Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Vassallo: Life Is Stranger Than Fiction

courtesy of Center for Law, Science and Innovation
courtesy of Center for Law, Science and Innovation

The Joy of Trivia written by Bernie Smith is a fascinating book. Things we often take for granted or never knew continue to fascinate me.

For example, the word newspaper originated from the points of the compass. Here are several others taken from Mr. Smith’s book that caught my attention.

joy of trivia

  • Samuel Colt ran away to sea at age 16. While a sailor, he whittled a wooden model of what was to become the famous Colt revolver.
  • Oxford University in 1855 offered an honorary degree to President Millard Fillmore. In declining it, the President stated: “I had not the advantages of a classical education and no man should, in my judgment, accept a degree he cannot read.”
  • President Chester A. Arthur while occupying the White House actually held a garage sale on the White House lawn selling $8,000 worth of furniture!
  • In 1976 one of the most terrible earthquakes ever occurred in Guatemala taking 17,000 lives. The feature film being shown that night in one of Guatemala City’s movie houses was Earthquake!
  • The windiest state in the union is Oklahoma.
  • There are 38 peaks in South America higher than Mt. McKinley.
  • The Sahara Desert is almost as large as all 50 states, but only one tenth of this is sand dunes!
  • Astronomers estimate there are at least a hundred thousand habitable planets in the Milky Way Galaxy alone and concede that intelligent life could equal or surpass our own!
  • In 1350 the greatest city in the world suddenly went dead! Every living soul vanished. There were large buildings, some 250 feet high. Five hundred years later, a French naturalist looking for rare butterflies discovered the city: Angkor, Cambodia.
  • The banjo is America’s only true native musical instrument which was developed in the South in the 1790s.
  • There are more stars in the sky than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world combined!

We could go on and on indefinitely, but we all get the picture. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction could never be more accurate.


Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford.You can contact Steve at or call him at (985) 852-7745.

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