2017-05-31 / Columns

Strange but True

By SAMANTHA WEAVER

• It was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, beloved creator of Sherlock Holmes, who made the following sage observation: “I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.”

• In France, writing a bad check is not just bad form — it’s illegal. Violators of the “cheque sans provision” law are subject to criminal fines and can be banned from writing checks for up to five years.

• You might be shocked if you came across the term “lust-house” in, say, a newspaper. You shouldn’t be, though -- it doesn’t mean what you think it means. The term comes to us (unsurprisingly) from German, where the word might refer to either a country house or a tavern with a beer garden.

• There was a time when the game of checkers was commonly — and condescendingly — called “chess for ladies.”

• Avian veterinarians agree: One of the main health problems faced by pet parrots is obesity. Evidently, Polly wants more than just a cracker.

• It’s interesting to speculate whether American singer, songwriter and record producer Kid Rock would have met with as much success had he kept the name he was given at birth, Bob Ritchie.

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Thought for the Day: “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket, and do not pull it out and strike it merely to show you have one. If you are asked what o’clock it is, tell it, but do not proclaim it hourly and unasked, like the watchman.” — Lord Chesterfield (c) 2017 King Features

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