facing facts


Having signalled the need to go outside, the dog was back at the door seeking readmission in next to no time.

That didn’t take long, I mused mostly to myself.

But somebody was already way ahead.

21 seconds,” intoned a voice from the recliner.


Camels and dogs take the same amount of time to empty their bladder – 21 seconds.”

What about people?

I don’t know.”

You don’t know!!!

The next day there’s a stream of facts about urination across the species in my email inbox.

This will be followed by a link to a learned scientific study on how dogs – given their druthers – prefer to defecate body aligned on the north-south axis in accordance with the earth’s magnetic field.

Ahh!! I hear dog owners among you exclaim, at last possessing an answer to that strange circling …they poo to polar north.

The next instalment brings worrying news though.

Climate change may be hastening the reversal of the earth’s magnetic poles with magnetic north migrating toward Russia at a rate of 64km a year – faster than at any time in human history.

You see this is a man who will seize any opportunity, no matter how spurious, to whiffle out truffles of information.

Logging on each day there is almost always a surprise waiting for me gleaned from the dozens of sources he subscribes to, ranging from WiseGeek, LifeHacker, Neatorama and The Futility Closet to respected journals like the Atlantic Monthly

Recent offerings include:

Why Superheroes Wear Their Underwear on the Outside? A: Because the first ones – dating from the ’30s – were modelled on the trapeze artists of the day.

Why Carmakers Historically Insisted On Male Crash-Test Dummies? A: Because it would cost more to produce cars with design and safety standards reflecting both genders.

How Do Lost Wallet Contents Influence Returns? A: Wallets containing photographs of a baby are returned 90 per cent of the time, wallets including pictures of puppies are returned in more than 50 per cent of cases while wallets with no photos have a 20 per cent return rate.

Why would Prince Charles have more success talking to plants if he grew up in a council house in Tyneside? A: Because scientific studies show plants grow faster if you speak to them with a Geordie accent.

And finally when do women look their oldest? A: At 3.30pm on Wednesday – a time when work stress levels commonly peak and energy levels plummet.

It’s not always such a random collection.

Sometimes the flurry of facts follows a conversation or observation.

After pointing out a punchy newspaper crime story which began thus:

The mother of a teenage girl who was apparently murdered and turned into kebab meat was stalked by a man who became obsessed with her daughter’s killing.”

The man parried with: “When a hitman pulled up beside Florian Homm’s limousine and shot him in the chest, he did what any self-respecting hedge fund tycoon would have done: stuffed his wound with $100 bills and called his wife with a dying message – sell.”

Some women may prefer flowers.

But the average cut rose will last only a week, though a white one will almost always outlast a red one.

My daily bouquet of weird and wonderful facts just keeps bloomin’ on and on.



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