Things I have learned while looking for something else

Country Roads

As a kid, I loved reference books. I remember spending an hour or two with a single encyclopedia volume or with a new almanac. You can imagine, then, how much fun I have with an Internet search engine like Google.

In the process of looking up something, I often get sidetracked with totally unrelated articles. As a result, I’m always learning new things while looking up something else. Allow me to share what I’ve learned in recent weeks:

I like cheese but I’m not a turophile. Derived from the Greek, a turophile is the ultimate cheese lover. My favorite cheeses are the more common cheddars, longhorns, American, parmesan, mozzarella… shucks, I even like Velveeta. Turophiles, of course, will point out that Velveeta is not really cheese; it is a “pasteurized prepared cheese product.”

There is a cheese I have no interest in tasting. While looking for something else on Google I learned about casu marzu. This is a Sardinian cheese that contains live maggots which can jump up to five inches out of cheese while you’re eating it. I’ll stick with Velveeta.

My maternal grandmother was born in Bellingwolde, the Netherlands. Just 60-some miles southwest of Bellingwolde is the Dutch village of Giethoorn which has no roads. Its buildings are connected entirely by canals and footbridges.

Do you remember when America was still civilized and there were certain things you would not see on movie screens and television screens? I learned from the Internet that Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film “Psycho” was the first American motion picture to show a toilet being flushed on screen. Gasp!

My dentist recently prescribed an oral rinse which contained an antibiotic. Not only did it taste awful, it stained my teeth. I saw on the Internet that the Romans used to clean and whiten their teeth with urine. Apparently it works but I think I’ll see what’s available at Walgreens or CVS.

That oral rinse also stained my tongue. That reminds me ̶ everyone has a unique tongue print, just like fingerprints. I learned that while looking up something else.

According to something I read on the Internet, there’s a basketball court on the top floor of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. It’s nickname? “The highest court in the land.”

The story is told that Lady Astor, the first female member of the British Parliament once told Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he was “disgustingly drunk.” Mr. Churchill replied, “My dear, you are ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”

While looking for something else I read that rats and horses cannot vomit. Since I have never worked with a sick horse or a sick rat I confirmed this fact elsewhere on the Internet. I also learned that rats cannot burp but they can break wind. Again, no personal experience.

It’s been a long time since I wrote more than a few words at a time with a lead pencil. It is interesting to know, however, that the average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words. And I learned that by using my keyboard and computer.

According to an Internet site, Starfish have no brains. I swear there are starfish driving on I-235.

When my wife and I were making babies in the 1970s one of our choices for a girl’s name was Wendy. While looking for something else recently I learned that the name Wendy was made up for the book “Peter Pan” and there was never a recorded Wendy before! As it worked out, we chose an old family name for our daughter: Dena.

Here’s something I didn’t know about my wife, Julie, before I married her ̶ she’s a librocubicularist. There is no known cure, but that’s okay because a librocubicularist is someone who reads in bed.

And here’s something I didn’t know before I stumbled across it online ̶ the human brain remembers more negative memories than positive ones. This is because the negativity bias the brain sets up as a defense mechanism. Oh the things I wish I could forget!

A day is not wasted if you have learned something new.