Quotable #54: Rat Race


“A study shows that stress does not cause high blood pressure. It was conducted with rats, so it may not mean much. They’re not in the people race.” — Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 22, 1968

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Conveyance Of An Orange


The Western Law Journal, Vol. 5 (August 1848) gave the following interesting passage about the process of writing a deed of gift of an orange:

If a man would, according to law, give to another an orange, instead of saying, “I give you that orange,” which one would think would be what is called in legal phraseology, “an absolute conveyance of all right and title therein,” the phrase would run thus:

“I give you all and singular my estate and interest, right, title and claim, and advantage of and in that orange, with all its rind, skin, juice, pulp and pips, and all right and advantage therein, with full power to bite, cut, suck, and otherwise eat the same, or give the same away, as fully and effectually as I, said A.B., am now entitled to bite, cut, suck, or otherwise eat the same orange, or give the same away with or without its rind, juice, pulp and pips, anything heretofore or hereafter, or in other deed or deeds, instrument or instruments, of what nature or kind soever, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.”

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Pun Of The Weak: Bored Room


Bored Room — A room where corporate meetings are held.

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Rejection Letter From A Chinese Editor


The following is said to be an exact translation of the letter sent by a Chinese editor to a would-be contributor whose manuscript he found it necessary to return:

Illustrious brother of the sun and moon: Behold thy servant prostrate before thy feet. I kowtow to thee, and beg that of thy graciousness thou mayst grant that I may speak and live. Thy honored manuscript has deigned to cast the light of its august countenance upon us. With raptures we have perused it. By the bones of my ancestors, never have I encountered such wit, such pathos, such lofty thought. With fear and trembling I return the writing. Were I to publish the treasure you sent me, the emperor would order that it should be made the standard and that none be published except such as equaled it. Knowing literature as I do, and that it would be impossible in ten thousand years to equal what you have done, I send your writing back. Ten thousand times I crave your pardon. Behold my head is at your feet. Do what you will.

Your servant’s servant,

The Editor.


The Literary World, March 23, 1895

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A Hecatomb Of Oxen Or: Pythagoras’s Sacrifice

Fyodor Bronnikov.jpg

“Pythagoreans Celebrate the Sunrise” by Fyodor Bronnikov 1869

Legend has it that when the Greek philosopher Pythagoras discovered the Pythagorean theorem (the famous right-triangle theorem you probably first heard in algebra class then never heard it again until now), he celebrated by sacrificing a hecatomb (100 heads) of oxen to the gods. This event was noted several times in the literature.

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Gleanings From The Past #53



Small debts are like small shot; they are rattling on every side, and can scarcely be escaped without a wound: great debts are like cannon; of loud noise, but little danger.

— Samuel Johnson, extract from a letter to Joseph Simpson, cited in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 1, 1824 Continue reading

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How Many Lawyers Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?


Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Such number as may be deemed to perform the stated task in a timely and efficient manner within the strictures of the following agreement:

Whereas the party of the first part, also known as “Lawyer,” and the party of the second part, also known as “Light Bulb,” do hereby and forthwith agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part (Light Bulb) shall be removed from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed-upon duties, i.e., the illumination of the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entryway, terminating at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of the carpet, any spillover illumination being at the option of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the parties. Continue reading

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