A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day.

“In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.”

“However,” he pointed out, “there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah. Right.”


And since some of you will find that item less than substantive, two more loose ends:


“What is going on with this ‘after hours trading’ stuff. Every time I check my stock in the morning, it has already made a gain or a loss! Example: Intel closed one afternoon at 75 5/8 and opened the next morning at 76 3/8. How did it make a gain while I was sleeping?” — John

The thing is, Intel is such a growth stock, it’s stock just cannot be restrained. No, wait. That’s not it. You missed the column that dealt with this seemingly extraordinary phenomenon. One day soon I expect we’ll all be able to trade in “real time,” 24 hours a day, but that’s still restricted, basically, to the bigger boys tied in to Instinet and the like.


Edward Teller, who had a lot to do with inventing the atom bomb, only met Harry Truman, who dropped it, some years later, in the fifties. In the course of that meeting, Truman told him he was raising money for the Truman Library and that Philip Morris had offered a big check if he’d make some comment about tobacco that they could use publicly. So he did. He thought and thought and he offered this comment: “When the colonists first came to this country they were met by Indians who gave them tobacco. And we gave them syphilis.” Truman did not get the big check.

(Note to historians: Someone responsible told me that story, as he remembers Teller telling it to him. That gives it an 80% chance of being accurate in some way, perhaps a 20% chance of its being accurate in every way.)



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