Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘People’

Useless Facts

More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

● Russia is massive, extending across eight time zones and bordering 14 other countries. But its economy is puny — roughly equivalent to the combined GDPs of Belgium and the Netherlands.

● The average automobile contains 30,000 parts, counting bolts and screws.

● The main ingredients of the spread Nutella are sugar, cocoa, and hazelnuts. A medium-size jar of Nutella (26 oz.) contains about 97 hazelnuts. Annually, 25 percent of the world’s hazelnut crop is used to manufacture Nutella.

● Europa, the fourth-largest of Jupiter’s 80 known moons, is slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon. Its surface is believed to be largely a crust of ice. Beneath it, scientists now think, is a liquid ocean that holds more water than all of Earth’s oceans combined.

● The first sharks evolved about 400 million years ago, which makes them 50 million years older than the earliest known trees.

● In the card game of whist, and in the game of bridge that evolved from it, a yarborough is a hand of 13 cards with none higher than a nine. The term is named for the 2nd Earl of Yarborough (1809-1897), who regularly bet 1000-1 against being dealt such a hand. He usually won; the probability of being dealt a yarborough is 1 in 1,828.

● The rubber band was invented in 1845 by Stephen Perry of the rubber manufacturer Messers Perry and Co., London.

● Polar bears have two layers of fur: a dense undercoat for insulation and a coarse, protective outer coat. Both layers are colorless. The bears appear white because the hairs are transparent, and they reflect all wavelengths of light instead of absorbing some and manifesting color. Polar bear skin is black, which absorbs sunlight for warmth. Mother Nature is a smart cookie.

Read Full Post »

The Questions…

1. What are the names of the three Rice Krispies elves?

2. What is the most valuable residence on earth?

3. Anne Frank and her family were in hiding from 1942 to 1944 in what city?

4. What is the strongest muscle in the human body?

5. What was the duration of the age of the dinosaurs, aka the Mesozoic Era, aka the Age of Reptiles?

The Answers…

1. Snap, Crackle, and Pop.

2. Buckingham Palace in London, which is worth about $5 billion. The palace has been the official royal residence since 1837, when Queen Victoria moved in.

3. Amsterdam.

4. The jaw muscle.

5. Between 150 and 200 million years. The earliest ancestors of humans appeared only six million years ago.

Read Full Post »

BRINNON, WASHINGTON — A woman was rescued uninjured, but shaken, after she dropped her cell phone into a pit toilet and fell in headfirst while trying to retrieve it.

The 40-year-old woman was using a toilet in the Olympic National Forest when her phone fell into the underground tank. She removed the toilet seat and tried to reach the phone with a dog leash.

When that failed, she secured herself with the leash and reached into the pit, but slipped and fell in. She was unable to climb out and called 911. When firefighters arrived, they handed down blocks of wood for the woman to stand on, allowing the team to reach her and pull her to safety.

The rescuers hosed off the woman, gave her clean clothes, and told her to seek medical attention because of the exposure to human waste. However, they said she “only wanted to leave” and drove away to an unspecified destination in California.

CORNVILLE, ARIZONA — A javelina that hopped into a station wagon to get a bag of Cheetos became trapped inside, trashed the interior, and caused the vehicle to roll away out of control.

Yavapai County deputies said the vehicle’s hatchback had been left open, and the closing mechanism was triggered when the javelina jumped in. In a panic to get out, the animal ripped off door panels and part of the dashboard.

It also knocked the vehicle into neutral, allowing it to roll down a driveway and across the street.

The next morning, the vehicle owners discovered what had happened and called the sheriff’s office. A deputy opened the hatch, and the javelina ran into the undergrowth.

Javelinas, also called peccaries, are a species of wild pig native to Central and South America and the southwest US. The animals live in herds of six to eight. Adults can weigh up to 80 pounds.

ZABOW, POLAND — Volunteer firefighters in Zabow twice had to remove a raccoon that was taking a nap in a precarious position atop a streetlamp.

Crews responded after the animal was spotted asleep while clinging to a horizontal section of conduit high above the ground. The electricity was disconnected, and crew members used a lift to reach the raccoon.

The animal was released on the ground, but immediately climbed back to the top of the streetlamp.

The crew removed the raccoon a second time and released it in a remote wooded area.

Read Full Post »

Pollen and Pollination

Every spring for a couple of weeks, my corner of the world — and probably yours — gets coated in pollen. At the same time, dried-out thingies begin raining down from the oak trees, clumping together and piling up and staining the driveway.

This year, I decided it was past time to identify those mysterious dried-out thingies. I wasn’t prepared for what I discovered.

They are called catkins, and they are the male half of oak tree reproduction. They contain pollen, which is carried by the wind to all the female oak flowers out there. Specifically, the male flowers form in the summer, produce pollen the next spring, die and dry up, and bingo.

The wind can carry the pollen many miles, but only a tiny fraction of the grains will pollinate a female and create an acorn. Further, the vast majority of acorns get eaten by animals and don’t make it to tree-hood. Nature doesn’t do pity.

The yellow coat of pollen on your car, by the way, is from pine trees, not oaks. Grains of pine pollen are large enough to be visible, but too large to bedevil your sinuses; oak and other hardwood pollen is much smaller and is the stuff that makes you sneeze and cough.

You, not me. Pollen doesn’t bother me at all.

The Power of Books

Scientist and science champion Carl Sagan, bless him, had a way with words. In 1995, one year before he died, he published The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. In the book was the following passage.

———

For 99 percent of the tenure of humans on earth, nobody could read or write. The great invention had not yet been made.

Except for firsthand experience, almost everything we knew was passed on by word of mouth. As in the children’s game “Telephone,” over tens and hundreds of generations, information would slowly be distorted and lost.

Books changed all that.

Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand the point of view of others, and not just those in power; to contemplate — with the best teachers — the insights painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history.

They allow people long dead to talk inside our heads. Books can accompany us everywhere. Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses.

Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.

———

That wonderful observation, I should note, came in a book.

The Oklahoma Panhandle

You’re no doubt familiar with the Oklahoma Panhandle, that odd strip of land west of the rest of the state, sticking out like the handle of a pan. But do you know the story of its origin? I didn’t either.

When the Republic of Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1821, the panhandle region was part of Texas. But when Texas applied to enter the Union in 1845, there was a problem. The U.S. prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north. The panhandle strip is north thereof.

Texas (sigh) insisted on being a slave state, so it surrendered its claim to the panhandle. For the rest of the century, the area was a no-man’s land between states, the home of assorted cattle ranches, homesteaders, and outlaws. Finally, the panhandle was tacked onto Oklahoma when it became a state in 1907.

The panhandle region is 168 miles east to west and 34 miles north to south. It consists of three minimally-populated rectangular counties, the westernmost of which, Cimarron County, borders Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Read Full Post »

More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

Read Full Post »

The alt-rock band Concrete Blonde released its debut album in 1986. The song “True” was included on the album twice, once with lyrics and again as an instrumental.

In 2002, after breaking up and reforming, as so many bands do, ho-hum, Concrete Blonde released “Group Therapy,” an album that includes “True, Part III.”

In 2012, the band disbanded again. Johnette Napolitano wrote in a farewell message, “Music lives on. Keep Listening. Long after we’re gone, the music will still be there.” Indeed.

As good as they were, Concrete Blonde somehow never clicked with the public and rose to the top. Such a shame.

In my subjective opinion, all three versions of “True” are well done, artistically and technically.

Which is why I present them to you herewith.

True

By Concrete Blonde, 1986
Written by Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey

When I’ve had enough,
I’ll get a pickup truck,
And I’ll drive away.
I’ll take my last ten bucks
Just as far as it will go.

Sometimes I’m easily fooled.
I take a painful step,
And I get knocked back two.
I do what I can,
And it’s all I can do.
But I’m true.

And if I had the choice,
I’d take the voice I got,
‘Cause it was hard to find.
You know I’ve come too far
To wind up right back where I started.

And they tell me who I should be.
I’ll never let those monkeys
Make a mess out of me.
I give all I am,
And it’s all I can do.
Ah, but I’m true.

One more sunset.
Lay my head down.
True.
One more sunrise.
Open my eyes up.
True.

And then they talk you up,
And then they talk you down,
And you begin to doubt.
Sometimes the reasons seem so very far away.

Ah, but I’d stop breathing today,
‘Cause if I can’t walk proud,
I’d rather walk away.
I do all I am, and it’s all I can do.
But I’m true.

I’d give all I am and give it to you.
True.
So true.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true.mp3

The instrumental version:

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true-instrumental.mp3

True, Part III

By Concrete Blonde, 2002
Written by Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey

And I
Will leave this life,
And I will know
I’ve done the very best I can.

And I
Will leave behind
Strain and pain
And take the blame for who I am.

And I,
I tried,
Tried to find a way
To hang it all together,
Oh, together.

And when
I leave this life,
What will you say of me,
You, who never knew my heart?

For I
Will leave behind
The sound of a woman
Who knew what was true
From the start.

And I,
I wanna slide
Out of my old hide
All clean and free and better.

Yeah, I
Wanna ride
Off into a wild new morning,
Off into forever.

Forever.

Oh, I,
I wanna ride
Off into some wild new morning,
Off into forever.

Oh, I,
I wanna slide
Out of my old hide
All clean and free and better.
Oh, forever.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true-part-iii.mp3

Read Full Post »

More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

● When King James V of Scotland died in 1542, his daughter Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland — at the age of six days old.

● Cheese is the world’s most commonly shoplifted food item.

● Every year, scientists discover about 18,000 new species of plants and animals, half of which are insects.

● In 1887, a partial skeleton of the three-horned dinosaur Triceratops was unearthed by geologist George L. Cannon near Denver. Dinosaurs being a bit of a new concept in those days, Cannon thought the bones were those of an especially large and unusual bison. Only after a third and more complete skeleton was found did Cannon see his mistake.

● The National Park System consists of 423 sites, 63 of which are full-blown National Parks.

Bonasa umbellus, the ruffed grouse, is a game bird native to Canada and the eastern US. Umbellus is Latin for umbrella or sunshade, referring to the bird’s showy neck plumage. Bonasa comes from the Latin words bonus (good)and assum (roasted).

● An ant can lift about 50 times its own weight.

● The word orangutan comes from the Malaysian words orang, meaning “person,” and hutan, meaning “forest.” It usually is translated as “man of the forest.”

Read Full Post »

It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.

Thomas Sowell

###

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

Voltaire

###

If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other.

Ulysses S. Grant

###

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Denis Diderot

Sowell

Diderot

Read Full Post »

Birds of a Feather

Spring is here, and, like the pine pollen, politics is in the air. Primary elections are approaching, and the candidates are going all out to inflame the voters.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m living in Nazi Germany. Most of the locals voted for Trump in 2016 and would again. They are lifelong, closed-minded conservatives, most of whom see outsiders, non-whites, and Democrats as menacing in a manner they can’t quite explain.

As you know, back in 2020, the Democrats won Georgia’s two US Senate seats, which stunned and enraged the MAGA crowd. Worse, a handful of GOP elected officials here, including the Governor and the Secretary of State, unexpectedly found the integrity to declare Biden the winner in Georgia.

To this day, cries of “RINOs!” ring out. The offending officeholders, now anathema to Trump and his minions, are being vigorously primaried.

In Georgia, Trump has endorsed candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the one Senate seat on the ballot this year. Trump’s choices, I assure you, are deplorable.

One of them, hoping to challenge Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, is even mentally ill. Literally. Certifiably and admittedly.

Herschel Walker, the former football player, is a typical, fanatical, space-cadet Trump supporter. Walker claims — get this — that the January 6 insurrection in Washington was a false flag operation orchestrated by the Democrats.

More to the point, Walker has for years suffered from “multiple personality disorder.” The condition has a new name now, but the original is nicely descriptive. Walker wrote a book about his struggles with it.

Supposedly residing in his head are half a dozen personalities, ranging from benign to violent. Apparently, any of the personalities can emerge and recede unbidden. I assume he is being medicated to keep the various Herschels in check.

Some years ago, one of the more violent Herschels pointed a pistol at his wife’s head, threatened her with a knife, and held a straight razor to her throat. After she wisely divorced him, he threatened to kill her and her new boyfriend, whereupon a court banned him from owning guns.

There’s more. For years, Walker publicly claimed he was the valedictorian of his high school graduating class. His high school said they had no valedictorian during the years Walker attended.

He also claimed he graduated from the University of Georgia in the top one percent of his class; the University points out that Walker dropped out of UGA in his junior year to sign with the New Jersey Generals, never graduated, and had a B average while at UGA.

Walker later amended the story to say that, years later, he re-enrolled at UGA and then graduated in the top one percent of his class. The University says no, he never re-enrolled and never graduated.

So, this is the person today’s Republicans support for the US Senate — a lying, mentally ill conspiracy theorist.

Well, of course it is. Birds of a feather, right?

Read Full Post »

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA — A 36-year-old woman wearing only a t-shirt was arrested for breaking into the home of an 80-year-old Pasadena man and attacking him with a coffee cup. Firefighters treated the man for cuts on his face and knuckles.

Police initially responded to a report of a partially-clad woman lying in the street. By the time officers arrived, the woman had run into the elderly man’s back yard. Hearing noises outside, the man opened the back door. The woman burst in, ran to a bathroom, and locked herself in.

Minutes later, she ran out of the bathroom and attacked the man with a coffee cup. He fought her off with his cane and forced her out of the house, where police arrested her.

The unidentified suspect was remanded to a detention facility in lieu of $30,000 bail. A court date is pending. Police gave no explanation for the women’s behavior.

DALTON, GEORGIA — A missing German Shepherd was found and reunited with its Chicago family after being lost in the North Georgia woods for over four months.

On October 30, the family was visiting Dalton when their dog Leo, age 10, slipped out of a motel room and vanished. The owners remained in Dalton for two weeks searching for Leo, but finally had to return to Chicago.

According to the Atlanta-based Lost Pet Recovery Team, Leo was spotted on a residential security camera in December and was seen again in early February in the same general area. Recovery Teams put out food and installed a series of trail cameras and traps.

In early March, a trap finally snared Leo, who was in good condition. Family members have since returned to Dalton and taken Leo home.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND — An Irish pub in Nottingham has placed a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the urinal in the men’s room and invited its customers to do the right thing.

Ged Dowling, owner of Raglan Road Irish Bar, said the action was a direct response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “People come in just to use the toilet,” Dowling said.

Putin’s photo replaces one of Donald Trump, which had been in the urinal for several years.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »