I’m old enough to remember when facts weren’t commonly called trivia. I also remember when I began to think of facts as trivia. It was after Christmas of 1982 that I was invited to the apartment of my friends, Mark and Peggy, to play some board games. The game that dominated our attention that night was “Trivial Pursuit”. It turns out that Peggy had bought the new game as her husband’s Christmas present. I can’t say that I became a fan of “Trivial Pursuit”, even though I was a respectable player of it. Eventually, to my relief, Mark and Peggy soon grew tired of the game.
I have a few facts about “Trivial Pursuit”. The game was first imagined on December 15, 1979 by two Canadian media workers. Chris Haney was photo Editor at the “Montreal Gazette and Scott Abbot was a sports writer for “The Canadian Press”. The idea came to them while they played Scrabble and decided to invent their own, unique game. The trademark for “Trivial Pursuit” was registered on November 10, 1981. The first 1,100 copies of the game were first manufactured in Canada later that month.
Today is Trivia Day. Websites and social media will be bursting with bits of trivia. Many of us will be enlightened with fun, obscure facts. Trivia Day was the brainchild of Robert Birch of “Puns Corps” to raise the public’s awareness about the significance of trivia to fun, science, and our curiosity about the world around us.
Sometimes a fact takes down a popular icon a notch or two. Like the fact that Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were bitter enemies. Tesla once commented about his rival, “He had no hobby, cared for no amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. Of course, most fans of Tesla know that the prolific inventor was, himself, a clean-freak.
I’m going to indulge in some trivia in honor of today’s commemoration.
Back in 1980, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was presented a key to the city of Detroit, Michigan.
Did you know that, at the time of this writing, the Dodge Tomahawk is the world’s fastest production motorcycle? It can reach 560kmph/350 mph. The bike, which looks nothing like the one in the photo, has a ten-cylinder engine.
When the notorious Westboro Baptist Church protested a soldier’s funeral in Oklahoma in 2013, their vehicle tires were slashed. The town’s repair shops refused to fix them.
The Planet Saturn is the most popular non-Earth location in the Solar System. It’s a big place, too. Saturn is 120,537-kilometres wide. Nearly 750 Earth-size planets would neatly fit inside of it.
Some societies, during ancient times, thought of shoes as a status symbol. Because shoes raised a person higher from the ground, many people regarded shoes as symbols of authority. Sometimes shoes were given by a bride’s father to the son-in-law to seal the transfer of paternal authority.
The Western Church’s Spanish Inquisition indirectly enabled the Black Plague of the Dark Ages. Pope Innocent VIII officially condemned cats as evil. He ordered the widespread killing of felines. The effect being, that rats enjoyed a population explosion. The increased numbers of rats, and their fleas, enhanced the spread and effects of the disease.
When Coca Cola marketed their “New Coke” in 1985, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was among the “Angry 12-percent”. He hated New Coke so much that he called it “a sign of American capitalist decadence.”
Delta Airlines apologized in 1987 for arguing that it should pay less in crash litigation for the life of a gay passenger than an heterosexual one. The airline officially held that view because of the stereotypical opinion that gays probably had AIDS.
Great white sharks are among the very few fish species that give live birth to their young. Their juveniles are called pups.
Is it any wonder why the oceans and landfills are overflowing with plastic? American citizens, alone, toss out 2,500,000 plastic water bottles each hour. Annual production of bottles for the US market uses some 17,000,000 barrels of crude oil each year. This is enough to power 1,000,000 vehicles each year. Only 13-percent of water bottles are ever recycled.
In 1967, the very first Superbowl was broadcast by NBC. At the end of half-time, the second half kickoff happened while the network was still in commercial break. Officials requested that the Packers repeat their kick-off after the station break ended. Which team opposed the Green Bay Packers? The Kansas City Chiefs.
The deadliest North American tropical storm was the Great Galveston Hurricane. It was a category 4 event that happened in 1900, claiming approximately 8,000 lives.
The world’s largest movie industry is not located in Hollywood, California. The honor goes to Mumbai, India. “Bollywood” has the world’s most prolific film industry. The majority of Bollywood movies are musicals.
Contrary to popular wisdom, there is at least one word that rhymes with orange. The botanical, technical term for “spore case” is “Sporange”.
The listing of facts is quite habit forming, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
Have a fun and intelligent Trivia Day.