It might surprise you to know that the last Civil War widow died near the end of last year.
Yes, you read that correctly. Her name was Helen Viola Jackson, and she married James Bolin in 1936 when she was 17 and he was 93.
"He said that he would leave me his Union pension," she later told historian Hamilton C. Clark. "It was during the [Great] Depression and times were hard. He said that it might be my only way of leaving the farm."
Jackson never remarried and kept the marriage secret for decades.
Hard to believe, but it happened. Here's the report from Smithsonian Magnazine.
History is full of some wild facts, as we were so kindly reminded by Redditor day_tripper96, who asked the online community:
"What's a bizarre historical event you can't believe actually took place?"
"In 1920, President Paul Deschanel of France fell through the window of the train while traveling on the Orient Express. He stumbled up to the nearest signal box in his pajamas and told the signalman that he needed help and that he was the President of France. The signalman reportedly replied 'And I'm Napoleon Bonaparte."
Cue laugh track!
This is a moment worthy of a sitcom.
"In AD 897..."
"The Cadaver Synod - In AD 897, Pope Stephen VI had his dead rival Pope Formosus exhumed and put on trial. Stephen had a deacon speak on the dead pope's behalf. Naturally, Formosus was found guilty. Stephen ordered that two fingers Formosus used for blessing people be cut off and had his corpse thrown in the Tiber river."
Well, it's not like he could defend himself soooo... no one is surprised. Deliciously petty.
"Good old Operation Mincemeat.
Basically, during WWII, the British find some dead body of some poor guy, dress it up like a British officer, attach some fake intel onto him, then throw him into the ocean, hoping he floats to enemy territory to mislead them.
The chances that this would have worked must have been miniscule. Talk about a victory!
"The astronomer Tycho Brahe had a pet moose that he used to get drunk with. One time he brought it to a dinner party at a friend's house. But sadly, the moose did not survive the night. Once again the poor moose got drunk on beer and died from a nasty fall down a set of stairs. Tyco Brahe also lost his nose in a duel, so he wore a prosthetic nose made out of metal. Some sources say brass, others say it was a gold/silver alloy. He was also employing a small court jester named Jepp that he believed to be clairvoyant."
These Gestures Are Offensive In Other Countries | George Takei’s Oh MyyyPeople explain the friendly gestures in one country that are offensive in another. It's imperative to do a little research about the destinations and culture...
"100 years ago..."
"The Halifax Explosion. 100 years ago two ships did a shit job of passing each other while entering / leaving Halifax Harbour, in Nova Scotia. One of them was LOADED with explosives destined for WW1. They collided and one of them burned for a while, then exploded. The blast was a ~2/3 again larger than the one we saw in Beirut last year.
Thousands died or were blinded by shattering windows. There was a local tsunami (which followed a brief moment where the seabed was exposed to air), and then a monster snowstorm covered the relief effort in snow.
Largest human-made explosion even until the nuclear bomb, and I think it remains the largest maritime accident ever."
This is one of those historical events that continues to horrify me and fill me with morbid curiosity. I went to Halifax some years back and never got a chance to visit the museum. Looks like I'll need to!
"Alexander the Great named..."
"Alexander the Great named (or renamed) 70 cities after himself. Some still have the name or derivatives of it - Alexandria in Egypt being the most obvious, but also Iskandariya in Iraq and Kandahar in Afghanistan."
"Hannibal marching elephants..."
"Hannibal marching elephants over the Alps to attack Italy."
And the fact that he left Spain to do this just before Roman forces arrived to take him on, and then Rome was just like "meh" and continued south when they figured out where he was going. They didn't care because they thought there was no way he could do anything. Polybius's account of Hannibal is fantastic, especially if you read what he says about the First Punic War and the Carthaginian Civil War as a context. The petty hatred between Rome and Carthage was insane, and had been going on for an insanely long time. Makes the 100 Years War look like nothing."
"The only time in history..."
"The time when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island where he was imprisoned on after his army was defeated, he snuck back into France under the nose of King Louis XVIII and literally every royal guard and roadblock from Marseille to Paris, and when he was actually caught just outside Paris, he managed to persuade the soldiers (who just so happened to be former Bonapartists) to escort him into Paris where he managed to successfully cause the king to flee, on top of raising a FULL ARMY to wage war against Europe AGAIN. The only time in history an emperor took back an entire country just by waving his hat."
Honestly, Napoleon's entire life story would qualify. That man just would not quit.
"The Great Molasses Flood, Jan.15, 1919. Massive wave of molasses from a broken tank flooded the area. It killed 51 people and injured 150. 2.3 million US gallons."
"During the siege of Tenochtitlan, the conquistadors built a trebuchet. However, the conquistadors, being an exploratory expedition, had not brought any military engineers with them. So they winged it. Surprisingly, they did build a trebuchet, which fired exactly one shot, directly upwards, which promptly came down and smashed the trebuchet. This event is chronicled in both the journals of the conquistadors present as well as the Aztec records."
History isn't boring!
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- People Debate The Biggest A**holes In All Of History - George Takei ›
- History Buffs Share Strangest Events To Happen That No One Seems To Remember - George Takei ›
- People Confess The Historical Events Their Country Won't Speak About - George Takei ›
We all make mistakes.
It's simply human nature.
But that doesn't mean we don't often find ourselves frustrated when other people make mistakes.
Particularly if these other people are our colleagues, resulting in having to clean up the mess they created.
Redditor xk543x was curious to hear about some of the worst, or most inane mistakes made by unreliable co-workers, leading them to ask:
"What's the dumbest mistake you've seen an incompetent co worker make?"
There's a reason we keep the boys away from the girls
"At a Petco all the Guinea pigs were in a big plexiglass enclosure with a center divider."
"Boys on one side and girls on the other."
"An employee decided that all the long haired Guinea pigs should be on one side and short haired on the other."
"It took forever to sort them out and all the females were pregnant."- PumpkinsDad
"Social worker here."
"We’re supposed to see clients who live with families once a year."
"A mom of a kid kept calling her worker but got no answer."
"Mom called the on call worker who discovered the assigned worker had logged the visits in and made thorough notes."
"The mom said she never saw her in two years."
"This led to her whole caseload being audited and then they found she had logged a visit with a client who’d been dead for months."
"While being audited, her supervisor decided to do a surprise visit to the client she was supposed to see."
"She never showed up and logged in the visit the next day."- ShiroHachiRoku
Slow and steady... gets you fired
"Had a guy take a cover off the base of a radar unit which had like 40 bolts holding it on."
"Gave him a ratchet wrench to do it."
"Half hour later I go check on him, only had about 10 off. "
"Watched him a bit."
"He would take it off each time to move it for the next turn!
"Showed him how a ratchet works."
"Never assume people know stuff." - User DeletedSloth Dmv GIFGiphy
"Tried to cool down hot oil, in a chute, all ready to be emptied, with a nice big bucket of water."
"I heard 'THOMAS NO' only to turn around and see a GEYSER of hot oil shooting towards the ceiling before it hit and splashed down around him."
"Nobody was hurt some f*cking how."
"The chute that the oil was in was on wheels and had a wooden handle, it absolutely didn’t need to be cooled lol."- Ohiolongboard
How to make a bad situation even worse
"I worked on a golf course during the summer."
"Area with lots of poison ivy."
"Two of my coworkers were instructed to weedy a river edge area."
"If we encounter poison ivy, we either stop what we are doing or go get full suit protection with respirators."
"These dumba**es were weed whacking in the thickest poison ivy I had ever seen."
"No protective suit or glasses or respirator."
"I roll up and notice what the hell they're doing and point out all the poison ivy everywhere."
"They were aerosolizing the oil."
"They both ended up in the hospital on steroid to prevent their death because of the oils they inhaled."- Onwisconsin42
"30 days has September..."
"The designer, creative director and head of production all missed that there was an eight day week on a calendar."
"We sent 10000 copies of a useless calendar to a client."
"Rightly so, they refused to pay for it."- atot806animation domination calendar GIF by gifnewsGiphy
Isn't that why they call it long division?
"Not a mistake necessarily, but I once witnessed our chief accounting officer, and our only accountant; it was a small company, type in values into two Excel cells, pull out a calculator, add the two numbers together in the calculator, and then type the answer in a third cell."
"She had apparently been doing this for years, with sheets consisting of thousands of rows."
"I explained how to use formulas and copy them but she apparently forgot because I saw her doing the same thing again months later."- zachm26
Isn't that what these pockets are for?
"When I worked construction, there was a guy who showed up with nothing in his tool belt except a small bag of peanuts in one pocket."
"He didn't stay around too long."- Incredible_mangoeat season 15 GIFGiphy
Maybe a little guidance and help was all it took to put these colleagues on a better path forward.
But one imagines the only path these less-than-star employees found themselves on was right out the door.
There's nothing more embarrassing than laughing at a story someone just told, or a question someone just asked, under the assumption that they were joking.
Only to realize a few seconds later that they weren't joking.
It happens to the best of us.
In some cases, these can be bizarre stories which we might laugh about months or years down the road.
Though more often than not, we immediately feel a foot slamming into our mouth with a vengeance.
Redditor tatemalia was eager to hear the wildest, most embarrassing of these unfortunate moments, leading them to ask:
"What's your 'Oh..You're not joking' moment?"
Oh, bless your heart.
"Had an old lady ask me when her dog would grow its leg back after an amputation."- Moctor_Drignall
Don't mind if I do
"I was eating ice cream and an old guy walking into the ice cream parlor said, 'Oh, that looks good! I'm gonna get a spoon'."
"I smiled and laughed awkwardly, until his damn spoon was in my ice cream."- KnittingTrekkie
Feedback is greatly appreciated
"It was when I met up with an online friend for the first time."
"It was surprisingly more fun than I thought it would be."
"By the end of the night, as we were waiting to get served at a restaurant, she looked at me and asked how I thought our outing went."
"I told her that I had a great time."
"But that didn't seem to do it for her."
"She proceeded to tell me about how she does this thing, at the end of every outing with her friends, where she rates and gives feedback on how well it went, what didn't go so well, and what could do with some improvement for next time."
"I laughed it off, thinking she was joking."
"It all felt too robotic and school-like for me to take seriously."
"But she definitely was serious."
"I told her to go first so I could get an idea of what she wanted and, I kid you not, she whipped out her phone and started drafting up multiple paragraphs for about 7 minutes or so."
"I felt so awkward because it was also 7 minutes of pure silence and deep concentration."
"Thankfully, I had to leave mid-way because I was needed elsewhere."
"I told her to just text me her thoughts when she was done but she insisted that that wasn't the way to do it, and it HAD to be done in person."
"I still can't believe this is something her and her friends regularly do."- reigndrops17season 10 episode 22 GIFGiphy
We'll take the house, no need for a bag.
"Working in a catalog store in the UK."
"You pick from the catalog, we bring it out from the warehouse."
"Lady comes in and orders the single largest thing we keep in store."
"A shed. "
"Not a particularly big shed as sheds go, but still a shed."
"'Ok madam if you give me your vehicle's registration number I'll tell the security guys to let you round the back of the store'."
"'Park in bay five and we'll load it for you'."
"'What are you talking about?'"
"'You have to park around back so we can load it into your vehicle'."
"'I don't have a vehicle'."
"'Oh, well, we have the numbers for some white van men and taxi services if you'd like to...'"
"'No just bring it up, Keith can carry it'."
"She indicates a portly man of around 50 across the room'."
"We got it into the lift diagonally, though it trapped a man behind it, and when it came up she said 'what on earth is that?'"
"'That's your shed, madam'."
"'My Keith can't carry that!'"
"'Yeah no sh*t, would you like me to call a van service for you?'"
"She actually just got a refund and left."- reverendmalerikRace Shed GIF by CBSGiphy
That's not yours, its mine!
"I work at a hotel."
"We have this regular who comes, but usually makes reservations ahead of time, and she has her 'favorite' room she tries to get."
"Well one day she walked in, asking for a room."
"I had rooms available, but not the one she wanted, and she replied 'oh, call the guests in that room and tell them to move out so I can have it'."
"I seriously thought that was a joke and I played along, saying 'I'll get right on that,' as I was getting her info in the computer."
"All of a sudden she said, 'aren't you going to call them?'"
"'Those guests in that room so I can have it'."
"'Oh, you really weren't joking'."
"I told her that we don't do that, if she wanted that room she needed to call ahead."
"'I have a room, I know it's not your preferred room but it's all I've got, and you can take it or leave it, but I'm not moving a guest out'."
"She seemed almost taken aback by that, but I told her that if she didn't take the room I had she wouldn't get anything."
"She calls ahead now, but I was mortified and shocked she actually tried this stunt, and actually meant it."- llcucf80
What is the meaning of this?!
"Used to work at a big bank that bought out another, somewhat smaller but still pretty big bank about 10 years ago."
"Some guy came in all pissed off because we didn't send him a new debit card with the new bank's logo on it."
"They intentionally made it so the old ones would continue working until they were originally set to expire."
Said it was "'embarrassing'."
"'I can't be the only person who's gotten upset over this, right?'"
"Yeah homie, you were."- giantgooseGiphy
It's easy to understand how these poor people thought what they had just heard was a joke.
One imagines, going forward, they might wait to laugh until after the people they were talking to start laughing.
Being cheated on is a horrible feeling.
And some would say that cheating on your significant other is inexcusable.
Perhaps that's why when partners come up with excuses and reasons as to why they cheated often make these situations so much worse.
But in some cases, these excuses might end up lightening the situation, owing to the sheer idiocy of these justifications.
Redditor tall_boizz was curious to hear the lamest, most ludicrous excuses people were given from their unfaithful partners, leading them to ask:
"What is the dumbest explanation you've heard from someone who cheated?"
I saw you yesterday!
"I missed you."
"I was on a short vacation."- haynb03
It's not me, it's you
"'If you had confidence in yourself, none of this would have happened'."- marques33
Well, you did
"'I didn't want to hurt you'"
"Way to go, dude."- taalnerd
It was out of grief
“'My grandmother died'.”
"I didn’t realize cheating on your girlfriend is the standard grieving method." - User DeletedTears Crying GIFGiphy
I'm only monogamous in the city I'm in.
“'When you said you wanted to be exclusive I thought you meant exclusive here'."
"'You never even asked if I had a boyfriend'.”
"I had been 'dating' this girl for 3 months in college when she admitted that she had been in a long distance relationship with her boyfriend from high school the entire time and she had slept with him each time she visited her parents, which was at least once a month."- dring157
"'You deleted your Facebook, and my friend and I thought that was fishy'."
"I don't even know where to start with that kind of rationality."- RandylVlarsh
We were just too perfect
"'We never have any fights'."
"So you decide to cheat so I can get mad at you?"- somerandomredditor18vanessa williams GIFGiphy
“'I wanted to try something new'.”
"He cheated on me with his ex."- meeez80
Quid Pro Quo... OOPS!
"‘I thought you were doing it too!’ "
"F*ck him!"- mawo77
I had to compartmentalize
"A friend in a long-distrance relationship who only saw his GF on weekends because she was at an army posting at the other end of the country during the week."
"He found out she was cheating on him with some guy."
"'Well, for me the army and my private life are two different lives, so it makes sense I have two different boyfriends'."
"For context, I'm from Germany, this was the German army, and 'the other end of the country' was about six hours by train, the train being free for soldiers."fox broadcasting sleeping GIF by The OrvilleGiphy
When people need to dig up excuses as laughable as these, it's often because they are well aware they were in the wrong.
Hopefully, the unlucky partners of this unfaithful, motley crew can take solace in the fact that they are now much better off.
Usain Bolt's 9.58 second 100-meter dash at the 2009 IAAF World Championships.
2,019 people performing "mattress dominoes" in Rio De Janeiro in 2019.
Audra McDonald's six Tony award wins and being the only actor to win in all four acting categories.
These are only a few of the most notable, and unusual world records that have yet to be beaten.
Records some even think might never be beaten.
Redditor badblackguy7 was curious to hear what other world records people think will never be broken, leading them to ask:
"What is a record, sports or otherwise, that will likely never be broken?"
Let's hope so!
"FDR being elected US president 4 times."- holyhellnothingworks
Unbroken thanks to modern technology
"The Lion King as the highest VHS sales of all time."- Fawqueue
Once in a lifetime
"Jacque Villeneuve, Michel Schumacher and Heinz Harald Frentzen set the exact same time in qualifying in the 1997 European grand Prix."
"To the THOUSANDTH of a second."- DaBi5cu1t
Do NOT try this at home
"Oh I know this one."
"When I was a kid, we had a Guinness book of records lying around that we liked to browse in while bored."
"There was this one guy in it who held a record for most bikes eaten."
"No, you did read that right."
"He ground up a bike and slowly consumed it over I don't know how long a time."
"The record was accompanied by a note that no further records of bike eating would be accepted, as it was deemed too dangerous."- PicajosanGiphy
They made sure this will never happen again
"The longest professional tennis match of all time."
" John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010."
"It lasted 11 hours 5 minutes, spanning 3 days of play, with a final score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68"
"It was already nearly twice as long as the previous record holder."
"The reason it will likely never be broken is that every professional tournament except for one, Roland-Garros, now has tiebreaker rules that limit the number of games that can be played in final sets."
"Although it’s hypothetically possible at RG, clay court tennis is not at all conducive to the serve-and-volley style of play that led to the insanely long 5th set of Isner-Mahut."- MSims2992
"California here I come..."
"The current record for the Cannonball Run, a drive from NY to LA, is about 25.5 hours."
"It was set in May of 2020, and the drivers were able to make use of the lack of traffic due to the pandemic to break the record."
"Barring another similar world changing event, traffic conditions will probably never be what they were when that record was set."- SexyNeanderthal
Any other challengers?
"887 wins to 2 losses."
"Entered 9 world championships and never lost a bout in them."- minorboozerLoop Spinning GIF by WWEGiphy
Winning is just showing up.
"Glenn Hall played 502 consecutive games as an NHL goalie."
"Zero chance that will ever be broken, goalies these days rarely play more than 3/4 of an 82-game season, let alone numerous seasons without a night off."- ButtholeQuiver
"Surprised no one mentioned the unlimited water speed record."
"The current unlimited record is 511.11 km/h (317.59 mph)."
"Achieved by Australian Ken Warby in the Spirit of Australia in 1978."
"It hasn’t been broken to this day due to how dangerous it is to go at those sort of speeds on the surface and plenty of people have passed away trying."- Sliiated
"I'll be waiting, waiting for you..."
"The longest non consecutive billboard 200 album streak belongs to none other than, The Dark Side Of the Moon by Pink Floyd."
"It currently has been on the chart for 962 weeks."
"Second in line is Legend, by Bob Marley and the Wailers, at 733 weeks, meaning Marley and the wailers would need almost 4.5 years of time on the charts, with Floyd being absent, in order to take the number one spot."- Floyd-Van-Zeppelinmoving pink floyd GIFGiphy
There is a likely chance that these records will never, in fact, never be broken.
But one has little doubt that people will continue to try.
And power to anyone attempting to sell more video cassettes than The Lion King.