• When written in all caps, the title of John Hiatt’s song “Have a Little Faith in Me” contains no curves.
  • Tycho Brahe kept a tame elk.
  • It isn’t known whether the sum of π and e is irrational.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, and James Garfield died without wills.
  • “Selfishness is one of the qualities apt to inspire love.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The medieval Latin riddle In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (“We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire”) is a palindrome. The answer is “moths.”


Further excerpts from the notebooks of English belletrist Geoffrey Madan (1895-1947):

“Worldly faces never look so worldly as at a funeral.” — George Eliot

Wit is a new and apt relation of ideas: humour, of images.

Use of words “vision” and “supremely” an infallible sign of the uneducated.

“No great country was ever saved by good men, because good men will not go the length that may be necessary.” — Horace Walpole

“Precautions are always blamed. When successful, they are said to be unnecessary.” — Benjamin Jowett

“Some speak and write as if they wanted to say something: others as if they had something to say.” — Archbishop Richard Whately

“A rose has no back.” — Chinese reply if you apologize for turning your back

Reasonable to ask young people to be adventurous, to go to the North Pole, say: but religion asks them to start off, without being sure if there is a North Pole.

Three pieces of earnest advice from the Revd. H.J. Bidder, aged 86, after sitting silent, with a crumpled face, all through dinner, and once loudly asking the man opposite who I was:

1. Never drink claret in an East wind.
2. Take your pleasures singly, one by one.
3. Never sit on a hard chair after drinking port.

Faded Glory


“It is a curious thing that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.” — Evelyn Waugh

“I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there.” — Montesquieu

“In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

“Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.” — Mark Twain

“I should have no use for a paradise in which I should be deprived of the right to prefer hell.” — Jean Rostand