12 Bits of Trivia We’ve Cleverly Rigged Around Our House to Thwart the Violent Crooks We Accidentally Crossed
Long story short: Our editors went out of town and left us home alone. We made mortal enemies with two small-time burglars, and now we have to finish hiding these trivia tidbits before they come back to rob our house and likely murder us with crowbars. This macaroni and cheese will have to wait.
After breaking in, stealing a smartphone and a beer, and then eating a burrito he’d brought from home, he noticed he’d broken the handle on the front door of the business on his way in. He started getting claustrophobic and called the police to come get him out.
A college kid named George William Crump was arrested for streaking while attending Washington and Lee, and was suspended for the beginning of his senior year in 1804. He went on to serve in Congress from 1826-1827, and was the U.S. Ambassador to Chile.
General Sun Bin found himself in charge of an army who had a reputation for deserting. At the Battle of Maling in 342 B.C., Sun Bin ordered his forces to retreat whenever attacked. Then, for three consecutive nights, he ordered fewer and fewer cookfires to be lit, giving the impression that his army had shrunk drastically, from 100,000 to 20,000 men. He then waited for his underprepared enemy to attack and ambushed them in a narrow pass.
Violet Jessup earned the nickname “Miss Unsinkable” by surviving three high-profile shipwrecks. She was a stewardess on the Olympic when it collided with the Hawke in 1911, she was then convinced by friends to join the crew of the Titanic (which, famously, did not end well) and later served on the Britannic in World War II when it was sunk by a mine. She escaped that one with nothing more than a fractured skull, and lived to the age of 83.
When it gets too hard to find food, the common poorwill will just give up and wedge itself deep inside of a rock crevice for the winter. Amen, brother. It’s the only species of bird known to go into a full sleep-mode that’s metabolically similar to bear hibernation.
George Lucas said he only recast the role because Jackson insisted on playing it live-action, with prosthetics and everything.
A U.N. peacekeeper in Cambodia once revealed an excellent local cocktail they’d have on the job, called a Space Shuttle. They’d make it by “distilling a pound of marijuana over a six-week period with increasingly good quality spirits. It is a work of love, and the final product is an amber-colored liquid that tastes like cognac. We drink it with rounds of coke.”
The notorious SS chief was very certain that magic forces would aid the Nazis in their quest for world domination, and amassed about 13,000 books about witchcraft. His collection included the largest library of witch trial records in Europe.
Olympic sprinter Dennis Mitchell was once banned from competition for two years for performance enhancing drugs. He explained that he had extraordinarily high testosterone in his system because it was his wife’s birthday the night before, and he’d celebrated by drinking five beers and having sex with her “at least four times.”
After several expeditions to Greenland, one conservationist hatched a brilliant plan to save the planet’s glaciers: cover them in big ol’ blankets. Glaciologist Jason Box went back with his team to test out his theory by covering about 100,000 square feet of glacier with white polypropylene blankets. He says his solution, on a massive scale, would be cheaper than reducing fossil fuel use.
The 1936 Berlin Olympics were the first to be televised, so Hitler built a gorgeous Olympic Village near Wustermark, Germany to show the world how well the whole Nazi thing was going. After that devolved into World War II, the village was converted to a military hospital, then served as a Soviet army barracks for a time after the war. Once a crown jewel of Hitler’s empire, it’s been sitting vacant and deteriorating ever since.
W.T. Stead, editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, claimed to do much of his job telepathically — dictating orders to his secretary, reports to his overseas writers, even asking hard-hitting questions to politicians. He died aboard the Titanic, and his writers kept up the ruse, claiming he’d dictated the story to them from the sinking ship. To his credit, he did predict that he would die of either drowning or lynching.