On a visit to Israel as Mayor of West Berlin, Willy Brandt was invited to view the great new Mann auditorium in Tel Aviv.
Having expressed his appreciation of Israel’s naming the concert hall for Thomas Mann, the German writer, Brandt was politely corrected by his host.
The hall was actually named for a certain Frederic Mann of Philadelphia.
“What did he ever write?” exclaimed Brandt.
“A cheque,” came the reply.
Most martial art films are sped up to make fighting scenes appear fast, but not Bruce Lee’s.
His moves were too fast to be captured on the regular 24 frames per second film – so they had to film him at 32 fps, and run the film slower so you can see his moves…
Charles Darwin attended Edinburgh University in hopes of becoming a physician like his father, but soon abandoned the idea because he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. So he decided to study divinity instead and become a rural cleric, which would fit his hobby of being a naturalist just fine
In the 1880s, an impressive, ambitious, and very intelligent European physician studied a relatively new substance about which very little was known. The substance was cocaine. At that time, it was perhaps somewhat dangerous but apparently not unethical to take a drug yourself or to give it to your friends. When the physician took the drug himself, he experienced its amazing and memorable effects. He felt so much more alert, stronger, energetic, powerful, and even euphoric. He was totally taken by it all. Because the stimulant effects of cocaine were so opposite to the depressant effects of alcohol, he thought it could be an antidote to alcoholism, and he recommended that an alcoholic friend or friends take cocaine. They also were surprised by its pleasing and exciting properties. Unfortunately, as time went on, those taking cocaine realized that it too was addicting. How unexpected. They did not solve a problem; they only added a new problem. Eventually the physician referred to cocaine as the “third scourge of mankind,” after alcohol and opium.
The physician’s name was Sigmund Freud.
English theoretical physicist, Paul Dirac was watching Anya Kapitza knitting while he was talking physics with Peter Kapitza. A couple of hours after he left, Dirac rushed back, very excited.
“You know, Anya,” he said, “watching the way you were making this sweater I got interested in the topological aspect of the problem. I found that there is another way of doing it and that there are only two possible ways. One is the one you were using; another is like that. . . . “
And he demonstrated the other way, using his long fingers. His newly discovered “other way,” Anya informed him, is well known to women and is none other than “purling.”
British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham was traveling in a nonsmoking compartment on a train belonging to the Great Western Railway. A lady entered the compartment and lit a cigarette, saying, “I’m sure you won’t object if I smoke.”
“Not at all,” replied Beecham, “provided that you don’t object if I’m sick.”
“I don’t think you know who I am,” the lady haughtily pointed out. “I’m one of the directors’ wives.”
“Madam,” said Beecham, “if you were the director’s only wife, I should still be sick.”
In the summer of 1941 Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for climbing out onto the wing of his Wellington bomber 13,000 feet above the Zuider Zee, to extinguish a fire in the starboard engine. Secured only by a rope around his waist, he managed not only to smother the fire but also to return along the wing to the aircraft’s cabin.
Churchill, an admirer as well as a performer of swashbuckling exploits, summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street. Ward, struck dumb with awe in Churchill’s presence, was unable to answer the prime minister’s questions. Churchill surveyed the unhappy hero with some compassion.
“You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” managed Ward.
“Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours,” said Churchill.