Saturday’s Random Stuff

A lot of this stuff has been building up over the past few days, and much of it isn’t even news:

– English supermarket chain Waitrose recently unveiled a new “super deluxe” brand of toilet paper… that has cashmere in it!

– Contrary to popular belief, Henry VIII didn’t kill all (or even most) of his wives. He famously divorced Katherine of Aragon. He then executed Anne Boleyn on very flimsy grounds. Jane Seymour died shortly after giving birth to his only son. He annulled his marriage to Anne of Cleves, as he found her incredibly ugly. He executed Kathryn Howard (who, unlike Anne, really was having affairs with just about everyone behind his back). He was then survived by Katherine Parr. An easy way to remember the fates of his wives is the rhyme “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived”.

– Gregorio Iniguez, general director of the Chilean Mint, has been fired after the mint produced thousands of 50 peso coins that had “Republica de Chiie” stamped on them. Misspelling your own country’s name is a pretty big blunder… but what’s more amazing is that it took authorities a year to notice the problem!

– Howard McNear, who played Floyd the barber on The Andy Griffith Show, had a stroke during the third season of the show. As a result, he was unable to stand or walk. So you can date an episode of the series by how much he moves around: in early episodes, he would stand at his barber’s chair and pretend to cut hair; after the stroke, he was usually seen sitting in a chair or on a bench outside the barber shop. The set designers came up with a stand for him to lean on, so you might occasionally see a post-stroke episode with him pretending to cut someone’s hair. In this case, check his hands – the stroke left him partially paralyzed on the right side, so McNear could only (clumsily) comb someone’s hair with his left hand.

– Speaking of actors with ailments, Annie Potts was in a horrible car crash shortly after marrying her high school college sweetheart in 1973. Her new husband lost a leg in the crash, and both of Annie’s legs were severely damaged as well. She’s suffered agonizing bouts of arthritis since then. This is why you often saw her sitting down on Designing Women. Even when she was supposed to be standing up, she was usually sitting on a stool hidden behind a object, like an island in the set’s kitchen.

– Newsflash: being a vegetarian might do more harm than good to the environment! If you’re British, anyway. In a nutshell, producing meat substitute products takes more energy than producing meat itself, it requires products that have to be imported (British beef vs. Turkish soybeans, for example) and also leads to deforestation (more land needs to be cleared to plant soybeans).

– Music labels demanded variable pricing from online stores like iTunes. So instead of just having all tracks for 99¢, iTunes is forced to charge $1.29 for “hot” tracks and 99¢ for older songs. Guess how that’s working out for the labels?

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