Monthly Archives: July 2013


July 6. 2013
Item Number 3  INTRODUCING AUTOLYCUS I have  purloined this banner from the June 1950 (No. 26) edition of the annual magazine issued by my boyhood seat of middle  learning.   Woodside Senior Secondary School in Glasgow, Scotland was where I began and ended my high school instruction, graduating  in 1948 with the Scottish Higher Leaving  Certificate.  (I just now realized that the banner was the invention of my favourite teacher, James McGregor, as the initials reveal.)   The caption aptly describes my intended use of the banner, now and then, here and there, to identify bits and pieces I have come across over the years which might amuse, educate, surprise, depress, or not.   I will identify the sources when known.    It would be most helpful if I could  hear from readers who have knowledge of origins.

Autolycus 1.  “The standard soy [sauce] is ‘decent, rich and honest…like bankers used to be.'”  FT.COM/Magazine, June 8/9 2013.

Autolycus 2.  “‘Resolved that the sun is more important than the moon.’  The negative speaker won the debate by pointing out the obvious and indisputable fact that the sun shines in the  day when it is light anyway whereas the moon shines at night when it is really needed.”

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The letter to The Crerar Library below explains the origin of the verses. The University of Chicago Magazine (which I recommend to all) published one of the verses. I believe there may be an interest in the entire set. So I am offering them here.

July 31, 2009

Dr/ Judith Nadler
Director of the Library
John Crerar Library
The University of Chicago
1121 East 60th Street
Chicago IL 60637

Dear Dr. Nadler:

My name is Neil MacCormick, MA 1961

In December 1960, several students in the Economics Department presented to a captive faculty audience in the Quadrangle Club a sung performance of several pieces of verse portraying professors and student life. The manuscript is enclosed.

The document is an ‘original’ manuscript. one being given to each singer. Annotations identify in some instances the singer responsible for a particular verse.

I know you will agree that the document offers a unique if irreverent view of a most fruitful period in the history of the Economics Department then staffed with many outstanding scholars, four of whom later were named Nobel Laureates.

I am very pleased to donate the document to the Library.