Daisies. In the Cretaceous period, daisies grew thirty feet tall and were carnivorous.

Deer. Technically, deer do not “lose” their antlers; rather, they misplace them.

Democracy. Democracy originated as a parlor game.

Democrats; Republicans. Scientists have now mapped the genetic differences between Demo­crats and Republicans, raising the hope of an eventual cure.

Dessert. “Dessert” was originally a separate meal, but during the Civil War it was combined with “dinner” as a rationing measure.

Diet. Dr. Boli has discovered a foolproof and revolutionary new diet by which it is possible to eat all you want and still get fat, but no one will publish his research.

Dinosaurs. Paleontologists have determined that dinosaurs moved by a process called “stop-motion animation.”

It is not true that dinosaurs are extinct; they simply value their privacy.

Disease. Disease is the normal condition of the human body. Health is an aberration.

Egypt. The ancient Egyptians were remarkably poor chiropodists.

The Nile flood was originally semiannual, but one of the floods was canceled in the extensive budget cuts of Thutmose IV’s reign.

Electricity. So-called “solar power,” by which electricity appears to be generated from nothing but sunlight, is actually a well-known conjuror’s trick, easily accomplished by even an amateur magician.

Benjamin Franklin invented the first electric light, but it worked only when struck by lightning.

Elements. It is an open secret that scientists have been very much disappointed in the performance of most of the chemical elements discovered in the past 75 years, and some have grumbled that all the really useful elements had been discovered by 1900.

Evergreens. By law, all conifers are required to be evergreen, but the bald cypresses have such a strong lobby that the law has never been enforced.

Fish. All fish are the same size; the apparent size difference between a minnow and a shark is an optical illusion.

Foot. By English common law, the reigning monarch’s foot is required to be exactly twelve inches long.

George III. King George III of England was perfectly sane, but the rest of the world was stark raving bonkers.

Gospels. So many Gospels were under con­sideration for inclusion in the New Testament that the Council of Nicea had to draft the world’s first form-letter rejection.

Grass. Botanically speaking, most common lawn grasses are miniature species of bamboo.

Gum erasers. Chewing gum cannot be left too close to a gum eraser, or all the flavor will be lost.

Hawaiian. “Aloha,” the characteristic greeting in Hawaiian, is not a truly native word. It is derived from the word for “hello” in Pig Latin.

Horses. Horses were admitted to the parliament of Scotland for a brief period in the 1990s, but the experiment was considered a failure because the horses never once voted aye on any bill introduced.