Trivia Throwdown!

I have a giant “virtual stack” of trivia items I’ve been building up over the past few weeks. Here are three of them:

The Old Man of the Lake is a 30 foot tall tree stump that has been floating in Oregon’s Crater Lake since at least 1896. The stump, which has been bleached white over the years and can support a man’s weight, was first noted in print by geologist Joseph S. Diller, who wrote in 1902 that he’d seen the stump six years earlier. In 1938, a study of the stump was undertaken to see if it moved; the results were pretty spectacular: it does indeed move, and can do so very quickly. Boaters frequently note the position of the stump and relay it to other boaters for safety reasons.

– Every session of the British parliament is opened by the monarch, who travels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a fine carriage. The House of Lords is assembled, and the monarch takes a seat on the throne. The House of Commons in then called to the chamber, and the monarch reads a speech which outlines the policies and goals of the current government. But what you might not know is that after the speech, a piece of legislation called the Outlawries Bill is introduced to the House of Commons. No member of the House orders the bill to be read, nor it is never printed, nor is any action taken on it. First used in 1727, the act of reading the bill is purely symbolic, to show the monarch that her (or his) speech cannot influence the business of the House. In other words, instead of running back to the House and arguing over what the monarch said, this bill reminds her (or him) that the House of Commons is independent.

– Mention the name Dallas Texans and most folks think of the AFL team that started in Dallas but later became the Kansas City Chiefs. Did you know that there was actually an NFL team called the Dallas Texans? And that they only lasted one season? And that they went 1-11? 

It seems that a man named Ted Collins owned an NFL team called the Boston Yanks. He moved the team to New York in 1949, but the team’s financial difficulties continued. After the 1951 season, Collins sold the team back to the NFL, who turned around and sold the team to a group of Dallas businessmen led by Giles Miller. A sparse crowd of 17,499 came to the Cotton Bowl (capacity: 75,000)  to see the Texans’ first game against the New York Giants; attendance rapidly fell off as the team piled up loss after loss. At some point during the season, the NFL moved the team to Hershey, Pennsylvania, although it kept the Dallas name. The team then played out the rest of their only season on the road. Their only win came in Akron, Ohio against the George Halas-coached Chicago Bears. Halas was so sure that he’d win that he started his second stringers on both sides of the ball! After the season, the team was busted up, and the remnants sold to a group from Baltimore led by Carroll Rosenbloom. They would become the Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts. The NFL does not consider the Colts to be an extension of the Yanks\Texans, so the Dallas Texans are the last NFL team to completely cease to exist and not be included in the lineage of any other team. Oh, and the “New York Yanks” NFL team should not be confused with the “New York Yankees” NFL team, a team that existed from 1926 to 1928. And the NFL Texans have no connection to the modern-day Dallas Cowboys, either.

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