Protagonist v Antagonist…..

  In ancient Greece, every actor was evaluated according to ability and then ranked as a protagonist, deuteragonist, and tritagonist. The prefix told the actor’s position: protos means “first,” deuteros means “second,” and tri translates to “three.” The “agonist” in each of the rankings traces its origin to the Greek …

Naughty Lord Palmerston……..

    Despite his ill-fitting false teeth and appalling bad breath, Britain’s prime minister was seemingly irresistible to women during the Crimean War. “Lord Cupid” as he was known in Parliament, fathered seven illegitimate children and once tried to shag one of Queen Victoria`s ladies-in-waiting while he was visiting Windsor …

The Religous Potato…..

  Britain in the seventeenth century was quite an unsettling place to live, what with Puritanism and superstition being the norm. Women in particular were still being persecuted for witchcraft as depicted in the 1968 film The Witchfinder General starring a wonderfully snarling Vincent Price. It seems that a certain …

Foolscap…..

What exactly is Foolscap? Foolscap paper is one of those things that I’ve never really been sure about and to which I have never really thought about. I had never, for example, noticed that it’s a contraction of fool’s cap. But it is. That’s odd because foolscap is an old …

Turnips, Germans and Sex…..

  In many western European languages, the turnip, like many other ostensibly sexless objects, possesses gender — masculine in French (navet), masculine in Spanish (nabo), feminine in German (Ruhe). This linguistic curiosity once led the touring Mark Twain to remark  “In German, a young lady has no sex, while a …

Henry Ford – the carrot man……

  Without doubt one of the biggest fans of the humble carrot was the industrialist Henry Ford, whose passion for vegetables was perhaps second only to his fondness for the car. Ford was anti-milk (“the cow is the crudest machine in the world”) and anti-meat (he promoted soybeans in lieu …

Pythagoras and his ban on beans…….

  Pythagoras viewed as either a Shamanistic shyster or intellectual innovator, is still one of the most important names in Western philosophy. He and his followers adhered to some rather strange rules such as not to stir fires with iron pokers or to eat meat or beans This was because …

Overcoats and milk puddings…….

  Sir  Tatton Sykes (1826-1913)  was convinced that in order to maintain good health the body should be kept at a constant temperature. In order to achieve this he had a collection of overcoats made for him, each a different colour and all made to fit over each other- much like …

Pocahontas – How Disney got it so wrong…….

    There are countless myths attached to this woman`s life and loves, all of them written in an attempt to project the concept of the noble savage being saved by western civilisation and Christianity. She was in fact married twice in her short life, but neither time to the …