Things I wouldn't have known if Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet. (I can't vouch for the veracity of all of them, but it's still good stuff to  know if, like Aristotle or Ken Jennings, you aspire to know it all.)

• There are 2-million dust mites on a typical bed.

• Notable people who have discussed hypnotizing chickens, according to a website of that same name, include Helmut Kohl, Werner Herzog, Al Gore, Steve Fairnie, Will Smith, Friedrich Nietzsche (in “Thus Spake Zarathustra”), Federico Fellini, Ernest Hemingway and Criss Angel. Unmentioned but undoubtedly best is Charles Portis in “Norwood.” Record time for a chicken to remain hypnotized is 3 hours 47 minutes.

• It was only after the arrival of their third that the Duggars learned that young'uns aren't brought by the stork.

• Tennesseeans get just about the quality of representation you'd expect from a congressman named Zach Wamp.

• An unusually tense Presbyterian minister in New Jersey invented the Graham cracker in 1829 in the belief that God had revealed to him a combination of host ingredients that would kill enthusiasm for masturbation in young communicants. Old Dr. Kellogg in Battle Creek thought several decades later that his new-fangled corn flakes would serve the same purpose. Of course they were both right. The wicked practice petered out early in the 20th century and is now virtually extinct.

• On the other hand (pardon that), most often web-recommended aphrodisiac foods are figs, oysters, avocados, and bananas. Most often cited as wilters or poopers: cherries, barbecue, tofu, and 5 minutes of watching “The View.”

• There were six TV Lassies during the 19-year series, all of them taped-up female impersonators, or imdoginators. All six of the Francis the Talking Mule movies had a male immuleinator hinney named Molly in the starring role. 9Lives has declined to say how many finicky lookalike Morrises have come and gone or what their gender was.

• Janis Joplin's favorite pain-killer (Hunter S. Thompson's as well, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's) was Wild Turkey 101. Among the comments on Pearl's Wikipedia vita is the scurrilous allegation that she once dated Bill Bennett, the world's slimiest man, way back when she was still sober and he was still sane. 

• Despite No. 412 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, there is no record of anyone named Billy Joe McAllister ever having jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge, which was dismantled in 1972.

• There are more bacteria on your body right now than there are people in the United States.

• The playwright George Bernard Shaw was a Socialist of the types that were big fans of the rock-and-roll singer Fabian (Forte).

• Armadillos make fair to middling potted meat. If you get to them within eight hours of their having been run over.

• Walmart now sells caskets online.

• Lenny Bruce once described a hung acquaintance as having a tallywhacker of a size that it looked like a baby's arm holding an apple.

• Ruth Madoff is reported to have joined the human race, using 50 cents off coupons to buy breakfast burritos at Taco Bell.

• Give or take 1.93 million, nearly 2 million people attended the big tea-bagger march on Washington.

• Stephen Hawking died at least five times in the past year.

• All 605 people who live in Austin, AR, are kin to one another.

• Just for the record, there was no late-night benediction at the Y'all Come Back Saloon.

• Even if the Supreme Court finally excludes Manger Babe and all the religious trimmings, Christmas will still have the traditional mas part, which includes mistletoe, tree, Grinch and dog, and TV weather radar tracking Santa's sleigh on mas eve. 

• The concept of boredom didn't exist among American children before 1955.

• John McCain was the first major-party presidential nominee to say publicly that he didn't know how many houses he owned. President Lincoln once confided privately that he didn't know how many mail carriers the Pony Express had, but that's a horse of a different color. 

• Moonlight doesn't cause skin cancer.

• The astronomy pioneer Tycho Brahe of Denmark made himself a metal nose to replace the original, lost in a midnight swordfight. He also had a boarder dwarf he kept under the kitchen table to scurry out on cue and snatch food from astonished dinner guests. And he kept a pet moose in the house until it died from injuries sustained when it got drunk one night and fell down the stairs.

• It was estimated in 1993 that filling burger orders at McDonald's restaurants necessitated the annual slaughter of 10 million cows. Sounds low to me but does explain the Eat Mor Chikn campaign.

• Alta Faubus was the last Arkansas First Lady to keep yard fowl at the Governor's Mansion.




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