Unquote

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ricard_Urgell_-_Opera_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

“How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers.” — Gioacchino Rossini

“No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.” — W.H. Auden

“People are wrong when they say that the opera isn’t what it used to be. It is what it used to be — that’s what’s wrong with it!” — Noël Coward

Mundane

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:View_from_the_Apollo_11_shows_Earth_rising_above_the_moon%27s_horizon.jpg

Earth is the only planet not named after a god.

Silverton Bobbie

silverton bobbie

In 1923, the Brazier family traveled from Oregon to Indiana, bringing their 2-year-old collie/shepherd mix, Bobbie. They were separated in Wolcott, Ind., when Bobbie was chased off by a group of local dogs, and after three weeks the family reluctantly returned to Oregon.

Exactly six months later, the family’s youngest daughter was walking down a Silverton street when she recognized a bedraggled dog. At her voice he “fairly flew at Nova, leaping up again and again to cover her face with kisses and making half-strangled, sobbing sounds of relief and delight as if he could hardly voice his wordless joy.”

He had traveled more than 2,500 miles. He was identified by three scars, and by letters the family later received from people who had housed and fed him along the way. The “wonder dog” received national publicity, and well-wishers gave him a jewel-studded harness, a silver collar, keys to various cities, and “a miniature bungalow, which weighed about nine hundred pounds, with eight windows curtained with silk.” He died in 1927, and Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath on his grave.

Balance

AMBIDEXTROUS is ambidextrous — its first half draws on the first half of the alphabet, its second on the second.

Non-Fiction

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/440835

Sherlock Holmes is an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“Holmes did not exist, but he should have existed,” society chief David Giachardi said in bestowing the award in 2002. “That is how important he is to our culture. We contend that the Sherlock Holmes myth is now so deeply rooted in the national and international psyche through books, films, radio and television that he has almost transcended fictional boundaries.”

FYI

I’m the guest on Boing Boing’s Incredibly Interesting Authors podcast this month, discussing the new book and the website — here’s a link.

Tongue Tied

Mark Twain received this letter from a Danish customs officer in 1879:

Please to excuse that I fall with the door in the house, without first to begin with the usual long ribble-row. I want to become the autograph of the over alle the world well known Mark Twain, whose narratives so apt have procured me a laughter.

If you will answer this letter, I will be very glad. Answer me what you will; but two words. If you will not answer me other so write only, that you do not like to write autographs.

Your

Carl Jensen

It’s not known whether he responded, but on the envelope Twain wrote, “Please preserve this remarkable letter.” See Lost in Translation.

Figure and Ground

Swiss artist Markus Raetz created this innovative portrait of Piero della Francesca. Two mobiles are fitted with aluminum plates that are juxtaposed successively as the mobiles rotate. Piero appears between them.

Raetz’s kinetic sculpture of Kiki de Montparnasse, below, uses a similar idea:

Black and White

meyer chess problem

By Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Meyer. White to mate in two moves.

Click for Answer

Pitching In

At a timber-mill in the Powelltown district (Victoria) it is customary to blow three blasts of the whistle to indicate an accident and six blasts to notify a fatality. One day the six blasts echoed about the hills and men ran from all directions to the mill. But there was no fatality; the ‘whistle’ was produced by a Lyrebird, which had heard the three blasts with some frequency, and, in imitating them, had added three more for good measure. That episode ranks with one related by Mervyn Bill, a forest surveyor, who has written that when he was camped at Hell’s Gates (Victoria), he was annoyed to see, through the theodolite telescope, his men doing certain field operations without the usual instructions. The fact became revealed, subsequently, that they had obeyed ‘instructions’ from a Lyrebird in an adjacent gully, which faultlessly imitated the surveyor’s shrill, staccato code of signals.

— Alec H. Chisholm, Bird Wonders of Australia, 1958

See Technical Fowl.

Page 60 of 825« First...10203040...5859606162...708090100...Last »