We’ve heard it often enough; "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," which is true enough, but if you pay attention, a person can pass along small pieces of information, avoid the dangerous part, and have a little fun along the way, which is what we’re up to today.
Some of the following may not be helpful in an intense game of Trivial Pursuit, as most of it is too trivial to pursue, still, if things get dangerous when they accuse you of using ‘useless’ instead of ‘trivial’, you can opt out before the bloodshed begins, but if that situation arises, I have a favor to ask.
Please take me with you, because I hate the sight of blood – especially when it’s my own.
* In a game of Texas Hold ‘em Poker, there are exactly 2 million, 598 thousand and 960 possible hands you can be dealt. The guy who counted them is probably the only occupant of a rubber room, where he goes berserk every time someone says “It’s your deal.”
* In 1969 the price of gold was $41 an ounce. In 2006, the price had risen to $972 for the same one ounce, which only makes sense if you understand economics. If you don’t, forget those figures. The average person will never own any gold bullion anyway. (I asked at Fort Knox for some samples so I could test the theory, but they refused.)
* In 1816, one of Isaac Newton’s teeth was auctioned off for $3,633. That converts to $35,700. today, which is somewhat interesting, but more interesting is the answer to the mystery which has never been resolved “How did someone gain ownership of that tooth in the first place?”
* Terminal velocity is the top speed an object on Earth can fall - about 120 mph. It’s that sudden stop at the end that kills.
* The city of Bath in England got its name from the Roman public baths constructed there. Back home, the Romans had heated swimming pools as far back as the year 1 B.C.
* Anatomy lesson: What’s the similarity between your appendix and your coccyx?
Nobody knows what they’re for.
* Calvin Coolidge had pet raccoons named Rebecca and Horace, Leonardo DiCaprio has a poodle named Rufus and a lizard called Blizzard, while Martha Stewart has cats named Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Verdi, Teeny, and Weeny (and that’s enough talk about pets).
* And while we’re talking about Presidents, John Adams once got lost in the woods while trying to find the White House. Considering that we refer to our President as leader of our country, any wise-guy remark here will be in poor taste.
* Tires for the wheels of a space shuttle cost $70,000.00 each, and can be used only once. The shock of instantly starting to turn when they touch down strips off enough rubber to make them unsafe to use again.
* In the last 150 years, the Magnetic North Pole has "wandered" about 685 miles. How? Why? Nobody knows for sure, but don’t confuse it with the Geographic North Pole, which isn’t going anywhere.
* Talk about mixed emotions! The Los Angeles coroner’s department office has a gift shop. Is it for going away gifts?
* If your coin collection includes a million dollars in pennies, which weigh about 288 tons – a good reason for not storing them upstairs.
* Fame is fleeting. On his last day in office as California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger got a parking ticket.
* There is a "Hang Time" app for your smartphone that measures how high you can throw it. Just make sure you catch it, or this could turn into a pretty expensive game.
You now have plenty of ammunition to compete in an intense game of Trivial Pursuit, as most of it is too trivial to pursue any further.
And since some are a little mystified by that title phrase ‘unclassified miscellany’, we feel obligated to try and wriggle ourselves off that hook with a somewhat reasonable explanation, to wit; it’s an unclassified miscellany, because it’s miscellaneous, and it’s got very little class, and while some Trivial Pursuit aficianados may get bored, we are forced to acknowledge this possibility which we would heatedly deny if it weren’t true.
— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org