No Tips Either Way

Okay, you’re a chef. Which of these trays was requested for a singer’s dressing room, and which is the last meal of a Texas death-row inmate?

A. Neil Diamond (“Love on the Rocks”)
B. Nelly (“Hot in Herre”)
C. Smokey Robinson (“Tears of a Clown”)
D. B.B. King (“The Thrill Is Gone”)
E. Cornelius Goss (beat a Dallas homeowner to death with a board)
F. Gerald Mitchell (shotgunned two customers during a Houston drug deal)
G. James Collier (shot two Wichita Falls residents while stalking his daughter)
H. James Powell (raped and murdered a 10-year-old in Beaumont)
I. Paul Nuncio (strangled a 61-year-old in Plainview)

1. BBQ chicken wings, chips, fruit, ginger ale
2. 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 banana, coconut, peaches
3. One pot of coffee
4. Enchiladas, burritos, chocolate ice cream, cantaloupe (whole, split in half)
5. Chinese takeout, coffee
6. 1 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers
7. Baked salmon, french fries, fruit platter, salad, soda
8. Nothing
9. Thirty jumbo shrimp, cocktail sauce, baked potato, French fries, ketchup, butter, one T-bone steak, one chocolate malt, one gallon of vanilla ice cream, and three cans of Big Red

Click for Answer

Mount Taranaki

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Even mountains can have body doubles. New Zealand’s Mount Taranaki (left) has stood in for Japan’s Mount Fuji in several films … including The Last Samurai.

Unquote

“A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.” — Samuel Johnson

Nostradamus Distaff

If you’re going to make prophecies, it pays to be a little vague. The supporters of Ursula Southeil (1488-1561) claimed she’d correctly foreseen the automobile, the telegraph, air travel, and submarines. But one prediction failed to come true:

The world to an end shall come,
In eighteen hundred and eighty one.

“Old men and comets have been reverenced for the same reason,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “their long beards, and pretenses to foretell events.”

The Pied Piper

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The pied piper is not just a fairy tale. Something specific and terrible appears to have happened in the German town of Hamelin on June 26, 1284. What it was is uncertain, but it seems to have claimed the town’s children, perhaps in a mass drowning, burial, epidemic or exodus. An inscription from 1603 reads:

Anno 1284 am dage Johannis et Pauli
war der 26. junii
Dorch einen piper mit allerlei farve bekledet
gewesen CXXX kinder verledet binnen Hamelen gebo[re]n
to calvarie bi den koppen verloren

In the year of 1284, on John’s and Paul’s day
was the 26th of June
By a piper, dressed in all kinds of colors,
130 children born in Hamelin were seduced
and lost at the place of execution near the Koppen
.

Rats weren’t added to the story until the late 16th century. The site of the children’s disappearance, on Coppenbrugge mountain, is now a site of pagan worship, and a law forbids singing and music in one street of Hamelin, out of respect for the victims … though we may never know what their fate was.

Unlucky Indeed

It’s estimated that, in the United States alone, businesses lose $800 million to $900 million each Friday the 13th because some people will not travel or go to work.

Early Training

The 1987 film Predator starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura.

Both went on to become United States governors.

Sea Monks

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In his Annales, English antiquarian John Stow describes the capture of a sea monster in the shape of a man, in 1187:

“Neere unto Orforde in Suffolke, certaine Fishers of the sea tooke in their nettes a Fish having the shape of a man in all pointes, which Fish was kept by Barlemew de Glanville, Custos of the castle of Orforde, in the same castle, by the space of six monthes, and more, for a wonder: He spake not a word. All manner of meates he gladly did eate, but more greedilie raw fishe, after he had crushed out all the moisture. Oftentimes he was brought to the Church where he showed no tokens of adoration. At length, when he was not well looked to, he stale away to the sea and never after appeared.”

The creature was not fish-tailed, but had a bald head, the body of a man, a beard and a very hairy chest. What was it really? A giant squid? A walrus? An angel shark? We’ll never know.

In a Word

genethliac
adj. relating to a birthday or to the casting of horoscopes

One Up, One Down

In Britain during the 1700s, pickpocketing was punishable by death … but the public hangings became prime targets for pickpockets.