QI

I Never Said That

Sherlock Holmes

As Abraham Lincoln once famously observed: ‘The trouble with quotes taken from the internet is that you can never know if they're genuine.’

Kidding of course. I'm quoting Stephen Fry from QI and the Third QI Book of General Ignorance, a Christmas gift from Mrs P that I'm still dipping into. In this case, famous quotes that were never actually said by the people who were supposed to have said them. Read more ›››

Jelly Babies

Jelly Babies

My holiday appetite or trivia is being satisfied by the The Third QI Book of General Ignorance, a Christmas present from Mrs P. It's full of things I didn't know I didn't know and it is only fair to share a morsel or two.

Such as jelly babies, those sweets adored by children of all ages which are made by Bassett's of Sheffield. I didn't know that they were originally called 'Peace Babies' when they were made to mark the armistice at the end of the First World War. Read more ›››

T Lobsang Rampa

Tuesday Lobsang Rampa launched himself into the public consciousness in 1956 as the Lama from Lhasa with the publication of The Third Eye, his account of growing up in Tibet, which despite being an obvious hoax became an international best seller.

Among other things, Lobsang claimed to have had a splinter inserted into his pineal gland to activate his 'Third Eye' when he was eight in order to 'see people as they really are and not what they pretend to be'... Read more ›››

The Turk

Wolfgang von Kempelen was a philosopher, polyglot, mathematician and author, but above all else he was one of the best of those remarkable inventors of automata in the 18th century, one of which baffled the likes of Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin.

Kempelen was born in 1734 in Pressburg, Hungary, or what is now Bratislava, Slovakia. He studied law and philosophy in his birthplace, and then in Győr, Vienna and Rome... Read more ›››

William Patrick Hitler

Hitler was a trending name in the 1930s (Adolf was Time Magazine Man of the Year in 1939) but it had become #hated by the early 1940s and unsurprisingly those with a family connection became less proud of their surname.

One such was William Patrick Hitler (aka Willy), a nephew of Adolf, who was living in America when that country entered World War II... Read more ›››

Sir Francis Galton

Francis Galton was a flawed Victorian genius responsible for the introduction of forensic fingerprinting, the weather map, the originator of the nurture versus nature debate and of both sane and silly inventions.

He was born in 1822 and was a cousin of Charles Darwin. The two families were very close with the Darwins being the scientists while the Galtons were Quaker bankers... Read more ›››

Can't Write

Im begining to feal that Im definately on a role with all this Inglish spellin, punktashun and grammer stuff. It all goes to pot when you is under preshure.

If you don't believe me, you need to try your hand at You Can't Write Proper English Under Pressure which starts easily enough but soon has a pedant's heart pounding as the time limit speeds up... Read more ›››