I get just as annoyed by chain letters, online petitions, urban legends, and lists of shorter (yet still unfunny) jokes. I don't want this unwelcome imposition on my consciousness, and I don't have the time to entertain other people's whimsy. If you want to tell someone joke, go and find the village idiot, and if you want to smell the flowers alongside the road of life, do it on your own time, and don't bother telling me about it, because I won't care a jot.
One thing I do delight in receiving, however, is factual information. My father once told me that a fact is like a lump of coal - solid, carbon based, and it burns brightly in the darkness. Compared to fact, whimsy and humour are like damp pinecones. Bloody useless. With a body of knowledge built on undisputed fact, a man may argue flawlessly, assured that he is more right than any callow dissenter. Armed with fact, wars can be won, and enemies crushed. A fact a day keeps the bible away, my grandfather used to say. He was a naval man, and did not gladly suffer a fool. He lived and died by the fact.
I've taken the liberty to go ahead and scour my email inbox, and pluck out the best facts I could find, for your perusal, and the embroadening of your mind. I have decided to do you this kindness, because today I am feeling benevolent. Don't hesitate to soak in what you can, because my mood won't last, and I'll probably beat you for trying to steal my thoughts.
Hier gaan ons (see what I did there?):
1. If you record a man's groan, and then play it backwards, the closest sound you will hear to it is the call of a barn owl.
|This one is for my dead homies.|
2. Up until the 1970s, rural Cambodians believed that it was bad luck to cross a street without offering up a prayer to their ancestors. This ritual prayer involved the wearing of a ceremonial blindfold, which was to be worn for at least 10 minutes, including the crossing of the street itself. This practice caused so many accidents, that the government erected over 10 000 foot bridges over the next decade.
|For queen and country.|
3. Earth worms can travel up to 5 kilometers in a night, but always return to their central burrow with an offering of high mineral soil for their queen.
|This prick doesn't care what anyone thinks.|
4. By abandoning the afterlife concept of purgatory, the Catholic church opened themselves to numerous law suits, including one from Donald McClucheon from Iowa, who is charging the church for effectively relegating his deceased mother to oblivion for all eternity. The suit asks for the official reinstatement of purgatory, and $50 million for damages to his mother's soul.
5. Prince Harry, of the British Royal Family, was born with an extra toe on his left foot, which was removed at birth. In medieval times, this would have marked him as a "witch prince" and he would have been burnt at the stake, or banished from the empire in secret. As a nod to this superstition, Harry has added the serpent to his own personal crest.
|More nutritious than KFC.|
6. In Spiderman issue #776, Spiderman eats an actual fly for the first time, and then remarks "Yuck. I like their powers, but I sure as Hell don't like their cuisine!".
|Woolf celebrates another bestseller in her own inimitable style.|
7. Famous author Virginia Woolf suffered from a mild allergy to sunlight, and would not leave home without her parasol. Often wrapped from head to toe in a coat and a scarf to protect her from the harmful rays, she admitted that her condition was the inspiration for her famous poem "Woman clothed in darkness shall flee every man".
|Like and share if you know someone who recently lost the battle against gravity or who is still fighting gravity.|
8. There are several locations on the equator, where geographical anomaly causes gravity to intermittently double in strength. This phenomenon has caused several ships to sink, and famously, the zeppelin, Queen Anne's Heart, to fall from the sky, during the 1925 international cross Atlantic aeronautical race.
|Old habits die hard.|
9. In ancient Egypt, farmers used to masturbate into a carved wooden bowl, called a "kamet", and then sprinkle the seed over their fields, to ward off evil spirits.
|Barely legal pawn.|
10. Chess is currently sitting at number 43 in a list of the world's most popular games, behind Football, Tennis, and Curling. It topped the list in 1942, after spending the first half of the century in the top 10.
11. During the second world war, the hospital of St Thomas, in Niece, housed an entire British squadron who were infected with leprosy. When the infection started spreading to the nearby town, angry locals burnt the hospital down, killing the soldiers, the entire staff, and 12 other patients.
|Beautiful, but lethal.|
12. A museum in Amsterdam houses the largest ever collection of human skin flakes, weighing in at a mighty 352kgs, housed in a glass silo, and only ever handled by trained staff in environment suits, due to the carcinogenic properties of the skin, if inhaled.
|Worse than Hitler and Donald Trump combined.|
13. Sting spent over $100 million on purchasing a crumbling Buddhist temple on a mountain side, which he then had restored, to serve as a private retreat for him, his wife, and a few friends. The temple now stands just as it has for the last 500 years, unaltered, apart from a single Dr Pepper dispensing machine, as this is Sting's favorite soda.
|Burn the witch.|
14. Velcro was an offshoot of a series of British army experiments trying to develop shoes that would allow soldiers to walk on walls and ceilings during combat.
|Lose weight. Ask me how.|
15. Between shooting Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3, actor Toby Maguire put on a little weight, prompting director Sam Raimi to insist he start an exercise routine to shed the excess pounds. After 2 weeks of strict dieting and exercise, the star had actually gained weight, and consulted a doctor, who x-rayed his abdomen. Inside him, the doctor found a 12 meter tapeworm, which had to be surgically removed, and now sits above Maguire's pool table in a fishtank in a room in his New York home.
|Ten points to Gryffindor.|
16. Convicted murderer Ted Bundy successfully requested a stew made from children's hair for his last meal, because he was convinced the hair would imbue him with magical powers, and he could escape the hangman's rope.
|X gonna give it to ya, unless ya use protection.|
17. American rapper DMX donated a diamond encrusted gold soccer ball worth $11 million to an african AIDS charity, on the condition that he could use 15 AIDS orphans the music video for the song "Blood of my blood", to dance with a man in a grim reaper costume, highlighting the dangers of the disease.
|Good night, sweet ponce.|
18. More than 3 people every year die of Narcoasphasia, which is the little known condition of being caught between sleep and waking. This causes paralysis in the sufferers, which leads to their lungs collapsing, and suffocation, even though they are aware of what is happening the whole time.
19. There is enough sand in the Sahara desert to fill a container the size of the moon two thirds of the way. If all that sand were melted to glass, it would be enough for 1000000000000000 wine glasses. All the water in the earth's oceans would only fill half of those glasses.
|Christ on a bike? Only if Christ was a lying, cheating sack of shit who ought to be in jail.|
20. During the time it has taken you to read this list, at least three people on earth will have given birth to a child that they believe to be the messiah. Two of those children will go on to become substance abusing felons.
I think that is enough for a single day. By now your head must be fat with knowledge, and you will need time to file all these facts in your brainal system. Until we speak again, be vigilant, and live by the fact. It is so much more useful than all the other gumpf people would have you believe