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      • C. S. Lewis-- a First Class Author
        04/30/08
        Lewis, returning home from a walking tour, had just boarded the first class compartment of his train. An old lady, startled at seeing Lewis' unkempt appearance asked him, "Have you a first-class ticket?" "Yes, madam," he replied, "but I'm afraid I'll be needin

      • Queens of the Sea
        04/30/08


        The great British Cunard ocean liner Queen Mary was originally to be called Queen Victoria. The head of the Cunard company explained to King George V (1865 – 1936) that he wanted to name the ship after "the greatest of all English queens." Upon hearing this explanation the king

      • A Stamp for King George
        04/30/08
        George V, an avid stamp collector, was with his private secretary one afternoon when his secretary remarked,"I see in The Times today that some damn fool has given fourteen hundred pounds for a single stamp at a private sale." The king replied, "I am that damn fool."

      • Benjamin Franklin takes a King
        04/30/08
        While in France, Benjamin Franklin often played chess with an elderly duchess. Once, after he put her king in check and taking it, she reprimanded him by saying, "We do not take kings so". "We do in America", Franklin responded matter-of-factly.

      • A Picture by Rubens: an Appraisal story
        04/22/08
        Richardson, in his anecdotes of painting, says, a gentleman came to me to invite me to his house: "I have," says he, "a picture of Rubens, and it is a rare good one. There is little H. the other day came to see it, and says it is a copy. If any one says so again, I'll break his h

      • Henry Ford's Engineer
        04/22/08
        A visitor at a Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan had the good fortune of encountering Henry Ford himself, who, demonstrating a newly finished automobile, proudly stated that there were "exactly forty-seven hundred and nineteen parts in that model."

        Impressed by Ford's exha

      • Conan Doyle's practical joke
        04/21/08


        Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, enjoyed practical jokes. He is said to have once sent a telegram to twelve of his friends, all people of great significance and power. The telegram said: 'Flee at once, the secret is discovered'. Within 24 hours all twelve

      • Compliment to King Charles II
        04/18/08
        Charles II. was reputed a great connoisseur in naval architecture. Being once at Chatham, to view a ship just finished on the stocks, he asked the famous Killigrew, "If he did not think he should make an excellent shipwright?" He replied, "That he always thought his majesty would have

      • The Poor Animal: a Prisoner's Dog
        04/16/08
        FATAL SYMPATHY. One of the prisoners in the Port Royal, or Port Libre, during the government of Robespierre, had brought a favorite dog with him to prison. The poor animal ate, drank, and slept, with its master, until it was deprived of him by a denunciation from one of the prison spies, and his con

      • Raffael: Generousity of an Artist
        04/16/08
        RAFFAEL. Francis I. having received a picture of St. Michael from the hand of Raffael d'Urbino, which he much coveted, he remunerated Raffael far beyond what the painter's modesty conceived he ought to receive: the generous artist, however, made him a present of a Holy Family, painted by h

      • Shaving a Queen -- Let the Barber Do His Best!
        04/16/08
        Shaving a Queen.—For some time after the restoration of Charles the Second, young smooth-faced men performed the women's parts on the stage. That monarch, coming before his usual time to hear Shakespeare's Hamlet, sent the Earl of Rochester to know the reason of the delay; who brought word

      • Captain Kidd -- Famous Last Words of a Pirate
        04/15/08
        Captain William Kidd (1645-1701), a famous British pirate, started his career as a regular sea captain. But when he was dispatched to the coast of Madagascar with the purpose of quelling marauding pirates, he joined them instead, and soon became one of the most ferocious raiders on the open seas. A

      • Jonathan Swift and Thomas Sheridan at a Beggar's Wedding
        04/15/08
        Dean Swift being in the country, on a visit to Dr. Sheridan, they were informed that a beggar's wedding was about to be celebrated. Sheridan played well upon the violin; Swift therefore proposed that he should go to the place where the ceremony was to be performed, disguised as a blind fiddler,

      • Death of a Hero
        04/13/08
        Death of a Hero.—At the battle of Malplaquet, in 1709, Marshal Villars was dangerously wounded, and desired to receive the Holy Sacrament. Being advised to receive in private, he said, "No, if the army cannot see me die like a hero, they shall see me die as a Christian."

      • Fear of Death
        04/13/08
        Fear of Death.—It is recorded of a person who had been sentenced to be bled to death, that, instead of the punishment being actually inflicted, he was made to believe that it was so, merely by causing water, when his eyes were blinded, to trickle down his arm. This mimicry, however, of an operation,

      • Sergeant and a philosopher
        04/13/08
        Dr. Gregory, professor of the practice of physic at Edinburgh, was one of the first to enroll himself in the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, when that corps was raised. So anxious was he to make himself master of military tactics, that he not only paid the most punctual attendance on all the regimental

      • Navy Chaplains
        04/12/08
        When the Earl of Clancarty was captain of a man-of-war, and was cruising on the coast of Guinea, he happened to lose his chaplain by a fever, on which the lieutenant, who was a Scotchman, gave him notice of it, saying, at the same time, "that he was sorry to inform him that he died in the Roman

      • Understanding Einstein
        04/12/08
        Albert Einstein's friend was once asked if it was true that only ten people in the entire world truly understood the man. After some pondering the man replied, "Oh, no. There at least twenty, but Einstein is not one of them."

        From From Newton to ESP by L. LeShain.

      • That rat
        04/10/08
        George Cohan, an American playwright, actor, songwriter and producer, once auditioned an actor for a role. After the actor left, Cohan said to his staff, "I hate that rat. Remind me never to hire him again unless we need him."

      • P.T. Barnum's Elephant
        04/08/08
        P. T. Barnum, the famed American circus entrepreneur and the reputed originator of the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute", at one point used an elephant to draw a plow at his private farm. A bewildered neighbor, although a friend of the circus man, got into an argument with B

      • A monkey and a parrot
        04/08/08
        A young Madame de Choiseul longed for a parrot, that
        should be a miracle of eloquence ; and, as every shop in Paris
        then sold macaws, parrots, cockatoos, &c., a parrot was soon
        found for the nymph ; but -she had another passion, and was
        enamoured of General Jackoo, a celebrat

      • King Charles II on Writing History
        04/08/08
        When Leti, the historian, was one day attending
        the levee of Charles the Second, he said
        to him, " Leti. I hear that you are writing the
        History of the Court of England." "Sir, I
        have been for some time preparing materials for
        such a history." " Take

      • A Strange Wedding
        04/08/08
        In the year 1733, when Christian IV. King
        of Denmurk, and his consort, Sophia Magdalena,
        visited their Norwegian dominions, they took up
        their residence in the house of Colons! Colbiurnson
        in Frederickshald. The colonel, for the diversion
        of his illustrious guests, exhibite

      • Ultimate solution to the problem of naming a baby
        04/08/08
        Louis Antoine Jullien, a French composer and conductor was born in a little town of Sisteron. It was understood that the child had to be immediately baptized. Antonio Jullien, the composer's father, decided that it would be suitable to find a godfather among the members of the local Philharmoni

      • Demosthenes' comeback
        04/06/08
        An orator of Athens said to Demosthenes, "The Athenians will kill you if they are in a rage." Demosthenes replied, "And they will kill you if they are in the right mind."

      • Doctor Bell and the patient
        04/06/08
        Doctor Bell, a renowned Scottish surgeon who is believed to be the prototype of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, once held a demonstration of his deductive method of diagnosis. He gathered a group of students around the bed of a new patient and proceeded with questioning. "Aren't

      • Queen Victoria Meets her Maker
        04/02/08
        While Queen Victoria lay dying, a member of the royal household mused to Edward, Prince of Wales, "I wonder if she will be happy in heaven?"
        Edward matter-of-factly replied, "I don't know. She will have to walk behind the angels--and she won't like that!"

      • Children bug Princess Diana
        04/02/08
        During a royal tour in 1983, Diana approached a crowd of young children in Southern Australia. She walked up to the nearest child and, while patting him on his head, asked him why he wasn't in school that day.

        "I was sent home," he explained, "because I've got he

      • Charles De Gaulle who?
        04/02/08
        A speaker once told De Gaulle that he resembled Robespierre. De Gaulle responded, "I always thought I was Jeanne d'Arc and Bonaparte. How little one knows oneself!"

      • A Funny Poem for the King from his Earl
        04/02/08
        In trying to be clever, the Earl of Rochester once left a message on King Charles II's bedchamber door. It read:
        "Here is our sovereign lord the king,
        Whose promise noone relies on;
        He never said a foolish thing,
        Nor ever did a wise one."

        Not to be outdo

      • Long live King Charles--not James
        04/02/08
        While on his morning walk, King Charles proceeded to stroll through Hyde Park accompanied by just two lords. As he was walking, his brother James, Duke of York, drove up in his carriage under heavy guard.

        The duke was suprised to see his brother virtually alone and expressed to him that

      • A Small Step for Neil Armstrong
        04/02/08
        Once, while having lunch with photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife, Armstrong inquired about the many countries the couple had visited. Surprised, Mrs, Karsh replied, "But Mr. Armstrong, you've walked on the moon. We want to hear about your travels."
        "But that's the o

      • Alexander the Great as Parmenion
        04/02/08
        After Alexander had conquered Egypt, King Darius of Persia offered Alexander generous terms for peace.

        Darius would pay Alexander 10,000 talents for releasing Perisan prisoners, give him the areas west of the Euphrates and he would hand over his daughter to Alexander in marriage.
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