Every so often a book will come through in the delivery or a new book will come in that needs processing and, even though we’re not supposed to, I judge it by its cover. One such book was 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop. From its cover, I judged that it would be an interesting book and I was right!
As the authors point out in the introduction, the most fascinating aspect of the book isn’t the facts themselves, but how the facts had an inherent desire to bond with other facts. For instance, the facts on page 177 are all about fingers and then the facts on page 178 are about thumbs. It’s done in such a way that you aren’t even aware of the connections, but the connections make sense.
While I was quite impressed with myself for knowing some of the facts (The Beatles classic “Yesterday” was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs”; George W. Bush was a college cheerleader; If a cockroach touches a person, it immediately runs away and washes itself) others did, in fact, make my jaw drop.
Here is a minuscule sampling of these facts:
Simons, Georgia, has a window shop called “A Pane in the Glass.”
There is a cult in Malaysia that worships a giant teapot.
In 1879, the Belgian city of Liège commissioned 37 cats to deliver mail to nearby villages. The project was a complete failure.
Baikal seals live in Lake Baikal, 2,500 miles from the sea. Nobody knows how they got there.
Having a younger brother or sister can increase your blood pressure by more than 5%.
Early Arabic texts refer to cannabis as “the bush of understanding” and “the shrub of emotion.”
“Alcohol” is from the Arabic al-kuhl, meaning “the essence of things.”
Covering Nebraska with wind turbines would meet half the world’s energy needs.
Spotted animals can have striped tales, but stripy animals can’t have spotty tails.
In 2010, a British man spent 121 days in a room with 40 snakes, only to be told that Guinness no longer maintains the world record he was trying to break.
In 19th-century versions of Cinderella, her sisters called her “Cinder-slut.”
Winnie-the-Pooh’s real name is Edward Bear.
“President Clinton of the USA” is an anagram of “to copulate, he finds interns.”
There are two people in the USA called Dick Pecker.
The most popular name in China is Wang: there are 93 million Wangs in China.
The oldest bridge in Paris is the Pont Neuf, or “New Bridge.”
95% of the spiders in your house have never been outside.
No one has ever seen a giraffe swimming.
There are whales alive today that were born before Moby-Dick was written in 1851.
Motdièse (or “sharp-sign word”) was coined by the French in 2013 to avoid using the English word “hashtag.
Wichita, Kansas, has a body piercing shop called “Holier than Thou.”
New York gets 15 times as much snow as the South Pole.
Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service on the day he was shot.
The Swiss are the only Europeans who eat dog meat.
We live in a time when people are constantly duped by articles from The Onion, Empire News and The Daily Currant, so I was skeptical of some of these facts. The book addresses this by directing readers to this site where you can research the validity of any of the facts.
I highly recommend it. I actually might have to buy a copy for myself.
Okay, one last fact for Pittsburghers:
The first-ever player drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers was named William Shakespeare.