Useless But Compelling Facts

Back by popular demand, our trivia contests are starting up again . .. for the uninitiated, here’s how it works.

At the beginning of each week, I will post question or conundrum – a puzzlement – generally based on some obscure tidbit of information.  In other words, a perfectly useless, but absolutely compelling (and hopefully fascinating) fact.

I confess it’s getting harder to find anything obscure with anything and everything available through the World Wide Web (thanks a lot Sir Timothy Berners-Lee) but I’ll try.  Besides, some of the questions requiring multi-part or fully complete answers are going to be tricky.

Your objective is to get the correct, complete and precise full answer and get it to me by email (@ Joe Rosenbaum) first.  At the end of the week, I will post the answer, along with the name and affiliation of the person who got me the complete correct answer first.  Now there are some basic rules I will follow:

  • First, if you prefer not to have your name or affiliation posted, let me know in your submission and I’ll leave it out if you win;
  • Second, you MUST put UBCF as the very first item in the SUBJECT line of your email to me when answering.  I reserve the right (and a table at my favorite restaurant) to disqualify any person, entry, submission and their successors and assigns from winning if you don’t have UBCF first in the subject of the email;
  • Third, if I am unavailable at the beginning or end of the week for some reason, I’ll post the questions or the answers or both on a different day; and
  • Fourth, if you or your answer are void, restricted, prohibited by law, avoid any contact with skin and eyes and consult a physician right away – oh, and don’t enter because it won’t count;
  • Last, but not least, if there are any rules I’ve forgotten, I am likely to make them up along the way.  Sorry. My trivia contest, my rules.  Besides, the only prize you can hope for is recognition. Then again, if nothing is obscure on the World Wide Web  anymore, you may just become famous or, based on this last rule, I may decide to award you a prize. You just never know!

Enjoy the fun and thanks for playing along,

The Editor

The Only U.S. President Elected under the 12th Amendment is…

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides for the election of the president and vice president by the electoral college, and if no candidate obtains a majority, the House of Representatives chooses the President.

The only president of the United States to be elected by the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment is John Quincy Adams.

In 1824, four major candidates vied for the presidency: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. In the election, John Quincy Adams received 40,000 fewer votes than Andrew Jackson – Jackson received 153,544 votes out of a total of 356,038 cast in that election. Adams also garnered fewer electoral college votes than Jackson (Jackson had 99, Adams 84 and the other 78 votes going to other candidates). Since no candidate had a majority of electoral college votes, the presidential election went to the House of Representatives to select the president from the top three electoral college vote recipients – Jackson, Adams and Crawford. Clay was eliminated from contention, having the lowest number of votes. But in addition to being a presidential candidate, Henry Clay was the powerful Speaker of the House at the time. He threw his support to Adams – the tale told that he did so in return for his appointment as Secretary of State. Clay’s endorsement ultimately won the day: John Quincy Adams became president and Henry Clay was appointed Secretary of State, a position he held from 1825-1829.

The 12th Amendment in U.S. History

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1804. It provided for the election of the president and vice president by the electoral college and not directly by popular vote. The 12th Amendment also states that if no candidate obtains a majority of the electoral college votes, the House of Representatives (one vote per state) chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice president. Bet you didn’t know that!

Now the hard part.


Who is the only president of the United States to actually be elected by the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment?

Useless But Compelling Facts – July 17, 2014 Answer

Our most recent Useless But Compelling Fact question asked if you knew where the character Batman came from, and we are happy to provide the answer.

Batman (or the Bat Man), the character, first appeared in May 1939 in Issue # 27 of Detective Comics. Batman would go on to be the star of the title (often written "Detective Comics featuring Batman"), and taking over the logo art on the cover. The comic book issue is considered to be among the most valuable comic books in existence – with one reported sale of a copy in very good (but not mint) condition selling for US$1,075,000. Holy Batman!

Useless But Compelling Facts – July 17, 2014

Some of you know that “Batman Begins” is a 2005 motion picture directed by Christopher Nolan, staring Christian Bale in the lead role as Batman.

The motion picture has an amazing supporting cast that includes such stars as Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, and tells the origin of the character, beginning with Bruce Wayne’s childhood fear of bats. The motion picture is one of a new series of films based on the crime-fighting adventures of the iconic Batman character.

What you may not know is where the character Batman actually comes from . . . if you don’t know, I’ll tell you when we publish the answer . . . next week! But if you do know, send me an email, or better, why not just use the Bat Signal . . .

Useless But Compelling Facts – April 2009

This month, we break new ground (now that we have a web-based format) by having our first ‘visual’ useless, but compelling fact. Years ago, American Express had an extraordinarily successful, long running ad campaign – the “Do You Know Me?” series. They would select very famous people – people who’s name you would instantly recognize, but more than likely would never know what they looked like – and showcase them in ads. Until they held up their American Express Cards imprinted with their famous names, you might be scratching your head wondering who they are. So take a look at this and we ask you:  

“Do you know me?”


Good luck and send your answers to me, Joe Rosenbaum at

Useless But Compelling Facts – February 2009 Answer

Last month’s correct answer came almost simultaneously from Florida, New York and India – from long time Legal Bytes readers Shari Gottesman, Richard Fine and Lubna Kably. I WILL send you each a prize! Their correct answer is the group of islands known as Tierra del Fuego (Land of the Fire), off the coast South America (1 large, 5 medium and many small islands and inlets). Unfortunately, the original native population was ravaged by disease brought by explorers and settlers and since 1881, Tierra del Fuego has had divided ownership. The eastern portion belongs to Argentina and the Western to Chile. Thanks for all your responses and remember – DON’T send your answers to the Legal Bytes blog, send them directly to me at or it won’t count.

Useless But Compelling Facts – February 2009

This month, we would like you to identify a place that is made up of one main island and a few smaller islands, and that is partially owned by two different countries (including the main island, which remains divided to this day). All of the original native inhabitants died from disease brought by explorers many years ago, and while the native language was so guttural it did not have an alphabet, those who studied the original tribal culture believe it actually had more words than the English language. Last hint—it was first discovered by Magellan in 1520. What is the name of this place?  Think you know the answer, send it to me.

Useless But Compelling Facts – November 2008 Answer

Shari Gottesman and Richard Fine, long-time Legal Bytes’ readers, were essentially tied in getting me the correct answer to the last trivia question about what Gene Rodenberry, Smithers on The Simpsons, the sci-fi film Hangar 18, and the block-building game Jenga!, all have in common. Well, Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhuru’s name means “freedom” in Swahili; Smithers speaks Swahili (Marge’s resume says she speaks Swahili, but she’s lying); the speech system on the alien spaceship in Hangar 18 is a Swahili phrasebook; and Jenga comes from the Swahili word “kujenga,” which means “to build.” Swahili is a Bantu language spoken by thousands of people on the southeastern coast of Africa.