Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Two recently reads combined to tickle my funnybone and elevate my spirits with facts and observations that are a little out of the ordinary.

From The Book Of Useless Information (an official publication of The Useless Information Society) by Noel Botham:

* No President has been an only child
* Lee Harvey Oswald's body tag was auctioned off for $6,600
* On a trip to the South Sea Islands, French painter Paul Gauguin stopped of briefly in Central America, where he worked as a laborer on the Panama Canal.
* Tom Cruise's real name is Thomas Mapother.
* During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville's classic of the sea, Moby Dick, only sold 50 copies.
* Dr. Seuss coined the word, "nerd", in his 1950 book, If I Ran The Zoo.
* Spat-out food is called chanking.
* The word "samba" means to rub navels together.
* "Karaoke" means "empty orchestra" in Japanese.
* In 1946, the first TV toy commercial aired. It was for Mr. Potato Head.
* In Idaho, a citizen is forbidden by law to give another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than fifty pounds.
* If you yelled for eight years, seven months, and six days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

Moving on, the following observations are taken from Amy Hempel's short story, In The Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried:

"They say the smart dog obeys, but the smarter dog knows when to disobey."

"I enrolled in a 'Fear of Flying' class. 'What is your worst fear?' the instructor asked, and I answered, 'That I will finish this course and still be afraid.'"

"I sleep with a glass of water on the nightstand so I can see by its level if the coastal earth is trembling or if the shaking is still me."

"I think of the chimp, the one with the talking hands. In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have been thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign to her newborn. Baby, drink milk. Baby, play ball. And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug. Baby, come hug, fluent now in the language of grief."

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