Archive for the ‘Regular Features’ Category

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The Questions…

1. What is the only breed of dog that doesn’t bark?

2. Carrots weren’t always orange. The orange color appeared in the 1600s, when Dutch farmers began cultivating mutant strains, and the orange version turned out to be higher yielding and better tasting. What color were carrots originally?

3. In what month is Earth closest to the sun?

4. What is responsible for more allergic reactions than any other food or drink?

5. The ratel is a small mammal native to Africa, Asia, and India. By what name is the ratel better known?

The Answers…

1. The Basenji, a small hunting dog closely related to the non-domesticated Australian dingo. Basenjis and dingos vocalize with howls and yodels, but do not bark like most dog breeds.

2. Purple.

3. January. Paradoxically, we experience winter then because the earth’s axis is tilted, and the sun’s rays hit the planet at an angle at that time of year. In July, when we are farthest from the sun, its rays hit us more directly, and we have summer. Science.

4. Cow’s milk.

5. AKA the honey badger, a bad-tempered relative of weasels and martens. The label badger is a misnomer.

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More random photos I’ve taken over the years that still make me smile.

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This Just In

MILAN, ITALY — Customs officials in Milan intercepted a suspicious package from Colombia and found 130 grams of cocaine hidden inside hollowed-out coffee beans.

The officials investigated because the package was addressed to a crime boss in a John Wick movie. Members of the Guardia di Finanza, which deals with financial crimes and smuggling, observed that the package was addressed to Santino D’Antonio, a character from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

The package contained over 500 coffee beans that had been scooped out, filled with powdered cocaine, and resealed with brown tape.

The cocaine was confiscated, and the package was delivered to its final destination, a tobacco shop in Florence. A 50-year-old man who showed up to claim the package was arrested.

OLATHE, KANSAS — A dog that disappeared from her family’s home in Olathe was found a week later at the family’s previous residence 60 miles away in Lawson, Missouri.

Cleo, a four-year-old golden retriever, turned up at the Lawson home of Colton Michael. Cleo’s microchip revealed that she belonged to Drew Feeback, who had sold the house to Michael two years earlier.

Michael checked Facebook, found a post from Feeback about the missing dog, and Cleo was returned to her family.

Olathe, Kansas, and Lawson, Missouri, are located on opposite sides of the Kansas City metro area and on opposite banks of the Missouri River. No one knows how Cleo made the journey.

UEHLFELD, GERMANY — A Uehlfeld brewery has been forced to halt beer production because storks, a protected species in Germany, built a nest in one of the factory’s chimneys.

A family of storks built the nest at the Zwanzger Brewery in early spring, and the baby storks have since hatched. The brewery planned to relocate the nest so production could resume, but new coronavirus restrictions temporarily prevented it.

Brewer Christian Zwanzger said his stock of beer is running low, but he thinks production will be back to normal shortly. He said Uehlfeld is fond of the storks, which often return to the same spots every year. The town has about 35 nests.

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Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.

Jacques Yves Cousteau


America will never be destroyed from the outside.

Abraham Lincoln


Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.

Benjamin Franklin


This above all: to thine own self be true.

William Shakespeare



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Tune o’ the Day

Being a devoted fan of 80s alternative rock, I tune out most songs of other genres — hip-hop, country, soul, Italian opera. In the case of hip-hop, I tune it out completely.

But an occasional song in those lesser categories turns out to have merit. Hip-hop excluded, of course. One of those is “Slip Away” by Clarence Carter.

Carter was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1936 (he is now 84). He earned a BS in Music in 1960 and began a career as a soul singer. He started out as half of the duo “Clarence and Calvin” with Calvin Scott, but soon went solo.

Although “Slip Away” is one of his best-known songs, his infamous “Strokin’” also gets plenty of attention. “Strokin’” which is too bawdy for radio or TV, found a niche on jukeboxes and in strip clubs.

Slip Away,” I assure you, is safely G-rated.

Slip Away

By Clarence Carter, 1968
Written by William Armstrong, Marcus Daniel, and Wilbur Terrell

What would I give
For just a few moments.
What would I give
Just to have you near.

Tell me you will try
To slip away somehow.
Oh, I need you, darling.
I want to see you right now.

Can you slip away.
Slip away.
Slip away.
Oh, I need you so.

Love, oh, love,
How sweet it is
When you steal it, darling.
Let me tell you somethin’ now.

How sweet it is.

Now I know it’s wrong,
The things I ask you to do.
But please believe me, darling,
I don’t mean to hurt you.

But could you just slip away
Without him knowing you’re gone?
Then we could meet somewhere —
Somewhere where we both are not known.

And just can you slip away.
Slip away.
Slip away.
I need you so.

Oh, can you slip away, baby.
I’d like to see you right now, darling.
Can you slip away now, baby.
‘Cause I got to, I got to see you.
I feel a deep burning inside.


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Pix o’ the Day

More random photos I’ve taken over the years that still make me smile.

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The Questions…

1. Based on studies of collagen in bones, what two present-day bird species are most closely related to Tyrannosaurus rex?

2. More greeting cards are sold at Christmas than at any other holiday. What holiday is in second place?

3. The first six Star Wars films all were released in the same month. Which month?

4. The explorer Ponce de Leon gave Florida its name in 1513. The word comes from the Spanish florido, which means what?

5. The human population of Australia is 24 million. What is the kangaroo population?

The Answers…

1. Chickens and ostriches.

2. Valentine’s Day.

3. The six films of the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy were released in May. The films of the sequel trilogy, under Disney, were released in December.

4. Flowery.

5. About 44 million. The number has doubled in the last six years. The government wants people to eat more kangaroo meat, but most Aussies are turned off by that. They favor programs to sterilize and relocate the animals.

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In America, anybody can be president. That’s one of the risks you take.

Adlai Stevenson


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Life is too short to learn German.

Oscar Wilde


All generalizations are false, including this one.

Mark Twain


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