Gleanings From the Past #86

Circumstances We are strange beings, we seem to go free, but we go in chains — chains of training, custom, convention, association, environment—in a word. Circumstance — and against these bonds the strongest of us struggle in vain. — Mark Twain, “3,000 Years Among the Microbes”, 1905 A man is worked upon by what he works on. He […]

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Pun of the Weak: Gambling

The butcher bet me $50 I couldn’t guess the weight of the meat up on the top shelf of his cooler. I decided not to gamble; the steaks were too high. — Tim Vine

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“Mulled Up” Bill: A Berry Bizarre Response

When the Berry Brothers, who were famous London wine sellers during the eighteenth century, sent a bill too early to Irish poet and playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 – 1816), he was not amused. He called it a “mulled up” bill, then proceeded to write the following reply: You have sent me your Bilberry, Before […]

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“Were My Obituaries Good?”

During the Cyprus coup of 1974, it was reported that Archbishop Makarios III (1913 – 1977) died. However, the news was proven to be false when the said Archbishop reappeared sometime later. When asked about his reaction on the news of his apparent death, he said, “You should have known it was not easy for […]

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Gleanings from the Past #84

Legally Speaking Dear Ned, Soon after I received my Acme pencil (11 cents), it rolled off the desk and on to the floor. Upon retrieving it, I hit my head on the desk. Can I hold Acme responsible? Boiling Mad Dear Boiling, This is what’s known as an open-and-shut case. If you don’t sue them, […]

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Gleanings from the Past #83

Time Passing People parted, years passed, they met again — and the meeting proved no reunion, offered no warm memories, only the acid knowledge that time had passed and things weren’t as bright or attractive as they had been. — Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls. 1966 I’m terrified of the thought of time passing […]

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Deep Lines

T. S. Eliot (left) and Carl Sandburg (right) In the January 19, 1980 edition of the New York Times Book Review, editor T. O’Connor Sloane III told the following story: Many years ago, when Robert Giroux was editor-in-chief of Harcourt, Brace, he told me this little anecdote. He was expecting a visit from T. S. Eliot one […]

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Ambiguous Phonetics

I see this one on a newsgroup many years ago… “Information? I need the number of the Caseway Insurance Company.” “Would you spell that, please?” “Certainly. C as in sea. A as in aye. S as in sea. E as in eye. W as in why. A as in are. Y as in you.”

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