Backdoor Immortality

http://books.google.com/books?id=LkkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA86&dq=irving+sindler&as_brr=3&ei=hnNWS9-xKKC4yASW2YSjBg&cd=2#v=onepage&q=irving%20sindler&f=false

Irving Sindler was never an actor, but he found another way to star in the movies. As a property master at Sam Goldwyn’s studio, Sindler resolved to get his name onto the screen with every film he worked on. He started in 1925 by painting it on a warehouse in Little Annie Roony, and in further projects he began slipping it artfully onto bottle labels, handbills, store signs, and factory facades. He even convinced his Chinese laundryman to translate it for Marco Polo.

Above, he invented the Sindler & Son Transfer Co. to decorate a truck in The Restless Age — and for Wuthering Heights he wrote his own epitaph.

King Hunt

Late in 1912, a 26-year-old German named Edward Lasker made his first trip to London. Still a bit seasick from a rough channel crossing, he made his way to the local chess club, as was his custom whenever he visited a new country. He spoke no English, but one of the members invited him to a game. Lasker took white, and they started innocently enough:

1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 6. e4 fxe4 7. Nxe4 b6 8. Ne5 O-O 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. Qh5 Qe7

lasker-thomas, position before combination

But here the young German saw a remarkable opportunity, an eight-move combination that produced one of the most striking endings in chess history:

11. Qxh7+! Kxh7 12. Nxf6+ Kh6 13. Neg4+ Kg5 14. h4+ Kf4 15. g3+ Kf3 16. Be2+ Kg2 17. Rh2+ Kg1 18. Kd2#

lasker-thomas, final position

Or 18. O-O-O#! “This was very nice,” said his opponent, who turned out to be Sir George Thomas, president of the club and later British champion. In after years Lasker would remember his effort modestly as “the most beautiful game I ever succeeded in winning,” but Mikhail Botvinnik was more forthcoming: “If Edward Lasker had played only one game in his entire life,” he wrote, “this would have been enough to preserve his name in the annals of time.”

The Family Business

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stammbaum_Barrymore.png
Image: Wikimedia Commons

On her Broadway debut in 1940, Diana Barrymore wired her father, John:

DEAREST DADDY, THANK YOU FOR THE APPLE FLOWERS AND WIRES … SO DADDY DARLING I AM DOING MY BEST TO CARRY ON THIS STINKING TRADITION.

Herbert Blythe had adopted the name Maurice Barrymore in 1872 to spare his father the “shame” of having a son in such a “dissolute” vocation as acting.

His great-granddaughter, Drew Barrymore, has earned more than $1 billion in box-office grosses at age 35.

A Grave Summons

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dark_passage_trailer_bogart_bacall.JPG

Humphrey Bogart was buried, creepily, with a whistle.

He had given it to Lauren Bacall after their first film together, To Have and Have Not, and she deposited it with his remains at Forest Lawn.

It’s inscribed “If you want anything, just whistle.”

Repetition of Position

What’s unusual about this game by Joseph Blackburne, apart from its characteristic brilliance?

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.e5 Be7 9.h4 f6 10.Ng5 fxg5 11.Bxh7+ Kxh7 12.hxg5 Kg8

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1029257

13.Rh8+ Kxh8 14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.g6 Rf5 16.Qh7+ Kf8 17.Qh8#

“Move for move I played it exactly in the same way twice in one week, once at Hastings and once at Eastbourne, in the year 1894.”

Cricket Explained to a Foreigner

  • You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
  • Each man that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out and when he’s out comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
  • When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
  • When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
  • Sometimes there are men still in and not out.
  • There are men called umpires who stay out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out.
  • Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter whether they’re in or out.
  • When both sides have been in and all the men are out (including those who are not out), then the game is finished.

– Attributed (tenuously) to the Marylebone Cricket Club. See Amputee Cricket.

Wire Act

Performing in Kid Boots in Chicago, Eddie Cantor received a 12-page telegram from Florenz Ziegfeld with suggestions for improving the show. “The whole message [was] such a jumble of ideas” that Cantor simply responded:

YES.

Ziegfeld wrote back:

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YES? DO YOU MEAN YES YOU WILL TAKE OUT THE SONG OR YES YOU WILL PUT IN THE LINES OR YES YOU WILL FIX THAT SCENE OR YES YOU HAVE TALKED TO THOSE ACTORS?

Cantor responded:

NO.

Turtles vs. Tigress

It’s commonly said that a queen is worth nine pawns. Is that estimate accurate? In 1846, General Guingret and Lionel Kieseritzky decided to find out:

turtles vs. tigress 1

1. e5 e6 2. d5 d6 3. e4 c6 4. exd6 cxd5 5. e5 b6 6. d4 f6 7. Bd3 g6 8. Be3 Nc6 9. c5 Bg7 10. b4 Bd7 11. b5 bxc5 12. bxc6 Bxc6 13. dxc5 fxe5 14. fxe5 Bxe5 15. Nd2 Rb8 16. Rb1 Qf6 17. Ne2 Qg7 18. O-O g5 19. Nb3 h5 20. Bd4 hxg4 21. fxg4 Kd7 22. f4 Bxd4+ 23. Nbxd4 Nf6 24. f5 e5 25. Ne6 Rxh2 26. Nxg7 Nxg4 27 f6 e4 28. f7 Rbh8 29. f8=N+ Kc8 30. d7+ Kb7 31. d8=N+ 32. Ka8

turtles vs. tigress 2

And White can no longer forestall mate on h1.

So the queen is worth more than nine pawns — if it’s wielded by Kieseritzky.