Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Explainer

For a daily dose of edification, nothing beats Cecil Adams' (World's Smartest Human Being) Straight Dope column. I thought the site had been retired years ago, but discovered today that it's still up and running. Although primarily entertaining, answers are thoroughly researched and might once in a while match your reference desk needs. Another column to visit is Slate's daily The Explainer - see a list of recent sample questions below. The one about why Italian men grab their crotches to ward off bad luck was illuminating to me. Though not much of an expert on football (soccer) , I was always puzzled by why Italian men cover their privates when lining up to defend against a free kick - you'd think stretching the arms high in the air would be more effective, but I guess some people put more stock in superstition than in common sense!

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Can't Touch This Why Italians grab their crotches to ward off bad luck.

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