Bohemian Rhapsody


Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Mama,
Didn’t mean to make you cry,
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Too late, my time has come,
Sent shivers down my spine,
Body’s aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.

Mama,
I don’t want to die,
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.

– Freddie Mercury

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Lignify [Verb.]


To become wood; that is to say, in botany, to develop woody tissue as a result of incrustation of lignin (a complex non-carbohydrate aromatic polymer present in all wood) during secondary growth (which results from the cell division that causes stems and roots to thicken).

On Freedom Of Thought


“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

– Søren Kierkegaard

You Already Have Everything You Need


The most interesting thing you have is you: your instincts, your curiosity, and your own ignorance. But the great paradox is that, in order to be most yourself, you have to shut up about how much you know.

The great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote that the greatest poets carry ‘us to such a lofty strain of intelligent activity, as to suggest a wealth which beggars his own’. We all have this lofty strain; we just have to find our frequency.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself

See other: Philosophy of Interestingness

Exonym


Exonyms are names used in a particular language to refer to a foreign nation or country; they can be completely different from the name that country uses (in its particular language) to qualify itself. Quite often, they can be of interest from a historical point of view because they can be surprisingly conservative. The exonym is sometimes preserved for hundreds of years after the political or ethnic entity it originally referred to ceased to be.

One of the best-known cases is Germany. Many nations share their linguistic origin with the German term Deutschland, even though they have sometimes assumed a quite different form i.e. Duitsland, Tedesco or Tyskland – from the Proto-Germanic Þeudiskaz. The Slavic peoples call the Germans Niemcy or similar which means ‘a mute’, someone who does not speak Slavic. The French and Spanish, among others, employ the name of the Alamanni tribe. The English, Italians and Russians, to name a few, use a derivative of the Latin Germania or Greek Γερμανία. And the Finns and Baltic states either refer to the name of the Saxon tribe or employ a word of unknown origin, like the Latvian Vacija or the Lithuanian Vokietija.

Consider these other cases:

  • The Latvians call Russia Krievija, referring to an ancient Slavic tribal union, the Krivichi;
  • The Turks call Greece Yunanistan and the Greeks Yunan, another very old exonym which probably has for origin the word ‘Ionia’, that is the Greek region on the coast of Asia Minor;
  • In a kind of an opposite logic, Russia was called Muscovy by the Poles, and then by other Europeans as a way to deny the claim of the Moscow-based government on the totality of Russian lands;
  • The Japanese used to call China Tang even hundreds of years after the end of that dynasty. In the late 19th- and early 20th century they resorted to an even older and more obscure word Shina, which had the advantage of being similar to the equivalent Western terms.

Also, there is something particularly curious about Roman exonyms; it seems the Romans gave completely random names to any people they encountered. A people that called itself Rasenna received the name Tuscans or Etruscans. The inhabitants of Carthage became Punics, and the Hellenes or Achaeans were Greeks. Celts became Galli or the Gauls.

“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.”
– George Bernard Shaw

26/i mmxv


Michael Sata, the president of Zambia, previously worked as a cleaner at London Victoria railway station.

The longest duck penis ever found was 17 inches (43 centimetres) in length.

Under extreme high pressure, diamonds can be made from peanut butter.

The film Grease was released in Mexico under the name ‘Vaselina’.

In the autumn of 1940, students at Oslo University started wearing paperclips on their lapels as a non-violent symbol of resistance, unity, and national pride. When the occupying German forces caught on to the fact, wearing a paperclip promptly became a criminal offence.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Champion


Attacking, Solid, Calculating, Emotional

Champions are great fighters who play for the attack but don’t like to take undue risks. They are emotional players who use those emotions to increase the intensity of the game for themselves and for their opponents. Deep, profound calculations that get at the heart of the position are their forte. Champions are universal players, and they won’t go wild looking for a win if its just not there. They are quite willing to play a quiet endgame if that is what the position demands.

“I’m sorry for you, Garry, because the happiest day of your life is already over.” – Rhona Petrosian (to Kasparov immediately following his victory in the World Championship on November 10, 1985)

Garry Kasparov (born 1963), thirteenth World Champion, typifies the chess style of a true Champion. A tireless worker, he brought opening preparation to a new level, often deeply analyzing openings far into the middlegame. Kasparov had unique understanding of dynamics and often showed that seemingly-surprising positional sacrifices were correct. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005 he was almost constantly the highest-rated player in the world, and he held the world championship title from 1985 until 2000 – so it is not surprising that his style was that of a Champion.

See other: Chess Personalities

Blackadder’s Friendship


‘Baldrick, does it have to be this way? Our valued friendship ending with me cutting you into long strips and telling the Prince that you walked over a very sharp cattle grid in an extremely heavy hat?’

– Joseph M. 1998. Blackadder The Whole Damn Dynasty London, Great Britain: Penguin Books (1999) p. 329