Random #259 – Interesting Random Facts

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1Mark Lee and Jan Davis

Mark Lee and Jan Davis

Astronauts Mark Lee and Jan Davis married in secret 9 months before their joint flight to the ISS and didn't tell NASA until it was too late to train replacements. They are the only married couple to have ever flown in space together.

2. Clint Eastwood was mayor of a tiny city, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in the 1980s. He ran because he wanted to lift a ban on public ice cream sales. He flew home from movie sets for weekly council meetings, wrote a column in the town paper, and a local hotel changed their slogan to “make my stay.”

3. Out of all the species that ever lived throughout all of Earth’s history, only a fraction of it have fossilized. Even fewer are discovered by humans. Most of life’s history will be forever unknown.

4. We know what Napoleon Bonaparte smelled like. He ordered multiple bottles of cologne monthly and spread it on himself with a brush. The cologne is called 4711 and the same recipe is still used today as when Napoleon used it. 

5. In The Land Before Time, the dinosaur Rooter consoles Littlefoot after his mother dies. This scene was added at the advice of psychologists to soften the blow, showing that death is something that Littlefoot, and the audience, have to deal with.

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6Denzel Metthys

Denzel Metthys

There is a farmer named Denzel Metthys in South Africa who has bred ducks for many years. He uses the ducks instead of pesticides on his farm. Every morning he assembles over 1,000 ducks into a line to go and pluck the pests out of his vineyard.

7. Elephants are among the very few land mammals apart from humans to mourn the dead among them and visit their graves.

8. Sibylla, the Queen of Jerusalem agreed to annul her marriage to Guy de Lusignan to appease the High Court, on the condition that she has free rein to choose her next husband after her coronation. Upon being crowned queen, Sibylla immediately announced that she chose Guy as her husband.

9. After defeating his nemesis Mael Brigte, Sigurd the Mighty tied the Mael’s head to his saddle as a trophy. The severed head bounced around and its teeth scratched Sigurd’s leg. His leg became infected and as a result, Sigurd died. He has since been known as the Earl who was defeated by a decapitated head.

10. Severus Alexander, a generally meek emperor who ascended the throne at the age of 14, used to entertain himself by watching puppies play with little piglets.

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11Apple pie

Apple pie

Apple pie is not American. The pie was invented in Medieval England, while the modern recipe for apple pie with a lattice crust was created and perfected by the Dutch.

12. A man known only as "Django" drove his own boat out and freed a whale caught in a shark net off an Australian beach (without cutting the net). Before taking action, Django had waited hours for help from officials who had been called. When officials arrived, they were angry and he was fined for acting alone.

13. American actor Johnny Depp spent $3 million blasting Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon that was placed atop a 153 feet tower shaped like a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button.

14. Musician Gram Parsons wanted his body cremated and scattered at Joshua Tree, but his family arranged for him to be buried in Louisiana for financial reasons. His friends, drunk and assisted by an unwitting police officer, stole his body from the airport and burned the casket themselves.

15. Pablo Escobar called off a hit on a man who had fatally shot a member of the Medellin Cartel when he found out that the shooter, Gianni Russo, had starred in The Godfather. 

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16Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons

American rocket scientist Jack Parsons was a follower of occultist Aleister Crowley. He was defrauded of his life savings by his friend L. Ron Hubbard, worked for Howard Hughes, homebrewed his own absinthe, and died in a lab explosion which a colleague claims was intended to create a homunculus (humanoid creature).

17. Sharks can expel the entire contents of their stomach by literally forcing the stomach inside-out all the way past its teeth. This is called 'stomach eversion' and it's a way to get rid of indigestible objects but occasionally the stomach is unable to retract, which can be fatal.

18. Australia actually sells sand to Saudi Arabia. The reason behind this is that the type of sand used to make concrete is different than the sand usually found in the deserts of Saudi Arabia (and other countries in the region), so for Dubai to build the Burj Kalifa they had to import the sand to make the concrete to build it.

19. Ronald Reagan would write personal checks to individuals with financial struggles. He was known to drop $4,000 or $5,000 checks into the mail for certain people. He was also known to call upon the Air Force to aid in the transport of children who were experiencing medical emergencies.

20. Sarah Hyland, of Modern Family fame, was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia when she was young, received two kidney transplants from her father and her brother and has undergone 16 surgeries, even during the shooting of Modern Family

21David Gilmour CBE

David Gilmour CBE

Pink Floyd musician David Gilmour CBE auctioned his guitars for charity. His Black Strat sold for $3,975,000 making it the most expensive guitar sold at auction. Proceeds of the auction, which raised $21,490,750, were donated to ClientEarth environmental charity.

22. Aluminum was once so valuable that Napoleon III served dinner to his most honored guests on aluminum plates, while the less distinguished was served on gold and silver plates.

23. The song "Sultans of Swing" was inspired by Mark Knopfler witnessing a shoddy pub band playing to a small, drunken crowd. At the end of their set, the singer finished with “Goodnight and thank you. We are the Sultans Of Swing.”

24. The Japanese word for “brown” is 茶色 (cha-iro). The first character means “tea”, and the second one means “color”. Thus, literally translated, it means “tea color.”

25. The term “Green Thumb” comes from the fact that algae growing on the outside of earthenware pots will stain a person's thumb (and fingers) if he or she handles enough pots. Hence, a person who is always working with flowerpots has a green thumb.

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