The Sunday Funnies & Factoids – The ‘Jack Frost Can Kiss My Ass’ Edition
by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, 11/02/14 –
Happy Sunday, folks. Thanks for stopping in for the most recent edition of my Sunday Funnies & Factoids….. very much appreciated.
Hope your clocks got turned back last evening and you are now officially ready for the onslaught of the weather turn……. ugggghhhh. Well, now that I have sufficiently depressed the shit out of you I shall distract you for a few minutes with some entirely useless, yet fun, trivia…… on with the show……
1) In early 1900s America, “jay” was a slang term used to describe a naïve or foolish person. Thus, when such a pedestrian decided to ignore traffic signals and street signs, he or she was referred to as a “jaywalker.”
2) In 1983, a tiny fleck of paint off an earlier spacecraft hit the windshield of the orbiting space shuttle Challenger at 20,000 mph, causing a crater to form in its windshield.
3) If the oceans were to gradually rise, Florida (350 feet above sea level at its highest point) would become the first U.S. state to be completely submerged.
5) In the classic movie-musical The Wizard of Oz, the many-hued Horse of a Different Color that leads Dorothy and gang through the Emerald City could not actually be painted. Instead, animal rights activists advocated that the white horse be sponged with different flavors (and colors) of gelatin and then physically restrained from licking it off.
6) Why Were Chopsticks Invented?
It’s hard to believe for us Westerners who work up a sweat at the local P.F. Chang’s while trying to use chopsticks, but the spindly utensils were actually invented as a result of fuel conservation and Eastern philosophy.
Around 5000 years ago, the ancestors of chopsticks were probably simple sticks used to retrieve food from the fire. Fast forward to the Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1046-256 BCE) and large areas of forest were being cleared, so fuel, such as firewood, was in short supply. The local cuisine evolved in reaction to the wood shortage; baking and boiling would take too long, so food was cut into small pieces and quickly stir-fried.
Most dishes of that era involved some type of sauce, so using one’s fingers was impractical, not to mention pretty disgusting. Chopsticks were the perfect solution – one could grab bits of meat, vegetables and rice with a pincer-type action, and dip it daintily in the sauce. Used properly, the morsels of food were grasped by the mouth without having actual contact with the chopsticks, making them sanitary enough for all the Emily Posts in the audience. Another excellent piece of good timing for chopsticks related to the teachings of Confucius. Confucius felt it inappropriate to have a knife on the table, and the quick cooking method of stir fry require the components to be cut up before they reach the pan, knife at table not needed.
Oh, for the nitpickers in the balcony who ask “if wood was so scarce, why did they waste it making chopsticks?”, we hasten to add that at that time, chopsticks were traditionally made of bamboo, ivory, bronze, or bone.
7) The Kentucky Derby is also known as the Run for the Roses. But that isn’t the only race with a flowery nickname: the Belmont Stakes also goes by the Run for the Carnations, and the Preakness Stakes doubles as the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
8) Henri Breault, a pediatrician from Windsor, Ontario, invented the child-resistant medicine cap in 1967…… yeah, and medicine bottles remain full and unopened to this day because of this prick…..
9) Perhaps one of the lowest moments in sports history was perpetrated by the members of the 2000 Spanish Paralympic basketball team. After the team snagged a gold medal, it was revealed that 10 of the 12 players had never been tested for disabilities and were, in fact, not handicapped.
10) 15 Words That Are Way More Interesting Than They Seem
Let’s face it, some words are a lot more interesting than others. But then again, some words are secretly interesting—they might seem straightforward on the surface, but hidden behind them is some remarkable quirk or bizarre piece of trivia that sets them apart. Check out fifteen examples of words that are a lot more interesting than they seem.
At seven letters long, billowy is the longest non-scientific word in the English language to have its letters in alphabetical order. Aegilops, the name of both a type of ophthalmic ulcer and a genus of grass, is one letter longer but much more obscure. Other self-alphabetizing words include accept, almost, chimps, effort, glossy, and knotty. The longest word with its letters in reverse alphabetical order is spoonfeed.
As a verb, cabbage can be used to mean “to swell” or “to contuse,” or—in 17th century slang at least—”to embezzle” or “to pilfer supplies.” Either meaning gives the past tense form cabbaged, which alongside debagged and baggaged is one of the longest words in the dictionary that can be played on a musical instrument, using the seven musical notes from A to G. Other “musical” words include defaced, gaffe, feedbag, beefed, decade, acceded, andgagged.
CHECKBOOK, provided it is written in upper case letters, is the longest word in the English language with a line of horizontal symmetry. CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, EXCEEDED and ICEBOX are among the others, while HOITY-TOITY, provided it is written in a column, would be the longest word with a line of vertical symmetry.
In the standard English counting system (so no googols, googolplexes or myriads included), every single number higher than 88 has an N in its name. So put another way, eighty-eight is the highest number spelled without a letter N. Incidentally, you’d have to count all the way to a billion before you’d need to use a letter B; and no matter how high you counted you’d never need a J, a K, or a Z.
Speaking of notable numbers, forty is the only number in the English language to have its letters in alphabetical order. The only number with its letters in reverse alphabetical order?One.
And one final number fact—four has 4 letters, making it the only self-enumerating number in English. Bonus fact: there are no self-enumerating numbers in French.
Like teammate, froufrou, intestines, couscous, horseshoer, and signings, every letter of the word happenchance is used twice, with none left over—so there are precisely two Hs, two As, two Ps, two Es, two Ns and two Cs. This makes it the longest non-scientific dictionary word comprised entirely of repeated letters in English, although the longest overall is probably esophagographers.
Meaning obstinacy or stubbornness, intransigence is the longest English word that becomes a palindrome when spelled in Morse Code: ··–·–·–··– –······– –··–·–·–·· Other Morse palindromes include sopranos, hairballs, bottommost and protectorate, but at 13 letters, intransigence is the longest overall.
Seventy-five percent of the word lull is the same letter. No word in the English language contains a greater proportion of repeated letters, although a handful of others—like loll, faff and sass—equal it.
If all of the words in a standard dictionary were spelled backwards and then re-alphabetized, the last word in the dictionary would become muzz, an old 18th century word for a state of confusion or disorder.
Meaning “multiplications by four,” the word quadruplications contains, among others, the eight letters N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, and U inside it. No English word is spelled used a longer string of consecutive letters.
Rotate the word SWIMS, in all capital letters, 180 degrees, and it will still more or less read SWIMS, making it the longest rotationally symmetrical word in the English language. The worddollop runs one letter longer, but its Ls drop below the line when turned upside down.
Appropriately enough, the 10-letter word typewriter is one of the longest words that can be spelled using just the top row of letters on a qwerty keyboard; some of the others include peppertree, perpetuity, proprietor, repertoire and typewrote. If hyphens are allowed, however, the longest qwerty word is probably teeter-totter.
All 15 letters of the word uncopyrightable are different, making it one of the two longest English words with no repeated letters; the other is dermatoglyphics, the scientific study of fingerprints. There are actually around 35,000 words in total that share this linguistic quirk in common, including troublemaking, ambidextrously, thunderclap, unproblematic,bankruptcies, questionably and unpredictably.
Divide the alphabet into two 13-letter halves, from A-M and from N-Z. Then number all of the letters in each half from 1-13, starting at opposite ends—so A and Z are both 1, B and Y are 2, C and X are 3, and so on. This would make W 4, and D 4. I and R would both be 9. And A and Z would both be 1. What does all that mean? Well, it makes wizard one of the longest symmetrically distributed words in the English language, as its letters would form the numerical pattern 4/9/1/1/9/4. Hovels (8/12/5/5/12/8) and evolve (5/5/12/12/5/5) are two more six-letter examples.
11) The average piano has about 230 strings. Each string averages about 165 pounds of tension, with the combined pull of all strings equaling over eighteen tons.
12) King County, Washington, managed to keep its name while changing its namesake. Originally named for William King, it was “renamed” in 1986 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That’s a wrap for this week. I hoped you learned something new today that you can carry with you ’til your dying days and say, “Now where in the hell did I hear about that?”
See you back here next week and don’t forget to extend a hand to someone this week and pay it forward.