Myth Trivia: Making ‘sense’ of corduroy and Herbert Hoover

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, April 27, 2016 – In the mid-1970s, the Watergate Scandal brought down President Richard M. Nixon. Ever since, each new political scandal that arises becomes a “gate” of some sort. But did you know there was a “gate” before Nixon? It was “Hoover-Gate” and today’s trivia tells the tale. But first…

1 – The trouble with English is it makes too much “sense”: Ever wonder why English is such an odd language to master? Here’s a great example. Can you name a five letter word whose pronunciation is the same if you remove the first letter to make it a four letter word; or, if you take away the second letter (putting the first letter back), will still be pronounced the same?

Of course the definitions of our word will be different, but the pronunciation remains the same. If you chose the word “scent” you are a master wordsmith. You see “scent” is pronounced the same in its original form or whether you spell it “sent” or “cent.”

But, it doesn’t stop there. When you add an “s” to “scent” you get “scents.” Of course there is also “sense” and “cents,” which only add to the confusion.

Anyway, you get the idea. No matter how you look at it, sometimes English really doesn’t make any “sense.”

2 – The “fabric” of a new secret society: You probably have not heard about this, but there is a new secret society currently making its mark around the world. Look out ISIS! This 4,000 member organization is growing and it could challenge the world of fashion in ways never before witnessed.

It all began in 2011, when founder Miles Rohan declared November 11 as National Corduroy Day, emphasizing the point by forming the Corduroy Appreciation Club. Why November 11? It’s obvious when you look at the date 11/11/2011.

On that auspicious day, Rohan even set out to find someone who would be turning age 11 to, in essence, become the Dalai Lama of corduroy.

The club slogan “Corduroy Now, Corduroy Forever” has become a clarion call in opposition to all other fabrics, especially velvet, which Rohan claims is the “fabric of evil…Louche, lude [sic], lascivious velvet is our enemy, and there is no one to fight against it but us.”

Opines Rohan, “In Spain, a bullfighter chooses a handful of cloth over the love of his wife. In Russia, an oligarch ascends to a velvet throne, stepping on the dreams of the serfs below him. In England, the embrace of a velveteen rabbit delivers Scarlet Fever to a defenseless child.

“What is velvet, after all, but the promise of a life without consequence? A world of soft-pile dreams with their loops clipped off. A frenzied rubbing, a mad dash, a sensual, erotic extravaganza that never ends? But beware: velvet’s soft handshake hides a deadly blade.”

Adhering to the club slogan “To cultivate good fellowship by the advancement of Corduroy awareness,” Rohan publicly proclaims that his followers merely want to celebrate “a fabric that will always be in 3D.”

Perhaps Mel Torme, often known as the “Velvet Fog,” would have been better off becoming the “Corduroy Crooner.”

3 – Before “Deflate-gate” there was “Hoover-gate”: The first recorded intercollegiate football contest in America’s Far West took place in March of 1892 between Stanford and California. Until that time, California had been playing high school and club football teams. But when James Whittemore transferred from St. Louis University, he beseeched his friends to rally around the idea of challenging Stanford to a game. Whittemore’s colleagues did rally and, in the process, Whittemore suddenly found himself in the position of “Coach.”

With the big game scheduled, the students selected an undergraduate named Herbert Hoover to make the all arrangements for the game, including ordering new uniforms and ticket sales.

Hoover optimistically printed 5,000 tickets at a price of $2, which quickly sold out. By game time there were several thousand additional fans crowding into any nook and cranny they could locate for the pending confrontation.

With Stanford heavily favored at 10-1, the teams took the field amid throngs of enthusiastic fans from both sides. Then suddenly, a “Casey-At-The-Bat” hush fell over the field. The stadium was completely silent.

Amid all the preparation, Hoover had forgotten one thing… the football!

Desperately Hoover sent someone into town to locate a ball. The search was unsuccessful, so the runner grabbed a punching bag from a local gym and inserted the bladder into the ball. Though hardly a regulation ball, and after a delay of more than an hour, the contest finally kicked off.

The time from kick-off until the final whistle took less than two hours. In the end, Stanford won 14-10.

Since that day, Stanford still leads the series 61-46-11, and no one else has ever forgotten to bring a football.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

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