It is time once again for your favorite semi-educational feature, Things You Might Not Know.
If this isn’t among your favorites, take a shot anyway, and if you still aren’t sure, just stand up and take your medicine like a man, since we’ve started, and might as well get it over with.
* The Eiffel Tower was built as a money-making project for the Great Exposition of 1889, and it turned a profit. Since then, scammers have ‘sold’ it at least three times – that we know of – but it’s still owned by the City of Paris.
Designer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel also designed the framework for the Statue of Liberty.
* Some chitchat items:
Brain cells are the only human cells that don’t reproduce. (Yeah. I know. You forgot.) The most common disease in the world is tooth decay. The part of your body with the most sweat glands is your feet (which explains Junior’s smelly sneakers). The kernel inside a peach pit is poisonous. Survey says: 35% of people watching TV yell at it (and who can blame them?). Einstein called income taxes “the most difficult thing to understand." Who has won the most Oscars? Walt Disney, with 20, plus 12 plaques and certificates. In medieval Europe, when they burned a witch at the stake, the family had to pay for the wood. (An extreme case of adding insult to injury.)
* Copouts for sleeping on the job;
They told me at the blood bank this might happen.
I must have left the top off the Liquid Paper.
I’m trading off the six hours last night when I dreamed I was working.
Why did you wake me? I had almost figured out the solution to our biggest problem.
I wasn’t sleeping. I was trying to pick up my contact lens without using my hands.
(If any of these work, please let us know.)
* A boarding pass for the Titanic originally cost $8.00. In 1990, one sold for $100,000.00.
* Here’s Your Get Out Of Jail card - maybe.
In Rumford, Maine, it’s against the law to bite your landlord.
In San Francisco, there’s an ordinance against picking up used confetti to throw again.
In Maryland, it’s illegal to take a lion to the theater.
In Hartford, Connecticut, it’s illegal to kiss your wife on a Sunday.
- and here’s my favorite:
In Texas, when two trains meet at a railroad crossing, each must come to a full stop, and neither shall proceed until the other has gone. (Engineers get a lot of overtime in Texas.)
* Ready to celebrate?
Try the Fire Ant Festival in Marshall, Texas, where they have some fun events, like the Fire Ant Call, the Fire Ant Roundup, and a Fire Ant Chili Cookoff, where you must certify that your chili contains at least one fire ant.
The final event is the Fire Ant Stomp.
No, they’re not squashing them. It’s a street dance.
In St. George, South Carolina, they hold the World Grits Festival. There’s a grits cooking contest, a grits eating contest, and the Roll In Grits Contest, where entrants roll in a pit of cooked grits. The winner is the one who weighs in with the most grits that stick to him after a seven-second immersion.
Then there’s the International Strange Music Festival at Olive Hill, Kentucky, founded to honor people who make music from non-musical items. A Japanese trio played My Old Kentucky Home on a table, upside down and strung like a cello, a teapot (wind instrument), and assorted pots and pans (their bongos). There was also a fifteen piece orchestra of automobile horns, a seven-foot slide whistle requiring three people to play it, and a “Graduated Clanger”, a system of graduated fire alarm bells, played like an xylophone.
There’s the annual Chicken Show in Wayne, Nebraska. If you’re lucky, you might win the ‘Most Beautiful Beak’ contest – or maybe you’ll enter the National Cluck-off.
(Chickening Out jokes are frowned upon.)
One more; in Chadron, Nebraska, they hold the Ugly Pickup Contest. Your entry must be street-legal, over ten years old, most of the surface must be rust and dents or worse, it must move under its own power, you’ll need a creative Ugly Truck name – and if you come up with something especially ugly, you can get bonus points.
The winner is picked by “experts”.
All this celebrating has me tuckered out, but if you need me I’ll be over there, searching for my sanity, which I seem to have lost along the way.
— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org