Two-Faced Politicians

Until 1999, Abe Lincoln was the only person to appear on both the front and back of the same United States coin (he’s just barely visible on the back of the penny, sitting in his memorial):

Now George Washington can claim the same honor with the release of New Jersey state quarter, whose reverse shows him crossing the Delaware River:


“I remember Tallulah [Bankhead] telling of going into a public ladies’ room and discovering there was no toilet tissue. She looked underneath the booth and said to the lady in the next stall, ‘I beg your pardon, do you happen to have any toilet tissue in there?’ The lady said no. So Tallulah said, ‘Well, then, dahling, do you have two fives for a ten?'” — Ethel Merman

Going Once …

The five most expensive items sold on eBay (as of 2002):

  1. A Grumman Gulfstream II jet (sold for $4.9 million)
  2. A 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card ($1.65 million)
  3. Diamond Lake Resort in western Kentucky ($1.2 million)
  4. Shoeless Joe Jackson’s “Black Betsy” baseball bat ($577,610)
  5. A round of golf with Tiger Woods ($425,000)

An anonymous seller from Brazil once offered a decommissioned aircraft carrier. There were no takers.


The average Fortune 500 CEO is 6 feet tall — 3 inches taller than the average American man.

Of the 43 U.S. presidents, only five have been more than an inch below average height.


The 2004 tsunami arrives in Thailand. Its total energy equaled about 5 megatons of TNT, more than twice the total explosive energy used in all of World War II, including the two atomic bombs.

Nothing at the North Pole

Geographically extreme McDonald’s franchises:

  • Northernmost: Rovaniemi, Finland
  • Southernmost: Invercargill, New Zealand
  • Easternmost: Gisborne, New Zealand
  • Westernmost: Western Samoa

The lowest McDonald’s, 1,299 feet below sea level, is in the Israeli village of Ein Bokek, near the Dead Sea.


Many people consider this the worst poem ever written in the English language — “A Tragedy,” by the Belgian Pre-Raphaelite poet Theophilus Marzials. It was published in 1874, in his collection The Gallery of Pigeons:

The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks — “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks — “Die.”
* * * * *
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them — and fled
They all are every one! — and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.
And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.
* * * * *
A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew — I knew —
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end —
My Devil — My “Friend”
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air —
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop.

Reportedly Marzials once loudly asked a hushed library, “Am I not the darling of the British Museum Reading Room?” The response is not recorded.