The dozen facts in this second post of the FFF series come compliments of readers Glen and Ian, as well as an entertaining website and elsewhere.
- The age difference between President Trump and his wife, Melania, is 24 years, the same as that of President Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, his senior by two dozen years.
- The USA pays Cuba an annual rent of $4,000 for the Guantanamo naval base. In protest, Havana has only cashed one cheque, in the post revolutionary chaos of 1958/59.
- Only two countries are “doubly landlocked”. In other words, the two countries have no access to the sea, and the same is true of all the surrounding countries. The two doubly landlocked countries are Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan.
- Director David Lean wanted Marlon Brando to play T.E. Lawrence in “Lawrence of Arabia.” Rather than filming in the vast deserts of Jordan and Morocco, Brando chose the tropical lushness of the South Pacific, playing Fletcher Christian in “Mutiny on the Bounty.” As Lawrence, third choice Peter O’Toole (Albert Finney also declined the role) earned his first of eight Academy award nominations for Best Actor.
- The Emperor Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington were both born in 1769 and, at age 46, confronted each other for the first time at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).
- In 1969, Italian immigrant Walter Chell, beverage manager at the Calgary Inn (now The Westin Calgary), decided to mix a new drink for the hotel’s new restaurant. He combined tomato juice, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, spices and vodka and named his concoction “Caesar.” In 2009, on the 40th anniversary of the Caesar, Parliament declared it Canada’s National Cocktail.
- In 2012 Singapore, with a population of over 5 million, experienced 80 days in which no robberies or thefts were reported. Singapore is also ranked as the city with the most trees in the world.
- It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament, one of many bizarre British laws. No one’s sure of the punishment for this particular offence.
- The town of Dull in Scotland has been twinned with Boring, Oregon since 2012. In 2013 Bland, Australia joined them in what has been dubbed the “Trinity of Tedium.”
- Hippopotamuses are considered the most dangerous animals in Africa. Though they’re herbivores, they are aggressively territorial and kill thousands of humans a year because, despite weighing nearly 10,000 pounds, a hippo can run 19 mph — almost twice as fast as an average person.
- Mountain lion, puma, cougar and panther are all the same cat.
- Bin Laden’s death was announced on May 1, 2011, Hitler’s on May 1, 1945.
Feel free to add your favourite fun facts in the comments or send some to me for future Friday posts! •