When Congressman Charlie Wilson was 13, his neighbor, Charles Hazard poisoned his dog by mixing glass into its food. Years later, Wilson took his revenge when Hazard was running for office. Wilson drove 96 people to the polls, telling them how Hazard had killed his dog. Hazard lost by 16 votes.
2. Helium (He) is the only element on the periodic table that was not discovered on Earth. It was found when analyzing the sun’s spectrum, hence its name which comes from the Greek god of the sun Helios.
3. In 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C. recorded their entire 19-hour broadcast day for historic purposes. It contains the only known recordings of a number of programs from the Golden Age of Radio. It is now in the National Recording Registry and is available for free streaming online.
4. In the original cut of ‘The Santa Clause,’ Tim Allen’s character looks at a phone number and says “1-800-SPANK-ME. I know that number.” This scene was cut from all home media releases after a kid in Washington called the number, which led to an active sex hotline and racked up a $400 phone bill.
5. When Sean Connery departed the role of James Bond, Dick Van Dyke was asked to consider taking over. When Van Dyke reminded Bond producer Albert Broccoli of his famously bad English accent from ‘Mary Poppins,’ Broccoli replied: “Oh, that's right—forget it!"
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In 1989, a St. Louis convenience store clerk named Patricia Stallings was convicted of the murder of her infant son with antifreeze and was sentenced to life in prison. She had another baby in prison that went to foster care. The baby had identical symptoms of poisoning however it was determined that both children actually had a genetic disorder. She was later exonerated in 1991.
7. Popular American football quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife rent out a hotel every year to let parents of children with disabilities drop off their kids for a much needed paid date night.
8. When Stephen Colbert was 10 years old, his father, 2 brothers, and 69 others were killed when their plane crashed 5 miles from the runway amid dense fog. The crew failed to pay attention to the plane’s altitude because they were busy trying to spot a nearby amusement park through the fog.
9. A scientific study found that starting high school one hour later than usual allowed students to sleep more than half an hour more, and was associated with reduced sleepiness and increased academic performance.
10. In Japan, a home loses value from Day 1, losing half its value in 10 years and becoming almost entirely worthless in 25. When a property is sold, the existing house is almost always razed and rebuilt. Even the most important shrines in Japan face regular rebuilding.
In 2001, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee named Monica O’Leary survived 9/11 because she had been laid off less than 24 hours before the attacks. Afterward, she learned she had never technically been fired because the HR employees that would have processed her layoff all died on 9/11.
12. Wild Bill Hickok usually sat with his back to a wall so he could see the entrance of the building he was in. On his last day, when he went to play poker, the only seat available was one facing away from the door. He tried changing seats twice, but couldn’t. He was shot in the back of the head.
13. During a debate in 1843, Kentucky abolitionist politician Cassius Marcellus Clay survived an assassination attempt. Despite being shot in the chest, Clay drew his Bowie knife, tackled his would-be assassin, cut out his eyes, and threw him over an embankment.
14. After a 1979 court case ruled the city could not be held responsible for people tripping and falling on cracked sidewalks unless the city had been previously notified of the hazard, the Trial Lawyers formed a committee to map every crack, pothole, and other hazards in the city and report them.
15. A meteorite originating from Mars’s moon Phobos fell on a Russian military base in Yemen in 1980. It contains the mineral Florenskyite, which is not found anywhere else on Earth.
All raindrops have a speck of dirt inside them. Raindrops can only form when they have something to condense on to, thus the need for a particle of dirt.
17. Gene Roddenberry never gave Captain Kirk a birthplace more specific than the state of Iowa. In 1985, when trying to find a theme for its annual festival, the town of Riverside voted to proclaim itself the future birthplace of the Starfleet officer. Roddenberry gave the town his blessing.
18. Victor Klemperer, a Jewish concentration camp inmate and post-WWII professor of German literature, wrote a book that analyzed how Nazis introduced a nearly Orwellian kind of German language. Examples are, “crisis” for defeat, “connection” (Anschluss) for annexation, and “enhanced interrogation” for torture.
19. Thurl Ravenscroft, the man who voiced Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flakes commercials (“They’re g-r-r-r-eat!”), was the uncredited singer of the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
20. The Japanese work philosophy of “kaizen” translates to an approach where people constantly seek to find ways to improve methods instead of just doing it the same way.
21Star Trek Continues
A group of fans made an award-winning web series completing the 5-year mission of the Enterprise in the original Star Trek series and named it “Star Trek Continues.” It is so good that Gene Roddenberry’s son considers it to be canon.
22. Stephen King based his first novel, “Carrie”, on two girls from his school. One was bullied for wearing used clothes, while the other was raised in a highly religious family. The first girl committed suicide by hanging herself at the age of 14, while the other died of an epileptic seizure.
23. There’s a famous scene in the 1931 film “The Public Enemy” where James Cagney smashes a grapefruit in Mae Clarke’s face. Clark’s ex-husband loved that scene so much he would repeatedly buy tickets and watch it over and over again, getting shushed when his laughter got too loud.
24. When considering what to name Idaho, a man named George M. Willing suggested Idaho claiming it was an indigenous word meaning “Gem of the Mountains.” The name stuck. Afterward, it came out that it wasn't an indigenous word and George Willing had made it up.
25. The US National Guard will airdrop hay bales to stranded livestock that the farmers can’t get to.