Nerd Stuff You Didn’t Know


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.

Puzzle — Movie Quotes

Meanwhile in Vancouver, Canada, the snow has turned to freezing rain.  The streets look like somebody spilled a gigantic dirt and dishwater daiquiri.  It’s been a week since I’ve done anything but shovel.  I’ve eaten all the chocolate, all the cookies and all the leftover Christmas candy.  This is my last bag of Doritos and my last Pepsi.  Now I know how the boys of Terra Nova felt.  (Too soon?)  But, if I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down swinging, testing the mettle of my electronic friends.


This is a movie quote puzzle.  Here are 11 quotes from 11 movies and the 11 actors and actresses who spoke them.  You have to match the quote to the actor or actress and then name the movie.  This is moderately difficult.  Hint: Use the process of elimination.

So, if you like, answer all the questions correctly and use Contact Me to send me your answers.  The first person to get all of them correct (100%) will be awarded a signed copy of The Woman in the Window — everybody else will bask in the knowledge that they did a good job.  The contest ends at noon on Monday Feb. 13, 2017 (Vangroovy time.)  Answers next week.  Good luck!

1 — “You gonna do somethin’ or just stand there and bleed?”

2 — “And tomorrow we come back and cut off your Johnson.”

3 — “Go away — or I shall taunt you a second time.”

4 — “You are a sad, strange, little man and you have my pity.”

5 — “Looking at the cake is like looking at the future. Until you’ve tasted it, what do you really know– and then, of course, it’s too late.

6 — “Shut up and deal.”

7 — “It’s always gonna be somethin’ with you, isn’t it Joe?”

8 — “You people! If there isn’t a movie about it, it’s not worth knowing– is it?”

9 — “I don’t know how to shut down a neutron reactor — and unless you took a Learning Annex course I don’t know about, I’m pretty sure you don’t know how to shut down  a neutron reactor, either.”

10 — “Get off my lawn!”

11 — “It’s not the years; it’s the mileage.”


A — Sigourney Weaver

B — John Cleese

C — Harrison Ford

D — Clint Eastwood

E — Peter Stormare

F — Kurt Russell

G — Meg Ryan

H — Tim Allen

I — Shirley MacLaine

J — Alan Rickman

K — Nicol Williamson

Easter Trivia II

romania-599437_1280Once again, in keeping with my avowed principle that my readers should go to bed smarter than when they woke up, here are some cool facts about Easter and environs.  Pass this information on between mouthfuls of chocolate and you’ll either look like the smartest person in the room or a pompous ass — your choice.

The tastiest parts of the Easter bunny are the ears, followed by the nose.  This is one of those stupid facts that has actually been statistically verified by years of research.  Why?  Go figure!

On average, North Americans consume over 90 million Easter bunnies every year.  However, this incredible number does include those cheap bastards who buy their bunnies on Monday — when they’re half price.

The first European tourist on Easter Island was Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, in 1722.  He named the island Paasch Eyland (Easter Island) when he mistakenly thought all the large stone statues (Moai) he saw there were waiting for the Easter Bunny.

And speaking of Moai: if you want to make a million dollars, next Easter make a bunch of chocolate Moai and sell them to esoterically obsessed hipsters.  These folks have tons of disposable cash and simply can’t pass up a chance to be ironic.  (FYI, this is my idea.  If you do make a million dollars, I want a Finder’s Fee!)

The name Easter actually comes from the pagan goddess of fertility, Eastre, whose symbols were the rabbit and the egg.  Early Christians (marketing geniuses, BTW) saw an opportunity to piggyback their Holy Week resurrection message on the numerous Spring Festivals already established across Europe.  They slowly pushed Eastre into the background, and 17 centuries later, all we have left are chocolate bunnies, coloured eggs and a misspelt name.

Over one billion jellybeans will be eaten this Easter.  That sound you hear is the American Dental Association cashing their cheques and buying luxury condos.

Of the 50 or so obscenely opulent Faberge eggs produced for the Russian Royal Family, 8 are still missing.  So, next time you have to endure an afternoon with your great-aunt Olga, take a snoop through her china cabinet — you might get lucky.  These things sell for tens of millions of dollars, and if she doesn’t know it’s there, chances are good she won’t miss it.

And finally: Parents, decorating eggs with your children at Easter is a wonderful activity.  It will demonstrate just exactly what kind of a wacko control freak you really are.

Happy Easter!