Sunday, 28 August 2011

Famous Last Words

Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.

Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.


I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

Said by: Humphrey Bogart


Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!

Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.


See full list at

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hitchcock on bagpipes

"I understand that the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of sound achieved by the pig."


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Everything From This to That

My colleague Vanessa Gordon and others have noted our frequent use of what critics call “false ranges.” These constructions generally are framed with phrases like “everything from … to …” or “ranging from … to …” and include two or more disparate items: “The legislation includes everything from stricter bank regulations to new taxes on overseas corporations.”

Judging from how often this idiom appears in our prose, many of our writers and editors obviously have no qualms about it. Other editors, as Vanessa said, take a hard line against the construction, “believing that if a list doesn’t run from high to low, short to tall, past to present, it should not be called a range.”

See full article at

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


The mechanisms behind the production of the heavier elements (the s- and r-processes) were first pointed out in a long theoretical paper published in 1957: ‘Synthesis of the elements in stars’ (Burbidge et al., 1957).

This revolutionary and still up-to-date paper is signed B2HF – not a strange chemical compound but the initials of the surnames of the scientists who wrote it: Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Keep 'em peeled!

Shaw Taylor is today best known for presenting Police 5, a long-running 5-minute television programme first broadcast in 1962 that appealed to the public to help solve crimes.

He later presented a spin-off show for younger viewers called Junior Police 5, aka JP5.

His catchphrase was "Keep 'em peeled!" - asking viewers to be vigilant.

This was originally used at the end of every JP5 programme, but according to Shaw Taylor himself, " the suggestion of a friend I tried it out on the adult Police 5. I thought it sounded a bit naff at first but then the studio crew seemed to get withdrawal symptoms if I didn't say it at the end of the programme and it became a catchphrase that complete strangers still shout at me in the street".


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Maths Note

5^9 + 3^9 + 4^9 + 4^9 + 9^9 + 4^9 + 8^9 + 3^9 + 6^9 = 534494836


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How to kill a werewolf

There is no safe way to dispose of the werewolf, a resilient and very harmful monster.  Unlike vampires, they are not generally thought to be harmed by religious artifacts such as crucifixes and holy water.

In some cases, the werewolf is portrayed as being invincible and nearly indestructible, with decapitation of its head and removal of its heart as the only surefire way to kill one.

In the old Hollywood version of the myth, a werewolf can be killed with a silver bullet, and is allergic to the herb wolf's bane. More modern films have werewolves being killed by various silver objects.  

To tell the truth, since there is little opportunity  when a werewolf is really vulnerable in its animal form, over the centuries werewolf hunters have learned to wait until the creature has shifted back to its human shape.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Einstein's dictum

“Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler”


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Types of Men's Shoes

Men's shoes can be categorized by how they are closed:

  • Oxfords (also referred as "Balmorals"): the vamp has a V-shaped slit to which the laces are attached; also known as "closed lacing". The word "Oxford" is sometimes used by American clothing companies to market shoes that are not Balmorals, such as Blüchers.
  • Blüchers (American), Derbys (British): the laces are tied to two pieces of leather independently attached to the vamp; also known as "open lacing" and is a step down in dressiness.
  • Monk-straps: a buckle and strap instead of lacing
  • Slip-ons: There are no lacings or fastenings. The popular loafers are part of this category, as well as less popular styles, such as elastic-sided shoes.