For a Change of Pace: Really Cool Trivia

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The Pink Flamingo, from time to time, makes no pretense of being unoriginal.  I lifted these wonderful pieces of trivia from Mental Floss, Amazing Fact Generator.

  • Horses can’t vomit.
  • Black-eyed peas aren’t peas, but beans. And coffee beans aren’t beans, but seeds.
  • The white part of an egg is called the albumen.
  • The poinsettia is named after former congressman and ambassador Joel Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States in the 1800s.
  • Sammy Sosa is the only player in MLB history to hit 60 or more HR’s in three different seasons, and yet in none of those seasons did he lead the majors in HR’s.
  • Before Beverly Hills was home to the rich and famous, the area was better known for its lima beans.
  • The Edison Portland Cement Company was one of inventor Thomas Edison’s countless business ventures. Despite supplying the cement for the original Yankee Stadium, the company tanked because it insisted on producing concrete everything, including cabinets, pianos, and even entire houses.
  • The original theme song for TV’s Bewitched was a variation of the commercial jingle, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” Not surprising, since Chevy was the sitcom’s original sponsor.
  • The first cow to ride in an airplane was Elm Farm Ollie in 1930. Milk she gave in-flight was sealed in containers and parachuted down over St. Louis.
  • Frank Sinatra was the producer’s first choice to play the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry.
  • According to doctors, humans suffer an average of 14 episodes of flatulence per day.
  • Several states took extreme measures to turn consumers away from margarine—they required the product be dyed pink.
  • Reno is further west than Los Angeles.
  • ‘Lincoln Logs’, the popular toy, was invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • As a rule, European carousels rotate clockwise, while American merry-go-rounds spin counterclockwise.
  • The first cigarettes were rolled by Egyptian soldiers in the 1800s. It wasn’t as classy an operation as you might think, though– the men were just trying to salvage some discarded cigars.
  • Worcestershire sauce was invented accidentally by Brits trying to recreate the flavors in Indian food.
  • BIC estimates that it has sold more than 50 disposable ink pens every second of every day since 1950. In fact, in September 2005, the company proudly announced that it had sold its 100 billionth pen.
  • LSD existed in the Middle Ages as “ergot,” a fungus that grew on rye bread. People in Europe referred to its effects “St. Anthony’s Fire.”
  • About one in every 4 million lobsters is born with a rare genetic defect that turns it blue. One in every 30 million is yellow.
  • President Gerald Ford was offered contracts with the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions.
  • August is the month when most babies are born.
  • There’s a rumor that Twinkies have a shelf life of 20-plus years. The truth of the matter, however, is that it’s closer to 25 days. The plastic-wrapped desserts contain the same apocalypse-vulnerable preservatives you’d find in most commercially baked breads.
  • I Write the Songs was NOT written by Barry Manilow. It was written by Bruce Johnston, who was the sixth member of the Beach Boys.
  • The made-for-TV film The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island was originally written to star the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. When they were unavailable, the script was redone to incorporate the basketball theme.
  • The title of the Paul Simon song “Mother and Child Reunion,” came from a chicken-and-egg dish that appeared on a Chinese restaurant menu in NYC.
  • Hawaiian Punch was originally developed in 1934 as a tropical flavored ice cream topping.
  • Had he not changed his surname in order to marry the future Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and his wife would be known today as Phil and Betty Glucksberg.
  • We have Thomas Jefferson to thank for mac’ n’ cheese: he brought home a macaroni-making machine in 1789 after serving as ambassador to France.
  • Prohibition made it a crime to produce, sell, or transport alcoholic beverages. But anyone who already had bottles of old liquor stocked away was free to consume it at his or her leisure, within the confines of their home.
  • Only 17 existing paintings are attributed to famed artist Leonardo da Vinci.
  • William Wrigley originally started in the baking powder business. With his powder, he gave a free pack of his gum. He later abandoned the baking powder business when he learned that people were buying it just to get the gum.
  • Even though he hated their taste, Mel Blanc insisted on chewing real carrots to provide the chomping sounds when he voiced the cartoon character Bugs Bunny.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was once shot at during a campaign rally in Wisconsin. The bullet penetrated his glasses case and a manuscript, just missing his right lung. Being an expert hunter he decided to stay and give his speech since he wasn’t coughing up blood. His speech lasted nearly an hour.
  • In a fit of uncharacteristic decisiveness, President James Buchanan tried to buy Cuba. However, his plans ground to a halt when Congress refused to give him the dough to purchase the island, believing the president would take the money and skip the country.
  • Who was Carolyn Keene? Well she was the creation of the Stratmeyer “Syndicate”, but the author of most of the Nancy Drew books was Mildred Wirt Benson who was under contract to Stratmeyer. She received between $125 and $250 per book.
  • For Halloween in 1988, then-Presidential candidate (and VP) George H.W. Bush dressed as…George H.W. Bush! He wore a Bush mask and everything.
  • Historians’ best guess as to why humans draw the heart shape to represent love is the shape of a plant called silphium. A relative of the fennel seed, the stuff was once consumed as an early form of birth control.
  • While the James Bond novels weren’t an immediate hit when they were published, they did get some recognition from at least one American: John F. Kennedy gave From Russia With Love a nod in one of his speeches.
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