WHERE EAGLES DARE
A classic WW2 thriller from Alistair MacLean made into a movie starring the incomparable Richard Burton, CBE, alongside Clint Eastwood (who famously turned down James Bond because Clint wasn’t British). The title is from Act I, Scene III in Shakespeare’s Richard III: “The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.” The quote is an interesting juxtaposition — wrens are timid birds but will go in search of prey where eagles are too timid to even perch. Thus, courage can come from unexpected quarters. MacLean and Burton ultimately shared similar quarters since both were laid to rest in the same Swiss cemetery just a few paces apart.
MacLean was an early master of the action-adventure-spy thriller genre having penned other classics such as The Guns of Navarone, Force 10 from Navarone, Bear Island, and Ice Station Zebra — all later adapted into movies.
“WHY IS A RAVEN LIKE A WRITING DESK?” was a nonsensical query posited by the Mad Hatter to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In the original 1865 printed book, Carroll provided no real answer but over the years he relented to fan pressure and formulated the following:
“Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!” “Never” was originally “nevar” but a typesetter mistakenly fixed the pun.
Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven was published 20 years before Alice in Wonderland so herewith is my own “Poe-tic” answer to the riddle . . .
“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
“Be-caws it is nevar-more than a caws-way to better Poe-try!”