Random Fact Sheet #164 – 45 Facts That Will Make You a Trivia Master

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Beethoven was paid 4,000 (approx. $2,222) florins a year from 1809 on the condition that he remained in Vienna for the rest of his life. This allowance was originally paid by three patrons but after the death of Princes Lobkowitz and Kinsky, Archduke Rudolph paid the amount in full until Beethoven died.

2. Andorra has no army. Instead, all Andorrans should, by law, keep a rifle. The law also states that the police will offer a firearm in case of need.

3. American women's rights activist Sojourner Truth's famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman", was altered by a white abolitionist, who rewrote her speech for publication in a stereotypical "southern black slave dialect". Truth actually grew up speaking Dutch and took pride in her "fairly correct English."

4. The worst sports disaster ever recorded took place in 29 C.E. in a cheap wooden stadium in Fidenae, 8 miles north of Rome. It collapsed during a crowded gladiator game and killed at least 20,000 people. The Roman Senate responded by requiring future stadiums to be inspected and certified.

5. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century and never smiled in a single photo, to counter the notion of a happy slave.

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The secular holiday Festivus was not invented for Seinfeld. It was created in the mid-sixties by author Daniel O'Keefe as a way of rejecting the commercialism of Christmas with his family. His son later was a writer for Seinfeld and introduced his family's tradition.

7. The Greek Titan Atlas was condemned to hold up the sky, not the Earth. The sphere he holds is the celestial sphere, not the globe.

8. During World War 2, Roza Robota with a group of prisoners at Auschwitz succeeded in blowing up one of the crematoriums using gunpowder smuggled one teaspoon at a time from the nearby munitions factory where some prisoners were forced to work.

9. American employees at large-sized companies (1000 or more employees) only spend 45% of their time actually "working"—that is, time spent on primary job duties and not on meetings, administrative tasks, and interruptions.

10. In 2017, a house cat bit its owner in the middle of the night to alert the family that their house was on fire in Alberta, Canada. The family got out in time with no injuries and the fire department confirmed that the cat was partially responsible for the rescue.

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The word “Jiffy” (as in, “I’ll be back in a jiffy” or “Jiffy Lube”) refers to an actual Unit of time, ‘The Jiffy’, is defined as “the amount of time light takes to travel one fermi (about the size of a nucleon) in a vacuum.”

12. On December 6, 1973, Richard Nixon used his power under the 25th Amendment to appoint Ford as his new vice president of the United States. To date, Ford remains the only person to assume the roles of both President and Vice President without having been elected by the electoral college.

13. An army’s “infantry” is named so because it originally consisted of soldiers who were too young or inexperienced to be entrusted with a horse and be part of the cavalry.

14. In 2014, a dead body in Virginia was so obese that it’s fat set a crematorium on fire.

15. A newer study in 2017 discovered that the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 in the US averages $233,610 with rural children costing $193,020 and children in Urban North East costing $264,090. The same study also showed that each additional child is cheaper due to bulk buying and hand me downs.

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16Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome only 10 years ago.

17. The revolving restaurant on top of the Seattle space needle weighs 125 tons. A 1.5 hp motor is enough to revolve it because the restaurant is perfectly balanced.

18. Prince William breaks royal protocol by flying with his children on the same plane. As direct heirs to the throne, his children should fly on a separate plane in case it crashes.

19. An old sailing superstition was that women on board ships were considered bad luck. However, if the women were naked, then they had the effect of “calming the seas” and was considered good luck.

20. Despite 12 indictments and several convictions of high-level officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, all perpetrators were either pardoned or had sentences overturned resulting in no prison time. The only person to go to jail was a minister who stole a street sign in protest.

21Dove chocolate

Dove chocolate

Dove chocolate and Dove soap are owned by different companies. Because they are separated as different classes of goods/services, there is no trademark infringement.

22. George Orwell had trouble getting Animal Farm book published due to Soviet-British relations during World War 2. Once, a publisher agreed to release the novella but later reneged after warning from an officer at the British Ministry of Information. The officer was soon discovered to be a Soviet spy.

23. In 2004, a man named Ashley Revell sold all his possessions and put his entire net worth of $135,300 on red at the Plaza Hotel in Vegas. The ball landed on Red 7 and he walked out with $270,600.

24. In 1941, a Great Dane named Juliana saved her master's home from burning down during the Blitz by urinating on a German incendiary bomb which had fallen through the roof. For this, she was awarded the Blue Cross, similar to the Dickin Medal.

25. Beer mugs are not called "steins" in Germany. "Stein" is the German word for "stone." The English word "stein" probably comes from the German word "Steinzeug" which means "stoneware"—the type of pottery that cheap beer mugs are often made of.

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