Saturday, 23 May 2009

Don't let facts stand in the way of a good story...

It's a while since I did a 'list' and I've been reading a fascinating book written by the QI team of John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, the Book of General Ignorance. For want of a better expression, they explode some popular myths which is really interesting in a yawn inducing kind of way, but the real facts do allow you to say to your mate in the pub, 'actually you are quite wrong there, the reality is...' and this can help you sound like a real smart arse. So here we go with just a handful of the 'real facts list':
  • You have FOUR nostrils, not two - two you can see and two you can't;
  • The driest place on earth is Antarctica (no rain in parts for two million years);
  • How many wives did Henry VIII have? - Four NOT six. The marriage to Anne of Cleeve was annulled which means it never took place and the marriage to Anne Boleyn was illegal because Henry was still married to Catherine of Aragon;
  • Where was Baseball invented? England in 1744 - then called base ball;
  • What do we use to write on a blackboard? Gypsum (NOT chalk) which is calcium sulphate;
  • The equals sign, = comes from Wales first introduced and used by Robert Recorde in 1557;
  • The chicken is the commonest bird in the world with about 52 billion of our very useful feathered friends around;
  • You have NO muscles in your fingers - fingers use tendons;
  • The longest animal is not the blue whale, but the boot lace worm, Lineus Longissimus which reaches lengths of 60 metres;
  • Statistically, Monday 27th is the unluckiest date, NOT Friday 13th.
And here's one for all you fervent nationalists around, the Duke of Wellington, (who did NOT invent Wellington boots) was Irish, born in Dublin in 1769.

And today's story: A man went to his doctor and told him he thought he was going deaf. "What are the symptoms?" the Doctor asked.

The man replied, "A yellow cartoon family and the mother has large blue hair."

(The picture at the top is a 30 second exposure shot with camera on a tripod during a thunderstorm in East Yorkshire, if you click on it to enlarge you will see a brave bird flying at night. The lightening flashes are both spectacular and intricate.)

Chat soon



  1. The photo is brilliant! I have never managed to get a lightening photo, but now we have sky lights I'm hoping too.
    Great facts, I didn't know any of them and I love the joke.

  2. Hi Magnumlady, I hope you are well and settling in to your new home - it looks great on your picture. I was very lucky with the lightening picture because believe it or not, it wasn't raining so I only had a little shelter of an open porch. If you can get a pic through an open door so nothing is obscuring the camera like a window, it'll work and especially if you close the lens down to f15 or f22 which shuts out all the extraneous light. Good luck.