Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today's Trivia - Assorted

This week’s post is an assortment of useless but interesting information...

- John Montagu popularized the sandwich. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Because Montagu also happened to be the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order "the same as Sandwich!"

- Disney World is bigger than the world's 5 smallest countries.

- The nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill" is a commoner's take on the fall of King Louis XVI of France, in which he "lost his crown". The head of Jill, or Marie Antoinette "came tumbling after".

- The Dutch people are known to be the tallest people in Europe.

- The Greek word 'gymnasium' means to exercise in the nude.

- Henri Matisse's painting 'The Boat' was accidentally hung upside down at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1961. The mistake was only discovered 47 days later after 116,000 people had seen it.

- You will have to walk 80 kilometers for your leg muscles to get an equal amount of exercise that your eye muscles get each day.

- One liter of motor oil can contaminate 1 million liters of freshwater. The annual spillage of oil into North American lakes and rivers is 16 times the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

- The word hyperpolysyllabicomania means a fondness for big words. ( How ironic...)

- Before 1800 there were no differences in left and right shoes.

- Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

- Leaving the water running while brushing your teeth can waste four gallons of water in a minute.

- In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes...when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "good night, sleep tight" came from.

- The term "the whole 9 yards" came from W.W.II fighter pilots in the Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards”.

- The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle, GP.

- Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

- The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1.

- A survey of people's greatest fears had the following results: 1) Heights, 2) Snakes, 3) Spiders, 4) Public speaking. (Heights for me...)

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

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

- Sneakers were invented in 1917. They were called Keds.

- Porcupines float in water.

- Checkmate comes from the Persian phrase "shah mat" which means the king is dead.

- Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds while dogs have only ten.

- "Two plus eleven" and "one plus twelve" not only give the same result but use the same letters.

- There are only two families who produced a father and son who were US presidents: Bush and Adams.

- The longest word in the English language is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

- Before Late Night Television, Jay Leno appeared in an episode of Laverne and Shirley.

- In "American Graffiti", the license plate on Richard Dreyfusses' car is changed every time you see it.

- The national anthem of Greece consists of 158 stanzas.

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

- Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

- The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "Its A Wonderful Life"

- A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

- The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world. (The better to see you with...)

- In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak during a debate.

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

- Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister.

- The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. (Sometimes it takes me 60 seconds...)

- The electric door bell was invented by Joseph Henry in 1831.

- Alexander Graham Bell refused to have a phone in his study - the ringing drove him nuts.

- Time Magazine's "Man" of the Year in 1982: The Personal Computer.

- Elvis had a pet monkey named Scatter.

- The average adult has 5 million hair follicles.

- Only female ducks quack. The males coo, hoto, honk and grunt, but they don't quack.

- Pumice is the only rock that floats.

- 20% of all publications sold in Japan are comic books.

- The right rear tire on your car will generally wear out before the others do.

- There is 1 slot machine in Las Vegas for every 8 inhabitants.

- 80% of all life on Earth is found in the ocean.

- Steve Fletcher holds the record for the largest gum wrapper collection. His collection has 5,300 gum wrappers from all across the world.

- The word tulip comes from the Turkish word for turban.

- There are about 6,800 languages in the world.

- The fat that comes from sheep, which is called tallow, can also be used to produce soap and candles.

- In Britain, one out of every four potatoes is eaten in the form of french fries.

- In the movie Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock, chocolate syrup was used for blood in the shower scene.

- The movie "Chicken Run" made in 2,000 had the most plasticine used in an animated movie. They used 2,380 kg of plasticine for the film.

- Ironically, watermelons, which are 92% water, originated from the Kalahari Desert in Africa.

- The titan arum flower is the largest flower in the world and gives off a horrible odor that smells like rotting flesh when it blooms

- Every day, the average person swallows about a quart of snot. (Too much information...)

- On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.

- Pearls melt in vinegar.

- The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.

- The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

- Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.

- The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

- If you lace your shoes from the inside to the outside the fit will be snugger around your big toe.

- The expression "What in tarnation" comes from the original meaning: "What in eternal damnation"

- The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called anoctothorpe.

- The number of minutes of telephone calling in an average business day is 9,500,000,000.


  1. In all the years of saying the Jack and Jill rhyme I didn't know the origin of it. Guess I'm never too old to learn something new.

  2. I had no idea pens were so deadly...

  3. I LOVE that Barbie's middle name is Millicent, who would have ever guessed?

  4. It is kind of disturbing to learn the history behind nursery rhymes and our common sayings... I love that a dentist invented the electric chair - I wonder if he tried it out on himself first lol!

  5. @Crafty Gardener: The nice thing about putting all these posts together is that I learn a lot of new things along the way.


    @WebDebris: I didn't either. Definitely unusual.


    @LaelShine: Me, too! It would have been boring if her middle name was something common.


    @Jane: It sure is disturbing. I'm not sure I want to know the origin of others.