Some (old) Ideas

One of the cool things about calling yourself a writer is you get to do all kinds of things that everybody else calls bone-ass lazy.  Stuff like spending hours drinking coffee, taking long strolls through the Internet and staring off into space.  Wordy Wordsworth called it, “… powerful feelings: … recollected in tranquility” or something like that.  This “work” is essential for writers to hone their craft.  The serious upside is you get to discover all kinds of interesting facts, and you have time to come up with even more interesting conclusions.  Here are just a few things I’ve been pondering for a while.

There’s a town in Canada called Smithers — which means the people who live there are Smithereens.

On average, the Dutch are the tallest people in the world — even though a lot of them are standing below sea level.

Apparently, a huge bunch of people born between 1977 and 1983 are sick and tired of being lumped in with those terminally malcontent millennials.  They have decided to perform a generational Brexit (Genexit?) and want to be referred to as Xennials.  I can’t say I blame them.

In the future, people will look at their electronic devices and think “What a stupid icon for a telephone.”

Despite everybody and her friend claiming they broke the Internet – you can’t.  The truth is the Internet is no longer vulnerable to human attack: there are just too many servers scattered across the planet.  However, before you go all SkyNet/Terminator, 99.99% of all electronic devices are just dumb machines used for storage.

Humans first walked on the moon 50 years ago in 1969.  That was 2 years before women got to vote nationally in Switzerland and 8 years before France quit using the guillotine for executions.  Weird, huh?

One of the earliest and most persistent symptoms of lead poisoning is irritability, so it’s interesting that statistics show violent crime (aside from armed robbery) has been steadily decreasing since lead was banned from automobile fuel in the late 1980s.  Coincidence?  Maybe. . .

For several years, universities have been adding puppies to their “safe spaces” to combat student stress and exam anxiety.  Whatever!  The weird thing is nobody is willing to talk about what happens to the puppies when they’re no longer puppies.  Creepy!

Over 100 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute.  Wow!  And, according to the last time they kept records (several years ago) it would take you approximately 93,000 years to watch everything YouTube has to offer.  That is a lot of avoidance behaviour!

In the last 10 years, restaurant revenues, movie theatre revenues and department stores revenues have all declined — whereas the revenues of home delivery companies like Uber Eats, GrubHub, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have all dramatically increased.  If this trend continues, eventually millennials will never have a reason to leave their apartments.  And this is a bad thing?

Andy Warhol was wrong.  In the future, everybody will have 15 minutes of privacy.

And finally:

I think it’s absolutely hilarious that a generation raised on South Park and Family Guy spend so much time being eagerly offended by everything.  Irony is not dead.

Just The Facts! 2021

Back in the day, we had something called facts.  They were amazing little immutable things that helped us figure out what was actually going on in the world.  They separated the truth from the bullshit and gave us an anchor on reality.  Those days are gone.  In the 21st century, facts are an endangered species.  We kinda prefer spin to the truth.  After all, it’s a lot easier to simply accept ideas than spend valuable Netflix time thinking about them.  Unfortunately, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re putting so much spin on the truth that even Meghan Markle’s getting dizzy.  But don’t despair.  Facts still exist, although they’re surprisingly hard to find.  Here are a few I’ve managed to ferret out.

The first birthday present you were ever given is your name.

If you’re trying to fall asleep, you have to pretend you’re asleep first – and sneak up on it.

More Americans have had sex with Taylor Swift than have died of Ebola.

You can’t burn anything twice.

Humans can’t actually “bite down” on anything.  The jaw is hinged the other way.  In order to move your top teeth down you have to move your whole head.  Try it!

(You just tried it, didn’t you?)

You can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze unless you consciously decide you’re going to keep your eyes open when you sneeze — before you do it.

Somebody on this planet has eaten more kale than anybody else and should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.

If you say something is “indescribable,” you have, in fact, described it.

The make-believe CGI streetlights in video games are actually using electricity so you can see them.

There is only one possible way that the original moon landing was fake:  if it wasn’t filmed on location.

It’s not premarital sex if you never get married.  Face it, folks!  It’s just sex.

And finally, one philosophical little gem:

For the rest of your life, you’re never going to be as young as you are at this exact moment.

Nerd Stuff You Didn’t Know

trivia

I love trivia, and if it’s nerd trivia, I love it even more.  And if it’s nerd trivia that nerds don’t know, I love it even more than that.  For example, it’s a common nerd “fact” that the only animal not mentioned in the Bible is the cat.  Sorry!  There are tons of animals not mentioned in the Bible — including kangaroos, California Condors, Komodo Dragons and polar bears.  So with that in mind, here are three extraordinary nerd facts to astound your friends, win Pub Night Quizzes and generally make you smarter than your know-it-all brother-in-law.

If you’re over 30, you’ve probably read the legend of King Arthur.  If you’re under 30. you’ve seen the one of the crap movies.  Either way, you kinda know the story.  Somewhere in Britain, there was a sword stuck in a stone (no idea how it got there) and anybody who pulled it out became the King of Britain.  Simple — except nobody could.  Then one day a regular guy — sometimes an oaf, sometimes a churl, but usually a squire — accidently gives it a yank and OMG! out it comes.  He is proclaimed King Arthur, and with the sword, Excalibur, rules Britain wisely for many years.  (Until he screws up, but that’s a different story.)  The problem is the sword Arthur pulled out of the stone was not Excalibur.  Excalibur was actually given to Arthur by The Lady of the Lake after Arthur broke the original sword, Caliburn.  We’ve streamlined the legend because contemporary audiences don’t have a great attention span – hence all the crap movies.  Plus, in some versions of the original story, King Arthur also has a spear called Ron.

In Nepal, it’s legal to hunt the Yeti, (Abominable Snowman.)  All you have to do is apply for a permit, pay the fee (about $1,200) and you’re good to go.  However, you can’t kill the Yeti, and if you do manage to capture one, you have to turn it over to the Nepalese government.  So it’s not like you can come home and put on the brag about the head mounted on your wall.  (Ewwww!)  Apparently, however, there are official bumper stickers.

And my favourite:

Everything is this world has a regular name and a scientific name.  For example, humans are Homo sapiens, wolves are Canis lupus, apples are Malus domestica — and so on and so on.  Scientific names are usually Latin, mostly boring, sometimes fun (like Gaga germanotta – a fern named for Lady Gaga) and sometimes they’re just lazy like Gorilla gorilla, the scientific name for … gorillas.  Normally, when a new species is discovered, the scientific community goes into warp speed to name it.  (These days, it takes less than a year.)  However, there is one species that baffled science nerds for nearly 300 years – the giant tortoise.  These huge creatures were discovered by the Spanish in the early 1500s, but they didn’t get a scientific name until 1812 when August Friedrich Schweigger named them Testudo gigantean.  So why the three century delay?  Everybody knew they existed.  Well, it seems, giant tortoises are such good eatin’ that none of them ever survived the journey back to the universities of Europe.  They all became lunch!  According to every account, the giant tortoise was so delicious that even the most dedicated botanists and biologists couldn’t resist them.  Ships would literally stop in mid ocean so the sailors could finish eating their tortoises before they made harbour and had to share.  For generations, scientific expeditions would sail out to far-flung parts of the world and return with all manner of exotic species and … a bunch of empty giant tortoise shells … having consumed the contents.  I’m not making this up!  Even the mighty Charles Darwin, Lord High Poobah of animal studies, dined on giant tortoise on the way home from the Galapagos.  Thus, it took nearly 300 years for a few of them to avoid the frying pan long enough to get a scientific name.

These days, there are international laws that protect the giant tortoise from becoming an extinct item on the menu.  However, there is a heavy illegal trade for the tables of rich culinary connoisseurs with no conscience.  Meanwhile, if you want to taste the most delicious meat in the world, apparently, you can — there’s a very expensive synthetic version.  But be warned: you might like it a little too much.