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LITTLE KNOWN FACTS

One pail of water can produce enough fog to cover 100 square miles to a depth of fifty feet.

What was Frankenstein's first name? Contrary to popular notion, Mary Shelley's monster was nameless. Frankenstein was the creator-doctor. His first name was Victor.

The world's record for running the 100-yard dash BACKWARDS was set by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the black tap dancer who appeared in many Shirley Temple movies. He ran it in 13.5 seconds.

Dr. Sylvester Graham was a religious crusader who opposed the use of meat, tea, coffee, tobacco, corsets, and feathers. He invented Graham crackers, which attained success in the 1820's because Graham claimed that they would reduce the pubescent urges of young girls.

Thomas Edison was a judge at the first "Miss America" beauty contest in 1880.

Fish can get seasick if they are swirled in a pail or kept on board a rolling ship.

A clever salesman is sometimes humorously credited with the ability to sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. Actually, many Eskimos own refrigerators. They use them to keep foods from freezing!

In 1940, accountants discovered the financial records of Benjamin Franklin at the archives of Philadelphia's Bank of America. According to their findings, Franklin -- the master of thrift -- was overdrawn on his account at least three times each week.

At least fifteen million people are having a birthday today.

For all its romantic significance in American history, the legendary Pony Express only lasted 18 months. When it went out of business, its financial backers lost $200,000.
                                                   
For most of human history, scientists believed that meteors did not exist. The idea that rocks could drop out of the sky seemed absurd. President Thomas Jefferson once denounced Yale University when one of its professors claimed to have seen a meteor fall.

Which state was the 39th to be admitted into the Union? No one knows. North and South Dakota, the 39th and 40th states, were admitted on the same day. President Benjamin Harrison never revealed which of the two proclamations he signed first.

Quarrymen in ancient Rome sometimes rubbed wax on their marble blocks to conceal cracks and flaws. The Roman Senate passed a law that all marble purchased by the government must be "since cera," which means, "without wax." From this root comes "sincere," a word we use to mean "without deception."

In 1906, the horse-drawn traffic in New York City moved along at an average speed of 11.5 miles per hour. In 1978, a survey showed automobile traffic in New York City averaged only 7.9 miles per hour.

"It was the only time I ever went into combat stoned," said American soldier Peter Lemon, describing how he smoked marijuana one night, then fought off two waves of Vietcong troops, dragged a wounded comrade to safety -- and won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Cadet Edgar Allen Poe was discharged from West Point in 1831 for "gross neglect of duty."  As legend has it, he was reporting to the parade grounds where the prescribed uniform had been "white belts and gloves."  He showed up wearing a white belt and gloves -- and nothing else.

The word "kangaroo" means "I don't know" in the language of Australian aborigines. When Captain Cook approached natives of the Endeavor River tribe to ask what the strange animal was, he got "kangaroo" for an answer.

The Harlem Globetrotters never played in Harlem until 1968 -- forty years after the team came together.

The highest and lowest points in the continental United States are less than eighty miles apart (Mount Whitney and Death Valley, California).

What kind of animal did the three wise men ride on their journey to Bethlehem? The Bible doesn't say they rode anything. According to Scriptures, it is entirely possible that they walked.

Felix Wankel, automotive engineer and inventor of the rotary engine, never had a driver's license.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond adventure novels.

The elephant is the only animal that cannot jump.

The Arlington National Cemetery cannot find an unknown soldier to occupy the fourth Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is dedicated to the men who died in Vietnam. Military identification --ranging from X-rays to fingerprints to dental records -- has become so sophisticated that there are no unknown remains that might be eligible for the Tomb.

A cheetah can jump from a standstill to 45 miles per hour in two seconds -- an acceleration rate that cannot be matched by even the fastest dragsters.

Adolf Hitler owned nine thousand acres of land in Colorado. When it was discovered in 1942 that Hitler had inherited title to the land from relatives in Germany, it was being used by ranchers as grazing land.

Harry Houdini was the first person to fly an airplane in the continent of Australia.

Before the Civil War, Lincoln offered the command of the Northern forces to Robert E. Lee.  Lee respectfully declined, resigned his military office, and returned to his Virginia home.

In the 1840's, two New Englanders named Pettygrove and Lovejoy acquired a large tract of land in Oregon on which they planned to build a city. When the first settlers began to build, they were unable to agree on a name for their city. Lovejoy wanted Boston -- Pettygrove wanted Portland. Finally, they flipped a coin. Pettygrove won.

In 1818, Easter was observed on the wrong day. The formula for calculating when Easter will fall was established nearly seventeen centuries ago; it is the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. Astronomers made a mistake in their calculations in 1818, and the Christian world celebrated Easter on the wrong Sunday.

Corn is incapable of reproducing itself in the wild.

An ear of corn will almost always contain an even number of rows -- usually twelve, fourteen, or sixteen. An ear with an odd number of rows is rarer than a four-leaf clover.

Wild rice is not wild. Nor is it rice.

The five interlocking Olympic Rings are colored black, blue, red, white, and yellow because at least one of those colors appears in every national flag in the world.

A bare-breasted woman caused a ten-car collision when she drove along the Hollywood Freeway in an open convertible. The incident was reported in the local newspaper with the following headline: "Bares 2, Rams 10."



WORD PUZZLES

Solve these word puzzles by saying them out loud, 
repeating the phrase, until you "hear" the answer.
  
Example: LAWN SAND JEALOUS  (place)
Answer:  Los Angeles
  
1.  SHOCK CUSSED TOE  (person)

2.  SAND TACKLE LAWS  (fictional character)

3.  MY GULCH HOARD UN (person)

4.  MOW BEAD HICK  (book)

5.  TALL MISCHIEF HER SUN  (person)

6.  CHICK HE TUB AN AN US (product)

7.  THOUGH TIGHT AN HICK  (thing)

8.  AISLE OH VIEW  (phrase)

9.  TUB RAID HEAP HUNCH  (TV show)

10. CARESS TROUGHER CLUMP US  (person)

11. DOCKED HEARSE WHOSE (person)

12. THUMB ILL KEY WAKE OWL LICKS HE  (place)

13. AGE ANT HUB BLOWS HEAVEN (fictional character)

14. THESE HOUND DOVE MOO SICK (movie)

15. BUCK SPUN HE (fictional character)
  
(Scroll down for the answers.)
 
   *
   *
   *
   *
   *
   *
   *
   *
   *
Answers:
 
1. Jacques Cousteau

2. Santa Claus

3. Michael Jordan

4. Moby Dick

5. Thomas Jefferson

6. Chiquita Banana

7. The Titanic

8. I love you

9. The Brady Bunch

10. Christopher Columbus

11. Doctor Seuss

12. The Milky Way Galaxy

13. Agent 007

14. The Sound of Music

15. Bugs Bunny
 


THE REDNECK DICTIONARY OF MEDICAL TERMS

Benign  --  What you be after you be eight.
Artery  --  The study of Paintings.
Bacteria  --  Back door to a Cafeteria.
Barium  --  What doctors do when patients die.
Cesarean Section  --  A neighborhood in Rome.
CAT Scan  --  Searching for a kitty.
Cauterize  --  Made eye contact with her.
Colic  --  A sheep dog.
Coma  --  A punctuation mark
D & C  --  Where Washington is.
Dilate  --  To live long.
Enema  --  Not a friend.
Fester  --  Quicker than someone else.
Fibula  --  A small lie.
Genital  --  Non-Jewish person.
G.I. Series  --  World Series of military baseball.
Hangnail  --  What you hang your coat on.
Impotent  --  Distinguished, well known.
Labor Pain  --  Getting hurt at work.
Medical Staff  --  A doctor's cane.
Morbid  --  A higher offer than I bid.
Nitrates  --  Cheaper than day rates.
Node  --  I knew it.
Outpatient  --  A person who has fainted.
Pap Smear  --  A fatherhood test.
Pelvis  --  Second cousin to Elvis
Post Operative  --  A letter carrier.
Recovery Room  --  Place to do upholstery.
Rectum  --  Damn near killed him.
Secretion  --  Hiding something.
Seizure  --  Roman emperor.
Tablet  --  A small table.
Terminal Illness  --  Getting sick at the airport.
Tumor  --  More than one.
Urine  --  Opposite of you're out.
Varicose  --  Near by / close by.



AMERICANS...DON'T 'CHA JUST LOVE'EM?

This is the transcript of an ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995.

Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to
avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.



YOU MAY BE A REDNECK PILOT IF....

~ Your stall warning plays "Dixie"

~ Your cross country flight plan uses flea markets as checkpoints.

~ You think sectional charts should show trailer parks.

~ You've ever used moonshine as Avgas.

~ You have mudflaps on your wheel pants.

~ Your toothpick keeps poking your mike.

~ You've ever just taxied around the airport drinking beer.

~ You wouldn't be caught dead in a Grumman Yankee.

~ You use a Purina feed sack for a wind sock.

~ The side of your airplane has a sign advertising your septic tank service.

~ You constantly confuse Beechcraft with Beechnut.

~ You refer to formation flying as "we got us a convoy."

~ You're matched set of luggage is three grocery bags from Piggly Wiggly.

~ You've ever fueled your airplane from a mason jar.

~ You've got a gun rack on the passenger window.

~ You have more than one roll of duct tape holding your cowling together.

~ Your preflight includes removing all of the clover, grass, and wheat from your landing gear.

~ You figure the weight of the mud and manure on your airplane into the CG calculations.

~ You siphon gas from your tractor to put in your airplane.

~ You've never landed at an actual airport though you've been flying for years.

~ You've ground looped after hitting a cow.

~ You consider anything over 100' AGL to be high altitude flight.

~ There are parts of your airplane labeled John Deere.

~ You've never actually seen a sectional but have all of the Texaco road maps for your flying area.

~ There's exhaust residue on the right side of your aircraft and tobacco stains on the left.

~ You have to buzz the strip to chase off the sheep and goats.

~ You use your parachute to cover your plane.

~ You've ever landed on the main street of town to get a cup of coffee.

~ The tread pattern, if any, on your main tires doesn't match.

~ Your primary comm. radio has 90 channels.



WISDOM?
        
Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-o to a tree
   
There is always a lot ot be thankful for if you take time to look for it.  For example, I'm sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.
   
Reason to smile:  Every seven minutes of every day, someone in an aerobics class pulls a hamstring.

The best way to keep kids at home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere .... and let the air out of their tires. (by a favorite of Eireann's:  Dorothy Parker)

Families are like fudge...mostly sweet with a few nuts.

I'd have a nervous breakdown, but I'm way too busy!
   
Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held it's ground.
   
Laughing helps.  It's like jogging on the inside.
   
Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
   
My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely.
   
The more you complain, the longer God lets you live.
   
One day I shall burst my buds of calm and blossom into hysteria.
   
If you can remain calm, you just don't have all the facts.
   
Eat a toad first thing in the morning, and nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the day!
   
You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you're down there.

Life's golden age is when the kids are too old to need baby-sitters and too young to borrow the family car.



OLD SAYINGS WITH A NEW TWIST ...

~ Follow your dream!
Unless it's the one where you're at work in your underwear during a fire drill.   

~ Always take time to stop and smell the roses...
and sooner or later, you'll inhale a bee.   

~ Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead.
Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow.
Do not walk beside me, either... Just leave me the hell alone. 

~ If you don't like my driving, don't call anyone. Just take another road.
That's why the highway department made so many of them.   

~ If a motorist cuts you off, just turn the other cheek.
Nothing gets the message across like a good mooning.

~ When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle.
It makes the neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.   

~ It's always darkest before dawn.
So if you're going to steal the neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.   

~ A handy telephone tip: Keep a small chalkboard near the phone.
That way, when a salesman calls, you can hold the receiver up to it
and run your fingernails across it until he hangs up.   

~ Each day I try to enjoy something from each of the four food groups:
the bonbon group, the salty-snack group, the caffeine group,
and the "whatever-the-thing-in-the-tinfoil-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-is" group.

PHRASES OF AGE

A man has reached middle age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police.

Middle age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.

You know you're into middle age when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.

Granddad's 97th birthday is coming up, and people asked him what he'd most appreciate getting.  He told them:  A paternity suit. 

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.

The longer I live, the less future there is to worry about.Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

I won't admit I'm more than 49, even if that does make my children illegitimate.

The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way thru Congress.

You're getting old when getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.

You're getting old when tying one on means fastening your MedicAlert bracelet.

You're getting old when you don't care where your wife goes, just so you don't have to go along.

You're getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling,and you didn't do anything the night before.

The cardiologist's diet: if it tastes good, spit it out.

Doctor to patient:  I have good news and bad news:  the good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.

SOME REALLY STUPID HUMAN TRICKS...

Seattle:
Seems that a year ago, some Boeing employees on the field decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s.  They were successful in getting it out ofhe plant and home.  When they took it for a float on the Stilliguamish River, they were quite surprised by a Coast Guard helicopter homing in on the emergency locator that is activated when the raft is inflated.  They are no longer employed there.

Tennessee:
A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole the bank's video camera.  While it was recording.  Remotely.  (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)

Louisiana:
A man walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change.  When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided.  The man took the cash from the clerk and fled-leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer?  Fifteen dollars.

Arkansas:
Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly.  He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run.  So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window.  The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious.  Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.

New York:
As a female shopper exited a convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran.  The clerk called 911 immediately and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.  Within minutes, the police had apprehended the snatcher.  They put him in the cruiser and drove back to the store.  The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID.  To which he replied, "Yes Officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

Seattle:
When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for.  Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage.  A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake.  The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Newark:
A woman was reporting her car as stolen, and mentioned that there was a car phone in it.  The policeman taking the report called the phone, and told the guy that answered that he had read the ad in the newspaper and wanted to buy the car.  They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.

Ann Arbor:
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50am,
flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order.  When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast.  The man, frustrated, walked away.

Kentucky:
Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck.  Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck.  Scared, they left the scene and drove home.  With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain.  With their vehicle's license plate still attached to the bumper.



(This is a paraphrased version of a Dave Barry article)

LIGHTING CHARCOAL GRILLS

Our subject today is lighting charcoal grills.  One of our favorite charcoal grill lighters is a guy named George Goble (really!!), a computer person in the Purdue University engineering department.  Each year Goble and a bunch of other engineers hold a picnic in West Lafayette, Indiana, at which they cook hamburgers on a big grill.  Being engineers, they began looking for practical ways to speed up the charcoal-lighting process.  "We started by blowing the charcoal with a hair dryer," Goble told me in a telephone interview.  "Then we figured out that it would light faster if we used a vacuum cleaner."

If you know anything about (1) engineers and (2) guys in general, you know what happened:

The purpose of the charcoal-lighting shifted from cooking hamburgers to seeing how fastthey could light the charcoal.  From the vacuum cleaner, they escalated to using a propane torch, then an acetylene torch.  Then Goble started using compressed pure oxygen, which caused the charcoal to burn much faster, because as you recall from chemistry class, fire is essentially the rapid combination of oxygen with a reducing agent (the charcoal).  We discovered that a long time ago, somewhere in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (or something along those lines). 

By this point, Goble was getting pretty good times. But in the world of competitive charcoal-lighting, "pretty good" does not cut the mustard.  Thus, Goble hit upon the idea of using - get ready - liquid oxygen.  This is the form of oxygen used in rocket engines; it's 295 degrees below zero and 600 times as dense as regular oxygen.  In terms of releasing energy, pouring liquid oxygen on charcoal is the equivalent of throwing a live squirrel into a room
containing 50 million Labrador retrievers.

On Gobel's Web page, you can see actual photographs and a video of Goble using a bucket attached to a 10-foot-long wooden handle to dump 3 gallons of liquid oxygen (not sold in stores) onto a grill containing 60 pounds of charcoal and a lit cigarette for ignition. 

What follows is the most impressive charcoal-lighting I have ever seen, featuring a large fireball that according to Goble, reached 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The charcoal was ready for cooking in -- this has to be a world record -- 3 seconds.  There's also a photo of what happened when Goble used the same technique on a flimsy $2.88 discount-store grill. 
All that's left is a circle of charcoal with a few shreds of metal in it.  "Basically, the grill vaporized," said Goble.  "We were thinking of returning it to the store for a refund."

Looking at Goble's video and photos, I became, as an American, all choked up with gratitude at the fact that I do not live anywhere near the engineers' picnic site.  But also, I was proud of my country for producing guys who can be ready to barbecue in less time than it takes for guys in less-advanced nations to spit.

Will the 3-second barrier ever be broken?  Will engineers come up with a new, more powerful charcoal-lighting technology?  It's something for all of us to ponder this summer as we sit outside, chewing our hamburgers, every now and then glancing in the direction of West Lafayette, Indiana, looking for a mushroom cloud.  Engineers are like that.



LET'S FACE IT  --  ENGLISH IS A CRAZY LANGUAGE...

There's no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted.  But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth,why isn't the plural of booth, beeth?  One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through the annals of history but not a single annal?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? 

If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people
recite at a play and play at a recital? 
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? 
Have noses that run and feet that smell? 
Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike?

How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

How you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent?

Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? 

Met a sung hero or experienced requited love?

Have you ever run into someone who was dis-combobulated, grunted, ruly or peccable?

And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it!