Noisy Birds, Bugs Bunny, and Things That Smell

“An encyclopedia is a system for collecting dust in alphabetical order.” 
Mike Barfield.

I have always been fascinated with useless facts.  As a kid, I taught myself the U.S. states in alphabetical order.  I can still rhyme them off in record speed.  This is not exactly going to land me any jobs, but it did help me with the answer to a trivia question once.  Not everyone knows how many U.S. State names begin with the letter “M.”  Do you? I’ll give you a minute to count them and I’ll give you the answer at the end of the blog…

Meanwhile, here are today’s three riveting facts:

1) After a long, harsh Canadian winter, there is nothing more welcomed than the return of our red-bellied friend, the robin.  They’re cute–hopping around on the lawn, fluttering about in the bird bath, teaching their little ones to fly–but man, are they noisy.  There is nothing more frustrating than the repetitious tweets of the robin at 4:30 in the morning.  I’m a nature lover who avoids stepping on bugs if I can, but I have seriously contemplated braining one of these birds by propelling a shoe out my bedroom window.  Seriously–heave-ho and then “splat.”  No more noise.  Just a beak.

My husband, however, is much more pragmatic than I am.  He strives to understand what makes these “disturbers of the peace” tick…or in this case, tweet.  Here’s what he has discovered.  It’s our fault that the robin has been forced to adopt the role of avian alarm clock–a role traditionally held by another bird, I might add.  The rooster.

Humans are noisy.  Our normal waking hours are filled with a myriad of sounds.  And the poor robin can’t hear himself think, let alone talk to a friend in the distance.  Robins must sing to attract mates.  If the mates cannot hear them, the robin will die a childless, lonely spinster.  To avoid this fate, the robin has learned to chirp its aria when the rest of the world is silent–or snoring.

So, here’s hoping that the robins in my neighbourhood soon find that special someone.  And that I can finally get an undisturbed night’s sleep.

2)  June bugs freak me out.  They’re huge.  They’re crunchy.  And when they fly into you, they actually leave a dent.  Turns out the June bug is a lightweight in the insect world.

Enter the Giant Weta of New Zealand, the world’s largest insect.  And now, enter the largest Giant Weta of all, and you have entered horror movie territory.  This is the mother of all bugs.  In fact, she weighs as much as three mice.

Her name is Bugs Bunny as she is large enough to eat carrots.  Forget her size!  She has teeth that can chew carrots!  And her wingspan is seven inches.

In her defence, she never bit the hand that fed her.  She was returned to her tree and hopefully lived happily ever after.  Far, far away with oceans between us.  Phew.

3)  Nothing smells better than the aroma of freshly pumped petrol.  It’s not for everyone.  Smell is highly subjective.  After all, I am the girl who thinks that skunk smells like Tim Horton’s coffee.  But, as I was filling up my gas tank today, I began to wonder what are the most popular smells?  Certainly not my living room after a night of brown beans.

According to a survey conducted in Britain by a dish soap manufacturer, the Brits preferred scent is fish & chips.  That even sounds Coronation Street.  Two different American surveys turned up two different results.  One said Americans favoured Vanilla, while the other said they had a hankering for Banana.

And everyone’s least favourite smell seems to be the public washroom.  I concur.

What smell do you absolutely love?

And no, I haven’t forgotten to answer the question I asked about the number of American states that start with the letter “M”.  There are 8–Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana.

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