12 Maddening Bits of Trivia That Want to Talk to You About Your Car’s Extended Warranty
Ugh, here they go again. These little scam artists are the reason your voicemail is full and you have to screen all your calls. Frankly, we’re surprised it’s even legal to be this invasive. See if you can get through all 12 of these nasty little gremlins.
The First Spinal Anesthesia Was Tested With a Nutshot
In the late 19th century, August Bier and his assistant Augustus Hildebrandt created the first spinal anesthetic — nothing too complicated, just a shot of cocaine to the spinal cord — and tested it by beating the tar out of each other. Hildebrandt got it the worst — Bier stabbed and burned him, then crushed his nards. He didn’t feel a thing!
Can ‘Diplomatic Geoengineering’ Solve All of Earth’s Problems?
The Political Tectonics Lab was founded to explore what it would take to squeeze all of the Earth’s continents back together into what it calls Pangea Optima. Researchers there have proposed that a supercontinent is the best way to tackle climate change and achieve world peace.
Prince and Michael Jackson Hated Each Other (But They Kept Trying to Collaborate)
Jackson wanted to record “Bad” as a duet in 1987, but Prince turned him down because he hated the idea of either one of them singing “Your butt is mine” to the other. Prince later tapped MJ to help him record the soundtrack for a Batman movie, but Jackson said he was busy working on a live tour.
A Case of Lethal Writer’s Block
Nikolai Gogol was a 19th-century Russian writer who often struggled with bouts of psychosomatic illness that left him unable to write. After completing what was basically the Russian Dante’s Inferno, called Dead Souls, Russian religious leaders convinced him his novel was sinful. That bummed him out and sent him spiraling once more. He concluded that his repeated illnesses were rooted in that very sin, and burned the Dead Souls sequel he had been working on. He later came down with a bit of arsonist’s remorse, became deeply depressed and died after starving himself for over a week.
The U.S. Navy Mistook Tiny Sharks for Advanced Russian Defense Technology
During the Cold War, the Navy noticed parts of its Ohio-class submarines — the largest submersibles ever produced by the U.S. armed forces — were being damaged. Unable to detect a source, they came up with wild theories involving Russian sabotage. They eventually figured out that cookiecutter sharks — foot-long little weirdos who attack prey by giving them deadly hickeys with their ugly little mouths — were to blame.
When Keith Moon Zonked Himself on Horse Tranquilizers, a Random Kid From the Audience Filled In
Before a 1973 show in San Francisco, Moon sucked down some horse tranquilizers and brandy which, predictably, paralyzed him mid-set. The band dragged him off stage, while Pete Townshend announced, “We’re just gonna revive our drummer by punching him in the stomach.” When that didn’t work, he asked the crowd if anyone knew how to play drums. 19-year-old musician Scott Halpin took up the sticks for the rest of the show.
King Charles II’s Best (Worst) Executioner
Possibly because he was so bad at his job — causing routine executions to become brutal marathons of pure agony — the king kept ol’ Jack Ketch in his position for over 20 years. Not coincidentally, his most well-known botched execution was that of William, Lord Russell, who had been convicted of plotting to overthrow the king.
A church in the French town of Conques coveted the relics of Sainte-Foy, which were held by a church in nearby Agen. In the first century A.D., Conques sent a monk to go undercover among the Agen monks. After working his way up the ranks over the course of 10 years, the monk stole the relics and brought them triumphantly to Conques. They called the relocation a “miracle,” and have hung on to them to this day.
Everyone Used to Think Sea Urchin Fossils Were Magic
Before we figured out what fossils were, lots of different cultures had weird fables behind these weird spiky spheres. The English thought they were loaves of fairy bread or enchanted snake eggs, and the Danish thought they were physical manifestations of thunder. They were thought to “sweat” before a big storm, cure snake bites, and help cook a nice loaf of bread.
The Monkey-Bear-Cat That Smells Like Buttered Popcorn
The binturong is a mammal native to South Asia that has the head of a cat, tail of a monkey and walks like a bear. It marks its territory with glands that secrete a substance that reportedly smells a whole lot like buttered popcorn.
Iceland’s Cannibal Santa Claus-Ess
Gryla is a legendary Christmas cannibal who lives in the Icelandic mountains and roams through villages around Christmas, picking out the naughtiest children for her stew. Delightfully, she’s the mother of the Yule Cat and the Yule Lads.
Hot Cockles: The Victorian Party Game That’s Even Hornier Than It Sounds
Hot Cockles is the perfect game for anyone looking to get a faceful of lap and an assfull of boot. Someone is blindfolded, gets down on all fours and puts their face in another player’s lap. Everyone else stands behind them, and one person is elected to kick them square in the ass. The player then guesses who just kicked them.