From "The View From Here" written by Bill Duncan, 4/4/2003 in The Capital Press (Salem, Oregon) The Capital Press

Nothing Trivial About These Facts

Yes, I know that April Fool's Day was Tuesday, but what I am writing about here is not some trick to make you look like a fool. These are not trick questions, but facts that you should know.

Ever since I was introduced to the board game Trivial Pursuit, I have been a collector of trivia. I have even started writing a book with all the trivial things I have found in life.

For instances did you know:

  • Alaska has the highest percentage of people that walk to work?
  • Almost 18 percent of animal lovers share their beds with their pets?
  • One-fourth of the bones in our body are in our feet?
  • The average human produces 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime?
  • A jellyfish is 95 percent water?

    Now you do.

    But that's not all.

    Because I am a word merchant, I am a nut about collecting language oddities. Think about this:

    The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."

    Speaking of that, here's some more language facts you can't live without knowing:

    The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead."

    'Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".

    There is a seven-letter word in the English language that contains 10 words without rearranging any of them, "therein": the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

    The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is 'uncopyrightable."

    The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

    'Underground" is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters "und."

    There are only four words in the English language which end in "-dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous and hazardous.

    "Stewardesses" is the longest English word that is typed by using only the left hand.

    The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways; the following sentence. contains them all: 'A roughcoated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

    Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

    The symbol on the 'pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.

    The dot over the letters called a tittle.

    Ingrown toenails are hereditary.

    An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

    The full name for Los Angeles is 'El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, "L.A."

    A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

    A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

    Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

    The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint - no two lions have the same pattern of whiskers.

    Cats have more than one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about 10.

    And finally: It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open

    . Warning: Don't try this trick at home. For any additional trivia write Bill Duncan at P.O. Box 812, Roseburg, OR 97470 or send them via e-mail to

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