The Sunday Funnies & Factoids

hamsterJune 15/14, Keith Lennox, All-len-All –

Hello, everyone, and welcome back for my latest installment of The Sunday Funnies & Factoids.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there.  Hope you score big time gift-wise and it doesn’t involve ties, a new lawn mower, or those stupid fucking coffee cups that say ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ because we all know that you aren’t. hehehehehe  Tell them you prefer single malt scotch, golf balls, and a little peace and quiet would be to die for.

Anyhoo, off we go on the trip we call The Sunday Funnies & Factoids.

1) Senator Strom Thurmond is in the record books for giving the longest recorded speech in history, clocking in at 24 hours and 18 minutes. The speech was a filibuster in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act (which passed, despite his efforts). Strum sure was a charmer, wasn’t he?

2) More people watched Elvis’s Aloha from Hawaii than the landing on the Moon.  Wow, no wonder the word is going sideways.  Just as an aside, and I know I will piss people off saying this out loud, why was Elvis given the title The King of Rock ?  He didn’t play an instrument, couldn’t read music, and wrote no songs.  I think that crown should have been firmly placed on the head of Chuck Berry and for the life of me can’t figure out why it wasn’t….. unless of course it was because he was, well you know…. black.

3) Water itself does not conduct electricity, but the impurities found in water do.

4) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, once sworn political enemies (though after retirement they became quite friendly), both died on July 4, 1826 (America’s 50th anniversary).

5) With the passing this Friday as being the only Friday 13th this year, with a full moon to boot, here is perhaps why and how the ‘superstitious’ day came to be.

Praskavedekatriaphobia,” a common neurosis familiar to us all—the fear of Friday the 13th. But just where did this superstitious association come from, and how did it catch on?

friday_13The truth is that no one is absolutely sure where the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky originated. Donald Dossey, the founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina suspects the fear can be traced back to a Norse myth about twelve gods who had a dinner at Valhalla—the fabled hall where legendary Norse heroes feasted for eternity after they died—that was interrupted by a thirteenth guest, the evil and mischievous god Loki. According to legend, Loki tricked Höðr (the blind god of winter and son of Odin, the supreme god in Norse mythology) into shooting his brother Baldr (the benevolent god of summer who was also Odin’s son) with a magical spear tipped with mistletoe—the only substance that could defeat him. Thus the number thirteen was branded as unlucky because of the ominous period of mourning following the loss of such powerful gods by this unwanted thirteenth guest.

For whatever reason, among many cultures, the number twelve emerged throughout history as a “complete” number: There are twelve months in a year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve Gods of Olympus, twelve sons of Odin, twelve labors of Hercules, twelve Jyotirlingas or Hindu shrines where Shiva is worshipped, twelve successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, and twelve tribes of Israel. In Christianity, Jesus was betrayed by one of his twelve Apostles—Judas—who was the thirteenth guest to arrive for the Last Supper. Surpassing the number twelve ostensibly unbalances the ideal nature of things; because it is seen as irregular and disrespectful of a sense of perfection, the number thirteen bears the stigma of misfortune and bad luck we know today.


Friday joins in the mix mostly because all of the early accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion agree that it took place on Friday—the standard day for crucifixions in Rome. As Chaucer noted in The Canterbury Tales, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance.” Yet perpetuating Friday as an unlucky day in America came from the late-nineteenth century American tradition of holding all executions on Fridays; Friday the 13th became the unluckiest of days simply because it combined two distinct superstitions into one. According to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Superstitions, the first reference to Friday the 13th itself wasn’t until 1913. (So despite actually occurring on Friday, October 13, 1307, the popular notion that the Friday the 13th stigma comes from the date on which the famed order of the Knights Templar were wiped out by King Philip of France is just a coincidence.)

The repercussions of these phobias reverberated through American culture, particularly in the 20th century. Most skyscrapers and hotels lack a thirteenth floor, which specifically comes from the tendency in the early 1900s for buildings in New York City to omit the unlucky number (though both the Empire State Building and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel have 13th floors). Street addresses sometimes skip from twelve to fourteen, while airports may skip the thirteenth gate. Allegedly, the popular Friday the 13th films were so-named just to cash in on this menacing date recognition, not because the filmmakers actually believed the date to be unlucky.

So, is Friday the 13th actually unlucky? Despite centuries of superstitious behavior, it largely seems like psychological mumbo jumbo. (One 1993 study seemed to reveal that, statistically speaking, Friday the 13th is unlucky, but the study’s authors told LiveScience that though the data was accurate, “the paper was just a bit of fun and not to be taken seriously.” Other studies have shown no correlation between things like increased accidents or injuries and Friday the 13th.) And Friday the 13th isn’t a big deal in other cultures, which have their own unlucky days: Greeks and Spanish-speaking countries consider Tuesday the 13th to be the unluckiest day, while Italians steer clear of Friday the 17th. So today, try to rest a little easy—Friday the 13th may not be so unlucky after all.

Source: 13: The Story of the World’s Most Popular Superstition, by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer.

6) After Tiny Tim and Miss Vickie were wed on TV’s The Tonight Show, they had one child together, appropriately named Tulip.  “Yeah, thanks mom and dad.  Just love getting teased and mocked for my entire life….. well played.”

7) A husband and wife had four kids.  The odd part was it was the older three that had red hair, green eyes, and were slender while the fourth son had black hair, brown eyes, and was chunky.

On his deathbed the father gasped to his wife, “Honey, before I die be totally honest with me and tell me, is your youngest child mine.”  The wife swears that he is and the father passes away peacefully smiling.  The wife leaned over to her sister who was sitting beside her and whispers, “Just thank god he didn’t ask me about the eldest three.”

8) Boasting an impressive collection of over 300 Summer Olympic medals, Romania ranks 15th in the world for total medals earned at the Summer Games. However, its Winter Olympics performances are another story: Romania only has one Winter medal, a bronze, from 1968.

notebook-matte curie9) Marie Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive.

10) If the only thing you have to fear is fear itself, you could be suffering from phobophobia: the fear of phobias.

11) Due to the “naughty” dancing of the can-can girls and the scantily clad models on 1800s French postcards, the British equated anything risqué with France. In fact, that’s how the phrase “pardon my French” entered the vernacular.

12) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife died when a dropped match ignited her enormous hoop skirt.  Dammmmm, that’s nothing short of brutal.

13) A large percentage of the budget for Monty Python and the Holy Grail was donated by members of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

14) Father: Let me see your report card.
Son: I don’t have it.
Father: Why not?
Son: My friend just borrowed it. He wants to scare his parents.

That’s all  for this week, folks.  Enjoy what is left of your weekend and be extra nice to your dad today.  I had one of the best ever and miss him very much to this day.  Happy Father’s Day, Russ….. love you.




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