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Today Is World Tedium Day

16 Jan

To relieve it, I have gathered together some funny and/or interesting stuff.  You can thank me by reciprocating in the comments with your own funny or interesting stuff.

  • Children are a great comfort in your old age — and they help you reach it faster, too.   Lionel Kauffman.
  • One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child’s name and how old he or she is.   Erma Bombeck.
  • Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.  Sam Levenson.

  • The longest war in history was between The Netherlands and The Scilly Isles.  It ended in 1986 after 335 years.
  • Peanuts are an ingredient of dynamite.
  • A sneeze travels at over 100mph.
  • The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.
  • The names of the continents start and end with the same letter.
  • You cannot lick your elbow (yes, I know it’s an old one but I promised you dull stuff).
  • When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second.
  • The only word in the English language to end in ‘mt’ is ‘dreamt’.
  • People laugh on average thirteen times a day.
  • The sun is 330,330 times larger than the earth.
  • Polar bears are left-handed.
  • Honolulu is the only place in the United States that has a royal palace.
  • Babies are born without kneecaps.

This post first appeared three years ago.  Fact.


12 Dec

Today has an interesting date.  I wouldn’t mention it, however, except that there won’t be another like it for many years.

Having mentioned it, I can’t think of anything interesting to say about it.

Having nothing interesting to say about it, I did some Google research.  I came across this little exchange on Yahoo! Answers:

Question: What word do you use when all numbers in the date are the same?  For example, tomorrow is the 8/8/2008. is there a word for this numerical phenomenon?  I’m in Australia. Its the 7th now.

Answer: 666 called the devil’s number…………….

Answer: August.

Answer: Umm… isnt the day after tomorrow the eighth?

There’s a surprising amount of stupidity on the internet.


I assumed there are only twelve occasions in a century when the numbers in a date are the same e.g.  1/1/1, 2/2/2 etc., but I read elsewhere – on the internet, of course – that there are 14.  The writer cited 1/11/11 and 11/11/1 but what about 11/1/11 and 1/11/1?  And isn’t it cheating because 1. There should be a zero in front of the ones and 1.1. One is not the same number as eleven?

If I use those arguments, I have a little problem myself: I lose nine dates i.e. 01/01/01. 02/02/02, etc.


The best source of information for today’s date was Wikipedia.  I can’t guarantee its accuracy, but I can repeat it:


Twelve! (Photo credit: Mrs Logic)

  • 12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13.  (I’m pretty sure that’s right.)
  • The word twelve is the largest number with a single-morpheme name in English.  (You get no argument from me.)
  • Twelve is a composite number, the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Twelve is also a highly composite number, the next one being 24. It is the first composite number of the form p2q; a square-prime, and also the first member of the (p2) family in this form. 12 has an aliquot sum of 16 (133% in abundance). Accordingly, 12 is the first abundant number (in fact a superabundant number) and demonstrates an 8 member aliquot sequence; {12,16,15,9,4,3,1,0} 12 is the 3rd composite number in the 3-aliquot tree. The only number which has 12 as its aliquot sum is the square 121. Only 2 other square primes are abundant (18 and 20). (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…)
  • The duodenum (from Latin duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.  (Gross but fascinating.)  (See what I did there?  Made a little number 12 joke.)
  • 12 appears a lot in religion and mythology.  (That last bit was paraphrased because there’s a massive chunk that I’m not going to c+p.  I want you to still like me after this post.)  (There’s an even bigger chunk about twelve in sports but, yawn…)
  • Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.  The Chinese go one better and use a 12 year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.  (I have to take Wikipedia’s word for that; I’ve never seen one on the high street.)
  • Twelfth Night is a play by William Shakespeare.  (Speaking of which, can’t forget ye olde Twelve Days of Christmas.  But the less said about that, the better.)  (Twelfth Night in 1996 starred Helena Bonham Carter; HBC was in Novocaine with Kevin Bacon, giving her a Bacon Number of 1.  Kevin Bacon is the key component in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  From AR15OK, this is a trivia game that takes its name from the Movie “Six Degrees of Separation”, which refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.  There you have it: today’s date belongs to Kevin Bacon.)
  • Films:
    • 12
    • 12 Angry Men (1957 and 1997)
    • Cheaper by the Dozen (Oddly, no mention here of a re-make…)
    • Ocean’s Twelve (Baffling sequel, redeemed only by Brad Pitt.  He didn’t have to do anything, just look gorgeous)
    • 12 Monkeys (Brad Pitt again, proving he can act as well as look gorgeous)
    • The Dirty Dozen
    • 12 Rounds
    • Twelve
    • (No Twelfth Night.  Wikipedia’s obviously not a Shakespeare buff.)

Today’s post has been brought to you by the Number Twelve, and by a whiff of desperation.

Food Facts

6 Dec

Christmas for many is all about preparing to eat, eating, then wishing you hadn’t eaten quite so much.

To celebrate the growing obesity* crisis that is December, here are some food facts:

  • Apples are made of 25% air, which is why they float.  They also have more stimulant than caffeine.  And I’ve been feeding them to my children.
  • Avocado has the highest protein and oil content of all fruits (I didn’t say they’d be interesting facts).  They are also poisonous to birds (okay, that is interesting).
  • Carrots were originally purple in colour, changing in the 17th Century to orange, through new varieties.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world comes from civet poop.  Not sure what a civet is, but if it poops, I’m not drinking the coffee.
  • Celery requires more calories to eat and digest than it contains.
  • Cherries are a member of the rose family.  Asparagus is a member of the lily family.  Food doesn’t know its place.
  • The largest food item on a menu is roast camel.  I wonder if that would be enough for my family this Christmas?
  • Corn always has an even number of ears. It only makes up about 8% of the weight in a box of corn flakes.
  • Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish.  Ewwwwwwww!
  • Honey is the only edible food for humans that will never go bad.  A jar of honey that was 2000 years old was eaten safely.
  • Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.  Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges.  Strawberries knock citrus fruits on their – ahem – backsides.
  • Coconut water can be used (in emergencies) as a substitute for blood plasma.
  • Peanuts are an ingredient in dynamite.
  • Pear is a fruit that ripens from the inside out.
  • During a lifetime the average person eats about 35 tonnes of food.  70% of that at Christmas time.

Source: the internet, so they must be true.

*See what I did there?

Do you have an interesting food fact to share?


10 Nov
Dates Bookmark

Dates Bookmark (Photo credit: RBerteig)

My old school friend Dave reminds this number geek that today is 10.11.12.  I adore interesting numbers but I did them to death last year, if you remember.

The date is the only interesting thing about today, unless you count the sausage and egg oven bottom barms we had for dinner; and they were interesting only in an air quotes sort of way, because I got a little hysterical during the egg frying.  

The internet had nothing interesting to say about today, though I did keep picking up that in the year 1582 there was no October 11th in some European countries because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar.

I couldn’t understand why it kept telling me something thirty days and 430 years out of date until I realised I was looking at American sites and that America is backwards.  

About dates, that is.  In the US, today is 11.10.12.

How interesting.

Rain. So What Else Is New?

15 Aug


To say we’ve had a lot of rain this year is an understatement.  Trawling my archives, I discover that I was complaining about rain way back in August 2010, so I dug up some facts:

It is the wettest spot on Earth

It is the wettest spot on Earth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you are a UK resident this is a good site for the rain forecast.  Or you could just look out your window.
  • Rainfall is classified as light if not more than 0.10 inch per hour, and heavy if more than 0.30 inch per hour.
  • If the earth were a body, the Amazon rainforest would be its lungs.  It’s got emphysema.  Rainforests used to cover 14% of the earth; now it’s only 6%.  Forty more years and it’s Hello Gobi.  Dull as he is, Sting is clearly on to something.
  • A single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe’s rivers.
  • Raindrops can fall at up to 22 miles per hour.  And 22 hours a day, in my experience. 
  • Louisiana is the wettest state in the US: 56 inches a year.
  • One single tree in Peru was found to have forty-three different species of ants.  Okay, they can chop that one down as far as I’m concerned.
  • There is a famous actor called Rain.  Ever heard of him?  Me neither.

    The Rain People

    The Rain People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Acid Rain is a real phenomenon; natural precipitation reacts chemically with air pollutants and becomes acidic.  Ouch.  We’re poisoning the ecosystem.  Where’s Sting when you need him?
  • Made out of copper, the Statue of Liberty is corroding because of acid rain; the acid discolours and dissolves the copper.  If it carries on, she’ll be Is That You, Liberty?
  • Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days every year.  If you think that’s a lot, try living in Stockport.
  • Raindrops change shape as they fall.
  • The world’s heaviest average rain fall (about 430 inches) occurs in Cherrapunji, India, where as much as 87 feet of rain has fallen in one year.  Is that anywhere near Stockport?
  • Rain that freezes before it hits the ground is known as frozen rain.  I got that from a site called ‘Interesting facts about rain.’  I should sue them for false advertising.
  • All the water in the world is all the water we will ever have. The rain and floods we are experiencing are like sloshing drinks from one glass to another.  Finally, a good idea.
  • The umbrella started life as a parasol.  Talk about aspirational.
  • You can make your own rain.  Like we haven’t had enough.  Check out:  I’m not posting details here because I don’t want to encourage you.


Victory Victoria

8 Jul

Maltesers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a treat for you today – a guest blogger!  Her name is Kate Shrewsday and she and I have been following each other for a long time.

Kate has a wonderful parlour trick: she can take two disparate subjects and link them so that they make one interesting post…Batman and aqueducts; sharks and cats; death and Debussy.

She knows the value of a hook – that first line of writing that grabs the reader and keeps them reading.  My personal favourite: Everyone loves a cross dressing lady sailor.

I gave Kate what I felt was an impossible challenge: link Maltesers and Queen Victoria.  She was back in a couple of days with a So you think you can beat me, Mrs Wrong… and the following post.  It’s hard to believe there was ever a time without Maltesers, but Kate has unearthed that disturbing fact.

Enjoy the post!

Then go and visit her blog; I’m sure you’ll like her.  Who wouldn’t like a burping woman?



Queen Victoria (State portrait) by Sir George ...

Queen Victoria (State portrait) by Sir George Hayter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a well-documented fact that the quick fire humour of the Laughing Housewife is fuelled by small spheres of malt, covered in a thin coating of chocolate.

The Malteser, created in 1936, is iconic. It is moreish in much the same fashion as that Wonka bar of fictional fame, and might as well be made by oompa loompas, for all we know, for the company – Mars Incorporated, a family concern – is notoriously schtumm about its methods.

In 1993 The Washington Post, the paper which broke the Watergate scandal, congratulated itself thoroughly on being able to send a reporter into an American Mars factory to witness the ‘M’ being painted on an M&M.
It’s all very hush-hush. And I should know: I live not far from the mysterious British industrial cathedral which fills lorries with Maltesers and speeds them up the M6 to Stockport.
You may have heard of it. The birthplace of the British Malteser is Slough.
English: An aerial view photograph taken over ...

English: An aerial view photograph taken over the infamous Slough Trading Estate in Slough, Berkshire. United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A barren industrial wasteland,  Slough earned the poet John Betjeman’s scorn: “Come friendly bombs and rain on Slough,” he intoned famously; “it isn’t fit for humans now.”

It is, but it ain’t purdy. Concrete, a mix of new shopping paradise and tired old parades, it goes on for mile after relentless mile, with little to persuade one to tarry.
It has not always been a concrete jungle. It was once known for something very different from Ricky Gervais, and Forrest Mars’s chocolate factory.
Its fame stemmed, back then, from a lady who was rarely amused.
Her nearby gaff at Windsor Castle had long been a place to which dignitaries flocked. Even in Shakespeare’s time the visitors were much in evidence – one glance at The Merry Wives Of Windsor will show you the extent of the bustle.
But Queen Victoria was not just a queen, she was an empress.
And an empire’s worth of visitors: that’s a lot.
They came from all over the British Empire to visit her by invitation at Windsor Castle. But there was an awkward problem.
The castle wasn’t particularly comfortable. It is said its design, and formality, were stuffy: and the Queen had a suspicion of gaslight and would not tolerate it. It was strictly candles-only at Windsor Castle.
And so, furtively, visitors began to book hotels: just down the road, in a conglomeration of villages which gathered around the Great Western Railway station which opened in June 1838. It was collectively called Slough.
The station attracted understandable interest. It was just an informal stop for a while because the headmaster of Eton made a rumpus about railways interrupting the discipline of the school.
In a typically British compromise, the train just ‘happened‘ to stop at Slough so passengers could alight.
But you can’t rely on chance when an empress gets on.  
Queen Victoria made her first journey to London from Slough’s newly built station in 1842. Long before Betjeman invited the bombs, before concrete, before industrial estates.
And 94 years before the advent of Maltesers.

*Joel Glen Brenner, “Planet of the M&Ms”  Washington Post Magazine, April 12, 1992

Sorry For The Misunderstanding

6 Apr

I was surprised at the reaction to this photo yesterday, because it looks so obvious to me that it is make up, and I have a towel around me to protect my clothes. 

I promise the Hub never laid a hand on me.  I take violence against women seriously and I would never make light of it, nor stay with a man who thought it was okay to knock me about.

I was touched that you wanted reassurance.   I would never have used this photo if I thought it would be misunderstood.

If you’d like to know how I feel about attacks on women, read this post.

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