Over 40 suggestions this week at the Facebook Page for Five Minute Professor including at least six suggestions that we have already used.
Pinotage – was my favorite suggestion – made by a friend of my brother, Cheryl suggested Pinotage – the favored grape of South African wines is a viticulture – the combination of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (Known as Hermitage).. my favorite because I KNOW she was drunk when she posted the suggestion.
Pop Tarts – Created by Kellogg in 1963 to compete against the earlier Post product Country Squares. Post had some production issues so Pop tarts got out of the gate quicker.
Not frosted until 1967. Earliest flavors Strawberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Apple Courant.
At the Five Minute Professor Face Book page I linked a great article about the flammability of Frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts from Dave Barry. They will burn with a flame several feet high if left in the toaster for more than about 5 minutes.
I referenced the article in a piece I wrote for my book Drop Dead and other Words of Wisdom. The article I wrote did not make the final cut for the book.
Parking Meters – The first parking meter patent was created in 1928 and relied on the battery of the car to run it. These were never in widespread use.
The first application of parking meters was in Oklahoma City in 1935. The first one was called Black Maria.
Parking meters were spread quickly across the country and were discussed in the highest courts in the land. The US Supreme Court agreed with lower court rulings that allowed for municipalities to use parking meters to control the time spent on spaces on public roads, but only if it was not being done as a source of revenue.
Business owners were originally proponents of low cost meters, feeling that it encouraged a quicker turn-over of the spaces and more traffic in the stores.
From 1960 – 1967, NY City meters were policed exclusively by women known as meter maids. The Beatles tune “Lovely Rita” was written about a London meter maid named Meta who gave Paul McCartney a ticket outside Abbey Road studios.
Postal Service (Thanks John Halter)– largest civilian uniformed group in the US is the USPS. Although authorized in the US Constitution – Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7, the USPS is NOT a government agency or a government owned or backed corporation – Like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or Amtrak. As evidenced by its website www.usps.com USPS has been fairly independent of the government since 1970.
The 574,000 employees makes USPS the second largest private employer after Wal-Mart. Its fleet of 260,000 vehicles is the largest non-military fleet in the world.
But to say that it’s not a government agency is a technicality. It is a government authorized monopoly that MUST deliver mail to everyone in the US. This monopoly is “run” by a Board of Governors appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The 10 governors select a non-Board member as Postmaster General to Act as CEO and another as Deputy to serve as COO. The actions of the Board of Governors are overseen by the Postal Regulatory Commission, also political appointees who approve rate changes and policy.
But even they can be trumped by Congress. The Postal Accountability Act of 2006 forces this “independent” company to overfund its pension for 50 years worth of expected costs ($115 million a week) AND it cannot use its savings to reduce its debt. Today its pension fund is over funded by almost 7 Billion and it carries 8 Billion in debt.
US Postal operations date back to 1772, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the King to organize a system. He created a hub system similar to what is in use today.
By 1869, mail was sorted on trains while it was moving from city to city.
In 1896, Rural Free Delivery was added. Winter Park was the first RFD route in Florida begun January 1st, 1898. By 1901 that meant that there were 76,945 post offices (the most ever). Today there are about 36,000.
USPS began delivering parcels in 1913. The Parcel Post program was renamed in 2013 as Parcel Select for businesses and Standard Post for individuals.
One of the first law enforcement groups in the US was the US Postal Inspection Service. The staff of 4,000 includes about 1200 investigators who police suspicious packages, mail fraud and theft by non-postal employees (Postal employee theft is handled by the Office of the Inspector General).
Ready for the questions?
1) The US Postal Inspection Service has seen 13 agents, inspectors and managers die in the line of duty. Is that more or fewer than the number of Secret Service Agents killed in the line of duty protecting the President?
2) Although headquartered in Washington DC, the US Postal Service was initially hubbed in what 5th largest US city, the largest with a Greek name?
Philadelphia – in 1770s this was the largest US city.
3) Philadelphia was named by Quaker William Penn as the City of Brotherly Love. What West Coast US city was named in 1845, after a coin flip to decide which East Coast city it would be named for?
4) Portland is the 25th busiest freight port in the US. What Florida port it the busiest Cruise ship port in the US?
Port of Miami Dade is the busiest in the world. (one in 7 cruise passengers worldwide travel through Miami) Then Port Everglades and then Port Canaveral
5) All three of those ports allow for travel through the Panama Canal. Opened in 1914. When travelling from Atlantic to the Pacific do you travel farther north-south or east-west?
From entrance to entrance it is longer North – South … but it is within 10 miles. AND you end up further EAST. You travel from North West to South East.
6) If you travel north from Panama Costa Rica is the next country. They provides three quarters of Europe’s supply of what fruit that takes 12-30 months to grow one fruit from hundreds of flowers?
Pineapple – considered a clustered berry fruit.
7) The English term pineapple first applied to pine cones during the 12th Century. What do you end up with if you take the pine nuts from a European pine cone, crush them with basil, garlic and mix with olive oil and hard cheeses?
8) Pesto is from the Italian for pound or crush. The Italian gave us the French word for pestle. What fruit gave us the French word that we used in English for… Grenade? From the Latin for “seeded apple” and may have been the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden.
9) The French word for Pomegranate is Grenade … the earliest grenades were thought to resemble them. What animal, with a name also derived from the French , is the third largest type of rodent? It’s an animal that is not native to Europe, but lives in Africa, Asia and North America. In French it means spiny pig.
10)Common Porcupines may be found across Canada and northeastern US. They are herbivores that enjoy conifer forests that would include pine barrens. The Pine Barrens was the 37th episode of The Sopranos. This episode is noteworthy because it’s the one where Paulie and Christopher are supposed to collect for Silvio … but end up lost in the Pine Barrens after trying and failing to kill “The Russian”. This episode was one of 16 directed by which actor who also played Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto.
11)Steve Buscemi has won two Golden Globe awards for playing Enoch Thompson in zip code 08401 in what US city?
Boardwalk Empire is set in the 1920s and 30s in Atlantic City, NJ.