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Tue., Feb. 6, 1996

This could be the winter you want to know that “psychrophobia” is “an irrational fear of the cold.”

Maybe you’ve read the claim of child psychologists that it’s impossible to spoil a baby less than a year old. They now also say it’s impossible for grandparents to spoil their grandchildren if they don’t all live in the same house.

Patriotic Nicaraguans - that’s a redundancy, I’m told - claim to have more poets per capita than any other country.

Not all seasoned souls who joyously get back together with their old loves live happily ever after. For one thing, say the romance researchers, about a third of them are still married to other partners, and it’s said there comes upon those a wistful longing look that may last for a while.

A gecko can walk across a vertical mirror.

Some language mechanics say the “cocktail” originated in an upstate New York tavern when a maid served a drink with a rooster feather in it. But other word tracers say that’s wrong. Horse breeders, they contend, trimmed their horses’ tails in the shape of roosters’ tails, and the mixed drink name was an allusion to that. Debate goes on.

“Don’t boil lobsters, steam them!” dictates a seafood savant.

Q. Name the Ethiopian emperor who now and then ripped a page out of the Bible and ate it?

A. Menelik II. He did it only when he wasn’t feeling well.

Statistics can mislead. Take any significant count of Socialists in France. Odds are their blood type mostly will be O. Why, Sherlock? The reason is not significant. Most of France’s Socialists grew up in regional cultures where blood type O coincidentally was most common.

Q. Doesn’t the longest blood vein in your body run from your heart to your feet?

A. Make that from your groin to your ankle. The “saphenous” vein.

Q. What were the last words of the American Revolutionary leader Ethan Allen?

A. When a minister told him the angels were waiting for him, he said, “Let them wait.”

Some wildlifers estimate free-ranging cats nationwide kill about 4 million birds a day, but cat defenders said, “Nonsense! Prove it!”

In another of those “Are you happy?” surveys - this one of people in 39 countries - Singapore ranked higher than the United States.

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