Eugene Byrne is a freelance journalist and author, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine. You can read his online blog at http://eugenebyrne.wordpress.com/
The Coolidge Effect is a term used by biologists and psychologists for a behavioural phenomenon common to most species of mammal. The sexual activity of both males and females increases when they are introduced to a new and receptive partner.
In this week's Friday funny, journalist and author Eugene Byrne looks at an amusing urban legend much beloved of engineers, and frequently used in management seminars because of its powerful moral about overcomplicated solutions.
In the 1960s, the story goes, NASA realised that astronauts would need a special pen for recording data, instrument readings etc. when in space. This pen would have to be capable of writing upside-down, in zero gravity, and in extremely high and low temperatures.
King James I was complaining that one of his favourite horses was too lean. He swore upon his soul that he could see no reason why it should not be as fat as any other horse in the land. It was well-fed, well-kept, and he did not ride it hard.
Mark Hanna was walking through his mill one day when he heard a boy say: "I wish I had Hanna's money and he was in the poorhouse."
When he returned to the office the senator sent for the lad, who was plainly mystified by the summons.
In the deepest recesses of Hell there is a special pit of boiling oil reserved for the special torment of the greatest liars in history.
In late 1982, an elderly woman walks up to one of the guards at the Kremlin in Moscow.
"I'd like to see General Secretary Brezhnev," she says.
In Edwardian times, the charitably-minded wife of a London magistrate thought it would be a nice gesture to invite poor children to Sunday tea. She contacted a vicar in the East End and asked him to send her one child each week.
It is 1989, and East German Communist leader Erich Honecker is hosting a dinner for a large number of party officials. His mistress is sitting next to him.
"Erich," she whispers in his ear, "please open the border with the West."