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Weekend Picks

February 22, 2003 12:13 IST

A mind reading site, rules for a gentleman and how to sum yourself in 5 lines

Would you believe me if I said I can read your mind? Well, I can't, but let me introduce you to something that can!

Get on to this page and experience the magic. Think of any two-digit number, add both the digits and subtract the total from the original number.

Look up the symbol corresponding to the resultant number on the chart, concentrate on the symbol and then click on the crystal ball. Lo and behold! The ball will display the symbol you were concentrating on.

Before you decide that this sounds like any other simple number game, just give it a try. Each time you think of a different number, you will get a symbol and each time the crystal ball will throw up the same symbol.

The answer is a matter of thinking hard enough so happy figuring!

The 5 Line Self Portrait

"Can you sum yourself in five lines?"

Intrigued by the challenge? The site invites you to draw yourself or what you think is a representation of yourself using just five lines and send it in. The portrait can either be a scanned image of a pen / pencil drawing or done directly on the computer.

There's sure not much one can do with five lines, but that's exactly the idea. The restriction causes you to "either think long and hard and plan out your portrait, or not think at all and just let the portrait happen." It seems the latter method usually produces the best results.

A look at the gallery reveals the simplest to the most complex and quirky to the most natural drawings.

The Gentleman's Page

"Don't dress like a 'dude' or a 'swell'; nor carry a little poodle dog (a man's glory is his strength and manliness -- not in aping silly girls), nor cock your hat on one side, nor tip it back on your head (let it sit straight and square), nor wear anything conspicuous or that will make you offensive to others."

On this site you will find more such rules that the 19th century American gentleman was supposed to adhere to; a "rough notion of what was expected of him, as presented in etiquette books," as well as an account of,  "how they really behaved, as presented in the works of foreign observers and social commentators."

Check out the attire section for the frock coat, dress-coat, and the necktie styles in vogue then.

Some of the guidelines for deportment are but plain common sense. "Never scratch your head, pick your teeth, clean your nails, or worse of all, pick your nose in company; all these things are disgusting. Spit as little as possible and never upon the floor."

The customs with regard to ladies is worth a look, if only for some amusement! Table manners and the ballroom are entertaining sections. And if you haven't had enough, this article by Mark Twain, on how a strange young gentleman should behave while preparing to rescue a strange young lady from a fire, will have you rolling on the floor!

Japanese Smileys

Electronic communication has been made so much easier with the discovery of emoticons, a combination of characters that allow us to express every emotion from a smile { :) }to sadness { :( }. Most people around the world generally use the same standard set of emoticons that are now easily identifiable for their meaning. But not so the Japanese!

Their smileys seem to have evolved differently. They are read vertically { (^_^) }, whereas American ones are read horizontally { :) }. Also, there is a greater variety in the expressions used; possibly because they are influenced by the Japanese comic books, in which emotions were always expressed with the help of lines and graphics.

Check out this section for the most commonly used and popular Japanese emoticons. The smile is as simple as it gets, while the 'surprised excessively with eyes wide open' expression will open your eyes wide. Also take a look at these unusual symbols from Japanese comics. Well deserved, but no prizes for getting them right!

Sylvia D'Souza