Each issue of mental_floss magazine has a column written by Ken Jennings called “Six Degrees of Ken Jennings”. The idea is that he has to relate two things or ideas in six hops. How he gets there can be amusing and entertaining, and is always packed with trivia.
Today, on his blog, Ken gives us a previews of his upcoming column, and this time he’s going from Homer to Homer Simpson. (And the one really interesting thing I learned was that Conan O’Brien once wrote a Simpson’s episode!)
My earlier post about Zeke this morning turned out to be my 2,000th Live Journal post. You know me. I like counting things.
…for someone like me (or strausmouse) who can’t help but absorb trivia:
The Areas of My Expertise
I came across it when I did my weekly check into Eric Leuliette’s What I have read website.
Those of you who like maps and also enjoy trivia might want ot check out the cool map trivia on Ken Jennings blog today.
See if you can guess before you look up the answer. (I guessed wrong, but I was thinking in a different context.)
I went to bed pretty early last night (so much so that I missed a call from jen_ashlock who had a trivia question about Sex and the City. Answer: E 73rd St.) I must of slept pretty well because I woke up at 6:30 AM, more or less well-rested. Even for me, 6:30 AM in pretty early on a Sunday to be waking up. I’ve got some chores and things to do today, and I’m also hungry for breakfast. But for now, I’m going to veg for a while and watch “City on the Edge of Forever” on the new DVDs that I got yesterday.
I just finished up Ken Jenning’s book, Brainiac. I really enjoyed it. It was a good read and did not disappoint me. In fact, it made me appreciate trivia more than I have in the past. I used to think trivia, well, trivialized knowledge, but Ken’s book convinced me otherwise. There is a lot of value to trivia, especially when gained in a well rounded way (e.g. by reading The Grapes of Wrath and not just memorizing the character names).
Now I’m starting up on Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World. It’s a re-read for me, which is rare, but I last read the book nearly ten years ago, back in December 1996. I’m re-reading it for two main reasons. (1) I was inspired to read some Carl Sagan after I read that he has a new (obviously posthumous) book coming out in November. I have read 6 of Sagan’s books and they 6 have warrented an average rating of 4.2 out of 5.0, which is saying something. (2) Back when I read this book ten years ago, it was at a stressful time. I recall enjoying the book. In fact, I recall being fascinated by it. But I didn’t really absorb the book because there was so much else going on at the time.
So I’m taking another crack at it and I’m really looking forward to it.
I am two-thirds of the way through Ken Jenning’s book, Brainiac and not only is it good, but it has changed my opinion of trivia, something which I will elaborate on more in a later post (once I’m done reading the book). One of the chapters is on fascinating magazine that’s been around since 2000 called mental_floss. It’s a magazine about trivia, but it’s done in a humorous, entertaining way. I sample some of it’s features online, and saw enough of what I liked to order a one year subscription. I should receive the first issue in four-to-six weeks.
We seem to take snippets of trivia we hear or read at face value for the most part. Those of us cursed with memories that allow us to recall all kinds of innane facts often do just that–memorize–never question whether the trivia is fact or fiction. So when I came across some random trivia today, I decided to do a little digging on each item to see if the stuff that I would store in my brain for all eternity was fact or myth. I’ve listed some of this trivia below. Try and guess if the trivia is true or not, and then click on the links in each item to see if you are right.
- The dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle
- A duck’s quack doesn’t echo. No one knows why
- A 2 X 4 is really 1-1/2″ by 3-1/2″
- The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before
- 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.
- Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with
- Sherlock Holmes NEVER said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame is coming out with a book, Brainiacs, on the history of trivia buffs. The books is due out in a few months but even better is that he will be on a book tour that will take him to Arlington, Virginia. Maybe I can get a signed copy. Ken Jennings is a kind of pop culture hero of mine.
Ken Jennings was a kind of hero of mine when I was on his massive winning streak because I thought he demonstrated that the ability to think was different from the ability to memorize. He treated the whole game in a tongue and cheek kind of way, and in the end, took home $2.5 million. Not bad.
Yesterday, on his blog, he slammed Jeopardy! for among other things, the exclamation point in the name of the show. (He also has some interesting points to make about a show of that nature.) Very tongue-in-cheek and very amusing.
I woke up this morning feeling like my allergies were really acting up again–only this time I think it might be a cold, and not allergies. I took Clariton and Benedryl this morning and that didn’t seem to do much. Plus, I’ve got that cold-like feeling in my head. Summer colds are the worst. I hate them! I took a Tylenol Cold a little while ago, and I feel a little better, but it sucks to be getting a cold right now; my train to New York leaves in 2-1/2 hours!
Incidentally, my duffle bag weighs about a ton and a half today because of the vast quantities of change I am carrying up to New York with me. In fact, I looked up how much various pieces of change weigh and based on my estimates, the change I am carrying around with me today weighs about 5.176 kg or about 11 lbs.
How I figured this out without a scale
The bottle cap on my bottle of Nantucket Nectars Apple Juice this morning had the following fascinating tidbit:
The first elephant to come to Nantucket arrived by ferry in 1835.