Sunday, June 14, 2009


South Africa: For centuries, the Southernmost point of Africa has been called the Cape of Good Hope. Sailors have used this promontory as a line of demarcation between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Notoriously rough seas have plagued ships in this region. So much so that many have forgotten that before 1238 AD, it was know as Cape of Outstanding Hope before it was was downgraded to Good Hope. In fact, in 1897, after the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgeorge, the International Marine Board tried to make it Cape of Average Hope, but the movement was thwarted by the advent of steam shipping.

Nepal: Many people know that Mt. Everest is the highest peak in the world. Fewer people know that, within view of Everest, the second highest peak, known as "K2", may be seen. The third highest peak, in view of these two mega-monoliths, is the story here. In 1964, Lord Otis Pemberton, Duke of Bluehaveshire, scaled what he thought to be Everest. What Lord Otis didn't know was that his Sherpa, Doug, had accidentally mixed up the maps. Undeterred, Lord Otis and Doug made the long and dangerous trek to the very top, only to discover that, further to the East, the real peaks stood. Doug, being the ardent and loyal Sherpa, recorded Lord Otis' remarks upon that discovery and to this day, the third tallest peak in the world is known as Mt. Ahcrap.

Polar News: The first explorers of the Northern wastes, noting the abundance of the polar bear, named the region the "Arctic" after the Greek word, "Arctos" or "Bear". Subsequently, the Southern region was called the "Antarctic", again from the Greek meaning "No Bear". Following this theme, some liberal scientists, wanting to update the atlas of the world submitted a request to change the Antarctic to "Antsevenelevenic". This request was summarily denied.

South Chile: When the explorer/captain Magellan circumnavigated the world, he sailed through a treacherous section of the seas; the Southern tip of South America, where the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans converge with often great violence. This route is known as the Straits of Magellan. Later, Sir Francis Drake, explorer, captain, pirate, hero, took his Golden Hinde around the same area, but through a shorter path, thus called Drake's Passage. Even later, in 1979, an attempt was made to find yet a more effective course by Larry Finderghast. It might have been forever known as Larry's Shortcut, except he wrapped his bass boat around a glacier.

Pt. Barrow, Alaska: For centuries, countries have tried to find the elusive Northwest Passage, a route that would take the shipping lanes above the North American continent. What most people don't realize is that the Northwest Passage was found. That, actually, was never the problem. The problem arose when the ships would get into the Northwest Passage and run into the North Central Ice Block.

India: Any geology student will tell you that the land mass on which India rests is known as the Sub Continent. This is because the geological make up of that particular land mass is vastly different than the make up of the more Northern Asiatic land mass. That some millennia ago, India came crashing into the Asian Continent so hard it crumpled it and created the Himalayas. Because it is "newer" and more South than the rest, it is called the Sub Continent. In light of this, Russia has tried in vain to have the rest of the continent be referred to as the "Uber-Continent".

Turkey: News from the US Supreme Court today states that the ACLU is attempting to change the name of the Black Sea to a more proper and correct name of "Sea of Color".

International Marine Board, Brussels, Belgium: A new report coming out of this august body states that it is highly probable that a water molecule, considering the age of the planet, has spent some time in every body of water. Thus, one H2O structure could've floated around the Pacific, Indian, the Caspian Sea, North Sea, Lake Como, etc. over the last few eons. Because of this revelation, scientists are starting to feel uncomfortable calling the Pacific the Pacific if the water therein could have originated in the Baltic and has come to its current location via the Amazon River. Suggestions ranged from renaming the oceans Paciflantic or the North Medejavian Sea. Frustration ruled until Dr. Jim Henson submitted a name that is in keeping with other scientific names, i.e. Dark Matter or Big Bang. His suggestion, "The Big Blue Wet Thing".

Nepal: As most people know, Lake Titicaca, astride the borders of Peru and Bolivia, is known as the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,497 ft above sea level. The highest NON navigable body of water is Ngor Plangan's bathroom sink in Nepal at 15,688 ft above sea level.

Scandinavia: The legend states that Eric the Red, a Viking of the 11th century, wanting settlers to colonize his newly discovered land, called the promising new locale "Greenland". This, of course, is one of the earliest know examples of marketing in the Western civilization. Eric is also credited with calling another island "Iceland" so as to keep too many people from occupying that territory and thus deplete the fishing grounds. This of course makes one wonder what was going on when Finland was named.

Bend, Oregon, USA: Most of the high peaks in the Cascade range in Oregon are, in fact, not mountains at all, but volcanoes. Dormant, yes, but volcanoes nonetheless. Over on the Eastern side of the Cascades, three mountains stand as sentinels overlooking Bend. They are called the Three Sisters, and are thus named, Faith, Hope and Charity. Over the last few years, however, with the advance of science and with the aid of satellite imagery, it has come to light that there is a FOURTH sister lurking just beneath the surface. A bulge has been detected next to the three older sisters; technically, a magmatic bulge. If one were to wait a few millennia, one could possibly see the newest sister make her appearance. The news of the prenatal volcano has put some people off. Word of these anxious citizens has reached Dr. Archibald Leadwetter, a vulcanologist out of the USGS center in Portland, OR. Dr. Leadwetter's novel solution to ease the people of Bend is to create a 42 acre Clearasil pad and rub the area where the volcano is most likely to erupt. As Dr. Leadwetter says, "A volcano is just an Earth zit. My kids use Clearasil. Works like a charm. Should work just fine here." 

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