• Queen Victoria and her future husband, Albert, were born with the help of the same midwife.
  • Ulysses Grant and Harry Truman had the same meaningless middle initial.
  • SLICES OF BREAD is an anagram of DESCRIBES LOAF. (Dean Mayer)
  • France’s longest land border is with Brazil (via French Guiana).
  • “A creed is an ossified metaphor.” — Elbert Hubbard

(Thanks, Tony.)

Free Air Conditioning


Between the 1880s and the 1960s, the flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands featured an igloo. When Britain decided that the colony needed its own flag, it commissioned an artist to paint a suitable local scene. At the time, the salt industry dominated the local economy, so he sketched a man working on a quay between two piles of salt. When this was sent to London, the Admiralty artist apparently mistook these for ice, not knowing that the Turks and Caicos lie southeast of the Bahamas, and he helpfully added a door to the right pile.

Amazingly, the error remained in place until 1966, when it was discreetly removed before a state visit by Queen Elizabeth.

(Thanks, Charles.)



Rather than follow daylight saving time, the state of Arizona observes standard time throughout the year.

But the Navajo Nation observes daylight saving time throughout its territory, including the part that lies in Arizona.

And the Hopi Nation, which lies entirely in Arizona, surrounded entirely by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t.

So the Hopi Nation is a region that doesn’t observe daylight saving time inside one that does inside one that doesn’t inside one that does.

Related: Ontario contains an island in a lake on an island in a lake.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Canada is south of Detroit.

Due to a curve in the border, Windsor, Ontario, lies south of Michigan’s largest city.

A floral compass in Windsor bears a plaque that reads:




  • Dick Gregory gave his twin daughters the middle names Inte and Gration.
  • Trains were invented before bicycles.
  • “We must believe in free will — we have no choice.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer

“How Rumors Spread,” a palindrome by Fred Yannantuono:

“Idiot to idiot to idiot to idiot to idiot to idi …”

For Short

Image: Wikimedia Commons

According to Elsdon Smith’s 1967 Treasury of Name Lore, Gwendolyn Kuuleikailialohaopiilaniwailaukekoaulumahiehiekealaoonoaonaopiikea Kekino had a birth certificate to prove her name. Her family called her Piikea.

Albert K. Kahalekula of Wailuku, Hawaii, was a private in the Army in 1957. The K stood for Kahekilikuiikalewaokamehameha. Until Albert’s 29-letter middle name was registered, his brothers had the longest middle names in U.S. military service — each was 22 letters long.

In 1955, restaurant owner George Pappavlahodimitrakopoulous had the longest name in the Lansing, Mich., telephone directory. He made a standing offer of a free meal to anyone who could pronounce the name correctly on the first try (PDF).

Lambros A. Pappatoriantafillospoulous of Chicopee, Mass., joined the Army in 1953, where he was called Mr. Alphabet.

According to Smith, a native policeman in Fiji, British Polynesia, had the name Marika Tuimudremudrenicagitokalauna-tobakonatewaenagaunakalakivolaikoyakinakotamanaenaiivolanikawabualenavalenivolavolaniyasanamaisomosomo, 130 letters long. “The name is said to tell that, with the aid of a northerly wind, Marika’s father sailed from Natewa, on Vanua Levu, to the provincial office at Somosomo, Taveuni, to register the birth of the child.”

The longest name on the Social Security rolls in 1938 was Xenogianokopoulos.

Smith also says that a Fiji Island cricket player bore the 56-letter name Talebulamaineiilikenamainavaleniveivakabulaimakulalakeba.

The oldest Buddhist university in Thailand is Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.

Above: In 1921 Laurence J. Daly, editor of the Webster Times, proposed lengthening the name of Lake Chaubunagungamaug to Lake Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg, which arguably makes it the longest place name in the United States.

Many locals just call it Webster Lake.

Return to Sender

This just caught my eye: Competitive boomerang throwers participate in a number of events: distance, accuracy, trick catches, and so on. One of the most popular of these is maximum time aloft, in which the goal is to keep the boomerang in the air as long as possible with a single throw.

Unbelievably, the record here is 17 minutes and 6 seconds, set by John Gorski of Avon, Ohio, in 1993. At the time a respectable flight might last 30 to 40 seconds, but Gorski’s boomerang hit a thermal that carried it upward an estimated 200 meters, where it hovered for several minutes over the Olentangy River. It drifted south for 225 meters, then headed north again, descending to find Gorski, who managed to catch it 40 meters from where he’d thrown it.

“I couldn’t believe I’d got it back,” Gorski said later. “I thought, ‘I’m never going to see this boomerang again,’ but then it stopped drifting and just hung there.”

Tournament director Chet Snouffer called it “an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime experience — he caught the perfect wave and surfed it right into the record books.”


  • Conceptual artist Joseph Beuys accepted responsibility for any snow that fell in Düsseldorf February 15-20, 1969.
  • Any three of the numbers {1, 22, 41, 58} add up to a perfect square.
  • Nebraska is triply landlocked — a resident must cross three states to reach an ocean, gulf, or bay.
  • The only temperature represented as a prime number in both Celsius and Fahrenheit is 5°C (41°F).
  • “A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.” — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

“I was tossing around the names of various wars in which both the opponents appear: Spanish-American, Franco-Prussian, Sino-English, Russo-Japanese, Arab-Israeli, Judeo-Roman, Anglo-Norman, and Greco-Roman. Is it a quirk of historians or merely a coincidence that the opponent named first was always the loser? It would appear that a country about to embark on war would do well to see that the war is named before the fighting starts, with the enemy named first!” — David L. Silverman