Everyone has their blind spots -- things that seemingly everyone else in the world already knew, but that they themselves were ignorant of. Over the last week, I filled in one of mine: the Corn Chip Issue. It's a really simple one with a very obvious solution: never buy off-the-shelf corn chips. Fritos, Doritos, and Tostitos are but a pale, flavorless imitation of something you can prepare at home for a small fraction of the money. Somehow, I never realized that all that you need to make tasty, crispy chips that rival the ones you get as appetizers at Mexican restaurants is a 99 cent bag of tortillas from the supermarket and a pot of hot oil. Slice the tortillas into wedges, drop them in hot oil for a couple of minutes, drain them on paper towels and salt lightly. Serve with salsa. That's all it takes. Really, it couldn't be simpler. Somehow I made it through decades without anyone telling me. In case your friends have likewise left you in the dark, I'm blogging it.
The Least Successful Executions
History has furnished us with two executioners worthy of attention.
The first performed in Sydney in Australia. In 1803 three attempts were
made to hang a Mr. Joseph Samuels. On the first two of these the rope
snapped, while on the third Mr. Samuels just hung there peacefully until he
and everyone else got bored. Since he had proved unsusceptible to capital
punishment, he was reprieved.
The most important British executioner was Mr. James Berry who
tried three times in 1885 to hang Mr. John Lee at Exeter Jail, but on each
occasion failed to get the trap door open.
In recognition of this achievement, the Home Secretary commuted
Lee’s sentence to “life” imprisonment. He was released in 1917, emigrated
to America and lived until 1933.
— Stephen Pile, “The Book of Heroic Failures”