Oddities & More

vic fortezza
3 min readJun 26, 2022

Viagra was originally intended as a cure for baldness. Men participating in the trial reported the sexual benefits, and Pfizer changed course, making many happy and the company richer. Such oddities are the basis of Great Historical Coincidences, How Good Luck Changed the Course of Science & History by Pere Romanillos, published in 2011. I was at least vaguely familiar with many of the entries, so the book wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped. Still, it is valuable to those who have never heard the oddities. The prose is solid. Even though it is simplified, those who are science-challenged, such as I, may find some of the going tedious. There are also many citations in the margins that simply repeat what is rendered in the main text. The graphics are first rate. And there are fascinating nuggets. Antoine Lavoisier, 1743-’94, recognized and named oxygen and hydrogen, helped construct the metric system and wrote the first extensive list of elements. Accused of tax fraud and selling adulterated tobacco, he was guillotined at 50 by the bloodthirsty yahoos of the French Revolution… Like Saturn, Uranus has rings, 13… Sweden’s Alfred Nobel, for whom the coveted prize is named, invented dynamite and believed its power would be a deterrent to war, as forlorn a hope as that of modernists in terms of nukes. Early in his research an explosion destroyed his lab, killing five assistants including his brother… In 1943, while studying alkaloids, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman absorbed LSD through his fingertips, which eventually led to Dr. Timothy Leary, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, and a whole lot more… Early DNA testing identified the body of Nazi monster Josef Mengele… In 1820 a Greek farmer on the isle of Melos unearthed the Venus de Milo, his hoe striking its head. No one knows who sculpted it… In Vietnam, Super Glue was used to hold wounds together, including intestinal tissue, so victims might make it to an operating table… I will be the first to rate the book at Amazon. Since halves are not recognized, I selected three, the exact rating 3.5. I was unable to find any info on the author other than that he has at least two other books in print. Photo from Google Images:

Bad news on the warfront, headline from nypost.com: “Russian ally Belarus unleashes rocket air strike into northern Ukraine.” It is believed the missiles were fired by Russians trying to pull Belarus, an ally, into the conflict.

From an article by Olivia Burke, The Sun, edited by yours truly: 78 years after being sunk in WWII, the USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts has finally been found in the Philippine Sea at a depth of 22,621 feet. Unfortunately, the quality of the photos isn’t good. Here’s one from GI:

This may be the most amusing headline of the day, from NYP: “Parts unknown: The female hyena has an 8-inch clitoris — plus more animal genital trivia.” Didn’t check if a photo is available.

From an article at newsmax.com, edited by yt: First I’ve heard of this. An Army private has pleaded guilty to charges he plotted to murder members of his unit in an attack he planned to carry out on behalf of a group that promotes extreme violence to bring about the demise of Western civilization. Founded in the UK, it’s called the Order of Nine Angles or 09A. As if the times aren’t scary enough.

No luck selling books curbside today. My thanks to the woman who donated a dozen books in Spanish, most of them on Christianity, and to Mr. Conspiracy, aka Steve, who delivered four, one a large textbook hollowed out for the stashing of money or contraband. I left it in the lobby.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.