Sunday, January 30, 2011

26 Things That Might Not Be True

You've heard them your whole life.

“Facts” and inside information that you really have to wonder about.

There are the multiple explanations for the facts of life, for instance, from birds dropping babies down chimneys (is there ever really an age when that seems plausible?) to sharing a straw to using the rest room of the opposite sex.

True, in the particular case of procreation, the truth turns out to be even more bizarre than most of the fiction, but that's a discussion for another day.

There was the story that aspirin in a Coke had the same approximate effect as LSD. And the rumor that Walt Disney was frozen after his death (he was cremated, but substitute Ted Williams and you're closer to the truth). And myths like giant alligators in the sewers, muggers who steal kidneys, tee-totaling college students and on and on ….

I come to this topic genetically, I think. One of my uncles once described my Grandfather Huber as “the biggest mass of misinformation” he had ever met. And so I bring you these nonfacts. Some I have heard over the years, and some have occurred to me as interesting ways to change the world if I were in charge.

Also ... I've included three true items just for the fun of it. See if you can pick them out.

1. All birds can talk, but so far only parrots and a very few others have chosen to.

2. Left in the sun, mayonnaise becomes mustard.

3. The arrow was invented decades before the bow, and was originally used simply as a pointing device.

4. Worldwide, women named Stella are taller than men named Mickey.

5. Coke the drink once contained coke the drug.

6. People who can't sing also can't bake.

7. During the American Revolution, over 600 people were executed for keeping the “u” in words like colour and flavour.

8. The word “stout” was invented as a way to describe King Henry VIII without insulting him.

9. Everyone in Ireland knows everyone else there.

10. The first man to milk a cow spent the rest of his life in prison as a pervert.

11. Benjamin Franklin proposed that the turkey be the symbol of America, not the eagle.

12. Every McDonald's has a secret VIP room where gourmet burgers and fries are served by supermodel waitresses.

13. The French horn got its name from the punch line of an off-color joke.

14. As he took office in January 1981, Ronald Reagan was under the mistaken impression that he had promised all Americans free sausages.

15. Babe Ruth is one miracle away from being declared a saint.

16. Potato chips were invented by a chef who was trying to spite a complaining customer.

17. More automobile accidents are caused each year by bees trapped inside the car than by texting and cell phoning combined.

18. No drummer has ever lived to be 70.

19. Small portions of the King James Bible were actually rewritten by William Shakespeare.

20. Two out of five men think of brassieres when they hear the word “infrastructure.”

21. In Argentina they sell men's suits that expand or contract with you as you gain or lose weight.

22. Voters in Delaware will decide this March which name is correct: cougar, puma, mountain lion, catamount or panther.

23. People in glass houses hate being told what to do.

24. William “Bill” Fontaine was named Meteorologist of the Year for coming up with the term “Thundersnow.”

25. Before prizefighters were known as “boxers” they were called “spaniels.”

26. The most interesting man in the world always drinks beer. In fact, it's kind of a problem.

So there is my contribution to what government agencies and political campaign managers like to call “disinformation.” If you were playing along, the actual true information is contained in numbers 5, 11 and 16.


  1. I knew that coke used to be more fun, and that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey for the national bird, but I never knew that mayonnaise turned into mustard! All these years, I was misinformed and thought that sun wasn't good for it. I LOVE mustard and now I REALLY can't wait for that first hot summer day!

  2. Ummm, eerkess ... we should talk. Definitely before the weather turns warm.