As you may have heard elsewhere, I, er, have some extra time on my hands.

For the first time since Grade 9, I find myself with a summer off. Which is fine, actually. The dog is being thoroughly walked, the garage is immaculately power-washed and I’m nearing the mythical state known as Inbox Zero.

Most importantly, though, I’m finally going through that massive pile of unread books and magazines on the floor of

my home office. Here are a few of the (mostly) useless things I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks:

• Dolly Parton has released a staggering 94 albums in her career and thanks to songs like Whitney Houston’s cover of her I Will Always Love You for The Bodyguard soundtrack (which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide) has a personal worth of about $900 million.

• Remember EMF and their No. 1 one-hit-wonder, Unbelievable from 1990? Keyboardist Ian Dench is rolling in cash after years of writing hits for Beyoncé and Shakira.

• Comedian Ricky Gervais was of a techno-pop duo called Seona Dancing (correctly pronounced as “Shawna Dancing”) in the early 80s. They were a miserable failure except for a song called More to Lose, which became a substantial hit in the Philippines.

• Chris Martin of Coldplay has an honours degree in Greek and Latin.

• Buzz band Foster the People was originally called Foster & the People after singer Mark Foster, but when audiences kept mishearing the name as “Foster the People,” they made the switch.

• Adele says she was inspired to get into music by the Spice Girls. Her earliest gigs featured her singing songs like Wannabe.

• For this final stage of U2’s 360 Tour, the band flies in around 5 p.m., plays the gig and is back on their private plane by midnight.

• Sales of CDs are now so weak it’s possible to make it onto the Canadian Top 200 album chart by selling fewer than 200 copies.

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