15 Scrolls of Trivia We Uncovered This Week
The next time you’re invited to trivia night, you’ll find that your performance is not at all enhanced by reading the following facts. No one will quiz you on any of these. Instead, they’ll quiz you on stuff that you can conceivably know, and where all the fun comes from recalling the info, not from learning it.
For example, tomorrow evening, we hear that one of the questions will be: “Which George C. Scott film won Best Picture at the Oscars for 1970?” The answer is Patton, and you’ll feel good if you get points for that, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about that bit of knowledge. However, if you want interesting knowledge, which no one will ever ask of you, read on…
The Assigned Name
George Washington Carver never called himself “George Washington Carver.” He was born George Carver and adopted the W. initial to distinguish himself from someone else with the same name. A reporter suggested the W. might stand for “Washington,” but he himself never used that name.
A Canadian criminal in the 1980s used a magnet to steal coins out of the boxes where rail passengers deposited their fares. That sounds like small-time theft, but by the end of his career, he’d stolen $2.4 million.
And I Can Get Up
One form of therapy for aging patients involves getting behind them and knocking them over. Trip old people in a controlled setting, and you train them to better avoid the serious falls that they’ll otherwise inevitably encounter.
Russian soldiers did not wear socks until 2013. Until then, for centuries, they wrapped their feet in squares of cloth, which were easier to mend and cheaper than socks.
The Coast-to-Coast Killer
California man Tommy Lynn Sells is believed to have killed 22 people, though he was only convicted of one murder before the state put him to death. One of these murders was of a 10-year-old boy, and before prosecutors attached Sells to the crime, they wrongly convicted the boy’s mother as the killer.
Ew, British Food
During World War II, the U.K. studied what sort of diet they could assign their residents if all international trade had to stop. People could live entirely on local food, they concluded. However, this diet would make them fart vastly more.
The Right to Lie
French suspects are not under oath during trials. That means they are broadly allowed to lie in their defense without fear of incurring perjury charges.
The 1858 Brawl
In 1858, members of Congress started punching each other when debating whether to admit Kansas as a state. Tensions dissolved when Rep. William Barksdale, after having his wig knocked off, put it on again backwards, and everyone started laughing.
San Diego paid Charles Hatfield $10,000 to make it rain there in 1919. The nicest thing we can say about him is he was a fraud and did nothing. Still, following his arrival, 44 inches of rain fell, and the ensuing flood caused millions in damages.
A deputy fire chief in Arizona had to resign after he was found pants-down in a barn next to a lamb. “You caught me, Alan,” he said, once found. “I tried to fuck your sheep.”
The Unlucky Man
One British sailor survived 70 days at sea after a U-boat sank his boat. He was rescued and picked up by another ship. A U-boat targeted this one too, and this time, everyone died.
The Sound of Silence
A single released by John Cage, called 4’33”, consists of 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence. It’s quite famous. When a different artist released a single called “A One Minute Silence,” Cage sued him for plagiarism.
A Healthy Bowel
Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker to curb sexual urges. His movement was called Grahamism. He died after receiving an opium enema.
One school of thought says we can reduce crime by eliminating hundred-dollar bills. They’re mostly used for illegal transactions. Sure, when you use them, you use them legitimately, but overall, most legal transactions that big aren’t done in cash.
Own Your Name
Alice Cooper, the guy, wasn’t known as Alice Cooper when the band was still together. Then, when the band broke up, he wanted to go on touring under their name but risked legal consequences. So, he legally changed his name to “Alice Cooper,” and no one could stop him.