In 1938, a man in prison trained a cockroach to smuggle him cigarettes. He was later released because the warden said “a man who can train a cockroach doesn’t belong in prison”.
The music genre “shoegaze” got its name from British critics mocking the musicians always looking down at their shoes while playing instead of the audience. In reality, the musicians had to focus on the numerous music effect pedals in their playlist.
After high school senior Allison Closs dressed up a cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito to go with her to prom, DeVito returned the favor by bringing a cardboard cutout of Closs to the set of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Johnson. She has claimed Jewish ancestry, despite research showing no known Jewish ancestors. The Jewish Chronicle related an account of the name change where Whoopi’s mother thought her birth name was “not Jewish enough” for her to become a star.
On November 22, 1963, an unidentified woman placed a phone call to a news station, telling them John F Kennedy was about to be killed. The call was placed about 20 minutes before his assassination, from the vicinity of Oxnard, California, about fifty miles northwest of Los Angeles.
There were only two English words that end in “gry”– hungry and angry. In 2018, the Oxford English Dictionary added a third– “hangry” (an irritable state induced by lack of food).
During the early years of the Tour de France, guzzling alarming amounts of alcohol was the norm. Beer, wine, and brandy were considered safer to drink than water from questionable roadside wells or springs, and cyclists drank copiously.
Before asbestos was seen as hazardous, a Han dynasty general had a jacket made from it. He would pretend to spill wine on it at dinners. Then he’d throw it into a fire and pull it out to show it was still intact to impress his guests.
Grafting tomato shoots onto tobacco roots in 2003, Rob Baur claimed to be the first to create tomacco, the addictive tomato tobacco hybrid conceived by the Simpsons in 1999. While the leaves had nicotine, the tomatoes did not.
The Canadian ice hockey team were so dominant that they did not participate in the knock-out tournament of the 1930 World Championships. They were put straight into the gold medal final game, and the tournament was played to determine an opponent. Canada won 6-1 in the final to claim the gold.