USELESS, INFORMATIVE INTERNET TRIVIA (January 3/97)

At times the internet is overwhelming and absolutely mind-boggling. I was looking for information on a bobby recently, for example, and found over 5,000 entries. I tried narrowing my search, which the internet experts tell you how to do, but the result – 1,700 sites -had more information than I could cope with.

Since there is unlimited access – anyone can set up a “home page” on almost any topic – the internet is both a boon and a curse. The internet is undoubtedly wonderful, but the sheer volume of information available can be frustrating and intimidating.

I should have said “entertaining” as well. There are web sites on the internet that offer humour without racist overtones and topics for which I have a passion – pure trivia. Recently, a friend e-mailed scads of trivia from a site called Deb and Jen’s Land O’ Useless Facts. Useless, yes, but also informative. To start the new year right, I’ve culled out the best for your titillation.

The word “pound” is abbreviated “lb.” after the constellation Libra because it means “pound” in Latin and also “scales.”

Cats have over 100 hundred vocal sounds, while dogs have only about 10.

There are only three animals with blue tongues; the black bear, the Chow Chow dog and the blue-tongued lizard.

Pinocchio is Italian for “pine head.”

There are six words in the English language with the letter combination “uu”. Muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir and residuum.

Most car horns beep in the key of F.

The longest word found in the Oxford English Dictionary is “floccinaucihilipilification,” which means “the act of estimating as worthless.”

The word “queueing” is the only English word with five consecutive vowels. No word in the English language rhymes with month.

Sheriff came from Shire Reeve. During the years of feudal rule in England, each shire had a reeve who was law for that shire. When the term was brought to North America it was shortened to Sheriff.

The two longest one-syllable words in the English language are “screeched” and “strengths.”

The Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator. Nowadays the Prime Minister does this every three or four years.

The correct response to the Irish greeting, “Top of the morning to you,” is “and the rest of the day to yourself.”

The Chinese ideogram for “trouble” symbolises “two women living under one roof.” In Chinese, the. word for crisis and opportunity are the same.

Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them burned their houses down – hence the expression “to get fired.”

With the final gem that Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors, my thanks to readers for their interest in this column. Your calls, comments and letters are welcome; please keep them coming.

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