A Witty Exchange

  George Bernard Shaw (left) and Winston Churchill (right) When playwright George Bernard Shaw started a new play, he invited Winston Churchill to attend the opening night. He thought of a witty message, then wired the following invitation to Churchill: Have reserved two tickets for my first night. Come and bring a friend, if you […]

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The Big Universe

In his book, The Book of Naturalists (1944), naturalist William Beebe related an interesting anecdote about him and his friend Theodore Roosevelt during his visits to Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt’s residence. Roosevelt and Beebe would go out after an evening of talk and dinner and search the night sky until they locate the faint spot of light-mist […]

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“To Blossom”

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree, Why do ye fall so fast? Your date is not so past; But you may stay yet here a while To blush and gently smile, And go at last. What, were ye born to be An hour or half’s delight; And so to bid good-night? ‘Twas pity Nature brought […]

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Being a Criminal Lawyer

Raymond Burr in Perry Mason In 1977, Michael George Cummings of Tulsa, Oklahoma was charged with purse-stealing. He refused to have a lawyer defend him at his impending trial. His reason? He said that he had watch enough episodes of Perry Mason, a US legal drama, to know how things go. Cummings was sure that […]

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Gleanings from the Past #90

The Persistence of Memory What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an […]

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Wisdom from Around the World #1

Albanian: “For various reasons a good advice or a genuine warning is often disregarded or considered of no importance.” Arab: “Riches disclose bad qualities which poverty conceals.” Cambodian: “The immature rice stock stands erect; the mature stock hangs heavy with seeds.” Chinese: “There are two kinds of perfect people: those who are dead, and those […]

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What Color Is the Dragon?

Credit: Antonio J. Manzanedo Two knights encounter a dragon, who quickly responds, “I am protected by the king’s decree.” Gray rational dragons and red predator dragons always tell the truth; red rational dragons and gray predator dragons always lie. What color is the dragon? Solution This is a puzzle from Norman D. Willis’ Challenging False […]

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Quotable #90: Silence

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.” — Attributed to Pythagoras Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a […]

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“The Arrow and the Song”

I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For, so swiftly it flew, the sight Could not follow it in its flight. I breathed a song into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For who has sight so keen and strong, That it can […]

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