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Daily Express Wed, 22 December – Beachcomber column

Pick up the Express this Wednesday and look out for a mention of our “Quizzing event of the year”  in the Beachcomber column.

Beachcomber – the word – brings peculiar (entirely un column-writing related) things to mind.  In my imagination I see some sort of creature (prehistoric bird-like) piously raking through the golden sands of an idyllic beach with a giant comb.  I did of course look the term up:  Wikkipedia, not Wakkipedia provided a definition that didn’t include mythological bird like creatures, but did make mention of combing (searching) a beach! “Beachcombing and Beachcomber are words with multiple, but related, meanings that have evolved over time. A beachcomber is someone who “combs” (or searches) the beach, and the intertidal zone in general, looking for things of value, interest or utility.”

Further note on Beachcomber: In 1924 John Cameron Audrieu Bingham Michael Morton took over authorship of the column “By The Way” in the Daily Express. He inherited the pseudonym ‘Beachcomber’ from his predecessors on the job (the column had existed since 1917), but he was to make that name forever his own by virtue of his astonishing output and success: Morton wrote the column for over 50 years, six times a week, until 1965 when the column became a weekly feature, and continued to the last column in November 1975.

J B Morton used an eccentric cast of regular characters in his sketches, which frequently caricatured self-important and high-brow public figures [from http://www.edwards.eclipse.co.uk/beachcom.htm]

Omar. B with William Hartston

William Hartston, former British Chess Champion and founder of Wakkipedia, is the current author of its revived form. Wakkipedia is an absolutely fantastic site.  It includes a “Wakkiversaries” section as well as the “Wakki Fact of the day”.

You can take the Wakki quiz or search by topic/subject for wakki wisdom on almost anything! Today’s interesting wakkiversary – “Dec 20, 1957 Elvis Presley was called up to join the army.”

Tagline: “a worldwide wastebin of wonderfully weird and wacky wisdom” and “an encyclopedia of pointless information”

Definitions of pointless on the Web:

  • not having a point especially a sharp point; “my pencils are all pointless”
  • otiose: serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being; “otiose lines in a play”; “advice is wasted words”; “a pointless remark”
  • pointlessness – The lack of meaning, purpose, or ideas; the characteristic or condition of being pointless en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pointlessness

A Wakkipedia fact states that: “‘Albert Einstein’ is an anagram of ‘Ten Elite Brains'” and that “According to a diary kept by Einstein’s friend Johanna Fantova, he was given a parrot as a present for his 75th birthday. After diagnosing the parrot as suffering from depression, Einstein told it bad jokes to cheer it up.”

On the other hand …

Wikkipedia (and other scientific journals) will tell you that one of Einstein’s great insights was to realize that matter and energy are really different forms of the same thing. Matter can be turned into energy, and energy into matter. E=MC2

In the grand, grand scheme of things, what sort of facts mean more?

Coming soon: Omar Banharally’s interview with William Hartston. In it they discuss the wonderful game of Chess as well as the inspiration behind Wakkipedia.com …

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December 20, 2010 - Posted by | General

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