What would we ever do without erasers, especially when they’re on the ends of pencils? I recently ran across this little tidbit, courtesy of our friends at The Writer’s Almanac — “On this day [March 30] in 1858, Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil to have an attached eraser. The eraser-tipped pencil is still
Author Archives: Bob Welbaum
Happy April 1st! How did we get such a date on our calendar? According to the book An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson (National Geographic, 2009, pp 52-53) — “Theories on the origin of April Fools’ Day abound, but the mostly likely takes it back to 16th century France.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the Bible verse “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 in the King James Version) I don’t know what you think of Bill Gates, but personally I’m in awe of his charitable work. (BTW, check out his Facebook page.
We take for granted many details in our daily lives. For example, why do clocks run clockwise? This is especially puzzling when so many other things, like baseball bases and horse races, run in the opposite direction. The book Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and Other Imponderables by David Feldman (Harper & Row, 1988) gives
Something to think about on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War — As politically divided as the United States is today, it was worse in the mid-19th century, as the North-South conflict over slavery came to a head. Of course, that issue was only resolved through a long and bloody Civil War. Even today,
Don’t you wish life came with an instruction book? There is a book entitled The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (Thomas Nelson, 2009). It contains 1560 pithy sayings, from “#1 Compliment three people every day” to “#1560 Include your parents in your prayers.” Its actually a compliation of three previous
Previously I have discussed the English language and the origins of some words. I’ve found another one. From the Writer’s Almanac, March 23, 2015 — “It’s the birthday of the writer Josef Capek (books by this author), born in Hronov in what is now the Czech Republic in 1887. His brother, Karel, was the famous writer,
On Monday I was called on to substitute for a French teacher. I’ve never studied French, but I’ve visited the country five times, so I’ve picked up some spoken tourist French. It’s not much — I joke with my European friends that I’ve learned enough French to ask a question, but not enough to understand
I got home yesterday after a long day of substitute school teaching (middle school French, that’s all you need to know), turned on the faucet at the kitchen sink and… Nothing. Panicked, I tried the hall bathroom. Nothing there either. A broken line? There were no puddles in the yard. Forgot to pay the water
Today I received the following email — Congratulations! You are among the 32 contributors in prose and poetry represented in Bewildering Stories’ First Quarterly Review of 2015, now officially on line. We like to think of the Quarterly Reviews as offering safe harbour on the chaotic sea of the Internet. The Review Editors are very