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!

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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