Have you ever been in a conversation and suddenly realize that everybody’s run out of things to talk about?

We can help.

Just toss one of these fillers in, and watch the action pick up.

(Fillers are those scraps of information that newspapers use when there’s space left over at the end of their story.)

Like so:

• In 1993 a French mountaineer died. Gerard Hommel had successfully conquered Everest six times. How did he die? He fell off the ladder while changing a light bulb in his kitchen.

• Grand Chess Master Nikolai Gudkov beat a computer three times in a row in 1992. When he touched the computer for the fourth game, it electrocuted him!

• On the front door of the National Association of Telemarketers there is a sign that reads “Absolutely No Soliciting”.

• According to the Guinness Brewing Company, each year over two hundred thousand pints of beer are lost – soaked up in the drinkers’ beards and mustaches.

• Limburger has lost the dubious title of World’s Worst Smelling Cheese. The new champion is the French variety called Vieux Bologne. Those who have dared to approach say it smells “like a barnyard”.

• If you have a sweet tooth for M&M’s, don’t worry about the possibility of a shortage. Manufacturer Mars reports that they make four hundred million M&M’s – every day!

Years ago, the different colors meant different flavors, but no more. They were too expensive to make, driving the price too high.

• According to the experts, an avocado has 60 percent more potassium than a banana. The answer? A banana today, an avocado tomorrow, or a salad containing both! And it’s a pretty good excuse to pig out on Mexican food.

• How’s business? Well, every three minutes five Barbie Dolls are sold on Ebay,

• Henry Ford’s first car was called the Quadricycle. It was made of bicycle parts. (Of course it was. There were no car parts manufacturers in those pre-car days.)

• Is there such a thing as a Cover Boy (as in Cover Girl)? If so, we nominate Michael Jordan, who has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated forty nine times at last count.

• The world’s top three oil-producing countries are Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States.

The US produces as much oil as it buys from other countries, but if we used our own instead of buying foreign oil, the US would lose millions of dollars in import and export taxes.

• The farthest distance a pumpkin has been hurled without the use of explosives is 3, 718 feet – well over half a mile!

This is part of a regular and hotly contested competition and the method includes a large cannon and compressed air.

• The state fish of Hawaii is the humuhumunukunukaupua’a. (No, I don’t know how that’s pronounced; I had enough trouble just trying to spell it correctly.)

• The longest word in the Japanese language is ‘Chi-n-chi-ku-ri-n’. It means “very shortest person." And now you know why Orientals are referred to as “inscrutable."

• The ‘heat’ in chiles is the alkaloid capsacin, and the ‘heat scale’ ranges from Zero for Bell Peppers to 557,000 Scoville units for the hottest recorded pepper – the Red savina habanero.

Antidote? Try cold milk.

• Here’s one you’ll love. Washington D.C, has more psychiatrists per capita than any other city in the entire U. S. A.

• Choices, choices, choices. Your drinking friends may be interested to learn that Doctor Pepper, Coca-Cola and Hires Root Beer were all invented in 1886.

• Twenty percent of all potatoes grown in the United States wind up as French fries. (Want a burger with that?)

• Tell this to the nearest smart Alec: the English sparrow isn’t a sparrow – and it’s not English. It was introduced to England by the invading Romans.

• If you’re one of those diehard manual milkers, you probably already know that it will take about 345 “squirts” to get a gallon of milk.

• The top rated television show in the 1951-52 season was Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. In 1951 through 1955, it was I Love Lucy.

• How far is a light year? About six trillion miles. (Hitch hikers are not allowed.)

Now that you’ve loaded up on facts, you’re ready to take on that blowhard who’s been hogging the spotlight, and here’s the best part. All of your facts are verifiable.

Let’s see him top that!


— Newton Columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at m24r24fm8445@att.net