Seven strange things you didn’t want to know

confident giraffeThis is my 99th post. The first to include a competition (now over) To date I have sprinkled the odd bit of personal information, trying to avoid being too self indulgent or bore you with irrelevant facts.

Recently I was asked to come up with 7 Strange but True Things about Me. So here I go (if you’re impatient, the competition is in point 7!)

1) I currently live 6 miles from where I was born; I’ve never lived more than about 5 miles from the sea, always along the South Coast of England. As far as I’m concerned, visiting London is “going up North”. One of the most important skills I learned at school was how to swim. Its never too late to learn if you can’t.

2) I ran the London marathon in 1998. The most traumatic part was the finish – I found myself running alongside three men dressed up as the Teletubbies, the popular children’s television characters. Suddenly I could see myself in my finishing photo, crossing the line with my arms raised in triumph – but as the fourth, missing, Teletubbie! The thought of being called Tinky Winky forever more spurred a sprint out of my tired legs. The thought of humiliation can be a great motivator.

3) When I started working for a bank in 1976 we didn’t have bandit screens. Working as a bank cashier – and having to deal with the public face to face – did lots for my self confidence. We entered transactions by hand on a ledger, and were supposed to total up and balance our tills without a calculator (I still pride myself in my ability to add up in my head!).

4) My geocaching name is “Mihaly” (“Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of my favourite personal development books). Geocaching involves using hand held GPS devices to find “caches” others have hidden – its more fun than it sounds! I have hidden 5 caches myself and found 166 throughout the UK – but caches are hidden all over the globe.

5) For several years I was a Trade Union representative in the hospital where I worked. I ended up in this supposedly thankless (and unpaid) role partly because no one else wanted to do it. But I learned many useful skills – such as negotiating, presenting, debating – which I would never have had a chance to do otherwise. I can put down a lot of my improved communication skills to taking on that role. There are often benefits in kind when you put yourself forward to do things like that.

6) Despite running two marathons in the past ten years and last year doing a 1.4 mile sea swim, I’m officially “clinically obese”! I’m 6 foot, weigh 230 pounds and have a body mass index of 31. I haven’t been able to run much recently and my ankle “niggle” is becoming more chronic. So I need to do… something? I don’t believe in the concept of dieting, believing it does more harm than good. Any ideas?

7) My father suffered and died from Alzheimer’s Disease (dementia). When I did the Dublin Marathon I raised over £1000 ($2000) in sponsorship for the Alzheimer’s Society. As part of my sponsorship drive I created a postal quiz. Some of the most interesting questions were:-

i) How many vertebrae does a giraffe have?

ii) Whose moment of flame came on 25th July 1992

iii) Which of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes Stories takes its name from a racehorse?

iv) What is the connection between Citizen Kane and The Brownies?

v) How many people have walked on the moon?

vi) What was the loudest noise ever recorded on earth?

vii) Who wrote the chart topping hit (for Maria Carey amoungst others) “Without You”

The original 75 questions were set so it would take more than a simple “Google” to find the answers, although some proved too easy! Some of these are more tricky (read properly!). So 7 strange questions amongst the 7 strange facts. I will post the answers here. If you post the answers as comments I will only say how many of the questions you got right – not which ones!

Photo by Milangelic on Flickr

Mr Awesome February 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm


Evan February 3, 2008 at 12:01 am

About obesity.

Rosemary Stanton has a great book on diet that goes into the different ways the different kinds of food are suggested. Sorry I forget the title.

Look at alcohol intake.

Find lo-cal snacks you like.

Hope this helps.

I only know the answer to the Sherlock Holmes one. I think it is that story which includes the famous quote about the dog barking in the night.

Evan’s last blog post..Three Ideas To Help Us Be Responsible

David Rogers February 3, 2008 at 12:13 am

Thanks Evan – I have virtually stopped alcohol since Christmas. Not so much because the alcohol itself was a problem, but the increase in appetite that went with it!

Bob February 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Thanks for the link and the mention! Have a great day.

Bob’s last blog post..Change

Heather February 4, 2008 at 2:24 am

Did you try indoor rowing? The Concept II Rower is a great piece of equipment if you have an injury that stops you from running. I had shin splints and could barely walk for a while, but the rower kept me fit and kept the weight off. There’s a good website and a fantastic community of people who support each other.

Heather’s last blog post..I’ve Been Tagged – 7 Strange But True Facts

Case Stevens February 4, 2008 at 12:11 pm

>>The thought of being called Tinky Winky forever
I do toy with the idea of calling you just that as I can easily picture this!
Made a note of it. 🙂

Case Stevens’s last blog post..New Rapid Action Profits Features + Discount Coupon

Mert February 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Hi David,

Thanks for tagging me. I will write a post by today. I must admit, it is very difficult to come up with such a list. But i will do my best.


Mert’s last blog post..Win Your Share Of 10,000 EntreCard Credits

David Rogers February 4, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Mert – thanks for responding so quickly – with a very interesting list.
Heather – the trouble with rowing machines is they are inside a gym. I just cannot get enthused about the whole concept (ha!) of going into a gym. If I had the space and money for one at home – perhaps.
Case – its now a pleasant image though, is it?!!

Never the Same River Twice February 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Hi, David. Thanks for the tag. I’ll respond in the next 24 hours or so.

As far as your ankle problems, I suggest water aerobics. Along with swimming, this is a great no impact exercise. Physical therapists prescribe it for people with lower body joint problems. You might even find that doing the exercises loosens up whatever is causing the problems.

Never the Same River Twice’s last blog post..Fear-Setting, Tim Ferris Style

Susan Sabo February 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Hey David… try bicycling. There all all types – some that keep you from tipping (tricycle) and some that go no matter what’s under you (mountain biking). No stress on your joints but great for cardio and calorie burning.
Susan @

Susan Sabo’s last blog post..Eating Out is Counterproductive

David Rogers February 5, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Maria, yes this has crossed my mind. I must confess I hate swimming pools – I live 5 minutes from the sea, but its really too cold until about April.
Susan – I have a bike, its just getting to off road sites. I hate cycling with traffic. But again, if I put effort in, its possible. David

Jim | SevenActions February 5, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Hmmm, those are some interesting facts. I almost coughed out my drink when I read about the marathon motivation! BTW, I will try to find time tonight to post my seven strange facts…and one of them will be marathon related.

Jim | SevenActions’s last blog post..Master Your Personal Goals the Ben Franklin Way

AmyL February 7, 2008 at 9:15 am

1. 7 vertebrae, just like all mammals
2. Antonio Rebolle, the archer who lit the Olympic torch.
3. The Adventure of Silver Blaze
4. Brownies were originally called Rosebuds (had to WORK for that one!)
5. 12
6. The eruption of Krakatoa
7. Credited to Nilsson, originally recorded by Badfinger in 1970.

AmyL’s last blog post..7 Interesting Things About Me

David Rogers February 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Amy – I didn’t think anyone was going to have a go!
You have got 5 totally correct, 1 wrong.
You have also given an ambiguous answer that is nearly correct, but basically doesn’t answer the question asked!

You can re submit as many times as you want, when you’ve worked which are wrong.

AmyL February 7, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Hm. Well, if I have to guess, the ambiguous answer is #6. The explosion of Mt. Krakatoa in 1883 is the loudest sound ever recorded, it was heard in Alice Springs 3000 miles away. Then I’m thinking that the wrong answer is #7 but I’m not sure. Without You was originally recorded by Badfinger, then covered by Nilsson. Mariah Carey apparently reworked it a bit when she recorded the song. Some sites give her credit for writing it, but others credit Harry Nilsson. When you follow up the Nilsson links, it shows that Badfinger artists Pete Ham and Tom Evans wrote and recorded it in 1970. Nilsson’s version came out in 1971. Carey came out with hers last year.

Okay now that I’m thinking perhaps you think #4 didn’t answer, so I’ll take a shot at that one again. Rosebud is the name of the sled in Citizen Kane that he was so fond of and was also the original name of what we now know as The Brownies (young Girl Scouts).

That’s the best I can do. 🙂 If I’ve still got one wrong (since I haven’t actually changed any answers, then that’s likely) hopefully someone will notice and point it out.

AmyL’s last blog post..7 Interesting Things About Me

David February 8, 2008 at 12:12 am

You’ve certainly cleared the ambiguity (with question 7)! If I say anymore it will help someone else.
You have now got 6 correct answers and one wrong.

AmyL February 8, 2008 at 2:01 am

Ummmmm, hmmmm. Well, I have discovered that I spelled Antonio Rebollo’s name wrong, so I’ll correct that one. I think I know which other one is wrong, but I haven’t been able to find the answer so I guess I’ll have to be stuck at 6 and 1. 🙂

AmyL’s last blog post..Sentinel: City of Destiny – We Have a Winner!

AmyL February 8, 2008 at 2:12 am

Never say die!!! It’s 24, lol. I answered how many neck vertebrae, but the question was asking for the whole spine.

Okay, I can let this one go now. No, I’m not insane about trivia. Not me, uh-uh, nohow.

AmyL’s last blog post..Sentinel: City of Destiny – We Have a Winner!

David Rogers February 8, 2008 at 8:23 am

Amy – you’re virtually there, and I will declare you the winner. I’m off to work, so haven’t time to go into detail now. 24 is not correct, but its hard to find the answer on the Internet. But to satisfy your interest in trivia, you may want to find a more accurate answer!

Training for Chicago Marathon February 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm


1. It’s never late to realize your problem and get back to right track.
2. Dieting is not a way or will never be a way for me to get into shape but over diet is a serious issue. You should cut short all that which increases your appetite.
3. You are a runner so try once more you can run and get back to shape in no more than a year. I know a guy from Chicago who went out of shape and got back to track when he was 55 and he is maintaining a perfect BMI at 65 as well.

I did couple of marathons and this year i am doing SFO and NY marathon as well, I am looking forward to schedule for London Marathon. You can get an explicit report on London Marathon so that we all runners can get benefited.


David Rogers February 21, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Thanks for all the advice on this thread. Part of me still likes the thought of doing another marathon. Tonight I had a brisk 30 minute walk when I got home. Got to start somewhere.

Descartes February 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I was never into the whole running thing, as it seems like a lot of pain to me. I did ride a few centuries though, which is a hundred miles on a bicycle.
I would like to see the London Marathon sometime though, I don’t mind watching people running, I just don’t like the idea of doing it myself.

Descartes’s last blog post..The London Eye a.k.a. The Millennium Wheel

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