Sideswipe

A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe: May 3: Six toes?

Mexican wrap special at Whangarei Pak'n Save, spotted by Kara.

The French connection ... not

A reader writes: "I used to work as a [bank] teller. One day, a customer came in saying, 'I've come to pay the French man.' Thinking I had not heard him correctly, I repeated, 'You've come to pay the French man?' 'Yes,' he said, 'I've come to pay the French man.' I politely asked, 'What French man?' Then he said slowly and distinctly, 'No, I've come to pay the infringement.' He had a speeding ticket to pay and I nearly could not serve him, I was laughing so much!"

Teacher smashes humour barrier

Gary Johnstone remembers Major McRobie, physics teacher at Otahuhu College (1965-1969). "He was in the habit of banging a cricket wicket on the science benches during the lesson to keep us alert. He also wore a small pair of half-lens spectacles which he took off and on repeatedly during the lesson. One lesson, he put his glasses inside his marking book and gently closed its cover. Later in the lesson, out came the wicket and he smashed it down on the marking book, forgetting that his glasses were inside.

Out came a very twisted pair of spectacle frames. Somehow we forgot our terror and burst into uncontrollable laughter. McRobie glared around the room and then gave up and gave us the only smile I had ever seen on his face. He was formidable but he commanded our deep respect. Because of his influence, I later completed a science degree with a major in physics."

Animal crackers

Did you know The Very Hungry Caterpillar was almost called A Week With Willi Worm? And that Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in parts of China. "Bears, lions and other beasts cannot use a human language. To attribute to them such a power is an insult to the human race," said General Ho Chien in 1931. And one of the songs interrogators at Guantanamo Bay use most is Barney's I Love You. (Source: From 19 Fun Facts about Children's Books Spotted at the Library, on Mental Floss.)

How to fail chemistry

Steve Thomas was a chemistry lab monitor in the third form back in the 60s. "My mate and I would have lunchtime fights with the physics boys next door. You could do things like that then. One day, we hot-wired with batteries the door handle to the prep room behind the teacher's platform at the front of the lab. We crawled from the prep room into the lab through the floor hatch, but just as we were coming up, the chemistry teacher stood on the hatch and fell down. Needless to say we got bawled out."

Some tweets are worth repeating...

The magnificent tweet about the Banks/Dotcom scandal, published yesterday, was wrongly attributed to @mattnippert, who was appreciating the cleverness of his peer @keith - ng who wrote it as part of his blog 'Peek-a-boo, I can't recall seeing you' on PublicAddress.net. [The quote tweeted was: "I can't recall" that time I got helicoptered out to the Crisco mansion where I met an obese Bond villain who offered me $50,000".]

- NZ Herald

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