War and Politics

Beilby Porteus In one of the many heated debates in the House of Peers regarding England’s participation in the French Revolution in 1794, a noble lord on the opposition quoted a portion of a poem about war written by Bishop Beilby Porteus (1731 – 1809): One murder makes a villain; Millions, a hero! Princes are […]

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“Loss in Delays”

The following poem titled “Loss in Delays” was written by Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595), an English poet and priest during the Elizabethan era: Shun delays, they breed remorse, Take thy time, while time is lent thee; Creeping snails have weakest force, Fly their fault, lest thou repent thee; Good is best when soonest wrought, […]

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Being Laconic Is Harder Than You Think

One time, the publisher of Mark Twain told him through telegram to write a short story: NEED 2-PAGE SHORT STORY TWO DAYS Twain wired back with this: NO CAN DO 2 PAGES TWO DAYS. CAN DO 30 PAGES 2 DAYS. NEED 30 DAYS TO DO 2 PAGES. “I… never could make a good impromptu speech,” […]

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Learn Fun Facts’ Monthly Miscellany, February 2019

Random Ramblings The past Lunar New year was quite hot here in Hong Kong. While it’s not that “hot”, it’s hotter than the normally cool temperature people enjoyed during this period. Unsurprisingly, the temperatures on the second and third day of this year’s Lunar New Year were the highest on record, reaching up to 24.9ºC […]

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Gleanings from the Past #81

Crimes in Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle There is one fact in connection with Holmes which will probably interest those who have followed his career from the beginning, and to which, so far as I am aware, attention has never been drawn. In dealing with criminal subjects one’s natural endeavour is to keep the crime […]

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Asking for a Raise

The January 1957 issue of Advertising Agency Magazine published the following memo sent by an office secretary named Ilean M. Clarke asking for salary increase: The Secretary You Save May Be Your Own. One Secretary in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush. Damn the Personnel Department, Full Speed Ahead. They Also Serve Who Sit and […]

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Quotable #81: Advertising

“Advertising is usually a trick to get you to spend money by telling you how much you can save. An advertisement is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission.” — Fred Allen “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing but she doesn’t.” — Thos. B. […]

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Checks Written in Blood

Charles K. Feldman (left) and Alexander Korda (right) Film producer Charles K. Feldman (1905 – 1968) related this story: I lost at gin rummy with Alexander Korda one evening, and mailed him a check next day. It was written in red ink, and accompanied by this note: “Dear Alex: You will see that this check is written in […]

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Distribution of Talent

William Shenstone (1714 – 1763), an eighteenth-century poet, once remarked that if the public is divided into a hundred parts, the corresponding distribution of talent may be estimated in this way: Fools: 15 Persons of Common Sense: 40 Wits: 15 Pedants: 15 Persons of Wild Taste: 10 Persons of Improved Taste: 5 Just for fun, […]

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