Red Menace

Ladies! Do you look like the loser of a tomato-eating contest? Do children mistake you for Bozo the Clown? Perhaps you’re incapable of applying lipstick properly!

Let’s face it, the task is practically impossible. That clumsy tube, those bewildering lips — where do you start? How do you finish? It’s a wonder you haven’t been injured or killed.

Marie Helehan’s lipstick stencil, patented in 1937, offers “a clean-cut accurate and symmetrical outline” in which to work. Now we just need a mascara gun …

Nature, Nurture

Identical twins Jack Yufe and Oskar Stohr were born in 1932 to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. Their parents divorced when the boys were six months old; Oskar was raised by his grandmother in Czechoslovakia, where he learned to love Hitler and hate Jews, and Jack was raised in Trinidad by his father, who taught him loyalty to the Jews and hatred of Hitler.

At 47 they were reunited by scientists at the University of Minnesota. Oskar was a conservative who enjoyed leisure, Jack a liberal workaholic. But both read magazines from back to front, both wore tight bathing suits, both wrapped rubber bands around their wrists, both liked sweet liqueur and spicy foods, both had difficulty with math, both flushed the toilet before and after using it — and both enjoyed sneezing suddenly in elevators to startle other passengers.

See Doppelgangers.


Calm and implacable,
Eyeing disdainfully the world beneath,
Sat Humpty-Dumpty on his mural eminence
In solemn state:
And I relate his story
In verse unfettered by the bothering restrictions of rhyme or metre,
In verse (or “rhythm,” as I prefer to call it)
Which, consequently, is far from difficult to write.

He sat. And at his feet
The world passed on — the surging crowd
Of men and women, passionate, turgid, dense,
Keenly alert, lethargic, or obese.
(Those two lines scan!)

Among the rest
He noted Jones; Jones with his Roman nose,
His eyebrows — the left one streaked with a dash of gray –
And yellow boots.
Not that Jones
Has anything in particular to do with the story;
But a descriptive phrase
Like the above shows that the writer is
A Master of Realism.

Let us proceed. Suddenly from his seat
Did Humpty-Dumpty slip. Vainly he clutched
The impalpable air. Down and down,
Right to the foot of the wall,
Right on to the horribly hard pavement that ran beneath it,
Humpty-Dumpty, the unfortunate Humpty-Dumpty,

And him, alas! no equine agency,
Him no power of regal battalions –
Resourceful, eager, strenuous –
Could ever restore to the lofty eminence
Which once was his.
Still he lies on the very identical
Spot where he fell — lies, as I said, on the ground,
Shamefully and conspicuously abased!

– Anthony C. Deane, in Carolyn Wells, A Parody Anthology, 1922


To discover whether a number is divisible by 11, add the digits that appear in odd positions (first, third, and so on), and separately add the digits in even positions. If the difference between these two sums is evenly divisible by 11, then so is the original number. Otherwise it’s not.

For example:

11 × 198249381729 = 2180743199019

Sum of digits in odd positions = 2 + 8 + 7 + 3 + 9 + 0 + 9 = 38

Sum of digits in even positions = 1 + 0 + 4 + 1 + 9 + 1 = 16

38 – 16 = 22

22 is a multiple of 11, so 2180743199019 is as well.