It’s Nice To Feel Useful – Top Picks

Before Google got nervous about web search findings and tightened up on sharing search results there was a lot of fun to be had looking at the questions that brought web-surfers to my blog.

Here are ten of my favourites…

The first one is “Why did Shakespeare bring starlings to Australia?

I think I am obliged to point out here straight away that William Shakespeare died in 1616 and Australia wasn’t settled by Europeans for another couple of hundred years or so after that and although there is much literary speculation concerning possible visits by the Bard to Italy I think it is probably safe to say that he never went as far as Australia!

I imagine that what the question referred to was really about starlings in the USA because here there is a connection.

The introduction of the starling to USA is said to be the responsibility of a man called Eugene Schiefflein who belonged to a group dedicated to introducing into America all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works on the basis that they thought it would be rather nice to hear the sound of Shakespeare’s birds warbling their old world songs on the tree branches of new world America. Obviously they didn’t realise that this had the potential be an ecological disaster on the same scale as introducing the rabbit into Australia!

Next is another historical howler…

“Napoleon Monument in Moscow”

What? In his periods of sanity Napoleon did some rather good things but most of the time he was a tyrant and a dictator and a warmonger and in 1812 he invaded Russia and did unspeakable things to the Russian people who were unfortunate enough to be in his way as he marched his army to Moscow. When he got there the Russian people burnt the city down and so with nowhere to stay for the winter he was obliged to march all the way back again during which his army did more unpleasant things to the Russian people.

I imagine that the chances of there being a memorial to Napoleon Bonaparte in Moscow are about just as likely as there will be a statue of Adolf Hitler.

There is however a monument to the French Emperor in France at Boulogne-Sur-Mer so perhaps that is where the search engine went looking?

Next, I like this one – “Lawrence and Gerald Durrell – how tall were they?

Honestly, what sort of question is that and unless you were their tailor or their undertaker why would you want to know. I did write a post about the Durrells when I visited Corfu where they both lived so perhaps this is where the enquirer ended up – “Corfu, In the Footsteps of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell” and as it is one of my favourite Greek Islands I will be surely returning so hopefully I can provide more missing detail!

“Did Vikings have large penises?”

Well, I am not an archaeologist or an anthropologist but what sort of odd question is that to put into a web search engine?

I find myself being completely unable to help with this subject, it is outside the limits of my expertise but on a visit to Iceland I did get to visit the rather odd Penis Museum but I don’t think that will have the answer to that one either.

One of my most successful posts is about the day I attended a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and I get lots of odd Google referrals about this one. My favourite just has to be – “Do I get expenses to attend royal garden party?”

Let me take a moment here to explain.

Just to be invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden party is a bit special in itself and believe me there is going to be a lot of expense involved – new suit, new outfit, overnight stay in London, taxi fares etc. and most people would gladly deal with this just to be part of the occasion so I have to say that expecting the Queen to pick up the bill sounds rather republican to me and whoever asked this should quite clearly not have had an invite in the first place.

Next up, I really like this one – “What did the captain wear on the Titanic?”

I visited Belfast in 2015 and went to see the Titanic Exhibition and Museum. It was a super place and I recommend anyone to go there and I think what I learned on that visit may just well help here.

Around the exhibition there are lots of pictures of Captain Smith in his White Star Line uniform so I am forced to conclude that except when he went to bed and most likely put on a pair of pyjamas that this was his favourite form of dress. Another thing that I can be certain of is that Captain Smith didn’t wear a lifebelt because after the Titanic struck the iceberg he went down with his ship and drowned!

Mine is not a food blog but I am always happy to help out with culinary questions whenever I can and I like this one… Should I put vinegar on the chips or not?”

I include this one even though I do not find this to be not such a stupid question. What you should put on your chips is a matter of personal choice and a subject that I debated when I considered the origin of frites.

Staying with the food theme…

“What was General Franco’s favourite food?”

I am reasonably certain that this is a question that only his personal chef could realistically be expected to answer with any authority but my suggestions are…

• Roasted Republicans
• Skewered Socialists
• Char-grilled Communists

Some time ago I tried to visit General Franco’s tomb but the Spanish don’t like Franco anymore and it was closed at the time on account of the fact that it was being demolished.

When General Franco met Führer Adolf Hitler in possibly the most awkward ever meeting in history I can only assume that either they couldn’t agree on the menu or they were both on a diet…

“What does a postcard of the Grand Canyon look like?”

I am certain that I have put some dumb questions into Google myself but surely none as daft as this. I am tempted simply to say that a postcard of the Grand Canyon will look very much like a postcard and will most likely have a picture of the Canyon on it.

Anyway, I visited the Grand Canyon in 1995 and as always I am keen to help so here we go, it looks like a postcard and has a picture of the canyon on it…

For this selection of search terms I have saved my favourite until last and this is it – “Things to do in Tossa de Marr Spain for clairvoyants”.

Now, call me a sceptic if you like but if you can see into the future what on earth does a clairvoyant need with a website of advertised events – why don’t they just look in their crystal ball?

… Have you spotted any bizarre search questions bringing unexpected visitors to your blog posts? – Do Tell!

50 responses to “It’s Nice To Feel Useful – Top Picks

  1. Hmm . . . I don’t see where I can check that metric in the Stats page.

    Of course, you open with a paragraph that implies you no longer can check. But then, your ending question wouldn’t make sense, so . . . where/how would one check for search terms to one’s blog?


  2. I can’t say that I have.


  3. The pretender to the throne of France by the legimitate heirs of Louis XIV is Alfonso born in Madrid and would be Louis XX, however, what most do not know is that he is also a grandson of Gen Franco! No chance! The current king of Spain is a Bourbon coming down from Versailles and Louis XIV too! Cheers!


  4. It’s not a subject that moves me, Andrew, but I misread your title to read ‘tooth picks’ so I didn’t get what I bargained for. 🙂 🙂 However I like the Durrells kwestion, and that’s a great pic of Franco and Hitler. Funny what engages us, isn’t it? All the best for the New Year!


  5. Well, what a bizarre set of questions, Andrew!


  6. What a great post. I’m among those who have missed the boat by not really delving into my statistics enough, so I’ll now never apparently know if any bizarre questions have led people to my blog. Another missed opportunity. 😦


  7. Nothing of great interest on mine as there are no specific questions. I think I must have started blogging after google stopped giving too much information. What does surprise me is the number of searches from China via Biadu.


  8. These are all very funny! Thanks for sharing and making us laugh. Happy New Year!


  9. Very amusing. There is a monument to Napoleon in Ljubljana for some reason.


    • Because he briefly created an independent French satellite state and he became a bit of a hero there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just remembered that I posted this a long time ago –

      “From the twelfth century onwards Slovenia suffered six hundred years of Austro-Hungarian domination but under Napoleon Bonaparte’s European adventure Slovenia enjoyed a few short years of national pride and independent identity. Napoleon humiliated Austria in 1806 at the battle of Austerlitz and again in 1809 at the battle of Wagram following which the Austrian Empire was obliged to cede up to a fifth of its empire, including Slovenia, which became the Province of Illyria which in turn allowed the Slovene language and culture to flourish.”


  10. omg, these just kept getting funnier, the deeper into the rabbit hole I went with your post


  11. A most amusing set of replies


  12. Fascinating and entertaining!


  13. What a fascinating post and I love the way your mind can conjure up these very odd articles for your blog. I can only echo my neighbour’s favourite saying when he is surprised ” ‘oo would have thought it”. Loved all the queries. I am off post-haste to check mine now.


  14. Forgot to add, love that pic of Franco and Hitler, one I’ve never seen before. Glad to note they both look bloody miserable so hope they were having a bad day.


  15. These are very funny, I have had a look at my blogs and nothing interesting has appeared though there used to be some crackers in the past!


  16. I had to do a double take at theViking question!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fun to research some of these. I enjoyed this post. What I’ve heard from many NYC birders about Eugene Schieffelin is that he did bring in starlings but there is no proof that he did so because of Shakespeare. Here is one link of many about this:


  18. Always fun to contemplate, Andrew. The Durrell question intrigued me most since I am presently rereading Justine, which I first read as a 16-year-old. Still fascinating although I admit I have a different perspective, 60 years later. 🙂 –Curt


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