Our Mutual Friend

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Dickens_characters.jpg

Anagrams on Dickens titles:

  • THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY = DICKENS: NAIVE ENTER FANCIFUL DOTHEBOYS HALL
  • OLD CURIOSITY SHOP = STORY O’ PIOUS CHILD
  • OLIVER TWIST, BY CHARLES DICKENS = BOLD CREW SINS AT SLICK THIEVERY
  • THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD = FOOD ENDETH MY WEIRD STORY

“We talk about the tyranny of words,” writes David Copperfield, “but we like to tyrannize over them too.”

Q.E.D.

Syllogisms offered in Lewis Carroll’s 1896 textbook in symbolic logic:

1. Babies are illogical.
2. Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile.
3. Illogical persons are despised.
Therefore babies cannot manage crocodiles.

1. No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste.
2. No modern poetry is free from affectation.
3. All your poems are on the subject of soap bubbles.
4. No affected poetry is popular among people of taste.
5. Only a modern poem would be on the subject of soap bubbles.
Therefore all your poems are uninteresting.

“A Watch Melted by Lightning”

Mr. E.N. Sponce, of Windhouse, in the island of Yell, relates, that about the beginning of the present century, during a violent thunderstorm off the Shetland Islands, a fishing-boat belonging to Mr. Midyell was struck by lightning, which came down the mast, tearing it in shivers, and melted into a mass a watch in the pocket of a man (the skipper) who was sitting close by the mast, and considerably scorched him, as well as materially injured the boat, and, more or less, the other five men in it. This account of the occurrence was received by Mr. Spence from the skipper himself.

— John Timbs, Things Not Generally Known, Familiarly Explained, 1859

Balderdash

Raymond Smullyan proposes a scene in which two men are regarding a blackboard. On the board is written ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD BELIEVE THIS SENTENCE.

The first man says, “Do you believe that sentence?”

The second says, “Of course not. Only an idiot would believe that sentence.”

“He clearly does believe it, yet he says he doesn’t believe it,” Smullyan says. “So he’s in the curious position of believing something and also believing that he doesn’t believe it.”