Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

20 Facts You Didn’t Know About Muammar Gaddafi

Yesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of when Muammar Gaddafi assumed the title of Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya by ousting Prince Hasan as-Senussi. It’s disputed whether or not he’s currently in Libya or if he still rules the country.  And if he does show up, he’ll probably end up prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Even though he’s been in the news constantly for the last year, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Libyan leader. Here are some amazing facts about Muammar Gaddafi:

  1. He shares a birthday (June 7) with Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Prince, Bill Hader, and Allen Iverson.
  2. His first car was a 1958 Ford Thunderbird hardtop.  He now owns a large collection of classic Thunderbirds, including a 1960 hardtop/sunroof model with the 430 engine, of which only 377 were produced.
  3. As per his decree, Libyan TV has a channel that repeatedly plays only his favorite movie, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
  4. Prior to the US Embargo, his favorite town to vacation in was Rochester, New York, largely because Gaddafi is a great admirer of Millard Fillmore.
  5. Every year on September 1, he celebrates the anniversary of his coup by eating an entire squid for lunch and drinking a cup of Turkish coffee for each year he has been in office. These lunches are broadcast nationwide on the Al Nadi Sports Channel.
  6. Gaddafi often uses the various spellings of his name to his advantage.  For example, he has been known to join the Columbia House record club up to 32 times at once.
  7. In addition to Arabic, French, and English, Gaddafi was at one time studying Klingon, and announced in 1991 his eventual plan to translate the Green Book into the constructed language.
  8. His favorite WWE wrestler is Joanie “Chyna” Laurer.
  9. His parents made him play the alto saxophone in junior high school.  As a result, he has banned music programs in all Libyan public schools.
  10. He applied and was accepted to a graduate program in atmospheric sciences at Howard University in Washington, DC, but did not attend.
  11. A long-time fan of Lionel Richie, he admitted during an interview with Larry King that he listened to the album Can’t Slow Down daily for almost two years after its release in 1983, but was initially disappointed with Dancing on the Ceiling, because he preferred the album’s original proposed title, Say You, Say Me.
  12. His score on the GRE in 1967 was 505 verbal / 485 math.
  13. Aside from the Green Book, his favorite books include The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, The Gospel According to the Son by Norman Mailer, and You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again by Julia Phillips.
  14. He often bought and sold collector beanie babies on eBay with the username “gandalf69” until the US State Department discovered it and shut down his account.  He is rumored to have amassed a collection of over 500,000 of them in a storage facility on the outskirts of Tripoli.  Beanie babies purchased from him that can be verified are exceedingly rare and have sold for four and five figures on the secondary market.
  15. There is a Libyan law that prohibits anyone but Gaddafi from playing as Colonel Mustard in the Parker Brothers board game Clue.  In Arabic translations of the game, Colonel Mustard’s turn is first instead of second.
  16. His favorite classic video game is Q-Bert.  He owns a restored coin-op version and his high score is 492,000.
  17. His customized Airbus A340 jet, which was captured last month in Tripoli, contained a collection of all 41 Steven Seagal movies.
  18. Gaddafi refuses to fly over any country with exactly two vowels in its name that ends in a consonant.  He also avoids flying on Tuesdays, never eats fish when traveling on ship, and will always travel with an even number of bags.
  19. He was long-time friends with Gary Coleman, and was devastated after his death.  He is still convinced that Coleman was murdered by Mossad agents.
  20. He bowled a perfect 300 on the night of his birthday in 1976.  It was during official IBA league play, and he is often seen wearing his official 300 ring.