2007.04.11 Wait a minute, here's some more stuff

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

More strange and useless knowledge from the Factoid File...

Estimated speed of a running alligator? 30 mph. Of a running grizzly bear? 35 mph. If you’re being chased by an alligator? Jump on the back of the nearest bear.

Fitness expert and juicer tycoon Jack LaLanne is credited with inventing the jumping jack, hence the name. Good thing he was named Jack. A jumping bob just sounds weird.

The bullet holes from the shots that missed during the assassination of Louisiana governor Huey Long in 1935 are now a tourist attraction in the state capitol in Baton Rouge.

While we’re on the subject of historical bullets in Louisiana, there’s also the case of the Bonnie and Clyde death car. The movie starring Warren Beatty was historically accurate at least in the fact that over 100 bullets were fired into the car to kill the two fugitives.

 After the bodies were removed, the owner of the stolen getaway car the two outlaws were driving was contacted and she drove it several hundred miles back home, bullet holes, blood stains and all.

Dannon boysenberry yogurt, Good & Plenty candy and Tropicana Ruby Red grapefruit juice are just three of many products whose “natural color,” as listed in the ingredients, comes from crushed beetles. How’s your appetite now?

Race horses are often fed special treats such as Pop Tarts, doughnuts and peppermints. Many travel with water from their home stable pump, so as not to upset them with “different” water. In 2004, Tapit received three eggs and a pint of Guinness each day while training for the Kentucky Derby. He finished ninth.

Antonio Gentile, a 14 year-old boy from Virginia, won a contest in 1916 to design a logo for the Planter’s peanut company. The company has used the final version of Gentile’s entry for 90 years while paying him a grand total of $5.00.

What is Aubrey Eberhardt’s claim to fame? While a paratrooper at Georgia’s Fort Benning in 1940, he saw a movie about Apache Indian chief Geronimo. Inspired by the experience, he told his comrades that he would shout the chief’s name when he jumped out of the plane during training the next day. His friends followed his example and his idea soon spread throughout the military and anywhere people jump from airplanes.

Most played video in the history of MTV? Something by Michael Jackson? Or maybe Madonna? No, the honor goes to “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Come on, admit it. You’re getting hungry just thinking about those dancing chickens, aren’t you?

Speaking of hungry, the southwest United States is home to the Pink Taco restaurant chain. As part of their marketing plan, they offered a total of $30 million to the Arizona Cardinals to rename their football stadium after the restaurants. Pink Taco Stadium? A name sure to cause fear in the hearts of visiting teams it isn’t. The Cardinals passed on the offer.

First U. S. president whose name contained all the letters of the word “criminal?” That would be Richard Milhous Nixon. The only other one? William Jefferson Clinton.

The Holiday Inn motel chain is said to lose nearly 600,000 towels a year to theft. How many are you hiding?

Rune Tapper of Sweden is the world’s leading collector of airline airsickness bags. At last count, Tapper had bags from 387 different airlines. Unused, I hope.

Ratio of U.S. Wal-Mart employees to U.S. high school teachers? Approximately 1 to 1. Some of them may be both.

Art student Lauren Potter knitted a life-size replica of a Ferrari Testarossa.  It took 12 miles of yarn to complete the project.

From Michael Largo’s book “Final Exits:” Alligators have killed 201 people since 1949, while chewing gum kills about 300 people every year.

From 1920 to 2000, an average of 20 people a year were killed by bears. Since 2001, 987 children have been killed while purchasing ice cream.

Roller coasters have killed 265 people since 1965. From 1985 to 2004 alone, 224 people have been electrocuted by their toaster. I still think I’ll take my chances with the toaster.

Finally, enough pizza is eaten in the United States each year to cover all of Washington, DC. And some days, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

    – April 11, 2007

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