2011.06.15 Too many factoids for just one measly column

Written by David Green.


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!

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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