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Woody Allen’s breakthrough movie; it won four Oscars (best picture, best actress, best director, best screenplay) and established Allen as a leading auteur film-maker. Thought by many critics to be Woody Allen’s magnum opus, Annie Hall confirmed that he had “completed the journey from comic to humorist, from comedy writer to wit, and from inventive moviemaker to creative artist” (Saturday Review).

A photograph of Madonna posing naked on a bed whilst smoking a cigarette has sold for nearly £15,000 at Bonhams in New York.

The sum is three times the estimate placed on the image that was taken in 1990, by the same photographer who did the work for Madonna’s 1992 book Sex.

Judith Eurich from the saleroom said: “It is an absolutely stunning image and it is just a beautiful tone of grey. It is not just black and white it is grey and silvery. Madonna was posing for a number of photographers at the time this was taken in the 1990s when she was in her early 30s. She was going through a phase of having bleach blonde hair and heavy dark eye make-up that gave her a dramatic look – and of course she has a gorgeous body. She is a very healthy person and I’d imagine the cigarette is just a prop to make her look sexy and sultry.”

The price paid was $23,750 or £14,761.

(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

In many parts of England you may see a badger burrow. But, unless you are lucky, you may never catch sight of the badger itself, for it is a timid animal and rarely comes out, except at night. Even if you should surprise one away from its burrow, you might never notice it because of the extraordinary broadness and flatness of its clumsy body. When alarmed it will often flatten against the ground “like a doormat or a turtle”; and the animal might be mistaken for a clod of earth or a stone. But beware of the badger when it is cornered, for it will put up a stiff fight. The jaws are so hinged that dislocation is practically impossible, and hence they maintain their hold with great tenacity.

Badgers are common in the northern parts of Europe, Asia, and America. The head is pointed at the snout and the feet are armed with long claws used in digging and for defence. The thick fur is valuable, and the hairs are used in the manufacture of artists’ brushes.

The common badger is about two-and-a-half feet long and greyish in colour with irregular black bands on the back. The head is white with a broad black mark on each side starting from near the muzzle and passing back over the eye and round the ear to the shoulder, a marking which gives the face a clown-like appearance. The throat, chest, legs, feet, and belly are black. With its strong claws the badger lays open the burrows of rabbits, field-mice, etc., feeding upon these animals and on birds, frogs, small snakes, lizards, bacon, eggs, toast, marmalade, grasshoppers and other insects.

Badgers belong to the weasel family (Mustelidæ), which includes skunks, otters, minks, martens, wolverines. Scientific name of the common badger, Meles taxus.

Before my obsession with Christina Hendricks takes over this blog, I have decided to give her a page to herself.

We love your body. If we’re in love with you, we love your body. Your potbelly, everything. Even if you’re insecure about something, we love your body. You feel like you’re not this or that? We love your body. We embrace everything. Because it’s you.

Speaking of your body, you don’t understand the power of your own smell. Any woman who is currently with a man is with him partly because she loves the way he smells. And if we haven’t smelled you for a day or two and then we suddenly are within inches of you, we swoon. We get light-headed. It’s intoxicating. It’s heady.

We remember forever what you say about the bodies of other women. When you mention in passing that a certain woman is attractive — could be someone in the office, a woman on the street, a celebrity, any woman in the world, really — your comment goes into a steel box and it stays there forever. We will file the comment under “Women He Finds Attractive.” It’s not about whether or not we approve of the comment. It’s about learning what you think is sexy and how we might be able to convey it. It’s about keeping our man by knowing what he likes.

We also remember everything you say about our bodies, be it good or bad. Doesn’t matter if it’s a compliment. Could be just a comment. Those things you say are stored away in the steel box, and we remember these things verbatim. We remember what you were wearing and the street corner you were standing on when you said it.

Never complain about our friends — even if we do. No matter how many times we say a friend of ours is driving us crazy, you are not to pile on. Not because it offends us. But because it adds to the weight that we carry around about her.

Remember what we like. When I first started dating my husband, I had this weird fascination with the circus and clowns and old carnival things and sideshow freaks and all that. About a month after we started dating, he bought me this amazing black-and-white photo book on the circus in the 1930s, and I started sobbing. Which freaked him out. I thought, Oh, my God, I mentioned this three or four weeks ago and talked about it briefly, but he was really listening to me. And he actually went out and researched and found this thing for me. It was amazing.

We want you to order Scotch. It’s the most impressive drink order. It’s classic. It’s sexy. Such a rich color. The glass, the smell. It’s not watered down with fruit juice. It’s Scotch. And you ordered it.

Stand up, open a door, offer a jacket. We talk about it with our friends after you do it. We say, “Can you believe he stood up when I approached the table?” It makes us feel important. And it makes you important because we talk about it.

No shorts that go below the knee. The ones almost like capri pants, the ones that hover somewhere between the kneecap and the calf? Enough with those shorts. They are the most embarrassing pants in the world. They should never be worn. No woman likes those.

Also, no tank tops. In public at least. A tank top is underwear. You’re walking around in your underwear. Too much.

No man should be on Facebook. It’s an invasion of everyone’s privacy. I really cannot stand it.

You don’t know this, but when we come back from a date, we feel awkward about that transition from our cute outfit into sexy lingerie. We don’t know how to do this gracefully. It’s embarrassing. We have to find a way to slip into another room, put on the outfit as if it all happened very easily, and then come out and it’s: Look at me! Look at the sexy thing I’ve done! For you, it’s the blink of an eye. It’s all very embarrassing. Just so you know.

Panties is a wonderful word. When did you stop saying “panties”? It’s sexy. It’s girlie. It’s naughty. Say it more.

About ogling: The men who look, they really look. It doesn’t insult us. It doesn’t faze us, really. It’s just — well, it’s a little infantile. Which is ironic, isn’t it? The men who constantly stare at our breasts are never the men we’re attracted to.

There are better words than beautiful. Radiant, for instance. It’s an underused word. It’s a very special word. “You are radiant.” Also, enchanting, smoldering, intoxicating, charming, fetching.

Marriage changes very little. The only things that will get a married man laid that won’t get a single man laid are adultery and whores. Intelligence and humor (and your smell) are what get you laid. That’s what got you laid when you were single. That’s what gets you laid when you’re married. Everything still works in marriage: especially intelligence and humor. Because the sexiest thing is to know you.

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Dolly Parton arrives at the premiere of her latest film, Joyful Noise, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

Of the two great tributaries that flow into the Mississippi, the Ohio, though shorter in length, is vastly more important than the Missouri, for its navigable waters traverse more than 1,000 miles of the greatest industrial and farming district in the United States, furnishing means of transportation for many of the raw and manufactured products of the region.

This useful and picturesque river is formed by the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. It flows thence in a south-westerly direction, until it finally reaches Cairo, where it joins the Mississippi. It forms the north-western boundary of West Virginia, the northern boundary of Kentucky, and the southern boundaries of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Its waters are fathered from the tributaries which drain the neighbouring country – the Muskingum, Scioto, Miami, and Wabash from the north, and the Kanawha, Big Sandy, Licking, Kentucky, Green, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers from the south.

Numerous islands, some under cultivation, divide the waters of the river. Of these the most famous is Blennerhassett, connected with Aaron Burr’s conspiracy to establish a separate republic in 1807, near Parkersburg, West Virginia. Formerly the course of the river was impeded by falls, sand-bars, and snags, and from June to November the waters were too low to accommodate craft of any size. These conditions have been gradually overcome. Canals and locks are built around the falls, the largest of which are at Louisville, Kentucky. Sand-bars and snags have been dredged out, and dams, wing dikes, and channels provide against the drought. In especially dry years, however, low water still impedes steamboat traffic. The average flow is three miles an hour.

It was La Salle who discovered the Ohio, in about 1670, when he descended the river at least as far as the present site of Louisville. In the middle of the 18th century, it became important in the struggle for the interior between the French and the English, the English eventually gaining control (1763). After 1768 settlers from Virginia followed this course into the new country. In 1783 the whole Ohio country became a part of the United States, and in 1787 the organization of the North-West Territory opened the whole region to settlers. The first great tide of western immigration swept along this course.

Occupy Wall Street

(The New York Times, 17 October 1931)

Bank managers across the nation met Friday to establish new standard business hours to help cope with the country’s new financial needs. The new hours, effective immediately at most major U.S. banks, will be: Monday through Friday, closed; Saturday, closed; Sunday’s closure for holy-day observance will remain unchanged. The banks plan to return to their former hours in 1936, with notices of resumption to be delivered at that time.

“We apologize for any inconvenience our new hours might cause anyone, but we’re certain that with a little time, everyone will be able to make the adjustment,” said New Jersey Citizen Bank President Henry Frigger. “Thank you for your cooperation.”

The new hours were posted on Citizen Bank’s doors, alongside a poster decorated with a fanciful cartoon bear in a top hat and tails, and the words, “Please ‘bear’ with us!”.

“We ask that everyone please be patient through our schedule adjustment,” said smiling bank secretary Harriet Kincaid, as she pulled blinds to block the view of the crowds outside.

Other bank tellers and clerks hurried about Citizen Bank, putting dust covers over the furniture and office equipment, while some reinforced the windows and doors with nails, wooden planks, and steel caging.

Worried account-holders attempting to place telephone calls to the bank were greeted with an automated message in lieu of an operator’s voice. The message stated that, although the call was important to Citizen Bank, switchboard operators were unable to speak at that time. The message was followed by a recording of the popular tune “Yes, We Have No Bananas”.

While many may be inconvenienced by the change in hours, Mr. Frigger said plenty of customers may still be able to withdraw money in times of need. “If your last name is the same as mine or my wife’s before marriage, I may be able to make an appointment for you outside our normal business hours. Such customers should come round back and slip a request under the door.”

In the meantime, Mr. Frigger said bank staff will be”doing a lot of remodeling, painting the front lobby, and attempting to locate approximately $900,000 in cash.”

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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