Calendar. Not until 1992 were astron­omers, using minute observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, able to determine the exact date of Secretaries’ Day.

When England switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian, several days were lost, which are still kept in storage in a heavily guarded wing of the National Archives.

Canaries. Canaries and other talking birds are born speaking Hebrew, and can only with diffi­culty be taught to pronounce a few words of other languages.

Released into the wild, canaries quickly learn to clip their own wings.

Candles. Candle wax, once melted and allowed to solidify again, becomes the hardest substance known to man, and is frequently employed in the cutting of diamonds.

It is not possible to burn a candle at both ends. If one end of the wick is ignited, the other end will immediately be extinguished.

In colonial times, turnip greens, boiled and mashed into a paste, were often used as a substitute for tallow in the manufacture of candles.

A candle at the north end of a room will in­variably burn more brightly than a candle at the south end of the same room. The cause of this phenomenon is unknown.

Candy. A very palatable substitute for licorice can be made from broccoli properly cooked.

Cardboard. Cardboard is nothing more than wood in an early stage of development.

Cats. Most cats can be taught to read if trained from a young age.

A cat’s fur contains all the nutrients the cat needs to survive, which is why cats spend so much time licking themselves.

There are many more cats than commonly supposed, but most of them are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Cement. It has been proved by science that the attachment of two bodies made to adhere by cement or glue is more emotional than physical.

Chameleons. Light is necessary for a chameleon to take on the color of its environment; in a com­pletely dark room, the animal reverts to its natural color, which is plaid.

Cheese. Cheese never spoils; it simply changes into a different kind of cheese.

In medieval times, the cheesemongers of Limburg were the only tradesmen exempt from the requirement of presenting a tithe of their goods to the Church.

Many fine edifices made of blocks of Romano cheese in the 1300s are still standing today.

Circles. English common law prohibited the squaring of a circle, and the prohibition is still enforced by 47 of the 50 states. Vermont allows it only under licensed psychiatric supervision.

The risible superstition that crop circles are messages from extraterrestrial visitors per­sists to this day, despite the frequent proofs to the con­trary. It is now well known to scientists that crop circles are messages from an ancient underground civilization.

Clematis. “Clematis” is the most variably pro­nounced word in the English language, but only the pronunciation Dr. Boli uses is correct.

Clocks. The first clocks had ten hours marked; the two extra hours were added during the time of Elizabeth I to give the queen time to practice her virginals.

In the southern hemisphere, clocks run counter-clockwise.

Coffee. During the Second World War, chicory was often used as a substitute for coffee, which meant that endive had to be used as a substitute for chicory.

Cola. Cola and coffee come from the same plant, but grown in different soils.

Computers. Blaise Pascal invented an early com­puting machine; but his graphical user inter­face for it, which relied on the cooperation of a live mouse, was only intermittently successful.

Constitution, American. By the thirty-sixth amend­ment, the President is required to raise his hand if he needs permission to go to the bathroom while addressing Congress.


  1. Craig says:

    I can read these only in small doses, lest I rupture something from laughing too hard! Your items on cheese (especially the bits about cheese never spoiling and the blocks of Romano) are fantastic. The item about burning a candle at both ends deserves a prize of its own. The bits about chameleons, cats, clocks, and circles are also favorites. Truly amazing!

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