2011.06.15 Too many factoids for just one measly column

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Yes, the factoids just keep on coming, so instead of drowning in irrelevant minutia, I’ll share some more of my most recent discoveries. For example...

Did you know that 17% of the population of the United States moves in any given year, but less than 70% of those moving file a change-of-address card with the Postal Service? The rest are probably trying to dodge mailings from the AARP.

Here’s one I find hard to believe. A cubic mile of fog supposedly contains less than a gallon of water. How would you measure that, anyway?

The history of rock music is filled with sad and strange stories of the demise of various musicians, but Mike Edwards’ death ranks among the oddest.

Edwards, who played cello for Electric Light Orchestra back in the 1970s, died last September while driving his van in England. A 1,300 pound hay bale rolled down a steep hill onto the roadway and subsequently struck by Edwards, killing him instantly.

Here’s something pretty embarrassing to the person involved, even though he was no longer alive at the time. When Henry Ford passed away in 1947, there were apparently no Lincoln limousines in existence, or at least none available to the funeral home handling his arrangements. Instead, the founder of the Ford Motor Company was carried to his grave in a Packard.

According to the latest figures available, the United States leads the world in consumption of carbonated beverages, although that’s probably not a big surprise to anyone. Sales in 2008 averaged out to 529 12-ounce servings per person. Close on our heels was Mexico, with 501 servings per capita. That makes sense, with those tasty sugar-sweetened soft drinks they bottle in Mexico. Even Coke made in Mexico tastes good, although it can’t compare with my favorite Mexican soft drink, pineapple flavor Barrilitos. Too bad it’s not more readily available in this area.

Third country on the consumption list is Malta (and when was the last time you thought about Malta?), followed by the Czech Republic, Chile, Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada and Belgium. Watch out for the Czechs. Between 1997 and 2008, sales of carbonated soft drinks in eastern Europe has nearly doubled. Our lead may be in jeopardy, so drink up. 

Product placement in movies and television is a growing phenomenon as money received for featuring commercial products helps to defray production costs. At least, that would happen if you actually charged a company to use a product.

Back in 2006, actor Will Ferrell and the director of the movie “Talladega Nights”  thought having Wonder Bread as the sponsor of fictional NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby’s car (driven by Ferrell in the movie) was a funny idea. They liked the notion so much, they did it without asking for any kind of fee. Those who measure such things estimate the value of Wonder Bread’s screen time during the movie at $100 million. And it didn’t cost the company a penny.

Do you watch television at 4:30 a.m.? According to the Nielsen ratings people, many of us are, resulting in many television stations starting their morning news programs earlier than ever.

Nielsen research says 16% of families nationwide have a television on at 4:30, with a high of 26.7% in Birmingham, Ala., and a low of 9.1% in Salt Lake City, Utah. The percentage of viewers under 35 watching television is higher from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. than at any other time, making the wee morning hours an attractive time for advertisers seeking a younger audience. In New York and Los Angeles, some stations have begun their morning news as early as 4 a.m.

The best hitter in major league baseball history? Some might say Ted Williams or Ty Cobb, but would anyone ever pick Terry Forster? The former 1970s and 80s pitcher, who spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, had a career batting average of .397 (31 hits in 78 at-bats). It’s the highest ever for any major leaguer with at least 15 years in the majors or a minimum of 50 at-bats. 

That takes care of some of my factoid overflow for now. Thanks for reading. More to follow!

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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