wordplay

#wordplay

1.1K posts
0 followers
view counts 62 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
The image of composer, Eubie Blake (1887-1983). Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
The image of composer, Eubie Blake (1887-1983). Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Eubie Blake, a son of former slaves, was once asked why he played so many compositions in complicated sharp or flat keys. "Down South where I come from," Eubie replied, "you don't go round hittin' too many white keys." [Blake's first gig? Playing piano in a brothel.]
view counts 57 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Portrait of the British actor Peter Sellers at his home in Belgravia, London, England. Credit: Photograph by Allan Warren Derivative by Keraunoscopia (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)

Portrait of the British actor Peter Sellers at his home in Belgravia, London, England. Credit: Photograph by Allan Warren Derivative ...(more)

While appearing on "The Goon Show," Peter Sellers received a curious letter from one of the program's fans: "Dear Mr. Sellers, I have been a keen follower of yours for many years now, and should be most grateful if you would kindly send me a singed [sic] photograph of yourself..." Encouraged by his friend and fellow-comedian Harry Secombe, Sellers carefully burned the edges of one of his publicity photographs with his cigarette lighter—and sent it off by return mail... Several weeks later, another letter arrived from the same address: "Dear Mr. Sellers, Thank you very much for the photograph, but I wonder if I could trouble you for another as this one is signed all round the edge..."
view counts 76 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Alexander Woollcott photographed by Carl Van Vechten. Credit: Carl Van Vechten (Public domain)
Alexander Woollcott photographed by Carl Van Vechten. Credit: Carl Van Vechten (Public domain)
Though childless himself, Alexander Woollcott served as godparent to nineteen of his friends' children, among them Mary MacArthur (daughter of Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes). "Always a godfather," Woollcott remarked at her baptism, "never a god!"
view counts 47 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Ted Radcliffe
Ted Radcliffe
One day the star Negro League pitcher Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe threw Ty Cobb out while he was trying to steal second base. Only then did Cobb notice the inscription on Radcliffe's chest-protector: "Thou Shalt Not Steal!"
view counts 41 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Jerry Mathers (left) in <i>Leave it to Beaver</i>
Jerry Mathers (left) in Leave it to Beaver
In May 2002, Jerry Mathers (famed for his role as the Beav on the classic 1950s sitcom Leave it to Beaver confessed that he had suffered from chronic itchiness on his legs, ankles and bottom (an "itch you just can't scratch") since the 1970s and announced his appointment as spokesman for the National Psoriasis Foundation. His condition, he said, had been the source of great embarrassment over the years. Indeed, no sooner had he made his announcement than comedians began to trot out dozens of "Itchy Beaver" jokes.
view counts 21 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Robert Benchley, photographed from Vanity Fair. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Robert Benchley, photographed from Vanity Fair. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Robert Benchley, caught in a rain shower one afternoon, arrived home soaking wet. "George, get me out of this wet suit," he called to his butler, "and into a dry martini!" [Benchley himself attributed the classic line to his friend Charles Butterworth.]
view counts 47 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Bill Gallagher's classic photo of Adlai Stevenson
Bill Gallagher's classic photo of Adlai Stevenson
At a Labor Day rally during the 1952 presidential election, Flint Journal photographer, Bill Gallagher snapped an unfortunate picture of Adlai Stevenson with a hole in the bottom of one shoe. When Gallagher won a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph, Stevenson sent him a telegram: "Congratulations," the cable read. "I'll bet this is the first time anyone ever won a Pulitzer Prize for a hole in one."
view counts 54 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Dick Armey, former member of the United States House of Representatives. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Dick Armey, former member of the United States House of Representatives. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Republican Congressman Dick Armey was noted neither for his tolerance of homosexuality or for his advocacy of gays in the military. Not surprisingly, he did not get along particularly well with his openly-gay colleague Barney Frank. When columnist Dave Barry asked if he was in fact Dick Armey, he replied: "Yes, I am Dick Armey, and if there is a 'dick army,' Barney Frank would want to join up!" [Armey also once famously referred to Frank as "Barney Fag".]
view counts 47 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Portrait of Nobel Prize laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi when he was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health from 1948 to 1950. Credit: J.W. McGuire (Public domain)

Portrait of Nobel Prize laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi when he was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health from ...(more)

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi once submitted a paper describing his isolation of a new sugar molecule to the noted scientific journal Nature. His discovery, like all sugars, required a name ending in "-ose" (as, for example, sucrose, glucose, and fructose). Given its uncertain structure, Szent-Gyorgyi suggested the name "ignose." The journal's sober editors promptly rejected the frivolous name and asked Szent-Gyorgyi to endow the sugar with a new one before resubmitting the paper. His new suggestion? "Godnose!" The supposed sugar's final name? "Vitamin C." (The reducing qualities of ascorbic acid had led Szent-Gyorgyi to believe, incorrectly, that he had found a form of sugar). [Among the sillier (actual) molecular names? Arsole, bastardane, megaphone, spermine, dickite, moronic acid, fukalite, fucitol, erotic acid, ...
view counts 44 views
point counts 1 point
comment counts 0 comments
0 favorites
Broadway and Ann
Phineas Taylor "P. T." Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891). Credit: unattributed (Public domain)
Phineas Taylor "P. T." Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891). Credit: unattributed (Public domain)
In 1842, P. T. Barnum purchased Scudder's American Museum, a five-story marble structure in New York that he soon turned into a prize attraction. In fact, so many visitors came to see its amazing exhibits that long lines began to form outside the entrance. In order to keep people moving through the museum, and boost revenues, Barnum posted a sign reading: "TO THE EGRESS."  "Egress," of course, is a synonym for "exit" and patrons who passed through the subsequent doors, soon found themselves locked outside on the street. A sucker, as Barnum once observed, is born every minute.  * Between 1842, when he took over the American Museum, and 1868, when he gave it up after two fires virtually destroyed it, Barnum enticed ...