Everyone on FaceBook is doing it. Bloggers are doing it. The New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, and The Washington Post have all written biting commentary about it, all while increasing the exposure and popularity of this little niblet of viral TMI.
Now, Pittsburgh gets in on the action.
Here are 25 semi-obscure, semi-interesting factoids about the ‘Burgh, heavily researched by me through the use of Google and things I remember people telling me one time.
1. In 2006, National Geographic Explorer named Pittsburgh the Best Adventure City in the US, citing the variety of outdoor activities available both in the city limits and in the surrounding area. We’ve since been overtaken by Las Vegas or something.
2. Half of the US population is located within 500 miles of Pittsburgh.
3. 723 bridges, last time I checked. Eat that, Amsterdam!
4. We were officially stripped of our “h” by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names in 1890. It was restored in 1911.
5. The Tower of Power, er, Cathedral of Learning is the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere. The UT Tower is jealous. You may recall that it used to be the second tallest in the world, but last year the Cocoon Tower in Tokyo took over that spot.
6. Wookie the sloth at the National Aviary poops once a week.
7. The elementary school student who designed Mr. Yuk won a tape recorder for her winning drawing.
8. Roberto Clemente has more “fans” on FaceBook than A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds (obviously), Joe DiMaggio, or Roger Clemens.
9. Pittsburghese is a recognized dialect of American English, with an extensive body of literature analyzing it.
10. If you by chance have ever heard that rumor that Mister Rogers was a sniper in Vietnam or any of the other absurd (or obscene) rumors about his “past,” you may rest assured that they are all false. Every year of his career is accounted for, and every year was in loving service of others.
11. Renaissance I mayor David L. Lawrence is the only Pittsburgh mayor ever to be elected Pennsylvania governor, and he turned out to be a big player in national politics over the years as well. He never went to college.
12. Had Bill Cowher chosen to remain in Pittsburgh in his retirement, I have no doubt he would have followed in the footsteps of Mayor Lawrence.
13. Floodwaters peaked at 46 feet during the St. Patrick’s Day flood in 1936.
14. The Steelers have just won their sixth Super Bowl – an NFL record (yes, I know everyone knows that, it just feels really great to say it).
15. The Bayer sign on Mt. Washington has been around since the 1920’s, and it has over a mile of neon tubing.
16. Pittsburgh’s 40 LEED certified green buildings total nearly 5 million square feet.
17. Coffee consumption per capita is higher in Pittsburgh than any other U.S. city. Eat that, Seattle!
18. The Allegheny County flag (who knew counties had flags?) was flown to the moon and back in 1971.
19. That often-quoted statistic that Pittsburgh has only 59 clear days per year doesn’t mean we only have 59 days of sun. It relies on a National Climatic Data Center definition of clear that doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, Pittsburgh still isn’t San Diego, but it’s not grey all the time.
20. At one point in his career, Dr. Thomas Starzl averaged one scientific paper published every 7.3 days.
21. Two Pittsburgh movies have won Best Picture Oscars: The Deer Hunter in 1978 and Silence of the Lambs in 1991.
22. The Pittsburgh Left is strictly illegal. And not going anywhere.
23. Pittsburgh has 16 sister cities – most recently added is Da Nang, Vietnam.
24. Iron City Brewing Company was the original name of the local company when it started brewing Iron City in 1861; the corporate conglomerate du jour that bought the brewery out of bankruptcy in 2007 was returning it to its original name.
25. The Bassmaster Classic in 2005 was the first not held on a lake and the last held north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Tag. You’re “it.”