15 Things You Might Not Know About Indiana

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1. Though it is seldom mentioned in the comic strip or cartoon series, "Garfield" takes place in Muncie. The television special Happy Birthday, Garfield mentions Muncie — where creator Jim Davis went to college — as Garfield and owner Jon Arbuckle’s place of residence.

2. Indiana sits atop one of the richest concentrations of limestone on the planet, and prides itself on the fine quality of its mineral output. Indiana’s limestone has helped build the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Cathedral, and more.

3. The first gasoline pump was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Sept. 5, 1885. Its conception, invention, and sale constitute the second greatest triumph of one Sylvanus Freelove Bowser. His greatest triumph, of course, is that name.

4. The 21,000 students attending Ball State University have quite the unique benefactor to thank for their education. The school, founded in 1918, sits on land donated by the Ball Corporation, a company that is most famous for its canning jars but also creates spacecraft and aeronautics equipment.

5. Indiana Jones was born in New Jersey (to a father from Scotland), raised in New Mexico and Utah, schooled in England, and employed in Illinois and Connecticut. He adventured in Nevada, Egypt, Nepal, India, China, Austria, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Peru… and he favored New York professional sports teams. Never once have we seen Dr. Jones, who was created by two fellows from Ohio and California, set foot in Indiana. (Henry borrowed his extracurricular nickname from a childhood dog, in fact.)

6. Nobody seems to know for sure where the Indiana demonym “Hoosier” came from, or what it even means. (There was a gag about this in the Indiana-set comedy film In & Out, in which Lewis J. Stadlen’s character is repeatedly interrupted before he can reveal the origin of the term.) Varied theories attach the terminology to pejorative slang, a frontiersman warning call, a Cumbrian word that might refer to a hilly landscape, the names of labor entrepreneur Samuel Hoosier and Methodist Reverend Harry Hosier, and a satirical yarn involving a Frenchman stumbling upon the aftermath of a brawl in which a man’s ear had been bitten off.

7. Simply by default — as Alexandria resident Michael Carmichael realized one day — there has to be a ball of paint somewhere that is bigger than any other ball of paint on this vast planet. Carmichael then made up his mind to become the owner of that ball of paint. On New Year's Day 1977, Carmichael revisited his favorite childhood activity by dipping a baseball in a bucket of paint. Every year since, he and his family have added coats upon coats of paint to this offbeat art project, winding up with a sphere weighing over 3,750 pounds from more than 23,000 coats of paint. The ball now resides in a shed next to Carmichael's home, where visitors are invited to add a fresh coat of paint to keep the project rolling.

8. Warsaw, Indiana’s nickname might not be as hip and exciting as Sin City or the Big Easy, but it’s certainly more reassuring: the town is known as the Orthopedic Capital of the World, due to its pioneering of the manufacture and distribution of orthopedic appliances between 1895 and 1905. Today, over 50 percent of the world market share for orthopedic devices comes from Warsaw-based companies.

9. For most of us, fouling up a math problem resulted in little more than a few points off the midterm. But one geometric miscalculation got Indiana physician Edwin Goodwin laughed out of the Senate. In 1894, the would-be numbers whiz — believing he had discovered a game-changing method for the impossible task of squaring a circle — approached Representative Taylor Record with a legal proposal ever so humbly titled, “A Bill for an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered as a contribution to education to be used only by the State of Indiana free of cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same, provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the Legislature of 1897.” Despite being anything but mathematically sound, Goodwin’s proposal made it from Indiana’s House of Representatives all the way to State Senate, where it actually had a fair chance at passing… until Senator Orrin Hubbell proclaimed it no man or government’s authority to sanction the properties of math. After that, as history tells, everyone pretty much got on the anti-Pi Bill (as it is derisively, albeit inaccurately, nicknamed), and laughed Goodwin out of the legislative process.

10. On March 31, 1880, Wabash became the first city to be illuminated by electric light. Ohio inventor Charles Brush, who had once brought light to a Cleveland park, was on the hunt for a grander conquest: an entire town. Teaming with the Common Council of Wabash, Brush adorned the courthouse flagstaff with a set of four 3,000-candlepower lamps rigged to a generator. The glow is said to have been visible at a mile’s distance, and to have been witnessed by 10,000 citizens.

11. If you’ve ever found yourself belting a karaoke anthem of “Louie, Louie,” then you’ve experienced the distinct realization that you’ve never understood any of the words (well, save for the titular refrain) in the catchy Kingsmen tune. In the 1960s, Indiana took issue with this incomprehensibility, assuming that the rock ditty was intentionally mumbled to hide its lyrics' obscene nature. As such, the state's radio stations stopped airing the song at the request of Governor Matthew Walsh (who was coerced into banning the number by, of all people, a contemporary teenager).

12. Historically, Indiana has produced more professional basketball players per capita than another state, sending 26 of every million citizens to the NBA. Indiana’s tenth-largest city, Muncie, also holds the distinction of being the metropolitan area to produce the most players per capita (with 59 players per every million). Indiana is also responsible for the largest number of high school students to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game: 44 of the 888 young men to play in the competition since 1977 have hailed from Indiana.

13. While a handful of states have Indiana beat in overall ice cream production, the plucky little state certainly makes the most of what it has. According to a study in 2011, Indiana produced 87 million gallons of ice cream from only 19 factories over the course of the year. That’s 4.6 million gallons per factory, which greatly outshines Texas's 1.4 million gallons per factory (97 million gallons total from 71 factories) and California’s 800,000 gallons per factory (162 million gallons total from 202 factories).

14. The very first peacetime train robbery in documented history happened just outside of Seymour. Local boys the Reno Gang (otherwise known as the Jackson Thieves, named so for the Indiana county they called home) pioneered the gambit on October 6, 1866, swiping over $10,000 from passengers headed east.

15. Indiana’s Heritage House Convalescent Center has housed a couple of noteworthy residents. Edna Parker, the oldest living person between the years of 2007 and 2008, and Sandy Allen, the tallest woman in American history, resided in the Shelbyville retirement center at the same time.

12 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Easter Bunnies

This child clearly can't get enough Easter Bunny in her life.
This child clearly can't get enough Easter Bunny in her life.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Every year, thousands of families, church groups, and event planners enlist entertainment companies to dispatch a costumed bunny for their Easter celebrations. These performers often endure oppressive heat, frightened children, and other indignities to bring joy to the season.

It can be a thankless job, which is why Mental Floss approached several hares and their handlers for some insight into what makes for a successful appearance, the numerous occupational hazards, and why they can be harassed while holding a giant carrot. Here’s a glimpse of what goes on under the ears.

1. They might be watching netflix under the mask.

Has a bunny ever seemed slow to respond to your child? He or she might be in the middle of a binge-watch. Jennifer Ellison, the sales and marketing manager for San Diego Kids’ Party Rentals and a bunny wrangler during the Easter season, says that extended party engagements might lead their furry foot soldiers to seek distractions while in costume. “We book the bunny by the hour and he is often booked for multiple hour blocks,” she says. “Listening to music definitely helps the time pass.” One of her bunny friends who does a lot of shopping mall appearances has even rigged up a harness that can cradle a smart phone. “It sits above the bunny's nose, resting right at eye level for the performer inside, easily allowing the performer to stream Netflix, scroll through Facebook, or check emails.”

2. They can’t walk on wet grass.

Bunnies that appear at private functions, like backyard parties or egg hunts, have to maintain the illusion of being a character and not a human in a furry costume. According to Albert Joseph, the owner of Albert Joseph Entertainment in San Francisco and a 30-year veteran of Easter engagements, one of the cardinal rules is never to set foot on wet grass. Why? “They wear regular shoes under their giant bunny feet,” he says. “If they step on wet grass and then walk on cement, they’ll make a human foot print, not a bunny print.”

3. There’s a reason they might not pick up your kid.

Bunnies might be amenable to posing for a photo with your child on their lap, but they’re probably not going to grab the little tyke and sweep them off their feet. According to Steve Rothenberg, a veteran performer and owner of Talk of the Town Entertainment in Rockville, Maryland, deadlifting a kid is against the rules. “The last thing you want is to lift them up and have them knock off your head,” he says.

4. Giant carrots will invite inappropriate behavior.

A person dressed as the Easter bunny.
As the 3-foot-long carrot proves, adults are easily the least mature guests at a child's Easter party.
lisafx/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Joseph’s warren of party bunnies usually come equipped with a 3-foot-long giant carrot as a prop. While children are amused by the oversized vegetable, the adults at the parties usually can’t help making observations. “Practically every visit, there’s always someone saying, ‘My, what a big carrot you have,’” he says.

On one occasion, Joseph attended a function at a retirement home. One of the women, who he estimated to be in her 80s, commented on his big feet in a lascivious manner. “She told me she was in room 37.”

5. Clothes make the bunny.

Easter bunny at the White House.
Every year, a well-dressed Easter bunny visits Washington, D.C. for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

While “naked” (i.e., unclothed) bunnies remain popular, Ellison’s lineup also includes Mr. Bunny, a “classy lad with a top hat and vest,” and a Mrs. Bunny sporting a purple dress. Why would kids care if a bunny has sartorial sense? “Kids can probably better relate to a giant, furry character if it's dressed like a human,” Ellison says. “[And] we just thought the costumes looked cute.”

6. They can’t wear dark clothing underneath.

If a bunny wants to wear a black shirt under his or her fur, it stands to reason there wouldn’t be any issue: It's all hidden from sight. But Joseph insists that his cast stick with white apparel only. In addition to being cooler, it serves a practical function. “There’s always an opportunity to see a little something around the neckline or near the feet,” he says. Light clothing helps preserve the character.

7. They use an upholstery cleaner for their heads.

Most bunny costumes can be tossed in any regular washing machine, with the feet going in a larger commercial-use unit. But the heads, which are typically massive and unwieldy, get special attention. “You know those upholstery cleaners you can rent from a grocery store?” Joseph asks. “We use those. There’s a wand attachment to it for cleaning carpet.”

8. There’s a trick to keeping cool.

Costumes made of fake fur in the spring can be a recipe for disaster—or at least some lightheadedness. While none of the bunnies we profiled had experienced fainting spells, Ellison says that the trick to staying cool is actually adding a layer underneath the outfit. “Light, breathable clothing underneath the suit usually does the trick, but some people choose to wear an ice vest under the suit as well.”

Many bunnies also work in intervals: 45 to 50 minutes “on,” and 10 to 15 minutes in a private area to cool off and drink water. “Clients are usually understanding and sympathetic of the bunny and will allow even more breaks if necessary,” Ellison says.

9. Mints are essential.

Bunnies may favor carrots and grass, but their human operators need something other than that in order to deal with the humidity. Rothenberg says that his bunnies usually nibble on mints while working a crowd. “They’ll typically chew gum or have some kind of mint to keep their throat from drying out,” he says.

10. They use bunny handlers to prevent knockdowns.

A person dressed as the Easter bunny.
An Easter Bunny makes a young girl's day.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Any professional bunny knows that having an assistant watching their back is the best way to ensure an appearance goes smoothly. “Your vision is limited and you can’t really look to the left or right,” Rothenberg says. “Having an assistant prevents kids from running up behind you.”

11. They have damaged butts.

In order to ease apprehensive kids, Joseph advocates for his bunnies to squat near a child rather than bend over. “It gets them at a child’s level so they can touch and feel for themselves,” he says. “But a bunny that does a lot of squatting winds up needing their [costume] butts re-sewn. I’ve repaired a lot of them.” Joseph will also invite mothers to sit on the bunny’s lap so fearful children are more likely to approach. “You don’t want to prod the kid,” he says.

12. They’re not just for easter.

While bunny costume season is a fleeting few weeks, companies are happy to roll out their rabbits for other occasions. Once, Ellison sent out a bunny for a customer’s Alice in Wonderland-themed gathering. “The client wanted the White Rabbit, so we dressed up our bunny in a vest and top hat and gave him an over-sized pocket watch. It worked out great.”

This piece originally ran in 2017.

The 48 Most Frequently Banned Wedding Songs

Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images
Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images

Who among us hasn't attended a wedding and cringed at the playlist? In 2017, stats/polling site FiveThirtyEight asked more than two dozen professional DJs who had DJ’d around 200 weddings what songs couples ban from their weddings and, after surveying 182 wedding playlists, came up with a list of 48 songs. They gave each song a percentage, which represents the share of weddings that banned the song.

The first 10 on the list represent silly dances people like to do but shouldn’t do, like The Chicken Dance, The Macarena, and The Electric Slide. After that, the list starts to see overplayed songs like “Don’t Stop Believin',’” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Sweet Caroline,” and call-and-response songs like “Shout.” The list contains a mix of new and old hip-hop, R&B, and pop hits, and several songs ended up tied.

Interestingly, a few songs from FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 ultimate wedding playlist also appear on the banned list, including “Hey Ya!,” “Uptown Funk,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Call Me Maybe.”

You may or may not agree with this list, but don’t feel bad if you decide to ban any of these songs from your own wedding playlist—chances are, someone out there agrees with you.

  1. “The Chicken Dance”

  1. “Cha-Cha Slide” // DJ Casper

  1. “Macarena” // Los Del Rio

  1. “Cupid Shuffle” // Cupid

  1. “YMCA” // Village People

  1. “Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)” // Marcia Griffiths

  1. “Hokey Pokey”

  1. “Wobble” // V.I.C.

  1. “Happy” // Pharrell Williams

  1. “Shout” // Isley Brothers

  1. “Love Shack” // The B-52's

  1. “We Are Family” // Sister Sledge

  1. “Blurred Lines” // Robin Thicke

  1. “Celebration” // Kool & The Gang

  1. Cotton Eye Joe” // Rednex

  1. “Dancing Queen” // ABBA

  1. “Don’t Stop Believin’” // Journey

  1. “Single Ladies” // BeyoncÉ

  1. “Sweet Caroline” // Neil Diamond

  1. “Turn Down for What” // DJ Snake & Lil Jon

  1. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” // SilentÓ

  1. “Hot in Herre” // Nelly

  1. “Mony Mony” // Billy Idol

  1. “All About That Bass” // Meghan Trainor

  1. “Baby Got Back” // Sir Mix-a-Lot

  1. “Booti Call” // Blackstreet

  1. “Gangnam Style” // Psy

  1. “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” // Big & Rich

  1. “Stayin’ Alive” // Bee Gees

  1. “Sweet Home Alabama” // Lynyrd Skynyrd

  1. “Uptown Funk” // Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

  1. “Wagon Wheel” // Nathan Carter

  1. “What Do You Mean?” // Justin Bieber

  1. “All of Me” // John Legend

  1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” // Queen

  1. “Brown Eyed Girl” // Van Morrison

  1. “Call Me Maybe” // Carly Rae Jepsen

  1. “Footloose” // Kenny Loggins

  1. “Get Low” // Lil Jon

  1. “Hey Ya!” // Outkast

  1. “Hotline Bling” // Drake

  1. “I Will Survive” // Gloria Gaynor

  1. “My Heart Will Go On” // CÉline Dion

  1. “SexyBack” // Justin Timberlake

  1. “Shake It Off” // Taylor Swift

  1. “Sugar” // Maroon 5

  1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” // Bonnie Tyler

  1. “You Shook Me All Night Long” // AC/DC

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