Monday, April 23, 2012

Fifty Bits of Fifty

Full disclosure: I didn’t just turn 50. No, not me.  I actually recently turned 51.  So I’m an old (read: old) hand at being 50. 

I spent much of my daydreaming time at 49 thinking of fun things to do to celebrate turning 50, not knowing that due to family circumstances it was actually going to be the saddest year thus far of my life, but as another spring rolls around I’m once again contemplating making the most of my time in this world. 

Which probably should preclude doing things like compiling a list of 50 things about 50, but this activity pleased my inner librarian/packrat, and I like to keep on her good side.

So: 50 fifty-ish things about 50. Fingers crossed I stick around long enough to do 100 things about 100. 

1. There are—news flash—50 states in the Union. 

2. That’s why there are 50 stars on the U.S. flag. 

3. Hawaii is the 50th state, surely therefore it is logical to go to Hawaii for your 50th

4. Tin has 50 protons, so its atomic number is 50. 

5. 50 is the smallest number that is the sum of two non-zero square numbers: 50 =  12 + 72 and also 52 + 52. It is also the sum of three squares, 50 = 32 + 42 + 52. And yes, I cribbed that straight from Wikipedia. 

6. A jubilee year is a 50th year—so you can honestly host a jubilee when you get to the half-century  mark. 

7. Reaching 50 years of marriage marks your golden anniversary. So your 50th birthday can be considered your golden anniversary with Life, or Earth, or something along those woo-woo lines. 

8. 50 is also apparently “the fifth magic number in nuclear physics,” a magic number being “a number of nucleons, either protons or neutrons, such that they are arranged into complete shells with the atomic nucleus.” (Thanks again, Wikipedia.)

9. "Fifty-fifty" means all's fair.

10.  Just add a silent g, nobody will notice: The Dutch word Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden is 49 letters long and means "preparation activities for a children's carnival procession." So your first 49 years could be seen as preparation activities for a celebration, and that is how I will shoehorn this in because I couldn’t nail down a 50-letter word. 

11.   In 2009, a racehorse received the name Fifty Fifty. 

12.  Every 8 seconds, another American turns 50.

  13.  Humans have 46 chromosomes. Among the living things with 50 chromosomes are the kit fox, the striped skunk, and the pineapple.

  14.  A total of 50 horses have won two-thirds of the Triple Crown races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes).

     15. 50 Miles of Art is a corridor that runs through Missouri along which fine artists and crafters live. 

     16.   In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy intones, “And what is
     fifty miles of good road? Little more than half a day's journey. 
     Yes, I call it a very easy distance.'' 

     17. In 2009, a viper in a Bhopal zoo gave birth to 50 baby snakes
     18. 50 gallons of fresh water weighs about 417 pounds.

     19. And 50 gallons is about how much water a typical oyster filters in 1 day.

     20. Which would make it a poor roommate for an elephant,which drinks about 50 gallons a day. 

    21. If you had a pet elephant, you’d be well advised to use the bathtub as its water bowl:  a typical tub can hold about 50 gallons.

    22. That’s if the horse isn’t using the bathroom: a typical horse produces about 50 pounds of manure a day.

    23. But you could always use a rain barrel, an aquarium, or a  
     compost-tea brewer: these all come in standard 50-gallon models. 

     24. Sadly, the average American guzzles about 50 gallons of soda  
     in a year.

     25.  This is half of 50.

     26. A half-dollar equals 50 cents equals four bits.

     27. 50-cent coins have been minted nearly continuously since 1794, with only the penny being minted more consistently.

     28.   An opossum has 50 teeth.

     29.   What the L? It means 50 in Roman  

     30.   In the brilliant movie A Town Called Panic, Cowboy and Indian intend to build  their friend Horse a barbecue for his birthday.  They need 50 bricks, but accidentally order 50 million instead, leading to calamity.

     31. The song “50 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong” was a hit 
     in 1927. In 1975, Paul Simon climbed the charts with “50 Ways   
     to Leave Your Lover.”  Which makes me wonder, if 50 million
     Frenchmen each came up with 50 ways to leave your lover, how
     many excuses does that make?

     32. Memory Lane in Rogersville, Tennessee, is a town filled with 1950s buildings that is open to the public just once a year.

     33. Driving at speeds more than 50 miles per hour uses up a lot more fuel due to air resistance and, no doubt, some complicated physics-and-math ratio that I don’t wish to deal with.

     34. Perhaps this is why such animals as lionesses, gazelles, racehorses, quarter horses, African hunting dogs, and wildebeests usually don’t hit a top speed of more than 50 miles per hour.  

     35. Ostriches run pretty darn fast,
     too, plus an ostrich’s eye is about 50 mm in diameter. The tall bird also sports up to 50 tail feathers. 

     36. A black tuna can swim at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. And heck, it doesn’t even have to worry about air resistance.

     37. In a crowd of about 20 or 30 people, there is a 50 percent chance that somebody else in the room will share your birth date.

     38. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was made in 1958. She wasn’t 45 feet tall; she wasn’t 100 feet tall. 50 must be something special indeed.

     39. Lego bricks celebrated their 50th birthday
     on January 28, 2008. Since their invention in
     1958, the company’s made so many bricks
     that there are about 62 bricks for each person
     on the planet. Which leads to questions such
     as, how many of them willingly share their
     Legos? How many have they left on the floor for Mom to step on
     in bare feet in the night? Have you ever seen a purple Lego brick?

     40. A footbridge made of 50 tons of recycled plastic crosses the Tweed River in Peebleshire, Scotland. 

     41. Perhaps another bridge can be constructed from the 50 tons of  trash once left behind after the Rose Parade event in Pasadena, California.

    42.   The list of other creatures who can celebrate 50th birthdays includes elephants, lobsters, bonobo chimps, Senegal parrots,  narwhals, bottle-nosed dolphins, right whales, rhinoceros, gorillas,      red-eared sliders, manatees, and, of course, the greenblotched      rockfish.

     43. Tegopelte was an ancient, giant cockroach-like creature that had up to 50 legs. 

     44. It would probably have loved eating Green Eggs and Ham, the eponymous meal of Dr. Seuss’s beloved book, which celebrated its 50th birthday on August 12, 2010. Seuss wrote it after his editor challenged him to write an “intelligent, entertaining” book that used just 50 words.  Seuss not only got the book written and published, but won $50 in the bet. 

     45. Plain old white eggs starred in Cool Hand Luke, in which Paul  Newman’s character swallows 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour.

     46. In 2006, Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 states. 

     47. A refrigerator typically hums at 50 decibels.
     48. Although the actual social-scientist method for determining the divorce rate has it topping out at 41 percent of marriages, the popular figure for the divorce rate is that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

     49. You could fit 50 moons inside Earth if it were hollow. And if you could ensnare and  duplicate the moon.

     50. The biggest rabbit in the world is an English bunny named Darius, who weighs 50 pounds.