Did You Know? The Fact File Is Open Again.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The fact file is open again and here are fifteen more gems of wisdom to peruse at your leisure.

Enjoy.

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did you know5

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100,000,000,000 solar neutrinos pass through

every square inch of your body every second.

(I thought I felt something!)

solar neutrinos

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The northern border of Delaware is curved,

with all points being exactly 12 miles from

the old court house in New Castle.

delaware state map

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James Barrie, author of Peter Pan, never had kids,

but he did have a special affection for the children of others.

In 1929 he signed over the rights for Peter Pan to a London hospital

that specialized in pediatric medicine.

James Barrie

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The celery stick garnish became a staple of the Bloody Mary

only after an impatient patron at Chicago’s Pump Room

couldn’t wait for his server to bring him a swizzle stick.

He took matters into his own hands and

snatched a celery stalk from a nearby relish tray.

Bloody-Mary

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Ice Cream was served to new arrivals at Ellis Island.

However, since most people hadn’t encountered it before,

they simply figured it was butter and spread it on their toast.

Ice-Cream

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The state fish of Hawaii is the “humuhumunukunukuapua’a”.

The Hawaiian name roughly translates to “the fish with a pig-like nose.”

It’s English name is the Reef Triggerfish.

humuhumunukunukuapua'a

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Director John Landis includes the phrase

“See you next Wednesday” in most of his films.

It was the title of a script he wrote as a teen.

John_Landis

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Al Capone estimated that he spent $30 million a year

to pay off judges, police, elected officials, and newspapermen.

al-capone 88

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The first artist signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records label

was singer-songwriter James Taylor.

James_Taylor

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Clifton Keith Hillegass is the “Cliff” behind Cliff’s Notes.

He started his company in 1958 when he

published 16 Shakespearian study guides.

CliffsNotes

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Birds cock their heads at the ground not to listen for prey

(such as insects or worms) but to better see them.

bird cocking head

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Although the National Association for the Advancement

of Colored People clearly stated its mission in its title,

W.E.B. Du Bois was the only African American

on the NAACP’s first board of directors.

W.E.B. Du Bois

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Contrary to popular belief, a camel’s hump does not store water.

Instead, it’s filled with fat, which allows the animal to go for a month without food.

If the hump becomes depleted, it will shrink, flop over, and hang at the camel’s side.

bactrian camel 2

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A Mercurian day is longer than its year.

Mercury revolves around the sun very quickly,

but rotates around its axis very, very slowly.

One day on Mercury (sunrise to sunrise) is longer than

one year on Mercury (one orbit around the Sun).

Mercuryday

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The flashes of colored light you see when you

rub your eyes are called “phosphenes.”

phosphene_by_preritjain-d4j91wh

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The term “paparazzi” comes from Paparazzo,

a fictional freelance photographer

in the 1960 Fellini film La Dolce Vita.

paparazzi

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Construction of the Pentagon began in 1941 

–  on September 11th.

(Spooky-woo!)

Pentagon_construction

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John Lennon’s 1975 single “Number Nine Dream”

peaked on the Billboard pop singles chart at number nine.

Similarly, Prince’s 1993 single “Seven” peaked at #7.

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It Always Surprises Me How One Thing Leads To Another!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I have no idea why that should be, I mean why it always surprises me how one thing leads to another. After all, where else can one thing go? It’s the logical sequence, it has to happen that way. I think what I really mean is, the surprise is what you are led to. It is hardly ever the thing you were expecting.

Every one of us knows from hours of experience how difficult it is to switch on the computer or log on to the internet on a smart phone or other device and be self-disciplined enough to just search for the thing we initially wanted to look for. Countless times in my experience I have gone on to the internet with the sole purpose of maybe checking some stats or looking up some information relating to a business problem, or a health issue perhaps, only to find an hour or so later that I’m on a completely different tack, forgotten completely about why I started, and now absorbed in some other information that has nothing to do with the job originally at hand.

Entertaining it certainly is. Enjoyable too, without a doubt. Informative, yes it can be (although you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet – unless it appears in this blog of course). And a waste of time? That one is debatable. I think not. Nothing is a waste of time if it is providing any or all of the above attributes – entertainment, enjoyment or information.

One of my favorite sayings is, “It’s a sad day you don’t learn something,” and I am glad to report that in that regard I do not have any sad days. Every day I learn something, usually not what I expected and sometimes the lessons can be very harsh, but it all counts towards bettering oneself and providing valuable experience for the future.

So when I looked at my blog today I had a very different subject in my head to write about. Then I read a comment from my blog-friend coastalcrone on yesterdays blog post “Today Is A Beautiful Day”, part of which sparked off what you are now reading.

Coastalcrone said, “For me words are so visual… they have to look right for me too.”

Now one can analyze any writing from a grammatical viewpoint, or the construction of sentences and paragraphs, or the balance and rhythm of the words, or on its aesthetic content, or on many other different levels. That’s what they do when they study literature at universities, tearing apart and analyzing writing and writers. Sometimes I think that is valuable and informative; at other times I think that they don’t have a clue what they are talking about and have read far, far more into a piece than the writer originally intended. (Most writers, though, are happy to go along with such academic pronouncements because it makes them appear a bit more clever that they would be if they denied them.)

However, all that academic stuff aside, the part of coastalcrone’s comment that promoted all this was really the first part,

“… words are so visual”.

Words are visual. Indeed they are. A good description of a person, or a scene, or an incident, conjures up the image in the reader’s mind, and so it should. The better the writing and the writer, the better the visuals the reader experiences.

But, and it’s a big bold BUT, the visual experience is not the writer’s, it always belongs to the reader. The writer is simply the catalyst.

No matter how precise and detailed a description is, if it is a description of something we have not personally witnessed (in other words someone describing a fictitious person or place, or even for example a valley or lake in Australia or India which most of will never have seen, as opposed to a $10 bill or a laptop computer) a different image will be conjured up in the minds of each individual.

I’m sure you have read a book and then later gone to see the movie. Very seldom if ever does your own visual image agree with the film maker’s. At the moment I can only think of one occasion when my own visual interpretation of a book almost exactly matched the movie interpretation. That was Alastair MacLean’s “Where Eagles Dare”, an excellent World War II espionage thriller and an equally excellent movie. That was probably because MacLean wrote the book and movie screenplay more or less at the same time. (Btw, I don’t mean that I had Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in my visual picture – that would have been too crazy, even for me!)

Of course the converse is easier to come to grips with. If you see the movie and then read the book, the movie-maker’s visuals, rather than your own, are already in your head. Sometimes that’s okay, if the movie has been a reasonably close interpretation of the book. If they don’t gel well then the one can easily spoil the enjoyment of the other.

Visual interpretations also hold for the spoken as well as the written word. If one hears something described on the radio, for example, it produces visual images in one’s mind. Not only that, however, but one often gets an imaginary picture of what the person speaking looks like. It can sometimes come as a bit of shock when you see the person on tv or in real life. I’ve heard people remarking on more than one occasion that so-and-so “isn’t like his voice”.

Even when you meet people, you can have preconceived ideas about them in the few seconds between seeing them and hearing them speak. Some say that that is conclusive proof that light travels faster than sound, i.e. that most people seem bright until you hear them speak.

Of course one should be mature enough to accept people as they are. What one should definitely not do is laugh at some unfortunate with a voice that doesn’t fit them. Admittedly it can be funny, as this talk show host found out when carrying out a tv interview some years ago.

Let’s have a little experiment and see how good you are. You know you shouldn’t laugh but I rather think you might. I did! Quite a lot 😦  But at the show host, naturally 🙂

Enjoy!