By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jan 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM

When I first heard about Wikipedia, I was the ultimate doubter. Why would I trust the ramblings of amateur Web surfers over those of professional encyclopedia authors? But as I delved further into the phenomenon, I realized that more often than not, the content is accurate, vetted time and time again until the truth surfaces. And even when it's not perfect, it's a great starting point to knowledge.

My favorite part of Wikipedia is jumping from article to article, answering questions I didn't even know I had.

And sometimes, when I have a moment to spare, I just click "random article" and see what comes up. Occasionally, I feel like a Renaissance man and know a thing or two about the results. More often, I'm reminded how very little I actually know, and just how big our world is.

For the love of blogging, I sat down this morning and hit "random article" 10 times. Here's what I found:

  1. Purple Sandpiper: OK, I knew that was a small bird, even without seeing the photo. Sure enough, it is, but it's safe to say I've never seen one -- since it lives in the Arctic and in Greenland.
  2. Greater São Paulo: Knew that, too. It's a city in Brazil. Two for two. I did not know, however, that it's home to almost 20 million people. Imagine that, a city 20 times larger than Metro Milwaukee.
  3. Ghost House: No idea. Turns out it's a 2004 South Korean horror-comedy movie. While I like the work of director Kim Sang-Jin, I somehow missed this one (just kidding, I have no idea who Kim Sang-Jin is).
  4. Outreach Judaism: Interesting that I've never heard of this organization, considering that I'm Jewish, and ironically, I support their mission. Apparently, they respond to issues raised by missionaries and cults, debunking phony groups like "Jews For Jesus." I'll bookmark this one and get back to it another time.
  5. The Funeral: Again, didn't ring a bell. It was 1996 movie staring Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Annabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini, Vincent Gallo, Benicio del Toro and Gretchen Mol. Great cast, but I can't remember if I've seen it. Seems like something I might've watched on cable, but I honestly can't remember.
  6. Cloak (disambiguation): Sure, I know this word. It's either a verb or a noun. Easy. But why does it have a Wikipedia entry? Note: this was my first random article this exercise to have a disambiguation, which Wikipedia describes as a page listing articles associated with the same title.
  7. Celesty: Never heard of 'em. Why? Because Celesty is a "power metal" band formed in 1998 in Seinäjoki, Finland. They are still active today. I sorta want to hear this, though ...
  8. David Lightbown: Again, nope. But why would I have been familiar with the Conservative Member of Parliament for South East Staffordshire from 1983 until he died in office in 1995?
  9. 2007 in Brazilian football: Ironic that I dialed up another Brazil page. I don't know much about South American soccer, beyond and including Pele. Seems that Sao Paolo (see No. 2) won the whole shebang with 77 points! Goooooaaaaaallll!
  10. Suzuka District, Mie: Going out with a bang! From context, I guessed this is a Japanese neighborhood. And I was sort of right. As of 2003, the district had an estimated population of 7,051. But it was dissolved on Jan. 11, 2005 after the district merged into the city of Kameyama.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.