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.

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