Random #247 – 50 Entertaining Random Facts

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1Forcing

There is a method of growing rhubarb known as "forcing" where the plant grows in complete darkness and is tended to in candlelight. It grows so quickly during this process that you can hear it grow.


2. Jean Meslier was a catholic priest and exemplary clergyman of 40 years, known for his charity work. After his death, a 633-page “testament” was found in his house. In it, he claims he only became a priest to please his parents, denied the existence of God, and called religion “a castle in the air.”


3. During the filming of Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Robin Williams improvised so much that there were PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 edits of the film.


4. Ed Sullivan took heat from show sponsors Ford Lincoln dealers, for kissing Pearl Bailey on the cheek and shaking Nat King Cole's hand during his TV show. He also had a Ford executive thrown out of the theater after he suggested Sullivan should stop booking so many black acts.


5. Despite his success as a musician, Harry Chapin left little money when he died. His widow was reportedly quoted saying only with slight exaggeration that “Harry was supporting 17 relatives, 14 associations, 7 foundations & 82 charities. He always said, ‘Money is for people.’”


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6Raccoons

Raccoons are not native to Germany. They were brought there in the 1920s for their pelts. During World War 2, an Allied bomb hit a raccoon farm wall, allowing a dozen or so to escape. Today, German cities are being overrun by millions of raccoons.


7. Ric O'Barry transitioned from training dolphins for the TV show 'Flipper' to instead advocating against industries that keep dolphins in captivity, after one of the Flipper dolphins died in his arms.


8. In 1998, Australian Astronomers detected fast radio burst signals and named them Perytons. It was soon discovered that it was escaping radiation from the microwave in the lunchroom, which was being stopped by using the door release without pushing the stop button first.


9. Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, which drew more visitors to see the empty space than the actual painting.


10. After the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico in 1945, a car full of ranchers happened to witness it, with one asking what happened, as it was so bright. She was blind.


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11Dean Winters

Actor Dean Winters suffered from a bacterial infection in 2009, died in the ambulance, was revived and in the ICU for 3 weeks. After recovering, he developed Gangrene and had multiple amputations and skin grafts. He is now better known for playing “Mayhem” in the Allstate Insurance commercials.


12. A masked Manchester music producer known as “Outlaw” has been driving around at 5 mph blasting McFerrin’s “Don't Worry” and handing out free items such as toilet paper, sanitizer, and weed. He’s also known for handing out cash to needy at Xmas and for giving bags of bud to passersby in Piccadilly Gardens.


13. Point-blank range does not mean extremely close range. It means any distance over which a certain firearm can hit a target without the need to compensate for bullet drop.


14. John Quincy Adams was an avid swimmer and frequently swam in the Potomac River. While president, he almost drowned when one of his swimming expeditions went awry. He continued to swim afterward, anyway, against his physician's advice.


15. Bill Berry, the drummer for R.E.M., suffered an aneurysm on stage in 1995, then decided to quit the band along with the whole music industry and took up farming.


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16For You

For Prince’s debut album, ‘For You,’ which released in 1978, Prince wrote, arranged, composed, produced and performed the album all by himself.


17. Unless you have particularly rare facial features, you may have literally thousands of doppelgängers (nearly identical lookalikes) around the world.


18. Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin once on his tour to USA got drunk and wandered into the streets of Washington DC in his underwear, trying to get a pizza.


19. The reason so many African flags have green, yellow and red is because of the Ethiopian flag. It was one of the few independent African nations during the colonial period and therefore the new countries of Africa looked to them for inspiration.


20. Great white sharks rarely survive in captivity. Experts suspect being surrounded by glass might either confuse or overload the shark's electroreception system, which is used to sense the electrical signals given off by fish in the open ocean, not necessarily inside a glass box.


21Barbara and Kenneth

The founder of Barbie named the dolls after her kids, Barbara and Kenneth. Therefore, the real Barbie and Ken are actually brother and sister. 


22. The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles was so profitable that profits continue to help fund youth sports as recently as in the 2010s.


23. In 1915, Kulbir Thapa was the first Nepalese Gurkha to receive the Victoria Cross. Thapa carried two wounded Gurkhas through No-Man’s-Land despite being wounded himself. When he went back a third time, German soldiers stopped firing and began clapping, allowing him to walk back to his own line.


24. Talking to yourself in the third person - a technique known as illeism - can improve your decision making and emotional stability.


25. Former Chinese President Yang Shangkun told his doctor before his death that the crackdown on June 4 had been the Communist Party's "most serious mistake in its history, a mistake he couldn't correct but which would eventually be corrected." He had initially opposed the use of force on students.

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