50 Amazing Facts for Our 50th Issue

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We recently published our 50th issue. In honor of our little milestone, here are 50 fun facts we've picked up over the years.

1. In 1943, Philip Morris ran an ad acknowledging "smokers' cough." They claimed it was caused by smoking brands other than Philip Morris.

2. In the 1970s, Mattel sold a doll called "Growing Up Skipper." Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.

3. Michael Jackson's 1988 autobiography Moonwalk was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

4. On the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as "Jedi."

5. Only female mosquitoes will bite you.

6. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift won more Grammys (4) than Elvis did his entire career (3).

7. At Fatburger, you can order a "Hypocrite"—a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon.

8. Dr. Ruth was trained as a sniper by the Israeli military.

9. In 1999, Furbies were banned from the National Security Agency's Maryland headquarters because it was feared the toys might repeat national security secrets.

10. Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced her to syndicate her talk show.

11. There was a long-lost fourth member of the Snap/Crackle/Pop gang. "Pow" represented Rice Krispies' explosive nutritional value.

12. Kool-Aid was originally marketed as "Fruit Smack."

13. In 2008, The Little Tikes Company sold 457,000 Cozy Coupes, making it the best-selling car in America.

14. Uncle Sam was based on Samuel Wilson, who worked as a meat inspector during the War of 1812.

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15. The archerfish knocks its insect prey out of over-hanging branches with a stream of spit.

16. When Woodrow Wilson married Edith Galt, the real Chef Boyardee (Hector Boiardi) catered the event.

17. There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.

18. The 3 Musketeers bar was originally split into three pieces with three different flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When the other flavors became harder to come by during WWII, Mars decided to go all chocolate.

19. Bear Bryant was once asked to contribute $10 to help pay for a sportswriter's funeral. According to legend, he said, "Here's a twenty, bury two."

20. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

21. Dr. Thomas Harvey removed Einstein's brain during his autopsy. For 30 years, Harvey kept it in two mason jars in his Wichita home.

22. In 1961, Martha Stewart was selected as one of Glamour magazine's "Ten Best-Dressed College Girls."

23. It's estimated that 95% of the world's lab mice are descended from mice born in the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.

24. As part of David Hasselhoff's divorce settlement, he kept possession of the nickname "Hoff" and the catchphrase "Don't Hassle the Hoff."

25. "Jay" used to be slang for "foolish person." So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a "jaywalker."

26. Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell is also responsible for starting up the Chuck E. Cheese's franchise.

27. The string on boxes of animal crackers was originally placed there so the container could be hung from a Christmas tree.

28. Duncan Hines was a real person. He was a popular restaurant critic who also wrote a book of hotel recommendations.

29. Green bean casserole dates back to 1955, when a chef named Dorcas Reilly created it for a cookbook designed to promote Campbell's products.

30. Carly Simon's dad is the "Simon" of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.

31. In 2009, U.S. airlines collected $2.7 billion in baggage fees. Another $2.4 billion came from reservation change fees.

32. Alaska is the only state that can be typed on one row of keys. (Go ahead and try typing the other 49 states. We'll wait.)

33. While they were in the White House, John & Abigail Adams had dogs named Satan & Juno.

34. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" was penned by Shel Silverstein, the beloved children's book author who wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends.

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35. M&M's actually stands for "Mars & Murrie's," the last names of the candy's founders.

36. Perhaps our favorite school nickname is The Arkansas School for the Deaf Leopards.

37. In 1907, an ad campaign for Kellogg's Corn Flakes offered a free box of cereal to any woman who would wink at her grocer.

38. Why did the FBI call Ted Kaczynski "The Unabomber"? Because his early mail bombs were sent to universities (UN) & airlines (A).

39. That thing you use to dot your lowercase "i" is called a tittle.

40. The only number whose letters are in alphabetical order is 40 (f-o-r-t-y).

41. The prolific Alan Thicke wrote the theme songs to The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes.

42. Bono was born Paul David Hewson, and The Edge's name is David Howell Evans.

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43. Male students at Brigham Young University need a doctor's note to grow a beard.

44. In 1991, Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Russi Taylor—the voice of Minnie.

45. The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666.

46. The Vatican Bank is the world's only bank that allows ATM users to perform transactions in Latin.

47. Utah's State Bird is the California Seagull.

48. At the Wife Carrying World Championships in Sonkajärvi, Finland, first prize is the wife's weight in beer.

49. After leaving office, Ronald Reagan was offered a role in Back to the Future III. (He declined.)

50. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before the second season of Sesame Street. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

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August 1, 2010 - 8:10pm
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