A passionate kiss burns the calories in one potato chip.
The main value of tornadoes is yet to be discovered.Chicagoans eat more Twinkies than other Twinkienuts.
The way to wake up a hypnotized lobster is to shake it and whisper, drawn butter, drawn butter.
- Excerpts from the 1989 Old Farmer's Almanac
I have been reading the 1989 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac, which arrived in the mail recently with a brave letter of apology:
"All right, so we didn't exactly predict the '88 drouth in last year's almanac," wrote Judson Hale, editor of the oldest continuously published periodical in North America. One reason for the oversight, he brainstormed, is that a drought (or drouth, if he pleases) represents a lack of weather, which is harder to predict than the real stuff such as blizzards and long rainy seasons full of cow-drowners.
"Besides," he said, "tradition has it that our weather forecasts are only 80 percent accurate. So it's important to be wrong some of the time."
Fortunately, next year's almanac devotes only 18 of its 224 pages to weather. The remainder deals with the important things in life - the best ice-fishing tournaments, how to grow witloof at home, zodiac secrets, and the honest truth about beauty. Of beauty, the almanac says:
The ideal mouth should be exactly half the width of the face at mouth level. The eyes should be one-fourteenth the height of the face at eye level. The chin should be one-fifth the length of the face. And the nose should be no more than 5 percent of the face.
I used to know a girl who had all the right measurements, but she decided to be a plumber.
One of the more useful things I learned from my new Old Farmer's Almanac is that we don't have to put up with warts anymore. There are a jillion cures - everything from counting them for nine straight nights to having a child who has never seen its father breathe on them. If you can't find such a child, you can always sell your wart to somebody and not spend the money.
Another useful thing to know is where to race your lizard or your earthworm. From the almanac's list of strange animal races, we learn that the lizards will be running in Lovington, N.M., that bugs will go for it in West Palm Beach, Calif., worms will crawl in Ashland, Ky., turtles will take off in Del Rey, Calif., and the catfish games will be held in Greenville, Miss.
One of the nicest touches in the 1988 almanac is a list of forgotten holidays, complete with cartoons. The list includes Anti-Arbor Day, All Quahogs Day, Nixon's Birthday, Be-Nice-to-Your-Brother-in-Law Day, Franklin Pierce Day of Atonement, St. Vinnie's Day in honor of the patron saint of auto mechanics, and Sanitation Truck Day, when garbage truck drivers in Kankakee, Ill., take their trash trucks out on a cookout.
Despite its failure to predict the great drought of 1988, the almanac is not getting out of the weather business. And to the almanac's credit, it has not forgotten that the one thing everyone talks about is the weather:
"The best weather talk often proceeds like a play," it says. "There are parts: the one who wonders, the one who knows.
"We ask, `Is it going to stop snowing?'
"He answers, `It always has."'
That's what I like about the Old Farmer's Almanac. It is full of fun and profundity.