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All the carrots in the world originally came from Afghanistan.

Carrot diversity

A variety of carrots

According to the Bible, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (I Kings 11:3)

The poet AE Housman (1859-1936) kept a notebook in which he jotted down useful insults and unpleasant remarks that occurred to him.

Advertisements for wristwatches almost always show the time as ten past ten.

In the 1850’s, the term bunga bunga was the name given by local natives to a location near Moreton Bay on the eastern coast of Australia. In present day Italy, the definition of bunga bunga ranges from ‘a sort of underwater orgy where nude young women encircle the nude host in a swimming pool’ to ‘an African-style ritual performed for male spectators by twenty naked young women’. In the Malaysian Malay language, bunga-bunga means flowers; it is the plural form of bunga which means flower. The similar phrase bonggang-bongga is Tagalog slang for something fashionable. In Indonesian language it means ‘a field of flowers’.

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On God’s Side


“Man is never unquestionably – in such a way as to be empirically proven – on the side of any god, he always conveniently claims to have a god on his side.”

– Willem Etsenmaker

The Hustings‏


In Anglo-Saxon times, a husting was a council, assembly, or tribunal to which a king, nobleman, or other leader summoned retainers or guardsmen. Nowadays, the hustings is a platform on which politicians and candidates give speeches during election time.

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” – Euripides, Orestes

The Old English word was borrowed from a Scandinavian source, probably from Old Norse husthing, a compound meaning ‘house assembly’. The assembly was so called because it was held in a household, or inside a building, whereas other meetings might be held outside. The change from “thing” to “ting” (similar to nosthyrl/nostril) probably took place before the word was borrowed into English. The English word thing survives in the sense ‘a public meeting, court, or legislative assembly in Scandinavia’; the parliament of Iceland is called the Althing.

As early as the 12th century, some English towns had a so-called hustings court, which decided minor civil suits and appeals from the rulings of sheriffs. It also served as a court of record, as for the conveyance of property. In London this hustings court was presided over by the Lord Mayor and aldermen. The court was traditionally held in The Guildhall, and the mayor and aldermen sat on a raised platform, called a husting. This court still exists in London, though it doesn’t have much power.

The raised platform in The (London) Guildhall led to another sense of hustings, first recorded in 1719: ‘a temporary platform on which candidates for British Parliament stood when nominated and from which they addressed the electorate’. After 1872, written ballots came into use, and so this meaning of hustings became obsolete.

From the historical references to ‘a platform’, hustings developed the more familiar sense ‘any place from which campaign speeches are made’. Hustings also refers to ‘the political activities involved in campaigning’, or more generally, ‘the campaign trail’. In these senses, hustings means the same as stump, though candidates don’t necessarily speak from a raised platform or tree stump.

“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” – Gore Vidal, Screening History

Labours of Hercules‏


Hercules performed twelve labours given to him by King Eurystheus of Tiryns. For twelve years, he travelled all over to complete these incredible tasks. Interestingly, because different ancient poets gave their own accounts of Hercules’ labours, some details may vary.

Hercules and the Hydra

Hercules and the Hydra

I. Kill the Nemean Lion: This monster of a lion had a hide was so tough that no arrow could pierce it. Hercules stunned the beast with his olive-wood club and then strangled it with his bare hands. It is said that he skinned the lion, using the lion’s sharp claws, and ever after wore its hide.

II. Kill the Lernean Hydra: The evil, snakelike Hydra had nine heads. If one got hurt, two would grow in its place. But Hercules quickly sliced off the heads, while his charioteer, Iolaus, sealed the wounds with a torch. Hercules made his arrows poisonous by dipping them in the Hydra’s blood.

III. Capture the Cerynian Hind: The goddess Artemis loved and protected this stubborn little deer, which had gold horns. Hercules found it a challenge to capture the delicate hind without hurting it. After following the hind for an entire year, he safely carried it away.

IV. Capture the Erymanthian Boar: The people of Mount Erymanthus lived in fear of this deadly animal. Hercules chased the wild boar up the mountain and into a snowdrift. He then took it in a net and brought it to King Eurystheus, who was so frightened of the beast that he hid in a huge bronze jar.

V. Clean the Augean Stables: Thousands of cows lived in these stables belonging to King Augeas. They had not been cleaned in 30 years, but Hercules was told to clean them completely in a single day. To do so he made two rivers bend so that they flowed into the stables, sweeping out the filth.

VI. Kill the Stymphalian Birds: These murderous birds lived around Lake Stymphalos. Their claws and beaks were sharp as metal and their feathers flew like darts. Hercules scared them out of their nests with a rattle and then killed them with the poison arrows he had made from the Hydra’s blood.

VII. Capture the Cretan Bull: This savage bull, kept by King Minos of Crete, was said to be insane and breathe fire. Hercules wrestled the mad beast to the ground and brought it back to King Eurystheus. Unfortunately, the king set it free, and it roamed Greece, causing terror wherever it went.

VIII. Capture the Horses of Diomedes: King Diomedes, leader of the Bistones, fed his bloodthirsty horses on human flesh. Hercules and his men fought and killed King Diomedes and fed the king to his horses. This made the horses tame, so that Hercules was able to lead them to King Eurystheus.

IX. Take the Girdle of the Amazon Queen Hippolyte: Hercules went to the land of the Amazons, where the queen welcomed him and agreed to give him her girdle for Eurystheus’s daughter. But Hera spread the rumour that Hercules came as an enemy. In the end he had to conquer the Amazons and steal the golden belt.

X. Capture the Cattle of Geryon: Geryon, a winged monster with three human bodies, had a herd of beautiful red cattle. He guarded his prized herd with the help of a giant and a vicious two-headed dog. Hercules killed Geryon, the giant, and the dog and brought the cattle to King Eurystheus.

XI. Take the Golden Apples of the Hesperides: The Hesperides were nymphs. In their garden grew golden apples protected by Ladon, a dragon with a hundred heads. Hercules struck a bargain with Atlas, who held up the earth. Hercules shouldered the earth while Atlas, the nymphs’ father, fetched the apples.

XII. Capture Cerberus: Hercules was ordered to capture Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the underworld, without using weapons. Hercules wrestled down the dog’s wild heads, and it agreed to go with him to King Eurystheus. Cerberus was soon returned unharmed to the underworld.

“What a day. First that restaurant by the bay. And then that, that play, that, that, that Oedipus thing? Man! I thought I had problems!” – Hercules (Hercules, 1997, Walt Disney)

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In French, Ménage à trois literally means ‘household of three’.

English: Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Varanus Komodoensis or Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon (Varanus Komodoensis) is capable of virgin births. A female Komodo can lay fertile eggs without mating – a phenomenon known as Parthenogenesis.

Like humans, the Bonobo Chimpanzee (Pan Paniscus) and the Bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis) sometimes engage in group sex.

St. Adrian Nicodemia is the patron saint of arms-dealers.

The word adolescent comes from one of two Latin verbs spelt adoleo. One means ‘to make bigger’ and the other means ‘to emit a smell’.

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