Well Prepared

Eagle Scouts:

  • Neil Armstrong
  • Stephen Breyer
  • Clive Cussler
  • Gerald Ford
  • L. Ron Hubbard
  • David Lynch
  • Michael Moore
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Wallace Stegner
  • John Tesh
  • Sam Walton
  • E.O. Wilson

“Regarding the Boy Scouts,” said George Carlin, “I’m very suspicious of any organization that has a handbook.”

Pelorus Jack


In 1888 a curious white dolphin appeared in the strait between New Zealand’s north and south islands. “Pelorus Jack” would guide steamers through the dangerous French Pass, known for its rocks and strong currents, swimming alongside each ship for up to 20 minutes.

No one knows where Jack came from or what led him to do this. He appears to have been a Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus, uncommon in those waters, but he led ships through the strait for 24 years, and not a single shipwreck occurred in that time. He disappeared in 1912, as mysteriously as he’d come.

See also Everybody Wins.


Rearrange the letters in ALEC GUINNESS and you get GENUINE CLASS.

Best Served Cold

Excerpt from the will of Joseph Dalby, London, 1784:

I give to my daughter Ann Spencer, a guinea for a ring, or any other bauble she may like better: — I give to the lout, her husband, one penny, to buy him a lark-whistle; I also give to her said husband, of redoubtable memory, my fart-hole, for a covering for his lark-whistle, to prevent the abrasion of his lips; and this legacy I give him as a mark of my approbation of his prowess and nice honour, in drawing his sword on me, (at my own table), naked and unarmed as I was, and he well fortified with custard.

The Eye of Sauron


The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat’s, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing.

That’s a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring, but this image is actually a star. Fomalhaut, 25 light-years away, is one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

Draw your own conclusions.

Read It Aloud

An Arab came to the river side,
With a donkey bearing an obelisk;
But he would not try to ford the tide,
For he had too good an *.

Boston Globe, cited in Carolyn Wells, A Whimsey Anthology, 1906

The Smith Jones Robinson Riddle


On a train, Smith, Robinson, and Jones are the fireman, the brakeman, and the engineer (not necessarily respectively). Also aboard the train are three passengers with the same names, Mr. Smith, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Jones.

(1) Mr. Robinson is a passenger. He lives in Detroit.

(2) The brakeman lives exactly halfway between Chicago and Detroit.

(3) Mr. Jones is a passenger. He earns exactly $20,000 per year.

(4) The brakeman’s nearest neighbor, one of the passengers, earns exactly three times as much as the brakeman.

(5) Smith is not a passenger. He beats the fireman in billiards.

(6) The passenger whose name is the same as the brakeman’s lives in Chicago.

Who is the engineer?

Click for Answer

Changeable State

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES alternates vowels and consonants.

“Groaning Boards”

Groaning boards were the wonder in London in 1682. An elm plank was exhibited to the king, which, being touched by a hot iron, invariably produced a sound resembling deep groans. At the Bowman tavern, in Drury Lane, the mantelpiece gave forth like sounds, and was supposed to be part of the same elm tree. The dresser at the Queen’s Arm Tavern, St. Martin le Grand, was found to possess the same quality. Strange times, when such things were deemed wonderful — so much so as to merit exhibition before the monarch.

— Frank H. Stauffer, The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical, 1882

A Lost Hope


Joseph Merrick once told his doctors he wanted to visit a hospital for the blind.

He said he wanted to find a woman who would not be frightened by his appearance.