Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Ramsin / February 20, 2009 11:23 AM

Your mom.

Ms. Bea Haven / February 20, 2009 11:26 AM

Due to an early stint in foundry during undergrad, I know a hell of a lot about metals. Finishing, welding, casting, you name it. It doesn't exactly help with either the career in marketing or the nighttime career in burlesque. But it does make for some amazing Flashdance numbers.

mary / February 20, 2009 11:28 AM

i know an awful lot about the beastie boys. i was an "expert" back in high school. much of that knowledge is gone, but i still know a lot of random factoids.

it's also something i don't necessarily tell people about.

jaime / February 20, 2009 11:33 AM

haunted places, though i stand firm that it will come in handy someday.

Crystal C / February 20, 2009 11:37 AM

I read a lot of restaurant reviews for restaurants I haven't gone to yet. So I know about that little rotisserie chicken dive or that dumpling house in the suburbs, or about that four star alinea-ish restaurant, but I have never gone there. I guess I just file it away in my never-ending "Go-To" list.

michi / February 20, 2009 11:48 AM

Musical modes. I can explain why irish music is in the dorian mode most of the time, and why that leads to certain chord patterns. I've given workshops on it, so I guess it's not completely useless...but it doesn't exactly come up at the office.

w / February 20, 2009 11:53 AM

The KDP and the PUK.

David / February 20, 2009 12:05 PM

I know how to tear an apple in half with my bare hands. If Earth is ever invaded by apple-shaped aliens, this knowledge will be extremely helpful.

Until then I wait, and hope.

Baldeesh / February 20, 2009 12:10 PM

The growing and caring for African Violets and orchids. Dune.

Andrew / February 20, 2009 12:24 PM

I've got a lot of useless knowledge rattling around in my head, but probably least useful relates to the various products and services of clients from my days in PR. I can tell you more than you'd ever want to know about an 80-lead EKG system that never caught on, for instance, or how to use milk to create nanoparticles. Fun stuff.

eee / February 20, 2009 12:33 PM

I know all about every She-Ra toy that was ever made, including which dolls were part of which year's release and the names of the different outfits you could buy for the dolls. (Yes, the outfits had names.) Alas, this knowledge has rarely ever come in handy. Though it did help me identify which toys were used in a recent episode of Robot Chicken.

Alissa / February 20, 2009 12:42 PM

British bands of the mid-90s. Not just their music, but names, backstories, romances, children, etc. It's sick. And thanks to my current job I know more than I ever wanted to know about manufacturing processes.

Val / February 20, 2009 12:43 PM

I took a class in college on the philosophy of the X-Files and pop culture. What can I say, it was my senior year...

I can talk about the role religion vs. science, gender issues, the statement "The Truth is Out There"... It really is quite interesting the element of faith, i.e. "I want to beleive"...

It may not have helped me in any way, but since then I'm a huge sci-fi fan. :o)

Robyn / February 20, 2009 1:21 PM

I know a lot about Depeche Mode.

Spook / February 20, 2009 1:42 PM

I'd have to say reptiles and other animals. But personally my knowledge of Zombies will come in very handy one day!

kristin_karinsdottir / February 20, 2009 3:19 PM

Nerd Alert! I know a huge amount about Tudor England, mostly gleaned from reading histories of it ages 12-17. My older brother called me "a encyclopedia of useless knowlege" when I was 14... so you can imagine.

annie / February 20, 2009 7:42 PM

chicago history, chicago factoids and businesses in chicago, past and present.

mike-ts / February 20, 2009 8:29 PM

That the plastic tip of a shoelace is called an aglet.

And that there is no 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. A.M. is ante meridian, before the meridian (when the sun is directly overhead), and P.M. is post meridian, after the meridian. Noon and midnight are on the meridian, and therefore are neither ante nor post, neither a.m. nor p.m.

emtee / February 20, 2009 10:12 PM

I know everything there is to know about Elliott Smith and Elmo.

That's normal, right?

Jasmine / February 21, 2009 12:02 AM

I think the next GB happy hour should be some sort of talent show or fair so we can show off our skills.

And when I say "we", I mean "you all". I don't think I have knowledge, inessential or not, to share. Um, maybe the history and trivia of all iterations of the "Degrassi" tv shows?

wendi / February 21, 2009 1:46 PM


D Plus / February 21, 2009 7:01 PM

Thelonious Monk.

SR / February 22, 2009 12:15 AM

Genghis Khan.

pins / February 22, 2009 2:16 AM

Billy Corgan. But really, that's more essential in Chicago than elsewhere, right?

V / February 22, 2009 12:07 PM


Cheryl / February 22, 2009 1:22 PM

MeetingMaker. As far as I can tell, we're the only place on earth that uses it as our scheduling software, so this is not anything I would put on my resume.

Michelle / February 22, 2009 9:27 PM

Part numbers of compressor repleacement parts. I should win the most useless award.

Matlida / February 22, 2009 9:30 PM

Mike-ts - awesome - no one else but you agrees with me that there is no 12 am or pm.

My useless information? Part numbers for compressor replacement parts.

Leah / February 23, 2009 12:27 AM

I know a lot about the insecticidal properties of catnip, how to distill the essential oil from catnip and what isomer of nepetalactone make 75% of cats go crazy.

Why? One summer in an entomology lab at Iowa State.

michelle / February 23, 2009 7:52 AM

My useless knowledge is mostly music based...more specifically rockers from the 60s and 70s. I know about relationships, drug habits,meanings behind songs...lets just say if you want to know anything at all about Fleetwood Mac, I'm your gal.

Mucky Fingers / February 23, 2009 10:48 AM

My useless knowledge is also music based, mostly on 60s rock bands and their retro-rock offspring; the Beatles and Oasis, the Rolling Stones and the Black Crowes, Santana and Los Lobos.

I've also memorized far too much crap about Spike Lee movies and the Sopranos.

Kaylee / February 23, 2009 11:00 AM

Spot and leg symmetry in red-spotted newts (specifically from the Green and Taconic mountains in southern Vermont.)

Yes, this was a college thesis/research thing... but no, I did not get a degree in biology. And I work in fashion and music. Go figure.

flange / February 23, 2009 2:02 PM

unlike a lot of astronomers, i know that pluto is a goddamned planet.

Elizabeth / February 23, 2009 3:47 PM

1. The subtle differences between a latte, a cappuccino, and an au lait. These are life skills.
2. Efficient dishwasher loading. I'm THAT girl at my office that goes through and reloads it correctly at the end of the day.

Crystal C / February 23, 2009 5:05 PM

Elizabeth, those differences are pretty important - to some people making their livelihood as cafe owners/and or baristas. And to pissed off customers who don't get what they asked for. Not inconsequential at all :)

Lily / February 23, 2009 5:05 PM

stage makeup to age someone, add bruises, beard stubble, scars

it was useful at one point

sean cody / February 23, 2009 6:17 PM

Gay porn blogs, specifically the kind that specialize in straightsploitation scenes with no music.

Ben / February 23, 2009 7:44 PM

Ok. I'll be the first. Star Trek, ok?

Steven / February 23, 2009 8:32 PM

I know all the parts of speech, correct punctuation and the meaning of often confused words. I know that the present participle of a verb used as a noun is called a gerund. I know when to use a comma versus a semi-colon versus a colon. I can tell you the difference between "complement" and "compliment", between "discreet" and "discrete" and between "there," "their" and "they're." You would think that knowing proper grammar would be useful, but sadly, it grows more irrelevant with each TXT sent.

Jason / February 23, 2009 9:33 PM

The Samurai 'Bushidō'

...and French history

Bill / February 24, 2009 7:19 AM

@ Ben: Me too, me too.

Relatedly, I know a lot about television writing.

It has not come in handy in Chicago.

SKY / February 24, 2009 11:39 AM

The Golden Girls

Luke / February 24, 2009 11:47 AM

Faulkner. I spent hundreds of hours in college reading, studying and writing about him.

Since then, I have spent MAYBE a few hours talking about him, mostly in bars, mostly convincing people that the old writer in "Barton Fink" is Faulkner.

Glad I did it, but not of much use.

Indigo / February 25, 2009 4:43 PM

Making a full size blanket into a coat.
Renaissance bodices and corsets, sewing and fitting them.
Toll and decorative painting.
These are generally considered to be of no consequence in the world and little utility in my life now.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15