Not Many People Know That

Fred Ohert / Hufvudstadsbladet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A Maurice Micklewhite List of Interesting Facts

In 1973 Peter Sellers appeared on the Michael Parkinson show and did an absolutely perfect impression of the actor Michael Caine who was obsessed with amazing facts. The parody, if I remember correctly, went like this:

“If a man in a tweed suit fell off the top of Big Ben it would take him 4.3 seconds to hit the ground! … Not many people know that!”

I mention this because I remember the programme at the time, but more importantly because I share an interest in amazing facts. So here is a tribute to Maurice Micklewhite with my own list of really trivial facts. You can read them in a Michael Caine accent if you like!

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Did you know that a blue whale can eat half a million calories in a single mouthful. This is 240 times the energy needed to scoop up two tons of krill.

Did you know that the word fizzle is a fifteenth-century English word which means to break wind silently!

Did you know there is enough gold in the Earth’s core to coat the surface of the world to a depth of one and a half feet.

Did you know that the “f” word appears 265 times in the film Pulp Fiction and is only beaten by the film Reservoir Dogs where it is used 269 times.

Did you know that the tallest giraffe born in captivity in Britain measured in at 5’ 10 and three-quarters of an inch.

Did you know that the first person processed on Ellis Island on January 1st 1892 was a 15-year-old girl called Annie Moore who travelled with her two young brothers on the SS Nevada from Queenstown, Ireland.

Did you know that the world’s first animated film was a political satire called El Apóstol which was made in Argentina in 1917. It contained over 58,000 drawings, had a run time of 70 minutes and predated Disney’s Snow White by 20 years.

Did you know the trade name “spam” is derived from “sp” for spice and “am” from ham. Simple or what!

Did you know that it takes a single droplet of water 90 days to travel the 2,340 miles of the Mississippi River, which is the world’s third-largest watershed.

Did you know that a one-way trip on the Trans Siberian Railway takes seven days and involves crossing 3,901 bridges. It is also the world’s longest rail journey.

Did you know that the country with the most number of pyramids is Sudan with 220 extant Nubian pyramids from the reigns of Queen Napata and Queen Meroë.

Did you know that the indigenous Mexican word for avocado was ãhuacatl which is the same word that they used for testicles. They were originally marketed in the United States as alligator pears.

Did you know that due to a cotton shortage in World War One Kimberley Clark developed a cotton substitute for the army to use in gas masks. Before it could be commissioned the war ended & the company re-developed the material and sold it under the brand name “Kleenex”.

Did you know that McDonald’s once developed a bubble gum-flavoured broccoli in an attempt to get children to eat their greens. The child testers though were totally confused by the taste and colour and hated it.

Did you know that the iconic Chuppa-Chups lolly logo was designed by Salvador Dali in 1969.

Did you know that the longest walking journey (without the use of a boat or plane) is from Magadan in Russia to Cape Town South Africa covering a total of 14,000 miles.

Did you know that the sexual exploits of Russell Brand pale into insignificance compared to Ghengis Khan who fathered nine children from his primary wife Borte and over a thousand children with 500 secondary wives. In 2019 a DNA survey asserted that 0.5% of the world’s male population could trace a lineage back to the 12th-century Mongolian emperor.

Did you know that Japan has one vending machine for every 40 people. They dispense beverages, noodles, sweets and there is even one at the first stage of Mount Fuji dispensing pornographic magazines and used panties! The reason for which escapes me!

Did you know the smallest mammal in the world is the bumblebee bat found only in limestone caves on the Khwae Noi river in Kanchanaburi province, South West Thailand. It has a body length of 1.29 inches, a wingspan of 5.7 inches and weighs in at 0.07 ounces. It is also known as Kitti’s hog nosed bat.

did you know that if the circulatory system of veins, arteries and capillaries of the average human was laid out flat it would stretch for 100,000 miles.

Did you know that Samsung has developed a bum-shaped robot to test pressure on phones which are carried in the owner’s back pocket. Believe it or not the robot also wears jeans.

Did you know that this will be one of the very few Going-Postal articles without a photograph.

Did you know that the world’s largest archipelago is the Malay archipelago which was formed by glacial retreat between the Pacific and Indian oceans and comprises over 25,000 islands from Indonesia through Malaysia to the Philippines.

did you know that the first reference to “Jack the lad” being a young man of roguish character appears in a popular song of 1840 which contains the lyric:

“If ever fellow took delight in swigging, gigging, kissing, drinking, fighting damme, I’ll be bold to say that Jack’s the lad.”

It is also believed to refer to an 18th-century thief called Jack Sheppard who was imprisoned five times, escaped four times and became a popular hero. unfortunately, his last visit to Newgate prison led to him being guarded round the clock and he was hanged at Tyburn in November 1724 aged 22.

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And just to prove I can stay on topic if I really want to here is an offering from the great Maurice Micklewhite himself, well less of an interesting fact but more of an anecdote really.

“I was filming in the Philippines and was invited to a party held by a really rich woman. During the course of the evening I noticed her looking at me in a disapproving manner so I went up to her to find out what I was doing wrong. In angry tones she said;

“Why are you selling drugs at my party?”

When I told her I wasn’t she snapped back;

“So why is everyone saying my cocaine!”

Not many people know that!!!!!!!!!!!!

© AÑO NUEVO 2023