“Houses of ill-fame in Toronto? Certainly not. The whole city is an immense house of ill fame.”
-C. S. Clark, Of Toronto the Good (1898)
1. Ice is a mineral.
2. In 1994 the US Surgeon General was fired for saying masturbation was a part of sexuality.
3. Mr T was a former bouncer and took gold chains from the people he beat up, which he openly wore so people could come back and get them.
4. Vikings did not wear horns on their helmets.
5. The US constitution was not written on hemp paper, but parchment.
6. The voice actress of Ducky in The Land Before Time was killed by her father at ten years old.
7. The mullet is banned in Iran.
8. John Graves Simcoe claimed to have named Lake Simcoe after his father. Such a selfless act.
9. Remember in Pulp Fiction when they went to the 50s-themed bar and were served by Buddy Holly? That was Steve Buscemi.
10. Speaking of The Busc, he was a former New York firefighter, and on September 12, 2001, returned to his former engine and worked 12-hour shifts to sift through the rubble, refusing to give interviews or have his picture taken.
11. When Yuri Gagarin returned to Earth after the first manned space voyage, he ejected himself from the capsule, parachuted 7km down, landed in a farmers’ field, and walked up to the family asking to use the phone to call Moscow.
12. Plankton is the plural, plankter is the singular (even though my word processor doesn’t recognize it)
13. Toronto did not literally mean “meeting place”– it’s a Mohawk word meaning “Where there are trees standing in the water”. Stick in the mud.
14. WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement – 40th Attempt” It was meant to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles. 40th attempt at it, of course.
15. Zimbabwe’s first president? President Banana.
16. English-speaking countries and China believe there are seven continents. In Japan and the former USSR, there are six (Eurasia counts as one). In some Latin American countries, it’s the Americas which count as one continent. This is also taught in parts of Europe, including Greece, which is why the Olympics flag has five rings, one for each inhabited continent.
17. Ever wonder why you always hear about random drug tests in the States but never see them in Canada? Because they’re illegal here.
18. When a doctor tells you to turn your head and cough, what is the medical benefit of turning your head? So you don’t cough on him. Makes sense.
19. Jon Stewart’s brother is the boss of the NYSE. Stephen Colbert teaches Sunday School.
20. What do you call that wonderful smell just after it rains? Petrichor. Not very mellifluous; perhaps that’s why it’s never caught on.
21. Siberian tigers eat bears.
22. The quotes: “Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!” , “”I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism.” , “Fucking Saudis taking over London.” , “This is England, this is a white country, we don’t want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome.” , “We are a white country. I don’t want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards.” , “ This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck’s sake?” The man: Eric Clapton.
23. The phrase “Hey, man” was created by black jazz musicians because they were always called “boy” by whites.
24. Cow tipping is a myth. They sleep lying down!
25. The 3000 mile (4800 km) oil change is a remnant from the seventies. Some cars don’t need it for 20 000 km.
26. Baby carrots were invented because a dude was sick of having to throw away half-rotten big carrots. They are not miniature-sized carrots. More like the hot dog of the vegetable world.
27. Only 4% of the Earth’s land has land on the exact opposite side of the Earth (antipode). Speaking of which, what is the nearest city to Perth, Ontario’s antipode? Perth, Australia.
28. The Dutch word for “fun” is lol.
29. Steve Holt! \o/
30. One of Mozart’s lesser-known works is a canon in B-flat Major, entitled Leck mich im Arsch (literally “Lick me in the arse”).
Adam’s Trivia appears on Provocative Penguin every Wednesday.