Today in Tedium: If you’re in the U.S.—and perhaps, even if you’re not—every other message you’re getting right now is probably about this dang 2016 presidential election that’s coming to a close as we speak. Much fighting has been had. Many stories have been written. As a newsletter, Tedium exists to talk about dull, unusual things that basically aren’t, well … the 2016 election. Your brain most certainly needs a break from the electoral pummeling it’s going to be taking in the next few hours as Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews do the opposite of soothing your frayed nerves. This issue is being published a little early today, to offer just that respite. Consider it therapy by Tedium. — Ernie @ Tedium
“The harmonic intervals—or gaps between notes—have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.”
— Lyz Cooper, the founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, discussing the process the band Marconi Union used to create what’s referred to as the most relaxing song ever, “Weightless.” The song is eight minutes long, and was created with the help of scientific theory. So if your brain is on the verge of explosion, listen to this. Or take ibuprofen. Your pick.
20 true facts that don’t have anything to do with each other besides the fact they’re not about American politics
- Back in the ‘90s, one company had the bright idea of combining a Super NES with an exercise bike—a narrow platform for which just a few games were made. The resulting device is incredibly rare, as are the games made for it. When one of the bikes showed up on eBay in 2013, the bid price was $10,000.
- It took roughly 50 years after the invention of the can for someone to come up with a can opener. Before that, the recommended opening method involved a chisel and hammer.
- In 1984, Paul McCartney scored a sizable U.K. hit with a song he wrote for the cartoon Rupert. The cartoon aired before the movie Give My Regards to Broad Street, which was a movie he released that year that he really shouldn’t have. (Also of note: The film inspired a Commodore 64 game of the same name.)
- In Iceland, Cool Ranch Doritos are called “Cool American” Doritos, because nobody knows what ranch dressing is outside of the United States.
- Unlike Apple, Rolex is a 100 percent vertically integrated company, which means that every part of a Rolex watch is produced inside of a Rolex factory. No outsourcing in Switzerland.
- For five and a half years, workers in the former Czechoslovakia spent tons of energy building a gigantic statue of Joseph Stalin out of granite in Prague, which was heavily influenced by the Soviet Union at the time. Soon after the statue was built, however, the Soviet government decided to de-emphasize Stalin’s legacy. As a result, the statue was destroyed just seven years after it was revealed.
- The company that created the Trapper Keeper is the same one that founded LexisNexis.
- In 1979, you could buy a backyard satellite dish from a Neiman Marcus catalog for $36,000.
- India Pale Ale gets its name not from being based in India, but the fact that it was designed to make the long trip from England to India, a British colony in the 19th century, without going bad.
- In 1983, the corporate rock band Journey starred in its own arcade game, which is notable because developers used an early digital camera to get the faces of the band members in the awful, awful game.
- A law recently passed in California allows actors to remove their ages from IMDB pages, as a way to prevent discrimination by casting directors.
- In the film version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the other characters are shown being covered in snow during one scene. That snow is made of asbestos, which is probably the most carcinogenic thing one can do.
- The first closed-captioned message, created by Texas Instruments in the ‘70s at the behest of PBS, was “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
- Spoiler alert: The creator of Doug failed to win over his real-life Patti Mayonnaise. No word on whether he satisfyingly decked the real-life Roger Klotz.
- Until earlier this year, Bill Gates owned millions of classic photographs. He sold those images—including the iconic Tiananmen Square “Tank Man” image—to a Chinese company. Most of these photos, by the way, are stored in a limestone mine in Pennsylvania. Here’s a documentary about the mine.
- It’s nearly impossible in a football game for a team to end the game with just four points. In fact, it was a big deal in November 2011 when the St. Louis Rams scored four points in a single quarter. (Nearly as unlikely is the 11-10 game, but it’s happened.) That said, despite the number of games played, there are a number of final scores that have never been reached in professional play. Pro Football Reference has the full list.
- According to an interview with Pras of the Fugees from earlier this year, the band’s first album initially sold just 12 copies. Their second album did a little bit better.
- Keanu Reeves had his signature forged on a contract by a friend of his—forcing him to make a terrible movie he never wanted to make, simply so he could avoid a lawsuit.
- The woman who invented the dishwasher is the granddaughter of the man who invented the steamboat.
- And finally … Steve Jobs introduced the world to Wi-Fi with a hula hoop.
Finally, just to offer you some thoughts that aren’t related to politics nor anything in particular: Some people might wonder why this newsletter hits your inbox really late at night—sometimes around 3 a.m. or so in the morning Eastern time.
I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to it, other than that, perhaps, I’ve always been a night owl. Sometimes, being up really late with nothing else to distract you, is really great for focus and attention.
Sometimes, I’ll nod off while I’m writing, maybe for 10 or 15 minutes, maybe a little longer, but I always for some reason wake back up and finish the piece, committed to writing about how they brine pickles or whatever other inane topic that I’ve chosen to write about that night.
I like to think that someone might read this newsletter in the middle of the night, unable to zonk themselves out, and my rant about whatever weird topic is on my mind that night does the trick.
When it comes down to it, the stresses of life can feel almost crushing sometimes. But writing Tedium, no matter how long it takes me, is a great way for me to stop worrying about how stressful the world or the rest of the news cycle gets.
Tedium, in its own way, is a great way to keep your own mental health in check. Hope it comes in handy tonight.