Zero to Lazy Eight: The Romance of Numbers

Alexander Humez, Author, Joseph McGuire, With, Nicholas Humez, With Simon & Schuster $20.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-74282-9
``Take five,'' ``behind the eight ball'' and ``looking out for number one'' are phrases that suggest how deeply ingrained numbers are in our daily thought. Combining irreverent wit and erudition, this enjoyable smorgasbord of number lore explains the origins of dozens of phrases, while also tracing hundreds of word origins, from ``abundant'' to ``zip code'' (Zone Improvement Program). Each chapter centers on an integer from zero to 13, with a final chapter on infinity (whose symbol is a ``lazy eight'' in cowherd branding lingo). The authors, though, freely head off on multiple tangents to delve into left-handedness, mistaken identities, colonial American weights and currencies, internal body rhythms, creation myths, notions of the afterlife, clothing sizes and much else. The Humezes ( Alpha to Omega ) and freelancer Maguire cram an astonishing array of facts and lore into their excursion. (Aug. )
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
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Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-671-74281-2
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