Thursday, May 22, 2014

No Knowledge is Useless, Not Even This

Raleigh's Ross Reynolds was the first NC State swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, way back in 1939, or 75 years ago this spring. But he was not allowed to participate in the third-annual championship event.

When Reynolds and swimming coach Romeo Lefort arrived in Lansing, Mich., for the 150-yard backstroke, they discovered that “the college’s membership in the association was allowed to lapse,” according to the NC State Alumni News.

Lefort, who was also the assistant dean of students, quickly paid the school’s NCAA dues in full, but since it was not officially a member of the association when Reynolds qualified at the Southern Conference championships, the senior swimmer was not allowed to compete, despite the school’s protest.

Swimming eventually became NC State’s most decorated men’s varsity sport, winning seven NCAA individual titles, producing 11 Olympians and finishing as high as fourth in the NCAA Championship meet in 1955.

And here are some more interesting things I found while looking up other things:
  • In North Carolina, it is illegal to (1) plow cotton fields with an elephant and (2) sing off-key. Apparently, we not only belong to a congregation of sinners, but are among some serious repeat offenders.
  • The average age of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court: 68 ½. The average age of the four living members of the Rolling Stones: 70 ½.
  • The only casualty of the first battle of the Civil War did not occur during the bombardment of Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor. It came the next day, when federal Gen. Robert Anderson insisted on having a 100-gun salute before surrendering the protective island. On the 43rd shot, a pile of cartridges caught fire, exploded and killed privates Daniel Hough and Edward Galloway. The salute was quickly reduced to just 50 shots. But Hough and Galloway were the first two fatalities in a war that killed nearly 750,000 people, the bloodiest war in U.S. history.
  • In the first season of Gilligan’s Island: Ginger slept naked and Mary Ann in a well-pressed white men’s shirt, a la Shania Twain. No idea where she got the starch from. Or the iron.
  • The bigger news on Coronation Day for Elizabeth II of England – June 2, 1953 – was that Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit of Mount Everest. Since then, there have been 7,529 summits by 4,700 different people at the world’s tallest peak. Almost 250 people have died trying to get there. And Elizabeth II is still queen of 16 sovereign states: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Queen Elizabeth II was home-schooled. Or, more accurately, palace-schooled.
  • A “buttload” is an official unit of volume equal to 126 gallons, which is exactly twice as much as the unit of capacity for wine called a “hogshead.” (So don’t drink a buttload of wine.) A “jiffy” is exactly 33.3564 picoseconds. (Especially this fast.) And a “stone” is 14 pounds. (Or you will weigh many stones.)
The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, there were only 47 stars on the American flag. Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska had not yet become states.
  • These sets of similar words are not interchangeable, as anyone who has ever been a slave to The Associated Press Stylebook can attest:
        "Graveyard" and "cemetery": A graveyard is connected to a church. A cemetery is independent of a house of worship.
        "Jelly" and "jam": Jelly is made with fruit juice. Jam is made with fruit pulp or crushed fruit. (Preserves are fruit pulp jellied with pectin in juice.)
        "Jail" and "prison": Jails are for those awaiting trial or those serving misdemeanor sentences. Prisons are the collective term used for penitentiaries, correctional facilities and reformatories, all of which are used for those convicted of felonies.
  • Please follow the Twitter account @TrueFacts and, if you like, @PackTimPeeler.

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