Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Today's Factoids

Blogging in Paris shared favorite factoids from the BBC list 100 things we didn't know this time last year. OK, here are my favorites.

11The opening lines of the Communist Manifesto - "A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism" - were initially translated as "A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe".People's first instincts are always the best. It should have been left unamended.
35George Bush and John Kerry shared the same debating coach while at Yale University. His name was Rollin Osterweis.I took a class in the "Ante-Bellum South" with Rollin Osterweis, whose family fortune we apocryphally believed was made in Cuban cigars and who had endowed his own Rollin Osterweis Chair of History. He was famous for reading his lectures, one well-thumbed page after another, out of the same notebook, for decades. We waited happily for the "short lecture" which would occur on a particular known-in-advance day and we got to play hooky legally.
43In 1911, Pablo Picasso was one of the suspects arrested for the theft of the Mona Lisa.You can never trust an artist.
53Phrase-turner extraordinaire Clive James says he originated the terms "underwhelmed" and "young fogey", but is yet to receive the recognition he deserves. He also says he's particularly proud of his description of the Conan the Barbarian-era Arnold Schwarzenegger as "a brown condom full of walnuts".Are we baby-boomers going to be "young fogeys" when we're 90? Can we call Arnold a fogey yet?
88In the past decade, four people in the UK have died in cemetery accidents, crushed by falling tombstones.My kids accuse me of being morbid, but really. What other reasonable stance towards life is there, if it can end this way?

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At 5:58 PM, Blogger Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Crushed by falling tombstones??? Maybe it was no accident - were there any reports of untrustworthy artists lurking nearby? (or maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger?)

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

The only factoid that will change is the last.

Beware of falling tombstones.


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