Monthly Trivia Archives: October 2011

Week of October 30 – Statue of Liberty Facts

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The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

The statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) was designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886.  The statue is 125 years old!

Total overall height from the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch is 305 feet, 6 inches.

The face on the Statue of Liberty measures more than 8 feet tall.

There are 154 steps from the pedestal to the head of the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue has a 35-foot waistline

There are seven rays on her crown, one for each of the seven continents, each measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing as much as 150 pounds.

At the feet of the Statue lie broken shackles of oppression and tyranny.

A tablet held in her left hand measures 23′ 7″ tall and 13′ 7″ wide inscribed with the date JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776).

Total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons (or 450,000 pounds)




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Week of October 23 – Unusual, unique and uncommon facts

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A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch in length.

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Camels have three eyelids to to protect themselves from blowing sand.

It takes a lobster approximately seven years to grow to be one pound.

Infant beavers are called kittens.

Mockingbirds can imitate any sound from a squeaking door to a cat meowing.

The cheetah is the only cat in the world that can’t retracts its claws.

When a female horse and male donkey mate, the offspring is called a mule, but when a male horse and female donkey mate, the offspring is called a hinny.

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Week of October 16 – Where did that phrase originate?

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Barking up the wrong tree – The allusion is to hunting dogs barking at the bottom of trees where they mistakenly think their quarry is hiding.

As happy as a clam –  ‘as happy as a clam at high water’. Hide tide is when clams are free from the attentions of predators; surely the happiest of times in the bivalve mollusc world.

Close but no surprise – The phrase, and its variant ‘nice try, but no cigar’, are of US origin and date from the mid-20th century. Fairground stalls gave out cigars as prizes, and this is the most likely source.

Jump the  Shark-To reach the point in a TV series that denotes it is irretrievably past its best by introducing some ridiculous or otherwise unbelievable plot device or characterisation in order to boost ratings. (The phrase derives from a scene in the three-part ‘Hollywood’ episode of the American TV series Happy Days, broadcast in September 1977. The scene has ‘The Fonz’ (Henry Winkler), water skiing – unaccountably still wearing his trademark leather jacket – and jumping over a shark.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – “Favorite rejoinder of Senator Harry S. Truman, when a member of his war contracts investigating committee objects to his strenuous pace: ‘If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen’.”

Face the Music – A commonly repeated assertion is that ‘face the music’ originated from the tradition of disgraced officers being “drummed out”  of their regiment.

Spill the Beans – The derivation of this expression is sometimes said to be a voting system used in ancient Greece. The story goes that white beans indicated positive votes and black beans negative. Votes had to be unanimous, so if the collector ‘spilled the beans’ before the vote was complete and a black bean was seen, the vote was halted.

Whoops-a-daisy – The form in which it is now most commonly spoken and spelled is ‘oops-a-daisy’. The first known printed record of any form of the term is in Clough Robinson’s The dialect of Leeds and its neighbourhood, 1862:  Upsa daesy! a common ejaculation when a child, in play, is assisted in a spring-leap from the ground.

Other derivations:  Upsidaisy, Upsa daesy, Upsy-daisy, Oops-a-daisy, Oopsy-daisy and Hoops-a-daisy

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Week of October 9 – Sinister cartoon characters

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Underdog:  Simon Bar Sinister

Rocky and Bullwinkle:  Boris Badenov and Natashia Fatale

Bug’s Bunny:  Elmer Fudd

Speed Racer:  Racer X (Drives Car 9)

Roadrunner – Coyote

Wacky Races:   (including Penelope Pitstop) – Dick Dastardly

Mighty Mouse:  Oil Can Harry (evil Cat)

Top Cat:  Officer Dibble

Quick Draw McGraw:  “El Kabong” (a parody of Zorro).

Smurf’s:  Gargamel

Popeye:  Bluto


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