Friday Facts: Spaghetti, Mad Beats, Otto-Mans

fridayfacts_icn:: The Knights of Pythias annual spaghetti dinner in support of Special Olympics has been canceled this year due to a decline in membership from three to one. Group spokesman, 101 year-old Charlie Cassidy, apologized for the cancellation, citing his difficulty distinguishing the numbers on the stove dials, and his inability to lift a full kettle of water by himself following the passing of his son, Charlie Jr., from natural causes at age 82.

:: Number of posters, flyers and informational brochures (combined total) printed up for this Sunday’s Earth Day festival/concert at Baxter Park: 31,000

:: Number of Sanitation Department overtime hours estimated for the post-festival/concert cleanup: 150

:: Most popular dog food flavors sold regionally in 2006, according to Champ Brand Dog Food manufacturers, 1711 E.Blind St: Lamb, lamb and rice, beef, beef and rice. Least popular: Milk, “Dog Food.”

:: The last blacksmith shop in the city, John Schmidt’s 1890 Village Smithy, closed in 1979, although it operated as a curiosity, tourist site and gift shop for most of its last five decades. The last blacksmith shop to actually support itself strictly with ‘blacksmithing’ was Clark’s Harness & Metal Works, which closed in 1937.

:: Paper cuts account for approximately one percent of all emergency room visits within city limits.

:: The statue of Cornelius Keets looking out over Keets Harbor is made of metal salvaged from the largest anchor of The Colossus, the huge Emerald Sky Line passenger liner that was retired in 1919. The Colossus had three anchors with a combined weight of 29 tons (58,000 lbs.).

:: Number of copies sold of “Hot and Fresh: Fire Safety, Yo!” (an album of rap songs about, well, fire safety, recorded by city firefighters) since its release in 1986: 1,138

:: The Municipal History Museum on Quarterhorse Cul-De-Sac will be hosting a week-long series of documentaries, discussions and conferences on the “Gipsie Ordinances” passed between 1918 and 1921, beginning this Friday.

In the early Twentieth Century, roving “Gipsie” bands of unregulated journeyman merchants took to the streets in such numbers and selling low quality goods at such tempting prices that not only were local businesses threatened, but the civic infrastructure was suffering under the weight of shoddy merchandise.

The first Gipsie Ordinances were introduced by furniture magnate David Floyd Lowell, who complained of journeyman furniture sellers in his memoirs:

…all manner of cater-wauling jipsies may come rattling across public squares with shoddy, cheap foot-stools and threadbare otto-mans of dubious quality, sold to un-suspecting citizens for penn-ies on the dollar, re-turning only frustration and self-reprisal for the fault of being bamboozled!

There is no cost for admission, but a sizable donation to the museum is recommended.
– D. Andrews, K. Church, J. Morris, R. White

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