Chinese Whispers

When a story is told from person to person, especially if it is gossip or scandal, it inevitably gets distorted and exaggerated. This process is called Chinese whispers.

Chinese Whispers is also a name for a game played around the world, in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group.

Errors typically accumulate when the story is repeated, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first.

Greek Proverbs

Κόρακας κοράκου μάτι δε βγάζει

“The crow does not take the eye out of another crow.”

  • Meaning: People who are the same do not hurt each other.
  • English equivalent: Hawks will not pick out Hawk’s eyes.
  • Shqiptaro-Greke (1999). Albanohellenica. Albanian-Greek Philological Association. p. 22.

Η γλώσσα κόκαλα δεν έχει, αλλά κόκαλα τσακίζει.

“The tongue has no bones, yet it crushes bones.”

  • English equivalent: The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • Venizelos (1867). Paroimiai dēmōdeis. Ek tou typographeiou tēs “Patridos”. p. 95.

Καλή ζωή, κακή διαθήκη

“Good life, bad testament.”

  • Implying that most likely, you will leave little in your will by living a good life.
  • Chakkas (1978). Hapanta. Kedros.

Ο πνιγμένος, από τα μαλλιά του πιάνεται

“The drowning man grips to his own hair.”‘

  • Meaning: A person in a desperate situation will try the most desperate measures.
  • English equivalent: A drowning man will clutch at a straw.
  • Κριαρας (2007). Αλλελωγραφιαδυο:. ΕκδοσειςΠολυτυπο. p. 33.

Sexual Script

Sexual scripting suggests the importance of meanings and symbols in human sexuality. The idea of sexual script brings a new metaphor and imagery for understanding human sexual encounters as social and learned interactions.

The idea highlights three levels of scripting:

  1. the cultural/historical,
  2. the social/interactive
  3. and the personal/intra-psychic.

Sexual feeling does not simply happen from within the body but needs meanings and symbols which provide cues and clues to enable sexualities to develop.

Sexual scripts can be seen as providing guideline for appropriate sexual behaviour and sexual encounters as sexual behaviour and encounters are learned through culture and others in interactions. It can be linked to theories of sexual desire but is critical of their tendency to stress the purely biological aspects of desire.

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The late journalist Bill Deedes’ father, Herbert, inherited Saltwood Castle and thousands of acres of Kent but, unable to cope with life after the Boer War, lost the lot. As his father had no money to educate him, Bill joined the Morning Post in 1931. He thus became the first member of his family for 500 years to do an actual job.

Sheep, Stodmarsh, Kent, England

Sheep, Stodmarsh, Kent, England

25% of the world’s sheep are fat-tailed.

Lard is pig fat. A larder was originally the place where the lard was kept. The word lard comes from the ancient Greek for ‘dainty’.

The German for fat is Schmalz.

The simple origins of Pope Pius X became clear right after his election in 1903, when he wore a pectoral cross made of gilded metal on the day of his coronation. His entourage was horrified, the new pope explained that he always wore it and that he had brought no other with him. Pius X was well known for cutting down on papal ceremonies. He also abolished the custom of the pope dining alone, which had been established by Pope Urban VIII between 1623 and 1644, Pius X invited his friends to eat with him. He was also on one occasion chided by Rome’s social leaders for refusing to make his peasant sisters papal countesses, to which he responded “I have made them sisters of the pope; what more can I do for them?”


In cryptography, a scytale (Greek for ‘baton’) is a tool used to perform a transposition cipher, consisting of a cylinder with a strip of parchment wound around it on which is written a message.

Reconstructed ancient Greek scytale (rhymes wi...

Reconstructed ancient Greek scytale

The ancient Greeks, and the Spartans in particular, are said to have used this cipher to communicate during military campaigns.

The recipient uses a rod of the same diameter on which he wraps the parchment to read the message. It has the advantage of being fast and not prone to mistakes—a necessary property when on the battlefield.

It can, however, easily be broken. Since the strip of parchment hints strongly at the method, the ciphertext would have to be transferred to something less suggestive, somewhat reducing the advantage noted.