Random Fact Sheet #289 – Curiosities Unveiled: 35 Peculiar Facts

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1Toe wrestling

Toe wrestling

In 1974, drinkers in a British pub were bemoaning the fact that the UK didn't produce world champions, so they invented a sport that no one else knew about: toe wrestling. In 1976, a Canadian visitor competed and won, so with the point of the sport gone, the "World Championship" was discontinued.

2. The majority of MF Doom and Madlib's Madvillainy was recorded in an old bomb shelter in Mount Washington, Los Angeles.

3. Sue Grafton, known author of the "alphabet series" ('"A" Is for Alibi', '"B" Is for Burglar', etc) died months after the release of '"Y" is for Yesterday', leaving her one book shy of the complete series. 

4. When the Seinfeld finale originally aired on NBC, TV Land paid tribute by not programming any shows opposite it, instead showing an image of a closed office door with handwritten notes that said, "We're TV Fans so... we're watching the last episode of Seinfeld. Will return at 10 pm Eastern Time, 7 pm Pacific Time." 

5. 75% of mammoth fossils are male, because "male mammoths—young, reckless, foolhardy—were just more likely to get into some kind of trouble and die, from getting stuck in a pit to running afoul of hunting humans." The tar pits, bogs, crevices, and lakes preserved remains well.

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6Sand Mandalas

Sand Mandalas

Tibetan Monks spend weeks/months carefully "pouring" colored sand to make a very detailed and complex museum-worthy artwork that is known as the "Sand Mandala". Once complete, these intricate paintings are then ritualistically destroyed and that symbolizes the Buddhist belief of impermanence.

7. Ancient Egyptians had 12 months of exactly 30 days each, with five epagomenal days to bring the total to 365. Each month was divided into three 10-day periods known as decans or decades.

8. Racing driver Duncan Hamilton was disqualified from Le Mans in 1953 due to a technicality. He went to a bar and got drunk, but was told he had been reinstated in the race shortly after. During the race, he drank brandy on pit stops, hit a bird at 130 mph that broke his nose, and then won.

9. In the Sellafield nuclear power plant, there is an industrial freezer packed with an expanding mountain of radioactive seagulls that were shot by snipers employed by the plant. The reason for the contamination is that there are open fuel storage ponds on site where occasionally, seagulls are caught bathing in them.

10. The Antikythera Shipwreck of the 1st Century B.C.E. was discovered by Greek sponge divers. It yielded artifacts which included art, jewelry, a statue of Herakles, coins, but most importantly the Antikythera Mechanism that consisted of interlocking gears that computed the movements of the sun, the moon, and eclipse dates.

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11Twisted Sisters and Manowar

Twisted Sisters and Manowar

80's metal bands Twisted Sisters and Manowar were involved in a feud. In an interview, Manowar called Twisted Sisters a bunch of 'sissy boys with makeup'. Twisted Sister challenged them to a street fight at Covent Garden, but Manowar never showed up and later apologized for offending them.

12. In the 1790s, William Blount became the first federal officer in USA to be removed from office for conspiring to instigate an act of war in order to increase the value of his real estate holdings.

13. The Samaritans from the Bible are still around. They number around 800 and are descendants of the ancient Israelites who remained in the land of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. They view mainstream Judaism as altered and only accept the Samaritan Pentateuch from before the captivity.

14. While the words concrete and cement are often used interchangeably, cement is actually a bonding agent added to concrete, and they are not the same thing.

15. Almost 1 of every 4 beds sold in the late '80s was a Waterbed. Then the industry dried up in the '90s.

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16Carl Douglas

Carl Douglas

Carl Douglas quickly recorded the number #1 hit, "Kung Fu Fighting", during the last 10 minutes of a studio session in 1974. The song was originally meant to be a B-side track but went on to sell more than 11 million copies.

17. There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.

18. A 3000 mile long fiber-optic cable called Project Express was installed between London and New York in 2012. At a cost of $300 Million, the line was designed to shave 5 milliseconds from financial trades between the two cities.

19. A notorious killer named Richard Kuklinski once put a body into a barrel of cement and left it in front of a diner. He regularly visited the diner waiting for the body to be discovered until one day the barrel went missing. The diner's patrons never discussed it and the body was never recovered.

20. Shaq has been a DJ since 1986 and goes by the stage name DJ Diesel. He used to mix Hip Hop music until his retirement in 2011, where he performed at the TomorrowWorld Electronic Music Festival and discovered his love for electro. He now mixes Electronic genres, mostly riddim dubstep.

21Harvest Mice

Harvest Mice

Conservationists recycle Wimbledon tennis balls as predator-proof shelters for Harvest Mice.

22. The song "Rainbow Connection" sung by Kermit from the 1979 film, The Muppet Movie reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained in the Top 40 for seven weeks. It was also nominated for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.

23. Sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver, and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors.

24. When "The Flintstones" added the baby Pebbles in 1963, it was originally going to be a boy, until Ideal Toys pointed out that they would sell a lot more merchandise if they made the baby a girl, as baby boy dolls didn't sell well in that era.

25. Jerry Weintraub, the producer of the 2016 Tarzan movie, originally wanted swimmer Michael Phelps to play Tarzan. Weintraub changed his mind after watching Phelps host Saturday Night Live for 2 minutes.

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