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In 2002, Norwegian footballer Kenneth Kristensen signed for third-division team Floey and was paid his weight in shrimps.

The modern Spanish Navy is still called the Armada.

There are more Catholics in Scotland than in Northern Ireland.

A 2005 United States medical research project showed that 20% of interviewees admitted to taking Derbisol, a drug that does not exist.

The director and producer of the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof was called Norman Jewison.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Faith and Porcophobia


‘There must therefore be another answer to the conundrum. I claim my own solution as original, though without the help of Sir James Frazer and the great Ibn Warraq I might not have hit upon it. According to many ancient authorities, the attitude of early Semites to swine was one of reverence as much as disgust. The eating of pig flesh was considered as something special, even privileged and ritualistic. (This mad confusion between the sacred and the profane is found in all faiths at all times.) The simultaneous attraction and repulsion derived from an anthropomorphic root: the look of the pig, and the taste of the pig, and the dying yells of the pig, and the evident intelligence of the pig, were too uncomfortably reminiscent of the human.

Porcophobia—and porcophilia—thus probably originate in a night-time of human sacrifice and even cannibalism at which the “holy” texts often do more than hint. Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.

Porcophilia can also be used for oppressive and repressive purposes. In medieval Spain, where Jews and Muslims were compelled on pain of death and torture to convert to Christianity, the religious authorities quite rightly suspected that many of the conversions were not sincere. Indeed, the Inquisition arose partly from the holy dread that secret infidels were attending Mass—where of course, and even more disgustingly, they were pretending to eat human flesh and drink human blood, in the person of Christ himself. Among the customs that arose in consequence was the offering, at most events formal and informal, of a plate of charcuterie. Those who have been fortunate enough to visit Spain, or any good Spanish restaurant, will be familiar with the gesture of hospitality: literally dozens of pieces of differently cured, differently sliced pig. But the grim origin of this lies in a constant effort to sniff out heresy, and to be unsmilingly watchful for giveaway expressions of distaste. In the hands of eager Christian fanatics, even the toothsome jamón Ibérico could be pressed into service as a form of torture.’

Hitchens. C. 2007. God Is Not Great London, Great Britain: Atlantic Books (2008) p. 40-41

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Sherlock Holmes was oiginally named Sherringd Hope, Watson was called Ormond Sacker.

Spain literally means ‘the land of rabbits’.

Scallops can have up to 100 eyes.

Since 1789, 11,000 attempts have been made to amend the U.S. Constitution. 0,2 percent of tries were ratified.

Sir Francis Dashwood held orgies at his home at West Wycombe Park in a grotto built to imitate the shape of a vagina.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

“When asked…” Anecdotes


When asked why he had a horseshoe on his door, physicist Niels Bohr answered, “Of course I don’t believe in it, but I understand it brings you luck, whether you believe in it or not.”

When asked in a radio interview if she thought the barriers of the British class system had broken down, Barbara Cartland answered, “Of course they have, or I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to someone like you.”

When asked by a priest, “Do you forgive your enemies,” the dying Spanish general Ramon Blanco y Erenas answered, “No, I don’t have any enemies. I’ve had them all shot.”

On The Quran


“The idea that this is the best book ever written – on any subject – can only be maintained in an enormous intellectual isolation.”[1]

– Sam Harris


[1] Consider: the country of Spain translates more of the world’s literature and learning into Spanish every year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the 9th century.

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The smell of freshly baked bread releases oxytocin in the brain.

In Ancient Greece, the priestess at Delphi was called the Delphic Bee; also, the Quran has a chapter titled The Bee.

Spekglad, literally ‘bacon slippery’, is Dutch for most slippery.

Poland is one of the few countries in the world, where courteous hand-kissing is still a relatively common practice.

Erotic films are pink in Japan, blue in the United States, green in Spain, and yellow in China. In fact, the Chinese produced a porn film called The Happy Yellow Handkerchief.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Exonym


Exonyms are names used in a particular language to refer to a foreign nation or country; they can be completely different from the name that country uses (in its particular language) to qualify itself. Quite often, they can be of interest from a historical point of view because they can be surprisingly conservative. The exonym is sometimes preserved for hundreds of years after the political or ethnic entity it originally referred to ceased to be.

One of the best-known cases is Germany. Many nations share their linguistic origin with the German term Deutschland, even though they have sometimes assumed a quite different form i.e. Duitsland, Tedesco or Tyskland – from the Proto-Germanic Þeudiskaz. The Slavic peoples call the Germans Niemcy or similar which means ‘a mute’, someone who does not speak Slavic. The French and Spanish, among others, employ the name of the Alamanni tribe. The English, Italians and Russians, to name a few, use a derivative of the Latin Germania or Greek Γερμανία. And the Finns and Baltic states either refer to the name of the Saxon tribe or employ a word of unknown origin, like the Latvian Vacija or the Lithuanian Vokietija.

Consider these other cases:

  • The Latvians call Russia Krievija, referring to an ancient Slavic tribal union, the Krivichi;
  • The Turks call Greece Yunanistan and the Greeks Yunan, another very old exonym which probably has for origin the word ‘Ionia’, that is the Greek region on the coast of Asia Minor;
  • In a kind of an opposite logic, Russia was called Muscovy by the Poles, and then by other Europeans as a way to deny the claim of the Moscow-based government on the totality of Russian lands;
  • The Japanese used to call China Tang even hundreds of years after the end of that dynasty. In the late 19th- and early 20th century they resorted to an even older and more obscure word Shina, which had the advantage of being similar to the equivalent Western terms.

Also, there is something particularly curious about Roman exonyms; it seems the Romans gave completely random names to any people they encountered. A people that called itself Rasenna received the name Tuscans or Etruscans. The inhabitants of Carthage became Punics, and the Hellenes or Achaeans were Greeks. Celts became Galli or the Gauls.

“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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North Dakota is the least-visited state in the United States. Curiously, it also has more churches per capita than any other state and the highest percentage of church-going population in the country.

Peer is Dutch for ‘pear’ and ‘light bulb’.

John I of Portugal (1385–1433) defended his kingdom against Castile. In Portugal he is known as John the Good or John the Great; in Spain he is known as John the Bastard.

Jane Austen shared a bedroom with her sister Cassandra her whole life.

Karl Marx viewed prostitutes as victims of the capitalist system. In his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, he described sex work as being “only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the labourer,” and viewed the abolition of prostitution as a necessary part of ending capitalism. Similarly, in The Communist Manifesto, he called prostitution the “complement” of the bourgeois family, and predicted that both institutions would one day vanish.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts