30/x mmxiii

The legendary Canadian ice-hockey goalie Jacques Plante loved to knit.

Borislav Kostic

Grandmaster Borislav Kostic

In the 1817 Rossini opera La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) a silver spoon is stolen by a magpie, a crime for which an innocent serving maid is sentenced to death. This theme was later used by Hergé in the 1963 Tintin album The Castafiore Emerald.

According to Cicero, both philogyny and misogyny could be considered a disease in Greek philosophy.

The coastline of Africa is shorter than the coastline of Greenland.

At New York in 1916, the Serbian chess Grandmaster Borislav Kostić once played twenty opponents without sight of a board. He won nineteen games and drew one, while engaging in polite conversation with opponents and spectators. During World War II, he was imprisoned in a concentration camp by the SS because he declined to participate in several tournaments called Free Europa to glorify the Nazi regime. He died in Belgrade in 1963, aged 76.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Advanced Mistakes (iv)

Source: Swan. M. 2005. Practical English Usage Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2011).

Practical English Usage lists over a hundred common mistakes in the English language. Even advanced students of English make mistakes. Swan (2005) has listed a number of them.

“I nearly wish I’d stayed at home.” = I almost wish I’d stayed at home.
(43.2) We can use almost to mean ‘similar to, but not exactly the same’, and to make statements less definite. Nearly is not used like this.

“One speaks Italian in my town.” = We / They speak Italian in my town.
(496.3) One generally has a singular meaning: ‘any individual’; it is not used to refer to whole groups.

“The girl wants an own room.” = The girl wants her own room.
(4051) We only use own after a possessive word. It cannot directly follow an article.

“Couldn’t you help me?” = Could you help me? / You couldn’t you help me, could you?
(368.3) We do not usually use negative questions to ask people to do things. This is done with ordinary questions, or with negative statement + question tag.

“I’ll try to know when it starts.” = I’ll try to find out when it starts.
(313.5) Know is not normally used to talk about finding something out: to know something is to have learnt it, not to learn it. To talk about getting knowledge we can use for example find out, get to know, learn, hear, can tell.

“I love this so beautiful country.” = I love this country – it’s so beautiful.
(538.3) In an informal style, so can be used like very to give new information, when the speaker wishes to emphasise what is said. This structure is rather like an exclamation.

“It’s getting winter.” = It’s getting to be winter.
(223.6) Get + infinitive can suggest gradual development.

“Our flat is decorated this week.” = Our flat is being decorated this week.
(412.2) We normally make passive forms of a verb by using tenses of the auxiliary be followed by the past participle of the verb. The passive present progressive (continuous) verb form consists of am/are/is being + past participle.

“The Mont Blanc is 4808m high.” = Mont Blanc is 4808m high.
(70.17) Names of mountains vary. Most have no article.

See other: Notes On English Grammar

On Anti-racism

“All people are created equal. On the inside, people of different races are all the same. A person’s skin colour has nothing to do with what kind of person he or she will become or what choices he or she will make. Racism has existed for hundreds of years and will exist for hundreds more. You don’t need to be a part of it.”

Anonymous (on WikiHow)


In Christian mythology, the antediluvian period is the biblical period between the Fall of man (when, at the beginning of time, in a magical garden, a talking snake convinced a man and woman to eat some fruit, whereupon the creator of the universe decided to abandon the garden and sentence humankind to death) and the flood (the moment when god decided to start over with mankind and drown everyone except a man called Noah and his family).


A tautology is a needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in ‘Morning sunrise.’

In logic, a tautology is a compound propositional form all of whose instances are true, as A or not A. An instance of such a form, as ‘This candidate will win or will not win.’

In other words, tautology is unnecessary repetition. For example ‘They spoke in turn, one after the other’ is considered a tautology because ‘in turn’ and ‘one after the other’ mean the same thing.

“At a certain point talk about ‘essence’ and ‘oneness’ and the universal becomes more tautological than inquisitive.” – Christopher Hitchens


“Aphorism. Noun; Predigested wisdom.” – Ambrose Bierce

An aphorism is a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation. For a saying to be called an aphorism, it has to be memorable and spoken or written in a laconic sense.

“I have forgotten my umbrella.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Or rather,

“The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of ‘eternity’; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book, or what everyone else does not say in a book.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Characteristics of Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism evolved through the work of each individual artist. Generally speaking, each artist arrived at this free-wheeling style by the end of the 1940s and continued in the same manner to the end of his or her life. The style has remained alive well into the current century through its youngest practitioners.

Abstract Expressionism, MoMA

Unnamed – Rothko

The general characteristics of Abstract Expressionism are the following:

  • Unconventional application of paint, usually without a recognizable subject that tends toward amorphous shapes in brilliant colours.
  • Dripping, smearing, slathering, and flinging lots of paint on to the canvas (often on an unprimed canvas).
  • Sometimes gestural writing in a loosely calligraphic manner.
  • Carefully filling the picture plane with zones of colour that create tension between the shapes and hues (especially in the case of Colour Field artists).

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” – Pablo Picasso