- AGAMEMNON is made up of three consecutive palindromic triads.
- South Africa has three capital cities.
- In 1984, Newspeak is never spoken.
- A good licking is a bad licking.
- “A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.” — Oscar Wilde
In June 1917, the California Olive Association adopted the following rather terrifying size designations:
Olives counting 120-135 olives per pound: Standard
Olives counting 105-120 olives per pound: Medium
Olives counting 90-105 olives per pound: Large
Olives counting 75-90 olives per pound: Extra Large
Olives counting 65-75 olives per pound: Mammoth
Olives counting 55-65 olives per pound: Colossal
Olives counting 45-55 olives per pound: Giant
Over the years they added Jumbo, Supercolossal, and Special Supercolossal. It wasn’t until the the 1970s that the government stepped in to limit further growth: “The Department of Agriculture feels that most people would not be able to figure out which are the larger olives, except at the range of smaller sizes, whose names are the more straightforward.”
While we’re at it — champagne bottles have some impressive names of their own:
0.1875 liters: Piccolo
0.2 liters: Quarter
0.375 liters: Demi
0.75 liters: Standard
1.5 liters: Magnum
3 liters: Jéroboam
4.5 liters: Réhoboam
6 liters: Methusaleh
9 liters: Salmanazar
12 liters: Balthazar
15 liters: Nebuchadnezzar
18 liters: Solomon
26.25 liters: Sovereign
27 liters: Primat
30 liters: Melchizedek
The designer of the smiley, commercial artist Harvey Ball, never trademarked it and received just $45 for his work.
His son said, “He was not a money-driven guy. He used to say, ‘Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.'”
The blinking light atop the Capitol Records tower spells out the word HOLLYWOOD in Morse code.
It’s done so ever since the building opened in 1956.
The leaders of Russia have been alternately bald and hairy since 1881.
And monarchs’ profiles on British coins have faced alternately left and right since 1653.
(The exception is Edward VIII, who stares obstinately at the back of George V’s head.)
From English antiquary John Aubrey’s 1696 Miscellanies: “Anno 1670, not far from Cyrencester, was an Apparition; Being demanded, whether a good Spirit or a bad? Returned no answer, but departed with a curious Perfume and a most melodious Twang.”
In the 2004 film Shark Tale, the shark Lenny coughs up several items onto a table. Among them is a Louisiana license plate, number 007 0 981. The same plate is retrieved from sharks in both Jaws and Deep Blue Sea.
When Orville Wright died, Neil Armstrong was already 17 years old.
Joseph Grinnell’s Game Birds of California (1918) notes that the avocet is known as the lawyer bird because of “its long bill and its oft-repeated vociferations.”