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Looking Back - July 15, 2012

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

With no particular theme, this week is a look at a hodgepodge of items.

Did you know?

• In 1963, Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.” There are other variants on the story, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.

• An average American driver will spend an average of six months during his or her lifetime waiting at red lights.

• Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

• Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

• The name for Oz in the “Wizard of Oz” was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence “Oz.”

• The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

• Hugh “Ward Cleaver” Beaumont was an ordained minister.

• The Beatles song “Dear Prudence” was written about Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, when she wouldn’t come out and play with Mia and the Beatles at a religious retreat in India.

• When you walk down a steep hill, the pressure on your knees is equal to three times your body weight.

• A lump of pure gold the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.

• Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.

• President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to announce to the world that Maxwell House coffee is “Good to the last drop.”

• Bridget Bishop was the first of the witches hung in Salem, Massachusetts. She was executed on June 10, 1692. Almost 150 “witches” were arrested, but only 31 were tried in 1692. All 31, including 6 males, were sentenced to death. Nineteen were hanged, 2 died in jail, and 1 man was slowly pressed to death under heavy stones. None were burned.

• Attila the Hun bled to death from a nosebleed on his wedding night in 453 AD.

• Elvis Presley made only one television commercial - an ad for “Southern Maid Doughnuts” that ran in 1954.

• ‘Soldiers disease’ is a term for morphine addiction. It is estimated that the Civil War produced over 400,000 morphine addicts.

• The high from crack cocaine takes about eight seconds to reach the brain.

• Bockscar was the name of the B-29 bomber that dropped the atom bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

• Canada declared all national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women.

• Members of the Nazi SS had their blood type tattooed on their armpits.

• The U.S. Minimum Wage Law was instituted in 1938. Workers were guaranteed 25 cents per hour.

• In 1889, the first coin-operated telephone, patented by Hartford, Connecticut inventor William Gray, was installed in the Hartford Bank. Local calls using a coin-operated phone in the U.S. cost only 5 cents until 1951.

• To determine the percentage of alcohol in a bottle of liquor, divide the proof by two.

• There are 49 different foods mentioned in the Bible. Almonds and pistachios are the only nuts mentioned while salt is referred to 36 times in the King James Version.

• The last passenger pigeon, named Martha, died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. Her stuffed body is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution.

• It takes approximately 850 peanuts to make a 18 oz jar of peanut butter.

• Cats average 16 hours of sleep a day, more than any other mammal.

• The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words.

• It is estimated that by the time an American child finishes elementary school he or she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television.

• The science-fiction series “Lost in Space” premiered on CBS in 1965. The ‘future’ was 1997.

• Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1938 was Adolf Hitler.

• On February 7, 1969 a meteorite weighing over one ton fell in Chihuahua, Mexico.

• Offered a new pen to write with, 97% of all people will write their own name.

• Any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.

• Nearly 50% of all bank robberies take place on a Friday.

• Disney World in Orlando, Florida covers 30,500 acres (46 square miles), making it twice the size of the island of Manhattan, New York.

• Maine is the only state in the United States whose name has one syllable.