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I Called My Book TB to BT because 'Believe It or Not' was already taken!

Updated on August 19, 2016
: A sculpture in Vancouver B.C.  Five full size cars layered on top of a 20 foot Cedar stump.  Art by Marcus Bowcott. He capped his stack of progressively bigger autos by putting a Trans Am on the top.  It's a statement on the area's overgrowth.
: A sculpture in Vancouver B.C. Five full size cars layered on top of a 20 foot Cedar stump. Art by Marcus Bowcott. He capped his stack of progressively bigger autos by putting a Trans Am on the top. It's a statement on the area's overgrowth.

Mr. Corey's Bad Impression

The Witch-hunters of Salem certainly left a bad impression on this poor fellow. When he refused to enter a plea as to whether he was a witch, they placed a board on top of him and kept adding heavy stones to it,  until he was "Pressd To Death".
The Witch-hunters of Salem certainly left a bad impression on this poor fellow. When he refused to enter a plea as to whether he was a witch, they placed a board on top of him and kept adding heavy stones to it, until he was "Pressd To Death".

Some Trivial Offerings

In the Social Media Age the big events of the world are always within the reach of our fingertips or thumbs, tapping out tweets on tweeter, twits on twitter, and Texts on Texter. Yipes, I almost forgot Skypes!

Not only are the important happenings of the day featured in this new world, but there is also a mountain of triviality. Though this peak is already probably too high, I decided to add to it with a short book that I titled, TB to BT – Too Bizarre to Be True.

What follows are bits and pieces from the work. If you care to read the full book, you can find it a bargain basement price in the online collections of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and many more retailers.

Cycle of life: Caterpillars literally melt down into a sac of fluid cells. From this mass of ooze is created the entire body of a butterfly.

In Detroit in 1937, a baby fell from a 4th floor window and landed on a man walking on the street, named Joseph Figlock, Both survived. Two years later another baby fell from a fourth floor window on the same street and landed on the same man. Once again both Figlock and the child survived.

How is it that Figlock would be twice in the same situation? He was a street sweeper employed by the city so he spent eight hours a day or more on the streets – still it’s a remarkable coincidence that babies twice fell on him from four stories and that everybody survived. These accidents are certainly are TBTBT - Too Bizarre To Be True!

The most productive American President was John Tyler. I don’t know the first thing about his Presidency except that he was elected in 1841. The reason he gets the productivity award is that he was father to at least 15 children which is more than any other occupant of the nation’s highest office. If allegations of his relations with slave women are true, then the tally goes much higher. Tyler had eight children with his first wife who died from a stroke at 52. He had seven more children with the second wife.

Tyler was born in 1790 and yet as of 2016, he still has two living grandsons. Both were born in the 1920s to his son Lyon who was born in 1853 and died in 1935.

Try to reach your daily laugh quota with these next few items:

Unless you get cremated and spend the afterlife in an urn, you’ll go to a cemetery where you will have a grave, headstone, and a chance to make a last statement. Many people decide that their final words will be anything but grave – here are a few examples. 1.Rodney Dangerfield’s marker says, “There Goes the Neighborhood”. Even in death, he gets no respect.

2. The man of a thousand voices Mel Blanc who gave audio life to Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat,

Tweetie Bird, Bugs Bunny and many more; left a familiar comment on his stone. It says, “That’s all Folks”.

3. And now an epitath from the Old West. “Here lies Lester More. Four Slugs from a 44. No les. No more.”

4. In my book The Creature From the Bridgewater Triangle and other Odd Tales from New England, I relate the story behind the epitath of rowdy Johnny Prior. After Johnny finally got his due and was set in his grave, his good widow would have nothing to do with writing any final words on his marker; so the Selectmen had the following inscribed on his slab,

“As I am now so shall ye be,

Prepare yourself and follow me.”

Widow Prior, who was kin to Mayflower voyagers, sneaked into the cemetery under the cover of darkness and added a few lines underneath, which read –

“To follow you I’ll not consent -

For, I know which way you went!

The Four Lads

They Might Be Giants

Heavyweight Ants????

Ants and People Weigh the Same: It’s really true. If you add up the total weight of all the ants on earth and add the total weight of all the people on earth, the two amounts would be roughly equal. The reason for this is that there are 1.6 million ants for every person!

On the third planet from the sun there are 196 countries but only four of them have single-syllable names: France, Spain, Greece, and Chad. There used to be five when Rome was a country and the capital of the world. Today Rome is a city in Italy and is the only city on Planet Earth that has a country inside of it. The 110 acre nation called ‘Vatican City’ is the smallest country in the world.

The Italian city of Verona, the site of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, receives about 5,000 letters every year sent to Juliet. (Some are actually addressed to “Juliet, Verona.”) A team of volunteers reply to every letter offering advice on affairs of the heart! Ciao!

Ciao is an Italian word meaning both Hello and Goodbye. Other words that are both a greeting and a farewell include “Aloha” from Hawaii, “Salut” from France and Servus from Germany.

Actually the German word, and in fact all of the others, come from the Latin word “servus” (same spelling as the German usage). Servus in Latin means servant. Later the term meant “at your service”. Among the other words derived from the original Latin word is the word serf.

Some people wish that English had a term for both ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’: actually it does. It’s ‘Ciao’. The handy little word has been used so much that it has been adopted by many languages - in the same manner as you can sometimes hear speakers from such diverse nations as Brazil and Bulgaria insert the American word “OK” in the middle of conversations.

What is the name of the only city in the world that straddles two continents?” - “Istanbul in Turkey.” The Strait of Bosphorus splits the city of 14 million people into a European Side and an Asian side.

Isntabul was once the mighty Constantinople. On the 500th anniversary of the fall of the city-state to the Ottomans, somebody wrote a song to commemorate the 1930 changing of the municipality’s name to Istanbul. The song was a giant hit for the four lads and a minor hit for ‘They Might be Giants’.

Now here’s the connection to the more up-tempo take by “They Might Be Giants”. The group is most famous for singing “Boss of Me”, the theme song to Malcom in the Middle, which featured Bryan Cranston - most famous for “Breaking Bad”

“Boss of Me” was never a hit in the U.S. but reached number 21 in the U.K. and 29 in Australia. The group took its name “They Might Be Giants” from a 1971 film of that name starring Joanne Woodward and George C. Scott which in turn was lifted from Cervantes most famous work, in which Don Quixote mistakes windmills for giants.

His name was not Don! Quixote’s first name was actually Alonso. Rather than a person’s name, “Don” in Italy, Spain, Portugal and other countries is a title of honor bestowed for gentlemen of esteem or wealth.

Read on to find out the original author of the book.

The Fun Side of Ben Franklin

Ben gave the world Daylight Savings Time, but one of his other great ideas has not fared so well - Air Baths.  Ben was a big Air Bath guy.  He touted the health benefits of walking around the neighborhood stark naked getting clean, from the breeze.
Ben gave the world Daylight Savings Time, but one of his other great ideas has not fared so well - Air Baths. Ben was a big Air Bath guy. He touted the health benefits of walking around the neighborhood stark naked getting clean, from the breeze.

Breaking News! Stephen King Did Not Write The Shining!

Are you sure you’ll be back in a jiffy? As it happens, a ‘jiffy’ is a real unit of time – it’s 1/100th of a second. It takes a full measure of one hundred “jiffies” to equal one second!

A second isn’t what you think it is. Scientifically, it is not defined as 1/60th of a minute, but as “the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.”

But that’s no fun. Think about this one. Time passes faster on your face than your feet. Einstein’s theory of relativity postulates that the closer you are to the center of the earth the slower time goes. So if you go to the top of Mount Everest and stay there for 365 days you can shorten that year by a whole two or three “jiffies”.

The third season of the year, by the 17th century, was called “fall” by the whole English speaking world. Within a hundred years many British people favored “autumn” and considered “fall” an American assassination of speech! Today either is acceptable but poets and lovers prefer “autumn” to “fall”. I prefer summer to both!

About Time: George Carlin said “There is no time. We made it up.”

“Aside from Velcro, time is the most mysterious substance in the universe. You cannot see it. You are not able to touch it and yet a “Computer Geek” can charge you a hundred dollars an hour to look at your PC and not really fix anything!” – an unknown comic.

Blame/Credit Benjamin Franklin for Daylight Savings Time. Funny guy that Ben. He came up with the idea of DST as a joke. He liked the idea of forcing people to get up one hour earlier during the planting season so that they could work more hours in the daylight and save on candles.

Where Time Flies; Not surprisingly, the fastest paced cities in the U.S.A are all Eastern communities. They are Boston, New York and Buffalo. The slowest paced cities – no surprise there either - Two are in Cali and one is in the South: Shreveport, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Sacrebleu!

So when this happens, Will we live forever? Scientists, some of them anyway, say that time may come to an end. They claim that the acceleration of the expanding cosmos is only an illusion that is caused by a decrease in the speed of time. They think that time will eventually stop and everything will come to a standstill. I usually bet on horses that do that.

Stephen King claims to have written ‘The Shining’ and about a hundred otherBest-selling books; but I have it on the highest authority that every word that he ever set down on paper was lifted verbatim from Webster’s Dictionary. To be fair he doesn’t just throw the words out in alphabetical order like Noah did - he rearranges them a bit to make them a little more interesting than Mr. Webster’s.

If you care to pursue these weighty wanderings any further you are welcome to do so by following either of these two links.


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    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      19 months ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks Genna. That appearance, and a few others on national TV programs, all came from the item I placed on Hubpages several years ago. The Bridgewater Triangle Documentary producers read my article on HP and contacted me, as did executives of a production company for the Discovery Channel. Since that time I have been blessed with near a 100 per cent favorable reception from many people, even those who don't believe that there can be hairy little swamp creatures lurking in the woods and swamps of Massachusetts. Happy New Year to you as well and I'm sure that you're going to make 2017 the best yet!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      19 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill...Just stopping by to let you know that I caught your appearance on the "The Bridgewater Triangle" on television yesterday. You were articulate and convincing in the telling of this fascinating, and scary experience. Well done. Happy New Year.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      24 months ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks very much marcoujor, for taking the time to read this post. I had fun digging up a huge batch of verbal curiosities. Trying to stitch them together into a quilt that would appeal to the readers was even more exciting.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      24 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I thought for years that TMBG were the original artists for "INC" (also thought no one appreciated them but me!) ...thanks for the schooling - I love the version of The Four Lads - very swanky.

      Cool post - Mike gave a good lead in recommending you, Billrrrr.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks mcbirdbks. Assembling this work was a flight back to the days when youngsters would leave their houses in pre-dawn darkness to deliver newspapers in their neighborhood for a few pennies a week. Eagerly I would await the thump of the Boston Daily Record American on my doorstep. In baseball season the backpage was my first stop, to check on the Red Sox. Otherwise, it was straight to the funny pages where I would join Dagwood, Jiggs, the Katzenjammer Kids and Bob Ripley's Believe it or Not. It was a simpler time. Was it better? I don't know. I like computers and microwaves, but I miss real telephones and real radio. "Number Please!" ... "Who Knows What Evil Lurks....."

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Yes - good luck with the book. Your article here was filled with interesting tidbits, just like Ripley. This was good for a smile or two.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks John. I love Spike's epitaph. My final destination is an urn so I will have no headstone but if I did,it would read, "Please leave this place a little sillier than you found it" - an homage to the fact that the world is too contentious and 'pc' for me to take it seriously.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, I love these bizarre trivia type articles/books. I have always been a "Ripley's Believe it or Not" fan. enjoyed reading the headstone inscriptions. One you may find fun...British comedian Spike Milligan's epitaph on his headstone was "I told you I was ill."

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Soiled linen is appropriate for the old reprobate. As Fred Allen said, "politicians are like dirty diapers, they both need to be changed often - and for the same reason!" Thanks Bill. As always, it's an honor for me to have you read and comment on my efforts.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good luck with your new book. The excerpts here are great examples. I'm not sure how Tyler ever got anything accomplished as President. Seems to me he'd be changing diapers constantly. :)


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