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Richard Walker

Clerihew

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Graham Greene was a great novelist in many people's eyes.
Although he didn't win the Nobel Prize.
He never had writer's block.
Enabling him to write twenty-five novels, including Brighton Rock.
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Richard Walker

The Price of Freedom...

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I've heard eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Thanks, but I can do without electronic seabirds watching me.

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Richard Walker

Epitaph for a Marketer

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 15 Feb 2016, 00:48

Buy buy!

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Richard Walker

Epitaph for a Philosopher

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 15 Feb 2016, 00:46

Why?
Bye!

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Richard Walker

"In the Valley of the Living"

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In the valley of the living
Each bears a sorrow
Impossible to relinquish.
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Richard Walker

The Hick's Basin

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 13 Feb 2016, 19:14

The Hicks Basin exists and we don't need a Large Hadron Collider to see it!

http://www.hicksandhicks.com/antiques/antique-basins/


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Richard Walker

Kōan Einstein!

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"How will I know when the celestial wind blows?"

"You will see the guava tree wave."


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Richard Walker

Oon Liner

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Sire Lancelot was late atte the lists. Butte Sire Gawain was joust in time.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Everyone takes Paras A, B and C seriously. I just don't know why they laugh at Para D.

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Richard Walker

One Liner — Wall Wounds

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 11 Feb 2016, 21:52

Me and some of the other Picts tried to invade. Problem was, we ran right up against the Large Hadrian Collider.

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Richard Walker

Interesting metre

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Roses are red, Violets are blue.

Phew.

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Richard Walker

Joke Factory classic

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 11 Feb 2016, 00:19

Q. What do you call a man with an axe on his head?

A. Hugh

Our factory can supply similar jokes on demand. Please write for our catalogue.

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Richard Walker

Fruity Daffynitions

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 9 Feb 2016, 20:34

Black grape — sign of mourning

Jujube — video sharing site

Lemon — arctic rodent

Medlar — interfering busybody

Pear — French dad

Quince — shrink with pain

Strawberry — two kinds of hat


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Richard Walker

The Cheesemonger's Wooing

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 9 Feb 2016, 13:25

"I'm fondue", I said.

But she's just gone "Bleu!"

Seems I wasn't goud enough.

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Richard Walker

Cold Rain Haiku

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Bitter winter rain

A woman cries out suddenly — 

Oh, my little daughter!

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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There's a new internet service exclusively for cats. Billed as streaming "mew-vies", it's called Netfelix.

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Richard Walker

The Periodic Table

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I see today's Google Doodle honors Dimitri Mendeleev who first described the periodic table. I can still remember the sense of wonder I felt, many years ago now, when I read that all chemical element fitted in to a system.

Because of that system it had been possible to predict the existence, and properties, of elements as yet unknown, but subsequently discovered by other investigators. This thought made me very excited and for a time I wanted to be a chemist.

By coincidence I've just been reading Primo Levi's book The Periodic Table. Published in 1975, it is a collection of short stories, each themed on a particular element. Two or three are works of pure imagination, but for the most part they are autobiographical, mainly from Levi's career as an industrial chemist in post-war Italy. Some draw on his experiences in Auschwitz.

Although the book wasn't published until the 1970s some of the stories seem to have been germinating for a long time. From something I read I believe final essay Carbon had been in Levi's mind since before his imprisonment. It is this story that first drew me to The Periodic Table (and later to Levi's other writing), because I read a very enthusiastic letter about it in a science journal, and I realized it was about an idea I've always had an interest in (and have tried to write about myself, but far less well).

In 2006 The Periodic Table was voted the best science book ever by the Royal Institution, in a very strong field. Paradoxically it probably won the prize because it is ultimately a humanistic book rather than a scientific one.

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Richard Walker

Primo Levi

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I've just finished reading Primo Levi's book about his time in Auschwitz.

He wrote as he said "to be a witness, not a judge", and even while in the camp made fugitive jottings on scraps of paper, although all had to be destroyed; had they been found he would have been executed.

He survived and was repatriated after a long and winding railway journey lasting nine months (the subject of a second book). Once home he soon started work on If This is a Man and had it finished by the end of 1946, less than two years after he had been freed from the camp.

Levi believed in rationality and wrote in a very objective way in order not to dilute his testimony. He hadn't been very good at Italian at school — more inclined to science — but the urge to tell his story to the world made him into a great writer.



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Richard Walker

The snow-drop paths of innocence*

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These wild snowdrops bloom by a path I often take. In the middle ages it was a road but today it is only a track-way.

Linnaeus named this flower Galanthus nivalis; Galanthus from Greek gala+anthos, 'milk-flower', and nivalis from Latin 'of snow'.

The common name snowdrop is only recorded from the 17 c and the origin is unclear, although the Oxford English Dictionary suggests a connection with the German schneetropfen, which itself possibly comes from the name of a kind of earring once popular.

It is probably only the German Schneetropf, and originates from the resemblance of the form of the flower to that of an ear-drop or the ornaments which ladies have at various times had suspended from their brooches and other articles of jewellery.
Transactions and journal of the proceedings of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 1906.

Surprisingly Galanthus turns to have pharmacological importance. Some species of the genus are a source of galanthamine, which was traditionally used in eastern European countries for treating polio, and is now used for slowing the progress of Alzheimer's.

* My title "The snow-drop paths of innocence" comes from W. R. Spencer.

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Richard Walker

Flower Poem

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Why do you hang your head?
Well I'm not fooled. You're looking for what you can steal before Spring does.
Snowdrop.
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Richard Walker

Pyramus and Thisbe

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Pyramus and Thisbe were star-crossed lovers who wooed through a wall.

The story had an unhappy ending though. Mine has a better. The relic above is a fragment of the Berlin Wall, which divided East Berlin from West between 1961 and 1989, and cost many lives.

When we visited the Iron Curtain had just been raised, and there were still border guards — it was their job — but they waved us through with every appearance of relief.

When we came to the Wall most of it was gone but there were plenty of bits on sale. You can still buy them easily enough today, with a stamp of authenticity, but mine was authenticated by a hammer.

I was surprised just recently to find how much of the Wall has survived and where the bits are. It is a symbol of freedom prevailing against barriers (something poor Pyramus and Thisbe longed for) and so parts of it have been dispersed to every continent save Antarctica — a sort of wall-diaspora — as you can see in this marvelous piece of journalism.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/oct/28/-sp-where-on-earth-berlin-wall-25-years-fall

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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My landline is obsolete really. I just keep for the nuisance calls.

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Richard Walker

From Socrates' Joke Manufactuary

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 4 Feb 2016, 00:55

Q. What teaching approach sounds like someone who makes all the calls?

A.  See comment



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Richard Walker

A Nursery Rhyme

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Going to the city
All on an Easter morn.
Five white swans came riding by
And beat us to the dawn.


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Richard Walker

Mondegreen in the Sky

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 3 Feb 2016, 00:41
Coming home tonight/
The sky was clear and I saw before me/
The majesty of Orion. Seven stars.

Years ago I was riding pillion on my wife's motorcycle, on a winter night. I looked up and suddenly saw a constellation. "Look there's Orion!" I cried.

We swerved all over the road to avoid the lion.


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