Did you know that 2013 was the first year since 1987 where all four digits were different from one another?

Did you know that 2013 was the first year since 1987 where all four digits were different from one another?

No, I didn’t figure it out myself. That little interesting fact popped up during a hand-in-mouse stroll with my browser.

You can say what you will about pros and cons of the cyber universe, but it’s clearly a wonderfully rich treasure trove for curiosity feeders like me. I collect tidbits of information and observations like dark sweaters collect lint.

There’s a name for the suspension of unrelated information floating inside my head. “Cortical islands” aren’t much different psychologically than real islands depicted in travel brochures, and I often travel to them for similar reasons.

In my humble if flawed opinion, everybody’s life should contain consistent outward pressure to expand horizons. You can accomplish this simply by adding knowledge and new life experiences. Size doesn’t matter. Tiny experiences might count as much as big ones and needn’t involve airfares or hotels.

To borrow a Jimmy Buffett axiom, it’s all about attitude rather than latitude. Face it: If you do the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, time blurs like Marty McFly’s family picture did in “Back to the Future.”

Since 2014 rang in a couple of weeks ago, how many times have you heard it said, “Where did 2013 go?” None of us are immune to the disease of repetition.

When I catch myself too deep in the rut of television news or soaking too long in my accounting world of tax numbers, I visit National Geographic or the science TV channels to rediscover what an unbelievably interesting world I inhabit.

Some factual tidbits aren’t the least bit surprising. For example, I do believe the U.S. tax code is four times longer than Shakespeare’s complete works. “Out damn deduction!”

This morning while at Cracker Barrel drinking coffee, I remembered a tidbit that made me smile. Caffeine is composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Cocaine, thalidomide, nylon, TNT and heroin share those same ingredients. Oh what a difference a few atoms and molecules make in the recipe!

I should watch my dogs Maggie and Sasha to confirm a trait they’re supposed to have. Experts who’ve apparently spent a lot of time on their knees studying them claim dogs poop in alignment with earth’s magnetic field. Does that mean I paid a lot of money for two compasses with hair?

I recently read Italian traffic police officers in Rome have two Lamborghini squad cars in service. I can vouch for half of that revelation.

When my wife Ann and I visited that city last year while on vacation, we walked by one of them parked by a fountain. I smiled at the thought that Sheriff Roscoe Coltrane would’ve made short work of the “General Lee” with an official rig like that.

A hundred billion pieces of junk mail is delivered each year? I’m not surprised since I receive a good chunk of it.

Was I shocked to learn that Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939? Not one little bit.

Otis Gardner’s column appears here weekly. He can be reached at ogardner@embarqmail.com.