Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Girl's Best Friend

The word "carat" originated from the "carob tree". Because seeds from the fruit of the carob tree have a uniform weight of about-one fifth of a gram, they were used to measure diamonds. On average, there are about 120 million carats of diamond being mined worldwide annually. This figure totals about 24 tons, which could fit snugly inside the back of a single 18-wheel truck. Only about 50% of these mined diamonds end up as jewelry, however, with the rest serving industrial uses such as drill bits for deep-earth exploration. Uncut, these diamonds has the value of about $7 billion. In finished jewelry, however, that value rises up to $58 billion.

The largest rough diamond ever found on earth has 3,106 carats. Called the "Cullinan", the rock was discovered on Jan 26, 1905 in the Premier mine of South Africa. It was cut into nine major diamonds and hundreds of smaller ones, including the Great Star of Africa - the largest cut diamond in existence at 530.2 carats, now in the royal scepter of the British Crown Jewels.

The largest diamond ever found in the universe has 10 billion trillion trillion carats! Discovered in February 2004 by scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for the Astrophysics, the diamond is 50 light-years away in the constellation Cetaurus. "It's the mother of all diamonds," said one of the discoverers. At 2,600 miles across, it certainly is.

Going back to Earth, diamonds, of course, is the most popular gem used for engagement or wedding ring. In fact, the odds that an American woman receives a diamond engagement ring is 8 in 10, and the average size is 0.8 carats. The first recorded diamond engagement ring given was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a gold band crowned with a piece of sparkling carbon. The ring was placed on the third finger of Mary's left hand, the finger that ancient Egyptians believed held the vein of love.

Other noteworthy celebrity diamond rings:
  • 5 carats: Bruce Willis to Demi Moore
  • 6 carats: Ben Affleck to Jennifer Lopez (JLo returned the ring)
  • 10 carats: Michael Douglas to Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • 16 carats: Victor Luna to Liz Taylor
  • 22 carats: Howard Marshall to Anna Nicole Smith
  • 29 carats: Mike Todd to Liz Taylor
  • 40 carats: Aristotle to Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  • 69.4 carats: Richard Burton to Liz Taylor
For her engagement, Princess Diana briefly popularized alternatives to the diamond ring when she received a sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds from Prince Charles.

Celebrities usually borrow diamond jewelries to wear during Oscar awards ceremony. The first time it was done was in 1943 when movie produced David Selznick asked Harry Winston if he would lend jewelry to Jennifer Jones who was nominated for best actress that year for her role in "The Song of Bernadette". Winston agreed, and Jones won. Today 20-30 percent of the nominees will eventually buy the pieces they borrow.

In 1998, Gloria Stewart, nominated for best supporting actress for her role in Titanic wore a 15-carat blue diamond necklace inspired by the fictional "Heart of the Ocean" diamond in the movie. Stewart was flanked by two security guards throughout the ceremonies. To date, that jewelry was the most expensive jewelry ever worn to the Oscars, with value of $20 million.

And in 2002 Whoopi Goldberg was wearing a $6 million 80-carat yellow diamond on a necklace borrowed from Harry Winston while hosting the Oscars. During a commercial break, Goldberg noticed that the diamond was gone. After a frantic search, a Winston security man noticed that the diamond was hidden in Whoopi's cleavage.

Random Odds & Ends:
  • Most diamonds found in nature are 1-3 billion years old.
  • Stories of diamonds being poisonous have been widely circulated throughout history to discourage the practice of stealing diamonds by swallowing them.
  • Dating back to 1304, “The Koh-i-Nur” is oldest known diamond and is now kept in the Tower of London.
  • The only active diamond mine in the United States is in Arkansas.
  • Most gemstones contain several elements. Diamond is an exception - it's all carbon.

Monday, August 13, 2007

All Shook Up

ElvisThis coming August 16 is the 30th death anniversary of Elvis Presley, and so it is only fitting that I would post some odds & ends about the "King".

At around 2:30 in the morning on Aug 16, 1977, Elvis was found sprawled on the bathroom floor, his pajamas below his knees, by then girlfriend Ginger Alder. He had had a heart attack while on the toilet, reading a book entitled "The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus". Doctors found 10 drugs in Elvis's system, including morphine, phenobarbital, methaqualone, Valium, Carbrital and Demerol, but no cause of death was ever established.

Elvis was actually buried twice - he was originally laid to rest in Memphis's Forest Hill Cemetery on Aug 18, 1977, entombed in a large mausoleum. In the early morning hours of Aug 29, three men were arrested for trying to steal Elvis's body. As a result, Presley's father had his body disinterred and reburied on the ground of Graceland on Oct 2, 1977.

Even so, a survey made in 2002 showed that 7% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive. On Elvis's grave, his middle name Aron is misspelled as Aaron, giving Elvis conspiracy theorists reason to conclude that Elvis Aron Presley is not buried there. In Wright City, Mo, there is even an Elvis is Alive Museum. The museum, run by Bill Beeny, claimed to have DNA tests conducted on tissue samples he got from doctors in Memphis, which he said resulted in negative match.

At the time of Elvis's death, there were only about 50 known Elvis impersonators. By 2003, the number is estimated at around 35,000 and there are impersonators all over the world. It is truly amazing for someone's image to be that popular worldwide considering the fact that Elvis only performed outside the U.S. three times - all of which are in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa, all in 1957). And the only time Elvis set foot in England was during a refuelling stop on the way back from army service in Germany. Yet as of 2004, Elvis had spent more weeks on the British singles charts that any other artists - including the Beatles and Cliff Richard.

All over the world, there are places and streets named after Elvis. And in Abu Ghosh, Israel stands the largest Elvis statue. Looming over the Tel Aviv-Jerulasalem highway, the 22-foot high statue of Elvis is the centerpiece of the Elvis Inn, a highway stop whose walls and ceiling are covered with Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis's popularity is even more amazing when you consider all the negative reviews he got when he was first starting out his singing career. The New York Times described him as "unspeakable untalented and vulgar" after his first national TV performance. In addition, the Times also wrote "Mr. Presley has no singing ability". The Daily News called him "appalling musically... tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos", and the Rev. Billy Graham was quoted to said "I would not let my daughter cross the street to see Elvis Presley."

The amount Elvis got for his first record contract was $5,000. In addition, he also got a penny and a half for each record sold. At the time of his death, Elvis estate is worth $4.9 million and in 2004, Elvis earned $40 million, most of it goes to his daughter, Lisa Marie, who owns his estate. A visit to Graceland cost $27, and the average annual number of visitors is 700,000. White House averages around 1,250,000 visitors, but it charges no fee.

Thats it... Elvis has left the building!

Random Odds & Ends
  • Elvis did not like to wear jeans because he had to wear them when he was a child.
  • Elvis's famous Pink Cadillac was originally colored blue. He had it custom-painted for his mother.
  • Elvis is a natural blonde. He dyed his hair jet black when he went into acting.
  • Elvis had a twin brother, Jessie Garon, who was stillborn, leaving Elvis as an only child.
  • John Lennon's sons Sean and Julian were asked to introduce Elvis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • Elvis was a direct descendant from Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Rewarding Post

Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. have doubled the reward to Osama Bin Laden's capture, or to any information that may lead to his capture, to $50 million, making it the largest reward ever offered for a fugitive. In announcing the original reward in 2003, which was then $25 million, President Bush said, "There's an old poster out West, as I recall that said: 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.' All I want, and America wants is him brought to justice."

Actually, current U.S. law limits federal rewards to $25 million except when personally authorized by the Secretary of State "if he [or she] determines that offer or payment of an award of a larger amount is necessary to combat terrorism or defend the Nation against terrorist attacks."

That is really a large sum of money, one that may even turn Osama's close ally against him. Who knows, maybe Bin Laden can even turn himself in and claim that reward himself. While, you may think that is funny, it actually happened before. On March 1995, Gerald Lydell Voyles, suspected in a 1981 murder, walked into the Polk County Prison in Bartow, Florida and asked about the $3,000 reward for his capture. He was arrested after giving his real name. "We believe he was serious about the reward," said the local sheriff. "He will not be eligible."

Here are some other interesting rewards offered:

In 1994, O.J. Simpson offered $500,000 reward for information leading to the "real killer or killers" of Nicole Simpson.

$30 million was awarded to the unidentified person who tipped off U.S. forces that Saddam Hussein's sons were in a home in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in July 2003.

Robert Holmes, a 47-year-old car repairman from Tacoma, Washington was given $350,000 after he tipped off the FBI about the possible identity of the D.C. sniper, John Allen Muhammad. In contrast, Whitney Donahue, who called police after he spotted Muhammad's car at a Maryland rest area on Oct 24, 2002 received only $150,000.

People providing information to the IRS regarding tax cheaters receive up to 15% of the additional taxes collected, depending on the value of their information. In 2003, IRS shelled out a total of $4.1 million to reward people who turned in tax cheats. The record year was 2000, when IRS handed out some $10.8 million to informants.

In 1994, the Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) offered $25,000 reward for the return of an object they couldn't describe. The object was stolen from an unmarked D.E.A. vehicle in Wilmington, N.C. "For security reasons, I can't say what it looked like," said the DEA agent-in-charge. "It does work in the manner in which you would think, by looking at it, it would work. Obviously, I can't say how it works, but it works. It's also very expensive, and we want it back."

In November 2003, Microsoft launched an Anti-virus rewards program and offered $250,000 for information leading to the creators of the "mydoom", "msblast" and "sobig" viruses. None of the virus creators has been captured.

In the fall of 2002, Warren Patabendi of New York offered $25,000 reward for the return of Bugsy, his parents' German shepherd, making it the largest reward ever for the return of a lost dog. Patabendi raised the reward to $25,000 after signs offering a $10,000 reward drew no interest.

And finally, the most popular bounty in history: 30 pieces of silver was awarded to Judas for the betrayal of Jesus.

Random Odds & Ends:
  • The F.B.I. was founded on July 26, 1908. On 1909, there were only 9 agents of FBI. By the year 2004, the number rose to almost 12,000.
  • The FBI's 10 most wanded criminal list started on 1950. By the year 2000, a total of 478 criminals made it on the list, only 7 of which are women.
  • Prior to having the cool nickname "Air Force One", the U.S. presidential aircraft was called "Sacred Cow".
  • Secret service code names for past presidents - Nixon: "Searchlight", Carter: "Deacon", Reagan: "Rawhide", Clinton: "Eagle" and George W. Bush: "Trailblazer".
  • There are 4 levels of U.S. government document secrecy: 1-confidential, 2-secret, 3-top secret, and 4-sigma 16. Sigma 16 are documents "containing nuclear weapons design specifications that would permit the reproduction and function of the weapon."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

Today, we are going to have a veggie quiz. The first question is the post title itself - Are tomatoes fruits or vegetable?

If you answered fruit, you are absolutely correct. If you answered vegetable, you are correct too... well, sort of.

The word "fruit" means the fleshy meat growing from the ripened ovary of a plant, and contains the seeds. So, by definition, tomatoes are fruits. The same goes with cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, string beans - all of which are widely mistaken as vegetables. However, for Americans, the tomato was, in fact, declared as a vegetable. In the 1893 case Nix v. Hedden, tomato importers sought to challenge a 10% tax imposed on tomatoes by claiming that tomatoes were a fruit (which was not subject to tax) rather than a vegetable. Though the U.S. Supreme Court found that the tomato was technically a fruit, since Americans ate it with the main meal rather than dessert, it could be taxed as a vegetable.

Ok, here's another veggie question for you: If Bugs Bunny was alive in 15th century, what would be the color of that carrot that he's munching? If you answered orange, sorry, you are wrong.

It was not until the 17th century that carrots turned orange, when growers from Denmark (the royal family of which was know as the House of Orange) crossed yellow and red carrots to create what has become the vegetable's universal color. Before that, carrots are colored white, purple, black, green and red.

Ready for one more veggie-related question? Here it is: How many vegetarians were there before 1847?

The answer is... zero! Sure, there are non-meat-eating folks during that time, but they are not known as "vegetarians". That term was coined in 1847 by the first members of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain to describe people who did not eat meat, poultry, or fish. Some suggest that the word comes from the latin "vegetus" meaning "full of life" though the prevailing view is that it comes from its obvious source - the word "vegetable".

Before the word "vegetarian" was coined, non-meat-eating people are called as "pythagoreans". Named after the famous mathematician Pythagoras who was converted into this diet after studying with members of an Egyptian sect who abstained from eating meat. Today, if you use the term "pythagoreans", people would be thinking about their nightmare with geometry and trigonometry tests during their school days.

Speaking of vegetarians, India currently has the largest vegetarian population in the world (220 million). Made up mostly of Hindus (but also Buddhists and Jains), which prohibits the killing of anything living or with the potential for life. Indian vegetarians eat milk products but not eggs.

K.D. Lang, a famous singer who is a vegetarian, once said on national television that "meat stinks". This caused an uproar and her records were banned from most radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Even in her own hometown of Consort, Alberta, people persecuted her for airing her views. A sign announcing "Home of k.d. lang" was defaced with the words "Eat beef, dyke". It was extremely frightning for her mother that she was forced to move.

If you think that was intense, take the case of Mani. Founder of a religious movement in the 3rd century, called Manichaenism, he was tortured and executed by the leaders of Persia in 276 AD because the movement espoused meatlessness. In the 4th century, Timothy, the Patriarch of Alexandria, tested Christian clergies in Alexandria by requiring them to eat meat. Those who refused were interrogated.

Random Odds & Ends
  • Egyptians used to worship cabbage heads as gods, and even enthroned them on elaborate altars.
  • In ancient Greece, the winner of an athletic event was given a bunch of celery, just like flowers are given today.
  • Corn is a member of the grass family - so it's not really a vegetable - it's a grain.
  • Christopher Columbus was the first to introduce peppers to Europe.
  • Even though the Spanish explorers brought tomatoes to Europe from South America, they only used them as decoration, fearing they were poisonous.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You Got Mail

Despite the popularity of email, postal mail service is still widely used worldwide. In fact, according to CNN in 2004, there were 425 billion pieces of mail sent annually around the world. India has the world's largest postal system, with 154,000 post offices and 60,000 postment delivering 53 million pieces of mail each day. China is second with 57,000 post offices. The U.S., by comparison, has only 38,000 post offices.

Before stamps were introduced in America, mailing a letter cost about 25 cents during that time when the average salary was $1 a day. In 1847, the post office introduced a 5 cents stamp featuring Benjamin Franklin, which could be used for letters mailed 300 miles and a 10 cents stamp with George Washington, which could get your letter across the U.S. Once stamps allowed postage to be paid beforehand, street corner mailboxes became possible and at a suggestion of a novelist and postal employee named Anthony Trollope, the first four were installed on the isle of Jersey on November 23, 1852.

When email became popular, postal mail got the monicker "snail mail" which is meant to show that postal services is too slow compared to the immediate delivery of messages thru email. If the usual week-long delivery of letter is deemed "snail" nowadays, I wonder how the following should be called:
  • Bearing a 3-cent stamp and a February 17, 1936 postmark, the letter from a grandmother in Weirton, Pennsylvania was finally delivered in 1994. That was 58 years. In the letter, she is promising the recipient that she will come see her newborn grandchildren.
  • A valentine card posted in 1932 reached a young couple living in the former addressee's house in 1998, or 66 years after. Coincidentally, they were to be married the next day.
  • Postmarked Feb. 6, 1908, a black-and-white postcard addressed to Fanny Myers of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, asked her to send a cashmere sweater to her sister. On Oct. 22, 2001 (94 years after), the postcard was found in a batch of letters to be deliverd at the Jersey Shore Post Office.
Speed has always been an issue with postal services, and even before email, people are trying to figure out a way to deliver mail faster. On June 8, 1959, the U.S. submarine Barbero conducted the first and last test of so-called "Missile Mail". This is to use a warhead-less Regulus cruise missile to carry postal containers, in hope to make the delivery of mail faster.

While email obviously have the speed advantage, postal mail has its own advantages. For one, you can only send messages, photos, music or any sort of file thru email. While, you can virtually send anything thru mail (depends on your country's laws, of course).

Most postal employee can tell you lots of stories about weird objects being sent thru mail, but the strangest of all was a 5-year old kid. On February 19, 1914, the parents of May Pierstorff paid 50 cents to have her mailed from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho, to avoid the higher train fare. Similary, the Chicago Tribune reports that a 28-year old midget once mailed himself from New York to Los Angeles, paying $68.15 in postage.

In 1916, a merchant named W.H. Coltharp mailed an entire bank building in individual pieces from Salt Lake City to Vernal, Utah. During that time, there was no road between the two cities, and Coltharp figured he'd save money by mailing all 80,000 of the building's bricks over the 427-mile route. That's 40 tons! Shortly after, the post office put out an advisory saying that "it is not the intent of the U.S. Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail," and banned the practice.

Random Odds & Ends
  • An average American receives about 572 junk mail annually, and 44% of those are being thrown without being read.
  • In the U.S., there are, on average, 8 cases of dog attacks on mailmen per day.
  • The world's first stamp issued was the British Penny Black on May 6, 1840.
  • ZIP (Zoning Improvement Plan) code, a five-digit code had been assigned to every address throughout the country was first used in the U.S. on July 1, 1963, and in 1967, the Post Office required mailers of second-class and third-class bulk mail to presort by ZIP Code.
  • In February 1911, a French pilot, named Henri Pequet, flew with 6,500 pieces of mail in a biplane from Allahabad, India to Naini (a distance of 6 miles). This flight was the first official Air Mail in the world.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sneaking Sneakers

Sneakers have become a multi-million industry worldwide. In 2004 alone, Americans spent $16 billion on sneakers, 28% of which is for sneakers made for running, while 23% is for basketball. Somehow, it has become a status symbol and a fashion statement.

The word "sneaker" comes from the shoe's rubber sole, which allows wearers to "sneak" around noiselessly. In 1862, a book titled "Female Life In Prison" said that prisoners referred to the rubber-soled shoes worn by a correction officer as "sneaks." Several years later, the use of "sneaks" to refer to rubber-soled shoes gained wide acceptance and in 1873 store ads started referring to these shoes by the name "sneaker".

The best selling sneaker of all time is the Converse All Stars. Introduced in 1917, the All Star was the first sneaker designed for basketball and an estimated 580 million pairs of the sneaker have been sold to date.

Nike, the current sneaker company giant, started in 1964 by Phil Knight, a former University of Oregon runner and CPA, and Bill Bowerman, the track coach at Oregon, who made running shoes in his garage on the side. Nike's original name was "Blue Ribbon Sports", and changed name only in 1972, after much deliberation against another proposed name "Dimension 6". In 1964, Nike's sales revenue was $8,000. By 2003, it has rose to $12.3 billion.

Somehow, Nike had been blessed with a series of good fortune that helped to propel its business. First it was the amazingly simple but effective "Swoosh" logo. In 1971, Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, was approached by Nike founder Phil Knight and asked to design a logo. When Davidson presented the swoosh design to Knight, his response was, "Well, I don't love it but it'll grow on me". Davidson received $35 for her services. In 1982, 11 years later, Nike issued some stocks to Davidson as a measure of the company's appreciation.

And of course, Nike's success can be hugely attributed to Michael Jordan. In 1984, Jordan, who was only beginning his career in basketball signed an endorsement contract with Nike. At that time, Nike was almost an unheard brand and Jordan who was a big fan of Adidas wanted to sign a deal with them. Jordan selected Nike only because Adidas did not come to his terms. In 1985, Nike released MJ's signature shoe, the Air Jordan. Originally, the NBA banned this new shoe because it didn't match the league's dress code, but the ban only gave publicity to the shoe and became even more in-demand with the youths of that generation. Nike revenues reached $1 billion for the first time in 1986 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Air Jordans continue to be one of the most popular sneakers and was mainly responsible for at least 3 riots:
  • On March 3, 2001, after 400 customers waiting to purchase the new Air Jordan Retro 11s broke the security gate of a sneaker store in Alexandria, Louisiana, police were called in and used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. "It was like an animal attacking a bloody piece of meat," one customer said.
  • In a separate incident in Sacramento, California also on March 3, 2001, 60 police officers in riot gear were called in to quell disturbances by 200 customers fighting for 80 pairs of Jordan Retro 11s in a local mall.
  • And on Feb. 14, 2004, Charlotte police were called in to a shopping mall after 200 people waiting to purchase the new Jordan Retro 12 sneakers started pushing and fighting, resulting in one injury and one arrest.
Following Nike's success, sneaker companies are now careful not to miss the boat on signing athletes and celebrities for endorsement that could potentially be a big boon for advertising. Reebok, for example, signed Allen Iverson to a lifetime contract on November 28, 2001. Iverson, a talented and popular NBA player, but often in trouble with law, gets a reported $7 million a year from the company. Reebok also almost signed LeBron James to a $75 million-dollar contract, until Nike snatched him up for $90 millions.

And in 2003, Reebok signed a 3-year-old basketball prodigy named Mark Walker after seeing a video of the kid filmed by his parents making 18 consecutive free throws on an 8-foot hoop. In a press release Reebok referred to Walker as "short of everything but talent."

Random Odds & Ends
  • The Air Force 1 debuted in 1982 and was the first basketball shoe to make use of air technology.
  • The largest sneakers in NBA history is Shaquille O'Neal's size 23, followed by Will Perdue's size 22-4A.
  • Jerry Seinfeld owns over 500 pairs of mint condition white sneakers.
  • Nike make sure to release new Jordans on Saturdays so that kids won't skip school to get them.
  • K-Swiss's five-stripes has a purpose other than design: it helps prevent stretching.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


A lot of bloggers, when faced with the dilemma of having no idea what to blog about, often come out with the following:
  1. Write about the food they ate last night,
  2. Write about their cat,
  3. Post a photo of the food they ate last night, or
  4. Post a photo of their cat
Well, this week I have no clue what to write on this blog, so I think, I will choose option 2 above. Although that may be a problem because I have no pet cat. So, I think, I will just write about cats.

Do you know that cats outnumber both dogs and children in the US? In 2001, there are estimated 77.7 million cats in the US. Despite this, 73% of Americans still believe that dogs are the "better" pet, and even among cat owners, 35% rate dogs as better.

A cat has a life expectancy of 15 years. A cat will spend 62% of that lifetime sleeping, and 12% grooming. That leaves 26% for the other activities which may include eating, purring, rubbing on your legs, chasing birds, being chased by dogs, posing for photographs, and of course, coughing up hairballs - which a cat would cough up about 180 times on its lifetime.

For an animal that sleeps too much, it only follows that it would dream a lot. According to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, an average cat may dream as often as every 12 to 15 minutes. By contrast, dogs dream only once every 65 minutes or so, while the average dream cycle for people is about 90 minutes. So what do cats dream about? Of course, something that they were genetically to do: pouncing and stalking prey.

Still, there are lots of reasons cat owners love their cats. In fact, according to a 1999 findings by Houston Chronicle, 11% of people who ended their relationship is because of their cat. 84% of cat owners are women, and 30% of cat owners let their cat sleep in their bed. Also, 58% of cat owners buy their cats Christmas presents and 37% hang stockings on Christmas in the name of their pet cat.

The most cats owned by one person is 689, which is held by Jack Wright of Kingston, Ohio.

For rich and famous celebrity cats (not including animated ones like Sylvester or Garfield), there is Morris, who made 58 commercials for 9Lives cat food between 1969 and his death in 1978. Rescued from a Chicago animal shelter, Morris was so popular that he has a secretary hired to answer his mail. He was also featured on the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Then there is Tinker - the world's wealthiest cat. A one-time common alley cat, Tinker befriended a well-to-do British widow named Margaret Layne. When Ms. Layne died, Tinker inherited it all: a swank London home valued at $562,000 and $160,000 trust fund to ensure the caviar keeps coming.

Cats also have the tendency to leave home and not come back. However, if you lost your pet cat, try looking on the first 3 houses next to yours. 77% of cats who escape are found within three houses of their homes. This is not the case though for a tabby named Skittles. In September 2001, Charmin Sampson lost her cat while on a family trip to Wisconsin. On Jan 14, 2002, the cat showed up on the Sampson's doorstep in Hibbing, Minnesota, five months later. Skittles was skinny and his paws were raw, but otherwise in good shape after his 350-mile journey.

Random Odds & Ends
  • As a sign of mourning, ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows when their cat died.
  • A cat will return to its bowl an average of 36 times a day.
  • A cat's vision is six times better in the dark than humans.
  • Cats have 5 toes on front paw and 4 toes on back paws. Some cats, called polydactl, are born with 6 or 7 front or back toes.
  • Sir Isaac Newton discovered principles of mechanics and gravity, formulated laws of motions and physics, developed calculus... and invented the cat door.