Crocodiles and alligators are surprisingly fast on land. Although they are rapid, they are not agile; so if you ever find yourself chased by one, run in a zigzag line. You'll lose him or her every time.
After Albert Einstein had been at Princeton for some months, local news hounds discovered that a twelve-year-old girl happened to stop by the Einstein home almost every afternoon. The girl's mother hadn't thought to ask Einstein about the situation until the newspapers reported it, but when she got the opportunity after that she did so. What could her daughter and Einstein have in common that they spent so much time together? Einstein replied simply, "She brings me cookies and I do her arithmetic homework."
When the French Academy was preparing its first dictionary, it defined "crab" as, "A small red fish which walks backwards." This definition was sent with a number of others to the naturalist Cuvier for his approval. The scientist wrote back, "Your definition, gentlemen, would be perfect, only for three exceptions. The crab is not a fish, it is not red and it does not walk backwards."
Louis XIV of France really was as an unpleasant a fellow as he's been depicted. In 1674, when he was visiting a school at Clermont, he heard from the school's authorities that one of the children, a nine- year-old Irish lad named Francis Seldon, had made a pun about the king's bald head.
Louis was furious. He had a secret warrant drawn up for the child's arrest, and young Seldon was thrown into solitary confinement in the Bastille. His parents, members of one of Europe's richest merchant families, were told simply that the child had disappeared. Days turned to months, months to years, and Louis himself passed away. But Francis spent sixty-nine years "in the hole" for making fun of the king's baldness.
One of the movie moguls the Marx Brothers had to deal with was Irving Thalberg of MGM. Purposefully or not, Thalberg had the annoying habit of making people wait outside his office for extended periods of time. One time he kept the Marx Brothers longer than they liked. When he finally got around to seeing them, he discovered they were stark naked outside his doorway, roasting potatoes in the lobby's fireplace. It was the last time he kept them waiting.