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Exact Words / Real Life

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  • This is the entire premise of malicious compliance, also known as Bothering by the Book, that is following the exact instructions and protocols down to the most excrutiating detail in order to be an annoyance - for example if you happen to not have the right to strike.
  • President Ryti of Finland did this during World War II. He gave his word to Hitler that neither he nor Finland would ever make peace with the Soviet Union under his rule. When the time was ripe, Ryti retired and the next president pulled out of the war.
  • Hitler really should have seen that coming. In 1934, Hitler insisted the Wehrmacht swear an oath of loyalty to him personally — not to "the German people" or any other such cohort or location that could allow his soldiers to rationalize betraying him (on the grounds that it was in the best interests of the German people to remove Hitler from power). This was critical because many German Army personnel had broken the laws of Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic for political reasons. The most famous of these may have been when several thousand soldiers deserted from the German Army to fight alongside the Bavarian police and ultranationalist paramilitary militias against the Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1919. The oath made all officers who attempted to do him in oathbreakers, which a few may truly have found to be a difficult mental barrier to overcome (though it would've meant nothing once he was already dead, and this could have promoted a 'wait and see' approach). The oath's greatest legacy was its use in justifying inaction against Hitler after the war. Even officers who had been good friends with Hitler and supported (almost all) the regime's political goals, such as Heinz Guderian, were able to claim that the oath had kept them from trying to kill Hitler.
    • Averted in the case of Mussolini, who kept the armed forces' traditional oath to the king, and made his Black Shirts make the same oath, precisely because he considered that Fascism and Mussolini himself were expendable for the good of Italy. Thus when the Grand Council of Fascism voted to ask the king to depose him and Vittorio Emmanuele III did just that, transition was peaceful. Of course Hitler had to spring his old buddy from prison and install him as a puppet of an "Italian Social Republic" (which, unlike fascist Italy, was rampantly antisemitic and opposed to many old Italian traditions) which predictably caused the second biggest partisan movement (after Yugoslavia) during World War II to rise against Italian fascism.
  • The Holocaust in Denmark. In 1943 Werner Best, the Waffen-SS commander responsible for Denmark was ordered to make Denmark Judenfrei (Non-Jewish/Jewless/Jew-Free). He may or may not have let the Danish civil authorities know of this, but he certainly made no attempt whatsoever to stop them once he learned that they were transporting Denmark's entire Jewish population of 7000 across the straits to Sweden.note  In letting this happen he fulfilled the secondary objective of his orders (cost-efficiency) better than any SS regional authority in Europe: the entire process did not cost Germany a single mark. Himmler was not particularly pleased, as the order 'Make X-region Judenrein' was generally understood (through verbally-indicated, strictly off-the-record hints) to mean that he wanted that region's Jews deported (to the secret Extermination camps in former Poland). But because Best had followed Himmler's orders to the letter all Himmler was able to do was demote him.
  • This is quite common among parts of the German public servants. As a Beamter, you enjoy a number of benefits — such as automatic promotion and the virtual impossibility of losing your job (anything under the equivalent of a one-year sentence in prison is a-okay) — but you lack the right to strike and your wages are state-set instead of negotiated. Therefore, if the public employees want to articulate their dissatisfaction, they engage in "Dienst nach Vorschrift" (service as ordered), doing exactly what the guidelines request, instead of what would be sensible, thereby deliberately wasting people's time.
    • This is a relatively common labour tactic known as "working to rule" — when an actual strike would be illegal or disadvantageous, the workers instead insist on following every picky little rule, greatly slowing down work while not actually doing anything they can be punished for.
  • The way a city showed submission to the ancient Persian empire was by giving symbolic gifts of "earth and water". According to Herodotus, Darius sent emissaries to Sparta demanding earth and water. The Spartans threw the emissaries down a well, saying, "You'll find plenty there." (Depicted, with bonus shouting, in 300.)
    • The Athenians took a similar tactic and tossed their Persian emissary into a pit.
  • Miranda Rights, when they say "everything you say can be used against you" not only do they really mean it, they mean it absolutely literally: anything you say can be used against you. But never for you. Any disculpatory comment you might make cannot be used in court, even if it's cast iron proof that you didn't do it somehow it'll fall under hearsay and be dismissed by the prosecution. (This is the other reason you should remain silent, so you can give the statement as testimony.)
    • Or, more technically, statements made by the defendant cannot be entered into evidence by the defense. Doing so could allow the defendant to testify on his own behalf without being sworn in or facing cross-examination; i.e., it's hearsay. On the other hand, a very strong case can often be made that a defendant's statement upon arrest is an "excited utterance" and therefore excepted from the rule against hearsay. If the statement does meet this exception, the statement can be used in the defendant's favor (under the rules of evidence prevailing in common-law countries).
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  • During the 1960 Democratic Presidential Primary, Lyndon Johnson’s campaign found out that his rival John F. Kennedy had a hormonal disorder caused Addison’s. Kennedy’s team had his doctors put out a very carefully worded statement that said he didn’t have Addison’s that stemmed from having had Tuberculosis. Only about a quarter of all Addison’s cases come from TB but it was enough to quash the stories about his health for good, especially because Kennedy was only 43.
  • In 2007 J. K. Rowling was asked by a kid at a Q&A for Harry Potter what exactly Dumbledore's brother did to a goat that landed him in prison. She first asked the girl how old she was, to which she replied that she was eight. She told the girl that he did a charm to to help him clean the goat and finished with "So, that is my answer to you."
  • Bill Clinton famously answered 'no' when asked "Is there a sexual relationship between you and Monica Lewinsky?", which he later defended by arguing that the questioner had asked if there "is" a relationship (meaning, is there one presently); there had been a relationship, but that there wasn't one at the present. Whether his answers were "technically" perjury is heavily debated.
    • Clinton also exploited this trope when he famously claimed in his first presidential campaign (1992) that he "experimented with marijuana" a few times while in England, "didn't inhale," and never tried inhaling again.note  However, everyone who knew him as a young man distinctly remembers him as a bit of a stoner. Christopher Hitchens, who was with him at Oxford, has an explanation for that—Bill preferred edibles. Bill Hicks independently came to the same conclusion:
    '"I tried marijuana, but I did not inhale." What does that mean? ...Brownies! Look at his waistline!'
  • When Plato gave Socrates' definition of man as "featherless bipeds" and was much praised for the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato's Academy, saying, "Behold! I've brought you a man." After this incident, "with broad flat nails" was added to Plato's definition.
  • Richard J. Gatling, inventor of the Gatling gun, was a pacifist who wanted to prevent war by "reducing the size of armies." Well, his invention (and its spiritual descendants) have certainly done that.
  • George Spencer of New Haven, Connecticut, was put on trial for bestiality in 1642 and told that a confession would earn him mercy. Spencer eventually decided to confess in order to be spared punishment, only to be told that "mercy will be offered by God, not by the court." He was hanged.
  • This is how Mila Kunis got on That '70s Show: those auditioning for the role of Jackie had to be at least 18. She was 14. Kunis claimed she'd be 18 on her birthday; she just never said how far off that birthday was. By the time the producers finally figured out her age, it was known among them that Kunis was a superior, if not perfect, fit for the role she had auditioned for.
  • This trope is the reason why the Japanese have the JSDF despite renouncing war and giving up on its military. Article 9 of their constitution stated they can't maintain a military for war purposes. However, it never said anything about maintaining an armed force for self-defense purposes.
  • During The American Civil War, some recruits often tried to join while underage. They went in with a piece of paper in their shoes with the number "18" on it, then when questioned said, "I'm over 18." Legally speaking, this obviously wouldn't fly — but since it's psychologically much easier to tell a wildly misleading truth than a straight up falsehood, those who did this were less likely to get caught.
  • British politician Simon Hughes, when asked if he was gay replied: "The answer is no, as it happens, but if it were the case, which it isn't, I hope that it would not be an issue." When he then later came out as bisexual, he lampshaded this trope by apologising and saying: "I gave a reply that wasn't untrue but was clearly misleading. I apologise."
  • To gain the support of the council that decided who ruled Jerusalem, Sibylla of Jerusalem agreed to annul her marriage to the unpopular Guy of Lusignan, on the condition she chose her next husband. The council agreed, and she was crowned. Then she chose to remarry Guy and crown him king consort.
  • Under orders to make an exact copy of a captured B-29, designer Andrei Tupolev faced a serious problem: If he used the U.S. insignia, it could be seen as rebellious. If he used Soviet insignia, he would be slighting Stalin by not following his orders. He was able to breach this problem in the form of a joke letter, and Stalin gave his approval for Soviet insignia. He faced additional problems: that particular B-29, due to a manufacturing error, had a few extra, obviously unnecessary rivet holes (that didn't have rivets). They appeared in the copies. Similarly, because the plane was American, Imperial measurements were used in the sizing of parts, but the USSR used metric. Even though using similar-sized standard metric parts which were almost exactly the same size (such as the aforementioned rivets) wouldn't have made a difference, all the parts were machined to be exact duplicates of the American originals. Tupolev did, indeed, replicate many trivial details, in large part so that the spies on his team would report his obedience to Stalin. He also suggested many improvements that were approved by the bureaucracy and incorporated into production Tu-4s.
  • According to legend, this is why the first in line for the British crown is traditionally titled the Prince of Wales. In 1301, King Edward I of England supposedly promised the Welsh that he would have someone "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" as Prince of Wales. He then produced his own infant son Edward II, who was indeed born in Wales (in Caernarfon while Edward I was campaigning in Wales) and did not speak a word of English (or any other language). As the English aristocracy at the time often spoke Norman French instead of English (indeed, Edward I was the first king since 1066 who actually spoke English fluently, and it wouldn't be until the reign of his great-great-grandson Henry IV that the King would be a native English speaker), other versions of the legend had Edward I promise a prince that didn't speak either English or French, and one version had him say "born on Welsh soil and speaking no other language." The first story certainly isn't true, since Edward II was born in 1284.
  • While negotiating the surrender of a group of temples that had rebelled against him, the Japanese warlord and future Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu promised the monks that after they surrendered their temples would be "as they were before." Once the peace was settled, he razed them all, noting that the temples had all once been vacant fields.
  • In 2005, the owner of Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels decided that he wanted to rename the team to the Los Angeles Angels, in an effort to appeal to the larger Los Angeles media market. Makes sense, and it wouldn't be the first time Los Angeles had a pro sports team that was actually located in nearby Anaheim. The problem is, the team's 33-year lease contract for their stadium, owned by the city of Anaheim, stipulated that the team's name must include "Anaheim". Thus, they renamed the team to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as that name includes Anaheim. The city of Anaheim sued to force the team to revert to the previous name. They lost, and the Overly Long Name remains in place to this day. The team's owner correctly presumed that most fans and media would end up dropping the "of Anaheim" in common usage.
  • A UN officer in Bosnia was specifically ordered not to fire lethal weapons at anyone who was not firing at him. There happened to be a visible observation post calling in a long-range bombardment on his position. Since the observer wasn't doing any shooting, he had to grin and bear it — until nightfall, when he launched a phosphorus illumination shell which just happened to float down into the observation post.
  • When Harriet Tubman went to visit her still-enslaved parents, so one story goes, they refused to look at her. So if anyone ever asked them if they had seen their daughter, they could say "no" with complete honesty. This was supposedly averted when she finally came to rescue them.
  • The law sometimes results in situations like this:
    • In Germany, the use of Third Reich symbolism is illegal. (There are natural exemptions for science etc.) This has sometimes resulted in prosecutions for ironic usage or for usage clearly critical of the Third Reich, while actual Neo-Nazis use other symbols like the Imperial German flag to skirt the ban. Due to this fact, the Obvious Rule Patch of "unless it is used in a clearly an anti-Nazi statement" was added after a German politician pointed out that a crossed out swastika is technically illegal.
    • Some people practising bestiality in England have also been convicted for rape — as the animal was less than 16 years old. (Cf. "buggery" in The Other Wiki - NSFW warning.)
    • Probably apocryphal, but they say a lawyer who had to prosecute a sodomy case where the evidence was very weak mused about reducing the charge to "following too closely."
    • Averted: Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul tells the story of a clever lawyer making a very subtle argument turning on Exact Words before the Supreme Court of Canada. He was in full tilt when Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin abruptly leaned forward and asked whether his argument also worked in French, which of course it had to since the law is equally valid in both official languages. The lawyer was completely dumbfounded.
  • An innocent example: this story about an autistic child who wrote spelling words, as instructed, in exact alphabetical order. As in, the letters in each word were sorted, not the words themselves.
  • Bill Cosby made the film Leonard Part 6, which he quickly grew to consider a disaster. But the studio had him under contract to promote it. The contract didn't tell him what to say during the promotional spots, though, so he made the tour... and derided the film on each appearance, telling viewers to avoid it.
  • Pat Arrowsmith, a self-confessed lesbian, was left an inheritance by her father, on condition that she gets married. So she married a friend who was sympathetic to her plight; the will didn't say anything about the marriage being consummated. note 
  • Michael Rasmussen, former professional cyclist from Denmark, who got kicked out of Tour de France in 2007 while leading the race, never actually said he was clean. He'd always say when asked about doping that he had never tested positive, which was true.
  • A reported example was a girl who went out on a date but was told she had to be home before midnight. She and her boyfriend are out and about until 2, which would have been a disaster if it was discovered. So she decides to wait one hour and walk in the door at precisely 3 am. The next morning when her father asked her what time she got in, she said, "I watched the clock very carefully, and I walked in at exactly a quarter of twelve. (Which it is if you divide 12 by 4, you get 3.)
  • A flagman back when railroad crossings did not have lights testified in court that at the night crossing where the train was crossing the road in near pitch black conditions, "I was waving my lantern from side to side when the car crashed into the train." This was true, however he did not, at the time, mention that the lantern wasn't lit.
  • Foie gras, a French food made from the swollen liver of a fattened goose, is considered a delicacy and appears in the culture's haute cuisine. However, it is created by force-feeding geese and, in some cases, limiting their mobility so they can do nothing but eat, practices which have earned the ire of many animal rights activists. In the late New Aughts (2000-09), some of these activists were able to ban the sale of foie gras in French restaurants in California...but savvy owners realized that while they were forbidden to charge for foie gras, there was no rule against their serving it. Thus, several restaurants started offering eighteen-dollar glasses of water that came with a helping of "complimentary" foie gras. A similar practice happens in Moore County, TN, the location of the famous Jack Daniels Distillery. It is legal to make alcohol there, but one cannot purchase it. Therefore, a customer at the gift shop could buy a Jack Daniels glass bottle that just *happens* to have whiskey in it and just *happens* to be the price of a bottle of whiskey.
  • The US Congress and government, in general, receive a lot of mockery for the size of bills and regulations. It's easy to make fun of a proposed law by pointing out that it's longer than Stephen King's most ambitious novels. But interests affected by these laws and regulations have very good lawyers who are quite skilled at finding every possible loophole. As a result, a major piece of legislation must be crafted with extraordinary care, with all terms defined at great length, to ensure the legislative intent is crystal clear and unimpeachable.
    • The Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare," aka "Health Care Reform") is an example of why careful legislative crafting is so crucial. Opponents of the law have challenged elements of it on the grounds that the law sets up health insurance marketplaces: established by the states, ideally, but by the federal government if the state opts out. The law also provides tax subsidies for those too poor to afford the full price of health insurance on the exchange. However, opponents point out that one section mentions that customers are eligible for subsidies that can be used "on exchanges established by the state," which, they say, means that customers using exchanges established by the federal government are ineligible for the subsidies. For various complicated policy reasons, this would cripple the law. The law's drafters argue that this is a ridiculous, nitpicky interpretation that ignores the rest of the bill and the stated intentions of just about everyone involved with the crafting of the law, as well as arguing that the legal definition of "exchanges" provided another section of the law mandates that all exchanges, whether state or federal, be identical in structure. The supreme court in a 6-3 decision upheld the law, following the reasoning of "They made the equivalent of a typo, everything else would not make sense". However, Antonin Scalia in one of the last major legal opinions of his life wrote a scathing dissent including phrases like "If we want words to have meaning at all..." and "Jiggery Pokery".
    • Parliamentary Common Law countries like England and New Zealand manage to evade this issue. The common law concepts around statutory interpretation, which have developed to guide judges when deciding a case that turns upon nitpicky details in a statute, rank some methods of interpretation above others. For example, the ambulatory approach and parliamentary intention are weighted above the ordinary dictionary definition of a word, so that an old statute covering printed images of naked children would be held by a judge to also cover digital publication.
  • Television producers love this. For example, the producers of Pretty Little Liars promised that the Season 3 finale would reveal who 'killed' Alison. It turned out that they revealed that no one killed her because she was still alive.
  • Similar to the above example: During the sixth season of ER, George Clooney, who had left the show in the previous year, stated he would not appear in the season finale (Julianna Margulies, who played Clooney's love interest Nurse Hathaway, was departing the show that season). He did, in fact, appear in the episode before the finale, which was Margulies' final regular episode; the episode ended with Hathaway leaving Chicago, flying out to Seattle and reuniting with Doug Ross.
  • Patrick Hoban, an infamous Yu-Gi-Oh! player, made a deal with his opponent to side out a certain card (move it from their deck to their side deck, where it couldn't be used) in the second duel of a match. Hoban did indeed side the card (Djinn, Releaser of Rituals) but simultaneously sided back in another copy of the same card, so that in the next duel, he had access to the card and his opponent didn't. This incident led to Konami officially declaring side decks to be "hidden knowledge"note  effectively banning the previously accepted practice of gentleman's agreements.
  • Since duels were often fought in countries which prohibited the practice, the custom arose of having the duelists' seconds and physician stand with their backs to the fight, so they could testify that they "saw no shots".
  • PT Barnum in 1856 once charged money for people to witness "A six-foot man eating chicken". When people came in, they would see a six-foot tall man... eating chicken wings. (Modern circuses often lampoon this with clown acts.)
  • An unsuccessful example: Kevin Kulek of boutique pinball manufacturer Skit-B Pinball attempted manufacturing and selling games based on the film Predator in 2011. Three years later, news struck that the project was shut down by Fox, it being never officially licensed by them (despite Kulek previously assuring the opposite), and that those who had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the venture were out of luck. Upon further investigation, a trend of Kulek allegedly using Exact Words to find legal loopholes came to light: Kulek had sent a letter to Fox regarding usage of the Predator license, taking it as he got their permission — without paying a dime — when they said yes; when the Predator name and logo vanished from Skit-B's site in 2014, Kulek claimed it was due to a cease-and-desist letter from Fox, but that production would continue as it didn't explicitly state against it; Kulek claimed Skit-B was a non-profit company due to not having yet become profitable, thus being able to do things legally that for-profit companies couldn't. Of course, he didn't get away with using their literal definitions rather than their legal ones; the Predator project was discontinued, with Skit-B dismantled and Kulek hit with a pending lawsuit from customers who claim that he defrauded them.
  • A famous episode in the life of Judge Roy Bean, where he released an Irish railroad laborer charged with killing his Chinese co-worker. His justification was that criminal homicide is the "killing of another human being", and the law had nothing to say about "killing a Chinaman." His decision probably had a lot to do with the mob of angry Irishman outside his courtroom threatening to hang him if he didn't let their friend go.
  • Computer programmers (and to a lesser degree, users) often struggle with this; Computers will do exactly what you tell them to do. No more, no less. The computer is not at fault if a bug arises since it is Just Following Orders.
  • A very horrifying example occurred in 1969 when Charles Manson went into the house of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, had some of his followers tie them up as he held them at gunpoint and reportedly told the couple "I'm not going to kill you." He then left the house and sent in the rest of the members who accompanied him that night to murder them instead.
  • Kids of a certain age tend to take rules very literally and think doing something even slightly different than the prohibited action is OK (e.g a kid is told "don't hit Bob" so he hits Frank instead; when called on it, he claims he didn't break the rule, since you only said he couldn't hit Bob specifically).
  • A famous legal example, detailed on The Other Wiki here, focused on the distinction between "doll" and "toy." Specifically, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States had ruled that there were two major categories of playthings for children: dolls, which included human figures, and toys, which contained "nonhuman creatures." Though the distinction seemed small, dolls were charged a tariff rate of 12%, while the rate for toys was only 6%. In 2003, Marvel Comics—or more specifically, Toy Biz, Inc., its action figure subsidiary—argued that all of their products should be charged as toys, not dolls. Why? Because franchises like X-Men and Fantastic Four contained characters that looked like humans, but weren't because of their mutant abilities, rendering them "nonhuman creatures" instead. The judge in the case examined over 60 of the figures before ruling that Toy Biz was correct; her decision led to reimbursements for Marvel and outcry from fans, who pointed out that the whole notion of mutants as a "separate" class is a recurring theme in the comics...touted by anti-mutant hate groups and other bigoted individuals.
  • Not even the legendary Bill Murray is immune to this trope. In 2004, he was approached to voice the title character in Garfield, and agreed because he saw the name "Joel Cohen" listed on the writing team. As a fan of the Coen brothers, he agreed...only to start reading his script on the first day of recording (after he'd already signed to a two-picture deal) and realizing that it was poorly written. He insisted on watching the whole film and, frustrated with its quality, demanded to know "what Coen was thinking"...and that's when the producers revealed that the script had been written by Joel Cohen — namely, a screenwriter whose credits include Toy Story and Cheaper by the Dozen — not Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers. Needless to say, Murray was less than thrilled.
  • UK Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell proposed on 3 November 2016 in the House of Commons that BBC One resume the practice of playing "God Save the Queen" (the UK national anthem) at the end of its broadcast day (the practice was halted in 1997) to commemorate the successful Brexit vote. That evening the BBC's Newsnight program ended its broadcast by stating that though it wasn't BBC One it would be happy to oblige - Smash Cut to a video performance of "God Save the Queen" (the anti-establishment '70s punk rock song by the Sex Pistols (which also added a dose of Irony, since the BBC is state-funded)).
  • A PR rep for Capcom was quoted as saying that "there won't be a Super Street Fighter V." Both Street Fighter II and Street Fighter IV had received updates following the Super Street Fighter ___ naming convention, but from the context, it was obvious that what the representative meant is that Street Fighter V wouldn't receive updates sold as separate, full-priced games as had been the norm for the series and that all extra content for Street Fighter V would be accessible through the game's new downloadable content structure. When Capcom ended up making such an update to revive mainstream interest in the game after it had unperformed, it was named... Street Fighter V Arcade Edition.
    • Capcom's message was meant to convey that no matter what, if you owned a copy of SFV, you will always receive all the updates for free. True to that, Arcade Edition is a 100% free update for those who own SFV. Arguably, the trope is both played straight (in that there is *a* rerelease of the game, just not called Super Street Fighter V) and subverted (in that the rerelease does not force owners of the game to spend any money) at the same time.
  • In March 2017. the Australian morning news show Sunrise ran a story about "Prince William's helicopter" narrowly avoiding a mid-air collision with a drone. Despite clarifying fairly early that William was not on board on this occasion, the reporters continued to play up the Prince William connection for the "benefit" of the show's changing audience for the next couple of hours, resorting to questionable claims that he was "lucky to be alive" and had "narrowly avoided a helicopter crash."
    Charlie Pickering: Yeah, William narrowly avoided the helicopter crash by being somewhere totally else, that wasn't in a helicopter.
  • At one point, the Weimar Republic forbade the Nazis from marching in uniform. The Nazis responded by having a demonstration where the SA men marched while shirtless.
  • When a tweet by Patrick W. Watson described Elon Musk as an “African-American immigrant”, many people were confused because Elon Musk isn't black. However, Musk grew up in South Africa and his father was an Afrikaner, thus making him an African-American in the sense of “an American originally from Africa”, not “an American of (recent, black) African ancestry.”
  • Former North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad is a curious example.
    • When Conrad was first elected to the Senate in 1986 (defeating first-term incumbent Republican Senator Mark Andrews), Conrad tied whether he would run for re-election in 1992 to whether there was a significant reduction in the federal deficit by that time. There wasn't, and despite polls showing the voters would support him seeking re-election he decided not to run for a second term for that seat.
    • However, the state's other Senate seat became available when longtime Senator Quentin Burdick died on September 6, 1992 at the age of 84, with retiring Governor George Sinner appointing Burdick's widow Jocelyn to the seat pending a special electionnote , and when Jocelyn Burdick declined, Conrad ran for and won the special election for the last two years of Quentin Burdick's term, since it wasn't running for re-election to his original seat,note , going on to hold that seat until his retirement in 2013.
  • In this story from FMyLife, the storyteller's mother said she would buy them a new dishwasher for their apartment that only cost $1.25. She got them a sponge.
  • A husband promised to give his unfaithful ex-wife half of everything he owned. He literally does so by sawing everything in half. You can see for yourself.
  • When the Spanish and their allies besieged Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs sent ambassadors to ask the Tarascan state for help. They asked to meet the Tarascan king, Zuangua, not knowing he'd already died of smallpox. The Tarascans agreed to their request and killed them so that they could meet Zuangua in the afterlife.
  • The Synanon cult held multiple people against their will. One of these was a woman who was referred to them upon having a nervous breakdown in Santa Monica and then held for two days before being shipped off to their ranch compound, where the cult's abusive practices drove her into a full-on psychotic break. Once her husband and their lawyer Paul Morantz finally found her, they managed to get her released, on the condition that they would have to sign a waiver saying Synanon was not liable for anything that happened to her at the ranch. They agreed, and promptly sued the living daylights out of the cult for everything that happened in Santa Monica.
  • In 476 the Byzantine Emperor Basiliscus surrendered to the deposed emperor Zeno (whose throne Basiliscus had usurped twenty months earlier) on the condition that Zeno wouldn't shed the blood of him and his family. Zeno agreed and sent them to a fortress in Cappadocia, where Zeno had them enclosed in a dry cistern where they died of exposure.
  • In April 2018, British supermarket chain Iceland declared that they would stop selling products containing palm oil in its own-brand products by the end of the year, citing the effect demand for said oil was having on the rainforests. Shortly into 2019 some of those products were still for sale, still contained palm oil, but they no longer carried the Iceland brand, seemingly so they could declare they'd succeeded while still negotiating with the companies responsible for producing them.
  • According to Herodotus, King Croesus of Lydia was told that if he attacked the Persians, he would destroy a great empire. As he'd been told the Persians could only defeat him when a mule held the throne, he assumed the empire in question was theirs. Unfortunately, he neglected to consider the Oracle might not have meant "mule" literally—in fact, she was referring to Cyrus the Great, who was a "mule" in the sense that one parent was Persian and the other Medean, and who did, in fact, hold the throne. Whoops.
  • One method of combatting internet art theft is the demand to link back to the site reposters got it from or credit the artist: of course, the thieves instead link to their own site (since they "got" the image from there) or write "credit to the original artist" in place of the person's name.
  • Masahiro Sakurai once stated that no fighter was added or cut from the base roster plan back in 2016, for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Come November 1st 2018, and Piranha Plant's confirmed as the first DLC character, as an early adopter bonus. This seemed to contradict Sakurai's statement, until months after the fact for a few reasons; Piranha Plant is the only DLC character in the game to have an amiibo ready from the start note , is the only one to come with a Palutena's Guidance (something the base game's fighters also have), and recent characters like Rex and Spring Man were rejected for timing reasons. So the plant is indeed part of the base roster plan.
  • Traditionally, East Asian countries such as China had taboos in place against shedding the blood of royalty. Well, strangulation and poison don't result in the shedding of blood. Neither does wrapping someone in a carpet and having that carpet trampled with horses.
  • One interpretation of the With Due Respect trope is that the person being addressed is in fact being treated with no respect; the phrase never specified how much respect is due.
  • When the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were delayed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, multiple media outlets commented how this was utterly unprecendented in the entire history of the Olympics, even during both World Wars. Which is true. World War I and II caused the Olympics held those years to be cancelled, not delayed.
  • Chinese warlord Zhang Zongchang once declared that he would win a certain battle or return in his coffin. When his troops were forced back he was true to his word - he was paraded through the streets, sitting in his coffin and smoking a large cigar.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries mandated the wearing of face masks, and not doing so is punishable by law (the severity depending on the country). In the United States, where wearing masks has become a hot topic discussion, some took to wearing face masks that look more like nets and have holes so large that at least two fingers can fit inside each in order to technically follow the law, despite such masks offering no protection whatsoever. Only time will tell if the authorities will create an Obvious Rule Patch to remedy this.
    • Meanwhile in the UK (where face mask use became mandatory inside shops), one guy decided to wear a face mask to cover his crotch and nothing else.
  • When the government of the Australian state of Victoria announced that Melbourne would move to "Stage 4" COVID-19-related restrictions and the rest of the state to "Stage 3", they said that they would lift some restrictions on September 13. They did, but instead of the anticipated move to Stage 3 in Melbourne and Stage 2 in the rest of the state, it was a very slightly less restrictive version of Stages 4 and 3 respectively.
  • Exact wording is at the heart of the unexpected hanging paradox. On a Saturday evening, a prisoner is condemned to death by hanging at noon of some day of the following week, with the condition that he will not know on what day he is to be hanged until the morning of the execution. The prisoner reasons that he can't be hanged on Saturday: if he's still alive Friday afternoon, he'll know he's to be hanged the next day, so it won't be "unexpected" as ordered. Then he sees that he can't be hanged Friday either: on Thursday afternoon, it'll be down to either Friday or Saturday, and Saturday's already been eliminated, so then it has to be Friday, and again the order that the hanging be unexpected can't be carried out. By the same logic, he eliminates Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, and Monday, leaving only Sunday. Since he knows about it Saturday night, again it's impossible to hang him unexpectedly. Therefore, he figures, he can't be hanged at all! Except that when the hangman comes to fetch him Tuesday morning, he's not expecting it - meaning the order is carried out word-for-word after all!
  • An interesting case involving this trope and Laser-Guided Karma. A controlling hardass rich self-made farmer had written out his will stipulating what would happen to his assets. He had intended on giving two of his farms to his sons and everything else to a trust fund while the wife would be sent to a pre-determined retirement village with a monthly stipend from the trust fund. However, he had used terms "first to die" and "longest living" with the idea that he would die before his wife. In a turn of events, the wife had a sudden stroke and passed away before he did. The farms went to the kids, who decided to finally stand up to him, and he had to live in the retirement village with the stipend.
  • In 1979, the powers that were at Marvel Comics decided to cancel various series that weren't selling that well to make room for new ones. This would have resulted in the then-current Black Panther storyline getting Cut Short note , but the staff simply continued and concluded it in three issues of the company's sole remaining showcase mag, Marvel Premiere. But Captain Marvel was also in the middle of a storyline, and had some leftover filler issues, too. So they launched a new volume of Marvel Spotlight, thus continuing the existing feature in what was technically a new magazine. note 
  • Prior to its release, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was advertised as a story that took place 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Of course, Nintendo never specified whether it would be in the same timeline, especially when one considers Koei Tecmo's usual habits.


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