“The Dovetailed Block”

Another puzzle from Henry Ernest Dudeney:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16713/16713-h/16713-h.htm

“Here is a curious mechanical puzzle that was given to me some years ago, but I cannot say who first invented it. It consists of two solid blocks of wood securely dovetailed together. On the other two vertical sides that are not visible the appearance is precisely the same as on those shown. How were the pieces put together?”

Click for Answer

Hitler’s Soft Side

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hitlerwithdeer.GIF

For a genocidal monster, Adolf Hitler was kind of a pansy:

  • He didn’t drink.
  • He largely avoided eating meat, beginning in the early 1930s. (“The world of the future will be vegetarian.”)
  • He slept with his dog, Blondi, a German Shepherd given to him by Martin Bormann.
  • He disapproved of cosmetics, since they contained animal byproducts, and he frequently teased Eva Braun about her makeup.

Hitler didn’t smoke, either, and he promoted aggressive anti-smoking campaigns throughout Germany. Witnesses reported that, upon learning of his suicide, many of his officers, aides and secretaries responded by lighting cigarettes.

Calendar Switch

Europe hit a bump in 1582 when it switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian: to realign the equinox, Pope Gregory XIII decreed that October 4 would simply be followed by October 15. This didn’t go over well — servants demanded full pay for the missing time, and people objected to “losing” 10 days of their lives.

At least they got it over with. Protestant England and the American colonies put off the switch until 1752, when they had to skip 10 days in September. “Take this for your consolation,” wrote Ben Franklin in his Almanack, “that your expenses will appear lighter and your mind be more at ease. And what an indulgence is here, for those who love their pillow to lie down in Peace on the second of this month and not perhaps awake.”

Russia stayed on the Julian calendar until it became the Soviet Union — according to the Gregorian calendar, the “October Revolution” actually took place in November.

Disposition by the Nose

HOW TO TELL DISPOSITION AND CHARACTER BY THE NOSE.

1. Large Noses.–Bonaparte chose large-nosed men for his generals, and the opinion prevails that large noses indicate long heads and strong minds. Not that great noses cause great minds, but that the motive or powerful temperament cause both.

2. Flat Noses.–Flat noses indicate flatness of mind and character, by indicating a poor, low organic structure.

3. Broad Noses.–Broad noses indicate large passage-ways to the lungs, and this, large lungs and vital organs and this, great strength of constitution, and hearty animal passions along with selfishness; for broad noses, broad shoulders, broad heads, and large animal organs go together. But when the nose is narrow at the base, the nostrils are small, because the lungs are small and need but small avenues for air; and this indicates a predisposition to consumptive complaints, along with an active brain and nervous system, and a passionate fondness for literary pursuits.

4. Sharp Noses.–Sharp noses indicate a quick, clear, penetrating, searching, knowing, sagacious mind, and also a scold; indicate warmth of love, hate, generosity, moral sentiment — indeed, positiveness in everything.

5. Blunt Noses.–Blunt noses indicate and accompany obtuse intellects and perceptions, sluggish feelings, and a soulless character.

6. Roman Noses.–The Roman nose indicates a martial spirit, love of debate, resistance, and strong passions, while hollow, pug noses indicate a tame, easy, inert, sly character, and straight, finely-formed Grecian noses harmonious characters. Seek their acquaintance.

From Searchlights on Health: The Science of Eugenics, by B.G. Jefferis and J.L. Nicols, 1920

“We have seen thee, Queen of Cheese …”

Among bad poets, James McIntyre (1828-1906) became known as “the Chaucer of Cheese” for his pastoral odes to Ontario and its dairy culture:

The ancient poets ne’er did dream
That Canada was land of cream,
They ne’er imagined it could flow
In this cold land of ice and snow,
Where everything did solid freeze
They ne’er hoped or looked for cheese.

McIntyre was remarkably bad, but can he compete with the worst of all time? Yes, declared the mayor of Ingersoll: “He was every bit as bad as McGonagall — and a lot less talented.”

The Middlebush Giant

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Goshen-Routh_16.jpg

Excerpt from the obituary of Arthur James Caley (1837-1889), the “Middlebush Giant”:

“The farmhouse of the dead giant was thronged with villagers long before the hour fixed for the funeral. The remains had been placed in a coffin eight feet long and three feet wide. It was covered with cloth and had been specially made for the deceased. After the funeral services were over the coffin was borne on the shoulders of eight sturdy farmers to a wagon which was standing in the road about 100 yards from the house. Undertaker Van Duyn said he could not find a hearse large enough to hold the giant’s coffin. The pallbearers had a hard struggle in carrying the remains down the incline leading from the house to the road and when they deposited the coffin in the wagon, beads of perspiration stood out on their foreheads.”

Caley measured 7 foot 2 and weighed 630 pounds. He had been a fixture in P.T. Barnum’s show, and he remained a sensation even in death: He was originally buried without a tombstone for fear his body would be dug up and put on display.