ORGANICALLY-UNCOVERED FUN FACTS
Life is mostly about the pursuit of knowledge and, therefore, the collection of fun facts. All my fun facts were harvested personally … They started as a physical book purchase from Amazon, then moved to a Kindle download where I bookmarked them by hand; at the conclusion of a book they were transcribed into a Snoopy Moleskine, and finally, they appear here for your personal wonderment.
Street Violence … The first quick-draw duel on the American frontier happened on July 21, 1865, in Springfield, Missouri. Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt were gambling friends until Tutt accused Wild Bill of cheating. Standing less than 100 feet apart, both men turned sideways. Wild Bill had a pair of .36-caliber Colt Navy revolvers. Tutt drew first, but Wild Bill calmly unholstered his pistol balanced it on his left arm and fired. Tutt weaved, stumbled and fell to the dusty street, shot dead through the heart.
Drinking Songs … Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to over 1,500 songs including the classic standard “One For My Baby” which he wrote on a napkin while sitting at the New York bar PJ Clarke’s.
A Captive Audience … FDR’s radio speech on the eve of D-Day lasted ten minutes and was listened to by 100 million people – seventy-two percent of the US population.
Badda-Boom Badda-Bing … Columbia Records invented/introduced the LP (long player) in 1948. That year Bing Crosby released Merry Christmas and in the seventy-plus years since only one record has outsold it, Elvis’ Christmas … Crosby released, on average, a new record every other week for a ten-year period. He sold seventy-five million records in less than two decades. Time Magazine calculates that his voice has been heard by more people than any other voice in history.
Taste Like Chicken … The Moa is an extinct, Emu-like bird that stood twelve-feet tall and weighed about 500 pounds.
Book Baron … Andrew Carnegie made a fortune in the steel industry estimated at around $372 billion in today’s dollars. As a boy, he was shut out of his local library because he couldn’t afford the $2 membership dues. He ended up donating the money that would build over 1,700 libraries in 1,400 communities.
“I’m Outdoors Ya Know” …The federal definition of homeless is anyone without a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” … As of 2009, 1.5 million Americans fit this description.
Starry, Starry Night … In 2017 1,400 square miles in Idaho were designated as the United States’ first International Dark Sky Reserve, one of thirteen worldwide locations aimed at preserving the natural appearance of the sky.
Lucky Charms … The Boston Celtics won eleven NBA Championships between 1957 to 1969, the most prolific run in professional team sports … Thirty-three million Americans claim Irish ancestry.
Presidential Protection … In November 1950 two Puerto Rican nationals tried to assassinate Harry Truman whose residence was at Blair House, not the White House. Two people were killed and three wounded; twenty-seven shots were fired in less than two minutes – the largest gunfight in the history of the Secret Service.
The Sound Machine … By 1966 seventy-five percent of Motown singles entered the Billboard charts (the industry standard was ten percent). Between 1960 and 1969 Motown landed a single on the charts about every ten days.
Old People … The area around Latrobe in western Pennsylvania is the oldest site of human habitation on the continent, possibly dating back 19,000 years.
Motorized Meat … The Turkey Vulture was originally confined to just the southeastern part of the US, but after World War II, the Interstate Highway act resulted in paved roads across the entire country and the vultures followed the highways and are now in every part of America. They followed the roads and the resulting roadkill in what is known as a traveling buffet.
It’s A Good Job … A small Indian tribe in Minnesota (480 members) pays each person $1.08 million annually from its casino earnings … The NFL earns $14 billion annually.
Sore Losers … Carmen Cozza coached football at Yale in the 1960s. He lost his very first game to Connecticut and most fans wanted him fired, one said: “There’s a train to New London leaving at 5:40 PM, be under it.”
So Right, So Wrong … The Treaty of Paris formally ended the American Revolution and gave the US a lot of new territory. George Washington asked Thomas Jefferson for advice on how that land should be managed, Jefferson said it should be “…laid out and formed into states and neither slavery nor hereditary titles would be permitted in the new states.” When the Ordinance of 1784 was enacted setting down the law of the land, Congress deleted the last part of Jefferson’s recommendation.