Random #287 – 50 Lesser Known Random Facts

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1Joseph Palmer

A man named Joseph Palmer was attacked for having a beard in 1830, then imprisoned for defending himself. He died in 1873, by which time beards were fashionable. His tombstone reads, "Persecuted for wearing the beard."


2. A Guatemalan boy named Ramiro Cristales saw soldiers come into his village and murder his parents along with the rest of the village. He was adopted and raised in an abusive household by one of the men who massacred the villagers, and later he gave testimony that sent the killer to prison with a 6,000-year sentence.


3. Bootlegger Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton killed himself rather than report to federal prison after being convicted of moonshining offenses. He prepared his grave footstone years in advance and had it by his front porch and kept his casket in his living room. His epitaph read, “Popcorn Said F*ck You.”


4. Not long after Julius Caesar was assassinated, a comet shone for seven successive days. This signified Julius Caesar's ascension to Godhood, and propaganda for Caesar's nephew. The comet was described as: "To make that soul a star that burns forever, Above the Forum and the gates of Rome."


5. The Inughuit of Northwest Greenland are world’s northernmost people. When contact was made in 1818 they had been isolated for several hundred years and were completely unaware of the existence of other humans.


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6Larry Fine

The Three Stooges performed at the very first Super Bowl Halftime Show. During their performance, Larry Fine spotted a football player hitting on his wife. He flipped him the bird, and for this, he got in trouble with CBS and had to pay a fine of $42.50.


7. Macy's Department Store declined to be featured in the movie "Elf" because they didn't like the idea that there was a fake Santa working there and felt it would blow the illusion for kids.


8. During the 1954 Kengir Gulag Uprising inmates assumed control over the camp. Due to the large body of educated inmates, the 40 days of freedom saw the creation of plays, an ex-noble organizing a café, priests organizing marriages, engineers creating improvised radios and a hydroelectric power station.


9. For his role in the Oklahoma City Bombing (1995), Terry Nichols was sentenced to 161 life sentences plus 9300 years, without parole. His sentence is declared as the longest officially confirmed sentence ever handed down in the world.


10. When actor Nick Frost was young his parents’ business tanked. They had to move into a neighbors’ home and his mother suffered a stroke from stress. Nick dropped out of school and worked to support his family. He was just working as a waiter when Simon Pegg cast him in the Spaced TV series.


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11Ball's Pyramid

In the sea between Australia and New Zealand, there's an island taller than it is wide. Ball's Pyramid only measures 300 meters across, yet peaks at 562 meters in elevation.


12. The reason snow is able to absorb sound is because it is porous. Snowflakes are six-sided crystals, and they are filled with open spaces. Those spaces absorb sound waves, creating a quieting effect over a blanket of snow.


13. In nightclubs in Ireland in the '80s and 90's the music had to be turned off and lights turned on halfway through the night because the nightclub had to serve a substantial meal by law so that the clubs could keep their alcohol license.


14. Actor Robert Mitchum proposed to his wife (Dorothy Mitchum) by saying "Stick with me, kid, and you'll be farting through silk." Their marriage lasted 57 years.


15. Drew Carey had eye surgery in 2001 and no longer requires glasses but continues to wear them as part of his celebrity persona.


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161969 Apollo mission

If funding had remained at 1969 Apollo mission levels, NASA planned to develop such elements as a lunar orbit station in 1978, a lunar surface base in 1980, and a manned mission to Mars in 1981 or 1983.


17. It was widely assumed that infants felt no pain and they routinely underwent major surgeries without anesthesia up until infant pain was formally recognized in 1987.


18. A Charlie Brown Christmas was written in several weeks, and produced on a small budget in 6 months. It was completed just 10 days before the premiere. All involved believed the special would be a disaster, with director Bill Melendez remarking after a screening, "My golly, we've killed it."


19. The USPS used to burn letters sent to "Santa". Now non-profit organizations respond to children's letters on behalf of Santa.


20. Sugar can be dangerously explosive. In 2008, 14 people died and 40 were injured when sugar dust combusted at Imperial Sugar's refinery in Georgia. A U.S. Chemical Safety Board report found that the explosion was entirely preventable. The sugar industry has been aware of explosion risks since 1926.


21Borat

When filming the original Borat film, Sacha Baron Cohen never washed Borat's suit or wore deodorant when in character. He said it gave Borat a "kind of dreadful Soviet-bloc smell the moment I walk in."


22. When an inmate enters San Pedro Prison they have to purchase a cell. They can purchase a cell from the prison mayor or freelance agents who typically advertises available cells in restaurants and bulletin boards. Housing in the prison varies between $20 and $5,000 depending on the quality.


23. Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, said the only animal he was uncomfortable working around were parrots.


24. Russian born human rights activist Vladimir Bukovsky spent a total of 12 years in psychiatric hospitals, labor camps, and prisons of the Soviet Union. During his time in prison, he co-wrote manual instructing victims of political psychiatry how to behave during interrogation to avoid being diagnosed as mentally ill.


25. Taxi Dance Halls of the late 1920s and early ‘30s were dance halls where lonely men looking for human contact paid 10 cents a song to dance with women for a few minutes. In 1931, there were at least 100 taxi dance halls in New York, visited by up to 50,000 men each week.

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