Tjiliwirri: A Language of Opposites

The Warlpiri people, a group of Indigenous Australian, teach a strange language called Tjiliwirri to their boys who go through an initiation rite. Tjiliwirri literally means “funny’ or “clown”. The peculiar thing about this language is that it expresses every idea as its opposite. For instance, if you want to say “It’s hot”, you have […]

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Random Joke #16: Horse in the Bathtub

Image: HabitatofHorses.org An Englishman buys a horse and hires porters to take the horse up to his apartment on the fourth floor. The porters exert themselves and sweat. Finally they succeed in getting the horse to his apartment. He asks them to put the horse in the bathtub. After they finish the job, one of […]

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Getting His Money’s Worth

In 1930, a man from Boston wrote the following amusing letter to The Christian Science Monitor, a weekly periodical: Dear Sir, When I subscribed a year ago you stated that if I was not satisfied at the end of the year I could have my money back. Well, I would like to have it back. On second thought, […]

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A Riddled Praise: An Acrostic Coincidence

In 1894, Christopher L. Ward of Wilmington, Delaware wrote the following riddle for two young ladies: When you seek a harder question To unriddle, your suggestion, I am sure, itself suggests its answer plain. It has puzzled many sages Of many lands and ages. But no doubt you will not tackle it in vain. Ward […]

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A Mathematical Proposal

There is a quaint story in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 15th Series (1969) about a man who used mathematical terms to propose. Robert Greer, a mathematics teacher at the Mount School in York, England, made the following proposal to a girl named Anne in 1880: If R = 1/2 and A = 1/2, Then R + […]

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A Welsh Verse Which Only Consists of Vowels

The following short Welsh verse on the silkworm only contains vowels. Note that there are seven vowels in Welsh, namely, a, e, i, o, u, w, and y: O’i wiw ŵy i weu ê â a’i weuau O’i ŵyau e weua; E’ weua ei ŵe aia’. Ai weuau yw ieuau iâ. It can be translated […]

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A Short Story with All Words Beginning with the Letter W

The following 440-word short story consists entirely of words beginning with the letter W. It contains only 18 hyphenated words. This anonymously-written story first appeared in the November 18, 1876, issue of the Waikato Times: “Warm weather, Walter! Welcome warm weather! We were wishing winter would wane, weren’t we?” “We were well wearied with waiting,” […]

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A Customer’s Suggestion

Stanley Marcus (left), Herbert Marcus (right) A well-meaning customer of Neiman-Marcus, an American chain of luxury department stores, sent the following letter to Stanley Marcus: Dear Mr. Marcus, I have been receiving beautiful and expensive brochures from you at regular intervals. It occurs to me that you might divert a little of the fortune you […]

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Writing His Own Termination Letter

When novelist Sherwood Anderson felt that he wasn’t happy with his job anymore, he opted to fire himself by writing a termination letter for himself. The letter was addressed to Bayard Barton, his general manager, and it was dated June 25, 1918: Dear Barton, You have a man in your employ that I have thought […]

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Truce in the Trenches: The Christmas Truce of 1914

This is a guest post by Souptik Banerjee. During the First World War in 1914, French, German, and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. The truces […]

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