I am participating in the A-to-Z Challenge again this year. My theme is My Favorite Books. Most of the books I will be posting about, I have read more than once. After all, they are my favorites.
B is for The Book of Lists by David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace, and Amy Wallace.
I am a trivia fanatic. So when the first Book of Lists came out in 1977, I immediately bought it and read it from cover to cover. Here are a few examples.
- If William Shakespeare was known by his mother’s maiden name, he would be William Arden.
- Lunnule is the name of the crescent-shaped white mark at the base of your fingernail.
- Sugar, a two year old cat, travelled 1500 miles to get back to her owner’s new home. She had been left behind with a neighbor when her owners moved. Sugar found them 14 months later.
And for those of you not into trivia, how about B is for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
This is the story of a young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. This story is narrated by Death. Phenomenal story. Read the book!
With Valentine’s Day coming up, let’s look at a bit of trivia about our favorite organ, the heart.
- Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, kept her dead husband’s heart (after his death of course) wrapped in silk.
- Intense laughter sends approximately 20% more blood flowing throughout your body.
- The stethoscope was invented by Dr. Rene Laennec. He didn’t think it was appropriate placing his ear on a large-breasted woman to listen to her heart.
- Scientific studies have shown a correlation between the length of a man’s ring finger (left hand) and his probability for a heart attack. The longer the ring finger, the less chance of a heart attack.
- In the 1880’s, Richard Cadbury (yup, that Cadbury) created the first box of chocolates for Valentines Day.
- The average lifetime of blood flow is similar to turning the faucet on all the way and letting it run for 45 years.
While fighting dehydration by guzzling water, I came upon some interesting facts about water.
- Although water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface, only 3% is fresh water. For a perspective, if all the earth’s water fit in a gallon jug, the drinkable fresh water would be about 1 tablespoon.
- Frozen water (ice) is about 9% lighter than water. That’s why ice floats.
- The human body is about 66% water. Human blood is about 83% water. The brain is about 75% water. Bones are about 25%.
- An elephant is about 70% water.
- On average, a single tree provides about 75 gallons of water per day in evaporation.
- Humans use about 50 gallons of water per day. Americans use more water per day than Europeans.
- In America, water used around the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry, drinking, toilets, yard watering) makes up only 1% of total water usage.
- It takes about 49 gallons of water to produce 1 glass of milk.
- A bit over 39,000 gallons of water are needed to manufacture a car, including its tires.
- Pollution of fresh drinking water is a problem for half of the earth’s population.
Now I am quite parched; gotta get a drink of H2O.
Besides being Trivia Tuesday, January 29 is also Thomas Paine Day. So let’s take a brief look at Mr. Paine.
(oil portrait of Thomas Paine by Auguste Millière)
- Born in England on January 29, 1737.
- Flunked out of school by age 12, so worked for his father as a corseter (one who makes corsets). Failed at this too and quit at age 19.
- Met Benjamin Franklin in 1774, who sponsored his move to Philadelphia (in the colonies) that same year.
- Wrote Common Sense in 1776 to advocate for American colonies independence from England.
- From 1776-1783, he wrote The American Crisis, which helped inspire the Continental Army.
- Having moved back to England, he wrote The Rights of Man in 1792. This work was considered as anti-monarchist. To avoid behind arrested, Paine fled to France.
- Paine was imprisoned in France in 1793 because he did not support the execution of King Louis XVI. While in prison, Paine wrote the first part of The Age of Reason.
- Thanks to the efforts of James Monroe (then the U.S. Minister to France), Paine was spared execution and released from prison.
- Paine remained in France until 1802 when Thomas Jefferson invited him to return to America.
- Due to his anti-religious views in The Age of Reason, Paine was ostracized. He died a poor and lonely man in 1809 in New York city.
Paine is often quoted, but I am guessing many people don’t realize they are speaking or paraphrasing his words (though Romney did in 2012). And here are a few of his famous quotes.
Government, even in its best state, is a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and keep order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them.
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right.
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything it’s value.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
It is error only, not the truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
These are the times that try men’s souls.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
The most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason.
It is the utmost danger to society to make it (religion) a party in political disputes.
Where is Thomas Paine when you need him?
It’s Trivia Tuesday and this time let’s look at a little state trivia. Washington state trivia, that is.
- Washington is the only state in the United States that is named after a US president. It was originally called Columbia, but was changed to Washington to prevent confusion with the District of Columbia. Hmmm, how did that work out; Washington state or Washington DC?
- The west side of the Olympic mountains is the wettest area in the continental US with about 130 inches of rain/ year.
- The Hoh Rain Forest is the only rain forest in the continental US.
- La Push is the western most town in the contiguous US. It is located west of Forks, of Twilight fame. And Forks is a bit west of the Hoh Rain Forest. See, it is all connected.
- Cape Alava is the northwestern-most point in the contiguous US.
- Seattle hosted the world’s fair in 1962. Spokane (in eastern Washington) hosted the first environmentally themed world’s fair in 1974, Expo ’74. At that time, Spokane was the smallest city to host a world’s fair. US President Richard M. Nixon opened the fair in May 1974, a mere 3 months before he resigned.
- The Soviet Union had a large presence at Expo ’74. The was the first time the Soviet Union participated in a world’s fair in the United States. And the last.
- The state that brought you Starbucks also brought you:
- The world’s first gas station in 1907.
- Fathers Day, founded in 1910.
- The first city (Seattle) to play Muzak in stores and office buildings, especially elevators.
- The world’s first fully enclosed shopping mall in 1950. Northgate mall.
- The first floating bridge in the world, the Mercer Island floating bridge.
- The first revolving restaurant, located in the Space Needle.
- Washington has the highest percentage of residents that are college graduates.
- Washington is home to the banana slug, the largest land mollusk (9 inches) in North America. As a kid, I would visit a friend in the Seattle area. Early in the morning we would grab a can of salt and go out to the hilly yard. Barefoot and stupid, we would sprinkle salt on the slugs and then slide down the hill on their slimy remains.
Since I can’t leave you with that image in your mind, how about the Washington state flag. The Washington state flag is the only flag of US states that is green and has a picture of a real person.
I love obsolete, useless, trivial facts. Thus I am going to create a Trivial Tuesday post to share with you.
- Paul Revere was born January 1, 1735.
- Johann Christian Bach died January 1, 1782.
- Great Britain and Ireland unite on January 1, 1701, thus creating the United Kingdom.
- The first United States income tax is declared on January 1, 1862.
- The first New Years Day Rose Bowl football game took place in 1902. University of Michigan beat Stanford, 49 – 0.
- In Sweden, January 1, 1982, ABBA held their last concert.
- Since the Pony Express used horses, not ponies, should it have been called the Horse Express?
- Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
- In 1956, the NBC peacock logo was used. It contained 11 feathers.
- The current NBC peacock had 6 feathers.
Check back next Tuesday for more trivia to fill your brain.
Happy New Year!!
Before I lost my mind, I was a warehouse of trivial knowledge. Usually winning the game “Trivia Pursuit” and also doing fairly well in Jeopardy. And it wasn’t just the fact that it was trivia for trivia’s sake; it was just so darn fascinating. I still find those little trivial facts to be highly intriguing, but now I have to write them down to remember them. Thus my little nuggets of trivia today. Maybe you will find some of these facts interesting too.
Clinking wine glasses
There are three thoughts regarding clinking wine glasses. My personal favorite is the first one.
- When drinking wine, you experience all the senses: Smell (sniffing the wine), visual (look at the color), touch (holding the glass), and taste (ahh, the actual drinking). By clinking the glasses, you add the 5th sense of hearing.
- There is another theory that revolves around the act of trusting your drinking partners not to poison you. Because the use of poison in drinks was quite popular way long ago, the host would slosh a little of his drink into someone else’s mug to see if it contained poison. For those that the host trusted, he would just clink the mugs together and not do a taste test.
- And then there is another theory that believes that alcohol contained evil spirits. And when alcohol was consumed, those evil spirits entered the body and caused the drinker to do wild things. The act of clinking glasses resembled the sound of church bells, thus warding away those nasty evil spirits in the alcohol.
Cats, giraffes, and camels are the only animals that walk by moving both left feet, and then both right feet. Other animals walk by alternating their steps.
Ancient Egyptians would shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning the death of their cat.
Cats purr at the rate of 26 cycles per second; the same rate as an idling diesel engine.
Firehouses have circular staircases due to smart horses. When fire engines were pulled by horses, the horses were stabled on the ground floor and the firefighters were on the 2nd floor. The horses apparently learned to walk up the straight staircase to the 2nd floor. Thus the use of circular staircases to keep the horses on their own floor.
The password for the World War II D-day invasion of Normandy was Mickey Mouse.
Now go dazzle your friends!