Statistics Saturday: Some Amazing Facts about February


  • Though February has had more leap days than any other month, it has yet to have a leap second.
  • One-sixth of all the months with men walking on the Moon were February.
  • Each February contains between eight and ten percent the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12.
  • No United States President has died in February since 1924.
  • February in the north temperate zone has the same specific gravity as honey.
  • A Broadway musical comedy based on February opened in the Broadhurst Theater on the 14th of May, 1951. It closed after 40 performances. Music by Sammy Fain, book by E Y ‘Yip’ Harburg and Fred Saidy.
  • February has the worst home-field advantage (422-398 over the last ten years) but the smallest visiting-team disadvantage (49.39% winning average over all recorded seasons) of any of the major-league months.
  • Though April remains the cruelest month, February is the month most likely to bring up a slightly shameful in-joke at a moment it will embarrass you.
  • Februaries that start on Sunday (or, on European calendars, Monday) are the best months of all according to bookish, nerdy seven-year-olds who believe they know The Rules that everything should follow to be neat and orderly. EXCEPT FEBRUARIES DURING LEAP YEAR.
  • Famous February births include: Jack Benny, orange (the color), Saturn’s moon Mimas, the Renaissance, sneezing, orange (the fruit), and Barry Bostwick.

Reference: Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar, Duncan Steel. Which is not even the ONLY BOOK I HAVE about calendars written by a guy named “Duncan”.

Statistics Saturday: Some Teams Not In The Splendid Bowl This Year


  • The New York Giants
  • The Chicago Bears
  • The Philadelphia Cardinals
  • The Denver Nuggets
  • The Brooklyn Daily Eagles
  • The Detroit Wolpertingers
  • The Albany Diamond Dogs
  • The The
  • The Toledo Ohios of Ohio
  • The Dallas North Bobcats
  • The Oklahoma City Interurban Transit
  • The Seattle Opossums
  • The Toledo Ohios of Kentucky
  • The Mid-Atlantic States Savings Bank
  • The Miami Dolphins
  • The Boise Tumble
  • The Human Metabolic Pathways
  • The St Louis St Pauls
  • The Los Angeles Mangroves
  • The Tonawanda Kardex

Reference: Shakespeare’s Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages, 1337-1485, John Julius Norwich.

(Personal note, the Human Metabolic Pathways is my favorite Kraftwerk tribute band.)

Statistics Saturday: Some Astounding Apollo 14 Trivia


Apollo 14 Thing Apollo 14 Thing Count or Measure
Launch vehicle Saturns 5
Launch vehicle Saturn V’s 1
Change in angle of flight azimuth required by 40 minutes, 2 second prelaunch weather delay 3 degrees, 30 minutes, 39.24 seconds
Astronaut noses (total) 3
Astronaut noses (per capita) 1
Tree seeds 400, maybe 500, who knows, they’re seeds
Golf balls hit on moon 2
How much longer the astronauts needed to walk to catch sight of the abandoned alien spacecraft in Cone Crater 52 seconds
Softballs hit on moon 0
Service Modules returned to earth 1 (not observed; if you find an Apollo 14 Service Module please bring it to your nearest NASA office)
Baseballs hit on moon 1
Baseballs foul-tipped on moon 2
Moons visited 1
Wastewater dumps deliberately photographed 1
Wheels left on the lunar surface 2
Mortar shells left on the lunar surface 4
Moons secretly visited 3
Astronauts named ‘Stuart’ returned from lunar orbit 1
Time between lunar impact of S-IVB stage and its first detection on the Apollo 12 seismometer 94 nautical miles away 37 seconds
Frisbees thrown on moon 5
Successfully 0
RCS engine deactivation completed 457 hours 57 minutes Mission Elapsed Time
Moon features given the name “Weird Rock” 1
Astronaut toes 10 per nose
Relative humidity at launch 86%

Reference: It’s Back To School, Charlie Brown, Charles M Schulz.

Statistics Saturday: How 2021 Treated My Humor Blog


I thought I might get ahead of schedule for once in my life and so check what my 2021 readership figures might look like. So here’s where we go based on the start of the month:

Bar chart of annual readership, showing from 2013 through 2020 a general growth. The bar for 2021 is empty, and a pop-up window explains the year as having, as of the moment of New Year's, 0 views, 0 visitors, nad 0.00 views per visitor.
I bet things looked totally different two minuts after midnight New Year’s Day, when dozens of people stopped in to see what the deal was with Mark Trail.

Zero page views, zero visitors … Maybe I checked too early.

Statistics Saturday: The Cops In True-Crime Podcasts


Small wedge: 'Cop whose Columbo-Like Insight Finally Catches The Guy Who Did It'; Enormous wedge: 'Cop Who Spends Years Hounding Someone Who Had Nothing To Do With Anything Because They Thought They Had a Columbo-like Insight'; Moderate wedge: 'Cop Who Was Just Trying To Give The Guy A Failure-To-Yield Ticket and The Guy Got All Panicky About What Turned Out To Be Eighteen Severed Hands In The Trunk'.
Not pictured: Forensics lab cop who had all the evidence but spent four years unsuccessfully begging everybody in the precinct to at least send one person to check out the guy who actually did it. All right, one more, but one who actually asks a relevant question this time. Please. Just this one time try taking this one suspect seriously for one minute.

Reference: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land that Never Was: The Extraordinary Story of the Most Audacious Fraud in History, David Sinclair.

Statistics Saturday: Things From 1925 Now In The Public Domain


  • The first issues of The New Yorker.
  • Vice President Charles G Dawes’s Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Comic strip Flapper Fanny Says.
  • The Scopes Trial.
  • The Grand Ole Opry.
  • The 1925 “Great Race of Mercy” — the “Balto” delivery of serum to Nome, Alaska.
  • The New York (football) Giants
  • The National Spelling Bee.
  • Rogers Hornsby’s .403 season batting average.
  • The Chrysler Corporation.
  • The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio short Alice Solves the Puzzle.
  • June Lockhart.

Reference: Mercator: The Man Who Mapped The Planet, Nicholas Crane.

Statistics Saturday: Things You Forgot Happened This Year


  1. The guy who directed Batman And Robin died.
  2. We were sharing pictures of people cutting open stuff to reveal it’s cake inside.
  3. “At this point I ran out of magnets.”
  4. Series finale of Steven Universe.
  5. The impeachment trial.
  6. “A large boulder the size of a small boulder.”
  7. The failure Fyre Festival amused and delighted the world.
  8. The death of David Bowie shocked the world.
  9. “Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger mushroom mushroom SNAKE.”
  10. Woodstock ’99.
  11. The Canter and Siegel Green Card spam on Usenet introduced the Internet to mass unsolicited commercial advertising.
  12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 2,000 points for the first time.
  13. The world’s longest Monopoly game reached into four days, with Parker Brothers sending emergency supplies of cash to keep the game going (despite the game rules specifying that the bank shall issue scrip when the official cash runs out).
  14. A scandal in salad-oil inventory storage endangered the American Express corporation.
  15. A giant panda was brought into the United States for the first time.
  16. W.C.Fields made his screen debut in the silent comedy shorts Pool Sharks and His Lordship’s Dilemma.

Reference: The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television, David Weinstein.

Statistics Saturday: Is This A Joke?


“You know, in British English, the world `left` is spelled `lieut`.”

Modest-size wedges: 'Yes' and 'Yes, but I resent it.' Large wedge: 'No'. Even larger wedge: 'No, but it is joke-shaped'.
Not pictured: “It’s shaped like a deconstructed joke hoping for reconstitution into humor”.

Reference: The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence.

Statistics Saturday: Your Wham!ageddon Timeline


  • December 5. You realize you’ve made it this late in the month without hearing about Wham!ageddon this year. Starts a good argument online about whether you can join in late since you think you heard “Last Christmas” a couple days ago but don’t remember if it was in November or not.
  • December 7. Debate about whether it has to be Wham!’s version or if a cover of “Last Christmas” counts. Two friends stop speaking to one another.
  • December 8. Running through the grocery store run to minimize exposure to Your Local Christmas Hits Station and also Covid-19.
  • December 10. You were gone for 35 minutes, how is everybody you know angry about whether the “Sleigh Ride” carol “really” has words?
  • December 12. Remember that you forgot you were doing Wham!ageddon this year.
  • December 13. Your bad-movie podcast is about Last Christmas. Debate about whether you can be exempted for the time necessary to listen to the episode. This generates three new factions among your friends, who engage in a Talmudic debate about whether you heard the song if the podcast hosts do a brief, a capella, rendition unburdened by any musical key.
  • December 14. Get 1600 words into a deep-dive essay about what it means that people do these avoid-the-ubiquitous-thing contests for the fifth time before realizing the author hasn’t gotten to a thesis statement yet and give up on the whole thing.
  • December 18. Remember that you forgot you were doing Wham!ageddon this year.
  • December 19. You were gone for 25 minutes, how is everybody you know angry about the “Monster Mash”?
  • December 20. Debate about whether it counts if you catch yourself starting to hum it to yourself in the shower but are legitimately not sure whether you were just singing in your head.
  • December 21. Debate about whether this is, as Wikipedia’s article about Wham!ageddon implies, a “strategy” game.
  • December 24. You were gone for 15 minutes, how is everybody you know angry about haikus somehow? Haikus? What are people even arguing about over haikus? Even for 2020? Haikus?!
  • December 26. Debate about whether there even is such a thing as the “We Didn’t Start The Firefest” contest ahead of New Year’s.
  • January 2. Finally have the somehow two hours, 35 minutes needed to listen to that movie podcast.

Reference: The Impossible Dream: The Building of the Panama Canal, Ian Cameron.

Statistics Saturday: Second-Tier Hanna-Barbera Characters of the 60 or Rejected Names for Snuffy Smith


So far as you know.

  • Breezley and Sneezley
  • Hooty Owlsy
  • Possumpuss Watson
  • Snip and Snap
  • Dean Dizzy
  • Yippee, Yappy, and Yahooie
  • Hoot and Annie
  • Gidge and Bidge
  • Smoky Crow
  • Tip, Tap, and Tom
  • Biffy and Sniffy
  • Pooky, Coopy, and Boopy
  • Bingo Miboy
  • Paw, Maw, and Floral Rugg
  • Zippy and Pippy

Reference: Barney Google and Snuffy Smith: 75 Years of an American Legend, Brian Walker.

Statistics Saturday: Hypotheses about How the Premise to _Loonatics Unleashed_ Came About


  1. One of the writers was caught photocopying his Batman Beyond/Wile E Coyote crossover fanfic on the work machine and so had to write up a show treatment to justify it and then somehow it got to air.
  2. The producers liked the concept of this doomed world-encompassing city at the edge of the explored universe filled with a desperate population struggling to survive, but felt it lacked Yosemite Sam as a space pirate.
  3. Somebody dropped the minutes from the six-hour pitch meeting for the whole season’s shows, and the notes all got mixed up, and when they were typed up nobody could remember what the network had agreed to but they also know you don’t go back after the network said “yes” so they just went with what they could piece together.
  4. They were sitting around thinking what to do with everybody’s favorite Looney Tunes characters, and also Lola Bunny, and someone said, “what about if it’s a postapocalyptic dystopia with supervillains who can still be tricked into the ‘He does SO have to shoot me now!’ bit” and just kept yes-anding each other, and then it turned out a pack of elves who always wanted to be animators were there and overheard and after everyone went home for the night, the animator elves drew the whole series up.
  5. Somehow something else happened?

Reference: Fred Allen’s Letters, Fred Allen, Edited by Joe McCarthy.

Also you would think someone would have an article explaining where the concept for Loonatics Unleashed started and how it got to where it did, and as far as I can tell they haven’t, and that’s weird too.

Statistics Saturday: 10 Trivia Answers That Are All Paul Blart, Mall Cop


  1. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  2. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  3. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  4. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  5. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  6. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  7. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  8. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  9. Paul Blart, Mall Cop
  10. Paul Blart, Mall Cop

Fun fact: one time Trivia Night at the local bar was about something I knew I knew nothing about, so I warned everybody at the table that I was just going to offer “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” for every question. The first couple times they chuckled at the bit, but this faded out after like the third question. Nevertheless, I carried on, and you know? By about the ninth time? It started to change. My commitment to the bit paid off: before the end of the night everyone agreed this had the structure of a joke and was slightly amusing, they guessed, in its way.

Reference: The Footnote: A Curious History, Anthony Grafton.

Statistics Saturday: Some Trivia Answers, For My Dad


So my Dad thought this thing in his local paper where two people compete to give trivia answers was great and I should do that. I agree. So here we go.

  1. Olives
  2. The Ulna
  3. There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight
  4. Gimbels
  5. Painted rice crackers
  6. Vercingetorix
  7. Oatmeal
  8. North Dakota in the year 1822
  9. Planetary-gear transmission
  10. Kenny Loggins

Reference: Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution, Ronin Ro.

Statistics Saturday: Days Remaining In 2020


As of the … there were this many days remaining in 2020
1st of January 366 days
1st of February 366 days
1st of March 366 days
1st of April 366 days
1st of May 366 days
1st of June 366 days
1st of July 366 days
1st of August 366 days
1st of September 366 days
1st of October 366 days
1st of November 366 days
1st of December (impossible to predict)

Reference: 365: Your Date with History, WB Marsh, Bruce Carrick.

Statistics Saturday: Ranking of _Nightmare Before Christmas_ Alternate Universes


  1. Jack Skellington opens the tree-door into Saint Patrick’s Day Town instead.
  2. In a Prisoner Of Zenda scenario Jack Skellington has to pretend to be Santa Claus long enough to foil the evil plot that would destroy all holidays. Everywhere.
  3. They kidnap the Santa Claus from the Rankin/Bass Specials Universe, the one who never saw a Christmas he wasn’t ready to ditch.
  4. Story is set in an alternate history where a Progressive-era reformer convinced the American culture that his, highly idiosyncratic, order for washing his body parts was the one and only one truly hygienic way to clean, and since most everybody is naturally drawn to a different order and has to train themselves out of it most folks have very slight bathing or showering-related neuroses, and while there’s modern research showing whatever order you wash your body parts in is fine, not following The Cleaning Protocol is still seen as this weird-o hippie moon-man attitude and is shunned by respectable white cis-hetero society.
  5. Sally has a specific interest that isn’t this Jack guy that I guess knows who she is but I’m not positive he does?
  6. It starts with what looks like a Freaky Friday scenario, Jack and Santa swapping bodies, only for Jack to slowly realize that in the future he grows up to be Santa Claus.

Reference: Empire Express: Building The First Transcontinental Railroad, David Haward Bain.

(Have to say I’m really interested in how #4 there plays out with the baseline story.)

Statistics Saturday: How Many People Wanted To Know What Was Up With Mark Trail This Past Week


Drawing from WordPress’s statistics page and how many people went to Mark Trail-tagged items. Promise.

Day of WeekReaders Asking About Mark Trail
Last Friday4
Saturday5
Sunday16
Monday120 [ First Jules Rivera strip publishes ]
Tuesday158
Wednesday188
Thursday126
Friday147

Reference: Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud. Peter Watson.

All my Mark Trail plot recaps are gathered at this page. Those and all my story comics plot recaps are at this link.

Statistics Saturday: Top Five Letters In October


  1. E
  2. R
  3. O (second O)
  4. C
  5. O (first O)

Reference: Life Science Library: Giant Molecules, Herman F Mark.

(You know, plenty of people complain how October isn’t the tenth month, but do you ever hear anyone complaining how it hasn’t got eight letters in it? Yeah, me neither.)

Statistics Saturday: Some Drowsy Numbers


  • eighty-yawn
  • 143 (Generation I)
  • snorety-one
  • eight, but lying down
  • twenty-nap
  • snorety-two
  • one thousand, three hundred and pillow
  • melatonine
  • seven, after a mug of warm milk
  • infini-z
  • snorety-snore
  • quarter-rest

Reference: Under the Black Flag: Exploits of the Most Notorious Pirates, Don C Seitz.

Statistics Saturday: Some Dinosaurs Named After Feet


Or parts of feet. Note: technically, all dinosaurs are named after feet, since we knew about and named feet more than twelve years before anyone even suspected there were such things as dinosaurs.

  • Brachypodosaurus
  • Velocipes
  • Deinonychus
  • Saltopus
  • Baryonyx
  • Scipionyx
  • Ankylosaurus
  • Megalotaursus
  • Stompsognathus
  • Heelguanodon
  • Stubbosaurus
  • Toerannosaurus Rex

Reference: Creditworthy: a History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.

Statistics Saturday: The Most Insignificant Programming Languages


  1. Pig BASIC
  2. Visual Logo
  3. S’more
  4. ++C
  5. Fivetran 77
  6. Hypocard
  7. Pilot
  8. pfKey 128
  9. Slot Car Construction Kit
  10. RedC
  11. VRML
  12. Eddie Haskell
  13. Sea Leopard
  14. Hupmobile
  15. Zestar
  16. Language Sixteen
  17. Subscript
  18. Turbo TeX
  19. HORSE
  20. Retweet To Enter And Win
  21. geoForth
  22. Ultrafont+
  23. Ironic Pascal
  24. Object Oriented Ubbi Dubbi
  25. QuickClam 2.8

Reference: Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?: The Lost Toys, Tastes, and Trends of the 70s and 80s, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, Brian Bellmont.

Statistics Saturday: How Many Whats In A What


How many ___ in a ___? This many.
Feet Yard 3
Teaspoons Tablespoon 3
Tablespoons Quarter-Cup 3
Miles League 3
Leagues Mile 3
Divisions League (baseball) 3
Quarter-Cups Cup 3?
Fourths Fifth 4/5 [ whew! ]
Panels Cartoon 4
Divisions Multiplication 1/1
Degrees Degree-Day 1/(Number of Days)
Pages Magazine 96
Whats Whatnot 0
Deals Deck of Contract Bridge cards 53, 644,737,765, 488,792,839, 237,440,000.
Bananas Bread 2 1/3 cups
3’s 33 1/3 3 [ uh-oh ]
Rubik’s Cube 13
Episodes Character Arc 8
Gallons Acre 44,040
Buttons 101-button keyboard 102
Quarks Proton … 3 …
Pinches Inch 1 [ If at the start of a Special K cereal commercial of the 1970s ]
Pinches Inch 0 [ If at the end of a Special K cereal commercial of the 1970s ]
Songs Encore 3
Grains Heap 1,211

Reference: Sweets: A History of Temptation, Tim Richardson.

Statistics Saturday: Top REM Studio Albums Of The Year, 1983 – 2011


Year Top REM Studio Album
1983 Murmur
1984 Reckoning
1985 Fables of the Reconstruction
1986 Lifes Rich Pageant
1987 Document
1988 Green
1989 Not Awarded
1990 Not Awarded
1991 Out of Time
1992 Automatic for the People
1993 Not Awarded
1994 Monster
1995 Not Awarded
1996 New Adventures in Hi-Fi
1997 Not Awarded
1998 Up
1999 Not Awarded
2000 Not Awarded
2001 Reveal
2002 Not Awarded
2003 Not Awarded
2004 Around the Sun
2005 Not Awarded
2006 Not Awarded
2007 Not Awarded
2008 Accelerate
2009 Not Awarded
2010 Not Awarded
2011 Collapse into Now

Reference: Rolling Stone Magazine, but not the music one. The Rolling Stone Magazine for people who put rocks into tumblers to make them more pretty and make their geologist friends mad.

Statistics Saturday: Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels By Whether They Rate Roman or Arabic Numerals


Roman Numeral Arabic Numeral Neither
Pocahontas II Lilo and Stich 2 Aladdin
The Little Mermaid II Brother Bear 2 Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King II The Lion King 1½ Aladdin (again)
Cinderella III The Fox and the Hound 2 Beauty and the Beast (again)
Cinderella II An Extremely Goofy Movie
Lady and the Tramp II The Little Mermaid
Mulan II Tangled
101 Dalmatians II Atlantis
Tarzan II
Bambi II
Hunchback of Notre Dame II

Not listed: Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas because it is a Wikipedia prank and does not exist.

Reference: Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist, Albert E Moyer.

Statistics Saturday: Some Lists


  • Ten Exhalations
  • Beatles Songs By U2
  • Fifteen Things You Were Going To Get Back To When You Had The Time
  • Twenty Thunderstorms the Forecast for Which Changed Away About Two Hours Before They Could Have Broken This Heat Wave Finally
  • Best Eight Episodes Of The 90s Get Smart Revival
  • Ten Thumbs In Alphabetical Order
  • Top Five Political Stories In Peanuts
  • Sixteen Turtles All The Way Down
  • Twenty Plays Of “Wonderwall” In A Row
  • Twelve Boring Technocratic Micromanagement Video Games Besides the Time Zone One
  • U2 Songs By Taylor Swift
  • Twelve Imaginary Numbers
  • Fifteen Innuendos about Plastic-Man that do not Logically Hold Up Under Scrutiny
  • Ten Things There’s No Telling Whether Are Heated Online Debates Or Just Social Media Dadaist Comedy
  • Unamusement Parks of the Mid-Atlantic States

Reference: Numerical Recipes in C, William Press, William Vetterling, Brian Flannery, and Saul Teukolsky.

Statistics Saturday: Apollo Astronauts who are also former producers of The $1.98 Beauty Show


As requested by Garrison!

  • Gordon Cooper [ Apollo 10 backup; producer, 1979-80 season ]
  • Bill Anders [ Apollo 8 prime crew; associate producer, 2012 mini-webisodes revival (three episodes out of the four produced) ]
  • Chuck Barris [ snuck aboard Apollo 15 as part of the stamp cover scandal; executive producer, full 1978-80 run of original show ]

Reference: Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman.

Statistics Saturday: Some British Spellings


  • colour
  • glamour
  • sacked
  • popcourn
  • web brouseur
  • fourty
  • gaolatin
  • newspapre
  • forego
  • Naency
  • flavour
  • manikin
  • Aengland

Reference: We Freeze to Please: A History of NASA’s Icing Research Tunnel and the Quest for Safety, William M Leary.