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FASCINATING FACTS: 50 RANDOM FACTS FOR YOU RANDOS

1.  Weird Al Yankovic

When Weird Al Yankovic asked Kurt Cobain to parody ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Kurt asked him if it would be about food, and Al said it would be about how no one could understand his lyrics. Kurt found that extremely funny, and said absolutely.


2. Charles Dickens’ novels were hugely popular even among the illiterate poor. They would pool their money to hire a reader, and then gather together to listen to the stories.


3. Serial killer Ed Kemper befriended the very police officers investigating his murders, and would socialize with them at a bar called the “Jury Room”. They called him “Big Ed” and never suspected him. When he initially confessed, they thought he was pulling a prank.


4. George Lucas approved of Mel Brooks’ Star Wars parody Spaceballs and signed off on a fair use agreement. The only condition was that no Spaceballs merchandise would be made to compete with Star Wars merchandise. This is why there’s never been any Spaceballs figures, cereal, or flamethrower.


5. At the age of 11, Hugh Jackman decided against dance lessons because his older brother told him “dancing is for sissies.” Years later his brother apologized and encouraged him to follow his passion. Hugh signed up for lessons the following day and went on to win a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

 


 

6.  Red Baron

When Russian fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen a.k.a. the “Red Baron” was shot down and killed in combat, his enemies buried him with full military honors and a wreath that said: “To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe.”


7. In the film Osmosis Jones, Bill Murray’s character mentions a “National Chicken Wing Festival” in Buffalo, New York. While the festival did not exist during the filming of the movie, this mention caused organizers to create an annual festival in Buffalo which has been active now for 16 years.


8. The Soviet Union had an internationally televised song contest. As few viewers had phones, they would turn their lights on if they liked a song and off if they didn’t. The power spikes were recorded by the state energy company and the reports sent to the station to pick the winner.


9. Along with blacksmiths, there are “whitesmiths” who work with tin or other light metals and “brownsmiths” who work with brass or copper.


10. In 2003, a computer worm called ‘Welchia’ infected many computers to forcibly patch vulnerabilities and remove malware. It was regarded as a ‘helpful worm.’

 

 


11.  Elephants

Elephants are so complex they are able to mourn, cry, have mental breakdowns, play the drums, paint, mimic humans’ speech and show basic arithmetic skills.


12. The “For Dummies” book series started with “DOS for Dummies” in 1991. The creator overheard someone in a bookshop ask if there was “a book about DOS for dummies like me”. Since then the series has grown to about 2,500 titles with more than 200 million books in print.


13. The restaurant chain Red Lobster once lost over $3 million during an “endless crab” promotion because an executive underestimated how much people could eat.


14. So many Irish women were enslaved by Vikings that by the time they colonized Iceland, the settler’s genetics were roughly 50% Irish.


15. An art historian watching the movie Stuart Little in 2009 recognized a prop in the background as a lost painting (Sleeping Lady with Black Vase) by the Hungarian artist Róbert Berény. The film’s set designer had found the work at a California antique store for $500. It eventually sold at an auction for €229,500.

 


16.  Path

In Finland, city planners are known to visit parks immediately after the first snowfall, when the existing walking paths are not visible. People naturally choose desire paths, clearly marked by their footprints, which can be then used to guide the routing of new purpose-built paved paths.


17. Michel Vaujour was a French convict who was jailed in 1986 for attempted murder and armed robbery. He forced his way onto the prison’s roof one day by wielding nectarines that were painted to look like grenades and his wife picked him up in a helicopter and whisked him away.


18. A Ugandan man named Jordan Kinyera, saw his father lose their land in a legal fight at the age of 6. He spent 18 years in school and became a lawyer and won back the land 23 years later.


19. The Japanese command didn’t realize Hiroshima had been totally destroyed until almost a whole day after it happened. Vague reports of some sort of large explosion had begun to filter in, but the Japanese high command knew that no large-scale air raid had taken place over the city.


20. A recent study out of the University of Kansas found that it takes about 50 hours of socializing to go from acquaintance to casual friend, an additional 40 hours to become a “real” friend, and a total of 200 hours to become a close friend.


21.  Selfies

Obsessive taking of selfies and posting them to social media has been found to be linked to common symptoms of mental disorders that include narcissism, low self-esteem, loneliness, self-centeredness, and attention-seeking behaviors.


22. “Drooping ears” is a trait for domesticated animals that doesn’t occur in the wild (except elephants). Almost all species gain a trait when domesticated. One experiment successfully domesticated foxes over 40 generations, and by then their ears were drooping.


23. Hunter S. Thompson killed himself while being on the phone with his wife. She mistook the cocking of the gun for the sound of his typewriter keys and hung up as he fired.


24. The Cassandra metaphor occurs when valid warnings are dismissed. The Greek God Apollo gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy, but she refused his love so he placed a curse that nobody would believe her. She was left with the knowledge of future events she could not alter or convince others of.


25. The Man in the Iron Mask was an unidentified prisoner held for 34 years until his death in 1703. He was forced to wear a mask to ensure no one knew his true identity. His cell had multiple doors so no one could listen. If he spoke of anything other than his immediate needs he would be killed.

 


26.  Michael Caine


At the age of 19, Michael Caine had a near death experience in the Korean War that “formed his character” for the rest of his life. He learned to live every moment as if it were his last and to always look on the bright side of life.


27. McDonald’s sued Irish fast food chain Supermac for trademark infringement but failed and ended up losing their Big Mac trademark as well because they were unable to prove that they had used the Big Mac trademark in the EU.


28. Ghana and Ivory Coast produce at least 70% of the world’s cocoa beans and the world is running out of cocoa farmers as the next generation refuses to take up this job because of the difficulty of the process and wages as low as 84 cents a day.


29. A Swedish man named Kaj Linna was wrongly imprisoned for murder for 14 years until a true-crime podcast brought out clues that led to his exoneration. Awarded a record sum in damages of 18 million SEK, he now lives in the Canary Islands with his wife who was his Spanish-language teacher in prison.


30. In 2012, a computer error caused all the fireworks in the San Diego’s Fourth of July Celebration to go off at once, instead of over 18 minutes.

 


31.  National School Lunch Act


The National School Lunch Act of 1946 was passed, in part, because of the number of draftee’s that were rejected during World War 2 due to being malnourished.


32. In 2016, researchers from the Nautilus exploration vessel were cruising along the deep seafloor off California’s coast when they came upon the bright purple creature with giant, googly eyes (Stubby Squid). The scientists couldn’t contain their laughter.


33. A man named Gary Plauche murdered his son’s molester and kidnapper on live TV. He received no jail time.


34. Ross Perot had a Sesame Street character named “H. Ross Parrot.” When asked to comment Perot said, “1) the nose is too small. 2) it’s not a real Texas accent. 3) my family loves it, my grandchildren love it.” and “I’m sure that parrot thinks he’s much better looking than I am.”


35. Korean parents have begun hiring thugs who protect their children from bullies. These thugs pose as “fake uncles” and intimidate bullies who have been harassing the bullied kid. In some cases, the thugs will visit the bullies’ parents at their workplace and publicly shame them.


36.  Coconuts


Coconuts transported themselves around the world by floating through the sea. This is one reason (along with human interference) why coconuts are so widespread worldwide. So, yes, coconuts do migrate.


37. Khemjira Klongsanun, a runner in a Vietnam Marathon, found an abandoned puppy on the side of the road during the race and ended up carrying it for the remaining 19 miles until the finish line. She adopted it afterward.


38. Rose plants are placed at the end of a row of grape vines on vineyards to act as early warning signs of mold or mildew.


39. “Coffin Clubs” are groups of old people in New Zealand who are banding together to make their own funeral caskets. They say that it helps combat loneliness and is a cost-effective way of having a coffin. They also make baby coffins and donate them to local hospitals.


40. Cats can recognize their own name. But unlike dogs, they are just not as keen to show their owners what they have learned.

 

 


41.  Steven Spielberg


Steven Spielberg made up that he snuck into Universal Studios, found an empty office and began his internship by faking it. In reality, his father had to pull some strings to get him an internship through a family friend.


42. American actor Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) spent the first 9 years of his life in a hospital and when he was finally well enough to leave, was sent to a Japanese internment camp in Arizona.


43. Between 1309 and 1814 the River Thames would freeze so solid and deep that people held fairs on them, often having large Bonfires and the frozen river could even hold elephants on it.


44. Franklin Dixon, the author of over 200 Hardy Boys books which have sold over 70 million copies worldwide is not a real person but a collective pseudonym for dozens of authors who have written for the series. Canadian author Leslie McFarlane wrote 19 of the first 25 books.


45. The ‘thousand-yard stare’ is a phrase often used to describe the blank, unfocused gaze of soldiers who have become emotionally detached from the horrors around them. It is also sometimes used more generally to describe the look of dissociation among victims of other types of trauma.


46.  Epitaph of Seikilos


The oldest known piece of music is a drinking song called the Epitaph of Seikilos. Its lyrics include the line “Life exists only for a short while, and time demands its toll.”


47. Crows and ravens can mimic human languages.


48. Charles Joughin, the chief baker of the Titanic survived paddling for three hours in the frigid Atlantic waters after the sinking of the ship. This was due to a combination of two factors; he’d drunk a decent amount of alcohol, and he was a very good swimmer. He was the last man to leave the ship.


49. Marvel Comics writer Mark Gruenwald, upon his death in 1996, by request had his ashes mixed in with the printing ink for the collected edition of his series Squadron Supreme. Most first printings of the book likely contain his remains.


50. When your eyes look right, your eardrums bulge to the left, and vice versa. However, scientists have discovered that the eardrums move 10 milliseconds before the eyes do, and they don’t know why.

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