The Sunday Funnies & Factoids, The ‘Can We Please Cancel Christmas This Year?’ Edition
by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, 12/14/14 –
Hey, folks. Hope the latest edition of my Sunday Funnies & Factoids finds you well and not overly stressed out about the upcoming holidays. I am presently looking at hoar frost that graced me with its presence, after six inches of snow accompanied by 35 MPH winds two days ago. This weather is as schizophrenic as my wicked Uncle Burt. Hey, no complaints, last year at this time we were knee-deep in snow and the temperatures would freeze the balls of a brass monkey.
Enough of my jabbering and on with the show. Please enjoy this edition of the SF&Fs filled with the trivia that you may well never again use in your entire life……
1) An elephant can smell water from 12 miles away….. yeah, big deal…. I can smell single malt scotch from across the Atlantic…..
3) Invented in the 1940s in Tennessee, Mountain Dew was meant to be mixed with whisky. In fact, its bottles were designed to look like moonshine, and the original Mountain Dew labels featured outhouses, stills, and hay-chewing yokels.
4) Your heart will pump nearly 1.5 million barrels of blood during your lifetime, enough to fill 200 train tank cars.
5) Coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity, only behind petroleum.
7) Farting helps reduce high blood pressure and is good for your health.
8) If you earn more than US$21,000 a year, you are part of the richest 4% on the planet.
9) 50 Collective Nouns to Bolster Your Vocabulary
Collective nouns may seem like quirky ways to describe groups, but 500 years ago, they were your ticket to the in-crowd. Most collective nouns, or “terms of venery,” were coined during the 15th century. Many were codified in books of courtesy, like the 1486 classic Book of St. Albans. St. Albans was a handbook for medieval gentlemen, and it contained essays on hawking, hunting, and heraldry. Appended to the hunting chapter sits a list of 164 collective nouns, titled “The Compaynys of Beestys and Fowlys.” (Contrary to the title, many terms actually describe people—a biting example of ye olde satire.)
As silly as some sound today, the phrases were formal and proper descriptions. St. Albans was, after all, a vocabulary-booster, a primer designed to help gentlemen-in-training avoid the embarrassment of “some blunder at the table.” Over the next century, the book’s popularity bloomed. Similar courtesy handbooks caught on, and by the end of the 16th century, a slew of collective nouns had entered the lexicon.
Some have achieved widespread currency and acceptance, like a “flight of stairs,” “a board of trustees,” and a “school of fish.” Others, like a “murder of crows,” barely cling on. However, a handful of obscure phrases have made a comeback, thanks to James Lipton’s wonderful compendium of collective nouns, An Exaltation of Larks. Here are a few from Lipton’s book that you should add to your repertoire.
2. Labor of Moles
3. Mustering of Storks
4. Shrewdness of Apes
5. Gam of Whales
6. Smack of Jellyfish
7. Host of Angels
8. Fusillade of Bullets
9. Baptism of Fire
10. Quiver of Arrows
11. Tissue of lies
12. Murder of Crows
14. Dule of Doves
15. Clowder, Cluster, or Clutter of Cats
16. Kindle of Kittens
17. Mute of Hounds
18. Pass of Asses
19. Ostentation of Peacocks
20. Team of Ducks (when flying)
21. Paddling of Ducks (when on water)
22. Trip of Goats
23. Sloth, or Sleuth, of Bears
25. Hill of Beans
26. String of Ponies
27. Hand of Bananas
28. College of Cardinals
29. Shock of Corn
30. Band of Men
31. Knot of Toads
32. Wedge of Swans (when flying)
33. Parliament of Owls
34. Superfluity of Nuns
36. Untruth of Summoners
37. Doctrine of Doctors
38. Damning of Jurors
39. Sentence of Judges
40. Rascal of Boys
41. Gaggle of Women
42. Gaggle of Gossips
44. Tabernacle of Bakers
45. Poverty of Pipers
46. Fighting of Beggars
47. Neverthriving of Jugglers
48. Herd of Harlots
49. Worship of Writers
50. Hastiness of Cooks
According to Lipton, the terms above “are authentic and authoritative. They were used, they were correct, and they are useful, correct—and available—today.” You can pick up a copy of Lipton’s book here.
10) The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.
11) Theological philosopher Saint Augustine of Hippo is so important to the Catholic faith that even his mom was canonized; today, she’s known as Saint Monica. Augustine’s dad, on the other hand, is not a saint. He’s primarily remembered for cheating on St. Monica.
13) When Burger King decided to sell fast-food Down Under, they found that there was already a local carry-out restaurant called “Burger King.” As a result, if you’re looking for a Whopper in Australia today, you’ll have to go to a chain called “Hungry Jack’s.”
15) One of the drugs Nazis experimented with in 1944 was D-IX, a cocaine-based compound that included both an amphetamine and a morphine-related chemical to dull pain. Nazi doctors found that test subjects could march 55 miles before having to rest. Luckily, the war ended before production could begin.
16) When Columbus “discovered” the Americas, the continent was already inhabited by 90 million people, which was a third of the world’s population.
17) The Eiffel Tower was going to be demolished in 1909, but was saved because it was repurposed as a giant radio antenna.
18) Owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third, researchers found.
19) In 1977, we received a signal from deep space that lasted 72 seconds. We still don’t know how or where it came from.
20) Reindeer Sometimes Eat Meat
Does your family leave carrots out for Rudolph and company on Christmas Eve? This year, try a live lemming instead. Despite being largely herbivorous, stunned observers have watched the hoofed mammals hunt down unwary lemmings for centuries. According to a 1905 article in the Spectator, the reindeer eat the rodents when they’re migrating, “killing them by stamping on them with their feet”:
“The probability is that reindeer eat the lemmings for the same reason that many Northern herbivorous creatures will eat flesh, as a kind of change and stimulant in diet, and that they look on the grass-fed lemming much as we might look on stuffed olives.”
Eggs, too, are liable to end up in a reindeer’s stomach: The animals have been spotted raiding the nests of Arctic waterfowl, accidentally trampling whatever contents they don’t eat. In this respect, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree–white-tailed deer will sometimes snarf down sparrow eggs (and even chicks) for a quick dose of calcium.
A few ornithologists once suspected that, for these reasons, the climbing reindeer population in Siberia’s Lena Delta region was actively depleting the local swan supply, though such fears now appear ill-founded. Still, Santa’s elves may need to watch their backs…
21) Homosexuality was still classified as an illness in Sweden in 1979. Swedes protested by calling in sick to work, claiming they felt gay.
22) The song “Respect” was made popular by a woman, Aretha Franklin. However, it was originally written by a man, Otis Redding.
23) The Plague of Justinian killed as many as 10,000 people a day at its peak in 541 before eventually migrating from the Byzantine Empire to Western Europe, where it became known as The Black Plague.
Well, that’s the show for this week, boys and girls. I hope you have learned something or at the very least found some of the pictures somewhat amusing this week.
I’m off to the mall to buy overpriced gifts for people I am not that fond of who won’t appreciate them in the first place… ain’t christmas grand. Well, the good thing about shopping is that at least it gives me an opportunity to pick up a gift card from the grocery store that I can drop off at the Gathering Place on my way home. They do great work by providing free lunches for the less fortunate among us. They love the gift cards because that allows them to pick up fresh produce and any other things they may be running short of. I highly suggest you folks do the something of the same idea. It’s a win/win and it makes you feel so good by doing it…. it really, really does.