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Fun Factoids

[Some of these ideas are news to me, so I've decided to share... however I do not vouch for their accuracy]DID YA KNOW?Why do dimes, quarters and half dollars have notched edges, while pennies and nickels do not? The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren’t notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.Why do Xs at the end of a letter signify kisses? In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write. Documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called “passing the buck”? In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility, he would pass the buck” to the next player.Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast? It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then touch — or clink — the host’s glass with his own.Why are people in the public eye said to be “in the limelight”? Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime in an oxyhydrogen flame that produced a brilliant light. In the theater, performers on stage in the ”limelight” were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use “mayday” as their call for help? This comes from the French word m’aidez – meaning “help me” – and is pronounced “mayday.” (Note: not exactly…. it’s pronounced “med-ay”, but close enough)Why are zero scores in tennis called “love”? In France, where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called l’oeuf, which is French for “egg”. When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans pronounced it “love,”Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs? Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense, orange clay called pygg. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became know as “pygg banks”. When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on!

Hmmmm: Why Oh Why Ask Why?

How Specs Live ForeverThe US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates. Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used. Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the pacing of the old wheel ruts. So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United State standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Specs and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses.

The Top 15 Ben & Jenny’s Ice Cream Flavors

15> Vanilla Caramel Split

14> Slight Pop-Culture Ripple

13> Berry Berry Boring

12> Caramelgeddon

11> Chock Full o’ Media Coverage

10> Boysenbootylicious

9> New York Super Couple Blow Chunks

8> Big Ol’ Butt-erscotch

7> Second Banana Split

6> Please, Not S’More

5> Rocky Road to the Altar

4> Cherry Lopez — NOT!

3> Junky Trunky

2> Damon’s Double-Dip Fantasy Delight

1> Who Gives a Flying Fudge?

[ The Top 5 List ]

[ Copyright 2003 by Chris White ]

News: Impersonating your wife

Joshua Marete Mutuma, 32, was arrested in Modesto, Calif., on suspicion of impersonating his wife, who had a restraining order against him. Mutuma arrived at the courthouse dressed as a woman with a long black wig and five o’clock shadow, talking in falsetto as he attempted to have the restraining order dismissed.——————–Ordered to submit a urine sample for a drug test before his sentencing on a theft conviction, John Issa of Painesville, Ohio, got a bright idea. He substituted his wife’s sample for his. Issa’s plan backfired, however, when the test results came back showing that he was pregnant.

Warning Labels

The scary part is somebody must have done it before they wrote the label. . .Ray-O-Vac batteries: “WARNING: If swallowed or lodged in ear or nose, see doctor.”Axius Sno-Off Automobile Windshield Cover: “WARNING: Never drive with the cover on your windshield.”Batman, The Animated Series Armor Set Halloween Costume box: “WARNING: Cape does not enable wearer to fly.”A TV: “WARNING: Do not pour liquids in your television.”In a restroom: “Do not eat the urinal cakes.”Silly Putty: “WARNING: Not for use as earplugs.”Baby Carriage: “Step One: Remove baby.”Hair Drier: “Do not use while sleeping.”

More darwin awards…

It’s that time of year once again…Time for this year’s Darwin Awards

First Place – Candidate for this years Darwin Awards. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder: He peered down into the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honorable mentions:

The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, suspecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine out and lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.

A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Beltway had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

An American teenager was in the hospital yesterday recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, puts a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? $15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, was a crime committed?)

A thief burst into a Florida bank one day wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun. Aiming his gun at the guard, the thief yelled, “FREEZE, MOTHER-STICKERS, THIS IS A FUCK-UP!” For a moment, everyone was silent. Then the snickers started. The guard completely lost it and doubled over laughing. It probably saved his life, because he’d been about to draw his gun. He couldn’t have drawn and fired before the thief got him. The thief ran away and is still at large.

Seems this Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home.

With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle’s license plate still attached to the bumper. They were quickly arrested.

When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.

Slow down for her

BARHAM, England, Jan 26 (AFP) – A roadside poster of the Czech supermodel Eva Herzegova taking off her T-shirt has succeeded in slowing cars outside a road safety campaigner’s home.Cyril Long, 62, hit on the idea of placing the provocative picture of the Wonderbra model in his garden in Barham, eastern England, after motorists repeatedly ignored his hand-written pleas for them to cut their speed.


A contest was held for people to submit their theories on any subject. 4th RUNNER-UP: If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world’s great literary works in Braille.3rd RUNNER-UP: Why Yawning Is Contagious: You yawn to equalize the pressure on your eardrums. This pressure change outside your eardrums unbalances other people’s ear pressures, so they then yawn to even it out.2nd RUNNER-UP: Communist China is technologically underdeveloped because they have no alphabet and therefore cannot use acronyms to communicate technical ideas at a faster rate. 1st RUNNER-UP: The earth may spin faster on its axis due to deforestation. Just as a figure skater’s rate of spin increases when the arms are brought in close to the body, the cutting of tall trees may cause our planet to spin dangerously fast.HONORABLE MENTION: The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian ‘pahks his cah,’ the lost R’s migrate southwest, causing a Texan to ‘warsh’ his car and invest in ‘erl’ wells.GRAND PRIZE WINNER: When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago.

The New Hatfields and McCoys

True news articleUNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE — The Pikeville, Ky., City Commission has granted permission to the McCoy family to hold a three-day reunion in June 2000, to which members of the Hatfield family have been invited for a McCoy-Hatfield softball game. (During the 1870s and 1880s, the two Appalachian families had one of the most notorious feuds in U.S. history, marked by 12 deaths.)

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