# Fun facts

1. Jan 16, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Some fun tidbits.

A law passed in Nebraska in 1912 really set down some hard rules of the road. Drivers in the country at night were required to stop every 150 yards, send up a skyrocket, then wait eight minutes for the road to clear before proceeding cautiously, all the while blowing their horn and shooting off flares..

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Abraham Lincoln had no love for favor seekers, especially when they took his time away from the duties of the presidency during the Civil War. On one occasion, he gathered together a number of would- be-office holders and told them this story:
"There was once a King who wished to go out hunting, so he asked his minister if it was going to rain. The minister assured him that it would not. On the way to the woods, the King passed a farmer who was working the land with his donkey. The farmer warned the King that it would rain soon, but the King just laughed and continued on. A few minutes later it was pouring, and the King and his companions were soaked to their skin. Upon return to the castle, the King dismissed his minister and sent for the farmer. He asked the man how he knew it was going to rain.

""It was not me, your Majesty. It was my donkey. He always droops one ear when it is going to rain."

"So the King bought the donkey from the farmer and gave him the position of minister at court. This was where the King made his mistake."

"How was that," asked several people in the audience.

"Because ever since then," Lincoln continued, "every jackass wants an office. Gentlemen, leave your credentials and when the war is over you'll hear from me."

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One of the movie moguls the Marx Brothers had to deal with was Irving Thalberg of MGM. Purposefully or not, Thalberg had the annoying habit of making people wait outside his office for extended periods of time. One time he kept the Marx Brothers longer than they liked. When he finally got around to seeing them, he discovered they were stark naked outside his doorway, roasting potatoes in the lobby's fireplace. It was the last time he kept them waiting.

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According to many language experts, the most difficult kind of phrase to create is a palindrome, a sentence or group of sentences that reads the same backward and forward. A few examples:
Red rum, sir, is murder.

Ma is as selfless as I am.

Nurse, I spy gypsies. Run!

A man, a plan, a canal - Panama.

He lived as a devil, eh?

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In the memoirs of Catherine II of Russia, it is recorded that any Russian aristocrat who displeased the queen was forced to squat in the great antechamber of the palace and to remain in that position for several days, mewing like a cat, clucking like a hen, and pecking his food from the floor.

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An eighteenth-century German named Matthew Birchinger, known as "the little man of Nuremberg," played four musical instruments including the bagpipes, was an expert calligrapher, and was the most famous stage magician of his day. He performed tricks with the cup and balls that have never been explained. Yet Birchinger had no hands, legs, or thighs, and was less than 29 inches tall!

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The eccentric and paranoid American recluse Langley Collier met his untimely end in 1947. While he was bringing food to his equally odd brother Homer, who lived as a total hermit, Langley tripped on a wire to one of his own booby traps and was crushed beneath a suitcase filled with metal, a sewing machine, three breadboxes, and several bundles of newspapers. Homer starved to death, and their bodies were undiscovered for three weeks.

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When Leo Tolstoy and his brother were children, they created a club with a peculiar, almost impossible initiation ceremony. In order to become a member, one had to stand in a corner for a half an hour and not think of anything white.

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When the French Academy was preparing its first dictionary, it defined "crab" as, "A small red fish which walks backwards." This definition was sent with a number of others to the naturalist Cuvier for his approval. The scientist wrote back, "Your definition, gentlemen, would be perfect, only for three exceptions. The crab is not a fish, it is not red and it does not walk backwards."

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A person cannot taste food unless it is mixed with saliva. For example, if a strong-tasting substance like salt is placed on a dry tongue, the taste buds will not be able to taste it. As soon as a drop of saliva is added and the salt is dissolved, however, a definite taste sensation results. This is true for all foods. Try it!

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A rainbow can be seen only in the morning or late afternoon. It can occur only when the sun is 40 degrees or less above the horizon.

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It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona. (sorry tribdog, no camel hunting for you)

http://www.telacommunications.com/misc/facts.htm

2. Jan 16, 2005

### franznietzsche

I love it.

I remember reading in an essay that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote on the president, that one time when Hawthorne was in DC he just decided to stop in and see the people's "number one servant." I wonder how many presidents in the past 40 years have considered themselves "the people's servant"?

3. Jan 16, 2005

### Andromeda321

The camel hunting in Arizona thing isn't actually true, as explained here.
And I've heard the Nebraska one referred to a strikinly similar law in Pennsylvania.

To make up for it, however, here's a fact from me. Despite the fact that it's on every single label, there are actually no "57 varieties" of Heinz ketchup. Instead it was just a marketing scheme by Heinz back in the day and there are actually over 200 "varieties" of products made by the company.

4. Jan 16, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Speaking of Palindromes -

Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

Cigar? Toss it in a can, it is so tragic.

Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog.

I saw desserts; I'd no lemons, alas no melon. Distressed was I.

Live! For at last, Seth tests altar of evil!

Live not on evil, madam, live not on evil.

Never odd or even.

Step on no pets!

Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts.

Stressed? No tips? Spit on desserts!

Star comedy... by democrats

Yo, bottoms up! U.S. motto, boy!

"No lemons, no melon."
"Desserts I stressed."

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And if that was not enough, try:

Danish -
En af dem der red med fane. (One of those that rode with a standard (or banner))

Dutch -
Nelli plaatst op 'n parterre trap 'n pot staalpillen.

Finnish -
Iso rikas sika sökösakissa kirosi - (A very rich pig cursed in a stud poker gang)

French -
Esope reste ici et se repose. (Aesop is resting here and relaxing.)

Trace l'inégal palindrome. Neige. Bagatelle, dira Hercule. Le brut repentir, cet écrit né Perec. L'arc lu pèse trop, lis à vice-versa. Perte. Cerise D.... Désire ce trépas rêve: Ci va! S'il porte, sépulcral, ce repentir, cet écrit ne perturbe le lucre: Haridelle, ta gabegie ne mord ni la plage ni l'ecart.

Italian -
Ai lati d'Italia (On the sides of Italy.)
E' fedel: non lede fe' (He's faithful: he doesn't betray your faith)
Ecco Bello colle bocce! (Here is Bello with balls!)

Spanish -
A cavar a Caravaca.
A la Manuela dale una mala.
A mama Roma le aviva el amor a papa, y a papa Roma le aviva el amor a mama.

Swedish -
Märk stupid abrakadabra: ur fin ränsel lyfta rappa japaner samma mimosa som I mammas rena pajapparat fylles när ni fruar bada karbad i putskräm.

Welsh -

from - http://www.jps.at/palindromes/intl/OTHER.html [Broken]

otherwise http://www.palindromes.org/

Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
5. Jan 16, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Try it? How do you expect me to get all the saliva off my tongue long enough to try it? :grumpy:

6. Jan 16, 2005

### JasonRox

When you wake up at night, sometimes your mouth is very dry. I had it happen to me anyways.

The real problem is...

Are you willing to get out of bed, walk to the kitchen with your mouth open, and pour a teaspoon of salt on your tongue to see if it is true?

7. Jan 22, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Any bets Tribdog has done it? Eh, Tribdog?

8. Jan 22, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

More fun facts

Perhaps some of these have been mentioned previously - if so, forgive me. Several are trivia about US.

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.