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Are you sharp as a tack?
Aug 17, 2012

 

Just to see if your mind is still sharp as a tack, try these questions — some tricky, some straightforward (answers at the end of the column):
1. Why can’t a man living in Toronto, Ontario be buried west of the Red River?  Please avoid vicious slurs against Easterners in your answer.
2. A woman gave a beggar a dollar. The woman is the beggar’s sister, but the beggar is not the woman’s brother. How can this be? 
Part 2 of this question: Why is this woman so cheap with her relatives?
3.  True or false?  Wherever you are, if you can locate the North Star (assuming it's night-time), you will be able to find your direction. 
It’s a direct quote from your Boy Scout leader.
More questions:
• Do you know what the word “punt” has to do with wine? 
I know, you thought it was a football term, but the “punt” is the indentation in the glass on the bottom of a wine bottle. My Uncle Harry will drink to that!
Which brings us to today’s wine tips:
• Rare, expensive wines should never be frozen and eaten off a stick.
• Avoid wines that must be opened with a can opener.
• How to tell a good bottle of wine from a bad one?  A good bottle is full, while a bad bottle is empty.
• A rich, dry red wine is the proper wine to serve with pork and beans.
• Know your grapes — skins should not be visible in the bottle.
• Wine should be red, white or pink. Be leery of green wine.
• Never buy a wine whose vintage is Tuesday.
What do you know about honey bees?
• A worker bee’s adult life in the summer is about six weeks and during that time it collects only a half teaspoon of honey.
• Honey bees fly at the rate of about 15 mph.
• A hive of bees travels over 55,000 air miles to collect one pound of honey. This answers the question of where the phrase, “Busy as a bee,” came from.
• Honey was early man’s first sweetener and it was of such great value that in some cultures it could be used to pay taxes.
Warning: the government tax guy won’t fall for this.
Logically, this brings us to “honeymoon.” (It does?)
•  Why is it called a “honeymoon?”
It goes back to the 16th century. Doesn’t everything? In those days, the “honeymoon” signified the first month of marriage. Happiest and sweetest during this time, newlyweds were said, however, to change with the next moon — roughly a month after the wedding ceremony. After the mead and honey wine of the first month, people of the day believed that “the honeymoon was over.”  
Pretty farfetched theory, eh? Anyway, if you’re about to get married, all the best from all of us.
Answers
1. The man can’t be buried because he’s still alive. Unless this is a Stephen King story.
2. The beggar is a woman. Equal rights, eh? Although, I guess the more fashionable term now is “gender equality.”
3. False, with apologies to your Boy Scout leader. The North Star can only guide you if you’re in the top half of the world, because it’s not visible in the southern hemisphere.