Right side of the road

QUESTION: Why do we drive on the right side of the road and not on the left, like the British? (Asked by a curious traveler.) REPLY: If you have driven in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia or mos ...

It's quiz time!

It’s quiz time! Here are a few short-answer questions I’ve put in the form of a quiz – and there’s a little something for everyone. Grade yourself. 1. How many different langua ...

Cold truth about bananas

QUESTION:Should you put bananas in the refrigerator? (Asked by a curious column-reader.) REPLY: This is an old one – but first, a little banana background. The banana was native to Southeast Asi ...

Ostriches vs. emus

QUESTION:What is the difference between an ostrich and an emu? (Asked by a column reader.) REPLY: Well, one thing they have in common is that they are both big birds. However, the ostrich is a bit big ...

Pass me the pasta, I'm in a noodle

QUESTION:Would you please tell me the differences among the various types of pasta? I get confused with all the names on the menu. (Asked by an Italian food lover.) REPLY: It’s no wonder that yo ...

Reader flies this question by the Corner

QUESTION:Airplane seats have lap seat belts, like automobiles, but not shoulder straps. Why is this? Wouldn’t it be safer? (Asked by a frequent flyer.) REPLY: Well, there is probably a combinati ...

Don't blame your liver for liver spots

QUESTION: My granddad has brown spots on his skin that he calls "liver spots." What are they, and what causes them? (Asked by a curious young'un.) REPLY: These flat, brown or brownish-black blemi ...

It's quiz time

Here's a pop quiz on some curious geographical facts. See how many you know, and have your Atlas handy.1. The world's longest, undefended border is between what two countries? (Bonus points if you kno ...

Good spirits and bad luck

QUESTION: I'm curious about sayings. Where did "knock on wood" and "bad luck walking under a ladder" come from? (Asked by a superstitious reader.)REPLY: Knocking on wood, or merely stating to do so, i ...

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 ...