There are quite a few towns behind the names of famous… ‘stuff’. (the soon-to-be-renamed) Asbestos in Canada or Balaklava in Ukraine are two examples. Some of these quirky towns really are the centre of the universe for fans of the ‘thing’ however and, in this article, we find out about five of these towns, the connections they have and what makes them so worth discovering.

Rugby, UK

It was during a game of football being played at Rugby School in 1823 that a schoolboy named William Webb Ellis, being the cheeky scamp that he was, caught a lofted ball in his arms and decided to run with it instead of letting the ball hit the deck as he should have. …


In this comedic piece let’s take a look at some of Amazon’s most hilarious, kick-ass product reviews.

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Amazon, that Aladdin’s Cave; it’s like a Santa’s grotto of goodies for all ages, selling over 12 million different products and eliminating yet another reason to change out of our pyjama bottoms to leave the house.

Amazon have been guilty of soiling the retail industry by peddling pointless, frivolous or FAD items like books, shoes or healthcare products. They’ve also put on the market arguably some of the greatest inventions and fantastic value for money items of the 21st Century.

Here, we’re going to take a look at some of Amazon’s niftiest merchandise and what makes them so high demand by looking at the product reviews. …


Continuing on from Part 9 this completes my epic compilation of oddball hidden gems from history.

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Here, I present the last of my queer compilation of tales, exposed like some discovered ancient ruins until then hidden in the overgrowth of history. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them!

When the Queen of England Met a Pirate Queen, 1593

In the 16th Century, whilst Ireland’s eastern coastline was controlled by the English, its hinterland to the west was frontier country. On the wild Atlantic coast, where great rollers pounded the raw, verdant coastline, the Uí Mháille noble family held sway over the pasturelands there and surrounding seas. …


Continuing on from Part 8 here are five more oddball hidden gems from history which you’ll be able to bedazzle your friends and relatives with.

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Drunken Aviator Lands in City Centre, 1956

Bulky sedans rumbled sedately along the right-angled streets, and haggard creatures of the night here and there passed under the patchy street lighting past rows of rectilinear brownstone tenements. It was the witching hour on St Nics Avenue in New York City’s heart. Of course in the city that never sleeps life still stirred, and it was about to get a serious wake up call.

Jimmy was wiping down the bar waiting for the last of his patrons to stumble out after a long night. The edge of his lips curled up with a wry smile; earlier that night one of his favourite patrons, a gung-ho flyboy named Thomas ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick made a bet that he could fly from New Jersey to New York City in 15 minutes. “I’ll land out there to prove it, how ‘bout that?” slurred Fitz. “OK ya crazy, drunken Irishman” laughed Jimmy “Hold my beer then.” And, with a leery grin Fitzpatrick plodded out the door. …


A light-hearted look at what European club football might look like in the not-too-distant future.

It’s no exaggeration to declare that European football is the apex of the world’s beautiful game. It has the globe’s best players and coaching staff and draws in a mindbogglingly huge global audience to both UEFA’s flagship Champions League and its best domestic leagues.

Yet, at the world gets smaller, there are growing calls for a new ‘Super League’ for the continent’s biggest clubs to fight it out.

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Why?

There’s a lot of clubs in Europe with big budgets, fanbases and trophy rooms but are trapped in leagues which cant challenge them, and that is no good for keeping fans captivated or attracting new ones. More and more choose to follow UEFA’s top 3/4 leagues and the playing/coaching talent is following them. …


Continuing on from Part 7 here are five more oddball hidden gems from history which you’ll be able to bedazzle your friends and relatives with.

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The Aristocrat Who Painted the Town Red, 1837

One day in spring 1837 at the Thorpe End tollgate in the fine old English market town of Melton Mowbray, with its half timbered Tudor townhouses and bustling square, a tollgate keeper lay a wary eye on an approaching party of men.

The scene was at odds with itself. Their veneer of clean, tailored clothing, fine riding boots, well groomed moustaches and strong jawlines made the tollkeeper conscious for a moment of his own grubby stubble. Yet, from their cultured tones, boozy banter spewed. …


Continuing on from Part 6 here are five more oddball hidden gems from history which you’ll be able to bedazzle your friends and relatives with.

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The Wise Men of Gotham, 13th Century

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It is difficult to determine the veracity of tales from such historical, murky depths as 13th Century England yet there’s likely truth to a tale which first surfaced mentioning Gotham village’s ‘foles’ (fools) or later ‘wise men’. The villagers gained this sobriquet by displaying such cunning they warded off the attentions of the most powerful man in the land.

The story goes that King John I wanted to pass through the village and have a royal highway established in his wake, or that he wanted to build a lodge nearby - both needing the locals to contribute for its upkeep. Faced with a stark choice between increasing their financial burdens or defying the king’s will, they took a third route; to dupe the King and his henchmen into believing they were a village of fools, or rather, infected with insanity. It was common belief at the time that madness was contagious so the notion of a village populated by lunatics was perfectly feasible. …


Continuing on from Part 5 here are five more oddball hidden gems from history which you’ll be able to bedazzle your friends and relatives with.

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Farmer’s Field Transformed into Volcano, 1943

How do you think you would handle a volcano bursting up in your back garden in one day? It might make acquiring the services of a decent landscape gardener much trickier, for starters. A Mexican farmer by the name of Dionisio Pulido suffered a similar dilemma when a cinder cone volcano spewed up in his cornfield, 200 miles (320km) west of Mexico City in 1943.

For weeks prior locals reported a queer sound like thunder, yet observed no stormy clouds in the sky to explain the rumbling. Instead magma surging up towards the surface from deep below was triggering an ever rising crescendo of micro earthquakes which, on the eve of the eruption, had reached 25–30 per day. …


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Life shouldn’t always be so serious. It shouldn’t always be about the humdrum, work-consume-die existence. A good prank that doesn’t hurt or upset anyone can provide belly aching laughter, fun and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. Numerous examples are out there and two spring to mind; there was the 1957 BBC April Fools Panorama report that managed to convince many viewers that spaghetti was harvested from trees in Italy and BBC Radio One prank that involved ringing up two Chinese takeaway restaurants, connecting each other, each believing the other was the customer.

Stunts on the other hand impress us with people’s breathtaking skill and bravery, and are often spectacular. They might involve escape artists like Houdini’s escape from a tank of water whilst suspended upside down in a straitjacket or Charlee Fotheringham who performed the first ever double backflip in a wheelchair. …


Continuing on from Part 4 here are five more oddball hidden gems from history which you’ll be able to bedazzle your friends and relatives with.

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Murderous Mary, 1916

Mary the elephant lived during the turn of the 20th Century performing with Sparks’ World Famous Shows — a travelling circus with all the bells and whistles; clowns, acrobats and many exotic animals. Mary became the star attraction, playing musical instruments, standing on her head, and even catching baseballs.

This gentle giant awed crowds across the USA but then the circus reached Virginia and something happened that sent this big girl into such a rage the repercussions cost her life. There circus owner Charlie Sparks, a refined gentleman, made the ill-advised decision to hire Walter “Red” Eldridge, a transient hotel clerk with a horse-jockey’s physique and so irritable the smallest hindrances triggered bouts of hollering and flailing limbs. …

About

Alasdair Lea

I love to learn new facts and insight to better understand this crazy world we live in. Let me do what I can to distract you from your life’s drudgery.

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