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Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous’

Let's eat

Quit

Baby

Clown

 

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The Questions…

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper gave rise to two well-known superstitions. One is never seating 13 people at the dinner table. What is the other?

2. Bank of America was founded in 1904. Under what name was it established?

3. What British-born movie producer/director/actor/puppeteer is the voice of Miss Piggy and other Muppet characters, plus the voice of Cookie Monster and other Sesame Street characters, plus the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars films?

4. In 2001, pro football inducted a non-player, George Toma, into the Hall of Fame. Who is Toma?

5. What and where is Null Island?

The Answers…

1. In the painting, Judas is knocking over a container of salt with his arm, which led to the superstition that spilling salt is a bad omen.

2. BofA began as the Bank of Italy in San Francisco’s Little Italy neighborhood. The founder was the son of Italian immigrants who said other banks were freezing out Italians. In 1922, it was renamed the Bank of America and Italy. The Italy part was dropped in 1930.

3. Frank Oz, real name Frank Oznowicz. His parents were Dutch puppeteers who fought the Nazis during WWII before fleeing to England. They came to America when Frank was five.

4. George Toma was the longtime head groundskeeper of the NFL as well as numerous MLB stadiums. He prepared the field for every Super Bowl from the first one in 1967 until he retired in 1999. Now age 90, he is still active as a consultant.

5. Null Island is the fanciful name of the spot on Earth where the Equator (latitude 0°) intersects the Prime Meridian (longitude 0°) off the east coast of Africa. Nothing is there except a NOAA weather buoy.

Last Supper

Null Island

 

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Useless Facts

More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

Rhode Island, the smallest of the states, has the longest official name: “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

King Francis I of France (reigned 1515-1547), aka “Francis of the Large Nose,” was a major patron of the arts. He attracted many Italian artists to France, including Leonardo da Vinci. Francis acquired the Mona Lisa from Leonardo and hung it in his bathroom.

British filmmaker Duncan Jones (full name Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones), noted for making the sci-fi movie Moon and the fantasy film Warcraft, is the son of the late David Bowie (real name David Robert Jones).

Adermatoglyphia is a condition in which a person is born without fingerprints; the pads are flat, lacking the usual ridges and whorls. The rare condition is caused by a gene mutation and has occurred in only four known families around the world.

adermatoglyphia

Niagara Falls was formed about 10,000 years ago, and in that time, it has eroded seven miles back upstream. At that rate, the falls will disappear into Lake Erie in 22,000 years.

In 2008, the mayor of the Kurdish city of Batman, Turkey, threatened to sue Warner Bros. because it used the city’s name without permission in the film The Dark Knight. The mayor wanted a percentage of the film’s profits, almost $1 billion worldwide. The mayor never filed the suit.

The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 celebrated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. Among the new products introduced at the fair: Juicy Fruit chewing gum, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Vienna Sausage, Cream of Wheat, Quaker Oats, Shredded Wheat, and Aunt Jemima pancake mix.

The Nakisumo festival in Japan is a 400-year-old ceremony in which sumo wrestlers compete to make babies cry. Scaring babies is considered a positive thing, based on the Japanese proverb “crying babies grow fastest.”

Nakisumo

If a person at the seashore looks out to sea, and eye level is six feet above the sand, the horizon will be three miles away.

New York City’s “sidewalk sheds” are temporary structures that protect pedestrians from falling debris and construction accidents. They date back to 1979, when a college coed was killed by falling masonry. On any given day, about 190 miles of sidewalk sheds are in place around NYC.

The stock symbol of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. is LVB, in honor of Ludwig van Beethoven.

The Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant with a specialized two-part leaf structure that snaps shut when triggered by a passing insect or spider. The trap includes gaps around the edges so prey too small to be worth digesting can escape. The plant is found only in the coastal wetlands of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Venus Flytrap

 

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Neck

Prius

Dine out

Metaphors

 

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The Questions…

1. In most of the Western world, black cats are considered evil omens or symbols of bad luck. In what non-Western country are black cats a sign of good luck and prosperity?

2. Who invented the odometer?

3. Residents of the English cities of London and Liverpool are called Londoners and Liverpudlians. What are natives of Manchester and Birmingham called?

4. The acronym KIPPERS is used on Wall Street to define adult children living with their parents. What does KIPPERS stand for?

5. Who was the first person to appear as Ronald McDonald in a TV commercial?

The Answers…

1. Japan. In Japanese culture, black cats represent good fortune and prosperity in business, a talisman against danger and bad luck, and positive mojo for your love life.

2. Benjamin Franklin. In 1753, he measured the distance from Boston to New York by counting the rotations of a wheel on his carriage. He marked each mile with a wooden stake, then had the stakes replaced with engraved mile-marker stones.

3. Mancunians and Brummies. Mamucium (aka Mancunium) was an old Roman fort that grew to become Manchester. Brummagem was the original name of Birmingham.

4. Kids in Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings.

5. The first Ronald was Willard Scott, later the resident weatherman on the Today Show. In 1963, Scott was playing Bozo the Clown for a TV station in Washington, D.C. McDonald’s hired him, and he played the Ronald character until 1965.

Black cat

Ronald-Willard

 

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A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed, I well know. It is a sign that he tried to surpass himself.

Georges Clemenceau

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Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless. Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

— Samuel Johnson

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

— Seneca the Younger

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Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clemenceau

Clemenceau

Emerson RW

Emerson

 

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Beebleberries

I’m a big fan of trivia, miscellanea, and minutiae. I enjoy coming across facts that pique my interest and make me think, wow, I didn’t know that, or wow, I forgot about that.

This predilection for random interesting stuff goes way back. A case in point:

During the 1970s, I lived in Fort Lauderdale, and for most of those years, I worked at the Chamber of Commerce in Hollywood, the city next door.

The staff numbered about half a dozen, both sexes, ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-30s. It was a good bunch, except for the boss, who was a petty tyrant and a self-serving jerk.

Being the office wordsmith and a trivia nut, I began the practice of issuing a weekly quiz of trivia questions for my office mates. I would distribute a list of five questions one day and the answers the next. The quizzes were quite a hit.

I drew the questions from the popular culture of the time. Specifically, the trivia reflected the experiences of people my age, who were born in the 1940s and grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

Being compulsive when it comes to documenting things, and being loath to throw anything away, I kept many of those quizzes. Today, they stand out as dated curiosities, but interesting just the same.

Here is a sampling.

———

Questions:

1 – How would Elmer Fudd say “A rabbi from Lubbock”?
2 – What rivals both claim to possess the world’s largest ball of string?
3 – “Don Diego” is the real identity of whom?
4 – Who is Ming the Merciless?
5 – Describe Beany, Cecil, and Dishonest John.

Answers:

1 – Elmer pronounces his Rs and Ls as Ws, so he would say, “A wabbi from Wubbock.”
2 – Scrooge McDuck and his archenemy Flintheart Glomgold.
3 – Zorro.
4 – Flash Gordon’s nemesis.
5 – A little boy wearing a propeller beanie, a green dragon, and a mustachioed villain in black.

beany and cecil

Questions:

6 – In the stories told by Little Lulu, what did The Little Girl gather in the forest?
7 – Who were Corporal Barbella and Private Doberman?
8 – Who was the strong man on “The Big Top”?
9 – On the radio version of “Gunsmoke,” how did Marshall Dillon say the job affected him?
10 – What trio performed often on Ernie Kovaks’ TV show? What poet did Ernie portray?

Answers:

6 – Beebleberries, which are a cross between bananas and Spam.
7 – Soldiers who worked for Sgt. Bilko at the Fort Baxter motor pool.
8 – Dan Lurie, aka “Circus Dan the Muscle Man.”
9 – He said it makes a man watchful, and a little lonely.
10 – The Nairobi Trio and Percy Dovetonsils.

nairobi trio

percy d

Questions:

11 – Who were Tantor and N’kima?
12 – Who was Little Iodine’s father, and who did he work for?
13 – To become as small as her dog Sniffles, Mary Jane called upon “the magic words of ___.”
14 – What was the name of Sky King’s airplane?
15 – How did Commando Cody get around?

Answers:

11 – Tarzan’s favorite elephant and monkey.
12 – Her father was Henry Tremblechin, and he worked for Mr. Bigdome.
13 – “Poof Poof Piffles.”
14 – The Songbird.
15 – Via his rocket-powered flying suit.

commando cody

Questions:

16 – What was Superman’s name on the planet Krypton?
17 – Who were Knobby Walsh and Ann Howe?
18 – Who were Bullet and Buttermilk?
19 – Who was Wild Bill Hickok’s sidekick on TV?
20 – Who used the exclamation “Kowabunga!” on the Howdy Doody Show?

Answers:

16 – Kal-El, son of Jor-El.
17 – The boxing manager and the girlfriend of Joe Palooka.
18 – Roy Rogers’ dog and Dale Evans’ horse.
19 – Jingles P. Jones, played by Andy Devine.
20 – Chief Thunderthud.

chief thunderthud

———

Kowabunga, dudes.

 

 

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