Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

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Gleanings from the Past #85

Consonants and Vowels In normal speech there are four times as many consonants as vowels, corresponding to the relation between breathing and blood circulation (eighteen breaths to seventy-two pulsebeats). — Noah Jonathan Jacobs, Naming Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language, 1958 Natural Vanity Lord Houghton’s vanity is amusingly natural. Something was said […]

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The Longest Twelve-Word Telegram

At the end of the nineteenth century, an English journal offered a prize to anyone who can write the longest twelve-word telegram. The telegram must be written must be comprehensible (well, as comprehensible as a telegram message can be) and it should be short enough to be considered a standard length. More than 450 people […]

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A Postcard That Traversed Time and Space

In 1948, a mother from Spiceland, Indiana sent a postcard to her son. It took 58 years before her son received it. However, it was not as straightforward, as the town’s postmaster had to purchase it on eBay. Judy Dishman, Spiceland’s postmaster, was browsing on eBay while on vacation when she saw a postcard that […]

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Inscription on the Entrance of a Villa in Siena of Yore

  Siena, Italy Image: Equity Residences  Joseph Massarette’s book La Vie Martiale et Fastueuse de Pierre-Ernest de Mansfeld (1517-1604), which was published in 1930, told of a whimsical inscription on the entrance of a villa in Siena, Italy during the sixteenth century: Quisquis huc accedis, Quod tibi horrendum videtur, Mihi amœnum est, Si delectat manaes, […]

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Peculiar Index Cross-References

The index section of William Hawkins’ Treatise of Pleas of the Crown, a treatise on England’s criminal law published in 1716, contains some quaint and amusing cross-references: Assault, see Son. Chastity, see Homicide. Convicts, see Clergy. Death, see Appeal. King, see Treason. Shop, see Burglary. Sickness, see Bail.  

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The Ironic Tale of Censoring a Book About Censorship (Fahrenheit 451)

Daniel Radosh, a senior writer of Daily Show, related on his Twitter account in 2016 that his son’s school required parents to sign a permission slip before their children could be allowed to read Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451: tfw your kid's school makes you sign a permission slip so he can read Fahrenheit 451 📚 […]

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The Mind-Boggling Chess for Three Players

If you ever begin to get bored at playing normal chess, you may appreciate a chessboard that can accomodate three players. This three-player chess is played on a circular chessboard to male it fair and square (oops!) for all the players. It’s available on Amazon for anyone who’s interested. Here the product’s description: Play chess […]

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Some Strange Lines from Serious Fiction Manuscripts

In 1981, a well-known editor based in New York, who wished to remain anonymous, sent several excerpts from unsolicited manuscripts of supposedly serious fiction he received to the National Lampoon. They were published in the section called “From the Slush Pile”: “Pardon?” she asked in a tone that made me want to wash my hands. […]

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Peculiar Symbols in the Looking Glass

One day, when Alice entered the looking, she noticed a sign depicting a peculiar group of symbols: “What are those symbols?” Alice mused. “They seem to be some sort of secret code or a foreign alphabet.” After some time, Alice realized the real meaning of the symbols. “It’s a sequence with a pattern!” Alice exclaimed. […]

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