15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mixing soda is more hardcore than you realized
15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jón Páll Sigmarsson was known as the world’s strongest man, because he repeatedly won a competition called “World’s Strongest Man.” This contest involves such events as deadlifting an ox cart, pulling a truck, picking up five huge stones — and also a sack race, because even strongmen have a sense of humor. 

Sigmarsson’s death in 1993 attracted some attention. Find out why below, along with more proof that dolphins are assholes. 

The Mighty Have Fallen

One street sweeper in China had an awkward first day on the job. He told passersby, “I’m Pu Yi, the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty. I’m staying with relatives and can’t find my way home.” He wasn’t crazy — he really was the last emperor.

The Big Parasite

New York City is known as the “Big Apple,” but that nickname wasn’t originally a compliment. The oldest usage anyone can find is a book from 1909, which says people from Kansas see New York as the big apple because New York is greedy and absorbs more sap than it deserves.

Boar on the Floor

Famous race car driver Camille Jenatzy, who held the record for fastest speed traveled in a car, went on a hunting trip with friends in 1913. He thought it would be funny to hide in the bushes and make a sound like a boar. The friends fired on him and shot him dead.

Instrument of Destruction

When the Titanic went down, band member Wallace Hartley put his violin in a leather case. It sank, and it was retrieved a week after the ship went down. The instrument later popped up in a Yorkshire attic, and it passed enough authentication tests that someone paid $1.6 million for it at auction. 

Love and War

Bottlenose dolphins make it a point to kill the nearest calf to get laid. With the kid dead, its mother becomes fertile. That said, she’ll take a few months to become fertile, so this is the male playing the long game.


Dolphins are the most intelligent animal, which is just another name for “most evil.”

The Polish Plait

People used to believe that when hair gets matted together, that’s a sign of illness leaving the body. They’d leave the hair like that as long as possible to let maximum healing occur.

One More Thing

Columbo’s trademark stare was from a glass eye. Peter Falk had a retinoblastoma as a child, and at the time, the only treatment was removal of the eye. He wore a prosthetic throughout his career.

Pop Pop, Fizz Fizz

The job of a soda jerk sounds like a simple way of life from a bygone age. But the job really involved manufacturing soda by mixing powdered marble with sulfuric acid, leading to a fair number of fatal explosions.

Come a Long Way, Baby

In the 1950s, Marlboro ran a print campaign where babies told the reader, “Gee, Mommy. You sure enjoy your Marlboro!” The ads worked at reinforcing “the respectability of smoking as part of normal family life.”

Died as He Lived

“There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift,” said Icelandic strongman Jón Páll Sigmarsso, right after a record deadlift. Later, when he was 33, he had a heart attack and died while in the middle of deadlifting. 

via YouTube

That doesn’t make him wrong.

Street Food

If you find yourself very poor and in Manila, consider buying yourself a meal of pagpag. It consists of meat scavenged out of garbage dumps and then recooked and sold in restaurants.

Training Day

In the 19th century, doctors discovered that victims of railway accidents exhibited symptoms with no clear physical cause. This was presumably a phenomenon exclusive to trains, so they dubbed it “railway spine.” Today, we call it PTSD.

Must Not Be Named

Up until 1950, the United States Weather Bureau forbade forecasters from using the word “tornado.” That word might send people into a panic, they reasoned. This taboo did not, in fact, increase tornado readiness.

Hollywood Hair

The mohawk hairstyle is named after the indigenous Mohawk people, so you might assume that Mohawks were known for mohawks. They weren’t. The association comes entirely through one Henry Fonda film from 1939, called Drums Along the Mohawk.

The Rillington Place Strangler

London hanged a man in 1950 for killing his wife and daughter. The guy instead blamed the crimes on his neighbor, who happened to be the chief witness against him. A couple years later, this neighbor was revealed to be a serial killer who’d killed eight victims, including the executed man’s wife and kid. 

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