Commander-in-Chief

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Queen_Victoria_60._crownjubilee.jpg

From the diary of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, May 1, 1900:

To the Danes to see Lady Lytton, travelling there with Betty Balfour, who told amusing stories about Ireland, one being of a voyage the Queen [Victoria] had made in her yacht. The Queen used to be a good sailor, but is disturbed now if it is at all rough and likes the doctor to sit with her in the cabin and look after her. It came on to blow and a wave struck the ship rather roughly, which alarmed and made her indignant. ‘Go up at once,’ she said, ‘Sir James, and give the Admiral my compliments and tell him the thing must not occur again.’

Corporal Violet

canu - corporal violet

When Napoleon left France for Elba, his supporters wore violets as a secret sign of their allegiance. This 1815 colour print by Jean-Dominique Etienne Canu, Le Secret du Caporal La Violette, conceals images of the exiled emperor, his wife, and his son. Where are they?

Unquote

“What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?” — Lin Yutang

Noted

The towns of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Oregon, became sister cities in 2012.

“One of the things our communities share is the weather,” Boring journalist Jim Hart told the BBC. “We get a lot of rain and snow every year.”

“Surrealist Landscape”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Metamorphosis_of_Narcissus.jpg

On the pale yellow sands
Where the Unicorn stands
And the Eggs are preparing for Tea
Sing Forty
Sing Thirty
Sing Three.

On the pale yellow sands
There’s a pair of Clasped Hands
And an Eyeball entangled with string
(Sing Forty
Sing Fifty
Sing Three.)
And a Bicycle Seat
And a Plate of Raw Meat
And a Thing that is hardly a Thing.

On the pale yellow sands
There stands
A Commode
That has nothing to do with the case.
Sing Eighty
Sing Ninety
Sing Three.
On the pale yellow sands
There’s a Dorian Mode
And a Temple all covered with Lace
And a Gothic Erection of Urgent Demands
On the Patience of You and of Me.

– Lord Berners

Jeannot’s Knife

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1197069

A French tradition asks: If the handle of a certain knife is replaced whenever it is worn out, and its blade is replaced whenever it becomes worthless, does the knife itself become immortal?

In his 1872 short story “Dr. Ox’s Experiment,” Jules Verne mentions a curious tradition of marriage within the Van Tricasse family:

From 1340 it had invariably happened that a Van Tricasse, when left a widower, had remarried a Van Tricasse younger than himself; who, becoming in turn a widow, had married again a Van Tricasse younger than herself; and so on, without a break in the continuity, from generation to generation. Each died in his or her turn with mechanical regularity. Thus the worthy Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse had now her second husband; and, unless she violated her every duty, would precede her spouse — he being ten years younger than herself — to the other world, to make room for a new Madame Van Tricasse.

Is this a series of distinct marriages — or one immortal union?

Cheers

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tate_Britain_(5822081512)_(2).jpg

In 1985, workers renovating London’s Tate Britain art gallery discovered a handwritten message behind a wall in the rotunda dome:

This was placed here on the fourth of June, 1897 Jubilee year, by the Plasterers working on the job hoping when this is found that the Plasterers Association may be still flourishing. Please let us know in the Other World when you get this, so as we can drink your Health.

It was signed “W. Gallop, F. Wilkins, H. Sainsbury, J. Chester, A. Pickernell, Secretary.”

Words and Numbers

A common error resulting from bad penmanship is the substitution of letters for figures, or the reverse: thus, in the report of a coal-market, where the writer intended to say that there was an over-supply of egg size, the types laid that there was an over-supply of 299; similarly, where a writer described a house with zigzag staircases, he was made to give it the extraordinary number of 219,209 staircases. In an obituary notice of Sidney Godolphin Osborne, the London Times described him as the author of the celebrated tract ‘No Go,’ when what the writer meant was the tract No. 90. But no similar excuse can be urged for the printer who made Tennyson’s famous lines read,–

Into the valley of death
Rode the 600.

– William Shepard Walsh, Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities, 1909

Misc

  • Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
  • GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
  • New York City has no Wal-Marts.
  • (5/8)2 + 3/8 = (3/8)2 + 5/8
  • “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides

For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cdab is the hypotenuse.

(Thanks, Katie.)

Black and White

jespersen chess problem

By Karl Lorenz Jesper Jespersen. White to mate in two moves.

Click for Answer