Saturday, 28 April 2012

The best library ...

The best library contains both books you have read, and books you have not. The latter should grow in proportion as the library expands. A working library is as much a place for the possible as it is a record of the past.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Cocked Hat

'Knocked into a cocked hat' only makes any sense if you know what cocked hats are. These were hats, popular at the end of the 18th century, that had turned up (i.e. cocked) brims. They were usually tricorn (i.e. three-cornered) hats and were often worn as part of some form of official regalia.

The 'Toby jugs' that are still commonplace household ornaments in the UK were usually modelled wearing cocked hats.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

To be knocked into a cocked hat

This means to be routed completely in a physical or verbal contest.

The expression comes from the practice of military officers to carry their soft hats under the arm, thus flattening it out. The hats became triangular shaped when flattened. So, when someone was crushed in a contest, they were flattened as completely as an officer's cocked hat.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Twenty Rules for Summer Hats

1. Half the battle is being confident that you look great in a hat.

2. If you’re not, you won’t.

3. For every year above the age of 35, you’ll look exponentially better in hats.

4. For every hat size above 7 1/2, you’ll look exponentially worse in hats.

5. If your head is big, those dual size L/XL hats won’t fit

6. The easiest hat to wear is still the ballcap.  Ultra casual only.  Consider the Cooperstown collection “Franchise”.

7. If you have no sports affiliation, logos can sometimes work.  Just keep it subtle.


See full list and article at

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ship Naming in the United States Navy

On 3 March 1819 an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy's ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative which he still exercises. This act stated that "all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule, to wit:

    * those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union;
    * those of the second class after the rivers;
    * and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns;
    * taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name.

See full article at

Friday, 6 April 2012

Foul papers

Foul papers is a term that refers to an author's working drafts, most often applied in the study of the plays of Shakespeare and other dramatists of English Renaissance drama. Once the composition of a play was finished, a transcript or "fair copy" of the foul papers was prepared, by the author or by a scribe.