Too much of a good thing

QUESTION: You are told to drink a lot of water. Can you drink too much water? (Asked by a fluid-conscientious reader.)REPLY: The answer is yes, in some special instances. Drinking too much water can l ...

Nature's curiosity: The white squirrel

Q: I have recently noticed white squirrels in the trees across from my porch and have never seen them before. I remember a colony at Lander many years ago. Are they as rare as I was thinking, and why ...

The trick to trick candles

Well, the summer reruns have run out and it's time for another Curiosity Corner season. Are you ready?Let me start off by thanking Megan Varner Price, director of University Relations at Lander Univer ...

English language can leave you puzzled

The English language is something else, as I have written several times before. It is billed as a difficult language to learn, and here are a few things that came across my computer screen that might ...

A lesson in roses

QUESTION:My curiosity concerns flowers, some lovely roses probably purchased at a store other than a florist. If the petals are taken apart you will find, at the center of the flower, a fully formed c ...

Tracing the origin of the term 'guy'

Q:We use the terms "gal" and "guy" to refer to females and males. I can see where "gal" would be a slang contraction of "girl," but where does "guy" come from? (Asked by a curious guy.)REPLY:I had to ...

Scratching out an answer on itching

QUESTION: I would like to know where the phrase "in your neck of the woods" comes from. The guys on the "Today" show use it a lot.REPLY: Well, the best explanation that I've heard is that a neck is a ...

Calling the gees and haws

QUESTION:There is something that has puzzled me for years. When I was a boy (a long time ago), while plowing and driving mules, "gee" meant right, "haw" meant left, and "gee haw" meant straight ahead. ...

A few trivia tidbits

For this week's Curiosity Corner, I've assembled some interesting trivia. Thought you'd want to know.-- There are no clocks in Las Vegas casinos. (I wonder why?)-- There are 11 lampposts and four ...

Quiz time!

OK, it's quiz time. I've been letting you off easily lately. But, to show you I'm a nice guy, I'm going to give the definition of things and you only have to supply the word answers. For example, the ...

A complicated relationship

Irecently did a column on cousin consanguinity (kinship – you did look it up, didn't you?), and I mentioned that it reminded me of the old song "I'm My Own Grandpa." Some curious column-readers ...

Fat meaning and golden origins

QUESTION:What is "schmaltz"?REPLY: This term is used in slang to denote exaggerated sentimentalism -- some of the soap operas have ample amounts of schmaltz. However, according to my sources, schmaltz ...

A question of consanguinity

QUESTION: What is the closer kinship: first cousins, or the bloodline between an aunt (or uncle) and a niece (or nephew)? (Asked by a curious cousin column-reader.)REPLY: Well, I was never very good o ...

Understanding negative interest rates

QUESTION: I read where banks might charge a "negative interest rate." What does that mean? They want to charge me for money in my savings account? The interest rates are low enough now. (Asked by a cu ...

Sizing up U.S. coin currency

QUESTION: Why are dimes smaller than other coins? (Asked by a curious coin collector.)REPLY: Coinage has a long history, from ancient to modern times, and the United States is no exception. We used to ...

Testing your Constitutional IQ

Let's have a little quiz. During this presidential election year, we have heard candidates speak about protecting the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. See how familiar you are with these ...

Getting Easter on the calendar

QUESTION:Why does Easter fall on so many different dates, sometimes in March and sometimes in April? (Asked by a curious church-goer.)REPLY: You have probably heard the phrase that "Easter occurs on t ...

Surface tension causes 'tear' effect

QUESTION:When you swirl wine in a glass, what causes the "tears" to form on the glass? (Asked by a curious, wine-drinking column reader.)REPLY: The reader must have been swirling and contemplating whi ...

Taking another swing at golf terminology

The question last week was about the origin of golf terms, but I was so busy making par and yelling "fore" that I didn't get to call the shots – bogey, birdie, eagle and albatross. So, here we g ...

Teeing off on golf term origins

QUESTION: A previous article a month or so ago was about the numbers on golf clubs. This evidently got some golfers curious, and I was asked about golf terms such as par, bogey, birdie and so on. This ...