just off the beat, afaik. Giving my age away here :-(
Four Dinners : "hypersonic gruntfuttock got you three hits????? There's nowt stranger than folk eh?...;-)"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Geocaching : Equipment list

Beginners in the Geocaching hobby often ask what equipment they will 'need'. Rather than just blogging a boring list, let me tell you a couple of anecdotes about my own equipment list evolved.

Like all beginners I thought a GPS receiver, some small trade-items and a ball-point pen would suffice. The pen being for those micro-caches too small to contain one themselves, and whose mini-pencil(even if present) is invariably blunt (so I added a small pencil sharpener too). This suffices for traditional caches; for multi-stage and mystery caches I print out the cache description from the internet and take that too. Needless to say, a pair of stable walking shoes - preferably waterproof - and robust old clothes that you won't mind getting dirty, are a prerequisite.

After the first few caches found unter stones or between tree roots, I added a pair of gardening gloves to keep my hands clean, and avoid infections from burrowing-animal diseases (rabies, fox bandworm etc). A packet of paper handkerchiefs (Tempo) is useful for wiping off any dirt too.

My first foray into a small cave taught me to take a torch too, mine has 9 LEDs and is surprisingly bright. Then, once on a trip in the deep woods, having been careful to mark in my GPS the position where I left the car, the GPS batteries failed me deep in the woods and it was a struggle to find the car again :-( So this taught me that I should have spare batteries for the GPS (rechargable accumulators actually) and the torch. I changed my torch too, so as to have battery interchangability. And I packed a backup pen too. Once I made an arithmetical mistake mentally calculating intermediate coordinates of a multi-cache, so now I pack a small pocket calculator too, needless to say chosen to have the same type of battery. By now your pockets are full. For the additional stuff which follows you might want to use a small light rucksack :-)

Many caches offer splendid views, and indeed GEO-caches require you to take a photo of yourself onsite, logging it later in the internet to document your cache visit. So a small digital camera gets put on the list too (maintain battery interchangability!). A bright flourescent jacket is sensible for off-track forest hikes, just so any hunters don't mistake you for a deer/boar (instead of a bore) ;-) A small pocket-mirror is good too for looking around tiny corners in cliffs or stone walls, a small telescopic stick for poking in small holes too. The latter should have a magnet on the end for retrieving small metal things. Oh, I forgot to mention that old wire coat hanger that you can bend into a suitably shaped/sized hook is useful for retrieving deeply hidden caches too.

Once you have found the cache container, you will need to open it :-) Not all of them are simple plastic pillboxes. As I have learned from experience, take an 8mm, 10mm, and 12 mm spanner, a ring of Inbus keys, a bladed screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver too. And did I mention a Leatherman (pliers combi-tool) and/or a Swiss army pocket knife. A pincette is useful too for getting the logstrips out of those tiny fingernail-sized nano-caches.

Logstrips are often so soggy that you can't write on them any more. So I pack a couple of spare logstrips in nano and micro sizes as replacements if needed. Apropos soggy, you should have a pair of wellies in the boot of your car, should you need to wade through a creek/stream/river. The cache description will usually hint in this direction. A small towel for drying off after transiting a dripping cave etc. will fit in the backpack too. A small monocular (or the zoom function of the digicam) may save you having to wade the river just to read an infoboard :-)

What else? There's a tape measure and a plastic protractor in the rucksack too, I forget what I needed those for. Topographical maps of mountainous areas. A mobile phone would help in case of an emergency. A small first aid kit for cuts and scrapes and insect bites. Drinking cup and bottle of water for those longer hikes. Oh and bathing shorts; there was one cache where I had to swim out to a buoy in the lake whose serial number was the clue for the next coordinates of a multi-cache :-)

I haven't needed a hard hat yet, because I don't do the T5 climbing caches in my old age. YMMV. Mind you, I do have protective wrap-around safety glasses for walking through scrub and tall undergrowth. Depending on what the cache decription says, you might want to put a small folding ladder into the car boot too. Mind you, if you ever get stopped by the police because of your no doubt (to them) suspicious behaviour, you might have a problem explaining all this stuff. Been there, done that ;-)

Comments(3) :
David (IL) : "Do you have Geocaching Events (social get-togethers of geocachers) in your country too?" Sure David, here's a photo taken at the recent 7th BaWeKo event. Since you are commenting from Israel, I will name the people from right to left ;-)

R2L : Sälzerkönig, Eunoia, Schroeder10000, EventMan and Rabenschnabel Junior. In the background, behind my shoulder, you can see Elch777 and Monkey Island team.
Four Dinners : " Geocaching would require walking. Now I'm not necessarily averse to walking as long as there are frequent pubs en route. I will have to see if I can find any local geocachers and suss out the pubs. I wonder if I could get a team up from The Old Pretenders? Several of the chaps like a good ramble..." I've mailed you a map of the caches in your area, Dinners :-) Meanwhile here are two photos of our April 2006 visit to the world's smallest pub (a converted pig-sty!) :-
Magda (H) suggests "Wear long trousers and long sleeves, where there are lots of tics in the undergrowth. Also a tic removal card or tweezers." Good ideas, Magda, thanks!

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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatently opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, blogger and webmaster living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours :-) Oh, and he also has a neat English Bulldog bitch 'Frieda'.

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