Saturday, January 25, 2014

TRIVIA—Part 3 of 3

This is the final week of my three trivia blogs featuring bits and pieces from The Book Of Useless Information, an official publication of The Useless Information Society with a copyright of 2006.  I'm picking some items at random from the last few sections of the book.  And there is one fact that jumped out at me as being absolutely wrong…I have attributed it to an overlooked typo rather than misinformation.  I'll share this with you in a little while.

For now…I'll pick up here where I left off last week.

AMAZING DISCOVERIES:  Construction workers' hard hats were invented and first used in the construction of Hoover Dam in 1933.  Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.  A normal raindrop falls at about seven miles an hour.  An inch of snow falling evenly on one acre of ground is equivalent to about 2,715 gallons of water.  A cubic mile of fog is made up of less than a gallon of water.  Meteorologists claim they're right 85 percent of the time.  Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon.  The Apollo 11 had only twenty seconds of fuel left when it landed.  A manned rocket can reach the moon in less time than it took a stagecoach to travel the length of England.  Stars come in different colors—hot stars give off blue light and the cooler ones give off red light.  Earth is traveling through space at 660,000 miles per hour.  By weight, the sun is 70 percent hydrogen, 28 percent helium, 1.5 percent carbon-nitrogen-oxygen, and 0.5 percent all other elements.  A bolt of lightning can strike the earth with the equivalent of one hundred million volts and generate temperatures five times hotter than those found on the sun's surface.  In 1949 Popular Mechanics said computers of the future would weigh no more than five tons.  The shortest commercial intercontinental flight in the world is from Gibraltar in Europe to Tangier in Africa, a distance of thirty-four miles and flight time of twenty minutes.  A large flawless emerald is worth more than a similarly large flawless diamond.  A jiffy is an actual unit of time the equivalent of one-hundredth of a second.

WILD KINGDOM:  A baby blue whale is twenty-five feet long at birth.  In 1859 twenty-four rabbits were released in Australia and within six years the population grew to two million.  Human beings and the two-toed sloth are the only land animals that typically mate face to face.  An estimated 80 percent of all creatures on Earth have six legs.  A square mile of fertile earth has thirty-two million earthworms in it.  The original name for butterfly was the flutterby.  Grasshoppers have white blood.  A single strand from the golden spider's web is as strong as a steel wire of the same size.  Contrary to common belief, reptiles are never slimy, their scales have few glands and are usually silky to the touch.  The gecko lizard can run on the ceiling without falling because its toes have flaps of skin that act like suction cups.  Alligators cannot move backward.  The only continent without reptiles or snakes is Antarctica.  A group of frogs is called an army.  A group of kangaroos is called a mob.  Male monkeys lose the hair on their heads in the same manner as men do.  It is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky.  Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  Time and erosion have erased 99 percent of all dinosaur footprints.  Reindeer like to eat bananas.  Moose have very poor vision, some have even tried to mate with cars.  The night vision of tigers is six times better than that of humans.  Jaguars are scared of dogs.  Walking catfish of Florida can stay out of the water for eighty days.  Sharks' fossil records date back more than twice as far as those of the dinosaurs.  Sea otters have the world's densest fur—a million hairs per square inch.

STATISTICS:  It would take more than 150 years to drive a car to the sun.  More than 10 percent of all the salt produced annually in the world is used in winter to de-ice American roads.  Most fatal car accidents happen on a Saturday.  The world record for carrying a milk bottle on your head is twenty-four miles.  You're more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider.  About 6 percent of murdered American men are killed by either their wife or girlfriend…or their wife who caught them with their girlfriend.  Experienced waitresses say that married men tip better than unmarried men.  You are more likely to get attacked by a cow than a shark.

And on the last page of the book it says:  approximately 97 percent of all statistics are made up.  :)

And back on the first of these three trivia blogs, that error I said I caught?  It was in the first section of HALL OF FAME.  It said, "In 1812, after being shot in the chest, Theodore Roosevelt finished a speech he was delivering before he accepted any medical help."  The incident is true, but Teddy Roosevelt wasn't even born until 1858.  The reality is that it happened on October 14, 1912, a century later.  As I said, certainly a typo that no one caught..

Saturday, January 18, 2014

TRIVIA—Part 2 of 3

This is the second week of my three weeks of trivia blogs featuring bits and pieces from The Book Of Useless Information, an official publication of The Useless Information Society with a copyright of 2006.  I can't personally vouch for any of these facts as I have not verified them. :)

So…I'll pick up here where I left off last week with the next few categories.

AROUND THE HOUSE:  A deck of cards should be shuffled seven times to properly play with them. Playing cards in India are round. On the new U.S. $100 bill, the time on the clock tower of Independence Hall is 4:10. The Australian $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes are made of plastic. More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones. Alaska has more outhouses than any other state (and if any of you have ever watched the television series Buying Alaska, you'll be very much aware of this). There are more Barbie dolls in Italy than there are Canadians in Canada. Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

HISTORY'S MYSTERIES:  A Virginia law requires all bathtubs to be kept in the yard, not inside the house. Persia had a pony express many years before Christ where riders delivered mail across Asia Minor. Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats. When some mummies were unwrapped, the bandages were a total of 1.5 miles in length. In ancient Greece, women counted their age from the day they were married. The Roman goddess of sorcery, hounds, and the crossroads is named Trivia. The Chinese ideogram for trouble depicts two women living under one roof. On July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber airplane crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States in 1789. In 1890 New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. You could buy insurance against going to hell in London in the 1700s.

ROAM IF YOU WANT TO:  The Frankford Avenue Bridge built in 1697 in Philadelphia crosses Pennypack Creek and is the oldest U.S. bridge in continuous use. In Washington, D.C., no building can be built taller than the Washington Monument. There are more than six hundred rooms in Buckingham Palace. The full name of Los Angeles is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula (no wonder it's often referred to simply as LA). Harvard uses Yale brand locks on their buildings and Yale uses Best brand locks. It is forbidden to fly aircraft over the Taj Mahal. Central Park opened in 1876 and is nearly twice the size of the country of Monaco. The San Diego Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the world.

HOLY MATTERS:  The color of mourning in Turkey is violet, while in most Muslim countries and China it's white. In the early eighteenth century 2/3 of Portugal was owned by the Church. The youngest pope was eleven years old. Snow angels originated from medieval Jewish mystics who practiced rolling in the snow to purge themselves of evil urges.

BUSINESS RELATIONS:  Japan's currency is the most difficult to counterfeit. The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system, employing more than a million people. The sale of vodka makes up ten percent of Russian government income. In most advertisements, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.

THE SPORTING GOODS:  A baseball has exactly 108 stitches. Bank robber John Dillinger played professional baseball. In 1936 American track star Jesse Owens beat a racehorse over a one hundred yard course…and the horse was given a head start. It takes three thousand cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs. Before 1850, golf balls were made of leather and stuffed with feathers. Boxing is considered the easiest sport for gamblers to fix. Tug-of-war was an Olympic event between 1900 and 1920. Professional hockey players skate at an average speed of 20 to 25 miles per hour. Karate originated in India.

Next week is the third and final week of my trivia blogs.  Make sure to stop by and see what other bits of useless information I have for you.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

TRIVIA -- part 1 of 3

While looking for something in one of my bookcases, I came across a book I had forgotten about…a book I purchased several years ago—The Book Of Useless Information, an official publication of The Useless Information Society.  It has a 2006 copyright date.

I'm a long time (as well as big time) trivia fan.  I immediately became distracted and started randomly flipping through the book.  Half an hour later I was still standing in front of the bookcase thumbing through the pages.

I decided to share some of this useless information with you.  The contents of the book are broken down into thirteen categories which I'm going to break up into three blogs, this week and continuing over the next two weeks.  I'll share a few items from each category.

I did discover one error while thumbing through the pages.  I think it could more accurately be called an oversight, a typo that an editor missed, rather than an actual error in research.  I'll share that with you at the end of the third of this series of trivia blogs.

HALL OF FAME:  Thomas Jefferson anonymously submitted design plans for the White House, they were rejected.  Andrew Jackson was the only president to believe that the world is flat.  James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other—simultaneously.  Gerald Ford was once a male model.  Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.  Adolph Hitler was Time magazine's Man Of The Year in 1938 (keep in mind that Time magazine awards that position to the person they feel has had the most influence and impact on the news which is not the same thing as someone to be admired).  The shortest British monarch was Charles I, who was four-feet nine-inches tall.  When young and impoverished, Pablo Picasso kept warm by burning his own paintings.  Christopher Columbus had blond hair.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT:  Tom Hanks is related to Abraham Lincoln.  Tommy Lee Jones and Vice President Al Gore were freshmen roommates at Harvard.  Elizabeth Taylor appeared on the cover of Life magazine more than anyone else.  Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.  In high school, Robin Williams was voted the least likely to succeed.  Mick Jagger attended the London School of Economics for two years.  Parker Brothers prints about $50 billion worth of Monopoly money in a year, more than the real money issued annually by the U.S. Government.  Kermit the Frog is left-handed.  Peanuts is the world's most read comic strip.  Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots.  Alfred Hitchcock never won an Academy Award for directing.

THE LITERARY WORLD:  During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick sold only fifty copies.  Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen.  Tom Sawyer was the first novel written on a typewriter.  Arthur Conan Doyle never had Sherlock Holmes say "Elementary, my dear Watson."  The word cop came from the English term Constable on Patrol.  The most used letter in the English language is E with Q being the least used.  The oldest word in the English language is town.  The only fifteen letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.  Bookkeeper is the only word in the English language with three consecutive double letters.  In England in the 1880s, pants was considered a dirty word.  Polish is the only word in the English language that, when capitalized, is changed from a noun or a verb to a nationality.

ON THE MENU:  On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonald's Big Mac bun.  Coca-Cola was originally green.  A full seven percent of the Irish barley crop goes to the production of Guinness beer.  The first man to distill bourbon whiskey was a Baptist preacher in 1789.  Almonds are a member of the peach family.  You use more calories eating celery than there are in celery itself.  The oldest known vegetable is the pea.  Tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits.  There is no such thing as blue food, even blueberries are purple.  The only food that does not spoil is honey.

This is only a small sampling of the first four sections of the book.  Anyone have any interesting trivia bits that fall within these four categories?

Next week I'll continue with some samples from the second group of four sections.  And the week after that I'll do the final five sections.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Weird And Bizarre January Holidays

Every month has its share of weird, bizarre and unusual holidays and January is no exception.  Those are the only ones I'll be sharing with you.  After all, we all know the legal holidays…they're the ones with no mail delivery and the banks are closed.  :)

January has its month long celebrations, some serious and others more toward the frivolous: National Bath Safety Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Braille Literacy Month, National Hobby Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, and Hot Tea Month.  And in addition to the month long celebrations, the second week of January is designated as Letter Writing Week.

Jan. 2:        Run Up The Flagpole And See If Anyone Salutes Day

Jan. 3:        Festival Of Sleep Day
Jan. 3:        Fruitcake Toss Day
This the day you can finally get rid of all that old fruitcake leftover from the holidays.  Rather than simply tossing them in the trash, invite some friends over and go out to an empty lot to make a game of it.  Who can toss it the farthest?  Or for a less strenuous method, re-gift it next year.
Jan. 3:        Humiliation Day

Jan. 4:        Trivia Day
This is a fun day, a chance for us to share those little nuggets of knowledge with our friends and family.

Jan. 5:        National Bird Day

Jan. 6:        Bean Day
Jan. 6:        Cuddle Up Day
This day provides the opportunity to snuggle up to someone on a cold winter's day…or night.  This holiday is enjoyed by both young and old.

Jan. 7:        Old Rock Day

Jan. 8:        Bubble Bath Day
Jan. 8:        Male Watcher's Day
Here's a day for the ladies, we can officially, openly, and blatantly watch the guys.  The guys are always watching us, so now it's our turn to hoot and holler.

Jan. 10:      Houseplant Appreciation Day
Jan. 10:      Peculiar People Day
This day honors uniquely different people—un-ordinary, extraordinary, unusual, strange, odd, uncommon, intriguing, different, abnormal, and quirky.  Today is the day to look for the good in your peculiar acquaintances.

Jan. 11:      Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friends' Day

Jan. 12:      Feast Of Fabulous Wild Men Day
Apparently this day suggests you feast your eyes on some fabulous wild men.  Perhaps check out the top 10 sexiest men?  A list should be readily available on the internet.
Jan. 12:      National Pharmacist Day

Jan. 13:      International Skeptics Day
Jan. 13:      Make Your Dream Come True Day

Jan. 14:      Dress Up Your Pet Day

Jan. 15:      National Hat Day

Jan. 16:      National Nothing Day
This is a day for…well…a day for nothing!  It's an un-event.

Jan. 17:      Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day
Since there's a day to celebrate the New Year and make resolutions for the upcoming year, then there should be a day to discard those resolutions.  If you haven't already broken those resolutions, then you're doing better than most of us.

Jan. 18:      Thesaurus Day

Jan. 19:      National Popcorn Day

Jan. 20:      National Buttercrunch Day
Jan. 20:      Penguin Awareness Day
Although this is celebrated on January 20, World Penguin Day is always on April 25th.  This is a great opportunity to learn about and appreciate one of the few natives of Antarctica.  It's also a day to wear black and white…penguin colors.

Jan. 21:      National Hugging Day
Jan. 21:      Squirrel Appreciation Day

Jan. 22:      National Blonde Brownie Day

Jan. 23:      National Pie Day
Jan. 23:      National Handwriting Day
Jan. 23:      Measure Your Feet Day

Jan. 24:      Beer Can Appreciation Day
Perhaps it's what's inside the beer can that is being appreciated?  This day actually celebrates the day in 1935 when beer was first sold in cans.  There's a collector's market for old beer cans.  Check out collector's catalogues and eBay before throwing away an unusual or old beer can.
Jan. 24:      Compliment Day

Jan. 25:      Opposite Day

Jan. 26:      Spouse's Day

Jan. 27:      Chocolate Cake Day
Jan. 27:      Punch The Clock Day

Jan. 28:      Fun At Work Day
Jan. 28:      National Kazoo Day
The first kazoo was made in the 1840 in Macon, Georgia, but commercial production not happening until 1912.  The kazoo is easy to play.  All you do is hum a tune into the kazoo.

Jan. 29:      National Puzzle Day
Jan. 29:      National Cornchip Day

Jan. 30:      National Inane Answering Message Day

Jan. 31:      Backward Day
This is a day to do everything backwards.  It's especially popular with school aged kids.

Wishing you a terrific 2014