Hope Springs Eternal


Too much optimism is a bad thing. In 1897, Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée planned to reach the North Pole in a leaky and untested balloon, steering only by dragging ropes. He and two companions lifted off from Svalbard in July, drifted north and disappeared for 33 years.

It wasn’t until 1930 that their last camp was discovered — they had crashed after only two days and spent three freezing months trying to walk home.

“Morale remains good,” Andrée had written before his diary became incoherent. “With such comrades as these, one ought to be able to manage under practically any circumstances whatsoever.”


“Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.” — Raymond Chandler

High Profile

There are only two books in the Bible that do not contain the word God.

They are Esther and Song of Solomon.

Neatness Counts


The average guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns cuts his hair, shaves twice, and spends eight hours preparing his uniform for each day’s work. (Thanks to MysticWolf for this one.)

Bring Me Your Poor

At its peak, during World War II, Fort Knox held enough pure gold to make 90 Statues of Liberty.

Truth in Advertising

On the original Star Trek, many sets include pipes and tubes marked “GNDN”.

That’s an in-joke among the set designers — it stands for “Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing.”



“There’s just some people you don’t hit with a pie and that’s all there is to it.” — Buster Keaton

In a Word

n. the imp of mischief in a printing house

Sergeant Stubby

John Robert Conroy may have regretted bringing his bull terrier to France in World War I — the dog became the star of his unit. It won:

  • 3 Service Stripes
  • Yankee Division YD Patch
  • French Medal, Battle of Verdun
  • 1st Annual American Legion Convention Medal, Minneapolis
  • New Haven World War I Veterans Medal
  • Republic of France Grande War Medal
  • St. Mihiel Campaign Medal
  • Purple Heart (retroactive)
  • Chateau Thierry Campaign Medal
  • 6th Annual American Legion Convention
  • Humane Education Society Gold Medal

I’m not making any of that up. “Sergeant Stubby” fought in the trenches for a year and a half, warning of poison gas attacks, finding wounded soldiers, and listening for incoming shells. He met Woodrow Wilson and John Pershing, was wounded several times, and even learned to salute. His remains are on display at the Smithsonian.

Get Bent


An optical illusion.

The parallel lines are straight.