Monday, November 26, 2007

What do you know?

A response to my metrics over on livejournal got me thinking.

The comment alluded to the famous "horse-head-in-the-bed" Godfather scene, but didn't menton names. It occurred to me then, not only do I know the owner of the bed's name--Jack Woltz--I know the horse's name. It was Khartoum.

Just like I know Ashley Wilkes' real first name was George. Just like I know Doc Brown's time machine needed 1.21 gigowatts of energy for the flux capacitor to work.

I also know the name of Nick and Nora Charles' dog (Asta--perennial crossword puzzle favorite). I know Captain Queeg's full name was Philip Francis Queeg. I know the Millenium Falcon made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. I know the man who shot President Garfield was named Charles Guitaeu, and that he said in court, "Your Honor, I confess to the shooting of the President but not the killing." Typhoid Mary's last name was Mallon. The Beatle's first drummer was Stu Sutcliffe. Amylase is a digestive enzyme in saliva. There are almost 300 different germs which cause the "common cold", which is why there's no cure for it--it's not one cold, it's hundreds with the same symptoms.

And I'm boring you with all of this because I find it interesting, how we remember things. Test me on some of the stuff I learned in high school and I have no idea, but I can tell you that defenestration means falling out of a window or triskadekaphobia is fear of the number 13 without batting an eyelash.

Why do we hold on to some bits of knowledge and lose others? Not even always more interesting bits of information. But some things seem to stick in our heads, and stay there.

What bits are you holding on to?

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 5,641
Total wordcount: 64,649
The Good: Oooh, men getting all protective and angry! New information makes pieces get closer to fitting together!
The Bad: We might have caught a bad guy! And we’re about to watch him get the living shit kicked out of himself.
The Gross: None at the moment.
The rampant drug use: Just regular addictions.
Location: Drug den, car, behind a messy desk, on a lawn
Downspeech: “Ain’t gonna see me, sweets. You just keep him by the building.”
I Hate My Work: This is going to be way too long, or way too short, you couldn’t pace a book properly to save your life, you talentless hack.


Robyn said...

Men getting protective and angry? YUM!

I can remember the full casts of almost every show I watched in the 70's-80's as a kid. I ROCK at Entertainment Trivial Pursuit.

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember a lot of plots and character names and scenes from books I've read, although more for childhood books than later books. Unlike Robyn, I remember virtually nothing about any TV show I've ever watched "except" for Star Trek: the original series.

I think I remember pretty much every single time I've ever had sex.

So just the important things, books and coitus.

Demon Hunter said...

I remember a lot of information as well. Some of the most useless is phone numbers. I have called up stores or other places, years ago, and still remember their phone numbers.

Gabriele C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriele C. said...

Blogger needs an edit function. :)

Lol, I have the librettos of two score operas in my head, plus assorted scenes and arias from others. Very useful in daily life. :)

Well, I did make use of it once when I had to deal with an obnoxious Italian suitor. Begone, miserable one, or your blood will be spilled (T'allontano, o sciagurato, or il tuo sangue fia versati - Lucia di Lammermoor, scene following the famous sextett 'Chi mi frema in tal momento'.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I knew the defenestration one...learned it in Early European History class...

Honey is absorbs water right out of the air.
The last line of the last song on the last Beatles album: "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make."
A 5 year anniversary is a quinquennial. (how many words do you know that have two 'qu' combinations in them?)
I know that I know a bunch of other useless stuff, but I can't think of most of it right now...Mind you, most of what I know is of use to me (like spiderwebs being used as wound binding, and willow bark containing salycilic acid) and in my mind common knowledge. It's just when I get those strange looks that are a combination of blankness and confusion that I realize it's not common knowledge.


Scary Monster said...

Fer me, it ain't the amount of knowledge (useless or otherwise) me has garnered over the years thet be important, but rather keepin them bits and pieces from runnin away when me ain't lookin.
Gots to get me a thought dog to round up the flock and keep 'em in the corral.


BernardL said...

I know peanut butter will dissolve bubble gum tangled in a kid's hair (no comment on how it gets there). That fact made me a hero a few times. :)

Vicki said...

I remember people from years ago that I met only once. Scenes from grade school and up as well as plays I did. The lines everything. But oh lord, don't ask me to do math as in fractions. I made the grades but didn't retain the knowledge. Thank god for computers. :)

Carolyn Jean said...

You are really good at names, apparently! I know useless things, but I can't remember them on command. However, regarding defenestration, did you know that fenster is the German word for window? I think that's how you spell it.

Gabriele C. said...

It goes back to Latin fenestra which came as loanword into German, meaning a glassed window. The most famous defenestration, that of Prague which started the Thirty Year War, used the word because educated people still spoke Latin then.

Anonymous said...

My mind is a seive. -V95

Anonymous said...

See? I can't even remember how tospell "sieve". -V95

Carolyn Jean said...

Gabriele, I am very impressed that you can name the most famous defenestration. And now all of us can, too. I should like to find out more about this Prague defenestration.

Wylie Kinson said...

I know the Sir Isaac Newton's dog's name was Diamond. I don't know how or why I know this, I just do.
And Hitler's fave movie (apparently) was King Kong.