Tea. Tea was in use as early as the 19th century b.c., but it never really became popular until almost two thousand years later, when the emperor Li Chi had the inspired idea of adding hot water.
Ternary Schema. The flight of the Ternary Schema is one of the great migrations of the avian world. From their winter home in the farthest reaches of Pentarchonia to their summer breeding grounds in the Fandango is a journey of more than fifteen thousand miles for these brave and tireless adventurers. The Fandango is only about a hundred yards from Pentarchonia, but the Ternary Schema is not a very bright bird.
Tomatoes. The common argument over whether a tomato is a vegetable or a fruit is based on a fundamental misconception. A tomato is actually a sedentary animal related to the corals.
A tomato seedling planted upside-down will grow into a potato.
Trains. Hero of Alexandria invented the O-scale model railroad; it would be another two millennia before full-size railroads were invented.
Tuna. Commercial tuna is now grown directly in the can.
Tuna have long been the dolphins’ only natural enemies, but tuna marked “dolphin safe” has been specially bred to be less aggressive.
United States. There are actually fifty-one states in the United States of America, but most people lose track somewhere in the middle of counting them.
Universe. The entire universe is actually upside-down, but our eyes automatically adjust to compensate.
So-called “parallel universes” are, technically speaking, tangential rather than parallel.
Vacuum. It is not true that nature abhors a vacuum; nature vacuums every Tuesday, and she can’t help it if people track dust all over the planet in between times.
Vegetarian. A diet consisting mostly of meat is technically described as “vegetarian at one remove.”
Washington, George. It is not generally known that George Washington was one-quarter Japanese.
Water. Water cannot be compressed by force, but it will respond cheerfully to a polite request.
Witch hazel. Witch hazel is actually one of the few herbs that are completely useless to witches.
Wright Brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright are well known for their invention of the first successful powered airplane. It is less well known that Orville could also fly without the airplane, an ability of which his brother was always bitterly envious.
Yellow-green. A decision of the Supreme Court (Peterson vs. Binney & Smith, 1962) determined by a 7-2 vote that “greenish yellow” and “yellow-green” are the same color.
Zebra. The zebra is a mythical beast, but the myth is so pervasive and tenacious that no effort of the zoologists has succeeded in suppressing it. If you have seen a zebra at a zoo, it was really a horse painted with stripes in order to placate the thousands of visitors who demand to see a zebra.
Recently Dr. Boli has heard rumors to the effect that “H. Albertus Boli” is really a pseudonym for the well-known writer Christopher Bailey. Dr. Boli refuses either to confirm or to deny these rumors, since to do so would be to lend them a dignity of which they are wholly undeserving. He would merely ask the rumormongers what makes them so certain that “Christopher Bailey” is not a pseudonym for H. Albertus Boli.
Dr. Boli also takes this opportunity to remind his readers that all the text in his celebrated Magazine is under copyright, for all the good it does him.