CHARLOTTE, N.C. Sometimes trivia can simply include the idle fun we have puzzling over oddball questions and/or encountering weird facts. Without using any particular theme today, we highlight some truly flaky questions, facts and factoids and raise our eyebrows at some of the weird information you can discover on the internet.
Animal Planet; or, weird facts in abundance
- Ants prefer not to walk through baby powder.
- Ants also stretch when they wake up in the morning.
- Armadillos can be housebroken.
- Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
- Elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump.
- A snail takes 33 hours to crawl 1 mile.
- A flock of larks is called “an exaltation of larks.”
- A group of owls is called “a parliament of owls.”
- Owls are the only birds that can see the color blue.
- In the Caribbean there are oysters that can climb trees.
Words matter. Oddball questions and answers, plus assorted weird facts
First, let’s see some oddball questions and answers. And weird facts (or factoids) that ensue.
- If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter “A”? Answer: One thousand.
- What do you get if you replace “W” with “T” in “What, Where and When”? Trick answer: You get the answer to each of them.
- Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C? Answer: “Riddle me this, Batman!”
- Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn’t we call it “double V”? Is there an answer in the house?
- “I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
- “Stewardesses” is the longest word that is typed on a QWERTY keyboard with only the left hand.
- TYPEWRITER, is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard.
Towards More Picturesque Speech: Color, grammar, etymology and lit crit. Any more oddball questions?
- No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver and purple.
- Upside-down, the word “swims” is still “swims.
- Shakespeare invented the word “assassination” and “bump.”
- Pinocchio is Italian for “pine head.”
- In England, in the 1880’s, “Pants” was considered a dirty word.
- Back in the day, quarrelsome clans of yesteryear that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would simply burn their houses down. That’s the secret origin of of the expression “To get fired.”
More weird facts: A pair of Paradoxes
- Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty
- If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
Very weird facts about Presidential pets and dynasties
- John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover both owned pet alligators.
- Calvin Coolidge owned two lions, a wallaby and a pygmy hippopotamus.
- Before Donald Trump, the last time the Republican Party won a presidential election without somebody named either Bush or Nixon on the ticket was 1928.
Entertain Us: A mass quantity of weird facts and factoids about movies, TV, Toons and sports
- 60 Minutes, still airing on CBS, has no theme song/music.
- Mel Blanc, the voice of that Oscar-winning wabbit Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots.
- The full name of the cartoon character known as Sylvester the Cat is Sylvester J. Pussycat.
- Debra Winger was the voice of E.T.
- In Disney’s Fantasia, the Sorcerer’s name is Yensid, which is Disney spelled backwards.
- It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs.
- The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life.
- In 1963, baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry, then throwing for the San Francisco Giants, remarked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.” On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry — still with the Giants — hit his first and only home run.
- When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at home, the stadium becomes the state’s third largest city.
- When George Lucas was mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying “R2D2“. George liked the way that sounded so much he integrated that into another project he was working on.
- Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark. (Yes, this belongs here. Among other things, Edison was an early filmmaker.)
Food for thought: A few truly weird facts
- At the first Thanksgiving dinner, lobster was one of the main entrees.
- Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
- They have square watermelons in Japan. They stack better. Practical people.
- Heinz Ketchup (var. “catsup”) leaving the bottle travels at 25 miles per year. But it’s still the “slowest ‘ketchup’ in the West.” (For proof, just check out this 1968 TV commercial.)
- Worcestershire Sauce is basically an Anchovy Ketchup.
The Book of Numbers
- If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
- Only a century ago, either a 20 dollar gold piece or a $20 bill would pay for new suit new shoes & night on the town. Today the gold piece will still do that!
- Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a “Friday the 13th.”
- Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes kill.
- American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
- Over 2500 left handed people a year are killed from using products made for right handed people.
- The largest hailstone ever recorded was 17.5 inches in diameter – bigger than a basketball.
- The parachute was invented 120 years before the airplane.
- Everyone owned a horse 100 years ago and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
Trivial questions can arise concerning the Truth (and Occasional Consequences) of Geography
- A truly weird fact: The geographical center of North America is Rugby, North Dakota. (Bonus points if you can find it on a map.)
- The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.
- Although identified with Scotland, bagpipes are actually very ancient instruments, originally introduced into the British Isles by the Romans.
- Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties register as blood donors.
- The sunny U.S. state of Florida is bigger than England.
That’s a wrap! Any queries or additional oddball questions from the audience?
And there you have it. As promised, a veritable plethora of genuinely oddball questions, weird facts and assorted worthless information. Memorize. Then deploy to break the ice at any party that gets too boring.
Headline image: The bustling City Hall of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
An appropriate public domain image for today’s Myth Trivia column, via the Wikipedia entry on T or C.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.