A Smattering Of Miscellaneous Trivia And Stuff

First, a smattering is a seldom used synonym for other seldom used words like modicum or smidgen. Let's start with a smidgen of stuff. If you flew prop-driven airplanes way back during World War II, you may remember an acronym that was an alphabetical checklist for take-off and landing. The letters AGPMLFC reminded you to check Altimeter, Gas, Prop pitch, Mixture, Landing Gear, Flaps, and Carburetor heat and controls. To help you remember this you memorized "All Good Pilots Must Land Fine! Check !!" And if you used this to make sure all those items were ready for the takeoff or the landing, there was not a great deal that could go wrong … unless Murphy's Law was in effect and it was usually was. The most embarrassing mistake a pilot could make was to overlook the L in the checklist and land with the landing gear up and locked. Any pilot who made this mistake was admonished that he must have had his head up and locked.

The Directorate of Flying Safety of the Army Air Force published this checklist in a brochure I still have. The brochure contained good advice. For example: "Fly high, men. On routine flights of all sorts, except there is some very good reason for doing other, get up and stay up. if something happens. " That is just the opposite of the advice given by a mother to an aviation cadet friend of mine. She sent him off to the wild blue yonder with this advice: "Try to fly as slow and low as you possibly can."

Today Marines are referred to as "grunts." In World War I soldiers were known as "doughboys." (That term has too many derivations to include in today's column.) By the time of World War II, soldiers were known as "GIs." Originally the initials GI stand for the material from which a trash can was made – Galvanized Iron. However it later became the abbreviation for Government Issue. The troops became known as "GIs" and were issued GI shoes, uniforms, and food. Unfortunately, the GI food often led to the gastrointestinal GIs. The term "leatherneck" is also often used for US Marines. It refers to the leather collars that marines wore earlier in their history to protect them against sword slashes. The leather collars are no longer worn but are symbolized by red stripes on the collars of the Marines' dress blues.

Here are some brief bits of pure trivia. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear … Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10 … An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain … Butterflies taste with their feet … February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not a have a full moon … A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes … It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open … No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple … "Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right … The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.