12 Dadgum Confounded Bits of Trivia to Dad-Sizzle Your Bejabbers, Dagnabbit!
Hannibal Made Snake Bombs
Hannibal marching elephants across the Alps is a pretty well-worn tale, but he also once won a battle with snakes. He stuffed a whole mess of ‘em into a bunch of clay jars, and hurled them at King Eumenes II’s fleet, mid-battle. Half of the opposing soldiers jumped ship, and the other half had to split their attention between their enemies and the deadly snakes piling up at their feet.
Daddy Longlegs Actually Do Have Biologically Remarkable Legs
Harvestmen can taste and smell with the ends of their legs, some of which have barbs for fighting and hunting, and all of which have organs for oxygenation (a sort of proto-lung).
The Real-Life Storm
The Coane family of Texas weathered Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and once the coast was clear, picked up and fled to their second home in Florida. Three days after they arrived, they were hit even worse, this time by Hurricane Irma. They had their newborn baby in tow throughout all of this, and started referring to her as Storm.
Birds Keep Stealing Milk From British People
A few towns in the U.K. are having trouble with a two-pronged bird attack. Blue tits will follow milk delivery people, wait until they walk away, then swoop in and puncture the foil lids with their beaks. Once they’ve gotten all the cream they can handle — which is not much, because blue tits are bad at digesting dairy — European robins come through for sloppy seconds.
Michael Jackson Wanted to Team Up With Stan Lee
The King of Pop approached Lee about jointly buying Marvel Comics, with the ultimate goal of casting himself as Spider-Man.
The First Known Reference to Toilet Paper
Chinese intellectual Yan Zhitui was an accomplished writer, painter, musician, philosopher and politician. His most lasting legacy, though, will probably be his quote from 589 AD acknowledging the wiping of his ass with paper: “Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.”
The Drug Cocktail That Helped the Zulu People Defeat the British
Zulu warriors had a whole pre-battle routine: ingest some specially curated plants that would all make them puke together, drink a special beer that made them (believe they were) fireproof, then smoke or drink a cocktail of cannabis and hallucinogens. Man, just thinking about all that makes me want to go beat back a sophisticated 1879 British incursion.
A Teacher Discovered an Old Map to a Secret Passageway in an Ancient Monastery
In 2002, book collector Stanislas Gosse found a map that hinted at a secret chamber within Mont Sainte-Odile monastery’s library. It was so secret, not even staff knew of it — it had been exclusively used by the most senior members of the abbey to spy on everyone else. Gosse used it to steal rare books, which would ultimately be his downfall. When library staff noticed books going missing, they set up security cameras and caught Gosse sneaking in and out of a cupboard.
An Olympic Sprinter Made Up a Motorcycle Accident to Get Out of Drug Testing
Elite Greek sprinter Ekaterini Thanou was called in for a random drug test the day before the 2004 Olympics. Though never proven definitively — this was her third time dodging a test that year — she was almost definitely doping. To avoid the test, she booked herself into a hospital and claimed to have been in a motorcycle accident. When local officials confirmed that no such motorcycle accident had happened, she was kicked out of racing circuits for a couple of years. When she did return, she was consistently booed by crowds.
The Actual Scientific Proposal That’s Way Crazier Than Chemtrails
One thing that paranoid quacks claim about chemtrails is that they’re designed to seed clouds to combat global warming. Scottish scientists have proposed capturing a passing asteroid and pulverizing it into a giant cloud of dust, shielding the Earth from the sun’s rays.
A 35-Year-Old Found Himself on a Missing Children’s List
Steve Carter knew he was adopted from an orphanage, but began suspecting he may have been kidnapped as a baby when he heard about a similar case. He used age-regression technology, and compared his maybe-baby portrait to those on missing children websites. He saw one missing child that made him say, literally, “Holy crap, it’s me!” DNA testing confirmed he had been born Mark Panama Barnes in Hawaii, and was abducted by his birth mother (who was later placed in a mental hospital, leaving him in an orphanage).
A Criminal Called Ahead to Schedule His Bank Robbery
A guy called up a Connecticut bank to tell them he was on the way to rob them, to save them the hassle of packing cash into a bag at gunpoint. The bank immediately notified the police and went into lockdown, trapping the caller’s accomplice inside. The accomplice was found with a note promising a “blood bath” if the teller didn’t comply.