Every year I make a point of collecting useless, but really interesting facts, for my annual ‘Things You Need to Know’ edition. This year proves to have another great selection of trivia, which will make you the star at all your Christmas parties.
• Did you know men can read smaller print than women can, but women can hear better? Nothing surprising there.
• Africa is the land of Tarzan, but did you know only 28% of the continent is wilderness, whereas that percentage in North America is 38%.
• The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven is $21,400?
• If you fly a great deal, you are not alone. During any given hour, the average number of people airborne over the U.S. is 61,000. In Canada, that number is 6,000.
• Like to read books? The first novel ever written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer.
• Are you aware the kings in a deck of playing cards represent real people? Spades: King David, Hearts: Charlemagne, Clubs: Alexander the Great and Diamonds: Julius Caesar.
• If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
• In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase, ’Goodnight, sleep tight’.
• Back in Babylon, the father of the bride would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead he could drink, for an entire month. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
• In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts, so in old England, when customers were unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.' This has been shortened to ‘Mind your p’s and q’s’.
• Still in England, back in the day, pub patrons had a whistle baked into the rim, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.
• Lastly, what is the only food that does not spoil? The answer is honey.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.