Monday, June 17, 2013

Hot raisins, anyone? No? Well, then, how about some nice burning brandy?

Trivia for a warm June day:

1. Shooting Parrots (Ian in Lancashire) has written a very interesting post about an obscure French scoundrel in V is for Eugène François Vidocq (approximate pronunciation: yew- ZHEN fran-SWAH vee-DOKE).

2. After a bit of silliness up front concerning two people on the Today show, Rush Limbaugh explains that whether you think the “Plan B” morning-after pill does or does not cause an abortion depends entirely on your definition of pregnancy.

3. The word “Lilith” (Hebrew: לילית) occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible, in Isaiah 34:14, and thus qualifies as a hapax legomenon. It is not translated as “Adam’s first wife” as some of the more well-read among you might think. It is translated as “screech owl” in the King James Version (KJV), “night monster” in the New American Standard Version (NASV), “night hag” in the Revised Standard Version (RSV), and “night creature” in several other versions. Make of it what you will.

4. The word “honorificabilitudinitatibus” is also a hapax legomenon (q.v., plural: hapax legomena) in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act V, Scene 1. According to Wikipedia,
it is used after an absurdly pretentious dialogue between the pedantic school- master Holofernes and his friend Sir Nathaniel. The two pedants converse in a mixture of Latin and florid English. When Moth, a witty young servant, enters, Costard says of the pedants, “O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.”

5. FYI, I mean FTIOANUKR (For the information of all non-U.K. readers), flap-dragon was (or is) a game which involved (or involves) trying to eat hot raisins from a bowl of burning brandy. That certainly explains why our U.K. friends talk so funny.

In the comments section of this post, send your own fascinating trivia factoid or factoids to me for possible use on another warm day. If I like it/them, I may use it/them. Whether I do or don’t is in no way related to whether I like you.


  1. Do you ever suspect that you might be smarter than nearly all of your neighbors? I had that feeling in Mississippi, so I moved to Oregon. People are smarter here--at least in the sense of being a lot better educated--but the feeling persists for me. With you, I imagine you holding back a lot in your day to day life simply because you know that your thoughts are a good bit more interesting than those of your neighbors. Is this not true?

  2. Snowbrush, when I was young I knew that I was smarter than nearly all of my neighbors because I became valedictorian of my high school class. I was a big fish in a small pond. When I went to university, however, the pond grew larger and many of my former acquaintances didn't even matriculate. So as the competition grew stiffer, I began making only respectable, but not superior, grades (GPA 3.5). It's been all downhill since. As my pond grew larger and larger over the years (IBM, anyone?), I was forced to realize just what a small fish I really am.

  3. Indeed, y'all, the Brits talk real funny.

    You are um raisin some interesting points for my last two brain cells to ponder.

    I should let you know that I'm hero worshipped by a colony of penguins near McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

  4. klahanie, we've known forever and a day that the Brits talk real funny, but now, at last, we know why.

    Writing about raisins is grape fun.

    I would love to hear more about the penguins.