No Harm Done

I fire two shots and kill Cristabel. The first bullet strikes her brain, killing her immediately. The second bullet lodges in her heart: it would have killed her, had she not already died because of the first bullet. I argue that I did no serious harm. Bearing in mind what the second bullet would have done, the first bullet merely caused Cristabel the loss of one second of life — hardly serious. The second bullet, of course, did not kill her.

— Peter Cave, This Sentence Is False, 2009


At Frank Sinatra’s funeral, friends and family members were invited to place items of personal significance into his coffin. Reportedly these included:

  • several Tootsie Rolls
  • a pack of Black Jack chewing gum
  • a roll of wild cherry Life Savers
  • a ring engraved with the word Dream
  • a mini-bottle of Jack Daniel’s
  • a pack of Camel cigarettes and a Zippo lighter
  • 10 dimes

Why 10 dimes? “He never wanted to get caught not able to make a phone call,” his daughter Tina told Larry King.

A Household Name
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Halle Berry was named after a department store.

“My mother was shopping in Halle Brothers in Cleveland,” she told the New York Daily News. “She saw the bags and thought, ‘That’s what I’m going to name my child.'”

(By the way: “No one ever says it right. It’s Halle, like Sally.”)

Name and Rank

The New York Times of Sept. 18, 1972, reported that a man named Minor W. Major attended a historical conference in Tarrytown, N.Y. Asked how he got his name, he said, “Before the Civil War, a young woman named Minor married a young man named Major and became Mrs. Major. He was a Confederate agent, and he sank Union shipments on the Mississippi. He had a Yankee uniform for use at certain times, and in those circumstances Minor Major, the Confederate agent, became Major Minor, a Union officer. I’m a great-grandson of the Major who married Miss Minor.”

Little Women

Douglas MacArthur’s mother dressed him in skirts, blouses, and bows and kept his hair in curls until he was 8 years old. Franklin Roosevelt wore shoulder-length blond curls and short skirts, “as he liked to kick and feel free to move about.”

Rainer Maria Rilke’s mother, who had lost a daughter the year before he was born, baptized her son René Maria, dressed him as a girl, and arranged his hair in curls until he was 5.

“I had to wear beautiful long dresses,” he recalled later, “and until I started school I went about like a little girl. I think my mother played with me as though I were a big doll.”

“The Best Bridge Problem Ever Invented”

I don’t play bridge, so I’m posting this somewhat blindly. It was devised by W.H. Whitfeld, card editor of the Field, apparently in the late 19th century. The reader who submitted it to the Strand wrote, “If you don’t know the solution, I guarantee that it will take you or any of your staff three or four days.”

“We have a higher opinion of our readers’ skill than to allot them such a time-limit as this,” wrote the editors. “But certainly anyone who can solve this problem in three or four hours will have good cause to be congratulated on his ingenuity.”

Click for Answer


This guy takes a gorilla out golfing. At the first tee the gorilla says, “So what am I supposed to do?” The guy says, “You see that green area about 400 yards from here? You’re supposed to hit the ball onto that.” So the gorilla takes a club and whacks the ball and it soars up into the sky and drops down neatly on the green. The guy tees off and makes about 150 yards, so he hits an iron shot and then another iron shot and finally they arrive at the green. The gorilla says, “What do I do now?” The guy says, “Now you hit it into that cup.” The gorilla says, “Why didn’t you tell me that back there?”