Dress Code


It can be rather awkward if you appear at an event wearing casual clothes while everyone is wearing formal attire and vice versa. Nonetheless, playwright and actor Noël Coward didn’t falter when a similar event happened to him. In 1918, Coward was invited to a gathering organized by Tomorrow Club, which was composed of literary bigwigs at the time.

Coward went to the meeting without knowing the dress code. He arrived there looking like he was going to a job interview, only to find that everybody was wearing casual clothes. Everyone’s attention was on him as he walked inside the venue. He then paused for a moment in the doorway and said, “Now, I don’t want anybody to feel embarrassed.”


Cole Lesley, The Life of Noël Coward, 1976

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Pun Of The Weak: Investing

“I know a man who put all his money in just two stocks, a paper-towel company and a revolving-door outfit. He was wiped out before he could turn around.” — Dave Astor

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The First Odd Number In The Dictionary


Suppose that each number from 1 to 10,000,000,000 written in English and then alphabetically arranged (as in a dictionary) while ignoring spaces and hyphens. What would be the first odd number in the list?

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An Old Rhyming Recipe To Make Ink


The following is a quaint mnemonic of a recipe for making ink which first appeared in John de Beauchesne’s Writing Book, 1602, and quoted in David Nunes Carvalho, Forty Centuries of Ink, 1904:

To make common Ink, of Wine take a quart,
Two ounces of Gumme, let that be a part;
Five ounces of Galls, of Cop’res take three,
Long standing doth make it the better to be;
If Wine ye do want, raine water is best,
And then as much stuffe as above at the least,
If the Ink be too thick, put Vinegar in,
For water doth make the colour more dimme.

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Gleanings From The Past #61

Reasons for the Delay

The editor of the American Mechanic has encountered trials unknown to ordinary men. Hearken unto his wailings. “Owing to the facts, that our papermaker disappointed us, the mails failed, and deprived us of our exchanges, a Dutch pedlar stole our scissors, the rats ran off with our paste, and the devils went to the circus, while the editor was at home tending babies, our paper is unavoidedly delayed beyond the proper period of publication.”

The Lancaster Gazette, January 31, 1852

Art and Nature

A lecturer addressing a Hampshire audience, contended, with tiresome prolixity, that Art could not improve Nature; until one of his hearers, losing all patience, set the room in a roar, by exclaiming, “how would you look without your wig?”

The New Joe Miller Jest Book, 1865

Character Creation

I never deliberately sat down and ‘created’ a character in my life. I begin to write incidents out of real life. One of the persons I write about begins to talk this way and one another, and pretty soon I find that these creatures of the imagination have developed into characters, and have for me a distinct personality. These are not ‘made,’ they just grow naturally out of the subject. That was the way Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and other characters came to exist. I couldn’t to save my life deliberately sit down and plan out a character according to diagram. In fact, every book I ever wrote just wrote itself. I am really too lazy to sit down and plan and fret to ‘create’ a ‘character.’ If anybody wants any character ‘creating,’ he will have to go somewhere else for it. I’m not in the market for that. It’s too much like industry.

— Mark Twain, New York American, May 26, 1907


A psychologist at a girl’s college asked the members of his class to compliment any girl wearing red. Within a week the cafeteria was a blaze of red. None of the girls were aware of being influenced, although they did notice that the atmosphere was more friendly. A class at the University of Minnesota is reported to have conditioned their psychology professor a week after he told them about learning without awareness. Every time he moved toward the right side of the room, they paid more attention and laughed more uproariously at his jokes, until apparently they were able to condition him right out the door.

— W. Lambert Gardiner, Psychology: A Story of a Search, 1970

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Some More Tech-Related Headaches

The day before yesterday, I talked about a few troublesome tech problems that happened to me last week. I thought that my ordeal with technological annoyances is over, at least for a while. However, my optimism proved me wrong.

Earlier, when I was using my computer, I encountered a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Once the computer restarted, I read the crash log and I felt that the problem was software-related, though I’m not quite sure. While reading the log, another BSOD occurred (So, yeah, I haven’t finished reading it yet). When I tried to reboot my computer once again, this appeared:

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Quotable #61: Expenses


“Keeping up appearances is the most expensive thing in the world.” — A. C. Benson

“A man often pays dear for a small frugality.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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