Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous’

More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”


— 90 percent of Earth’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere.

— Eric Clapton is the only musician named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. He was inducted in 1992 as a member of The Yardbirds, in 1993 as a member of Cream, and in 2000 as a solo performer.

— Female African elephants are pregnant for 22 months before they give birth, the longest gestation period of any mammal.

— For decades, the helmets worn by pro football players were plain brown leather with no markings. That changed in 1948 with the Los Angeles Rams. Rams halfback Fred Gehrke, who was an industrial design artist in the off-season, sold management on the idea of painting the helmets dark blue with yellow ram horns.

Rams helmet

— The Greek philosopher, engineer, and mathematician Thales (624-546 BC) is famous for trying to explain the natural world through science instead of mythology and religion. Thales calculated the heights of the pyramids by measuring the length of their shadows at the moment when the length of his own shadow was equal to his height.

But Thales lived in olden times, when science was pretty spotty. He believed, for example, that life exists in magnets, as evidenced by their power to attract and repel.

He also believed that all living things are connected through a “world soul,” which is a lot like George Lucas’ concept of The Force.

— Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands don’t do Daylight Savings Time.

— Abraham Lincoln is the only President with a U.S. patent registered in his name. In 1849, Lincoln patented a device to lift a boat over shoals or other obstructions in a river without unloading the cargo. It consisted of a series of air bladders affixed to the boat. Inflating the bladders lifts the vessel enough to clear the obstruction. The device was patented, but never manufactured.

— The world’s largest rodent is the capybara, a semi-aquatic herbivore native to South America. Adults can be up to four feet long and two feet tall and can weigh 145 pounds. Capybaras live in groups of 10-20 and are excellent swimmers, having evolved webbed feet. Their closest relatives are guinea pigs (which, as you know, are not pigs. but rodents).


— Brian May, lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, was working on his PhD in physics when the band was formed in 1970. In 2007, he completed his studies at Imperial College in London, and he now holds a doctorate in astrophysics.

— The F. W. Woolworth Company was founded in 1878, and in the first half of the 20th century, grew to become one of the world’s largest retail chains. In 1997, Woolworth’s closed the last of its stores and became the Venator Group, which focused on the sporting goods market. In 2001, Venator morphed into Foot Locker.

— The first product imprinted with a bar code and electronically scanned was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. It happened in 1974 in Troy, Ohio. The 10-pack is now on display at the American History Museum in Washington.

— V8 Vegetable Juice, introduced in 1933, got its name from being a mixture of the juices of eight vegetables. Specifically, V8 consists of 87 percent tomato juice concentrate, to which is added a second concentrate that is a mix of juices from carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach. Salt and a spice extract also are added.

Water is removed to make the concentrates, then is added back to achieve the proper consistency. For the record, V8 juice is a nutritional dud, and a single glass contains more salt than an order of McDonald’s French fries.



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More headlines that were botched by assorted newspapers over the years. Proofread and think, people!


Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder

Farmer Bill Dies in House

Lawmen from Mexico Barbecue Guests

Panda Mating Fails, Veterinarian Takes Over

Bloopers 2-1

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly It May Last a While

Blind Woman Gets New Kidney from Dad She Hasn’t Seen in Years

Man Fatally Slain

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say

Bloopers 2-2

Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim

Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax

Never Withhold Herpes from Loved One

Child’s Stool Great for Use in Garden

Bloopers 2-3

Dr. Ruth to Talk About Sex With Newspaper Editors

Autos Killing 110 a Day — Let’s Resolve to Do Better

Miners Refuse to Work After Death

Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again

Bloopers 2-4


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ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA — A late-night police chase ended last month when a GMC Yukon Denali ran off the road and four men escaped into the darkness. When officers searched the vehicle, they found a goat tied up with an electrical cord.

The goat was identified as Gordy, a member of a herd rented by the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department to eat invasive plants on a bluff along the Mississippi River. Earlier that day, several goats had escaped through a break in a fence, and all but Gordy had been found.

Two 29-year-old men later were arrested in connection with the crash. They were charged with gross misdemeanor theft and fleeing police.

A police spokesman said the department’s Facebook post about the incident has received an unusual amount of attention. Among the comments: “It was a ‘kid’-napping” and “Stealing really gets my goat.”


ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — While a TV news crew taped footage for a story about an increase in crime in downtown Albuquerque, a thief drove away in the station’s news truck.

The news director of KOB-TV said the crew saw the vehicle being stolen, but could not prevent it. The vehicle was equipped with a GPS tracking device, and it was found abandoned about 30 minutes later, undamaged. It was locked, and the keys were missing.

“I have a rule that you can never be the lead of your own newscast,” said the news director. “So this violates that rule.”

News truck

PARIS, FRANCE — French performance artist Abraham Poincheval succeeded in hatching a basket of chicken eggs with his own body heat after personally incubating them for three weeks.

The incubating occurred inside a glass vivarium at a Paris art museum. For the endeavor, Poincheval sat on a chair, wrapped in a traditional Korean cloak, with the eggs in a container beneath him. He left the chair for no more than a total of 30 minutes per day.

A spokeswoman for the museum said nine of the 10 eggs hatched, and the chicks were taken to a farm.

Earlier this year, Poincheval lived for a week inside a large piece of limestone with a space carved out for his body. He explained that he was trying to escape from human time and experience mineral speed.



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More random photos I’ve taken over the years that still make me smile.


Warning sign


Opposable thumbs

Blonde power


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The Questions…

1. Muggsy Bogues, a standout NBA point guard for 14 years (1987-2001), is listed as the shortest player in league history. How tall is Muggsy?

2. According to a recent study by a team of psychologists, what three professions employ the most psychopaths?

3. What is “salamander’s wool”?

4. In football, a “sack” occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage while still in possession of the ball. What fierce pass rusher of yore coined the term “sack”?

5. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of salt, you get out the measuring spoons. But if the recipe specifies a “dash” or a “pinch” of salt, what then? Do you wing it?

The Answers…

1. Muggsy is 5’3″. During his rookie year, his 7’7″ teammate Manute Bol was the NBA’s tallest player.

2. CEOs, lawyers, and people in the news media, in that order.

3. Asbestos. The term is based on the ancient superstition that salamanders are so cold and moist, they will not burn. As far back as the first century AD, fire-resistant garments woven from the fibrous mineral asbestos were believed to be made of salamander skin.

4. Defensive end Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams. He first used the term in the 1960s, explaining, “You know, like you sack a city.”

5. Certainly not. In the world of cookery sciences, measurements are very precise: 1 tad = 1/4 teaspoon; 1 dash = 1/8 tsp; 1 pinch = 1/16 tsp; 1 smidgen = 1/32 tsp; and 1 drop = 1/64 tsp.

Muggsy and Manute



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Test vehicle




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EAST PALESTINE, OHIO — While his parents slept, an eight-year-old boy learned to drive a car by watching an online video, then took the family van to a nearby McDonald’s to get a cheeseburger.

Police said the boy got a hankering for a cheeseburger at about 8 PM, after both parents had fallen asleep. The boy watched an instructional video on YouTube, put his four-year-old sister in his father’s van, and drove almost two miles through several intersections to the drive-through window at a McDonald’s.

When the boy ordered two cheeseburgers, the employees at first thought they were being pranked, assuming the parents were in the back seat. When they realized the children were alone, they quickly called police.

The boy broke down in tears, but he and his sister were allowed to eat their cheeseburgers while waiting to be picked up.


CLEVELAND, OHIO — Cleveland police say an attempted carjacking by two teenagers failed because neither carjacker could operate a stick shift, even with coaching from the victim.

Police said the perpetrators, ages 18 and 17, had committed two armed carjackings successfully, but were foiled because the third vehicle had a manual transmission.

The older teen pointed a gun at the victim and ordered him to explain how to shift gears. The driver complied, but eventually, the teens gave up. They ran away, taking the driver’s cellphone with them.

Police promptly traced the cellphone and arrested them.

Stick shift

TUCSON, ARIZONA — A man prowling around a Tucson elementary school ended up hanging from a gate, upside-down and helpless, when he tried to flee.

According to police, the man was spotted on the fenced campus of Miles Elementary School by a locksmith. School was not in session at the time.

When confronted, the intruder ran, slipped while climbing over a locked gate, and was trapped by his own pants.

Tucson police freed the man and took him into custody.



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