I spent yesterday afternoon at a white-washed storage locker, looking carefully through the favorite things of a dear departed friend. Among the many treasures, I found a marvellous book, whose contents I’d like to share on a daily basis. It’s sort of like the internet, before the internet existed – a 552 page volume of random questions and answers, purely to satisfy the author’s curiosity.

The questions will be posted one day, and the answers the next, so get out your thinking caps (preferably a 1946 vintage) and have some fun with me. I’ll be giving out prizes for the most creative or correct replies.

A little background: A Book About A Thousand Things, authored by George Stimpson in 1946, has more than its share of quirks and gaffes. The author has arranged his questions and answers in no particular order, and he seems to have an unhealthy fascination for snakes. He also has a rather lovely outlook on life:

“My whole life has been a series of excursions into the realms of the odd and the unusual. My persistent efforts to satisfy my curiosity have kept me from being lonesome, and I have had little time to become bored” (vii).

So, dear Mr Stimpson, we’re going to take your lead, and indulge in some brain-twisting curiosity as a tonic for the twin malaises of loneliness and boredom.

Question #1:

Do any birds ever sing while on the ground?