Tag Archives: humorous

Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy

Religion, we think, has a great deal to offer to many people—the comfort of faith and the security of community among them. But believing that God doesn’t like sex, as many religions seem to, is like believing that God doesn’t like you. Because of this belief, a tremendous number of people carry great shame for their own perfectly natural sexual desires and activities.

We prefer the beliefs of a woman we met, a devoted churchgoer in a fundamentalist faith. She told us that when she was about five years old, she discovered the joys of masturbation in the back seat of the family car, tucked under a warm blanket on a long trip. It felt so wonderful that she concluded that the existence of her clitoris was proof positive that God loved her.

Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy, The Ethical Slut, 2nd ed., New York, 2009, p. 13

Daniel Gilbert

[M]y favorite ad hominem attack of the week came from a blogger who read my Time essay on children and happiness and wrote: “Dr. Gilbert is a very bitter and misguided man who needs to experience fatherhood before he again attempts to write with authority on the subject.” Yes, it was painful for me to learn that I am bitter and misguided. But it was even more painful to learn that I am not a father. I called my 30 year old son to give him the bad news, and he too was chagrined to find that we are unrelated.

Daniel Gilbert, ‘Tears in the Wayback’, July 24, 2006

Harold Hotelling

When in different parts of a book there are passages from which the casual reader may obtain two different ideas of what the book is proving, and when one version of the thesis is interesting but false and the other true but trivial, it becomes the duty of a reviewer to give warning at least against the false version. My review of The Triumph of Mediocrity in Business was chiefly devoted to warning readers not to conclude that business firms have a tendency to become mediocre, or that the mediocre type of business tends with the passage of time to become increasingly representative or triumphant. That such a warning was needed is suggested by the title of the book and by various passages in it, and confirmed by the opinions of several eminent economists and statisticians who have taken the trouble to write or speak about the matter.

It is now clear that a tendency to stability or mediocrity of the kind which I showed was unproven, was not what the author intended to prove, and that a sufficiently careful reader would not be misled. But the thesis of the book, when correctly interpreted, is essentially trivial.

Consider a statistical variate x whose variance does not change from year to year, but for which there is a correlation r between successive values for the same individual. Let the individuals be grouped so that in a certain year all those in a group have values of x within a narrow range. Then among the mean values in these groups, the variance (calculated with the group frequencies as weights) will in the next year be less than that in the first year, in a ratio of which the mean value for linear regression and fine grouping is r², but in any case is η², less than unity. This theorem is proved by simple mathematics. It is illustrated by genetic, astronomical, physical, sociological and other phenomena. To “prove” such a mathematical result by a costly and prolonged numerical study of many kinds of business profit and expense ratios is analogous to proving the multiplication table by arranging elephants in rows and columns, and then doing the same for numerous other kinds of animals. The performance, though perhaps entertaining, and having a certain pedagogical value, is not an important contribution either to zoology or to mathematics.

Harold Hotelling, letter to the editor, Journal of the American Statistical Association, vol. 29, no. 186 (June, 1934),  pp. 198-199

G. A. Cohen

I said that believing that no inequality could truly reflect real freedom of choice would contradict your reactions to people in day-to-day life, and that I lack that belief. I lack that belief because I am not convinced that it is true both that all choices are causally determined and that causal determination obliterates responsibility. If you are indeed so convinced, then do not blame me for thinking otherwise, do not blame right-wing politicians for reducing welfare support (since, in your view, they can’t help doing so), do not, indeed, blame, or praise, anyone for choosing to do anything, and therefore live your life, henceforth, differently from the way that we both know that you have lived it up to now.

G. A. Cohen, Why Not Socialism?, Princeton, 2009, pp. 29-30

Augustus De Morgan

Among the worst of barbarisms is that of introducing symbols which are quite new in mathematical, but perfectly understood in common, language. Writers have borrowed from the Germans the abbreviation n! to signify 1.2.3…(n-1).n, which gives their pages the appearance of expressing surprise and admiration that 2, 3, 4 &c. should be found in mathematical results.

Augustus De Morgan, The Penny Cyclopædia of the Society for the Difusion of Useful Knowledge, London, 1842, vol. 23, p. 444

Robert Levine

Even big companies are after your friendship. This is nicely articulated in confidential documents from the recent “My McDonald’s” advertising campaign created by the giant fast-food chain. McDonald’s was facing a number of marketing problems, most notably a flight of customers to competitors like Burger King and Wendy’s that was cutting into its profit margins. “More customers are telling us that McDonald’s is a big company that just wants to sell . . . sell as much as it can,” one executive wrote in a confidential memo. To counter this perception, McDonald’s called for ads directed at making customers feel the company “cares about me” and “knows about me,” to make customers believe McDonald’s is their “trusted friend.” A corporate memo introducing the campaign explained: “[Our goal is to make] customers believe McDonald’s is their ‘Trusted Friend.’ Note: this should bedone without using the words ‘Trusted Friend.’” Theoretically, of course, there’s something admirable about a huge company holding out its hand in fraternal trust. The sincerity of the gesture, however, is compromised by a message in bold red letters on the first page of the memo proclaiming: “ANY UNAUTHORIZED USE OR COPYING OF THIS MATERIAL MAY LEAD TO CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.”

Robert Levine, The Power of Persuasion, New York, 2003, pp. 57-58

C. D. Broad

Finally I would say that, for me at any rate, the five years which I have spent in wrestling with McTaggart’s system and putting the results into writing have been both pleasant and intellectually profitable. I derive a certain satisfaction from reflecting that there is one subject at least about which I probably know more than anyone else in the universe with the possible exception of God (if he exists) and McTaggart (if he survives).

C. D. Broad, Examination of McTaggart’s Philosophy, vol. II, pt. I, Cambridge, 1938, p. lxxiv

C. D. Broad

[A] religious enthusiast demands very much less proof for the alleged miracles of his own religion than for those of any other religion or for quite ordinary stories about everyday affairs. (I myself have a Scottish friend who believes all the miracles of the New Testament, but cannot be induced to believe, on the repeated evidence of my own eyes, that a small section of the main North British Railway between Dundee and Aberdeen consists of a single line.)

C. D. Broad, ‘Hume’s Theory of the Credibility of Miracles’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 17 (1916-1917), p. 81

Daniel Dennett

The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn’t need its brain anymore, so it eats it! (It’s rather like getting tenure.)

Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, London, 1991, p. 177

C. D. Broad

My duties as Tarner Lecturer and as Lecturer in the Moral Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, began together and overlapped during the Michaelmas term of 1923. It was therefore impossible for me to devote as much time to the preparation of the Tarner Lectures as I could have wished; and I was profoundly dissatisfied with them. So I determined to spend the whole of the Long Vacation of 1924, and all my spare time in the Michaelmas term of that year, in rewriting what I had written, and in adding to it. However bad the book may seem to the reader, I can assure him that the lectures were far worse; and however long the lectures may have seemed to the audience, I can assure them that the book is far longer.

C. D. Broad, The Mind and its Place in Nature, London, 1925, p. vii

Jim Holt

If you turn on your television and tune it between stations, about 10 percent of that black-and-white speckled static you see is caused by photons left over from the birth of the universe. What grater proof of the reality of the Big Bang–you can watch it on TV.

Jim Holt, Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story, New York, 2012, p. 26

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Aquella noche en Salón Canning, mientras el DJ insistía con Fresedo y no pasaba ni un tema de Pugliese, don Samuel, ochenta años cumplidos, no perdonaba un solo tango. Con su traje marrón y el inamovible, informe sombrero del mismo color, invitaba a cuanta rubia lo superase ampliamente en altura. En otra ocasión yo lo había invitado a una copa y, sin aludir a su escasa estatura, le pregunté por esa predilección; creo que observé algo así como que no les tenía miedo a las escandinavas. Me respondió con la sonrisa generosa de quien transmite su experiencia de la vida a la generación siguiente.

–Pibe, no hay nada como tener la cabeza empotrada entre un par de buenas tetas.

Edgardo Cozarinsky, Milongas, Buenos Aires, 2007, p. 16

Derek Parfit

Schopenhauer makes two curiously inconsistent claims about the wretchedness of human existence. We can object, he claims, both that our lives are filled with suffering which makes them worse than nothing, and that time passes so swiftly that we shall soon be dead. These are like Woody Allen’s two complaints about his hotel: ‘The food is terrible, and they serve such small portions!’

Derek Parfit, On What Matters, Oxford, 2011, vol. 2, p. 615

Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam

Women […] rarely develop sexual fetishes for objects. They do, however, develop emotional fetishes, a condition known as objectum sexualis.

Women who suffer from objectum sexualis usually claim that they are in love with an inanimate object, such as fences, a roller coaster, or a Ferris wheel. Though they sometimes have sex with the objects, their interest usually expresses itself as a powerful emotional connection and a desire for intimacy. Sometimes these feelings culminate in a romantic ceremony. One objectum sufferer name Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer marries the Berlin Wall. Another objectum sufferer, Erika Naisho, marries the Eiffel Tower. After the ceremony, she changed her name to Erika Eiffel. “There is a huge problem with being in love with a public object,” she reported sadly, “the issue of intimacy—or rather lack of it—is forever present.”

Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, New York, 2011

Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

Indian men’s condoms malfunction more than 15 percent of the time. Why such a high fail rate? According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, some 60 percent of Indian men have penises too small for the condoms manufactured to fit World Health Organization specs. That was the conclusion of a two-year study in which more than 1,000 Indian men had their penises measured and photographed by scientists. “The condom,” declared one of the researchers, “is not optimized for India.”

Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner, SuperFreakonomics, New York, 2009, p. 5

Nicolas Slonimsky

It is usually stated that 20,000 persons attended Beethoven’s funeral, and the figure is supported by contemporary accounts. But the population of Vienna at the time of Beethoven’s death was about 320,000, and it is hardly likely that one person out of every sixteen, including children, gathered to pay tribute to the dead master. I have therefore replaced 20,000 by the non-committal “hundreds.” On the other hand, the famous account of Beethoven’s dying during a violent storm has been triumphantly confirmed. I have obtained from the Vienna Bureau of Meteorology an official extract from the weather report for March 26, 1827, stating that a thunderstorm, accompanied by strong winds, raged over the city at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Nicolas Slonimsky, ‘Preface to the Fifth Edition’, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Centennial ed., New York, 2001, p. xii

Jaegwon Kim

[I]f you want to make a perfect duplicate of something, all you need to do is to put identical parts in identical structure. The principle is the metaphysical underpinning of industrial mass production; to make another ’01 Ford Explorer, all you need to do is to assemble identical parts in identical structural configurations.

Jaegwon Kim, ‘Supervenience, Emergence, Realization, Reduction’, in Michael J. Loux and Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics, Oxford, 2003, p. 567

Richard Wiseman

The differences between the lives of the lucky and unlucky people are as consistent as they are remarkable. Lucky people always seem to be in the right place at the right time, fall on their feet, and appear to have an uncanny ability to live a charmed life. Unlucky people are the exact opposite. Their lives tend to be a catalogue of failure and despair, and they are convinced that their misfortune is not of their own making. One of the unluckiest people in the study is Susan, a 34-year-old care assistant from Blackpool. Susan is exceptionally unlucky in love. She once arranged to meet a man on a blind date, but her potential beau had a motorcycle accident on the way to their meeting, and broke both of his legs. Her next date walked into a glass door and broke his nose. A few years later, when she had found someone to marry, the church in which she intended to hold the wedding was burnt down by arsonists just before her big day. Susan has also experienced an amazing catalogue of accidents. In one especially bad run of luck, she reported having eight car accidents in a single fifty-mile journey.

Richard Wiseman, Quirkology: the Curious Science of Everyday Lives, London, 2007, pp. 26-27

Sophia Reibetanz

Rather than harming one person as a means of saving five others through transplants, the surgeon decides to let the five die. Some days later, a utilitarian friend asks why he responded in this way. Blushing, he replies, ‘Had I been alone, I’d have had little compunction about removing the one’s organs to save the five. But I was with a senior colleague who is a staunch defender of the Doctrine of Double Effect. I thought I’d stand a better chance at promotion if she didn’t think I had acted wrongly.’

Sophia Reibetanz, ‘A Problem for the Doctrine of Double Effect’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 98, no. 2 (1998), p. 219-220

C. D. Broad

If we compare McTaggart with the other commentators on Hegel we must admit that he has at least produced an extremely lively and fascinating rabbit from the Hegelian hat, whilst they have produced nothing but consumptive and gibbering chimeras. And we shall admire his resource and dexterity all the more when we reflect that the rabbit was, in all probability, never inside the hat, whilst the chimeras perhaps were.

C. D. Broad, ‘Introduction’, in John McTaggart, Some Dogmas of Religion, London, 1930, p. xxxi

Nathaniel Branden

Sometimes in therapy when a person has difficulty accepting some feeling, I will ask if he or she is willing to accept the fact of refusing to accept the feeling. I asked this once of a client, Victor, a clergyman, who had difficulty in owning or experiencing his anger, but who was a very angry man. My question disoriented him. “Will I accept that I won’t accept my anger?” he asked me. I smiled and said, “That’s right.” He thundered, “I refuse to accept my anger and I refuse to accept my refusal!”

Nathaniel Branden, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem, New York, 1987, p. 56

Adolfo Bioy Casares

–¿Qué haría usted si supiera con seguridad que un día determinado acaba el mundo?

–No diría nada, por causa de las criaturas–respondió Ramírez–, pero dejaría anotado en un papelito que en el día de la fecha era el fin del mundo, para que vieran que yo lo sabía.

Adolfo Bioy Casares, ‘Tema del fin del mundo’, in Guirnalda con amores, Buenos Aires, 1959, p. 99

Carlos Santiago Nino

Se podría decir que hay anomia cuando la observancia contrafáctica […] de una determinada norma en un cierto grupo social sería eficiente en el sentido de que ese estado de observancia sería Pareto-óptima respecto de cualquier otra situación posible, incluyendo a la situación real de inobservancia, o sea en ese estado nadie estaría peor y alguno por lo menos estaría mejor. […] Sin embargo, este criterio no es operativo si tomamos […], como parte del grupo social relevante y como partícipes en la acción colectiva, a individuos que tienen propósitos lógicamente incompatibles con los de los demás. Por ejemplo, supongamos que algunos disfruten del caos de las calles porteñas, ya que lo consideran un sustituto gratuito del juego de los autos chocadores de los parques de diversiones.

Carlos Santiago Nino, Un país al margen de la ley: estudio de la anomia como componente del subdesarrollo argentino, Buenos Aires, 1992, pp. 37-38

The Meadow Keepers and Constables of Christ Church

The Meadow Keepers and Constables are hereby instructed to prevent the entrance into the Meadow of all beggars, all persons in ragged or very dirty clothes, persons of improper character or who are not decent in appearance and behaviour; and to prevent indecent, rude, or disorderly conduct of every description.

To allow no handcarts, wheelbarrows, no hawkers or persons carrying parcels or bundles so as to obstruct the walks.

To prevent the flying of kites, throwing of stones, throwing balls, bowling hoops, shooting arrows, firing guns or pistols, or playing games attended with danger or inconvenience to passers-by; also fishing in the waters, catching birds, bird-besting or cycling.

To prevent all persons cutting names on, breaking or injuring the seats, shrubs, plants, trees or turf.

To prevent the fastening of boats or rafts to the iron palisading or river wall and to prevent encroachments of every kind by the river-side.

The Meadow Keepers and Constables of Christ Church

C. L. Ten

Pascal […] argued that the ‘sickness’ of religious disbelief can be cured if a man acted as if he believed in God. In the end he can work his way into genuine belief. (Whether genuine belief generated in this way will win him a place in Heaven, as Pascal thought, is more debatable, and I am inclined to think that a good God would, when confronted with such a man in the afterlife, tell him bluntly, ‘Go to Hell.’)

C. L. Ten, Mill on Liberty, Oxford, 1980, p. 129

Richard Feynman

You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won’t believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!

Richard Feynman, quoted by David L. Goodstein and Gerry Neugebauer, ‘Special Preface’, in Six Easy Pieaces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher, Reading, Massachusetts, 1995, p. xxi

Jeff McMahan

I recall my eventual dissertation supervisor, Bernard Williams, saying to me once that he didn’t think that anyone could do ethics competently without a thorough grounding in logic. I nodded solemnly as if to register agreement, though I had never spent a minute studying logic and didn’t even know what a modus ponens was—in fact, I still don’t, though I know it has something to do with p and q.

Jeff McMahan, in Thomas S. Petersen and Jesper Ryberg (eds.), Normative Ethics: 5 Questions, 2007, p. 69

Steven Pinker

This chapter is about the puzzle of swearing—the strange shock and appeal of words like fuck, screw, and come; shit, piss, and fart; cunt, pussy, tits, prick, cock, dick, and asshole; bitch, slut, and whore; bastard, wanker, cocksucker, and motherfucker; hell, damn, and Jesus Christ; faggot, queer, and dyke; and spick, dago, kike, wog, mick, gook, kaffir, and nigger.

Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, London, 2008, p. 327

G. A. Cohen

[A]nalytical Marxists do no think that Marxism possesses a distinctive and valuable method. Others believe that is has such a method, which they call ‘dialectical’. But we believe that, although the word ‘dialectical’ has not always been used without clear meaning, it has never been used with clear meaning to denote a method rival to the analytical one[.] […] I do not think that the following, to take a recent example, describes such a method: “This is precisely the first meaning we can give to the idea of dialectic: a logic or form of explanation specifically adapted to the determinant intervention of class struggle in the very fabric of history.” (Étienne Balibar, The Philosophy of Marx, p. 97.) If you read a sentence like that quickly, it can sound pretty good. The remedy is to read it more slowly.

G. A. Cohen, Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence, exp. ed., Oxford, 2000, p. xxiii

Caitlin Flanagan

The moms in my set are convinced—they’re certain; they know for a fact—that all over the city, in the very best schools, in the nicest families, in the leafiest neighborhoods, twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls are performing oral sex on as many boys as they can. They’re ducking into janitors’ closets between classes to do it; they’re doing it on school buses, and in bathrooms, libraries, and stairwells. They’re making bar mitzvah presents of the act, and performing it at “train parties”: boys lined up on one side of the room, girls working their way down the row. The circle jerk of old—shivering Boy Scouts huddled together in the forest primeval, desperately trying to spank out the first few drops of their own manhood—has apparently moved indoors, and now (death knell of the Eagle Scout?) there’s a bevy of willing girls to do the work.

Caitlin Flanagan, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Monica’, The Atlantic, January/February 2006

William Rowe

I had a group of young, able philosophers who held teaching positions in various colleges. We covered several topics during the 6 weeks they were at Purdue, and toward the end we spent a week on the problem of evil. Among the group was a chap named Stephen Wykstra who had accepted a teaching position in philosophy at Calvin college. Wykstra talked only occasionally in the seminar, but when he became excited about some point or argument he would talk a good deal, sometimes having difficulty stopping talking, even after having fully made his point. At such times he would finally become aware that he had gone on too long, stop for moment, and then say, “Shut up, Wykstra!” And when he said that, to our surprise he would stop talking.

William Rowe, ‘Friendly Atheism, Skeptical Theism, and the Problem of Evil’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 5, no. 2 (April, 2006), p. 81

William Lane Craig

[W]hen my wife, Jan, and I were on Campus Crusade staff at Northern Illinois University our movement was infiltrated by certain Christians who believed that physical healing was included in the atonement of Christ, and thus no Christian ever needed to be sick. Just pray to God and He will heal you!

Well, the result of this was that some of our students were throwing away their glasses, claiming that they were healed, even though they couldn’t see any better. I remember confronting one of them by asking, “Are you healed?” He said, “Yes, I am.” So I said, “Well, can you see any better?” “No,” he admitted. “So then how are you healed if you can’t see any better?” I asked. “Because my faith isn’t strong enough,” he said. “I am healed, but I just don’t have faith to believe it.” And so these poor, nearsighted students were going around trying to study and attend classes without their glasses, claiming that they were healed but that they lacked the faith to believe that God had answered their prayers. I wonder what those Christians would say about someone who dies from cancer despite prayers for healing: that he really was alive and well but just appeared to be dead because he lacked the faith? What those Christians needed was not more faith, but some common sense!

William Lane Craig, No Easy Answers: Finding Hope in Doubt, Failure, and Unanswered Prayer, Chicago, 1990, p. 45

Derren Brown

I am in the situation where people who recognize me and meet me briefly will decide for the rest of their lives what sort of a person I am based on that momentary interaction. People who are really famous must find this paralysing. I try so hard always to be extra-friendly with people, to avoid the awful thought that they may have been left with a poor impression of me. Knowing what famous people are ‘really like’ is an understandable source of fascination: we are all interested to know, regardless of whether or not we have a small amount of fame ourselves. Once, at the start of my career, I hurried into a café in Bristol to look for someone I was due to meet but thought I had missed. As I went through the door, I was looking over the heads of everyone to spot my friend’s ginger hair (I have no problem with that lot) and in my rather flustered state I didn’t notice that a couple, on their way out, had opened the door for me. Unwittingly I had just rushed right past them with my nose in the air. I was only aware when it was too late. I heard a mumbling of my name and a ‘Did you see that? Unbelievable’ as they walked away. That was their experience of meeting Derren Brown, and they went away thinking I was a cunt. And I’m sure they still delight in telling other people when my name comes up, ‘Derren Brown? Yes, met him once. An absolute cunt. Famous for it.’ And I might as well have been. It still makes me cringe. I’m sorry. I hope they read this. The café was the Primrose Café in Bristol. Please read this.

Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind, London, 2006, pp. 204-205

H. L. Mencken

What is needed is a system (a) that does not depend for its execution upon the good-will of fellow jobholders, and (b) that provides swift, certain and unpedantic punishments, each fittet neatly to its crime.

I announce without further ado that such a system, after due prayer, I have devised. It is simple, it is unhackneyed, and I believe that it would work. It is divided into two halves. The first half takes the detection and punishment of the crimes of jobholders away from courts of impeachment, congressional smelling committees, and all the other existing agencies–i.e., away from other jobholders—and vest it in the whole body of free citizens, male and female. The second half provides that any member of that body, having looked into the acts of a jobholder and found him delinquent, may punish him instantly and on the spot, and in any manner that seems appropriate and convenient—and that, in case this punishment involves physical damage to the jobholder, the ensuing inquiry by the grand jury or coroner shall confine itself strictly to the question whether the jobholder deserved what he got. In other words, I propose that it shall be no longer malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay or even lynch a jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder’s deserts. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined.

H. L. Mencken, ‘The Malevolent Jobholder’, The American Mercury, June 1924

Paul Feyerabend

Dear Imre,

If the worst comes to the worst, we have 8 days together. Now, let me suggest how to spend them. First day morning: my flat business in London; afternoon: Sussex. There remain seven days. Now I suggest that you send me (1) your MS of AM with all the cuts, changes etc. suggested by you and (2) as much as you have of the clean copy of my translation with your comments in the margin and suggestions for change, and dictionary. […] So by the time I come to London we shall not need more than two days to discuss what remains. […] There still remain five days. Now you may have finished MAM before I come. If there is still enough time to send it to me I shall have had time to read it and to make my first informal comments. I shall also have made a sketch of my answer. One day for discussing both. There remain four days to chase after girls—and this if the worst comes to the worst[.]

Paul Feyerabend, Letter to Imre Lakatos, July 19, 1972, in Matteo Motterlini (ed.), For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence, Chicago, 1999, p. 286

William Shepard Walsh

Professor [Benjamin] Jowett […] is one of the lions of Oxford. That town is subjected to constant inroads of tourists, all of whom crave a sight of the famous professor. It so happened, while he was engaged on his translation of Plato, that a guide discovered the professor’s study-window looked into the Broad Street. Coming with his menagerie, the guide would begin: ‘This, ladies and gentlemen, is Balliol College, one of the very holdest in the huniversity, and famous for the herudition of its scholars. The ‘head of Balliol College is called the Master. The present Master of Balliol is the celebrated Professor Benjamin Jowett, Regius Professor of Greek. Those are Professor Jowett’s study-windows, and there’ (here the ruffian would stoop down, take up a handful of gravel and throw it against the pain, bringing poor Jowett, livid with fury, to the window) ‘ladies and gentlemen, is Professor Benjamin Jowett himself.’

William Shepard Walsh, A Handy-book of Literary Curiosities, Philadelphia, 1893, pp. 640-641

Luis Scalise

En el ’84 me tocaba jugar con él [Miguel Najdorf] en Mar del Plata y estaba preocupado.

—Esta noche juego con el Viejo ¿qué hago?—le comenté a Szmetan.

—Si aguantás hasta la quinta hora podés zafar.

Efectivamente en la quinta hora él se equivocó y fue tablas. Desde afuera Szmetan me señaló que el Viejo tenía la partida ganada. Se la mostré.

—A ver cómo es—lme preguntó.

Cuando la vio me dijo:

—Yo sabía que vos eras un chambón.

Ese día cumplía 74 años y Clarín le mandó a Mar del Plata una torta que era un tablero de ajedrez hecho en chocolate blanco y marrón con las piezas blancas y negras dispuestas en la posición de la Variante Najdorf. Vino el intendente, Ángel Roig, y se ubicó al lado de él junto a la torta. Yo estaba sentado en la otra punta y el Viejo le explicaba la partida. A cada rato gritaba:

—Scalise ¿no es cierto que te ganaba?

—Sí, don Miguel.

—Mire, le voy a mostrar—le dijo al intendente. Agarró las piezas de la torta y puso la posición en el tablero. Pero se quedó con un montón de chocolate en la mano y no podía mover. Entonces se metió el chocolate en la boca, y le dijo “mire, mire” mientras el chocolate le chorreaba por la cara, Rita se acercaba con una servilleta para limpiarlo y él la echaba, “salí”. El intendente estaba mudo y sin saber qué hacer. Miró la torta y con una cucharita empezó a comerla.

Luis Scalise, in Liliana Najdorf, NAJDORF x najdorf, Buenos Aires, 1999, pp. 197-198