The Sunday Funnies & Factoids – The ‘Deflating Your Balls Really Hurts’ Edition
by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, 01/25/15 –
Happy Sunday, one and all. I hope this weeks SF&Fs finds you happy and healthy. I will not bore you with my ramblings about the nasty weather we are being subjected to and let you get on with filling your craniums with a few tasty tidbits that you didn’t know before you stopped by. Enjoy…..
2) In 2013, a burglar in Oklahoma used the toilet and forgot to flush. He was caught after being identified by DNA.
3) The top ten deadliest snakes can be found in Australia.
4) Gunpowder was discovered by Taoist alchemists who were searching for an elixir of immortality…… well, he sure blew the shit out of that discovery…. ( I truly am sorry for that ;-) )
5) In 1932, 200 people confessed responsibility for the kidnap and murder of the aviator Charles Lindbergh’s baby.
7) Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of the 20th century, doesn’t carry a mobile phone or have a computer on his desk, and drives his own car.
8) 80% of the labor force in Saudi Arabia is foreign.
9) A single Google search requires more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the Moon.
Of course you know why we do it. In a classic example of metonymy, the media and culture at large began referring to the 1972 political scandal that eventually forced Richard Nixon to resign as “Watergate,” the name of the hotel and office complex where burglars tied to the administration were caught trying to break in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
But how is it that, over 40 years later, the NFL can find itself mired in a “deflategate”? When did that syllable become such an accepted suffix?
Pretty quickly, it seems. News of the original Watergate burglary and cover-up broke in June, 1972. During the following year, newspapers might have described sketchy behavior as “Watergatery” or an unscrupulous politician as a “Watergater,” evidence that the scandal had instantly permeated the language. Almost a year after the actual Watergate, the first example of the -gate suffix appeared in an August 1973 issue of National Lampoon magazine as part of a satirical story about a fake Russian scandal, which the magazine dubbed “Volgagate.” That story made a direct comparison to Nixon and the actual Watergate, so the usage is more about drawing a parallel within the piece itself.
William Safire, a former speechwriter for Nixon, is often credited with forcing -gate into the popular lexicon during his career as a New York Times columnist. In a 1996 issue of New York magazine, Noam Cohen takes aim at Safire, compiling an “abridged dictionary” of -gatescoined by the columnist and accusing him of an attempt at “rehabilitating Nixon by relentlessly tarring his successors with the same rhetorical brush—diminished guilt by association.”
(Safire later admitted that this accusation might not be totally off-base in Eric Alterman’s Sound and the Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy. Alterman writes: “Safire today admits that, psychologically, he may have been seeking to minimize the importance of the crimes committed by his former boss with this silliness.”)
Of course by then, Safire, or anyone else, didn’t need an excuse to use to the suffix. In 1993 the scandal-based definition was added to the Merriam Webster dictionary.
11) There’s a nuclear bomb lost somewhere off the coast of Georgia.
12) Australia has 10 times more camels than koalas.
13) The world’s oldest existing lighthouse is the Tower of Hercules, in Spain, erected in the first century and still operational.
15) Bolivia has 37 official languages.
16) 2 out of 3 inherited family fortunes are lost by the new generation, a study in the U.S. found…. calling Donald Trump….. clean up in aisle bankruptcy……
17) The Aral Sea was the 4th largest lake in the world, but it was drained for irrigation and now it’s only 10% of its original size.
18) “Gone with the Wind” is the highest grossing movie of all time, when adjusted for inflation.
19) DNA discoverer, James Watson, believes human stupidity is a disease that can be cured…… hate to break it to you, James…. some of the folks I know are beyond salvation….
20) 78% of NFL players go bankrupt or face serious financial stress within two years after ending their playing careers.
Thanks for dropping in. I hope you enjoyed the detour off the beaten path to All-len-All and your weekly dose of useless trivia.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I will see you back here in February.