OFF THE CUFF

As a public service, here are a few randomly organized tidbits to add to your collection of largely useless knowledge that you might not learn through conventional information outlets.

•The first vehicles made by Ford had engines made by Dodge.

•A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down.

•Russia’s Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (with a maximum depth of 5,387 feet – more than a mile) and contains more water than all five Great Lakes combined. More than 80-percent of the approximately 2,500 species of animals that live there are found nowhere else on the planet.

•The chicken is one of the few animals that humans eat before they’re born and after they’re dead.

•Abraham Lincoln’s dog, Fido, was also assassinated.

•No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, purple or silver.

•If a statue in a park depicts a soldier on a horse with both front legs in the air, the soldier died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the soldier died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the soldier died of natural causes.

•Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.

•It’s illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six feet long in Washington State.

•It’s illegal to hunt camels in Arizona.

•It’s illegal to drive a car while sleeping in Tennessee.

•The microwave oven was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar in his pocket melted.

•If Barbie was life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33 and she would stand 7 feet, 2 inches tall.

•In 1963, Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry said, “They’ll put a man on the Moon before I hit a home run.”

On July 20, 1969, an hour after Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the Moon, Perry hit the first (and only) home run of his 22-year career while playing for the San Francisco Giants.

•San Francisco’s cable cars are the only National Monuments that can move.

•The Goodyear Blimp is the official bird of Redondo Beach, Calif.

•It took the creator of the Rubik’s Cube, Erno Rubik, one month to solve the cube after he created it. The current world record is just over four seconds.

•All 50 U.S. states claim that test scores in their elementary schools are above the national average.

•The average annual temperature in La Paz, Bolivia, is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but the city has never recorded a zero-degree temperature. 

•Sloths can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, but dolphins need to come up for air after about 10 minutes.

•The largest ocean liners pay a $250,000 toll for each trip through the Panama Canal. The canal generates one-third of Panama’s entire economy.

•More than half of the people on Earth have never made or received a telephone call.

•The only member of the rock band ZZ Top who doesn’t have a beard is drummer Frank Beard.

•Disney cartoon icon Donald Duck never wore pants. But whenever he got out of a shower, he would always put a towel around his waist.

•A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an adult elephant.

•Actor Samuel L. Jackson has a clause in his film contracts that allows him to play golf during film shoots whenever he wants.

•It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

•It’s also impossible to not be amazed by this kind of stuff.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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