“Oh, come on. Brace up. Keep Buggering On.”
— From “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding
(Apparently, this is what Winston Churchill used to say all the time.)
This is a quiz for people who think they know everything. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers. (Full disclosure: I missed the first one. But it’s about sports, so it doesn’t count! Also, I don’t vouch for the validity of these answers. They were sent to me, and there may be more than one correct answer. —M.L.)
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters “dw” and they are all common words. Name at least two of them.
7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. Name six or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter “S.”
Here’s a link to the story I wrote about Spineless Classics. They publish entire books on one sheet of paper. It’s amazing.
Bryan, Texas, holds the record for the world’s largest gingerbread house. The Texas A&M Traditions Club completed an edible lifesize house that’s 65 feet by 45 feet.
The ingredients include 1,800 pounds of butter, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, and close to 3,000 pounds of brown sugar. The home is bedazzled with 22,000 pieces of candy.
For a story of the creation of the lifesize house, click here.
As Oregon Zoo elephant calf Lily turned one on Nov. 30, 2013, here’s a look back at her first 12 months.
Four guys play the Christmas song on the piano at the same time.
From Publishers Weekly: Author Thomas H. Cook picks his selections for the 10 Best Mystery Books.
Here’s a link to the video and transcript of Jeff Bezos of Amazon’s appearance on “60 Minutes,” in which he discussed possible drone delivery in the future.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Stories set in China.
North Dakota retired engineer George Loegering has found a rare spinning disk of ice in the Sheyenne River in North Dakota, a weather phenomenon experts say likely was caused by cold, dense air, and an eddy in the river.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Quick! Watch the GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & Beastie Boys “Princess Machine” video before it gets taken down! Girl power!
From Writers Digest: 12 clichés all writers should avoid.
From Rolling Stone: Lost Beatles photographs found in Ringo’s basement!
Found on the Facebook page Life Is Always Better With Beer:
Strange Analogies Contest
From the Washington Post, July 23, 1995
People were asked to come up with bad analogies. The results were great, though we feel compelled to point out that there is a fine line between an analogy that is so bad it is good and an analogy that is so good it is bad. See what we mean.
Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein’s Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances. (Jennifer Frank, Washington, and Jimmy Pontzer, Sterling)
The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas. (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)
I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)
She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn. (Joseph Romm, Washington)
And the winner of the framed Scarlet Fever sign:
His fountain pen was so expensive it looked as if someone had grabbed the pope, turned him upside down and started writing with the tip of his big pointy hat. (Jeffrey Carl, Richmond)
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)
The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)
The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. (Joseph Romm, Washington)
She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again. (Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup. (Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)
From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley, Washington)
Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)
Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid>55328.comaaakk/ch@ung but gets T:lw.quid>aaakk/ch@ung by mistake (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.” (Russell Beland, Springfield)
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)
They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth. (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. (Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)
The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. (Jennifer Frank and Jimmy Pontzer, Washington and Sterling)
After sending in my entries for the Style Invitational, I feel relieved and apprehensive, like a little boy who has just wet his bed. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)
From the Associated Press:
James McBride won the National Book Award for fiction for his novel “The Good Lord Bird.” George Packer won the award for nonfiction for “The Unwinding.” Cynthia Kadohata won for young people’s literature for “The Thing About Luck” and Mary Szybist won for poetry for “Incardine.” Mary Angelou and E.L. Doctorow were awarded honorary medals.
From a press release:
Author Anne Applebaum is the winner of the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature at McGill University for her book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. The announcement was made at a gala dinner held last night in Toronto. At $75,000 (US), the Cundill Prize is the largest international literary prize for a work on history.
Applebaum’s winning book describes the circumstances under which Stalin was able to convert a dozen countries to a Communist system of government following the Second World War and chronicles what daily life was like for citizens once these changes had occurred.
From Memolition.com: A time-lapse map of every nuclear explosion on Earth. Scary, huh?
From AP: Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing has died at 94.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Working Dogs.
From Ancient Origins: Ancient philosophical writings found hidden beneath a medieval text
A group of scientists and historians have made an incredible discovery relating to some writings made on parchments that were produced in medieval times. Using cutting-edge technology, the researchers found that the parchment had once contained ancient philosophical writings that had later been washed off and over-written. Using multispectral imaging, scientists have been able to recover the original text, shedding new light on the history of philosophical education in the late antiquity. The uppermost layer of text dates to the thirteenth century and comprises the Prophetic Books of the Greek Old Testament. However, through an amazing stroke of luck, it was discovered that beneath this text there had originally been some writing by the well-known ancient Greek writer, Euripides, and an unknown ancient commentary on Aristotle, which dated back to the fifth century. …
From Flavorwire: 10 of literature’s most unreliable narrators
The viral video “What Does the Fox Say” will soon be available as a book for kids. Here’s a link to the video:
I’m working on a books column about working dogs. So to get you in the mood, here’s a video of cute little puppies just learning to walk:
From The Guardian: A Belgium book association attempts to set a new world record for the longest “book domino” chain. Using almost 5,000 books, the chain tumbles through the Antwerp book fair, spelling the Dutch words for “book,” “fair,” and “read.”