Your oddities

This morning I was going to put up a satirical “clickbait” post along the lines of PuffHo’s self-important “Six things you need to know this morning.” (By the way, why do they always give lists with numbers, like “25 cats who sleep in weird positions” or “eight ways for seniors to improve their sex lives”?  Are lists automatic clickbait?)

My post was going to be this: “Six things you need to know about Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) this morning”, giving quirks about me that readers might not know. But I decided that would be solipsistic—if not salacious—so I thought instead I’ve just give one of them, and then ask readers to contribute one of their own.

When I debated John Haught at the University of Kentucky, the speakers and students in the Honors Program all had dinner with faculty and the University provost before the talks. As an icebreaker, we went around the table, with each person revealing one interesting or odd thing about themself. I will reveal here the one I gave then, but readers should then reveal one of their own. What odd thing is there about you: can you do weird things with your eyes or joints, did you have any bizarre encounters, or do you have any unusual talents or skills? Have you consorted with anybody famous? Here’s mine:

I can play recognizable tunes on my skull by pounding on the top of my head with my right fist and
opening my mouth various widths to produce different notes. I call this my “cranial drum.”

Photo on 6-5-16 at 1.12 PM

The Method

Your turn: what odd thing about you would intrigue our readers?

221 Comments

  1. merilee
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    do you think this is related to your ear-wiggling?

  2. Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I used to be able to give the Vulcan salute with my toes. Alas, age has taken that ability away from me.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Live long and smell my feet.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Live long and … phoey!

  3. GBJames
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I dug up the remains of Elizabeth Ferguson at night on Halloween.

    (It was during my younger archaeologist days and a cemetery was to be destroyed by coal mining in south-central Illinois. The crew had to do the work within a narrow window of time that happened to fall over Halloween. We worked under huge lighting systems well into the night.)

    There was very little left of Mrs Ferguson who had died in the 1970’s, if memory serves, a century before my trowel visited what was left of her.

    • merilee
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I trust you meant 1870s, Greg?

      • GBJames
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Doh. Perhaps PCC(e) can fix that typo. She died in the 1870’s. We excavated in the 1970’s.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      Three comments in and already I’ve got nothing that’d top what’s already been posted. 😉

  4. divalent
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Re: the title of the post: you forgot to add “… (number 5 will shock|amaze|disgust you!)”

    I can (and sometimes do) that head knocking song thing (so you aren’t as special as you think).

    I can make one of my eyes dart left and right without the other eye moving.

    • jeffery
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I always avoid the articles with titles like, “Scientists stunned by….. scientists shocked by…”

      I have an acorn-sized lump of bone at the base of my skull; my mother and brother had it, but my father and sister didn’t. I’ve read that it may be a genetic Neanderthal “artifact”.

  5. Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    My brain insists on translating ambient sounds
    (electrical appliances going on/off, the mill across the road, automobile tires on pavement, etc.) as music, usually choral. Unfortunately, the music is not the quality of a Beethoven or Mozart.

    I also read books and write poetry in my dreams. Sometimes, I even remember them when I wake up.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I envy those talents for sure, and think you should cultivate them. A number of startling, new concepts and inventions were conceived in dreams — just think of the double helix. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dreams.I did once compose an entire book of exquisite poetry in a dream. Unfortunately, it vanished as I awoke, and it happened only once. You remember! and it sounds as if this happens on occasion. Is it any good? If so, publish it. And the music. If you could notate or play it, it might prove a springboard for something if you worked on it. I once experienced what I think must have been an extended musical hallucination, and the music generated in my head was absolutely grand; but I didn’t know how to notate, so a great new corpus was lost to posterity. I say that facetiously, even though i do think both my poetry and the music were pretty damned good.

    • Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      Mine often does that with random noise (such as tire rumble). It is almost always the music that plays during the “That’s no moon – it’s a space station” scene from the Star Wars soundtrack.

      Something about that breathless slightly off-tune tuba playing has got stuck in one of my circuits somewhere.

  6. Dermot C
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I am my own first cousin: and cousin to my brother and sister. Because my maternal grand-parents were first cousins.

    I assume that this means that I share slightly more than the average 50% DNA with my brother and sister.

    The in-breeding has in now way affected my congotiv ubulitys.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Huh? I think your grandparents would have to be brother and sister for that to be true. Or am I wrong? Cousin=a child of one’s uncle or aunt.

      • Dermot C
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        I’ve looked at a template genealogical tree, and it’s chuffin’ complicated. I think I was wrong: I think I’m my own second cousin.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Reminds me of this song by Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks.

          “She’s her own grandmother.”

          • jeffery
            Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            There’s an old “Grand Ol Opry” one by Lonzo and Oscar entitled, I’m may own grandpa”.

            Funny story about that: the guy who loaned me the cassette tape back in the early 80s said,
            “I sure wish I had picture of them”. A few days later, I found an old playbill in an abandoned house with a picture of them on the front.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 3:31 am | Permalink

          It doesn’t have a punchline something like this, does it?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODJBgP-5ewU

          cr

        • Dominic
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          Like Darwin’s children…

        • Ralph
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          The best online genealogy app is the one where Jack Nicholson just keeps slapping you until you get it right.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Got me beat; I’m my own third cousin. I don’t think my parents knew they were second cousins. I’m bloody lucky to be around to reflect on it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Over here, it would just means you’re from Kentucky.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Actually it is when the tree does not fork. I knew this lucky third grader who’s father walked him to school each day because they were in the same grade.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        I keep asking my parents if they’re sure they aren’t brother and sister because all the things wrong with me tend to be exaggerated (extra bad allergies etc.)

      • jeffery
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        “You MIGHT be a redneck- if you go to family reunions to pick up women!”

        • Posted June 6, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          My first cousin married my first-cousin once removed; legal in Indiana 🙂

  7. Howard Neufeld
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I usually don’t contribute to such things, but this really happened. I found that wiggling your ears (which I can do, each one independently, or together) makes you look funny, especially if you lack this skill. Is this a vestigial trait? Do ear wigglers have superior muscle skills?

    So, I sent a letter to Allen Funt, he of Candid Camera fame, telling him he should film people doing this and they took me up on it, set up a table at a shopping center, told people they were doing a scientific study and asked them to try and wiggle their ears. It was aired in mid-October in 1967 when I was 14 years old.

    Coming from a relatively small town, Frederick (now the 2nd largest town in Maryland!), it was front page news in our local paper. I also got a $50 check from Allen Funt! My 30 secs of fame!

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      No, I think it means they developed the muscles (and so nerves enervated them) but that most people lack the muscles already. The trait is, I think, both vestigial and unnecessary with our type of ears.

  8. amyt
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    As a scientist I need more proof of PCC’s ability to actually perform this oddity. This should be in the form of a video. Also, replication is also needed in the form of different recognizable tunes. Let’s start with N=3. Said online submission will be peer reviewed by WEIT readers. These are the roolz. Game on?!?

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      Seconded.

    • pck
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Absolutely! Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

  9. Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I think they make lists so that they can put the different items on separate pages with different ads, hence making more money. As to my oddities, I have two skills that I am not quite sure whether or not are unusual (perhaps someone can weigh in):
    1: I can play recognizable tunes not by pounding my head, but by smacking my tongue (the principle is the same: the different notes are created by resonances in the mouth)
    2: I am splay-footed, so I can make farting sounds with my feet on wet floor.

    Are these skills unusual? I asked a friend once, and she could do neither, but I need a larger sample before I can draw any conclusions

    • JoanL
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I knew a guy who could do foot farts, but it was because he had flat feet – so flat the army gave him a medical draft deferment from the Vietnam war.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I read somewhere that people are more likely to click on numbered lists.

    One of my oddities (like PCCE, I’m only giving one) is that I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.

    • steve oberski
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Photograph is the only acceptable evidence for this assertion.

      I, sadly, lack this ability.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey me too! All of my mom’s side of the family can do that. Maybe it was a weird genetic thing that happened in NZ.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Not sure where I got it – sticking our tongues out to see where they go wasn’t standard dinner table entertainment! 🙂

    • Joseph Stalin
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      This “ability” is called Gorlin’s Sign and is present in 10% of the human population.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m not producing a photo!

        It’s pretty funny watching other people try to do it once you’ve proved you can though. Some can’t even curl their tongue up towards their nose – I wonder if they’ve the same ones who can’t roll their tongues.

  11. Frnk Bath
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I can easily cross my fingers on both hands, two pair per hand, making four x’s.
    I can whistle breathing in as well as out so no stopping for a breath.
    These may be common for all I know.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I think it is common; I can do it. Allows one to continually whistle whether inhaling or exhaling. I perceive that it is evidence of the lips as the locus of the natural human resonator of whistling.

      (I wonder if other great apes can whistle.)

      • Ann German
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        That’s how you play the didgerido (sp?)

        • scaryreasoner
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          No, the didgeridoo circular breathing is different, you kind of sneak in breaths of air through your nose while simultaneously maintaining constant airflow out of your mouth by using your cheeks as an air reservoir, like bagpipes. Whistling backwards, you just breathe in through your mouth and whistle with the air going the opposite direction, so it’s quite a lot easier.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 5, 2016 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Sonny Rollins is known for his circular breathing on the saxophone. Then again, so is Kenny G, so I guess it’s no guarantee of quality playing.

            • rickflick
              Posted June 6, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

              This is standard on the harmonica, of course.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

                “Circular breathing” involves maintaining a reservoir of breath so the player can continuously exhale through his or her instrument. Harp playing’s a “suck and blow” operation.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I can easily cross my fingers on both hands, two pair per hand, making four x’s.

      I didn’t know that I could do that until I tried just now.
      My oddity : btween getting back from field work and returning to university for my finals year, I overcame the “left-hander’s problem” – that as you write from left to right with your left hand, you smudge and obscure what you’ve just written. I did this by teaching myself to write from right to left with my left hand. Then, for entertainment, I taught myself to write in both directions with my right hand. Then I added the two directions of upside-down writing with each hand, making for 8 directions in total.
      I considered, but did not start, on the Houdini trick of writing with my toes.
      Each direction was comparably legible – my normal script has never been neat (see “left-hander’s problem” above).
      I occasionally do the right-to-left or upside-down writing, just to freak people. I don’t make any effort at keeping up the left-to-right-normally-oriented-right hand writing. Why would one?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 3:51 am | Permalink

        Now that *is* a neat trick! Quite impressive.

        I can read writing upside down quite easily, but I’ve no idea how common that is. I occasionally do it when someone is reading a page on their desk they’re about to hand to me. Showoff!

        cr

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          I can do that too, and can’t remember when I couldn’t, so it’s not like I’ve trained myself to do it.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            It’s a knack. Doesn’t take training, though a little practice helps. I have no idea how many people can do it, maybe everyone can.

            cr

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Well, it was. I learned it in a few weeks – between hill walking trips, cycling, and processing my field samples in the labs – used it for a couple of years … and it only rarely gets rolled out these days. I’d need to practice to get fully back up to speed.

      • amyt
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Which script did you use for your final exams? Did you pass?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Usual – it always was far the fastest. Yes, I passed.

      • somer
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Must have been hard marking your exam paper – did you write it right to left?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Only the questions that referred to Galileo – which none of them did, me not being a physicist.

      • Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        I’m left-handed with ambidextrous tendency and can do the X trick as well. It’s easy with the left hand, and takes a bit on the right. The outer fingers (small and index) go inwards and under.

        When I learn a sport, I almost always need to try out left and right hand stances and positions and see what works for me. There is not really a rhyme and reason why I prefer one or the other.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          Pinkies under digit IV too, for me.
          I deliberately alternate left and right hands when playing snooker or pool – unless the table forces me to a particular hand. I saw the effect of the Hurricane’s play on opponents, and the way that – was it Denis Taylor? picked up on being able to play confidently left-handed too. since the late 1980s, every serious player has kept competent off-hand play in his (or her) tool box.

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      I can do the finger-crossing too. I can do it only by putting the inner two fingers over the outer two fingers.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:09 am | Permalink

        Interesting observation…I automatically have the inner fingers on top as well. But in trying the reverse, I can only do the outer fingers on top version with my left hand. And I’m right-handed.

    • Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Circular breathing is a standard technique for Zurna players

  12. Stephen Barnard
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I can curl my upper lip just like Elvis Presley, but only on one side.

    I think the lists have numbers to discourage you from bailing before the end.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 3:54 am | Permalink

      Bloody annoying though, when it says “25 things you never knew cats could do” and then page 25 is just a hook for some other bloody clickbait list!

      cr

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Their strategy seems to be working. 🙂

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      It also means they can squeeze in 25 times the number of adverts. I suspect that that’s a big part of it.

  13. Kevin
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I can pee during swimming, running or biking. I can also sleep anywhere, even in front of the gate and miss flights (more than once!).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Please get out of the pool. I fell asleep and missed a flight out of Chicago once. O’hare is not a good place to spend the night.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:00 am | Permalink

        “I can pee during swimming, running or biking.”

        So can everybody. The trick is not getting your pants wet. At least for #2 and #3. If you can do it for #1 your name is probably Jesus Christ.

        cr

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Haha and all middle aged women can pee freely at anytime. 😀

  14. Filippo
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    “I can play recognizable tunes on my skull by pounding on the top of my head with my right fist and opening my mouth various widths to produce different notes. I call this my “cranial drum.”

    I basically do that, except that I “pop” my lips together and change the volume inside my mouth. My favorite tune, of course, is the Maxwell House Coffee musical theme.

    I also can wiggle my ears and nose.

  15. Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I am often lost in thought of imaginary conversations where I am explaining things to people. I think it is because I would have liked to explain music like Leonard Bernstein.

    I think I detect a general love of explaining among some of my fellow devotees to this site…

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      forgot to sub

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      For sure. I do that, but an important aspect of my imaginary lectures is that the other person is wrong and I need to correct him.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        Welcome to the internet, where all that mental practice can be put to good use, everywhere, all of the time.

        • Posted June 6, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          SIWOTI, man. I got it bad.

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Damn, you beat me to it! 😀

  16. Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid, we all did what you call “cranial drums”. We also did a variant by slapping pursed lips and getting notes – and therefore tunes – by increasing or decreasing the volume of air in our mouths.

    I once composed a song, which could be called “The chicken and the egg”, accompanied by my guitar. The singing was very well imitated chicken clucks, the tune was fun and simple. After singing it for a while, I would suddenly emit a bunch of loud victorious clucks and stand up, and there, on the chair where I was sitting, was a stone egg (from our collection of beautiful semi-precious and other nice polished stones of various colours, such as marble, onyx, etc.). This inevitably brought on screams of laughter in my little audience which generally consisted of family and/or friends. I couldn’t tell you how many times over many years I was asked to perform my chicken and egg-laying song!

  17. eric
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I once got robbed at knife point, and by the time the situation was over, the robber was handing me my wallet back and saying “take it, you need it more than I do.”

    Also, my family has/had a glacier named after us in Antartica. Though at this point I’m not sure it’s there any more…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      Your name isn’t Marvin is it?

      cr

  18. Posted June 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “I can play recognizable tunes on my skull…”

    This is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. Thank you! Made me laugh out loud.

    I get, for lack of a better word, “knee-gasms” when I run down mountains. It’s a wonderful feeling in my knees. One of my friends many years ago coined the term as a pejorative because their knees were aching. It’s pretty accurate though!

    Mike

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I get that knee feeling too!

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      A wonderful feeling in your knees when you run? Does not compute.

  19. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if this tympanic cranial talent emerged before or after the emergence of the bot fly.

  20. Steve Pollard
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I can cup my hands together, and blow through the gap between my thumbs, and not only imitate an owl, but also produce recognisable tunes, by flexing my fingers in and out.

    When I was a kid, this seemed so natural and obvious that I assumed everyone could do it. Over the 50-odd years since then, I haven’t met more than a couple of people who can. Maybe I have led too sheltered a life. (Or maybe not sheltered enough).

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I used to do it, as did many of my friends. I think it is called the hand ocarina.

    • barn owl
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      One of the best songs to play on the hand ocarina is the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Any of the tunes Ennio Morricone wrote for the score of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western will work.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          Almost any. Jill’s Theme wouldn’t.

          cr

  21. Gabriel
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I can spit saliva directly from the (parotid) salivary glands without it touching any part of my mouth. According to Chopra this is epigenetics and my grandchildren will spit venom.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I can do that from my sublingual salivary glands.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        One of my paranoid glands can do that … but I am always suspicious which one. [Okay, so it goes left from my right side. Parotid, I think.]

        • GBJames
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Your paranoid glands? I’d be afraid to try that!

      • barn owl
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s called gleeking.

        <–(Dental school anatomy instructor)

        • Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Beat me to it. A neighbor grew up in Sahwatch CO a few hundred miles from me (near the Great Sand Dunes Monument). He had a science teacher in high school who could gleek at will, even directing the stream with utmost precision. If he saw any kids sleeping in class, he’d gleek ’em.

  22. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Prior to changes in the design of bubble-blowing wands, I used to be able to blow a bubble inside a bubble on about one out of 4 tries.

    Both the great humanist Montaigne, and one of my least favorite Christian theologians, St. Augustine, have written about other people being able to fart melodies, though this may be merely hearsay.
    See Montaigne “On Solitude” and St. Augustine “City of God”.

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Around 1900 there was a French stage performer called “Le Peromaine” whose act consisted of faring various tunes. Mel Brooks named his character in Blazing Saddles after this wonder.

      • Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        *Petomaine* stupid autocorrect.

        • Desnes Diev
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          ‘Pétomane’, actually, without ‘i’ (“pet” = fart). His name was Joseph Pujol. He was very reknowed in his time.

          • Jacques Hausser
            Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            For us french speaking, it’s quite funny to read notices like “Pets not allowed on this Island” (Seen on Sark, Channel Islands, where they fear the introduction of rabies).

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            Here we are. You can find *anything* on Youboob. A classic and unrivalled contribution to sophisticated cultural history, brought to you by the miracle of sound recording:

            I give you, Le Petomane:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tixKopGjn5s

            cr

            • merilee
              Posted June 6, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

              Le pet de ma tante – lol!!

              It’s hard to tell the farts from the scratches on the record.

    • steve oberski
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I thought you were making this up and not inclined to read all 600 pages of the paperback edition found this using the ever reliable Mr. Google:

      Saint Augustine in City of God (De Civitate Dei) (14.24) mentions some performers who did have “such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing.”

  23. EvolvedDutchie
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I have two.

    First, I have a very odd way of phrasing things, although that is probably limited to Dutch. I hope.

    My second oddity is that I’m completely terrified of spiders. I have extreme arachnafobia. Yet my astrological sign in Scorpio, which is an arachnid.

  24. docbill1351
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Apparently with John Haught you can direct the beam of a flashlight into his left ear and is shines out of his right.

    Who knew?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      😀

    • steve oberski
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      I heard that the light actually shone out of his fundament.

  25. Hempenstein
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The Virginia Is For Lovers ad campaign will soon be 50yrs old, and it’s still going strong. If you enter Virginia via an Interstate – at least on I-77, anyway – they give away free Virginia Is For Lovers bumper stickers as well as a little cup of VA peanuts.

    PCC[E] knows the rest of the story, but for everyone else it’s only a partial stretch to say that I started it. The whole story including pic, is here, including the Comments section.

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Maryland is for crabs. 🙂

      • GBJames
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        heh

      • Hempenstein
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed! That was MD’s reply to VA.

        (Still, I’ve never heard anyone say that they used to love crabs but not anymore.)

    • merilee
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Were you the bridegroom?

      • Hempenstein
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Yep.

        • Merilee
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          Cool! You didn’t get the girl, though, I assume.

          • Hempenstein
            Posted June 5, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            Nope, she was one of the people who worked at Jamestown Colony. Never saw her before or after that day. Curiously, tho, she had a passing resemblance to my future ex, who showed up a couple yrs later.

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted June 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

              “Future ex” is a nice neologism: Succinct, evocative, and accurate.

              • Hempenstein
                Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

                Indeed. Can’t remember where I heard that tho. Possibly in a song.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

                And it has a whiff of a time paradox.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      “I got the lead role because at that time there were only about three guys with beards and I was the first to answer the phone.”

      I thought you got it because you were the cutest. 😉

      When I first saw the pic I thought there was something too modern about it to be a period piece. I wonder if it is just the quality of the photography?

      • Hempenstein
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        I vaguely remember that the photog had a bunch of cameras. It was a damp-ish, cool-ish grey day, and the shoot took most of the afternoon inside the dirt-floor chapel at the Jamestown fort, not that you can see any of that. I don’t remember that we moved much – changed positions or anything like that. He fiddled with the lighting and maybe somewhat different camera angles. When it was over we all wondered why it took so long, so I’m glad the result still looks high-quality.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          “we all wondered why it took so long, so I’m glad the result still looks high-quality.”

          That (the quality) is why it took so long, I guess. This was in pre-digital days?

          cr

  26. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I can catch a football on my foot even when it(the ball that is) is dropping from up to twenty-ish feet – and I don’t mean just control it, I mean catch it. And when I was fifteen I invented an entirely new footballing trick that I’ve never seen anyone do, even football freestylers. I didn’t revise for the last two years of secondary school as a result of practising pointless flicks all the time…but I don’t care.

    p.s. thankyou for this opportunity to tell the world Jerry.

  27. Posted June 5, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I can play recognizable tunes on my skull by pounding on the top of my head with my right fist and
    opening my mouth various widths to produce different notes. I call this my “cranial drum.”

    I’m sure there’s a joke in there along the lines of: “whatever you do, don’t try to play _______” but I can’t think of what it is

  28. Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I can whistle through my rolled tongue. Sounds sort of like blowing over the top of a bottle. Just a couple of notes – enough to confuse the mourning doves!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      How about touching your nose with your tongue. I can do it but some girls get excited?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        It;s licking your eyebrows that really gets the girl’s attention.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Actually it is licking theirs. [But always ask first, or you need to lick yours…]

          • GBJames
            Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            LOL. You guys are killing me!

            • jeffery
              Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

              Two guys were walking down the sidewalk and saw a dog lying on the curb licking his testicles. One guy said, “Boy, I wish I could do that.” The other replied, “Well, you’d better pet him a little bit first.”

              • GBJames
                Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

                ++

      • Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        I can do both (whistle through rolled tongue and touch my nose with my tongue). The latter trick never attracted fellow females to me, thank goodness!

    • docbill1351
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      I would join in to this lovely discussion if it weren’t for that pesky restraining order!

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        LOL!

  29. Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I have arguments with other people, but in my own head. I debate them, refute them, and sometimes even change my mind! The problem is sometimes I begin to do so out loud–making pauses when the “other” person is speaking to me–and so I look like I’m crazy, talking to myself. Sometimes I get away with pretending I was talking to someone on the phone, but usually not. This has made for some embarrassing moments over the years. Unlike crazy people, however, I am not crazy. 🙂

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      I have a similar tendency, and I refer to it as having a ‘fugue’. It seems to run in my family since my father and one of my brothers had this to such a degree that we would sometimes have to intervene to calm them down. It was dangerous to let them drive at times.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Hmm. Okay, that sounds familiar. Ever since I was little and we moved to the back of beyond in Wales I’ve…Oh god this is genuinely embarrassing. I’ve talked to myself. I remember going to school one day and someone said they’d seen me talking to myself at the bus-stop – I desperately told them I was talking to someone nearby who was hiding behind a wall and was therefore not visible.
      This is a safe place for this kind of stuff right?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        “This is a safe place for this kind of stuff right?”

        Oh yeah, safe as houses. I mean, it’s not as if WEIT is a high-profile website, is it? So it won’t figure high on search results. And it’s not as if you have an unusual name such that anyone Googling you will be able to tell you from all the other similarly-named people on the Intertoobz, is it?

        😀

        cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          P.S. I do that too. Talking to myself, I mean. That way, I can be sure that I’m having a conversation with someone compatible who is my intellectual equal…

          cr

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            Exactly my reasoning.

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            😀

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          I wouldn’t worry about it. No-one’s going to be mean or harass me online – the internet just isn’t like that.

          Besides, you have a far more distinctive name than me.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

            Yes but – and I’m about to make an admission which may surprise some people here – it isn’t my real name!

            (‘cr’ is my real initials but that’s fairly Google-proof)

            I did once google my real name – which is distinctive – and the results alarmed me. So now I only do personal / half-baked (is there any difference?) things under an assumed name.

            cr

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

              It’s not your real name?? Well I’ll be. I’d just assumed your parents were hippies 😉

              “Moonbeam, Starchild; leave Infiniteimprobability to his fingerpainting and come eat your lentil sandwich.”

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

                😀

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

              “I did once google my real name – which is distinctive – and the results alarmed me.”

              Same here!

              But Jerry intimidated me into using part of mine here…

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

                Diane’s fairly common so you’re probably safe.

                In my case, my wife’s part of a large Cook Island family. Most of her generation are religious, while all the youngsters are into Tw*tter etc, and news spreads like wildfire. I can just imagine one of the youngsters – “Auntie’s phone number? It’s probably listed under Uncle, I’ll just Google it” – and the first page of Google results is comments of mine on this site about Jeebus.

                That (if I used my real name) is more likely to happen, sooner or later, than not. I would *never* do that to my wife.

                cr

      • Hempenstein
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Just tell them you’re rehearsing your lines. (Lines for what? Never mind.)

        In Sweden I used to practice saying “seven” (sju) at the bus stop in the evenings when nobody was around.

  30. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I can wiggle my pinky toes independently of my other toes. I taught myself how to do this after reading Dune as a young adolescent. There is a passage where the bene gesserit (sp?) said that you must learn to control every muscle; you must be able to wiggle your pinky toes.

  31. John Frum
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    This is a bit hard to,describe but here goes.
    If I put out my arms in front of me and bend my index fingers in so they are pointing at each other, I can make each arm describe circles in the opposite direction to each other.
    So looking from the side one circle will be clockwise and the other anticlockwise.
    This is actually a learned skill.
    Most people cannot do it otherwise but interestingly people often think they are doing it when in fact they aren’t.

    • jeffery
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve done that for years and it really flummoxes little kids, especially when you reverse the rotation!

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      That is easy!

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Me too, unless I’ve misunderstood the instructions. Never tried it before. I can also pat my head and rub my belly at the same time. I’m right-handed, but can only snap the fingers on my left hand.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          Now that is interesting: I’m exactly the same. I’ve never been able to snap the fingers on my right hand and always thought I was the only such failure around.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

            Snap!

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Wow. That is surprisingly difficult to do.

    • Stewedprune
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      Good one! Well done anyone who can master that – not sure I’ll ever be able to (absolutely hopeless so far but I’ll keep trying).

  32. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I can play recognizable tunes on my skull …

    Video of you playing the 1812 Overture finale (or sheet music transcribed for skull and fist) or it doesn’t happen.

    My oddity is that I relate to time geometrically. Days are bricklike rectangles, set out into weeks in a houndstooth-like pattern. Months come in annual 12-segment wheels, like pie charts. Years, in sidewalk-like blocks, with 10-block decades running at right angles to each other.

    I’ve been told that this is a form of synesthesia. For the longest time, I assumed everyone experienced time this way. I was skeptical of those who said they were terrible with dates or couldn’t remember when personal events had occurred, wondering why they didn’t just look in the applicable shape and find them.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to see him try playing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on his noggin. That 15 minute drum solo might cost him a few IQ points though. There’s probably more than one creationist who would like to play it for him on him.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Iron Butterfly’s Ron Bushy on the sticks. Happen to have it right here.

        But as I understand it, Jerry’s saying he can play melody. Even I can do straight percussion on my noggin.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Just tried it–nice work-out for your biceps and triceps.

          Hey, maybe I’ve created the next fad–skullercise.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I have a similar mental picture, although in my case numbers from 1-12 (hours, days of the month, or years of a century) appear to be set around a broken circle. Astonishing that my view of years is otherwise exactly the same as yours: blocks running at right angles to each other. The 1-12 image obviously (to me, anyway) comes from the dial of a clock. The blocks of years, for me, come from the layout of a Snakes-and-Ladders board (which I was taught to play as a toddler).

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Mine come from “Chutes and Ladders” (as we called when I learned it as a toddler). I didn’t realize it until reading your comment!

        My months are arrayed on the clock-face in wedge-like segments, with January occupying the 6-7 O’clock position and the months proceeding clockwise through December in the 5-6 position. My vantage point is directly above 6 o’clock (or 12 o’clock high over 0600 hrs., you might say).

  33. Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m double-jointed 😉

  34. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I can’t, but my parents can … mushrooms.

    Else I am fairly proud of my ability to point my arms perfectly straight out from my body no matter what else I am doing, as it took years of aerobics and other exercising in front of mirrors to coincidentally develop. [Well, I tried to achieve better control when I was at it, obviously.]

    So all the famous people I have met are probably obscure kinds of scientists or local comedians (the kinds I usually remember). But if remote viewing suffice I can give a US context as watching President Bill Clinton making a speech in Dallas. I happened to pass on my way from visiting the “shooting gallery” memorials, he was followed to the podium close by me, but the podium was too remote for listening.

  35. Posted June 5, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes when I was in the Army. That has to be weirder than thumping your head.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Maybe not weird but crazy. I was in the Air Force and I never did that…just worked on them.

  36. Merilee
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always wondered about the French pastries called pets de nonnes – nuns’ farts…

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Then there’s Capezzoli di Venere (nipples of Venus) and pasta puttanesca (prostitute’s pasta, or, depending on interpretation, pasta with a bunch of shit on it).

  37. Joe Dickinson
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I played the Alphorn to entertain crowds in the security lines at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and was interviewed about it on the Today Show – a bit short of fifteen minutes of fame.

  38. Newish Gnu
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if this counts. I’m kinda bad with remembering people’s names. Sometimes even people I’ve known quite a while but haven’t seen in a while. A name will come to me. It will be wrong but, about 95% of the time, the name will have the correct number of letters. I might think of Jeff as Mike or I might think of Steve as Roger. I even once thought of Geoff as David.

    I have to add that absolutely nobody has ever been impressed by this “skill”.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      I have the same problem, with the awful habit of upon being introduced to someone forgetting their name within a fraction of a second, probably because I’m thinking of the next thing to say.

      • Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        A lot of people have this lifelong problem remembering people’s names. Upon meeting someone new, I warn them that I’ll have to ask them several times to remind me of their name before it registers, and even then, it can fade away after some time. On the other hand, I never forget a face.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        That happens to me all the time.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:36 am | Permalink

          Me too! It’s hopeless telling me someone’s name on first meeting. About the third or fourth time, I might know them well enough to have a mental picture of them I can attach a name to.

          (My wife, on the other hand, has a memory for names – not places! – like a FBI databank. She even remembers old friends of mine that I haven’t seen for years and have totally forgotten and she only ever met once).

          cr

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      I mix up names that seem (to me) visually similar. One example is “Linda” for “Jane”. I think the “l” and “j” look similar and they are monosyllabic. I also mix up “Gord” with “”Doug” and here I think the “d” and “g” reversal in the names make my brain associate them. I’ve probably got some kind of messed up Broca’s are of my brain or something who knows. Maybe to much temporary migraine aphasia.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Reversing your “d”s and “g”s — now, that’s a dogdamn shame, godgone it.

  39. jrhs
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Is it odd that I can’t trill my R’s properly?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      In UK, that may be a sexual offence.

  40. Mary L
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I can flex my nose, just above the nostrils, without any movement of any other part of my nose. Plus, my brother and I are ambidextrous (We’re not twins.). I deal and play cards with my left hand, but shuffle with the right.

  41. Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I have an 80% matchup between our Major Histocompatibility Complexes, though we are unrelated going back as many generations as anyone can figure out with available records and memory.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      I think you’re an oddity just for knowing that. 😀

      Wait–23 and me?

      • Posted June 6, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Why, thank you! And no, it wasn’t 23 and me, it was the immunology department at UCSF. Long story.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 7, 2016 at 3:07 am | Permalink

          Love at first transplant? 😉

          • Posted June 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

            We were already in love. And no, it was a transfusion.

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 9, 2016 at 3:32 am | Permalink

              Ooh, I was closer than I thought I’d be. And sorry if that sounded too personal–I was feeling glib, and didn’t mean to pry.

              I actually thought the scenario would be more like that you were both working toward similar professional goals in the same class, in which everyone had to be–uh, whatever the real term for “histo-typed” is–as a lesson in the subject.

              Anyway, sounds like you two really hit it off in the compatibility department. 😉

              • Posted June 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                Yes, beyond our wildest dreams, and, for that matter, beyond the wildest dreams of the UCSF Immunology Department — they said they’d never seen anything like it. Anyway, no offense taken. I’m aware this thread is, shall we say, not entirely serious. The story is complicated and involved only white blood cells and an experimental treatment. I’ll tell you the rest of the tale by email if you want to know.

  42. Andrew
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I was an atheist and I lived in a monastery.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Past tense? I assume you moved.

  43. Joe Stalin
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I, too am able to perform on my own skull. Sorry Jerry, not that rare a skill.

    Other skills/interesting facts about me:
    (1) I identified at least 5 correct diagnoses before Dr House, a couple within the first 10 minutes of the show (I am a doctor).

    (2) I was gently recruited to be Jerry Garcia’s personal endocrinologist back in 1983, a gig I turned down, not because I wasn’t a super Dead Head, but because I knew he would never listen to my instructions and then he could die and I would be blamed.

    • Posted June 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Don’t sell yourself short, now. You are also pretty darn good at having people killed.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        LOL!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Hope ya at least cautioned Jerry to lay off the Sugar Magnolia and Ripple — not to mention the vitamin C, reds, and cocaine.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:37 am | Permalink

        Ain’t it a shame?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 6, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          What a long, strange trip it’s been …

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Re (1), that suggests the scriptwriters were pretty good, I think.

      cr

    • Posted June 6, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      amyloidosis

  44. mordacious1
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    I had a Microbiology instructor back in college who was from China and very difficult to understand, so he would write notes on the blackboard (which were barely legible). His unusual skill was that he could write those notes with his left hand, while using his right hand to write other notes (concurrently mind you) on a different topic, or draw diagrams. While he was doing this, he would be talking about an entirely different topic. IT FREAKED ME OUT!! I don’t know how I ever got an A in that class.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Now that IS amazing!

      I thought I was doing pretty well when, as a kid, I taught myself to play rounds on the piano–always had to start with my right hand and come in with the second part with my left…

  45. Tor
    Posted June 5, 2016 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    I can move my eyes independently of each other.

  46. Posted June 6, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Nice post……………

  47. Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    I spent a weekend with Oliver Sacks digging for Devonian fish in a quarry near Canowindra in New South Wales.

    He opened up the weekend of conversation with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in his eye by whispering “I was at Patrick Stewart’s birthday party last week…”

    • amyt
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      That’s not an oddity. It’s an exquisite experience.

  48. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    I have an OCD-like habit that if I happen to tap my knucles on a wall while passing it, I always have to make it up to six taps. I’d try to break myself of it but so far as I can tell it’s completely innocuous.

    Oh, and I ‘never’ wear shoes. (Now I’m retired I don’t even have to wear them to the office). I am the antithesis of Jerry 🙂
    If I’m catching a train or a bus I may wear sandals so some Health & Safety jobsworth doesn’t hassle me. And if I’m going for a hike I sometimes carry sandals on my belt in case some officious pest has spread sharp coarse gravel on the track. Otherwise, barefoot everywhere.

    Famous people? I was in a bar in Rarotonga one afternoon in ~1981, only person there, when David Bowie walked in by himself and ordered a drink. I didn’t go over and speak to him, I figured he was probably sick of strangers bothering him.

    cr

    • Merilee
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      I have danced with Dan Brown and George Shultz (sp), was given a Dr. Seuss book by Robert Oppenheimer, and have had my tonsils out twice. Oh, and met Sky King on a train trip across the country. And Danny Kaye wax stretched out on my Freshman dorm couch.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Oh, and I once met Albert Henry, first Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, though after he’d retired. He was an old rogue, but he had oodles of charisma. When he spoke, you wanted to hear what he had to say.

        I also encountered his successor, Tom Davis, who had all the charisma (and some of the appearance) of a monitor lizard.

        cr

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Impressive. By comparison…

        Whilst on a college trip to the Liverpool Tate I saw the lead singer of nineties two-hit wonders Space(most notably they had a hit with the campily brilliant Avenging Angels) walking his dog by the docklands. He looked up at me and swiftly moved on. If anyone else has had a more underwhelming brush with fame I’d like to hear it.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 7, 2016 at 2:47 am | Permalink

        I’m sorry, you simply have to elaborate on these!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      No one in NZ wears shoes, or so it appears when you visit and see people wandering around barefoot, even in winter.

      My OCD habits usually involve the number 4 or 8.

  49. bric
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Well thanks chaps, I never felt so reassuringly normal. The best I can come up with is that I was at Aberystwyth University at the same time Prince Charles was there learning Welsh for his investiture. I saw his car once but never met him. Hardly worth mentioning really.

  50. HaggisForBrains
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    This one is for the Brits. I was once interviewed by the lovely Judith Chalmers for the TV travel Programme “Wish You Were Here?”. This was followed by a shot of me casting a fishing line. I was paid £10 and signed away the worldwide rights to the footage. Big deal, I thought, but then watched each week for the next ten years or so to see my fishing shot repeated under the closing credits every time. Shouda held out for £15.

  51. Gail
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    One of the most memorable encounters of my life was when I met Mackenzie, the Timber Wolf. I was at PetSmart, shopping for dog food. Someone entered the dog food aisle and I turned to see who it was.There, not 5 feet away from me, was a very tall lanky wolf, wearing the biggest canine grin I had ever seen. He was so gorgeous, I uttered an awed “oh!” and smiled right back at him. He came right up to me, stood on his hind legs, and put his front paws on my shoulders. His big goofy grin was now above my head. I fell in love!! I only became aware of his owner, when she scolded him to “Get down Mackenzie!”. She told me he was 9 months old and she was raising him because his owners had discovered that a wolf is NOT a dog. I petted his shaggy coat and he moved on. 20 years later I still remember falling in love with that wolf, and I’ll never forget him.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Typical wolf, pawing women in a pet store.

      • Gail
        Posted June 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Lol!! So true! 😉

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 7, 2016 at 3:01 am | Permalink

      Now that is cool!

      • Gail
        Posted June 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        The coolest!!

    • Posted June 9, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      What a wonderful meeting!

      The closest I’ve come to real wolves was as a customer at a plant nursery, where the owners had two part-wolves. They were massive and quite wolfy, somewhat friendly (not overtly so like your wolf) but I could tell we had to watch ourselves around them.

  52. Kurt Helf
    Posted June 6, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I once had a short, but spirited, debate with Christopher Hitchens during a call-in segment of the (now defunct) WGN radio show “Unconventional Wisdom” hosted by Jim Warren and Michael Tackett.


%d bloggers like this: