50 things you had no idea that you didn’t know . . . and now you do.

I have an affection for trivia, snippets of pop culture facts, and the like.  Mental Floss is one of my absolute favorite websites.  They have an Amazing Fact Generator.  I was allowing it to generate amazing facts for me today when I realized that these amazingly generated facts needed to be shared.  Others must know of the facts that are generated amazingly by Mental Floss.  Should you ever get bored, or have some time to kill at work, hop yourself on over to mentalfloss.com.  You will be entertained, enlightened, and will end up killing more time than you knew you had available to kill.  I’ve wasted a lot of time on that website.  Enjoy!
From the mentalfloss.com Amazing Fact Generator . . .

  1. Senator Strom Thurmond is in the record books for giving the longest recorded speech in history, clocking in at 24 hours and 18 minutes. The speech was a filibuster in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act (which passed, despite his efforts).  (and I thought I was a chatterbox)
  2. To deter nativity scene theft, BrickHouse Security provides free GPS trackers that can be installed in Baby Jesus.
  3. The Baseball anthem “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” actually has two main verses. During the 7th-inning stretch, fans traditionally sing just the refrain. Jack Norworth had never been to an actual baseball game when he wrote the song.
  4. A trip around the bases on a baseball diamond is 20 yards longer than a goal-line-to-goal line run on a football field.
  5. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t drift apart.  (I get pissed if my husband rolls onto my side of the bed at night.)
  6. Everyone knows the that the first video played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” But what about VH1? Marvin Gaye’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” MTV2? “Where It’s At” by Beck. And MTV Europe went with “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.  (The 1-millionth video MTV played was also “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles . . although the Presidents Of The United States Of America did a pretty awesome version of that song, too.)
  7. Orson Welles’ last role was the voice of “Unicron” in the 1986 Transformers movie.
  8. Botanically, apples, peaches, grapes, and tomatoes are all fruits. But don’t try telling that to the U.S. Supreme Court. Per the 1893 case Nix v. Hedden, the court decided that tomatoes were veggies and therefore subject to the vegetable tariff. The Supreme Court’s reasoning? Tomatoes have to be vegetables because they’re usually served with dinner, not dessert.
  9. Only one half of a dolphin’s brain sleeps at a time. The other half that’s awake signals the dolphin to come up for air to prevent drowning.
  10. Washington State was supposed to be named “Columbia” but the idea was scrapped because it was thought it would be too easily confused with “Columbia City” (today commonly referred to as Washington, D.C.).
  11. Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on The Golden Girls.
  12. Until coffee gained popularity, beer was the breakfast beverage of choice in most urban areas of the United States.
  13. Barry Manilow did not write his hit “I Write the Songs.”  (He lied to us!!!)
  14. By law, French workers get at least 30 paid vacation days each year.  (I’m moving to France.)
  15. Bela Lugosi became famous for playing the title character in the classic 1931 movie Dracula. When he died in 1956, he was buried wearing his Dracula cape.
  16. For Halloween in 1988, then-Presidential candidate (and VP) George H.W. Bush dressed as himself! He wore a Bush mask and everything.
  17. During WWII, La-Z-Boy manufactured seats for tanks, torpedo boats, gun turrets, and armored cars.
  18. Facebook engineers originally wanted to call the “Like” button the “Awesome” button.  (Awesome!)
  19. A famous North American landmark, Niagara Falls, is constantly moving backward. The rim wore down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute. Attempts to control flow and divert the water has reduced erosion in recent years to one foot per year with a potential increase of one foot every ten years.
  20. Matt Majikas holds a Guinness Book record for playing miniature golf for 24 hours straight. During that time, he traversed more than 35 miles of putting green and completed 3,035 holes.  (Somebody needs a girlfriend and a life.)
  21. As president, George Washington pulled in a salary of $25K a year. That’s roughly $1 million in today’s currency. Excited by his newfound purchasing power, Washington started living it up, reportedly buying leopard-skin robes for all his horses and spending seven percent of his income on alcohol.  (Maybe that’s where Elvis learned how to spend his money . . . Jungle Room.  Need I say more?)
  22. A cat’s ability to see well at night is due to its tapetum, a membrane that reflects visible light back through the cat’s retina. It’s also what causes the weird “glowing” effect in the dark.
  23. There are people who can actually see, smell and physically taste music. This is an example of a phenomenon known as synesthesia. Synesthetes report seeing symphonies in spectacular colors, smelling Beethoven, and tasting Chopin.  (Gee, that symphony tasted lovely . . . light and oaky with a fruity undertones.)
  24. Obsessive nose picking is called rhinotillexomania.
  25. There is actually a specific area of the brain known as the bilateral vomitation center. It notes when our tummy is upset and makes the final decision whether to barf or not to barf.  (So when we have the dry heaves is that the Bilateral Vomitation Center just f**king with us?  “Haha!  Fooled you!”)
  26. The first Moon landing happened in the Sea of Tranquility; the second set down in the Ocean of Storms.
  27. The hole in your shirt that you put your arm through is called an “armsaye.”
  28. Henri Breault, a pediatrician from Windsor, Ontario, invented the child-resistant medicine cap in 1967.  (Which is resistant only for most adults.  Give it to a kid if you want that child-resistant cap opened.)
  29. Duct tape was invented in 1942 for use by the U.S. Army as a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition boxes.  (And now girls use it to make prom dresses.  How times have changed.)
  30. “General” Custer wasn’t a general at the time of his death at Little Big Horn. He was promoted to Brevet General during the Civil War, which was basically a temporary promotion. After the war, he was reverted back to his true rank of Lieutenant Colonel, the rank he held when he was killed.
  31. Schizophrenia used to be treated by kidney dialysis.
  32. The Vatican Bank is the world’s only bank that allows ATM users to perform transactions in Latin.
  33. Robert Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, was saved from a nasty railroad accident by Edwin Booth. Edwin was the brother of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
  34. Slumber Party Barbie of 1965 came with her own “How to Lose Weight” book. One tip: “Don’t eat.”  (WOW!!!)
  35. Waste from the Ben & Jerry’s factory is given to farmers to feed their hogs. The hogs apparently love Cherry Garcia but dislike Mint Oreo.  (I want to be a farmer that gets the Ben & Jerry’s waste.  Chunky Munkey, please!)
  36. The first item bought by scanning its UPC code was a ten-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum, purchased at an Ohio supermarket. It’s now on display at the Smithsonian.
  37. The inventors of Bubble Wrap were originally trying to make plastic wallpaper.  (and stress relief has never been the same since.)
  38. The Hawaiian alphabet only has twelve letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, and W.
  39. The average CD can hold 74 minutes’ worth of music. That unusual length was determined by Sony’s president, who decided that a single CD should be able to contain the longest recorded version of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
  40. The USDA allows the term “wyngz” for wing-like chicken products that contain no wing meat.
  41. Stan and Jan Berenstain didn’t just write about bears. They also penned How to Teach Your Children About Sex.
  42. Charles Lindbergh was named Time magazine’s first “Man of the Year” in 1927. But what turned into an annual tradition for the publication actually started as an apology: Time had embarrassingly left Lindbergh off the cover after his landmark solo flight and “Man of the Year” was their apology.  (“Dear Charles Lindbergh, My bad!  Still buddies?  Love, Time Magazine”)
  43. Shel Silverstein, children’s poet and illustrator, got his start drawing cartoons for Playboy.
  44. The first TV show to use “open captions,” or captioning for the hearing-impaired available on all television sets, was The French Chef on PBS.
  45. The term “lawn mullet” means having a neatly manicured front yard and an unmowed mess in the back.  (I have seen a lot of these in my 14 years in Kentucky.  Coincidence?  I think not.)
  46. Mel Blanc insisted on chewing real carrots to provide the chomping sounds when he voiced Bugs Bunny.
  47. Ian Murphy is the king of the old-school computer hackers. In 1981, he and three accomplices broke into the AT&T phone system and changed its internal clocks so that customers would get midnight discounts in midday, while late-night callers got stuck with outrageous bills. For the incident, Murphy became the first hacker to be charged with a computer crime.
  48. The Procrastinators’ Club of America newsletter is called “Last Month’s Newsletter.”  (Where do I go to subscribe to this newsletter?  I must have it . . . eventually.)
  49. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, named after a distant cousin who happened to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
  50. One of the first known contraceptives was crocodile dung, used by Egyptians.  (Because nobody would want to go near a person covered in dung.)

Until next time . . .



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