Myth Trivia: Potpourri of oddities to drive Mr. Ripley crazy

In today's column, we come up with our own "March Madness" as we charge ahead with some really "nutty" generic trivia.

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A plate of escargot. So how many "noses" do these tasty morsels possess in life? (Image via Wikipedia entry on "Snails," GNU license 1.2)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 26, 2017 – The time: Middle of the week in mid-March. So we charge ahead with some really “nutty” generic trivia. See how many of these you actually know:

  • Why was “Bubble Wrap” invented? Today, we use this stuff for packing fragile items for shipping. But it was created back in 1957 by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, who were trying to create three-dimensional plastic wallpaper. Their failure brought about success and fortune when they founded Sealed Air Corp. in 1960 to manufacture and market their product.
  • Who was the first author to become a billionaire just for writing books? This one is a bit easier, but be forewarned: There are some tougher ones up ahead. If you answered J.K. Rowling, you’d be correct.
  • Want to take a guess at the National Animal of Scotland? If you read this column each Wednesday you probably know the answer because we’ve used it before. It is a mythical choice, belonging to the Unicorn.
  • “Cherophobia” is a fear of what? Believe it or not, cherophobia is an aversion to happiness. One reason given for this odd affliction is that people with this fear believe that if they experience joy, some negative event will occur that will taint their exuberance. That, in turn, will result in punishment for their sense of delight and satisfaction.

Now, onto the less pleasant and downright gross portion of today’s trivial pursuits.

  • Did you know that nearly 8,000 Americans suffer from injuries caused by musical instruments each year? Wind instruments are prone to cause ear, nose, throat, mouth, lips, neck, shoulder and arm problems.
  • Some of the most common injuries make percussionists victims who complain of back, shoulder, neck, hand, wrist, finger and arm tension. There is also considerable tendonitis and carpel tunnel syndrome associated with percussionists.
  • We’ve all heard of Colgate toothpaste right? Then could someone explain why the makers of the product would use the name of a term that translates to “Go hang yourself” in Spanish?
  • Ahh, but just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, John Harvey Kellogg, a physician from Michigan, came along early in the past century and invented “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.” Why corn flakes? It seems that Kellogg was extremely uncomfortable about sex, believing it was detrimental to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. In fact Kellogg never consummated his marriage and adopted all of his children. As such, Kellogg felt that sex with your wife, while bad, was not nearly as disturbing as the act of masturbation. Thus Kellogg invented Corn Flakes as a means of curbing self-abuse. There’s likely no telling how “Cap’n Crunch” evolved.
  • Believe it or not, the average person will, over the course of a year, intake 19 pubic hairs from those lovely little take-out windows at fast-food restaurants.
  • Next time you travel to France and begin to chow down on a big plate of escargot, just remember that snails (and slugs) have four noses. Or, more specifically, four sensory “tentacles.”
  • And speaking of noses, rounding out our list of oddball facts for the day, Kleenex–which product has become as generic in American English as Coke, Xerox, Zippers, Jacuzzis, Crock-Pots et. al.–was (were?) developed during the First World War as a kind of crepe paper that served as filter material for gas masks into the early 1920s.

Ah, but it’s all just part of the fascinating world of trivia.

By the way, how many did you get right?


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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 (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

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