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Wonderful world of whimsy
Nov 07, 2013

 

Raining frogs? We’ve all heard about  “raining cats and dogs,” but frogs? Pretty farfetched concept, right?   
But, read on ...
Scientists who study such things explain the phenomenon of raining frogs this way: Spawn are sucked up from rivers and lakes by whirlwinds. Sort of like a mini-tornado. Once in the atmosphere, the lightweight frog embryos are carried through the air for great distances. The spawn actually hatch while being carried aloft and when the wind dies down, the tiny frogs fall to earth.  
Raining cats and dogs is another story for another time.
How big is it? The state of Texas is so big that some Texas cities are actually closer to major cities in the northern  midwestern  U.S. than they are to cities in their own state. For example, Texarkana is closer to Chicago, Illinois, than it is to El Paso, Texas.
Whale of a leap! The most powerful action performed by any mammal is when a whale leaps out of the water into the air.  For a humpback whale, this maneouvre, called breaching,  requires lifting about 36,000 kilograms into the air. When humpbacks breach, they hurl about two-thirds or more of their bodies into the air. Meanwhile, the rest of us can barely climb up the swimming pool ladder.
The number of  ants  alive today out-number the number of humans who ever lived. That explains why the ants never miss your picnic — they’re everywhere.
Another ant story: At fiestas in rural Mexico, guests often enjoy  ant  candy. It consists of the bodies of honey ants which have collected honey from a type of oak leaf. The ants swell up until they’re about the size of large berries. Ant legs and heads are removed (thank goodness), then their bodies are piled high on dishes and served as a candy treat, which tastes, they say, like a sweet,  juicy fruit.   
Go ahead, you try them.
Wine trivia: Ever wonder what they used to use to seal a wine bottle with before corks? According to the MLCC, way back in the depths of time, they used wooden stoppers wrapped in a piece of cloth treated with wax. The stopper was removed by pulling on the cloth.
Then about 300 years ago, wine lovers started using the bark of the cork tree to seal the bottle, and cork has managed to endure ever since. Except for the advent of the screw-cap top.
And what about the corkscrew?  Well, it came along in the late 1600s and was first described as a “steel worm.” Ironically, the use of the “worm” may have been accidentally convenient, because such a device was then used to remove bullets from rifle barrels. Probably, some wino soldier stumbled onto the idea: “Hey Charlie, this thing would also be good for pulling the cork out of a wine bottle, eh?
The first “official” corkscrew wasn't registered for about another 100 years and has gradually emerged into one of  the many variations we use  today.
Utterly useless information:   
• A duck has three eyelids on each eye.
• Bees flap their wings 230 times per second.
• Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
• The delicious apple was originally known as the hawkeye.
• When asked to name a colour, three out of five people will say “red.”
• The ridges on corduroy are called  wales.
• Only one word can be made by rearranging the letters of the word, “chesty.”  The word is “scythe.”   
• The name of the explosive TNT comes from Trinitrotuluene.
“Duke” trivia: Actor John Wayne made 155  movies. How many did he  die  in?  He succumbed in six of them: Sands of Iwo Jima, The Shootist, The Alamo, Reap the Wild Wind, Wake of the Red Witch, and The Fighting Seabees.