16       Registered: 30-Dec-97      Last updated: 27-Jun-02      Posted to email: 15-Feb-01

Strange but true facts

Stewardesses and reverberated are the two longest words (12 letters each) that can be typed using only the left hand. The longest word that can be typed using only the right hand is lollipop. Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not re-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group of geese in the air is a skein.

The underside of a horse's hoof is called a frog. The frog peels off several times a year with new growth.

The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments

The "save" icon on Microsoft Word shows a floppy disk, with the shutter on backwards.

The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.

The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

The shape of plant collenchyma cells and the shape of the bubbles in beer foam are the same - they are
orthotetrachidecahedrons.

The word 'pound' is abbreviated 'lb.' after the constellation 'libra' because it means 'pound' in Latin,
and also 'scales'. The abbreviation for the British Pound Sterling comes from the same source: it is an 'L' for Libra/Lb. with a stroke through it to indicate abbreviation. Sames goes for the Italian lira which uses the same abbreviation ('lira' coming from 'libra'). So British currency (before it went metric) was always quoted as "pounds/shillings/pence", abbreviated "L/s/d" (libra/solidus/denarius).

Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".

Camel's milk does not curdle.

In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

An animal epidemic is called an epizootic.

Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

The United States has never lost a war in which mules were used.

Blueberry Jelly Bellies were created especially for Ronald Reagan.

All porcupines float in water.

Hang On Sloopy is the official rock song of Ohio.

Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?

The world's largest wine cask is in Heidelberg, Germany.

Lorne Greene had one of his nipples bitten off by an alligator while he was host of "Lorne Greene's Wild Kingdom."

Cat's urine glows under a blacklight.

If you bring a raccoon's head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall, you are entitled to receive $10 from the town.

St. Stephen is the patron saint of bricklayers.

The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

Non-dairy creamer is flammable.

The airplane Buddy Holly died in was the "American Pie." (Thus the name of the Don McLean song.)

Texas is also the only state that is allowed to fly its state flag at the same height as the U.S. flag.

The only nation who's name begins with an "A", but doesn't end in an "A" is Afghanastan.

The names of the three wise monkeys are: Mizaru: See no evil, Mikazaru: Hear no evil, and Mazaru: Speak no evil.

When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing." They actually pass out from sheer terror.

The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Spades - King David, Clubs - Alexander the Great, Hearts - Charlemagne, and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

111,111,111 multiplied by 111,111,111 gives the result 12,345,678,987,654,321.

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, and purple. Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired."

Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village".

There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2nd, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

The term "the whole 9 yards" came from WWII fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards."

The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

The word "samba" means "to rub navels together."

The international telephone dialing code for Antarctica is 672.

The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots.

Until 1965, driving was done on the left-hand side on roads in Sweden. The conversion to right-hand was done on a weekday at 5pm. All traffic stopped as people switched sides. This time and day were chosen to prevent accidents where drivers would have gotten up in the morning and been too sleepy to realize that *this* was the day of the changeover.

The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

Dr. Seuss pronounced "Seuss" such that it rhymed with rejoice.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart never did say "Play it again, Sam."

Sherlock Holmes never did say "Elementary, my dear Watson."

More people are killed annually by donkeys than die in air crashes.

The term, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" is from Ancient Rome. The only rule during wrestling matches was, "No eye gouging. Everything else was allowed, but the only way to be disqualified was to poke someone's eye out.

A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt.

Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of cotton.

Every time you lick a stamp, you're consuming 1/10 of a calorie.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

An ostrich's eye is bigger that its brain.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.

Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the deaths of their cats.

A bowling pin need only tilt 7.5 degrees in order to fall down.

The right side of a boat was called the starboard side due to the fact that the
astronavigators used to stand out on the plank (which was on the right side) to
get an unobstructed view of the stars. The left side was called the port side
because that was the side you put in on at the port. This was so that they
didn't knock off the starboard!

The Japanese word "Arigato" meaning thank you is derived from the Portugese word
"Obrigado". Portugal once had a thriving trade with Japan.

The bubbles in Guiness Beer sink to the bottom rather than float to the top like
all other beers. No one knows why. (Yet another reason why only we Irish would
drink the stuff!)

Jupiter's core is in fact made of a non-metal, but due to the immense pressure
inside Jupiter the core has become a metal. This metal is hydrogen.

A fully grown bear can run as fast as a horse.

Every male over the 18 is considered part of the Arizona Militia according to
the state constitution.

The word "karate" means "empty hand."

Four people played Darth Vader: David Prowse was his body, James Earl Jones did
the voice, Sebastian Shaw was his face and a fourth person did the breathing.

A hamlet is a village without a church and a town is not a city until it has a
cathedral.

49.6% of US residents live in Eastern time zone, 29.3% live in the Central time
zone, 5.3% live in the Mountain time zone, 15.0% live in the Pacific time zone
and .8% live in any other time zone.

If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top
and sinking to the bottom. (Which obviously does wonders for a good glass of
champagne. On a further note, the 'ol Pirate has it on good faith that this
trick doesn't work with a fine glass malt liquor)

Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore were freshman roommates at Harvard. (Rumour has it
that Tommy Lee Jones was a Rhodes Scholar, along with Kris Kristofferson and
Bill Clinton. Scary!)

A lion's roar can be heard from five miles away.

The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the
engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and
figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

The first song played on Armed Forces Radio during operation Desert Shield was
"Rock the Casbah" by the Clash.

The launching mechanism of a carrier ship that helps planes to take off, could
throw a pickup truck over a mile. (That'll teach that poor schmuck not to park
there again!)

If you told someone that they were one in a million, you'd be saying there were
about 1,800 of them in China.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

The average sixty minute audio cassette tape has 562.5 feet of tape in it,
nearly two football fields long.

The ashes of the average cremated person weigh nine pounds.

Assuming Rudolph was in front, there are 40,320 ways to arrange the other eight
reindeer.

The fingerprints of koalas are virtually indistinguishable from those of humans,
so much so that they could be confused at a crime scene.

Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate Army, remains the only person, to date, to
have graduated from the West Point military academy without a single demerit.

Croatia was the first country to recognize the United States in 1776.

The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be
straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or
other emergencies. [And some sections are designed to allow B-52s to land/take
off. Meaning they have no obstructions (e.g. trees) along the side.]

There are only 14 blimps in the world, and 10 of them are in the U.S.

Pinocchio is Italian for "pine eyes."

If you stretch a standard Slinky out flat it measures 87 feet long.

Most Americans' car horns beep in the key of F. The telephone dial tone is also
in the key of F.

The Chinese ideogram for 'trouble' depicts two women living under one roof. The
Chinese words for crisis and opportunity are the same.

Ralph Lauren's original name was Ralph Lifshitz.

Lizzie Borden was acquitted.

Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every Dewey-decimal category.