Remember when a one-step-from-death Henry Fonda asked the aging, quaking Katherine Hepburn in “On Golden Pond” whether she wanted to “suck face,” that is, kiss?
Yeah, creeped us out a bit, too.
But nothing like what’s coming in this edition of Frothy Facts.
A good soulful kiss shares around 80 million bacteria, according to a recent study published in the journal Microbiome. The good news? A minute of kissing burns two calories.
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Did you know that introverts produce more saliva in social circumstances (and when they spew spit in laughter at a party, they become even more introverted), or that cellphone use stimulates growth in the big salivary glands in your cheeks near your ears?
This could be a good thing since scientists are looking at ways to use saliva as an energy source for small devices.
Why not? Romans used urine as a tooth whitener.
But enough of this stomatology (the study of the mouth, not be confused with philematology, the science of kissing). We have bigger fish to fry in ichthyology, biology, cosmology and — break out the cute cat videos — felinology.
Yes, for this Frothy Fact collection, we’ve declassified the story of the CIA spy kitty.
▪ The Soviets retaliated with heat-seeking Norway rats
In a 1960s, the CIA implanted a battery and microphone into a gray-and-white cat — the antenna was in her tail — sent to eavesdrop on a pair of men outside a Soviet compound in Washington, D.C.
Was Acoustic Kitty immediately run over by a taxi? The former director of the agency’s Office of Technical Service denied the report. In any case, the program was scrapped after $25 million was spent.
It would have made one heck of a “Get Smart” episode.
▪ The chairman just had his car washed
The 10,000 doves released Oct. 1 for China’s National Day ceremony each had their anuses, wings and legs checked for “suspicious material” before being delivered in sealed vehicles to Tiananmen Square. A wee bit jittery, are we?
▪ Oldest cat video on YouTube dates back to 1894
Yep, Thomas Edison’s famous boxing cats. Also true: Domestic cats can drink ocean water; most females are right-pawed while most males are left-pawed; 20 muscles control their ears and all are genetically linked to five African wildcats in the Middle East from around 8,000 B.C.
▪ Hard to give interviews, though
We promised ichthyology. How about a finger-sized fish climbing waterfalls 30 stories tall? The Stimpson’s goby attaches its mouth to the rock wall and by manipulating its sucker, works its way up against the rush of water.
▪ Viruses can get viruses
Which seems pretty fair to us.
▪ The ball’s in your court, Amazon!
Ready for “anthropodermic bibliopegy,” that is, books bound in human skin? Found in libraries or collections around the world, some are anatomy texts bound with the skin of dissected cadavers, some are legal texts with covers from the corpses of executed murderers.
At Boston Athenaeum is “The Highwayman: Narrative of the Life of James Allen alias George Walton.” Allen requested his memoir be covered in his own epidermis and given to a robbery victim he admired for his bravery.
▪ Does this mean we get hacked now?
In North Korea, only 28 hairstyles (18 for women, 10 for men) are allowed, and the name Jong Un is reserved only for the dear leader Kim Jong Un. Yes, if you had that name when he came to power in 2011, you had to get it changed. On the other hand, who’d want to share his haircut?
▪ And that’s the bottom line!
A 1994 study titled “A Classification of Pure Malt Scotch Whiskies” involved 109 different distilleries. It went on about “minimum variance hierarchical classification,” “fusion distances” and “the correspondent cophenetic matrix.”
The last line: “In any case, single malts must be swallowed.”
▪ Really don’t want to know anymore
At last count, 1,696 pairs of underwear have been turned in to the New York subway system lost and found department.
▪ Coffee beans are not beans, but fruit pits
Until I’ve had my second cup, do I look like I give a damn?
▪ Right below potato vodka on the food pyramid
It was not until 2013 that Russia classified beer as an alcoholic beverage. It had been officially considered food.
▪ Too many stripes clashing with plaids?
In August, it became illegal in the state of New York to take a selfie with a tiger.
▪ Well, 39 cents if you count the tip
Convert the energy from a day’s worth of food, say 2,500 calories, to electricity — it would be worth 33 cents on the grid.
▪ Unfortunately, the NBA wasn’t created until 1949
When Superman was introduced in 1938, he could not fly, but he could jump an eighth of a mile. He also killed villains.
▪ That and fried foods
NASA says the Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day from falling space dust, gravel and meteors.
▪ What are the odds?
Actually, they were 20-1 and Frank Hayes beat them to win his first steeplechase in 1923, riding Sweet Kiss at Belmont Park. He couldn’t enjoy it, though, having had a fatal heart attack midrace but staying in the saddle. The horse promptly was dubbed Sweet Kiss of Death and never raced again.
▪ Hey prof, I need to delay turning in my research paper for, say, 1,500 years?
Madame Marie Curie’s highly radioactive papers are stored in lead-lined boxes at the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris and are only available to researchers who wear protective clothing and sign an indemnity waiver.
▪ There’s a small constellation named Musca, or the Fly
And it’s very irritating up there in the skies of the Southern Hemisphere.
▪ Henry Ford’s hearse was a Packard
We believe he said, “I’d kill myself before I’d get in one of those junkers.”
▪ Never, ever let a Frenchman become bored
Jacques de Vaucanson built a mechanical defecating duck that took Paris by storm in 1738.
▪ You can bet Uranus that the king was pleased
One of our solar system’s planets was first named Georgium Sidus after King George III. He was a patron of English astronomy. To the delight of giggling schoolchildren everywhere, it was renamed Uranus, after the Greek god of the sky.
▪ Most snowflakes are not symmetrical
So, all you first-graders out there … slowly … slowly put down those scissors.
▪ Glad somebody can eat them!
The island of Manhattan has at least 42 different species of ants and, according to the research on just one stretch of Broadway, they eat the equivalent of 60,000 dropped vendor hot dogs in a year.
▪ Having breakfast? Stop reading … now!
Casu marzu is a Sardinian sheep-milk cheese, sometimes known as “walking cheese,” that contains live maggots, which can jump up to 5 inches off the surface while you’re eating it.
▪ They’re smoked? Oh, that’s OK then
Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.
So we’ll close with this:
In Iceland, the Stedji brewery’s limited Hvalur 2 beer will be flavored with smoked and salted fin whale testicles.
Just one testicle per brewing, they say, “according to an old, Icelandic tradition.”
Barkeep, another round, and give us another bowl of salted orca ovaries!