Thank God for modern medicine. It was not until 1905 that ergophobia (the morbid fear of returning to work) was first identified and reported in the British Medical Journal. As yet there is no known cure, but doctors have been working on it, and may get back to working on it sometime soon.
The standard modern measurement for inebriation is the Ose system. This has been considerably developed over the years, but the common medical consensus currently has jocose, verbose, morose, bellicose, lachrymose, comatose, adios. This is a workable but incomplete system, as it fails to take in otiose (meaning impractical) which comes just after jocose. Nor does it have grandiose preceding bellicose. And how they managed to miss out globose (amorphous or formless) before comatose is beyond me.
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The Latin word for sausage was botulus, from which English gets two words. One of them is the lovely botuliform, which means sausage-shaped and is a more useful word than you might think. The other word is botulism. Sausages may taste lovely, but it's usually best not to ask what's actually in them. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it was a sausage-maker who disposed of the body.
A bar, as any good dictionary will tell you, is a rod of wood or iron that can be used to fasten a gate. From this came the idea of a bar as any let or hindrance that can stop you going where you want to; specifically the bar in a pub or tavern is the bar-rier behind which is stored all the lovely intoxicating liquors that only the bar-man is allowed to lay is hands on without forking out.
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But Shakespeare never drank coffee. Nor did Julius Caesar, or Socrates. Alexander the Great conquered half the world without even a cafe latte to perk him up. The pyramids were designed and constructed without a whiff of a sniff of caffeine. Coffee was introduced to Europe only in 1615. The achievements of antiquity are quite enough to cow the modern human, but when you realize that they did it all without caffeine it becomes almost unbearable.
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Genius, as we tend to talk about it today, is some sort of mysterious and combustible substance that burns brightly and burns out. It's the strange gift of poets and pop stars that allows them to produce one wonderful work in their early twenties and then nothing. It is mysterious. It is there. It is gone.
If Jupiter was in the ascendant when you were born, you are of a jovial disposition; and if you're not jovial but miserable and saturnine that's a disaster, because a disaster is a dis-astro, or misplaced planet. Disaster is Latin for ill-starred. The fault, as Shakespeare put it, is not in our stars; but the language is.
There's always a strange feeling you get when you come across one particular line by chance. It feels somehow significant. That's irrational of course, but humans are irrational creatures. Even the sturdiest, most down-to-earth chap will turn pale if he opens a book at random and sees the words PREPARE TO MEET THY DEATH.
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It is, incidentally, a favour that e-books have done for the Good Bookshop: they have made books beautiful again. A few years ago, book covers could be rather drab affairs: the title and the author's name printed over a stock photograph of something Vaguely Relevant. If you wanted to read it, you had to take it as it was. Whereas now, in these new and glorious days when the margins on physical are that little bit higher than on the electrical alternative, publishers produce exquisite bindings. Bookshops haven't been this pretty for at least a century.
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If you are to use Alexander Graham Bell's product, which is to say the blower, you should, in all courtesy, use it as he would have wished; and Dr Bell insisted that all phone calls should begin with the words 'Ahoy, ahoy'. Nobody knows why he insisted this "" he had no connection to the navy "" but insist he did and started every phone call that way. Nobody else did, and it was at the suggestion of his great rival Edison that people took to saying 'Hello'. This seems unfair.
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The problem with the alphabet is that it bears no relation to anything at all, and when words are arranged alphabetically they are uselessly separated. In the OED, for example, aardvarks are 19 volumes away from the zoo, yachts are 18 volumes from the beach, and wine is 17 volumes from the nearest corkscrew.