Almanac jam packed with ‘useful’ information

Published 1:51 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

The 2010 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac is available.

The almanac is an American fall tradition and has been since 1792.

Every year I look forward to the arrival of the little yellow book that offers information and predictions you most likely won’t find elsewhere and certainly not all in one place.

For instance, did you know there are 670,000 households in the United States that don’t have indoor plumbing? It says so, right there on Page 13 in this year’s OFA. That’s a troubling statistic to read in the 21st century.

Like most almanac readers, the first thing I read is always the long-term weather forecast. In a nutshell, in the new book it says we should expect a fairly normal winter and a hotter, drier summer than normal.

Then there is the almanac’s “Tastes & Trends” section, which tells readers:

* Seed companies have seen a 20 percent increase in sales recently – “mostly due to a surge in vegetable growing.”

* Men are wearing “pajama-inspired jackets with colored piping, spread-open shirt collars and loose drawstring pants.” Luckily, I’ve yet to run across anyone actually embracing this trend.

* Nightclubs are “turning customers’ dance-floor stomping into electricity.” So now we’ll have wind power, power from the sun and stomping power. How green can you get?

* Advertising is turning up on GPS navigation systems. I love my GPS, but if it starts advertising to me, I’ll probably go back to fold up maps.

* People are talking about “artwork depicting homeowners’ own DNA.” So, instead of a picture of grandpa, we’re going to have a depiction of his DNA? Probably not at my house.

* Blue, red and green moccasins and boat shoes are in for men. Again, not a trend I’ve seen taking off locally, and that’s not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.

* Casual Friday dress at the office is out, and three-piece suits are back in. I think I might still have one of those in the back of the closet somewhere, so I guess I’m prepared.

* If you toss and turn in bed, you’re five times more likely to get sick. Think about that while you’re counting sheep tonight.

* A 1954 Superman lunch box is now worth $11,500. Somebody out there has more money than sense, if one of those has actually sold for that.

* Ice cream flavored with blue cheese or bacon is a “favorite food.” Bacon-flavored ice cream? Not only would you have to be a little strange to eat that, but think about the guy who came up with the idea in the first place!

* The average chain-saw wound requires 110 stitches. Wonder who developed that statistic and where they gathered their information?

* A tossed coin will land with the same side up as when it was flipped 51 percent of the time. Again, who is the fellow who sits around and figures these things out. And if he had flipped his coin one more time, would the statistic have changed? Two more times? Ten more times?

As always, the almanac’s “Anecdotes & Pleasantries” section is a worthwhile read. I think my favorite part is a selection of quotes about dogs. Here’s one from Will Rogers:

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”


David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications LLC, and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.