Nothing at the North Pole

Geographically extreme McDonald’s franchises:

  • Northernmost: Rovaniemi, Finland
  • Southernmost: Invercargill, New Zealand
  • Easternmost: Gisborne, New Zealand
  • Westernmost: Western Samoa

The lowest McDonald’s, 1,299 feet below sea level, is in the Israeli village of Ein Bokek, near the Dead Sea.

All in the Family

Relationships among U.S. presidents:

  • James Madison was the half first cousin twice removed of George Washington.
  • Zachary Taylor was the second cousin of James Madison.
  • Grover Cleveland was the sixth cousin once removed of Ulysses S. Grant.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was the third cousin twice removed of Martin Van Buren.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the fourth cousin once removed of Ulysses S. Grant, the fourth cousin three times removed of Zachary Taylor, and the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt (although his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a niece of Theodore).
  • Harry S. Truman was the great-great-great nephew of John Tyler.
  • Richard Nixon was the seventh cousin twice removed of William Howard Taft and the eighth cousin once removed of Herbert Hoover.
  • George H.W. Bush was the fifth cousin four times removed of Franklin Pierce, the seventh cousin three times removed of Theodore Roosevelt, the seventh cousin four times removed of Abraham Lincoln, and the eleventh cousin once removed of Gerald Ford.

Paging Farrokh Bulsara

Music stars and their un-sexy real names:

  • David Bowie – David Robert Hayward Stenton Jones
  • Eric Clapton – Eric Patrick Clapp
  • Alice Cooper – Vincent Damon Furnier
  • Dido – Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong
  • Bob Dylan – Robert Alan Zimmerman
  • Jewel – Jewel Kilcher
  • Mama Cass – Ellen Naomi Cohen
  • Marilyn Manson – Brian Warner
  • Meat Loaf – Marvin Lee Aday
  • George Michael – Yorgos Panayiotou
  • Nelly – Carnell Haynes, Jr.
  • Lou Reed – Louis Firbank
  • Busta Rhymes – Trevor Tahiem Smith
  • Cliff Richard – Harry Webb
  • Sade – Helen Folasade Adu
  • Seal – Henry Olusegun Olumide Samuel
  • Gene Simmons – Chaim Witz
  • Cat Stevens – Steve Georgiou
  • Sly Stone – Sylvester Stewart
  • Ice T – Tracy Marrow
  • Randy Travis – Randy Bruce Traywick
  • Shania Twain – Eileen Regina Edwards
  • Frankie Valli – Frank Castelluccio
  • Eddie Vedder – Edward Louis Severson

Paul Revere’s real name was Paul Revere.

Or Best Offer

Unusual items sold on eBay:

  • The right to permanently tattoo an ad on a woman’s forehead (sold to for $10,000)
  • A Volkswagen Golf that had previously been registered to Josef Kardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) (sold on eBay’s German site for €188,938.88)
  • The first ride on Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster on Earth ($1,691.66)
  • A piece of Nutri-Grain resembling E.T. ($1,035 Australian)
  • A 50,000-year-old mammoth weighing 250,000 kilos (£61,000)

Unsold: a 16-year-old’s virginity and a half-eaten grilled-cheese sandwich.

Elbow Room

The world’s population reached:

  • 1 billion in 1802
  • 2 billion in 1927
  • 3 billion in 1961
  • 4 billion in 1974
  • 5 billion in 1987
  • 6 billion in 1999

According to the United Nations Population Fund, the 6 billionth baby was born at 12:02 a.m. on Oct. 12, 1999, to Fatima Nevic and her husband, Jasminko, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The forecast, according to the U.N.’s World Population Prospects database:

  • 2010: 6.8 billion
  • 2020: 7.6 billion
  • 2030: 8.2 billion
  • 2040: 8.7 billion
  • 2050: 9.1 billion

Better get started early on that Christmas shopping.

Mare Rides

Folk remedies to prevent nightmares:

  • Stop up the keyhole, place your shoes with the toes facing the door, then get into bed backward.
  • Put something made from steel, such as an old pair of scissors, in your bedstraw.
  • Urinate into a clean, new bottle, hang the bottle in the sun for three days, carry it — without saying a word — to a running stream, and throw it over your head into the stream.

Or take a small child free of sin, soak it in a bath for a couple of hours, then dry it on a goat or a sheep. The next night, sleep with the naked baby in your bed and you’ll never have nightmares again.

Nimrod, Minnesota
Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Unfortunate place names:

  • Accident, Maryland
  • Big Ugly Wilderness Area, West Virginia
  • Difficult, Tennessee
  • Effort, Pennsylvania
  • Foulness, Essex, England
  • Hell For Certain, Kentucky
  • Hole in the Ground, Oregon
  • Nothing, Arizona
  • Pity Me, County Durham, England
  • Toadsuck, Texas

Niemyje-Zabki, Poland, means “He is not cleaning his teeth.”

Red Alert

Next time you visit the circus, if the band starts playing “Stars and Stripes Forever” — run. The hymn is known as the “disaster march”; it’s played during a life-threatening emergency to organize aid and evacuate the audience without panic.

Circus bands never play it under any other circumstances.