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Fun facts

  1. Jan 16, 2005 #1


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    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..


    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."


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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.


    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."


    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!


    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.


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

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2005 #2
    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"?

    Answer: Not a single one.
  4. Jan 16, 2005 #3
    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.
  5. Jan 16, 2005 #4


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    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.

    I, madam, I, made radio -- so I dared! Am I mad? Am 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."


    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 -
    Llad dafad dall. (kill a blind sheep)

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

    otherwise http://www.palindromes.org/
  6. Jan 16, 2005 #5


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    Try it? How do you expect me to get all the saliva off my tongue long enough to try it? :grumpy:
  7. Jan 16, 2005 #6


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    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?
  8. Jan 22, 2005 #7


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    Any bets Tribdog has done it? Eh, Tribdog?
  9. Jan 22, 2005 #8


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    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.

    All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.

    Almonds are a member of the peach family.

    An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

    Babies are born without kneecaps.- They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

    Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. - Dogs only have about 10.

    "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".

    February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

    In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

    If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

    If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.

    It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

    Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

    Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

    On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.

    Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

    Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

    Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

    "Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right.

    The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.

    The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.

    The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

    The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

    The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).

    There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

    There are more chickens than people in the world.

    There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous

    There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."

    There's no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.

    Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

    TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

    Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

    Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

    A human stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.
  10. Jan 22, 2005 #9


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    Although it would seem his mother went into labor during a dance, he was not born in a ladies' room, but it is very interesting anyway. http://www.snopes.com/history/world/churchill.asp
  11. Jan 22, 2005 #10


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    Guess it's the only one that can afford to ! If I was a little fishy swimming around in shark infested waters, there's no way I'm shutting both eyes...ever.

    Bet all his furniture ended up with broken legs !

    Only until people eventually realize the genius of Gustav Klimt.

    Though some (promising) experiments are currently being performed on tribdogs.

    Not to say anything about the entertainment to be had from watching people copulating, while marching in single file.

    And two that end with "shion", which are...

    Especially during math and physics classes. :bugeye: :surprised

    <gets into rocketship and zips way, never to return>
  12. Jan 22, 2005 #11
    wow, gokul. wow.

    To Astronuc, I hadn't tried it, until I saw your comment.
    It is true, dry tongue didn't taste anything. added spit and there was an explosion of flavor.
  13. Jan 22, 2005 #12
    If you have no hands, legs or thighs how do you do anything with your balls?
  14. Jan 22, 2005 #13
    I would LOVE to verify that but sadly it would be extremely difficult (they stopped printing them years ago)
  15. Jan 22, 2005 #14


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    One of them is cushion. Perhaps the other is pincushion? :biggrin: So, I take some liberties with the English language. :tongue:
  16. Jan 22, 2005 #15
    the second is Fashion
  17. Jan 22, 2005 #16


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    Oh, I'm not too surprised by this. It's hard to blink when your eyes are bugging out of your head at the sight of a woman who isn't running away. :rofl: (You asked for it! :devil:)
  18. Jan 22, 2005 #17
    It's illegal to eat ice cream on wall street in the after noon on a sunday in Ottawa.
  19. Jan 22, 2005 #18


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    Woo hoo! Teamwork solves a Gokul question! *High fives Smurf!*

    :redface: Oops, sorry there Smurf, didn't mean to smack you in the forehead. Let me get you some ice for that.
  20. Jan 22, 2005 #19


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    C'mon Smurf ! Every single Canadian keeps an old 1 and 2 dollar bill somewhere in their house because "they might be worth something someday." :rolleyes:
  21. Jan 22, 2005 #20


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    Sort of like the Americans with their state quarter collections? I have a US $2 bill around somewhere. It is worth something...a whole $2! :rofl:
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