Well-Known Facts

I thought I’d share with the internet some edifying, well-known facts. We hold these well-known facts to be self-evident. I hope you learn something today.

Pirate Facts

As stated in the post Celebrity Schmelebrity, it’s a well-known fact that the skull and crossbones is more broadly attributed to corsairs than was actually true. Most pirates didn’t use skull and crossbones until The Golden Age of Piracy was nearly at an end. For many decades, pirates actually used Hello Kitty as their standard, but Sanrio sued them in a protracted legal battle and won, forcing pirates to remove all of the Hello Kitty flags and sails from their ships. Here’s a rare picture of a real pirate ship wearing the Kitty colors circa 1700.

Hello Kitty Pirate Ship c 1700.

After the lawsuit, pirates began using the skull and crossbones. The original skull and crossbones flag (below left) is said to be the bones of Hello Kitty, which over time, morphed into a human skull (below right). It’s easy to see how the Kitty skull could be mistaken for a human skull if you squint.

LEFT: 17th Century Hello Kitty Pirate Flag RIGHT: 18th Century Modified Jolly Roger

No one really knows why the skull and crossbones is most commonly referred to as a Jolly Roger. Historians don’t know who Roger was nor why he was jolly. There are variant theories, none of which are provable, so I won’t go into them here.

Space Facts

The Moon

As I said in the post Search Words Part 2, dinosaurs were the first creatures to walk on the moon. Clearly visible in this picture taken long, long ago (which is why the resolution is so shite since they didn’t have megapixels then), there is the surface of the moon with Earth in the background. In the foreground, there is a rex, a flying thinger of the pterosaur variety and a long-necked plant-eating dino. Obviously, they are walking on the moon, except for the flying one, but I think it still counts since it’s in the moon’s vicinity and it would have to land at some point. There are no other footprints, so unquestionably, they were first.

The moon as seen from the moon. Left to right: blue Rex, purple flying thinger, green long-necked plant-eating dino

If you zoom in on the long-necked plant-eating dino’s feet, you will see the blurry image below. (Again, sorry about the resolution, but their cameras back then were terrible.) Some people claim that the object between the long-necked plant-eating dino’s feet might be Jesus. I say those people are full of it. Obviously, it is just another dinosaur. Everyone knows Jesus didn’t really look like that anyway.

Close-up of long-necked plant-eating dino feet containing supposed image of Jesusaur.

At its closest, the Moon is 3 miles from the Earth. At its farthest, it’s 7 miles. It looks farther away than that because of the curvature of the earth and because it’s really, really small, about the size of Rhode Island if Rhode Island were a spherical object in space.


The planet Pluto is no longer a planet. This is not because it doesn’t meet the requirements to be a planet, but because it doesn’t play well with others. It was kicked out of the planet club for constantly niggling Neptune, insolence and general dickishry.

Holiday Facts

Santa and the Easter bunny originally made toys together out of chocolate, but the toys would always melt and make a mess. They decided to split the holidays. The Easter bunny then made graven images of himself which the children would eat. He didn’t really think that one through. Bunnies aren’t known for their mental acumen.

Nature Facts


Hippopotamus are very graceful dancers, but they don’t like performing in front of people. They have hairs inside their nostrils which can detect humans at over a mile away so we will never be able to see hippos dance. We only know they dance by the elaborate footprints they leave behind.


Bigfoot actually has very small feet. When you see bigfeet prints, you’re actually seeing the handmade flippers they wear like snowshoes to help maintain balance.

Inventor Facts

Eugene M. Harkaby of Squirrel Town, Ohio holds the patent on fire.  Morris W. Shackelton, Esq. of Ocean Grove, New Jersey has the patent on the wheel.
From the post The Stapler: There were twin brothers, the Staps – one invented the staple and one invented the stapler. The next time you pick up a stapler, think of Eli and Jeremiah Stap and their great inventions, one which could not exist without the other: the staple and the stapler. Here’s a picture of Eli and Jeremiah Stap pictured with the very first stapler and staples ever created. Eli is on the left with his hand dangerously close to where the staple would go and Jeremiah on the right, holding the first row of staples ever produced.

Eli, left, and Jeremiah, right, the inventors of the staple-fastener and the staple respectively. Shown with the first staple and staple-fastener at the World’s Fair, 1879.

As you can see, the very first stapler and staples ever manufactured were far larger than necessary. People could see the allure of staple-fasteners, as they were called then, but they could find no practical use for them. Only five of the gigantic staple-fasteners were manufactured and only one was sold to H.B. Oddities & Co. in March of 1879. It wasn’t until early 1880 that the Staps invented a desk-sized staple-fastener, which they called simply The Stapler. It immediately became a hit and millions of them were placed on desktops the world over.

Sadly, the enormous success that the Staps enjoyed with the staple-fastener did not last. After the name was changed to stapler from staple-fastener, Jeremiah sued Eli. He claimed that the name staple-fastener encompassed both of their designs. By changing the name to stapler, they were, in essence, ignoring the staple. Jeremiah argued that his fastener was just as important as Eli’s stapler. Eli countered that it was the stapler that was crucial to the whole fastening process. He boasted that one could replace the staple with nearly anything, birds, for example, and his stapler would still work splendidly. Jeremiah said it was preposterous that paper should be fastened with birds, but secretly, he began working on a regrettable and unsuccessful experiment to do just that. The court divided the assets equally between them, but denied Jeremiah’s demand that the name of the stapler be changed back to staple-fastener.

Because of this disagreement, the brothers never spoke to each other again. They had always been competitive, and with the success of the staple-fastener, each tried to outdo their previous success and that of his brother. Individually, neither of them was ever able to come up with any viable inventions and they both ended up bankrupt with the staple-fastener as their only successful invention. Perhaps, had they worked together, they could have created an invention that complimented the other’s designs, like the stapler and the staple once had, but it simply wasn’t to be.

More Random Facts

Left-handed people do everything backwards, including walking and riding unicycles.

Paper is actually made of dried vanilla pudding, not trees. Delicious, delicious pudding. Remember to recycle!


    I apologize to Sanrio®, Hello Kitty™, The Museum of Piracy, NASA, The Museum of Natural History, Bureau International des Expositions and the Stapler Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut for using their images without permission. All images are rightfully owned by the aforementioned. Please don’t sue me.

This post is part of The Well-Known Facts Series.