These Chiefs and Those Chiefs

The Atlanta Chiefs were a professional soccer team that existed from 1967 to 1973, and again from 1979 to 1981. They were originally owned by the Atlanta Braves baseball team, hence the “Chiefs” name. They played the 1967 season in the National Professional Soccer League, but in 1968 the NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League (or NASL, which was occasionally pronounced “nasal”, for obvious reasons).

atlanta_chiefs

Depending on how you look at it, the Chiefs brought Atlanta the city’s first professional, major league sports title:

– Georgia Tech won college football national championships in 1917, 1928 and 1952 (and, later, 1990). But college sports are strictly amateur, and were especially so 50 years ago.

– The Atlanta Crackers were a minor league baseball team that existed from 1901 to 1961. They played in the Southern Association and were league champs 17 times. In fact, the Crackers were the winningest team in Southern Association history, and were sometimes called the “Yankees of the Minors”. However, while they were “professional” (in the sense that they were paid to play, unlike college teams), they were only a minor league team.

– The Atlanta Knights hockey team won the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup – no relation to Ted – in 1993, their second year of existence. But they, like the Crackers, were a minor league team, in this case, an affiliate for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sadly, the arrival of the Atlanta Trashers caused the team to move to Quebec, where they were known as the “Rafales” from 1996 to 1998, after which the team was shut down for losing too much money.

– The Atlanta Braves didn’t win a World Series until 1995. However, they won two previous World Series, in 1957 (as the Milwaukee Braves) and in 1914 (as the Boston Braves). Thus, not only are the Braves the oldest continually-operating sports franchise in North America, they’re the only team to have won a World Series in every city they’ve called home.

– The Atlanta Hawks basketball team was originally founded as the National Basketball League’s Buffalo Bisons in 1946. However, just 13 games in to their first season the team moved to Moline, Illinois. There they became known as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and were led by legendary coach Red Auerbach. But it soon became obvious that the “Tri-Cities” area (Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa) was too small to support a team in the new NBA. So in 1951 they moved to Milwaukee. And in 1955 they moved to St. Louis, where they won their only league title in 1958. They moved again to Atlanta in 1968. The Hawks’ 55 year championship drought is the second-longest in the NBA after the Sacramento Kings, and the Hawks haven’t even advanced past the second round of the playoffs since moving to Atlanta.

– The Flames NHL hockey team – which played in Atlanta from 1972 to 1980, when they moved to Calgary – has never won a Stanley Cup. In fact, neither the Atlanta Flames nor the Calgary Flames have ever even won their division. And the Atlanta Trashers – now the Winnipeg Jets – won their division exactly once, in the 2006-2007 season. And this also makes Atlanta the only city to lose not one, but TWO NHL franchises.

– The Atlanta Falcons have been to, but have never won, a Super Bowl. Which puts them in the same boat as the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans. It also puts them ahead of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, none of which have ever even been to a Super Bowl.

But this post is about the Atlanta Chiefs.

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Random Facts

So I started doing a “Random Facts” series of posts on my Facebook page. Here are some of the best of them:

– Libertarian economist and radio personality Walter E. Williams grew up in Philadelphia and was a childhood friend of Bill Cosby. Williams knows all the real people the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids characters are based on, including Weird Harold and “Fat” Albert Robinson. (source)

– Conservative economist and radio personality Thomas Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina and had so few encounters with white people as a child that he did not believe blonde was a real hair color until he was 10 years old. (source)

– Canaries (the birds) were named after the Canary Islands where they were first found. However, the original name of the islands was from Latin: Canariae Insulae, meaning “Island of the Dogs”. So the birds are named after islands which were named after dogs. And although “canary”: can also refer to a shade of yellow, most canary birds are actually green and\or brown.  (source)

– Supermodel Karolina Kurkova has no belly button! She was born with a congenital umbilical hernia, which doctors repaired when she was an infant. The operation left her with no belly button, so in most photo shoots one is added via Photoshop. (source)

– Although This Mortal Coil’s cover of “Song to the Siren” only reached #66 on the UK charts, it remained on the UK indie charts for 101 weeks. This makes it #4 on the list of longest charting UK singles of the 1980s, behind only “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (131 weeks), “Blue Monday” (186 weeks) and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (195 weeks). (source)

– In 2009, a retired policeman named Geraint Woolford was admitted to Abergale Hospital in north Wales. He ended up in a bed next to another man named Geraint Woolford. The men weren’t related, had never met, were both retired policemen, and were the only two people in the UK named “Geraint Woolford”. (source)

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Random Atlanta\Georgia Trivia

So the other day I was looking for some info about a Braves game, so I went to my former hometown newspaper’s site: ajc.com. While there I discovered that my favorite section of the paper – “Q&A on the News”, where people can write in any marginally newsworthy question in hopes of getting an answer – not only still exists… but that there’s an extensive archive of old topics, too!

Here’s some of the fun stuff I found:

Georgia is the only state to be admitted to the Union three times. (link)

Of course, Georgia was the fourth state, ratifying the U.S. Constitution on January 2, 1788. And, like most Confederate states, Georgia was readmitted after the Civil War on June 26, 1868. However, widespread violence led Congress to re-impose Reconstruction on the state (another dubious honor, this being the only state to have this happen). Georgia was readmitted for the third and final time in July 1870.

Atlanta’s Northside Hospital delivers more babies than any other hospital in the United States. (link)

Over 18,000 babies are born there every year… including me (although that was a looooonng time ago!).

St. Mary’s, Georgia is the second oldest continually-inhabited city in the United States (link)

The city was founded “sometime in the mid 1500s” by the Spanish. It became an incorporated city in 1792. Only St. Augustine, Florida is older.

A Random Fact

More than a few American cities are situated in counties of the same name. For example, the City of New York is in the County of New York in the state of New York. Here’s a fun fact: the city of Montgomery, Alabama resides in Montgomery County, Alabama. But the city and the county are named for two different people!

The city of Montgomery is named for General Richard Montgomery, an Anglo-Irish army officer who switched from the British to American side in the Revolutionary War and was killed at the Battle of Quebec in 1775.

The county is named for Lemuel P. Montgomery, an attorney from Nashville who joined the militia during the War of 1812, was commissioned as a major in the 39th Infantry of the United States Army and was killed at The Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. The battle took place around 40 miles from Montgomery.

Random Celebrity Trivia!

This is mostly about celebrity relationships, but there are other things as well. Culled from sources all over the Internet:

– Actor Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Community) is a licensed medical doctor! Internal Medicine is his specialty. He was born in Detroit, but moved to Greensboro, NC when he was young (his father was a professor at North Carolina A&T State University for 35 years). Jeong got his undergrad degree from Duke and his MD from UNC in 1995.

Melissa Gilbert, Jonathan Gilbert (Laura Ingalls and Willie Olesen from Little House on the Prairie) and Sara Gilbert (Darlene from Rosanne) are all legally (but not biologically) related. Melissa was adopted by actor Paul Gilbert and his wife, Barbara Crane. A couple of years later they adopted Jonathan. A couple of years after that the couple divorced. Barbara then married Harold Abeles, and they had Sara Rebecca Abeles in 1975. Sara changed her last name to Gilbert in 1985 when she started acting.

– Oh, and Paul Gilbert’s name at birth was Ed MacMahon!

– Believe it or not, George Clooney is one of the closest living relatives of Abraham Lincoln, being a direct descendant of Lincoln’s aunt. Tom Hanks (and, some say, Camille Hanks, Bill Cosby’s wife) are also members of this family.

– Speaking of politics, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and the George H.W. Bush family all descend from a 17th century Masachusetts farmer named Benjamin Barney.

Charlie Chaplin’s father-in-law was the playwright Eugene O’Neill. Not that the connection did Chaplin any good: after Chaplin (then age 54) married Oona O’Neill (then age 18), O’Neill refused to speak to her.

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Useless Facts!

The original jimcofer.com FrontPage site used to have a “Fact of the Week” on the home page. I used to have a page on that site where I stored all the previous facts. This became the “Useless Facts” page on this site, but since I stopped updating the facts years ago, I decided to cut and paste the old page into a post and delete the original.

So here ya go:

– The Kid Loco remix of the Saint Etienne song “4:35 In The Morning” is exactly 4 minutes and 35 seconds long.

– The character “Fez” from That 70’s Show got his name from pre-production scripts, where he was referred to only as “Foreign Exchange Student” (abbreviated “FES”).

– Dennis Hopper really was inhaling nitrous oxide on the set of Blue Velvet.

– The scene at the beginning of Apocalypse Now when Martin Sheen put his hand through the mirror?? Also real.

– Every ten minutes, the National Security Agency destroys a stack of classified papers 6 feet wide, 8 feet tall and 60 feet long.

– The shortest war on record – between Britain and Zanzibar in 1896 – lasted just 38 minutes.

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TRIVIA: Lasts and Crashes

The world of IT and consumer electronics is littered with dead and dying technologies. Here are a few “lasts” from the world of home entertainment:

LAST 8-TRACK TAPE: 1988’s Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits was the last 8-track made by a major label, although Cheap Trick offered their 2009 album The Latest in 8-track format on their web store.

LAST VHS MOVIE: David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence was the last VHS film distributed by a major studio, way back in 2005.

LAST LASERDISC: In North America, the last laserdiscs released by a major studio were Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and the Nicolas Cage stinker Bringing Out the Dead, in 2000.

LAST VIDEODISC: Laserdiscs looked like LP-sized CDs. Videodiscs came in a plastic sleeve and sort of looked like a giant floppy disk. The last major videodisc release was… a documentary about itself called Memories of Videodisc in 1986.

Another last: the USFL was a professional American football league that operated from 1983 to 1987. The last USFL player to retire from the NFL was Philadelphia Stars punter Sean Landeta, who signed with the New York Giants in 1986 and played for various teams until 2006. He officially retired in 2007. Quarterback Doug Flutie, signed by the New Jersey Generals in 1985, was the last non-kicker to retire, in 2005.

Now, two interesting stories about airplane crashes:

– In the 1980 film Nine to Five, three secretaries kidnap their sexist, overbearing boss. Another secretary, Roz (played by Elizabeth Wilson) asks too many questions about his disappearance, so the kidnappers send her to a language school in Colorado with vague promises about a future transfer to France. In the film, Roz is seen walking onto a TWA 747. This is the same aircraft that would crash in 1996 as TWA Flight 800.

– Carowinds is an amusement park here in the Charlotte area. It’s unique in that the park straddles the NC\SC border, so different laws may apply depending on where you are in the park. The park has (had? I’ve never been) a tall observation tower that pilots use (used?) as a landmark to find Douglas Municipal Airport (now Charlotte-Douglas International Airport). On September 11, 1974, the pilots of Eastern Airlines flight 212 became obsessed with finding the tower because they had been goofing off for much of the flight, and the plane crashed short of the runway. Many died, including the father and two older brothers of comedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Also, this crash was the first time that doctors noticed that passengers wearing artificial fibers (like rayon and polyester) were usually burned much more severely than passengers wearing natural fibers.

Wednesday’s Trivia Blast

– The San Diego Wild Animal Park (part of the world-famous San Diego Zoo) has a monorail line. Its name is WGASA, and that moniker was chosen by a park employee. Management loved the name, since they were seeking something with an “African feel”. What they didn’t know until later was that WGASA was a crude acronym for “Who gives a shit anyhow?”. Even after finding out the awful truth, management decided to keep the name. Read more here.

– The TV show Benson was the first television show to mention the Internet by name. In an episode called “Scenario”, which aired on February 22, 1985, the characters discussed ARPANET, the forerunner of the modern Internet.

– Phyllis Smith, who plays the character of the same first name on the US version of The Office, was once a cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams and a burlesque dancer. A knee injury in the 1980s forced her to stop dancing, so she moved to Hollywood and worked as an actress and in casting.

– Have you ever seen a picture which contains a picture of itself? This called a recursive picture, and the specific effect is called the Droste effect, after a brand of Dutch cocoa which features a picture of the box on the packaging:

Droste

Other famous images featuring the Droste effect include the cover of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma album, Land O’Lakes butter, The Laughing Cow cheese, and the movie poster for Memento. Read more about it here.

Trivia Follow-Up

Here are a couple of items I meant to post on Monday, but forgot:

– Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 film Blackmail is generally considered the first British film with sound. However, Hitchcock had already started filming the movie when the decision was made to add sound to it. Hitchcock had chosen Polish\Czech actress Anny Ondra as the female lead because film was originally supposed to be silent. However, now that sound was added, Anny’s thick accent would make her unconvincing as an English woman. Since recasting the lead and starting over from scratch was too expensive, and since sound could not be edited later on at that time, Hitchcock had Ondra mouth the words while English actress Joan Berry spoke into a microphone off camera. Here’s a picture of the filming:

Hitchcock BlackmailHitchcock (with headphones on) listens to Berry read lines as Ondra mouths them and a cameraman records it.

– There’s an interesting story behind the creation of Curious George.

– Play-Doh was originally created as a wallpaper cleaner.

Monday’s Trivia Hootenanny!

– There are no rats in Alberta, Canada. Well, I’m sure there are a few, but for fifty years the Alberta government has worked hard to keep rat populations at bay. Here’s a brief write-up about the province’s rat eradication program on the official Alberta government website, and here’s a Wiki map showing the lack of rats in Alberta.

– It’s tempting to think of some foods as always existing, but the truth is that many of our favorite foods are extremely recent. Granny Smith apples, for example, didn’t exist until 1868 and first went on sale in the United States in 1972. Hass avacados weren’t bred until 1926, when full-time mail man and part-time horticulturist Rudolph Hass grafted seedlings from random avocado seeds (even scraps from restaurants!) onto Fuerte trees, then the predominant avocado strain. Hass’ original avocado tree, located at 430 West Road, La Habra Heights, California, survived until September 11, 2002 when it was cut down due to root rot.

– Roger Ebert likes black women. Back in the 80s, friends set him up on a blind date with a local talk show host. The date was a “genteel bust”, but Ebert did convince the woman to syndicate her show. Thus, thanks to Roger Ebert, everyone in America knows the name Oprah Winfrey.

– Duran Duran’s song “Sound of Thunder” is based on a Ray Bradbury short story of (almost) the same name: “A Sound of Thunder”. The story, set in 2055, concerns a hunter named Eckles who contracts with a company called Time Safari to go back in time to shoot a Tyrannosaurus Rex. One condition of his time travel is that Eckles cannot step off a path that Time Safari has created, as any subtle changes caused by time travelers might impact the future. Although Eckles is initially excited about the safari, he loses his cool when he sees the dinosaur, and so he runs off the path, crushing a butterfly in the process. When he comes back to present time, he finds that the world has changed. The song’s lyrics “I’m the man who stepped off the path” show that LeBon is supposed to be Eckles in the song. Read more about it here.