Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

That Time Mozart Pirated a Forbidden Piece of Music from the Catholic Church from Memory

sistina-interno

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known for many things, few of which we care to cover on this site because you probably already know all about them. Instead, we prefer to cover things that you likely didn’t know, like that the alphabet song was based on a tune by Mozart, or covering his extremely adult themed works that included a bit […]

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That Time the Italian Military Experimented with Parasheep

flying-sheep

Whether it’s flying tanks , literal bat bombs, surprisingly effective pigeon guided missiles, chicken heated nuclear weapons, or dogs that are trained to gruesomely take down tanks, humans have been using animals in war in a variety of bizarre ways. Today we’re here to talk about yet another seemingly absurd animal war-time event of the 20th century that actually turned […]

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That Time Hoover Accidentally Cost Itself Almost £50,000,000 by Giving Away Free Flights with the Purchase of a Vacuum Cleaner

world-travel

Giving away free stuff with a purchase is a good way to bolster sales and can result in a tidy increase in profits, provided you follow the general rule of making sure the long term projected profit from the promotion is greater than the cost of the giveaway. Appliance giant Hoover learned this seemingly obvious lesson first hand in 1992 […]

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The Story of How Two Friends Elaborately Re-Gifted the Same Pair of Pants for Over Two Decades

Santa Worker with a tool belt construction background.

To most people, re-gifting an unwanted Christmas present is rude, ungrateful and a little miserly. However, to Roy Collette and Larry Kunkel, it was not only a treasured Christmas-time tradition that they upheld for well over two decades, but an ever escalating game to see which one would fail to be able to re-gift the pair of pants in question […]

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The Nazis, Hitler, the Internet, and Godwin’s Law

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“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” – Mike Godwin Coined in 1990 by author and attorney Mike Godwin, Godwin’s Law was originally, to quote Godwin “a project in memetic engineering”, partially inspired by a 1980s article he read in Whole Earth Review in which they discuss the power of […]

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That Time a Guy Parachuted onto Devils Tower… and then Made National News When No One Could Figure Out How to Get Him Down

Nestled safely in the bosom of the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming is a large rock formation known simply as  Devils Tower. A popular landmark and the first recognised United States National Monument (declared such by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906), the imposing rocky butte was at the forefront of a bizarre media frenzy in 1941 when a […]

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Nobel Prize Winner Barry J. Marshall and His Decades Long Fight to Convince the Medical World What Really Causes Ulcers

ulcer

When it comes to science, we think there’s a saying that is fairly applicable, “who dares, wins”. Fans of military history may recognise that as the motto of the Special Air Services (SAS). However, we feel scientists and researchers deserve to use it just as much, because sometimes they take risks too. Just ask Barry J. Marshall if you don’t […]

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A Cow on a Yacht- The Fascinating Life of Gordon Bennett Jr.

james_gordon_bennett

As the old adage goes, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure takes the sting out of being poor. Gordon Bennett Jr. was a man for whom money meant nothing- he spent money with such impunity that across the pond in England his name has since become synonymous with astonishment and surprise. The son of famed newspaper magnate James Gordon […]

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Why are Some Pages “Intentionally Left Blank” and Why Do They Say This?

book

Gabino asks: Why do they bother putting the text This Page Intentionally Blank on blank pages? It’s easy to dismiss the phrase, “This page is intentionally left blank” and its usage as an example of bureaucracy gone mad, but it and the blank pages themselves are actually there for good reason. To begin with, the practise of marking intentionally blank pages, […]

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What Exactly Does Landing on Free Parking Do in a Game of Monopoly? (And Other Ways You’ve Been Playing Monopoly Wrong That Make It Take Longer)

monopoly

Richard G. asks: I’ve seen so many different rules for it, but what’s actually supposed to happen when you land on free parking in Monopoly? Few board games have the ability to cause arguments like Monopoly, an unsurprising fact given the object of the game it was based on (see: Who Invented Monopoly?) was to send your opponent to the […]

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Tom Waits vs. the World (Of Advertising)

tom-waits

Tom Waits’ raspy, almost growl-like singing voice has become synonymous with the singer and has been variously described by critics as sounding like it was “soaked in whiskey” or alternatively like it was “hit by a car”. This distinctly recognisable sound combined with Waits’ vast back catalogue of hits has seen the artist approached numerous times over the years by […]

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Where Did the Saying “I’ll Eat My Hat” Come From?

eat-hat

Jeremiah C. asks: Did people actually used to eat their hats? If not, where did the expression come from? “I’ll eat my hat” is an utterance commonly used when a person is absolutely certain that something will not happen. But where did this unusual phrase first originate and have there ever been any recorded instances of people actually eating their […]

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