Silver Bullet

The Lone Ranger’s creed, devised by creator Fran Striker:

I believe:

  • That to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
  • That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • That “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people” shall live always.
  • That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • That sooner or later … somewhere … somehow … we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • That all things change but truth, and that truth alone lives on forever.
  • In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

“The Keats of Chess”

Rudolf Charousek had been playing chess for only four years when he found himself facing this position against Jakob Wollner at Kaschau in 1893:

charousek-wollner, kaschau 1893

He found one of the most immortally pretty finishes in chess history — to discover it, read Kester Svendsen’s 1947 short story “Last Round,” which the game inspired.

Three years afterward, Charousek defeated Lasker at Nuremberg. “I shall have to play a championship match with this man someday,” the master remarked, but it was not to be — the Hungarian died of tuberculosis in 1900, at only 26.

There Can Be Only One,M1,M1

A do-it-yourself dancing highlander, from Frank Bellew’s The Art of Amusing (1866). Cut him out, stitch him to a glove, and make little socks for your fingers.,M1,M1

“You move about the fingers, simulating a man dancing the Highland-fling or double-shuffle, and the result will be very curious and eminently satisfactory.”

Lord Stanley’s Mug

The Stanley Cup travels more than 100,000 miles a year, making it the best-traveled championship trophy in the world. Misadventures:

  • In 1905, the Ottawa Silver Seven tried to drop-kick it over the Rideau Canal on the Ottawa River. (They failed.)
  • In 1906, it went missing after a photography session. It turned out the photographer’s mother had adopted it as a planter for geraniums.
  • In 1924, the Montreal Canadiens left it by the side of the road while changing a tire.
  • In 1940, managers burned the mortgage of Madison Square Garden in the cup, which the Rangers won that year. (This occasioned a “curse” that kept the Rangers from the cup for 54 years.)
  • In 1980, New York Islander Clark Gillies fed his dog from it.
  • In 1991, Pittsburgh Penguin Mario Lemieux tried to float it in his swimming pool. It sank. (Colorado Avalanche goalkeeper Patrick Roy later did the same thing.)
  • In 1994, Ranger Ed Olczyk filled it with oats to feed Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin.
  • In 1996, Avalanche defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre had his daughter baptized in it.

Plus untold numbers have slept with it and urinated in it — one hopes in that order.

Death Scene


Sarah Bernhardt slept in a coffin. “I found it quite natural to sleep every night in this little bed of white satin which was to be my last couch,” she said — until her sister’s death led to a “tragic-comic incident”:

When the undertaker’s men came to the room to take away the body they found themselves confronted with two coffins, and losing his wits, the master of ceremonies sent in haste for a second hearse. I was at that moment with my mother, who had lost consciousness, and I got back just in time to prevent the black-clothed men taking away my coffin.

“The second hearse was sent back, but the papers got hold of this incident,” she adds wearily. “I was blamed, criticised, etc.”

“The Prisoners’ Release Puzzle”

Take two pieces of string or tape, and round the wrists of two persons tie the string, as shown in Fig. 19. It adds to the amusement of the puzzle if one of the persons is a lady and the other a gentleman. The puzzle is for them to liberate themselves, or for any one else to release them without untying the string. To do this, B makes a loop of his string pass under either of A’s manacles, slips it over A’s hands, and both will be free. Reverse the proceeding, and the manacles are again as before.

Cassell’s Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1896


When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary mission, his eminence as a philosopher, his venerable appearance, and the cause on which he was sent, rendered him extremely popular — for all ranks and conditions of men there entered warmly into the American interest. He was, therefore, feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these he sometimes met the old Duchess of Bourbon, who being a chess-player of about his force, they were very generally played together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the Doctor took it. ‘Ah,’ says she, ‘we do not take kings so.’ ‘We do in America,’ said the Doctor.

— Sarah Randolph, The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson, 1871

First Things First

In 1963, Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.”

On July 20, 1969, just minutes after Apollo 11 made its lunar landing, he hit the first home run of his career.