The Marx Brothers

 Marx Brothers clerihew

The five Marx Brothers – Leonard, Adolph, Julius, Herbert and Milton – were better known by their nicknames. According to Adolph’s autobiography (Harpo Speaks!) Leonard became Chico because he was a ladies’ man; Adolf became Harpo for the musical instrument that we associate with him. Julius was dubbed Groucho because he carried his money in a ‘grouch bag’; Milton (Gummo) wore rubber-soled shoes; and Herbert, the athletic one who objected being called ‘Zippo’ in honour of a famous chimpanzee, was prepared to accept the variant Zeppo.

If you haven’t heard of all of these Marx brothers, I’m not surprised. Gummo left the act before the Marx Brothers hit the silver screen, and Zeppo quit after their early movies.

The political philosopher Karl Marx, author of Capital and The Communist Manifesto, was NOT a close relative. In the 1950s, ‘pinko’ was a pejorative term applied to people who had Marxist tendencies, much as the term ‘tree-hugger’ was used to refer to environmentalists some decades later.

Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, has been a centre of human activity for about 7000 years, and was at one time the western terminus of the Silk Road.


“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
– Groucho Marx


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