A Heterogeneous Assemblage

In Australia, the number-one topping for pizza is eggs.  In the United States, it’s pepperoni.  I like the one in Italy called Caprese, goat cheese and tomatoes.

Fanfaronade:  fulsomeness, from Spanish fanfarrón, a word that was probably an imitation of the blaring blowhardedness and braggadocio of  bigheaded braggarts.

Stop the presses!   Dirty Harry’s last name is Callahan.

Reading too many underground comic books?   The name of Jabba the Hutt’s pet spider monkey is Salacious Crumb.

The famous Dragnet theme was actually composed by Miklos Rosza for the 1946 film noir classic The Killers.

The total number of bridge hands is 54 octillion.

General Lew Wallace’s best-seller Ben-Hur was the first work of fiction to be blessed by the Pope.

Lassie, the TV collie, first appeared in a 1930s short novel entitled Lassie Come Home, written by Eric Mowbray Knight. The dog in the novel was based on Eric Knight’s real-life collie Toots.

People in Iceland read more books per capita than any other people in the world.

The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not mention the name of god.

Arnold Schönberg was a triskaidekaphobe. He died thirteen minutes from midnight on Friday the thirteenth.

Tabloids, chronicles and gazettes were what they called newspapers in the 19th century.

The word is WAY older than that:  In Irish police stations in the nineteenth century, couples were charged with being Found Under Carnal Knowldege, which the police abbreviated calling it a F.U.C.K. charge.

A sultan’s wife is called a sultana.

The real name for lead poisoning is plumbism.

The word byte is a contraction of “by eight.”

Only words we use now that end in -gry are angry and hungry.

There are solid reasons for both of these facts:  Native speakers of Japanese learn Spanish more easily than English.  Native speakers of English learn Spanish more easily than Japanese.

Give him 2.54 centimeters and he’ll take 91.44 centimeters:     10 October is National Metric Day.

A beverage in China called white tea is simply boiled water.

Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s for $2.7 million in 1961 from the McDonald brothers.

And just why would you want to do that?   Beer foam will go down if you lick your finger and then stick it in the beer.

Vegetarians make up four percent of the US population.

Bananas don’t grow on trees.  They grow on rhizomes.

Coffee is the second largest item of international commerce in the world.  Statements like this drive me crazy, because then I always have to wonder what is the FIRST largest item of international commerce in the world.  You don’t know, do you?

Less than three percent of Nestle’s sales are for chocolate.

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma in an emergency.

Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

Rice is grown on more than ten percent of the earth’s surface and is the main food for half of the people of the world.

Salt is the only rock humans can eat.

Playing cards in India are round.

More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.

A flush toilet exists today that dates back to 2,000 BCE.

Most people button their shirts upward. Not me, though.

Totally Hair Barbie is the best-selling Barbie of all time.

The yo-yo originated in the Philippines where it is used for hunting.

The side of a hammer is called a cheek.

The average lead pencil can draw a line thirty-five miles long or write approximately fifty thousand English words.

People in China sometimes leave firecrackers around the house as fire alarms.

It takes a plastic container fifty thousand years to start decomposing.

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are blood donors.

In Cleveland, Ohio, it is illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.

Most burglaries occur in the winter.

Abdul Kassam Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, carried his library with him wherever he went.  The 117,000 volumes were carried by 400 camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.

A golden razor found in King Tut’s tomb was still sharp enough to be used.

In 290 BCE, Aristarchus suggested that the sun was the center of the solar system.

Candidus is Latin for shining white. All office seekers in Rome were obliged to wear a certain white toga for a period of one year before the election. They were said to be candidati and one hopes that they were candid in their speeches, but, well, probably not.

Two dogs were among the Titanic survivors.

Robert E. Lee wore a size 4 1/2 shoe.

Olive oil was used for washing the body in the ancient Mediterranean world.

New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote, in 1890.

The words of the Japanese national anthem, dating from the ninth century CE are the oldest of any nation’s songs. but the music is from 1880.

Built in 1697, the Frankford Avenue Bridge, which crosses Pennypack Creek in Philadelphia, is the oldest U.S. bridge in continuous use.

Printed on the book that the Statue of Liberty is holding is “July IV, MDCCLXXVI.”  The statue’s mouth is three feet wide.

The main library at Indiana University sinks more than an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

The Future’s Museum in Sweden contains a scale model of the solar system. The sun is 105 meters in diameter, and the planets range from five millimeters to six kilometers from the sun. This particular model also contains the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, still to scale, situated in the Museum of Victora, Australia.

The Angel Falls in Venezuela are nearly twenty times taller than Niagra Falls.

All the dirt from the foundation to build the World Trade Center was dumped into the Hudson River to form the community now known as Battery City Park.

San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile national monuments.

The largest object ever found in the Los Angeles sewer system was a motorcycle.

If you bring a raccoon’s head to the Henniker, New Hampshire, town hall, you are entitled to receive ten dollars.

In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die.

I had no idea that I was ever that close to forty-seven czars.  Forty-seven czars are buried in the Kremlin which is just across the square from where we stayed when we played in Moscow.

“Czar” is the Russian rendering of “Caesar,” just as Kaiser is the German version. “Kaiser” is very close to the classical Latin pronunciation of “Caesar.”

Says here the Romans originated the practice of giving presents at Christmas, which was known to them as the Saturnalia, but the veneration of the Egyptian god Horus who was born on 25 December and who had twelve days of worship probably included presents too.  Horus was born of a virgin and he had twelve apostles.

Sister Boom-Boom was a transvestite nun who ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1982. S/he received more than twenty thousand votes.

Hmmm.    Pope Adrian VI died after a fly got stuck in his throat as he was drinking from a water fountain.

According to the ceremonial customs of Orthodox Judaism, it is officially sundown when you cannot tell the difference between a black thread and a red thread.

Wives and husbands in India who desire children whisper their wish into the ear of a sacred cow.

A third of Taiwanese funeral processions include a stripper.

Not even real foam?   NERF, the popular foam children’s toy company, doesn’t actually stand for anything.

Ted Turner owns five percent of New Mexico.

Time to go online.   It takes about 63,000 trees to make the newsprint for the average Sunday edition of The New York Times.

The most dangerous job in the United States is sanitation worker. Fire fighters and police officers are a close second and third, followed by leather tanners fourth.

The sale of vodka makes up ten percent of Russian government income.

In most advertisements, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.

Vanilla is used to make chocolate.

Sixty percent of big-firm executives say the cover letter is as important as, or more important than, the résumé itself when you are applying for a new job.

John Dillinger played professional baseball.

Anise is the scent on the artificial rabbit that is used in greyhound races.

It takes three thousand cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs.

Nearly all sumo wrestlers have flat feet and big bottoms.

Meteorologists claim they’re right 85% of the time.

Astronauts in orbit around the earth can see the wakes of ships.

A manned rocket can reach the moon in less time than it took a stagecoach to travel the length of England.

A neutron star has such a powerful gravitational pull that it can spin on its axis in one-thirtieth of a second without tearing itself apart. A pulsar is a neutron star, and it gets its energy from its rotation.

A full moon always rises at sunset.

The first computer ever made was called the ENIAC. A silicon chip a quarter-inch square has the capability of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a city block.

The tail section of an airplane gives the bumpiest ride.

Gold was the first metal to be discovered.

One out of five trees in the world is a Siberian larch.

During the time that the atom bomb was being developed at Alamogordo, New Mexico, applicants for routine jobs like janitors were disqualified if they could read.

All organic compounds contain carbon.

Hydrogen is the most common atom in the universe.

One hundred seven incorrect medical procedures will be performed today.

Moisture, not air, causes superglue to dry.

The smallest unit of time is the yoctosecond.

A baby blue whale is twenty-five feet long at birth.

The only two mammals to lay eggs are the echidna and the platypus. The mothers nurse their babies through pores in their skin.

In 1859, twenty-four rabbits were released in Australia. Within six years, the population grew to two million.

Human beings and the two-toed sloth are the only land animals that typically mate face to face.

At least one species of lizard is known to reproduce by parthenogenesis.

A dragonfly has a life span of four to seven weeks.

A square mile of fertile earth has thirty-two million earthworms in it.

No wonder they put up the seagull monument.   A large swarm of locusts can eat eighty thousand tons of corn in a day.

There is an average of 50,000 spiders per acre in green areas.

The poison arrow frog has enough poison to kill about 2,200 people.

Marine iguanas, saltwater crocodiles, sea snakes and sea turtles are the only surviving seawater adapted reptiles.

The tuatara lizard of New Zealand only has to breathe once an hour.

A chameleon’s tongue is twice the length of its body.

Snakes, like cows, cannot activate their vitamin D without the presence of sunlight.

A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle, but in the air they are called a skein.

A group of goats is called a trip.

A group of hares is called a husk.

Kangaroos in a group are known as a mob.

A tribe of rhinos is called a crash.

A group of toads is called a knot.

A bale of turtles, a clowder of cats, a gam of whales and a streak of tigers.

A parliament of owls.

We’ll see you next week.

Big Brother and the Holding Company

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