Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Mental Floss: Trivia, Quizzes, Facts, and other Time Wasters
January 15, 2007 7:41 AM   Subscribe

For those of us who can't get enough useless (and useful) information, there is Mental Floss. Take the "Color" movies quiz. Find out how Hornando Cortés and his 600 Spaniards subdued 5 million Aztec natives. Remember back to when President Nixon tried to fancy up the outfits worn by White House guards. Had enough? No? OK. Worried about birds exploding from eating wedding rice? Want to know what furfuraceous means? Scroll around this page to find out what Maya Angelou, Marilyn Monroe and Andrew Lloyd Webber were all affected by; what's up with green magazine covers; and why barber shops (as opposed to other places of business) spawned vocal groups? All this and much more! Now, you too can say, "I know more than my friends!"
posted by The Deej (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Take the "Color" movies quiz.

5 for 5. Hi-yah.

Mental Floss is good. Thanks.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:46 AM on January 15, 2007


You know, Mental Floss is hardly new around here.
posted by caddis at 8:21 AM on January 15, 2007


Any images of Nixon's guards?
posted by Flunkie at 8:22 AM on January 15, 2007


... and there is more if you go back more than one year.
posted by caddis at 8:25 AM on January 15, 2007


I too would like to see images of Nixon's guards.
posted by interrobang at 8:25 AM on January 15, 2007


Geez, if all the information is like that provided to explain "how Hornando Cortés (sic) and his 600 Spaniards subdued 5 milion Aztec natives, the thing is a complete waste of time.
posted by micayetoca at 8:27 AM on January 15, 2007


the thing is a complete waste of time

As advertised! Another happy customer!
posted by The Deej at 8:29 AM on January 15, 2007


I haven't been able to find any Nixon guard photos yet, either. I do remember seeing them on TV, and the related fuss.
posted by The Deej at 8:31 AM on January 15, 2007


Mental floss seemed to me, when I had a few issues waybackwhen, to be a good idea with bad execution. What's easier than entertaining curious people with strange factoids and cutural tidbits? Well, even I found the magazine too ADD for me.

Unfortunately, it's too much like a self-righteous Maxim, minus the swimsuits.
posted by conch soup at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2007


At the pre-convention orgy, most of the furries found that their costumes had taken a furfuraceous turn for the worse
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:34 AM on January 15, 2007


U.S. President Richard Nixon liked a bit of pomp in the right circumstance. And when Tricky Dick glanced over the Atlantic, what caught his eye was the look of Britain’s famous Beefeaters, the guards who stood outside Queen Elizabeth’s official London residence.

Their definition of "fact" must be one which I have not previously been made aware of.
posted by vbfg at 8:49 AM on January 15, 2007


Their tagline is "Feel smart again".

Just sayin'.
posted by delmoi at 8:58 AM on January 15, 2007


find out what Maya Angelou, Marilyn Monroe and Andrew Lloyd Webber were all affected by

- talent deficiency?
posted by QuietDesperation at 8:58 AM on January 15, 2007


Loved the statue remix. More more!
posted by nickyskye at 8:59 AM on January 15, 2007


I can only find the hat to the Nixon guard uniforms. (Scroll to bottom.)
posted by The Deej at 9:11 AM on January 15, 2007


I was going to say something snarky about the uniforms the Imperial Navy wore in the /Star Wars/ movies -- just add a lot of gold piping and sidearms. (Google images of "Admiral Piett," for example.) I remember seeing a photo of them when I was in middle school and thinking, "Whaaaa? Cops dressed like that?"
posted by pax digita at 9:16 AM on January 15, 2007


Interesting error in that Smithsonian link, Deej: They were first worn during a 1970 state visit by British Prime Minister Harold.

That would be Harold Wilson. Unless they're referring to King Harold, in which case the visit would have occurred roughly 900 years earlier. There is sufficient historical basis to find this unlikely.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:36 AM on January 15, 2007


Stoopid Amuricans.
posted by The Deej at 9:40 AM on January 15, 2007


Heh, I thought it was a bit familiar too. :)
posted by vbfg at 9:40 AM on January 15, 2007


Deej, how did you know I didn't want to do any actual work today? Thank you for posting this (and thank you to my company for funding the time spent at this website...)
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 10:51 AM on January 15, 2007


vbfg: "Their definition of "fact" must be one which I have not previously been made aware of."

Agreed. This is inadvertently hilarious, though. "Impress and dazzle your friends with totally made-up shite designed to look like actual facts!"
posted by koeselitz at 11:03 AM on January 15, 2007


It seems everyone wants to forget those uniforms. The Smithsonian seems to have a version (the cap source) and perhaps also the Baltimore Museum of Art; I'm skeptical of a claim of one at the Marine Corps museum in Quantico, because they still have ceremonial uniforms of their own, but maybe those were spruced up at the same time. (Museum mailing list, and the probable source of the Mental Floss text.) There's a Corbis image that shows some "White House guards" in a fancy uniform, holding onto their caps as Marine One takes off with Nixon for the last time, but I'm not sure that's the same one -- it's blue, not white. Maybe an Air Force detail?

In any case almost all the guards who turn up in photos are either Marines or Navy, not Secret Service Uniformed Division.
posted by dhartung at 11:04 AM on January 15, 2007


"Hornando Cortés" was worth a huge laugh, though. I can just picture the guy sitting there trying to figure out the unicode to do that accent so he could get it just right.

Also, if I ever have a sockpuppet, I'm calling it "Whorenando."
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2007


Yeah, I have to agree with micayetoca--The Cortes trivia question wasn't really answered: "How did Hornando Cortés and his 600 Spaniards subdue 5 million Aztec natives? They had horses and small arms, and the millions of Aztecs were afraid." No answer as to actually how--did he strike fear into the hearts of their leaders, who were then cowed from sending anyone into battle and surrendered? Did they use their guns to make lots of noise so the Aztec didn't realize that there were only 600 of them? Did they ride up, shoot the tribal leader in the face, scaring the other 4,999,999 Aztecs completely shitless?

I mean, I love trivia, but answer the questions you pose, fer goodness' sake. Also, I really don't enjoy knowledge-lite type things....making someone feel smarter isn't the same as actually making them smarter. But then, I suppose I shouldn't be in the thread, hatin'. ; )
posted by LooseFilter at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2007


HICST- You're welcome :)

micayetoca & LooseFilter: Our operators are on duty at all times. We offer a full money-back guarantee if you are not fully satisified. Besides, your friends won't know any more than you, and at least you can speak with confidence, and fake them out.
posted by The Deej at 12:40 PM on January 15, 2007


The Cortez answer is downright awful. It ignores the role of his alliances with Aztec enemies (which gave him 80,000 men), the Aztecs' mistaken belief that the Spanish were Gods, and the role of biowarfare in the form of smallpox. Overall, it wasn't a simple guns vs. arrows deal.
posted by Humberto at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2007


This magazine is just as dumb as Newsweek or Time.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on January 15, 2007


Geez, if all the information is like that provided to explain "how Hornando Cortés (sic) and his 600 Spaniards subdued 5 milion Aztec natives, the thing is a complete waste of time.

Amen. I just taught a 16 week course on the Conquest of Mexico, and the answer at this site is completely wrong.
posted by LarryC at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2007


Yeah, I picked up a few copies of Mental Floss as well. Lots of sizzle but no steak. It's just a collection of lists and facts that have been floating around for ages already (which, I suppose, makes it fairly easy to publish).
posted by sharksandwich at 3:09 PM on January 15, 2007


Interestingly, the "exploding birds" answer is as long as the Cortez answer. Now, LarryC, let's see you teach 16 weeks on exploding birds! :)
posted by The Deej at 3:59 PM on January 15, 2007


I got the Mental Floss board game for Christmas. Seemed pretty retarded to me.
posted by intermod at 7:25 PM on January 15, 2007


Thank you, Humberto.
posted by phuture-4000 at 4:04 AM on January 16, 2007


WTFI Hornando Cortés? Is the purpose of this site to make people stupid?
posted by JJ86 at 8:29 AM on January 16, 2007


« Older They shut down part of Austin last week,...  |  Many people want to legalize, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments