1. Did the American Chemical Society realize, when it started the journal Organic Letters, that all it would manage to do is turn the competing Tetrahedron Letters into a European journal and force libraries to subscribe to both of them?
2. Can there be a more worrisome lab nickname than the one given to one of my wife's former co-workers, a radioisotope user known as "Mister Chernobyl"?
3. What percent of chemists are the same type as me: willing and able to start new reactions all day, just so long as I don't have to work them up and purify the products?
4. Are there still undergraduate organic chemistry courses that do a lot of the old qualitative tests in their lab sections - Tollens reagent and all that? (I deeply hope that no one answers "yes" to this one.)
5. When you're scheduled to speak with a visitor from academia, is there any more surefire conversation starter than "How's the funding going?"
6. Have I really been looking at the same gel in all those molecular biology lab presentations over the years, or does it just seem that way?
7. Will I ever have cause to use a spinning-band distillation column again in my lifetime? (Bonus question: at what point will I be the only person in my workplace to have ever seen one of the things?)
8. Did anyone ever actually use those crazy bar-code things, condensed versions of the tables of contents, that the Pergamon journals used to have on their first pages? (This is equivalent to wondering if anyone's ever made the "Mock Apple Pie" recipe on the Ritz cracker box.)
9. Is there any reagent more pyromaniacal than dimethyl zinc? (The stuff makes most of the other flame-spouting reagents look like chicken broth.)
10. Could there be anything less likely to attract members of the opposite sex than reading the Journal of Organic Chemistry while you're at the laundromat? (Yes, I did this in graduate school, and I can attest to its powers.)