Just the facts

May 1, 2009

Johnson’s World by Steve Johnson

A prominent digital press manufacturer recently treated me to a dog and pony extravaganza. The demo was probably most memorable for highlighting a niche market workflow that, alas, neither worked nor flowed, at least not at the demonstration.

Among the printed samples I took away was a digitally printed book, “Alphadoku,” by Michael J. Tomey. The book is filled with sudoku puzzles using letters of the alphabet instead of numerals.

Michael (age 13, or so the cover says) has peppered his puzzles with what he calls “fun facts” but what I might retitle “bizarre bits.” I suspect he picked up most of his “facts” from Snapple caps.

I'm quoting some of these facts here, so I guess my trip was a success. I haven't bought any digital presses (or anything else) from the supplier, so he might not agree with the success part of my comment.

It's a small world after all

Don't you wonder how much all the hot air created from self-righteous experts talking about “green” has contributed to global warming?

Nifty definition: greenwashing v. The act of doing something meant to appear environmentally friendly that really is not.

Ever wonder how the English felt as they watched the United States became the primary English speaking nation? We'll soon find out. At the rate things are going, China soon will be the No. 1 nation of English speakers on Earth. In India, 100% of college graduates are fluent in English.

Karl Fisch estimates that there are five times as many words in the English language as there were in Shakespeare's day. So how come nothing written thus far in the twenty-first century can hold a candle to the Bard for eloquence, clarity, or poetry? Whether you have a 10-color, 40-inch press or a Viagra prescription, the equipment does not matter if you do not know how to use it well.

“We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.” — Robert Wilensky

‘People have one thing in common: They are all different.’

If you purchase new Heidelberg press in Indiana, the salesman will bake you a poundcake. If you order the inline coater option, he'll add some of his homemade beef jerky. I'm happy to discover this fresh approach to the tired old business of peddling iron.

4,000 people are injured by teapots every year. While we are (sort of) on the subject, about 100 people choke to death each year on ballpoint pens.

Butterflies taste with their feet. I can top that: My brother-in-law's feet smell, and his nose runs.

The liquid inside a young coconut can be used for blood plasma. Come to think of it, the liquid inside an old coconut can make a vicious daiquiri.

Women end up digesting most of the lipstick they apply. The book doesn't give any figures about men who wear lipstick.

A penny tossed in the air actually has a better than even chance of coming up tails. The heads side weighs more, and is therefore more likely to be on the bottom when the penny lands.

Your brain is 80% water. No wonder so many of us are barely keeping afloat.

Think about it

The average person will spend two weeks during his or her lifetime waiting for traffic lights to change. The same person will also spend two weeks worth of time kissing, so I guess it all evens out.

When we were very young, my wife and I won a kissing contest. The prize was the biggest Hershey bar I've ever seen in my life. I think it lasted us several years. Of course, this was before we had children to help us eat it.

Last year we won a dance contest. I can't decide if this is an improvement or not.

“Most of us prefer to walk backward into the future, a posture which may be uncomfortable, but which at least allows us to keep looking at familiar things as long as we can.” — Charles Handy