From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Interesting facts[edit]

Andorra continued to be officially in a state of war until 1958 because when World War I ended the major powers forgot about them in the Treaty of Versailles.

Interestingly, despite technically still fighting WWI, during World War II they remained neutral throughout.

Rafael Gómez Ortega was a bullfighter who often got panic attacks when facing the bull. He incorporated this into his fighting style, of which one technique became known as the espantada, or "sudden flight", which simply consisted of him fleeing when the bull entered the ring.

In 1656, the Dean of St Asaph, Daniel Price, decided that in view of his own importance he could not possibly walk in a religious procession around the cathedral but instead rode a mare whist reading from the Book of Common Prayer. Happily for posterity John Aubrey recorded in his Brief Lives that "A stallion happened to break loose, and smelled the mare, and ran and leapt her, and held the reverend dean all the time so hard in his embraces, that he could not get off till the horse had done his business" and further noted that "he would never ride in procession afterwards."

Another historical titbit also recorded in Brief Lives recounts a rather awkward encounter by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford with Elizabeth I of England. Aubrey noted that 'The Earle of Oxford, making his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. Upon his return home, the Queen greeted him, reportedly saying "My Lord, I had forgot the Fart."'

English churchman Robert South once gave a sermon that was so boring that it put his whole congregation, including Charles I, to sleep. He is reported to have woken Lord Lauderdale and told him "I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you should awaken his majesty".

Bathymicrops brevianalis is a deepsea tripod fish more commonly known as the shortarse feelerfish. The latin species name brevianalis means "short anus".

Not to be outdone, however, there are two spoon worms commonly known as penis fish - Urechis caupo, a spoon worm found in California, and Urechis unicinctus which is also known as the Chinese penis fish, found in East Asia.

Robert "Romeo" Coates, who called himself “Britain’s greatest actor”, would regularly appear in bizarre costumes of his own design, invent new scenes and dialogue mid-show, and repeat parts of the play he particularly liked—usually dramatic death scenes—up to three or four times a night. He appeared in a performance of Romeo and Juliet dressed in flowing, sky-blue cloak with sequins, red pantaloons, a vest of white muslin, a large cravat, and a plumed "opera hat," not to mention dozens of diamonds. His pantaloons were so tight at one point during this act the seat of his pants split open, to general uproarious laughter from the crowd.

As he was quite bad at remembering lines, he would often ad-lib his way through plays, claiming them to be a major improvement. In fact, Coates claimed that he wanted to improve the classics. At the end of his first appearance as Romeo he came back in with a crowbar and tried to pry open Capulet's tomb. In another of his antics he made the actress playing Juliet so embarrassed that she clung to a pillar and refused to leave the stage. Eventually no actress would agree to play the part with him.

After word spread of his unique performances crowds started to flock to his shows. They would regularly jeer and cat-call him between bouts of laughter. In return he would often return the jeers back to the audience, causing general mayhem that normally overshadowed the play itself. Eventually theatre owners tired of his antics and refused to let him perform at their venues.

The Cherry Sisters were an act so bad that they eventually performed behind a wire mesh curtain to avoid being struck by projectiles from the audience, although they would later deny that this had ever been necessary.

Remarkably, in 1896 the Cherry Sisters were brought to Broadway by impresario Willie Hammerstein in an attempt to attract attention to his floundering new venue, the Olympia Music Hall. His rationale, as given in an interview, was, "I've been putting on the best talent, and it hasn't gone over...I'm going to try the worst." The theory was sound: Something Good, Something Sad saved Hammerstein from bankruptcy only twelve days after opening on November 16, and ran for six weeks, drawing audiences who were curious to see the act the New York Times referred to as "Four Freaks from Iowa".

In a sea battle between the Swedish frigate De Olbing Galley and the Dutch frigate Løvendals Gallej, Captain Peter Tordenskjold sent an envoy to the Swedish ship, cordially thanking the English captain for a good duel, and asked if he could borrow some of their ammunitions in order to continue the fight. His request was denied, and the captains drank to each other's health, before the ships dispersed.

The Parliament of South Australia endorsed the right of women to vote in 1894 and the law received royal assent in 1895. The law applied equally in the Northern Territory, which was then a part of South Australia. Whilst the law was being debated, opponents struck a clause prohibiting women from sitting in parliament, thinking that it would scupper the bill. Instead it had the opposite effect and so, on passing the Constitution (Female Suffrage) Bill, South Australia quite accidentally also gave women the right to hold legislative office because the Australian Constitution holds that no adult person can be prevented from voting, which they failed to take into account.

Professional wrestler Sputnik Monroe successfully ended segregation at wrestling events.

The Australian government once tried to cull the numbers of Emus to prevent agricultural losses. They eventually tried Lewis guns in what became known as the Emu War. This proved impossible as the Emus scattered at great speed. In this war, the Emus won.

It was forbidden to transcribe Miserere mei, Deus as played at the Sistine Chapel... at least until fourteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was visiting Rome when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Less than three months after hearing the song and transcribing it, Mozart had gained fame for the work and was summoned to Rome by Pope Clement XIV, who showered praise on him for his feat of musical genius and awarded him the Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur on July 4, 1770.

Perrier sells a brand of soda called Pschitt. That’s what the French hear when they open a fizzy drink. Similarly there is a drink sold by Otsuka Pharmaceutical called Pocari Sweat.

The Austrian town of Fucking was forced to invent signs with anti theft devices after their town signs were frequently stolen by tourists. The town produces a Hell (pale ale in English) which they named Fucking Hell. One time a tourist asked for a postcard at the guesthouse and was told “there are no Fucking postcards”. Commander Schmitzberger, the local police chief, was once asked about tourists stealing Fucking signs, to which he told the media that he was unimpressed by the spate of thefts and that “What is this big Fucking joke? It is puerile.”