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By Dennis Minich

One of my favorite chores each day is checking out the latest assortment of news pitches coming in from public relations folk. I say it is one of my favorite things because it really isn’t, but you can either laugh and enjoy or you can get testy and be aggravated. Many tidbits come in each week. Having worked in the public relations field I understand the importance of trying to get ideas out there for good product placement. Working on the news side, I understand that about 80 percent of what I receive is trash, but you never know when that story which falls in the 20 percent of the things I care about will arrive, so I have to check most all of them out. While many of the stories are about books on everything from insulating your home to solving the world’s problems, some of these not-so-useful stories do provide some great trivia fodder.

For example: this week I learned the most popular color of cars. Hard to believe, but gray and black topped the list. Which kind of makes me wonder: Why? I’ve had gray cars, black cars, also white, brown, blue and red. Of all those colors, I can tell you, the three hardest to keep clean because they show dirt so well, are gray, black and white.

There was a special commemorative day last week and I missed it because I didn’t check my email closely enough. Feb. 18 was National Pluto Day. I know Disney’s dog is what immediately comes to mind when you hear the name Pluto, but in this case, it is about the planet, or what used to be a planet. As a little background, Pluto was discovered in 1930 as the ninth planet in the solar system. There it sat until 2006 when some obviously petty and probably bored “scientists” determined Pluto was not a planet, but instead a micro planet and therefore did not deserve the honored esteem attributed to the other eight rocks that make the solar system.

Even though Pluto is only one-sixth the size of Earth’s moon, it still orbits the sun in such a way that at times would be even closer to the sun than Neptune. It is also totally disregarded that Pluto has not one, but five moons of its very own. Fortunately, I am not the only person who finds this total disregard of Pluto’s planet status repulsive. According to the press release from somebody (which has to make it true), 70 percent of students think Pluto should be returned to the ranks of full-fledged planets. Bravo students.

I don’t know if it was the same students surveyed or not, but another press release let me know that a majority of American high school students think history is the hardest class, at least in terms of homework. The survey says (I feel like I am on Family Feud) 62 percent of students say they have at least three hours of history homework per week to which I can only say, how awful, three whole hours, every week!

I don’t really know how to analyze this, but 72 percent of students say the war they know the most about is WWII. And finally, in terms of studying history, Alaskans are the most interested in studying the subject, Californians are second and Kansans come in third. I didn’t read through the entire release to find out where Missouri ranked, because frankly by the time I had made my way through the above information, I felt like I knew everything I needed to know about the subject.

While we have just passed the Super Bowl, there was some great Super Bowl knowledge to be had. Missourians can take pride in the fact it is the No.1 state where parents let their kids skip school the day after the big game. Florida came in second in this particular study and No. 3 was Kansas.

Speaking of football’s big game, the survey found that one in every five Missourians drank at least six alcoholic drinks during the game. Part of that could be attributed to another survey which found that one in five (maybe it is the same one) drinks significantly more alcohol in February if they observed a dry January (which is apparently a thing.)

All of which leads to yet another press release which tells me the average Missourian drank 753 alcoholic drinks in 2021.

I am left to wonder, if I had surveyed the 20 percent of Missourians after they drank six alcoholic beverages during the Super Bowl, would they have cared if Pluto was a planet or not. Maybe some P.R. person could research that and get back with me.