• It was Italian novelist, philosopher and university professor Umberto Eco who made the following sage observation: “Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.”
• The average (presumably non-bearded) man will shave at least 20,000 times over the course of his lifetime.
• Third-century Saint Lawrence of Rome was martyred for his faith by being roasted alive on a gridiron. I suppose it makes a certain kind of sense, then, that he’s the patron saint of cooks and tanners.
• Although it is a dog, the dhole, which is native to Asia, doesn’t bark; to communicate with other members of its pack, it whistles. Evidently, that high-pitched sound carries better than low-pitched barking in the dense forests where it lives.
• If you’re not in a romantic mood as Valentine’s Day approaches, you might want to consider reviving the vinegar valentine popular in the 19th century. Rather than conveying love and affection, these insulting missives — usually sent anonymously, for obvious reasons — were dripping with sarcasm and black humor. Some were intended to discourage unwanted suitors, but others were just mean, accusing the recipient of being too aggressive (for women) or too submissive (for men) or of putting on airs, among other things. There were even occupation-specific cards targeted at doctors, salesladies, artists, etc. According to an article in Smithsonian magazine, in the mid-1800s, these vinegar valentines accounted for half of all valentine sales in the United States.
• Those who study such things say that 20 percent of American men have spent at least one night in jail.
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Thought for the Day: “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” — Chinua Achebe
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