Quirky Things

One meaning of the word “quirk” is a peculiarity.
“Peculiarity” is the quality of being peculiar.
“Peculiar” means out of the ordinary; odd; strange.

Now that we have that settled. I’d like to share with you a few quirky things....

Francis P. Quirk

He was my 6th grade government-school teacher. The year was 1970. School was different back then.

I remember the day my classmates Mike Burke and Jeff Sims got in an argument over something and wanted to fight. Upon seeing this, Mr. Quirk told them to sit down. Then he had the rest of us rearrange our desks to make a cleared out area . He called the two boys up to the front of the class. They were standing there side by side. Mr. Quirk took a seat and and told them that if they wanted to fight, this was their opportunity. Have at it.

They were on the spot and it didn’t look much like they wanted to fight any more. But Mr. Quirk spoke some words of encouragement. He told them that if they really wanted to fight, they really should fight. So they did.

They started throwing punches. Mike punched Jeff in the face. Jeff punched him back. There was a flurry of blows. Jeff grabbed Mike’s shirt and pounded him and the shirt ripped and Mike started crying. Both had had enough. Mr. Quirk stopped the fight. It all happened pretty fast.

I don’t remember anyone ever wanting to fight in Mr. Quirk’s class again after that.

Chickens Saved George Washington’s Life ( well, sort of)

I came home from work yesterday and my son, James, informed me of a quirky event in American history that I had never heard of before....

A man named Thomas Hickey poisoned General George Washington’s peas at a dinner he was eating at the tavern of Samuel Fraunces in New York City. The tavernkeeper’s daughter Phoebe knew the peas were poisoned and agreed to serve them to G.W. But as she served him, she whispered a warning.

Washington threw the peas out a nearby window. Some chickens came along and ate them. The chickens died. Washington’s life was saved. He went on to win the Revolutionary War, preside over the constitutional convention, and become our nation’s first president.

That information comes from a Reader’s Digest book titled, “Strange Stories, Amazing Facts of America’s Past.”

Chickens Love Rat Poison

Speaking of chickens, one of my coworkers recently told me that he once had a neighbor with chickens. The fowls free ranged over into his yard and he didn’t much like it. So he put some rat poison pellets out for them to eat. The chickens ate the pellets right down and came back the next day for more.

This went on for awhile and my coworker said he was amazed that the birds didn’t die. He told his father about it one day. His father wondered about the eggs the chickens were laying, and the neighbors were eating. After considering that, he stopped feeding the chickens.

A New Way To Butcher Pigs

The same coworker mentioned above told me the same neighbor with the happily rat-poisoned chickens raised a pig one year. When it came time to butcher the fattened porker, he fired up his chainsaw and used it to cut into the live pig’s neck and bleed it out. As he told me this he made the motions of starting a chainsaw, and chainsaw sound effects too.

When I questioned the veracity of the tale, he assured me that it was true. And he added that if I knew his neighbor, I wouldn’t doubt the story.

That’s wild and quirky.

Eatin' Coon

I was speaking with a friend of mine, who happens to be a part-time, certified-organic farmer, about trapping critters the other day. He said his uncle once told him that no animal will eat a raccoon. Not even a crow or turkey vulture. Is this a quirky fable or is it true?

Quirky Word Question

Here’s a question for the more erudite among us....

I have been informed that there is one word in the english language that contains all the vowels (a,e,i,o, and u). Do you know what it is?

Quirky Cosmic Coincidence

I was driving my new (to me) $600 Nissan Sentra home from work yesterday, listening to the immensely popular blogger, Amy Scott, being interviewed by Rick Saenz on a Plain Talk CD.

At one point in the interview, Amy is speaking about something and she says the words, “fall like dominoes.” Well, at the exact moment she uttered the word “dominoes” I was looking at the word “Dominoes” on a pizza joint I was driving by.

How’s that for quirky?

Whizbang Plucker At The North Pole

It’s true. Tomorrow, I am sending a box of parts to build a Whizbang Chicken Plucker to the North Pole.

That’s a quirky place to pluck a chicken.

(Well, it's actually going to North Pole, Alaska)

My Take on Santa Claus

North Pole? Hmmm..... makes me think of You-Know-Who.

We are getting close to Christmas, and that means I’ll have to go through the torture of looking at pictures of Santa Claus and of men who dress up like him. We got a catalog in the mail the other day that was selling Santa Claus toilet seat covers. They are so cute!!! (I’m being facetious) (By the way, that’s a hint).

I don’t like Santa Claus because he takes the focus off celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. This portly fictional character serves no purpose but to rob God of His glory.

Because of this, we do not do the Santa thing in our family, and we never have. I told my boys right from the start that he is a fraud and a thief. I told them that if you rearrange the letters in Santa, you get Satan.

In the midst of our modern, materialistic, and predominantly godless, modern culture, this way of thinking qualifies me as quirky.

The Quirky Mars Program

The United States has spent billions and billions of taxpayer dollars in the effort to send an unmanned spacecraft to the planet of Mars. Now they want to spend many more billions (probably trillions) to send men to Mars.

Several months ago I listened to a radio interview with the head of the NASA Mars program.

The interviewer asked a wonderful question: “Why are we spending all of this money and effort to go to Mars?”

The answer.... “So we can better understand our origins.”

I think it would have been a whole lot cheaper and easier to just read the book of Genesis and take a close look at the natural world around us.

That’s enough quirky stuff!


P.S. If you read this Mr. Quirk, drop me an e-mail. It’s been 36 years. I’d love to hear from you. hckimball@bci.net


Lynn Bartlett said...

Jonathan trapped and skinned 3 raccoons 2 years ago; he hung the carcasses across the field on a low hanging branch so the coyotes could eat them. Well, the coyotes didn't touch them, and neither did anything else. It was rather disgusting to go anywhere near that spot and see the things still hanging there!

Good post!

Patti said...

Yea for Mr Quirk
I guess George was more important than the chickens(poor chickens)
People eat coons
No clue on the dominoes quirk
I got called in to the principles office because my 5 yr old daughter was telling kids in kintergarden there was no such thing as santa...
Any talk of mars brings to mind an old Mad magazine cover :)

Marci said...

I believe the word with all the vowels is Sequoia.

Every year on the first Monday night in February, the small town of Danville, OH has a coon supper. My husband's Grandpa used to go, his Dad goes, uncles, cousins... Now, that we are back in the area and close to Danville, my husband and son go every year. They eat coon.... :::shudder:::

TNfarmgirl said...

Well, I have noticed that when it comes to roadkill the coons seem to last the longest - not sure why - not sure why I am evening thinking about roadkill!

Agree completely about Santa - never done it - getting harder to find cards/wrapping paper/ gift boxes/ without him. Told my boys the same thing - Pastor considers him one of Satan's mightiest weapons (don't get him started....LOL)! My family thinks I am depriving my chidlren of one of the greatest childhood memories (what? ... of finding out their Mom lied to them all of their lives?) - I just smile and say sorry you feel that way :) My boys are thankful! Just have a hard time keeping the youngest (8) from evangelizing this message to all of his friends!

ks said...

The hint was good!
I guess the word is facetious.

Anonymous said...

Recently, I killed a 'coon that was acting sick and trying to get into the chickens. I dug a hole 2 or 3 feet deep, and poured bleach on him (to kill any parasites or bacteria), and buried him. A week later I saw the place had been dug up by a dog or coyote and the ‘coon was gone. - Jon in IN

Emily said...

Not only does "facetious" contain all the vowels, but they appear in the same order as they do in the alphabet. Does that qualify as quirky? :)
Coons: We once saw a turkey vulture standing on the side of the road inspecting a dead coon. Didn't see it take a bite, though.
Santa: Dwayne calls him "Satan Claus" (facetiously) and we do not include his presence in our Advent celebrations. Anna-Rose nevertheless is asked every year whether Santa is going to visit her house, to which she answers scornfully, "He isn't real!"
Origins: Did you see the recent story of the dolphin discovered with two small fins near the tail? This was passed off as "proof" that it evolved from "dog-like" creatures. Uh-huh. Is this evidence that one day we may decide to return to the ooze from which we supposedly arose? De-evolution? or "devil-ution"?
Thanks for the fun post, Herrick!

Anonymous said...


I think you've lost me for good with the Santa rant.

It's my wife's birthday on Christmas day too, perhaps we shouldn't celebrate it either as it distracts from Jesus' birthday?

If anything, Santa, gift giving, the Christmas tree all focus attention on Jesus' birthday. If it weren't for these, Jesus' birthday wouldn't be celebrated at all by the modern media.

We try our best to be good Christians and I feel there is enough room in our *imagination*, especially our children's to enjoy Santa Claus, gift giving and Christmas without taking anything away from the celebration of our Lord and Savior's birthday.

Have you ever considered that maybe Jesus would be ok with Santa?

papabear said...

Jesus is ok with St. Nicholas. ;)

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Lynn--

Very interesting.

By the way, Robert and James finally got a coon in one of their traps yesterday!!

Hi Patti--

Yes, some people eat coons. But I don't think I'll join them. I will, however, eat woodchuck.... someday. Maybe next summer.

Supercala..etc.etc. is not the word I had in mind. But it certainly does work. Is that in the dictionary?


Sequioa. How did you come up with that?? Very good! It wasn't the word I had in mind. Must be there is more than one word.

The coon supper sounds like a wonderful little community event (definately qualifies as quirky). I shudder too at the thought of it.

TH Farmgirl--

I never noticed that about roadkill coons. You are a very observant person. :-)

Yes, depriving children of Santa is akin to child abuse in some people's eyes.


you got the hint and you are correct. facetious is the word I had in mind.

annonymous Jon--

Some folks from the little town of Danville, Ohio must have been in your neighborhood.

Hi Emily--

the vouls in order. That must have been it. Facetious is the only word that has the vouls in order.

Hi Martin--

I wondered if my Santa rant might offend someone. I suspect you are not the only one. Thank you for weighing in on the matter.

I've given your questions some thought...

Your wife is certainly not celebrated by so many people in our culture. Her image is not found on everything from television commercials to postage stamps. Figurines of her are not placed in people's yards and around their homes. She is not held up to children as all-seeing, all-knowing, and being everywhere at once. Those attributes apply only to the God of the Bible. In fact, I know of no other religious diety that even claims such attributes.

God himself says that Heis a jealous God. I do not believe He wants to share the stage with any other person or thing, even if that thing appears to be jolly and generous.

Your wife's birthday, celebrated by your family, really does not compare.

As for the modern media, I'm not sure God cares very much if His son's birthday is celebrated by the modern media. By and large, the modern media is not sincere in it's celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. It's actually debatable if the modern media celebrates the birth of Christ anywhere near as much as it does Santa Claus.

That isn't to say that I don't appreciate the fact that, for at least a short while each year, Jesus Christ gets some press, because I do. It's a wonderful time of year, especially if you have a family and friends to share it with.

Imagination is a good thing. God made us with an imagination and we should use it. It could be considered a gift. But if we use it in ways that do not bring glory to Him, in ways that take glory away from Him, then I think we have misapplied our gift.

I suspect that Jesus is okay with Santa. But not the other way around.

I'm sorry we disagree on this matter. It is not my intention to argue about it, only to answer your response and clarify my thinking on this. I'm not saying YOU ARE WRONG to celebrate Santa Claus along with Jesus.

But I do think it is wrong for me and my family to do so.

You may have the last word on this. I will not debate any further.

I am respectfully yours,

Herrick Kimball

Herrick Kimball said...

Wow, did I really spell vowels as "vouls?"

That was quirky. ;-)

Anonymous said...


Santa - Satan? Come on! This borders on superstitious.

Long ago the print media has changed Merry Christmas to Merry X-Mas and now to Happy Holidays.

At least Santa still says: Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Santa hasn't taken the Christ out of Christmas, and neither have we.

I think your off base on this one but respect your decision as a father in trying to do what's right for your family.


mira said...

I believe that unquestionably is the only one that has all vowels plus "y".

Woodchuck is pretty tasty, my Mom cooked one once braised with onion and fennel. A neighbor had caught it and brought it over for her to clean and cook.

Anonymous said...

The shortest word in the English language that uses all the vowels is Eunioa. It's also the title of a terrifc/quirky book with 5 chapters. Each chapter is written using only a single vowel. Check it out.

olivetrees said...

I was looking up Eunioa in the Websters Thesaurus ( no dictionary on hand ), it is not there, and found euphoria to add to the list. It just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Now I'll have to locate a dictionary and find eunioa...

RosieB said...

abstemious[ly] ??

As Christian festivities were all stolen from pagans I find it a little ironic that Christians now complain of their festivals being hi-jacked! Not worth arguing about though, we must each do as we see fit. I don't like Santa Claus because of the commercial rip-off culture it promotes (I try to live a frugal and environmentally responsible lifestyle) but Saint Nicholas is a wonderfully good humanitarian example!