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30 Things Only Baby Boomers Will Remember

When VCRs came out, they sold for $1,200. Eventually, you could rent videos for $4.95/day (US). At the end of the era, you could buy a VCR, complete with a remote for $59 and movies were often five videos for five days for five dollars.

Your author was fortunate to take typing lessons in public school during 5th grade, around age eleven. We all had to bring our own typewriters from home. Mine was about 30 pounds in came in a box like a hard suitcase. I was envious of the kids who had smaller typewriters. I was especially envious of the few who had electric typewriters. Imagine, with an electric typewriter, one didn’t have to make a point of pressing the A and the ; keys hard enough to match the impressions on the paper of the J and F keys.

When the phone rang, you answered it! There was no way of knowing who was calling, and they couldn’t leave messages until later, when answering machines became common. Most of the answering machines used cassette tapes. You had to rewind or fast-forward through the tape to hear your messages. Every now and then, something would go wrong and the tape would spill out of the cassette. When that happened you had to carefully suck it back in by turning one of the spools with a Bic pen stuck through it’s middle. Bic pens fit just right. Nothing else worked as well.

All serious amateur photographers had darkrooms. This was a room in the house where the photographer could lay out trays of chemicals, and a vertically-oriented projector that would shine light through negatives onto light-sensitive paper. The paper was then soaked in three trays of chemicals to develop the print. Drying these was always problematic. You couldn’t just leave a print laying around. It would curl up into a tight spiral. For black-and-white photos, which most were at the time, the darkroom had a dim red or orange light, called a safelight, that allowed a person to see, but would not harm the photos. For color photography, the safelight was a ridiculously dim olive green.

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Volkswagen

Volkswagen translates to “People’s Car” in German. During WWII, the German Equivalent of the Jeep, a two-wheel drive vehicle with the same air-cooled, 4-cylinder, horizontally-opposed rear engine as all the early beetles and vans was called the Kubelwagen meaning “bucket car.”

Ferdinand Porsche, inventor of the Porsche cars and many German WWII machines, went to trade school to be trained as a factory foreman. He got the lowest grades in his class.

Ferdinand Porche and Volkswagen, his favorite car

As some of you may know, Ferdinand Porsche designed the Volkswagen Beetle, and he considered it his greatest achievement. He rated the VW higher than his winning race cars because this was a car every family could afford. It was a masterpiece of economical engineering for its time, as is evidenced by the fact that the basic design survived for so many years. Volkswagen still makes a version of it today, although it is quite different under the hood. In fact, the engine is no longer under the same hood. It used to be in the back of the car. Now it is in the front.

People often wonder how Adolf Hitler, with all his horrible ideas and rough manners could become so popular a leader. A great deal of Hitler’s appeal to the masses was that he decided to control the automobile industry. He promised them Volkswagens, cars that every family could afford at a time when there was only one car for every 211 people in Germany. (In America at that time, there was one car for every 5.7 people.)

After World War II, Henry Ford was offered the Volkswagen factory for free by the English government, then in charge of Germany’s industries. They were looking for someone who could operate the plant, thereby creating hundreds of jobs. Ernest Breech, Ford’s chairman of the board looked the plant over and said, “Mr. Ford, I don’t think what we are being offered here is worth a damn!”

Henry Ford and the Volkswagen factory

He was right in a way. At that time the factory had not yet ever produced more than a few hand-crafted prototypes and the workers could only make cars when it wasn’t raining, because large areas of the roof were missing.

One of Henry Ford’s famous quotes came from this Volkswagen offer. When Ferdinand Porsche showed him the plans for Volkswagens, and Ford was asked about his concern of competition, he said, “If anyone can build a car better or cheaper than I can, that serves me right.”

Seventeen years later, Volkswagen was producing a car every eight seconds, and Ford could have owned the company.

In 2014, Volkswagen sold more than 10 million vehicles, more than any other car company.

The Volkswagen company owns luxury carmaker brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche.

Volkswagen has more than 100 factories scattered throughout the world.

The Apollo 15 lunar rover was built on a Volkswagen beetle chassis.

Volkswagen has been exploring the use of sustainable materials in their cars, including natural fibers and recycled materials, to reduce environmental impact.

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North Dakota

North Dakota has an area of approximately 70,700 square miles (183,000 square kilometers).

The state’s nickname is the “Peace Garden State” because it is home to the International Peace Garden, located on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.

North Dakota is the least-visited state in the country, making it a great destination for those seeking a quieter and more peaceful experience.

The western part of the state is known for its picturesque Badlands, featuring unique rock formations and stunning vistas.

The state’s economy is largely driven by agriculture, with wheat being the primary crop grown in the region.

North Dakota is one of the top producers of honey in the United States, thanks to its vast fields of wildflowers that attract bees.

North Dakota is rich in fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil. It has significant oil reserves in the Bakken Formation, making it an important energy-producing state.

Rugby, North Dakota, is considered the geographic center of North America.

The state is home to several Native American tribes, including the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Lakota Sioux.

North Dakota has a strong Norwegian influence, and the city of Minot hosts the Norsk Høstfest, the largest Scandinavian festival in North America.

North Dakota has a vibrant rodeo culture, with numerous rodeos held throughout the state during the summer months.

Laws Still on the Books in North Dakota

In Fargo, North Dakota, it is illegal to wear a hat while dancing.

Don’t keep an elk in a sandbox in your yard. That’s breaking the law.

You may not let your horse sleep in your house.

It is illegal to fall asleep with your shoes on.

It is illegal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon.

It is illegal to dance to the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

It is illegal to play hopscotch on a Sunday.

It is illegal to dance while wearing a hat in a courtroom.

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10 Strange Facts About Music

Music can significantly reduce pain and anxiety, leading to its use in various therapeutic settings.

The world’s longest concert lasted for 639 years. It began in 1349 and is still ongoing in the St. Burchardi Church in Germany.

The famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf, yet he continued to create extraordinary music.

Listening to upbeat music can improve your physical performance and make exercise feel easier.

The shortest recorded song is “You Suffer” by the British grindcore band Napalm Death, which lasts only 1.316 seconds. See it on YouTube

Playing a musical instrument can improve cognitive skills, memory, and attention span.

The oldest known musical instrument is a flute made from a vulture’s wing bone, dating back around 43,000 years.

Some people experience a phenomenon called “earworm,” where a catchy song gets stuck in their head and plays on repeat.

The brain of a musician is structurally different from that of a non-musician, particularly in areas related to motor skills and auditory processing.

In the 1500s, it was common for wealthy families to hire composers to write music specifically for their pet birds.

The world’s largest playable guitar measures over 43 feet in length and weighs more than 2,000 pounds.

The term “Rock ‘n’ Roll” was originally a euphemism for sex in African-American blues songs.

The word “piano” is an abbreviation of its original name, “pianoforte,” which means “soft-loud” in Italian.

Music with a strong beat can make you feel more confident and powerful.

Researchers have found that cows produce more milk when they listen to relaxing music.

The world’s largest music festival, Rock in Rio, has attracted over 1.5 million attendees for a single event.

The famous composer Mozart wrote his first symphony at the age of eight. They say he had perfect pitch from the age of two. Perfect pitch can be identified when someone hear a note and can tell you what it is.

The Guinness World Record for the most people playing the same song on electric guitars simultaneously is 7,273.

In 1989, the world’s first internet-delivered live concert took place, featuring The Rolling Stones.

Playing a musical instrument can delay the onset of age-related hearing loss.

The melody for the iconic “Star Wars” theme was composed by John Williams in just a few hours.

The “Brown Note” is a hypothetical sound frequency that, if played at a high volume, could cause people to lose control of their bowels.

The guitar legend Jimi Hendrix was left-handed but played a right-handed guitar flipped upside down.

The “devil’s interval” or “diabolus in musica” is a musical interval known for its dissonance and was once considered evil by the Catholic Church.

The song “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple is famous for its simple guitar riff, which many beginners learn to play.

The world’s oldest known song, called the “Hurrian Hymn No. 6,” is over 3,400 years old.

In the 1980s, psychologist Alfred A. Tomatis claimed that listening to the music of Mozart could increase IQ scores temporarily.

Music can evoke strong emotions and memories due to its ability to activate the brain’s limbic system, which is associated with emotions and memory.

The world’s most outrageous musical instrument was made in France during 1450. A long row of spikes was connected to a keyboard. Under each spike was a pig, arranged according to the pitch of its oink.


World's most outrageous musical instrument

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North Carolina

North Carolina is known as the “Tar Heel State” and its residents are called “Tar Heels.”

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, conducted their first powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is the largest privately owned house in the United States. It has 250 rooms and covers 178,926 square feet.

The state’s official beverage is milk.

Pepsi Cola was invented and first served in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1893.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest public university in the United States, chartered in 1789.

The state’s Outer Banks are a chain of barrier islands that are constantly shifting due to ocean currents and winds.

The state is known for its beautiful lighthouses, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States.

North Carolina is one of the leading producers of sweet potatoes in the country.

The town of Wilmington, North Carolina, is a popular filming location for movies and TV shows, earning it the nickname “Hollywood East.”

The “Research Triangle” is a region in North Carolina that includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. It is home to several prestigious universities and research institutions.

Blackbeard, one of the most infamous pirates in history, had a hideout in Beaufort, North Carolina.

North Carolina is the largest producer of tobacco in the United States.

Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soda, was created in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1917 and remains popular in the state.

The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was originally two separate towns, Winston and Salem, which merged in 1913.

North Carolina is home to the largest military installation in the world, Fort Bragg, which covers over 251 square miles.

Silly Laws Still on the Books in North Carolina

It is illegal to use elephants to plow fields unless they are accompanied by a state-licensed elephant driver.

Bingo games cannot last more than five hours.

Alligators may not be kept in bathtubs.

If a man and a woman who are not married enter a hotel room together, they may be arrested.

It is against the law to sing off-key.

Women must have their bodies covered by at least 16 yards of cloth at all times.

Fights between cats and dogs are prohibited.

It is illegal to sell more than two drinks to the same person at a time.

No one may sing “Happy Birthday” in a public restaurant.

It is illegal to go to bed without first having a full bath.

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New York State

New York City was originally settled by the Dutch in 1624 and was known as New Amsterdam until it was captured by the English in 1664 and renamed New York.

In 1785, New York City became the first capital of the United States under the new Constitution before it was moved to Philadelphia and eventually to Washington, D.C.

The Seneca Falls Convention, held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

The New York Draft Riots, which took place in 1863 during the Civil War, were the largest civil insurrection in American history, sparked by opposition to conscription.

In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City resulted in the deaths of 146 garment workers, leading to significant labor reforms and safety regulations.

The Empire State Building in New York City was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 1970.

The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, was constructed in just over a year and became an iconic symbol of New York City and the United States. During WWII, a US bomber pilot lost his way in cloudy conditions, smashing into the 78th floor of the Empire State Building. Unlike the World Trade Center, the building did not collapse. The damage was totally repaired.

The abolitionist movement gained momentum in New York State in the 19th century, and it became a critical hub for the Underground Railroad, helping enslaved individuals escape to freedom.

The construction of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, was completed in France in 1884, and it was then disassembled and shipped to New York City where it was reassembled on Liberty Island.

The Great Blizzard of 1888 paralyzed New York City and the surrounding area with record-breaking snowfall and strong winds, resulting in significant loss of life and economic disruption.

The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York were a popular destination for vacationers, entertainers and artists in the 19th and 20th centuries, inspiring the Hudson River School of landscape painting.

The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, with a population of around 4 million people, and known for its wine production, particularly Rieslings and other cool-climate varietals, is named after the long, narrow lakes that resemble fingers on a hand.

The Adirondack Park in northern New York is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States.

The Woodstock Music Festival, one of the most iconic music events in history, took place in Bethel, New York, in 1969.

The first American pizzeria, Lombardi’s, opened in New York City in 1905 and is still operating today.

New York State has hosted the Olympic Games four times: twice in Lake Placid (1932 and 1980) and twice in New York City (1904 and 1932).

The world’s first commercial-scale electric power plant, the Pearl Street Station, began operation in New York City in 1882.

New York State is home to numerous prestigious universities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, and New York University.

New York State has more ski resorts than any other state in the United States, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

In 1859, Central Park in New York City had a “Vinegar Hill” – a small, isolated mound of rock that was made entirely of discarded vinegar barrels.

The town of Phelps, New York, holds an annual “Sauerkraut Weekend” festival to celebrate its history as a major sauerkraut producer.

In the town of Cairo, New York, there is a building known as the “World’s Smallest Church,” which can only accommodate a congregation of about 8 people.

The town of Medina, New York, is home to the “Floating Bridge,” which is a bridge built on a pontoon system, allowing it to rise and fall with changes in water levels.

The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, is home to the world’s largest collection of glass art, spanning over 3,500 years of history.

New York State has a town named “Sodom,” located in the Finger Lakes region. Its name has sparked various theories about its origin.

The village of Lake George, New York, hosts an annual “Winter Carnival” featuring events like an outhouse race, ice diving, and a chili cook-off.

The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, houses the National Toy Hall of Fame, where iconic toys like Barbie and LEGO have been inducted.

In the town of Saratoga Springs, New York, you can find the “Spam Museum of Saratoga Springs,” dedicated to the canned meat product.

The world’s largest kaleidoscope can be found in Mount Tremper, New York. It is housed in a silo and offers a mesmerizing visual experience.

New York State has a town named “Chili,” which is often subject to jokes and puns related to the spicy food. The town name is pronounced like “Chy ly” but also “Che lee.”

TThe town of Geneseo, New York, holds an annual “Dog Parade” where participants dress up their dogs in creative costumes and march through the streets.

The town of Sackets Harbor, New York, hosts an annual “Civil War Weekend” featuring reenactments, historical tours, and cannon firings.

Silly Laws Still on the Books in New York State

It is illegal to take a lion to the movies.

You cannot allow a donkey to sleep in your bathtub.

It is illegal to jump off a building more than 50 feet tall.

It is illegal to greet someone by putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers.

It is illegal to keep a bear as a pet.

It is illegal to honk someone else’s car horn.

If you intend to dry your laundry on a clothesline, you must first obtain a permit.

It is illegal to frown at a police officer.

No more than three unrelated people can share an apartment.

Do not pee on pigeons unless you’re OK with breaking the law.

It is illegal to wear a bulletproof vest while committing a crime.

It is illegal to eat peanuts and walk backward on the sidewalks of Rochester, New York.

It is illegal to wear slippers in public restrooms.

It is illegal to ride an elevator with more than four people and a dog.

It is illegal to throw a ball at a person’s head for fun in a city park.

It is illegal to walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in your pocket on Sundays.

You cannot legally change the color of a rabbit’s fur.

It is illegal to perform a puppet show without a state license.

It is illegal to keep more than two dildos in a house.

It is illegal to dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale, unless more than six are for sale at once.

It is illegal to give a dog a lighted cigar.