Existential Stuff

REMARKABLE INFORMATION! Facts, facts, facts!!!

April 3, 2014

Hello, Princesses and Princes in this, the most Kingly of Counties! Ah, yes, if you were kind enough to visit me in this space last week you may have noticed that, ah, um, I went a little Margot Kidder on you all!  And if you were in the vicinity of Henry and Joralemon Streets last Tuesday at about 10 PM, that barking you heard was me (I am sad but compelled, as part of my therapy, to admit that)!  And it wasn’t actually random barking; it was my Asta imitation, the same one that won me a $10 gift certificate at the Abraham & Strauss Employee Talent Show in 1959! But a quick visit to Carrie Fisher Center for the Treatment of Percodan Addiction seems to have made me at least partially able to participate in (what they CFCTPA call) “life with the normals,” so my nurses have handed me a glass of Clamato, a Zagnut, a legal pad, and a pencil, and instructed me that it would be “good for my therapy” if I got back on the wagon and churned out another column!!!

Well, since I wasn’t exactly out and about this past week (unless you call confinement to a mattress in a 5’ by 7’ windowless room on Swinburne Island “going out”), Mr. Recoverin’ Remarkable is going to have to dig into his archives for this week’s column!  (Oh, by the way, dearest readers, The Carrie Fisher Center is on Swinburne Island, and Swinburne Island, for those who don’t know, is a man-made Island – built in 1873 – in the Lower Bay, not too far from Staten Island; it originally housed the doomed and quarantined sick who were pulled off of Ellis Island. Real estate is cheap there, and the CFCTPA knew a bargain when they saw one, so they snapped it up and put up a few sheds and a Quonset hut, and imported a couple of doctors from, as far as I can tell, the Philippines).

(Oh, by the way, the poor chap pictured below isn’t me, but the unfortunate Leon Czolgosz, who you, dear reader, shall learn a little more about shortly.)

Fortunately, I have a file set aside for precisely these occasions (I last utilized it in 1986, when my depression over the suicide of Queens borough President Donald Manes tipped me into a catatonic state for three weeks).  The file is labeled Remarkable Facts!, and it contains all sorts of Tantalizin’ Tidbits and Insanely Amazin’ Info I’ve collected over the years!  AND IT’S ALL TRUE!!!

  • Researchers at Duke University have determined that 8 out of 10 people will become sleepy if they stare a dog directly in the eye!
  •  In the Netherlands, it is considered exceedingly rude to touch a stranger’s bicycle tire!
  •   The reason we call a prostitutes’ client a “John” is because of a very public scandal involving Indianapolis mayor John O’Dwyer in 1904!
  •   When President Lyndon Johnson was depressed, he would have aides roll him inside a carpet and throw him down a flight of stairs!
  • The original name of IHOP (the International House of Pancakes) was IHOPWESOOT (The International House of People Who Eat Spaghetti Out of Troughs)! In 1955, brothers Jerry and Al Lapin opened two IHOPWESOOTS – one in Siler City, North Carolina, the other in Greeneville, South Carolina.  These eateries were great successes, so the brothers opened a third IHOPWESOOT in 1956 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Problems with the North Carolina health department forced the two N.C. IHOPWESOOT’s to close in 1958, so in 1959, Jerry and Al reconfigured these two locations around a breakfast and pancake friendly concept, shortened the name, and the rest is history!  Oh, the one remaining IHOPWESOOT (the South Carolina one) changed its’ name in 1962 to Ye Olde Spaghetti Feedbag, and remains open to this day!
  • Jared Folgle – whom the world knows as “the Subway guy” – is the grandson of atomic spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg!
  •  Before Merv Griffin created Jeopardy!, he created a less-successful game show called That’s No Lady, That’s My Chimp!
  • The Black and Tan, a libatious staple of every Irish pub, was invented in 1916 by a Dublin-based terrorist group working for Irish independence, The Blacken Ten!
  • The actual inventor of the recording process later known as the Edison Disk was Leon Czolgosz!  After Thomas Edison stole Czolgosz’s idea, the inventor descended into madness, culminating with his assassination of President William McKinley in 1901!
  •  Due to the fact that he was born in England, funnyman Bob Hope was briefly interred as a Suspicious Alien by the U.S. Government during the 1938 Cordell Hull Poisoning Crisis!
  • The dog breed name “Pit Bull” originated with legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill!  Churchill, who was notoriously cruel to animals, owned four Staffordshire Bull Terriers, whom he kept chained in a small cage behind his quarters in the War Office.  The Prime Minister took to feeding the dogs only peach pits, which he claimed kept them “hungry, healthy, and regular as a soldier,” further citing that when he had been a prisoner of war himself in a Boer prison camp, his captors had fed him only on peach pits, and he had “turned out fine.”  Before long, due to their simple and constant diets, people around the War Office began to refer to Churchill’s dogs simply as “Pit Bulls.”

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He is currently working on Beame!, a musical about New York City’s much maligned elfin Mayor of the same name, and he recently testified before the veterans’ committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame that middle reliever Terry Leach was the best pitcher he ever saw.


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