2011-02-09 / Families & Friends

Strange but True

By SAMANTHA WEAVER

• It was Irish author Oscar Wilde who made the following sage observation: “There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.”

• The sun is one million times the size of the earth.

• Coffee was first discovered around 1000 A.D. by Arabs. At the time, it was used strictly for medicinal or religious purposes.

• Harper Lee’s iconic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” celebrated the 50th anniversary of its publication last year. The film will celebrate its anniversary next year, marking 50 years since Gregory Peck portrayed Atticus Finch, whom the American Film Institute named the greatest movie hero of the 20th century. Harper Lee was so impressed with Gregory Peck’s performance, in fact, that she gave the actor her deceased father’s pocket watch. Peck, however, lost it.

• Before the roller coaster was invented, some inspired entrepreneur began building deliberately undulating tracks for cars. Early thrill-seekers would pay a fee to drive on them.

• Those who calculate such things say that the odds of the same number coming out on top in eight successive rolls of a sixsided die are 1 in 1,679,616.

• Fifth-century conqueror Attila the Hun died on his wedding night, though it’s unclear from the records whether he died from internal bleeding caused by too much drinking or was murdered by his bride.

• If you’re like 24 percent of women in the United States, you shave every day.

• In 1978, the endangered Hawaiian bird the palila was named as the plaintiff in a lawsuit. In Palila v. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the bird won.

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Thought for the Day: “The saying ‘Getting there is half the fun’ became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.” — Henry J. Tillman

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