Saturday, April 14, 2007

Useless Wikipedia Facts: The Complete Collection

In the previous post, I announced my decision to stop doing Useless Wikipedia Facts.
Adding in a random Useless Wikipedia Fact at the bottom of each blog post was something I thought would be a fun way to just throw out random bits of trivia.  It was all based solely on what I personally thought was interesting, and thus was highly self-indulgent, but I had fun looking up all these random facts, and hopefully at least some other people found them interesting as well.
However, I've been feeling lately that my blog posts have been getting a bit too cluttered with stuff, and I wanted to drop the Useless Wikipedia Facts in order to make cleaner, shorter, less cluttered blog entries.  (I'm going to keep my Link of the Day feature going, but I think one feature at the end of a blog post is more than enough.  No sense making things overly cluttered by having a Link of the Day and a Useless Wikipedia Fact.)
But just for the sake of a trip down memory lane, here are all the random facts I collected over the past year in one post.
All of these Useless Wikipedia Facts accurately represented Wikipedia on the date they were posted, but since Wikipedia is constantly changing, there's no guarantee they represent what Wikipedia is currently saying.

April 13, 2006 The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Useless Wikipedia Fact: (A new feature I'd like to start up to celebrate the amount of useless information now online)
Ernst Stavro Blofeld appears in six James Bond movies, making him the most popular James Bond Villian

April 17, 2006 Coming Home

April 20, 2006 The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

April 21, 2006 28 Today

April 22, 2006 What I've Been Up To

April 23, 2006 V for Vendetta

May 6, 2006 Golden Week

These details were left out of the various Hollywood movies of Helen's life.

May 14, 2006 Further Thoughts

May 17, 2006 Back in Grand Rapids
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Borrowing from Mr. Guam, who brings to our attention this Wikipedia story of a cat named Wilberforce, the chief mouser at 10 Downing street which includes incidents of birdicide, being lost, and being turned out of the job because of Cherie Blair.

May 17, 2006 Retrospection

May 21, 2006: Anti-War Protest
1.privatization of Iraqs 200 state-owned enterprises;
2.100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses;
3.national treatment of foreign firms;
4.unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and
5.40-year ownership licenses. 

Bremer also enacted order 17, which grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq s laws

May 25, 2006 Adjustments

May 31, 2006 More Anti-War Protest

June 1, 2006 Trip to the Beach

June 6, 2006 My Trip Out West

June 8, 2006 Vacation Pictures

June 11, 2006 Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

June 16, 2006 First Email from Japan (Aug. 9, 2001)

The prominence of comic book deaths has lead to a common piece of comic shop wisdom: "No one in comics stays dead, except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben," referring to Captain America's sidekick (dead since 1964), Batman's second Robin (dead since 1989 and killed-off as a result of a fan poll) and Spider-Man's uncle (dead since 1962), respectively. With the return of Bucky and Jason Todd in 2005 and the apparent return of Uncle Ben in 2006, this saying has been sarcastically amended to "Absolutely no one in comics stays dead."

Outside of comics, this device has also been used in Dallas, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, and McGyver.

June 18, 2006 U.S.! by Chris Bachelder
The program also features some cameos (although the cameo actors are listed as stars) by other Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia (who sings the film's "theme song", set to the music of John Williams' Star Wars theme, near the end). The program is probably best known for an animated cartoon produced by Toronto-based Nelvana that introduces, for the first official time in the Star Wars universe, the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

June 20, 2006 Karl Marx: A Life by Francis Wheen

June 21, 2006 The Regime By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

June 27, 2006 That Guy...

July 29, 2006 More Pictures

A close second is "The Way to Eden" when the Enterprise is captured by space hippies.

July 7, 2006  Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain

July 9, 2006 Coach Burning
They are very well known from their appearances in Mothra and Godzilla movies of the 1960s, in which they appeared as fairies called shobijin (small beauties) who had telepathic communication with Mothra. (A bit cheesy perhaps, but one of my favorite Japanese groups. I'm listening to their CD as I write this).

July 12, 2006 For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

July 14, 2006 Halloween 1999
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Fictional Japanese Superheroes in the DC Universe:
Tsunami, aka Miya Shimada, an American citizen, the daughter of Japanese immigrants. She has superhuman control over the waves.
Doctor Light, aka Kimiyo Hoshi has the ability to manipulate ambient light for a variety of purposes. She can absorb all forms of illumination, and release that absorbed enregy as blinding flashes or light, or destructive laser beams. (Probably more, but those are the only two I know about).

July 19, 2006 Paris Babylon by Rupert Christiansen

July 21, 2006 Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

July 24, 2006 Pictures of Shoko

July 28, 2006 Journal Entry 1/24/99
Marge: Come on, Homer. Japan will be fun! You liked Rashomon.
Homer: That's not how I remember it

July 30, 2006 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

August 2, 2006 Working Man
"He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:12)
"And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property." (Exodus 21:20-21) (Newer translations like the New Living Translation, New International Version, New Century Version, etc. show verse 21 to mean "if the slave lives and returns to health in a day or two, then the owner is not to be punished.) 

August 4, 2006 Thoughts on the New Job

August 9, 2006 Conservative Logic
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Essex girl jokes, which consisted primarily of variations of the dumb blonde gag, became popular in the United Kingdom during the autumn of 1991. The jokes' derogatory nature and persistence caused some commentators to speak out publicly against them. This is something that was completely off my radar until I went to Japan and interacted with Brits, and learned what a big deal it was if someone happened to be from Essex. Anyone else encountered this?

August 12, 2006 DC Universe: Inheritance by Devin Grayson

August 16, 2006 Rabbit, Run by John Updike

In 1980, DC bought the rights to the Fawcett characters outright, and in 1987 relaunched the character in a miniseries, Shazam!: The New Beginning. Captain Marvel has not proven to be a modern-day success for DC to the degree it had been for Fawcett. As a recurring inside-joke, DC often writes Captain Marvel and Superman as battling opponents.

August 29, 2006 Update on Stuff
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Continuing the Captain Marvel theme (the most famous Superhero you never heard of)
Did you know that...
Captain Marvel was, based on sales, the most popular superhero of the 1940s, since the Captain Marvel Adventures comic book series sold more copies than Superman and other competing superhero books during the mid-1940s.

Captain Marvel the first comic book superhero to be depicted in film.

Captain Marvel introduced the phrase "Holy Moley" into the English language.

Captain Marvel was the first major comic book hero to have a young alter ego. Although kid superheroes had generally been neglected before Marvel's introduction, kid sidekicks soon became commonplace shortly after Marvel's success: Robin was paired with Batman in May 1940, and Captain America was introduced with sidekick Bucky in March 1941.

Even more than ten years after the character first disappeared, the superhero was still used for allusions and jokes, in films such as West Side Story, TV shows such as The Monkees, M*A*S*H, and American Dad!, and songs such as "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" (1968) by The Beatles and "Shazam" (1960) by Duane Eddy. Elvis Presley was a fan of Captain Marvel, Jr. comic books as a child, and later styled his hair to look like Freddy Freeman's and based his stage jumpsuits and TCB lightning logo on Captain Marvel Junior's costume and lightning-bolt insignia.

September 3, 2006 1632 by Eric Flint

September 8, 2006 Miss Boer Spring 1997
"I'm glad the Chicago Police Censor Board forgot about that part of the local censorship law where it says films shall not depict the burning of the human body. If you have to censor, stick to censoring sex, I say. ... But leave in the mutilation, leave in the sadism, and by all means leave in the human beings burning to death. It's not obscene as long as they burn to death with their clothes on."

September 15, 2006 New Job
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Harley Quinn and Detective Renee Montoya are both examples of characters introduced first in the Batman animated series, and then later incorporated into the comic books.

September 20, 2006 Rosa by Jonathon Rabb
The phrase "the bee's knees", meaning "the height of excellence", became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s along with "the cat's whiskers" (possibly from the use of these in radio crystal sets), "the cat's pajamas" (pajamas were still new enough to be daring), and similar phrases that didn't endure: "the eel's ankle", "the elephant's instep", "the snake's hip" and "the capybara's spats".
The phrase's actual origin has not been determined, but several theories include "b's and e's" (short for "be-alls and end-alls") and a corruption of "business" ("It's the beezness.")

September 22, 2006 Journal 4/28/2000

September 27, 2006 Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman

September 30, 2006 Caesar by Colleen McCullough

October 2, 2006 Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles
Support for the letters was added in the most recent version of Unicode, version 5.0.0

In November of 2004, the Norfolk, Virginia-based Virginian-Pilot ceased running Malkin's nationally syndicated column. Fellow columnist Bronwyn Lance Chester explained, "I think [Malkin] habitually mistakes shrill for thought-provoking and substitutes screaming for discussion. She's an Asian Ann Coulter." Malkin responded "I'm not Asian, I'm American, for goodness' sake. I would take the comparison to Ann Coulter as somewhat of a compliment. I have a lot of respect for Ann Coulter." (Looks like I'll have to eat my words from this post. I agree that Malkin is incredibly obnoxious, but in a perfect world she could be obnoxious without people responding in racist ways).

October 10, 2006 Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
"There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex, I have a big problem with that."
Others read the passage more critically, including allegations of sexism. Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, who has been quoted as saying "I hate the Narnia books...with a passion...", interprets it this way:
"Susan, like Cinderella, is undergoing a transition from one phase of her life to another. Lewis didn't approve of that. He didn't like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up."

October 13, 2006 New Job Finishes
Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band
Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,
To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:
“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”

later became an arch conservative and spent several years on the staff of Senator Jesse Helms.

October 20, 2006 Japan E-mails August 12, 2001

October 22, 2006 Video Interview

October 25, 2006 Kissinger in Grand Rapids

This is parodied in the Simpsons episode where Homer finds Kissinger's glasses in the toilet and recites the same thing. He is corrected by the person in the next stall.

October 31, 2006 Rabbit Redux by John Updike

November 1, 2006 It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

November 2, 2006 The Dragon and the George by Gordon Dickson
Also during an argument Ringo walked out, and the drums on this song were done by the other Beatles. Lennon, later in an interview was asked "Do you think Ringo is the greatest rock drummer in the world?" To which Lennon replied, "He's not even the best drummer in The Beatles."

November 3, 2006 Harajiri Waterfall

November 8, 2006 Infinite Crisis by Greg Cox

November 17, 2006 email: June 7, 2000

November 20, 2006 Crazy Toys

November 22, 2006 Delurking Week

November 24, 2006 The US Vs John Lennon

November 27, 2006 Thanksgiving Day Weekend
The song also mentions famed English author and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh by name, calling him a "stupid git" for bringing the tobacco plant to England.

November 28, 2006 High School Reunion

November 29, 2006 Part 2: The Reunion Itself 

November 30, 2006 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

December 1, 2006 Sept. 5, 1990 "What I did this summer"
Useless Wikipedia Fact: "Don't Pass Me By" was Ringo Starr's first solo composition and he sang lead on this song, which apparently became a #1 hit in Sweden. Its earliest mention seems to be off a BBC chatter session introducing "And I Love Her" on the Top Gear program in 1964. In the conversation, Starr is asked if he wrote a song and McCartney proceeded to mock it soon after, but the song is unmistakably Don't Pass Me By with very slightly different lyrics. The song has a very predictable 3-chord blues structure, of the root, fourth, and fifth, with the chorus having the same chords and rhythm as the verse, apparently leading McCartney to mock it. The fact that it wasn't recorded until 1968 contributed to Starr temporarily quitting The Beatles during the White Album sessions. Ringo Starr refused to do more than one take on this song, thus getting all the mess ups on the album itself.

Lennon was said to have been fond of sarcastically citing "Why Don't We Do it in the Road" as the "best song Paul ever wrote."

December 7, 2006 The October Horse by Colleen McCullough

December 8, 2006 Imperium by Robert Harris
Useless Wikipedia Fact
"Birthday" begins with a blues progression in A (in the form of a guitar riff doubled by the bass) with Paul singing at the top of his chest voice, "They say it's your birthday/ Well it's my birthday too, yeah!" Afterwards, a drum break lasting eight measures brings the song into Lennon's section, which rests entirely on the dominant before returning to a third section, sung by McCartney. It is among the latter's most intense vocal performances due to the range in which he sings during the blues run. The female backing vocals that sing the "birthday" were performed by Yoko OnoLinda Eastman and Patti Harrison.

December 15, 2006 E-mail: August 13, 2001
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Lennon apparently intended the song "Yer Blues" as a parody of British blues, but it was delivered with such spirit that it has been hard for some listeners not to take it seriously. The lyrics are extremely suicidal, and include references to Bob Dylan's Ballad of a Thin Man as well as cosmology.

December 19, 2006 Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The lecture by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that inspired "Mother Nature's Son" also inspired John Lennon's unreleased song "Child of Nature," the tune of which he later re-used to completely different effect in "Jealous Guy."

December 22, 2006 Crash by J.G. Ballard
Useless Wikipedia Fact
On "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" Musicologist, Alan W. Pollack, commented: "The shaken (cow?) bell only seems to be incessant. If you manage to track it (come on, you can do it yourself this time), you'll note how neatly it is dropped out and back in over the course of the song; typical Beatlesqueattention to detail."

December 28, 2006 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Originally titled "Maharishi", The Beatles changed the title to "Sexy Sadie" to avoid possible litigation as the song's lyrics portray the Maharishi in a less than favorable light. John Lennon became discouraged after the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had allegedly made a pass at one of the female members of their entourage. John Lennon once said about this song: "That was inspired by Maharishi. I just called him, 'Sexy Sadie,' instead of (sings) 'Maharishi what have you done, you made a fool...' I was just using the situation to write a song, rather calculatingly but also to express what I felt.

December 29, 2006 Brett Comes to Japan
Useless Wikipedia Fact
McCartney was inspired to write the song "Helter Skelter" after reading anewspaper review of The Who's latest single, most likely "I Can See For Miles". The review described the single as the loudest, wildest song ever recorded, with distorted guitars, reverb, and screaming. McCartney took this as a challenge to write something louder and "Helter Skelter" was the result. Some historians of popular music believe that this song was a key influence on the development of heavy metal.

January 1, 2007 Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Critic Richie Unterberger writes that "Long, Long, Long" is one of the most underrated songs in The Beatles' large discography." [1] It is a relatively quiet, calm song, especially when compared to the raucous "Helter Skelter" which immediately precedes it on The Beatles.

January 3, 2007 The Martian Tales Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Useless Wikipedia Fact
"Revolution 1" (the album version) contains a notable lyrical difference to the version released as a single: Lennon's vocal for the track adds the word "in" following the line "When you talk about destruction/ don't you know that you can count me out". Lennon stated in interviews that he was undecided in his sentiments toward the song's theme so he included both options.

January 4, 2007 Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The song "Honey Pie" is a direct homage to the British music-hall style. It concerns a famed actress, known through the hypocharisma "Honey Pie", and her old lover, who wishes for her to rejoin him in England. The premise – a humble admirer yearning for the return of his lover – is not unlike a typical music-hall plot. In order to establish an appropriate, old-timey sound, 'scratches' were added to the third line, "Now she's hit the big time!" from a 78 RPM record.

January 5, 2007 My Holidays
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Because "Savoy Truffle" is such an obscure song, some believe that George Harrison might have written it to spite John Lennon andPaul McCartney. The theory is that because George was always limited in the number of songs he could write for each album, he got frustrated and came up with a ridiculous song about a box of chocolates

January 9, 2007 Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Useless Wikipedia Fact
John Lennon insulted the song "Cry Baby Cry", as he did most of his songs, by calling it "A piece of rubbish"

January 11, 2007 Gerald R. Ford and Me
Useless Wikipedia Fact
On "Revolution 9": As with Revolution itself, the theme was inspired by the contemporary May 1968 riots in Paris, and "Revolution 9" was meant to capture the violence of a revolution in progress. At over eight minutes it was the longest track on the album, as well as the longest Beatles track ever officially released.

January 12, 2007 Journal 4/7/00
Useless Wikipedia Fact
John Lennon apparently didn't want to perform the song "Good Night" because it didn't fit his "hard-rocker image". It is sung by Ringo Starr, the only Beatle to appear on the song.

January 14, 2007 The Time of the Dragons by Alice Ekert-Rotholz
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Shakespeare's Play "Troilus and Cressida" has rarely been popular on stage and there is no recorded performance between 1734 and 1898. It was not staged in its original form until the early twentieth century, but since then, it has become increasingly popular due to its cynical depiction of people's immorality and disillusionment especially after the First World War. Its popularity reached a peak in the 1960s when public discontent with the Vietnam War increased exponentially. The play's main overall themes about a long period of war, the cynical breaking of one's public oaths, and the lack of morality among Cressida and the Greeks resonated strongly with a discontented public and led to numerous stagings of this play since it highlighted the gulf between one's ideals and the bleak reality

January 15, 2007 I've Gone Beta
Useless Wikipedia Fact
When animation company Hanna-Barbera licensed the animation rights to the DC Comics characters and adapted the Justice League of America comic book for television, it made several changes in the transition, not the least of which was the change of name to Super Friends. In part, it was feared that the name Justice League of America would have seemed too jingoistic during the post-Vietnam War Era.

January 17, 2007 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Useless Wikipedia Fact
In discussing the 2004 American presidential elections, Wallis said "Jesus didn't speak at all about homosexuality. There are about 12 verses in the Bible that touch on that question ... [t]here are thousands of verses on poverty. I don’t hear a lot of that conversation." [2]

January 18, 2007 That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
Useless Wikipedia Fact
"More Cowbell" is a line from an April 82000 Saturday Night Live comedy sketch about the recording of the song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer Bruce Dickinson and Will Ferrell as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle. The line itself has grown into a pop culture catch phrase.

January 18, 2007 The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
Useless Wikipeda Fact
Mountain Dew was originally marketed as "zero proof moonshine" and had pictures of hillbillies on the bottle until 1973. In the 1970s through the late 1980s Mountain Dew had the crude nickname of "hillbilly piss" due to the carry-over bottle art and yellow coloring, but that usage has since fallen out of favor.
Today's marketing target is radically different. The drink is mainly marketed to people in the 20-30 year old demographic group, creating a connection to extreme sports and video game culture. The name Mountain Dew was first trademarked by two brothers, Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling plant in Warner, South Dakota.

January 20, 2007 ...And I Get Feedback
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The tannins in coffee may reduce the cariogenic potential of foods. In vitro experiments have shown that these polyphenolic compounds may interfere with glucosyltransferase activity of mutans streptococci, which may reduce plaque formation. In rat experiments, tea polyphenols reduced caries[14

January 22, 2007 Ilium by Dan Simmons
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Al Pratt (Golden Age Version of the Atom from DC Comics) was portrayed as a student of Calvin College in the 1940s comic books. He later became a professor at Calvin College.

[Ed. note--I actually added this one myself. It is my first (and so far only) venture into the editing of Wikipedia. It should be interesting to see what happens with it. Those Wikipedites move fast. It's already been moved from "notable alumni" to "fictional potrayals"]

January 23, 2007 Back to Japan
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Similarities between Captain Marvel and Calvin and Hobbes:
The modern-day Tawky Tawny was a stuffed tiger doll who was animated by Lord Satanus to assist the Marvel Family in their battle against Satanus's sister Blaze. He only appeared as an animate being to Billy, Mary, and later Dudley, much in the same way that Hobbes only appears sentient to Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes).
Miss Wormwood. In modern-era comics, Billy's schoolteacher (and later principal), presented as the typical "mean teacher" stereotype. Her name is referenced in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin's schoolteacher was also named Miss Wormwood.

January 24, 2007 The Past 8 Months
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Ben Wildeboer teaches Earth Science and Physics at Whitmore Lake High School in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. He resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On July 152006, he was married!

January 27, 2007 7th Grade: What I Did this Weekend
Useless Wikipedia Fact
In the Divine Comedy Dante sees the soul of Paris in the second circle of Hell, being tossed around eternally by a fierce wind, along with Helen and others who succumbed to the sin of lust.

January 29, 2007 Watership Down by Richard Adams
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The Yakuza is a 1975 post-noir gangster film written by Leonard SchraderPaul Schrader and Robert Towne and directed by Sydney Pollack. Following a lackluster initial release, the film has gained a cult following. The film has influenced such contemporary movies as Black Rain (1989), Brother (2001), Kill Bill (2004), Into the Sun (2005) and Blade Runner (1982)

January 30, 2007 Better Know a City
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The Blogger service often has problems of various kinds. These problems can last a couple of minutes and/or hours and possibly even days. The new term, 'bloggered', is now applied in situations where Blogger suddenly and inexplicably goes down, causing readers to be unable to read the affected blog and preventing the blog author(s) from posting/updating posts, or a myriad other potential difficulties.For instance, when a blog that goes down due to technical problems or upgrades, the author of that blog may state "I have been [B]loggered." But soon enough, Blogger is working properly and bloggers can resume their blogging activities.

January 31, 2007 Nakatsu/ 中津
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Lion-O's aging from a 12-year-old child to a 24-year-old man is considered one of the series' biggest plot holes by fans. Although it was explained that some aging would take place within the suspension capsule, none of the other ThunderCats aged to the same extent. While no further explanation was ever given, fans have speculated that Lion-O's capsule may have malfunctioned, causing him to age more rapidly.

February 1, 2007 New Job
Useless Wikipedia Fact
In 1981, Jackson County, Florida challenged the novel "1984" on the grounds that it contained pro-communist material and sexual references. [4][5]

February 3, 2007 Further Thoughts on Settling In
Useless Wikipedia Fact
In the Zelda games, Link is described as a young man who lives in the land of Hyrule. His age varies from game to game, ranging from 10 to 18. He is also one of the few left-handed protagonists in video games (with the exception of his appearance in the Wii version of Twilight Princess, where he is right-handed for control purposes).[2]

February 8, 2007 Sanko-Mura/ 三光
Brutus (Welsh: Bryttys), a descendant of the Trojan hero Aeneas, was known in medieval British legend as the eponymous founder and first king of Britain. The Historia Britonum states that "The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul" who conquered both Spain and Britain. A more detailed story, set before the foundation of Rome, follows, in which Brutus is the grandson or great grandson of Aeneas.

February 9, 2007 Movie Reviews
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Endymion received scathing criticism after its release, and Keats himself noted its diffuse and unappealing style (see, for example, The Quarterly Review April 1818 pp. 204-208). However, he did not regret writing it, as he likened the process to leaping into the ocean to become more acquainted with his surroundings; in a poem to Haydon, he expressed that "I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest."

February 10, 2007 Japan e-mails August 14, 2001
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Liberty Leading the People (French: La Liberté guidant le peuple) is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution, and specifically the events of the 28 July 1830 in the centre of Paris. A woman personifying Liberty leads the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the tricolore flag of the French Revolution in one hand and brandishing a bayonetted musket with the other.

February 11, 2007 The Job Update
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The book, "The Grapes of Wrath" is frequently banned in schools across the United States, and in 1986, in Graves County, Kentucky, an adult was arrested for possession of a copy.

February 13, 2007 The Magnificent Seven
Useless Wikipedia Fact
While the plot of "Destroy all Monsters" resembles that of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965), this entry is significant in that it showcases 11 daikaiju, a record for the Godzilla series until Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).

February 14, 2007 女囚701号 さそり/ Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Eikaiwa teachers come from a variety of backgrounds, and are generally native English speakers. Most come fromAustraliaCanadaNew Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States. 97% (according to 2004 statistics from the Ministry of Immigration) spend less than 3 years teaching in Japan (Average of 1 year)

February 15, 2007 High Noon
Useless Wikipedia Fact
In reality, the scarcity of royals alluded to in the film "King Ralph" is not possible. There are currently 901legitimate heirs to the British and other Commonwealth thrones. The first of those who do not reside in the UK is 60th in the real line of succession, and belongs to the Royal Family of Norway. Even if the fictional Wyndham dynasty had a different genealogy, there would still be many heirs who do not belong to the extended royal family present in the photographing tragedy.

February 16, 2007 The Producers (2006)
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland suddenly found itself in vogue with the times almost two decades later the initial release, following the North American success of George Duning's animated feature Yellow Submarine. In fact, because of Mary Blair's art direction and the long-standing association of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland with the drug culture, the feature was re-discovered as something of a "head film" (along with Fantasia and The Three Caballeros) among the college-aged and was shown in various college towns across the country. The Disney company resisted this association, and even withdrew prints of the film from universities, but then, in 1974, the Disney company gave Alice in Wonderland its first theatrical re-release ever, and the company even promoted it as a film in tune with the "psychedelic" times

Useless Wikipedia Fact
When Doonesbury ran the names of soldiers who had died in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, conservative commentators accused Garry Trudeau of using the American dead to make a profit for himself, and again demanded that the strip be removed from newspapers.
After many letter writing campaigns demanding the removal of the strip were unsuccessful, conservatives changed their tactics, and instead of writing to newspaper editors, they began writing to one of the printers who prints the color Sunday comics. In 2005, Continental Features gave in to their demands, and refused to continue printing the Sunday Doonesbury, causing it to disappear from the 38 Sunday papers that Continental Features printed.

February 20, 2007 The Davinci Code
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The "27 Club" is a popular culture reference to a group of several rock musicians, each of whom had a meteoric rise to success that was cut short by a drug-related death at age 27. The musicians are:
Brian Jones (February 281942 – July 31969) (The Rolling Stones)— Drowned in his swimming pool.
Jimi Hendrix (November 271942 – September 181970) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) — Asphyxiated on vomit while sleeping after presumably unintentional overdose of sleeping pills
Janis Joplin (January 191943 – October 41970) (Janis Joplin, Big Brother & The Holding Company) — Heroin overdose
Jim Morrison (December 81943 – July 31971) (The Doors) — Heart failure
Kurt Cobain (February 201967 – April 51994) (Nirvana) — suicide by shotgun

Ed note: Isn't it weird to think we're now older than all these famous rock stars we spent most of our lives looking up to?

February 20, 2007 Good Night and Good Luck
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Gartner Group forecasts that blogging will peak in 2007, levelling off when the number of writers who maintain a personal website reaches 100 million. Gartner analysts expect that the novelty value of the medium will wear off as most people who are interested in the phenomenon have checked it out, and new bloggers will offset the number of writers who abandon their creation out of boredom. The firm estimates that there are more than 200 million former bloggers who have ceased posting to their online diaries, creating an exponential rise in the amount of dotsam and netsam (i.e. unwanted objects) on the Web.

February 22, 2007 シクスティナイン/ 69
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Critics say frequent use of ain't is a marker of basilectal — which is to say, "vulgate" or "common people" speech. The same applies for using i'n'it (normally written as innit) instead of "isn't it". There is little justification for this judgment on etymological or grammatical grounds, but it remains a widespread belief that the word is "not a word" or "incorrect".

February 22, 2007 Usa/ 宇佐
Useless Wikipedia Fact
"Hey Joe" is an American popular song from the 1960s that has become a rock standard, and as such has been performed in a multitude of musical styles. Diverse credits and claims have led to confusion as to its authorshipand genesis. It tells the story of a man on the run after shooting his wife. It is most widely known for the version recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The song title is sometimes given as "Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?" or similar variations

February 24, 2007 Brett Visits Japan Part 2
Since the 1960s, Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips has become very controversial, because of its portrayal of the Japanese and Bugs' attitude and casual violence toward them. Despite its dated anti-Japanese slant (in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor drawing the United States directly into World War II against the Axis powers), and because the cartoon was not one of The Censored Eleven, it was occasionally shown on television in syndicated packages with other pre-1948 Warner cartoons that were under the ownership of Associated Artists Productions. It debuted on home video in December 1991 on the first Golden Age of Looney Tuneslaser disc collection. The niche market format did not cause a stir, but when the 5 disc set was later issued in the more accessible VHS format on 10 separate tapes, Japanese rights groups protested its distribution, and both releases were withdrawn. Reissues for both formats replaced the cartoon with Racketeer Rabbit. The VHS reissue combined volumes 4 and 7 of the 10 tape set.

February 28, 2007 Olympus by Dan Simmons
Useless Wikipedia Fact
It was common among 1960s and early 1970s United States leftists to write Amerika rather than "America" in referring to the United States. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and is still used in political statements today. [6] [7] It is likely that this was originally an allusion to the German spelling of America, and intended to be suggestive of Nazism, a hypothesis that the Oxford English Dictionary supports. It may additionally have been an allusion to the title ofFranz Kafka's 1927 novel Amerika

February 28, 2007 North Country
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The Pygmies were a tribe of diminutive humans in Greek mythology
They were involved in a constant war with the cranes, which migrated in winter to their homeland on the southern shores of the earth-encircling river Oceanus. The old Greek poet Homer was the first to describe the battle.
In art the scene was popular with little Pygmies armed with spears and slings, riding on the backs of goats, battling the flying cranes. They were often portrayed as pudgy, comical dwarfs.
the term "Pygmy" remained essentially mythological until applied by nineteenth century European explorers to people they encountered

March 1, 2007 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Alas, so ends my one and only adventure into Wikipedia editing--edited out.
Al Pratt: I looked through the link, it appears that the "Calvin College" in the comic was named for a fictional town "Calvin City" and probably has no relation to this school.
Retrieved from ""

March 3, 2007 The Ice Harvest
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Modern fantasy literature has revived the elves as a race of semi-divine beings of human stature. Fantasy elves are different from Norse elves, but are more akin to that older mythology than to folktale elves – they are unlikely to sneak in at night and help a cobbler mend his shoes. The grim Norse-style elves of human size introduced Poul Anderson's fantasy novel The Broken Sword from 1954 are one of the first precursors to modern fantasy elves, although they are overshadowed (and preceded) by the Elves of the twentieth-century philologist and fantasywriter J. R. R. Tolkien. Though Tolkien originally conceived his Elves as more fairy-like than they afterwards became, he also based them on the god-like and human-sized ljósálfar of Norse mythology.

March 4, 2007 Broken Flowers
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Despite (or perhaps because of) its reputation as a bad film, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" does not appear on theInternet Movie Database's "Bottom 100" list of the 100 worst-reviewed films on the site. Reportedly, in his research for the film Ed WoodMartin Landau watched all of Bela Lugosi's movies and said Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla "made the Ed Wood films look like Gone with the Wind."

March 4, 2007 突入せよ!あさま山荘事件/ The Choice of Hercules
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The following is the will of Joe Hill:
His will, which was eventually set to music by Ethel Raim, read:
My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide,
My kin don't need to fuss and moan-
"Moss does not cling to a rolling stone."
My body? Ah, If I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow.
Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will,
Good luck to all of you, Joe Hill

March 7, 2007 Karl Marx: His Life and Environment by Isaiah Berlin
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson was vocally critical of Jim Davis and his decision to license his stripGarfield to so many different things, saying that it "cheapened" the originality of the strip. He particularly hatedU.S. Acres, citing it as "an abomination" and "an insult to the intelligence."[1]

March 10, 2007 Journal 4/8/00
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Despite urban legend, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet (the myth being helped by the surname). However, Crapper put in effort to popularise it and did come up with some related inventions. He was noted for the quality of his products and received several Royal Warrants. The noun "crap" was in use long before he was born, but no longer used in Victorian Britain

March 13, 2007 Say Anything
Useless Wikipedia Fact
An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman are sitting in a bar. All of a sudden, three flies dive into their beers. The Englishman says, "Barman, a fly just dived into my beer. Bring me another one." The Englishman got another beer. The Irishman says, "Ah, to hell with it," and empties his pint, fly and all. The Scotsman pulls the fly out of his beer and screams, "SPIT IT OOT, YA BASTARD!"

March 14, 2007 Bungo-Takada/ 豊後高田
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Andrew Johnson married at a younger age (19) than any other President before or since.
Johnson was also the only President who was illiterate at the time of his marriage. His wife taught him how to read and write. As far as his approach to these skills, Johnson is credited with saying "It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word."[14]

March 18, 2007 The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Useless Wikipedia Fact
White Day is a growing tradition that was created through a concentrated marketing effort in Japan. White Day is celebrated in JapanSouth KoreaTaiwan and some other East Asian countries on March 14, one month afterValentine's Day. On Valentine's Day, women give gifts to men; on White Day, men who received chocolate on Valentine's Day return the favor and give gifts to women

ed. note: Guess who's in trouble for forgetting...

March 24, 2007 Free Writing 10/26/93
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The B.C. strip on December 7, 2006, attracted criticism for defining "infamy" as "a word seldom used after Toyota sales topped 2 million." The day was the 65th anniversary of the Japanese military's attack on Pearl Harbor, and the punchline of the strip references Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Infamy Speech" which requested from Congress adeclaration of war against Japan. Toyota is a Japanese company, and apparently became the target of Hart's criticism solely on the basis of nationality. The day's strip was pulled from at least one newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News. The paper's managing editor, Brett Thacker, said the comic was "more than just a feeble attempt at being topical, it's a regressive and insensitive statement about one of the worst days in American history.... [Hart's comic represented] an old way of thinking. The preceding generations lived through that horrible era -- I can certainly appreciate their sacrifice. The world has changed, and much to our benefit. Unfortunately, some people haven't."[6]

March 25, 2007 Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Following the song's release, musical similarities between "My Sweet Lord" and The Chiffons' hit "He's So Fine" led to a lengthy legal battle over the rights to the composition. Billboard magazine, in an article dated 6 March 1971, stated that Harrison's royalty payments from the recording had been halted worldwide. Harrison stated that he was inspired to write "My Sweet Lord" after hearing the Edwin Hawkins Singers' "Oh Happy Day".
In the U.S. federal court decision in the case, known as Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, Harrison was found to have unintentionally copied the earlier song. He was ordered to surrender the majority of royalties from "My Sweet Lord" and partial royalties from All Things Must Pass.
The Chiffons would later record "My Sweet Lord" to capitalize on the publicity generated by the lawsuit.
Shortly thereafter, Harrison (who would eventually buy the rights to "He's So Fine")[1] wrote and recorded a song about the court case named "This Song", which includes "This song, there's nothing 'Bright' about it."

March 26, 2007 General Update
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Only a few of the Simpsons "Tracy Ulman Shorts" have been released on DVD. "Good Night" was included on The Simpsons season 1 DVD. Five of these shorts were later used in the clip show episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" on the half-hour show, which was released on the season 7 DVD. These five shorts were "Good Night", "The Perfect Crime", "Space Patrol", "World War III", and "Bathtime".[9] Groening has announced that all of the shorts will be available on mobile phones.[10]

March 30, 2007 Tombo Times Article: Natsu-Mero For Dummies
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Rumors that Rage Against the Machine could reunite at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were circulating in mid-January,[19] and were confirmed on January 22.[20] The band is billed to headline the final day of Coachella 2007 on Sunday, April 29.[21] The performance was initially thought to be a one-off,[22] but that was cast into doubt following Chris Cornell's exit from Audioslave.[7] Three more performances are planned as part of the Rock The Bells Festival with the Wu-Tang Clan[23] and will be played in New York as well as northern and southern California.
The reunion will primarily be a vehicle to voice the band's opposition to the "right-wing purgatory" the United States has "slid into" under the George W. Bush administration since RATM's dissolution.[24]

April 1, 2007 The Corporation
Useless Wikipedia Fact
After the Boston tea party, as far as tea drinking itself was concerned, many colonists, in Boston and elsewhere in the country, pledged to keep away from the drink as a protest, turning instead to "Balsamic hyperion" (made from raspberry leaves) and other herbal infusions. This social protest movement away from tea drinking was not, however, long-lived.

April 2, 2007 Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Fat Albert first appeared in Cosby's stand-up comedy routine "Buck Buck," as recorded on his 1967 album Revenge. The stories were based upon Cosby's tales about growing up in the inner city of Philadelphia. In 1969, Cosby and veteran animator Ken Mundie brought Fat Albert to animation in a one-shot prime-time special entitled Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert.

April 3, 2007 Walk the Line
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The 256th and final level in Pac-Man is generally considered unplayable due to corrupting map glitches. However, in December 1982, an eight-year-old boy named Jeffrey R. Yee received a letter from U.S. President Ronald Reagan congratulating him on a worldwide record of 6,131,940 points, a score only possible if the player has passed the Split-Screen Level. Whether or not this event happened as described has remained in heated debate amongst video game circles since its supposed occurrence.

April 4, 2007 Top 10 Hollywood Biopics I would love to see
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The Adventures of the Gummi Bears was Disney's first successful foray into television animation (it was released back to back with another show, The Wuzzles, which lasted only 13 episodes). At the time of its first premiere, very few, if any, animated television series were on par with Gummi Bears' production values. It even exceeded the quality of much Japanese animation made for TV at the time. Gummi Bears is often credited by animators and animation historians as having helped jump start the massive boom of television animation in the late 1980s all through the 1990s.

April 6, 2007 Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
Useless Wikipedia Fact
The Wiggles are an Australian band that specializes in children's entertainment. Since its formation in 1991, the group has achieved worldwide success with its children's albumsvideostelevision series and concert appearances.
According to Business Review Weekly magazine, The Wiggles were Australia's highest grossing entertainers for the year 2005, earning more than AC/DC and Nicole Kidman combined.[1]

Useless Wikipedia Fact
In any form, a minute amount of odorant such as t-butyl mercaptan, with a rotting-cabbage-like smell, is added to the otherwise colorless and odorless gas, so that leaks can be detected before a fire or explosion occurs. Sometimes a related compound, thiophane is used, with a rotten-egg smell. Adding odorant to natural gas began in the United States after the 1937 New London School explosion. The buildup of gas in the school went unnoticed, killing three hundred students and faculty when it ignited. Odorants are considered non-toxic in the extremely low concentrations occurring in natural gas delivered to the end user.

---Shortly before I came back to Japan, Brett, Sara and I had a debate about whether the breathing of natural gas by itself was harmful, or if it was just dangerous because of its likeliness to blow up. Thoughts anyone?

April 9, 2007 The United States of Leland
Useless Wikipedia Fact
It was The Wolf Man that introduced the concepts of werewolves being vulnerable to silver (in traditional folklore, it is more effective against vampires), the werewolf's forced shapeshifting under a full moon, and being marked with a pentagram (a symbol of the occult and of Satanism). These are considered by many as part of the originalfolklore of the werewolf, even though they were created for the film. Unlike the werewolves of legend, which resemble true wolves, the Wolf Man was a kind of hybrid creature. It stood erect like a human, but had the fur, teeth and claws of a wolf. There had been similar depictions of werewolves in several earlier movies but this was by far the most influential, and subsequent movies have built on this image.

April 10, 2007 Riverworld
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Peter Lorre (June 261904 – March 231964), born Ladislav (László) Löwenstein, was an Austrian-Jewish stage and screen actor and director, who later became a naturalised US citizen. He was especially known for playing roles with sinister overtones in Hollywood crime films and mysteries. He is arguably the first Bond Villain, playing alongside Barry Nelson (who played an Americanised Bond) in the first screenplay adaptation of James Bond in 1954.

The practice of emulating Peter Lorre's unforgettable voice, look, and mannerisms is quite notable throughout television and cinema, dating from impersonations in various cartoons such as Looney Tunes; indeed, most persons doing impressions of Lorre's voice are actually imitating Warner Brothers' Mel Blanc doing his Lorre impression (Blanc is much broader and louder than Lorre generally was, and the cartoons seen much more often than Lorre's actual work). This can be noticed in characters such as Ren from Ren and StimpyMorocco Mole from Secret Squirrel, Rocky Rococo from various Firesign Theatre sketches, Surface Agent X20 from Stingray, Mr. Gruesome from The FlintstonesStaring Herring from Beany and CecilMarlon Fraggle from Fraggle Rock, Cruel from Count Duckula, Harry Slime from Avenger PenguinsDoctor N. Gin from the Crash Bandicoot series, Boo Berry from Boo Berry cereal, the hanging lamp from The Brave Little ToasterCosmos from TransformersFlattop from The Dick Tracy Show, Wart from Rescue Rangers, and Digitamamon from Digimon were based on Lorre's mannerisms. In the episode "The Tick vs. Chairface Chippendale" from The Tick animated series, one of the villains attending Chairface's birthday party is "The Man Who Looks Like Peter Lorre." The script for Godspell includes a line which is suggested as being done in the style of Peter Lorre. Also, Rob Schneider ably played Lorre's character in theSaturday Night Live sketch, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Tom Smith, award-winning filk singer, wrote a song in 1988, "I Want to Be Peter Lorre."[2] Even today, films show his distinct characteristics in characters, such asArnold Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark, a routine Robin William's genie character did in Disney's Aladdin and themaggot in Corpse Bride. And even in video games, the 2005 video game Destroy All Humans! features aliens that look similar to Lorre. As well, during gameplay, some humans will shout; "Help! We're being invaded by Peter Lorre!"

April 11, 2007 男たちの大和/ Men of Yamato
Useless Wikipedia Fact
Cutie Honey (キューティーハニー, Kyūtī Hanī?) is a Japanese media franchise created by Go Nagai. Cutie Honey first appears on volume 41 of the 1973 edition of Shōnen Champion. The titular character of Honey is considered the prototype for the transforming magical girl.

April 12, 2007 Young Sherlock Holmes
Useless Wikipedia Fact
"Candidate" is a derivative of the Latin word "candida" (white). In Ancient Rome, people running for political office would often wear togas chalked and bleached to be bright white at speechesdebatesconventions, and other public functions

April 13, 2007 Freddy Vs. Jason
Useless Wikipedia Fact: Today is actually the one year anniversery of the Useless Wikipedia Fact on this blog, which is as good as time as any to end it. I certainly have enjoyed finding lots of useless information on Wikipedia, and I hope you have too, but I don't envision it as something I want to do in perpetuity. Hopefully new and other distractions will follow.

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