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  1. Fact of the Day - ODDITIES OF NATURE Did you know... that Even the most methodical scientists and jaded skeptics can't help but be impressed by the awesomeness of nature. Whether it's the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the intensity of a hurricane, or the intricate beauty of a colorful butterfly, the world around us really is incredible. But the craziest thing about nature is perhaps that there is always new information to learn and new sights to see. Miracle Mice Weird Fact: During the summer months, mice will generally live outside and remain contended there. But as soon as the weather begins to cool, they seek the warmth of our homes. Because of their soft skulls and gnawing ability, a hole the size of a ballpoint pen (6mm – 1/4 inch) is large enough for them to enter en masse. Once inside, they will constantly gnaw at virtually anything – including concrete, lead, and plastic. This is to keep their ever-growing teeth at a convenient length. Contrary to popular belief, mice don’t generally like cheese – but will eat it on occasion. (They do love peanut butter!) Mice can jump up to 46cm (18 inches), swim, and travel vertically or upside-down. To mouse proof your house, check all small openings with a ballpoint pen – if it fits the hole, it will let mice in. Acacia Trees Wonders Fact: Arcadia trees, which grow all over the African savannah, have a unique defense system. When animals like antelopes start to gobble up its leaves, the tree increases tannin production to levels that are toxic to animals. But that's not all. The tree then emits a cloud of ethylene gas that travels through the air, reaching other trees so they too can begin producing more tannins. Square Eyes Weird Fact: We all imagine pupils to be round – as they are the type we see most often (on humans) – but goats (and most other animals with hooves) have horizontal slits which are nearly rectangular when dilated. This gives goats vision covering 320 – 340 degrees; this means they can see virtually all around them without having to move (humans have vision covering 160 – 210 degrees). Consequently, animals with rectangular eyes can see better at night due to having larger pupils that can be closed more tightly during the day to restrict light. Interestingly, octopuses also have rectangular pupils. Owls don't have eyeballs. Wonders Fact: What they have instead are better described as eye tubes. Since they can't move these tubes back and forth, owls have developed incredible neck flexibility to be able to see the world around them. They can turn their heads a whopping 270 degrees, whereas humans can only manage about 180. Blind Horses Weird Fact: Horses can’t see directly in front of themselves. A horse has considerably wide vision (and the largest eyes of any land mammal) – being able to see a total field of up to 350 degrees. Horses have two blind spots – the first is directly in front of them and the other is directly behind their head. As far as seeing details, horses are red color blind and have vision of 20/33 (compared to a perfect human vision of 20/20) In space, metal can weld on its own. Wonders Fact: On Earth, you need heat to fuse metal, but in space, two pieces of the same kind of metal will fuse together with only a little pressure. The process is called cold welding, and it happens because of the lack of atmosphere. Sick Rats Weird Fact: Rats can’t vomit or burp because of a limiting wall between their two stomachs and their inability to control the diaphragm muscles needed for the action. Neither rabbits nor guinea pigs can vomit either. This makes rats particularly susceptible to poisoning (hence its popularity in controlling rat infestations). Because of this inability, rats will nibble at food to see if it makes them feel sick (they can’t vomit, but they can feel like they sure as hell want to!) If they don’t feel nausea they will scoff the lot. There are 28 kinds of "corpse flowers." Wonders Facts: You might not know about the plant genus Rafflesia, but you may have heard about the "corpse flower," a rare type of jungle plant that attracts pollinating insects to its huge flowers by smelling like death and rot. In fact, there are 28 distinct species of this rootless, leafless plant, with flowers varying in size from about 5 inches to 40 inches. Most of these flowers take six to nine months to grow and will begin to decay within a few days. Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Weird Fact: The scientific name for a gorilla is “Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla”. First off, let us just be clear: this is the scientific name for a particular type of Gorilla – the Western Lowland Gorilla (this is the type you are most likely to see in a zoo – and the most common). For some reason the poor gorillas got stuck with the weird names – if you aren’t a Gorilla gorilla gorilla, you are a Gorilla gorilla diehli, Gorilla beringei beringei, Gorilla beringei graueri. The Bwindi Gorilla (a type of Gorilla beringei) has not yet been given a trinomen – for the sake of fun and to be a little different, I propose it be named Gorilla beringei ChuckNorris. If you didn’t understand this item, don’t worry – I didn’t either! Baby giraffes use their butts as pillows. Wonders Fact: While adult giraffes usually sleep standing up, baby giraffes will get a bit more comfortable. They hunker down on the ground and take advantage of their extra-flexible necks, twisting around to plop their noggins on their own behinds. It doesn't look especially comfortable, but it sure does look cute! Killer Swans Weird Fact: A swan can break a man’s arm. Next time you are feeding the beautiful swans and want to give one a nice pat on the back – don’t do it! Swans are very protective of their young and will use their incredibly powerful wings to fend off dogs (and sometimes humans). They have a wing span of around 2.75 meters (9 feet). In 2001, a young man in Ireland had his leg broken by a swan when he was trying to provoke it. The following year another person had their arm broken. Heat is the deadliest weather condition. Wonders Fact: Tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding can devastate entire towns at once, but the weather condition that proves deadliest to humans is actually heat. Looking at the numbers from the past 30 years, tornadoes caused an average of 70 deaths a year and flooding an average of 81, but heat caused an average of 130 deaths a year. If you don't have access to air conditioning or sufficient water, excessive heat can be deadly. Click the links below to know more on these Weird and Wonders facts. Source: Weird and Wonderful Oddities | Facts About Nature's Wonders
  2. What's the Word? - SOUBRETTE pronunciation: [soo-BRET] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, mid 18th century Meaning: 1. An actress or other female performer playing a lively, flirtatious role in a play or opera. Example: "She brought a natural playfulness to the role of the soubrette." "Ana was a triple threat, skilled at singing and dancing, and playing the soubrette." About Soubrette Soubrette used to refer to a particular character played for comedy relief, but can now also describe a young woman who behaves flirtatiously. This makes sense, as the word originates from the French word "soubreto," which means "coy." Did you Know? In opera and other theatrical performances, the soubrette traditionally has been used for comedic relief. A flirty young woman was played as a source of humor, as their intense actions were often considered inappropriate for the time period.
  3. What's the Word? - VERIDICAL pronunciation: [və-RI-də-kəl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Truthful. 2. Coinciding with reality. Example: "I can always count on my mother to give veridical advice." "Even when I daydream, my thoughts remain quite veridical." About Veridical Broken down into its components, "veridical" tells you to say what you mean. It originates from the Latin word "veridicus," which means "to say truth." Did you Know? After a vivid dream, you might wonder what was veridical and what was the construct of your sleeping brain. Keep a dream journal to make sense of your most out-there thoughts.
  4. Fact of the Day - MOUSTACHE (MUSTACHE) Did you know.... that while the full beard lost popularity, mustaches became widely adopted by civilian men in the 1880s and 90s. Young men took to wearing the style to look older, fashionable, and inspire confidence and to add a "dashing" air. The mustache had its attraction for the ladies. They were pampered, brushed combed,and trained to curl up at the ends. While researching men's fashions for, A Bride For David, I found myself fascinated by the many photos of men with a mustache. Love 'em or hate 'em, they were considered fashionable in the late 19th century. I was inspired by this photo to be the groom of our heroine. Kimberly Grist The Mustache Is Thriving. But What Does It Mean? Throughout its history, the 'stache has tended to stand for something more than itself—but that just might be changing. By John Ortved | Jul 9, 2020 As a kid raised in Canada in the 1980s, all my heroes had mustaches. Lanny McDonald, Wendel Clark, Jamie Macoun—the mustache was as prevalent as the maple leaf on their (yes, ice hockey) jerseys. And there was Larry Bird. And Magnum P.I. My uncle had one. Lots of dads had them. But then—aside from an aughts hipster blip—they became a rarity. What happened? “Like all facial hair, the mustache is cyclical,” says Dr. Allan Peterkin, author of One Thousand Mustaches: a Cultural History of the Mo. During periods of unpopularity, Dr. Peterkin says, the mustache has been associated with three Fs: fiends, fops and foreigners. This is among white Westerners, mind you; he stresses that the same mustache fads and standards have not often applied in Black communities. Duke of the Abruzzi, Italian mountaineer and explorer, late 19th-early 20th century. Throughout their history, men and their mustaches have often met over masculinity, or the loss thereof. It’s why mustaches raged in with the modern age: Industrialization, it seems, struck some as quite emasculating. “For Victorian men, their role is out among nature, master of their domains,” says Dr. Alun Whitey, another facial hair expert and lecturer in history at the University of Exeter. “Suddenly, they’re working under bosses in offices and factories.” At the same time, soldiers were coming back from the Crimean war sporting mustaches, which were associated with particular regiments, and it became a popular expression of extreme masculinity (alongside many bogus health claims, like that they’d keep disease from getting up your nose). This goes on. Presidents from Grant (elected in 1869) to Taft (who departed in 1914) sported the ‘stache, including Grover Cleveland (both times). At the outbreak of World War I, to enlist in the British Army you had to have a mustache, says Dr. Whitey. And if you couldn’t grow a mustache, they’d give you one (made of goat hair). There’s some back-and-forth in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Leading men like Clark Gable sported well-kept little numbers. Meanwhile, you couldn’t work for Disney if you had a ‘stache, even though Walt himself famously had one. And then a very famous mustachioed German made the whole enterprise rather unattractive for a good while. Then came the ‘60s. Clark Gable Suddenly, hair was political anew. And as cool took over and the counterculture became mainstream, those politics got complex. Rock became pop, uptown started to meet downtown, and as the free-love ‘60s gave way to the key-party ‘70s, former hippies graduated law school and moved to the suburbs. The hair heads got trimmed, or simply said adieu. A mustache became a way to assert one’s free past, but also to fit in. It became both a symbol of an older-school, tough-guy virility (see Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson) as well as refined way to express new sensitivities and creative personas (Sonny Bono and Stan Lee). At the same time, it became the aesthetic of the average Joe, mutating from the look of a “foreigner” who back in the day might have pushed bolshevism in imagined bars and back alleys to one of the American working man. (This stuck around. Think of the only working-class person we ever met on Friends; it was their mustachioed super). The Beatles, (mostly) mustached during the Sgt. Pepper era. In the latter third of the 20th century, that coding got ever more nuanced as we looked west, to the Castro in San Francisco. As gay identity and politics began to penetrate pop culture, we saw the emergence of the Castro Clone, often wearing a heavy mustache: a reference to the working Joe. The aesthetic spread throughout the country. Simultaneously, the adult film industry added to the notion of the hypersexuality of the hairy-lipped man (yep, we’re talking about the fabled “porn ‘stache”). A group of men relax on the street during the Gay Pride parade in New York City, June 1982. So on one hand the mustache was aligned with the status quo (think firemen and cops), while on the other it became shorthand (and occasionally handlebar) for the sexual outsider: the swinger, the porn star, the gay man. In both cases, it can be seen as a unifier: “There’s always been a fireman mustache, policeman mustache,” says Dr. Peterkin.“That’s an expression of solidarity, of male bonding, an identifier of what you do.” A mustachioed fire fighting crew in Los Angeles Padres National Forest, California, in 2002. It also became the provenance of certain class of high-flying heroes, from Larry Bird to Lando Calrissian, who exists at an interesting place at the intersection of alien and (by Billy Dee Williams' own declaration) Armenian. Depending on when George Lucas’s camera catches him, he’s at once a fiend, fop (that cape!), and a foreigner. But generally speaking, in modern American history, the mustache has been a consistency, not a telegraph of any mode of temporal identity, for Black men. Billy Dee Williams, sans cape but still with his mustache, in 1981. Click the link below to read what more John Ortved has to say about Mustaches. Source: Mustache Trend History | Wikipedia - Moustache
  5. Fact of the Day - TYPOGRAPHY Did you know... that typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). (Wikipedia) Fun Facts about the History of Typography Lettering Hub | 10 Aug | Written By Eva Schafroth Even though I have a great interest in lettering, I was never hugely interested in the history of typography. I love how type and illustration come together in lettering, and basic type theory is interesting, but I never would have sat down in the library to really dive into the history of type in itself. Until I stumbled over “Just my Type” by Simon Garfield. This book makes the history of typography immensely accessible and interesting. It’s broken up into 22 chapters broken up by 11 “Fontbreaks”, detailing a whole heap of stories from how Comic Sans came about to the involvement between Mr Baskerville and Mrs Eaves to a list of “The Worst Fonts in the World” (Comic Sans isn’t one of them!) and more. I’ve pulled out my favourite 7 pieces of fun facts, and a few more online references for you to enjoy (because they’re better enjoyed online than in a book where you have to look them up afterwards!) #1 The Comic Sans Story This one needs to get out there, because everyone seems to hate Comic Sans nowadays without even knowing why. The typeface was created by Vincent Connare in 1994 and was solving a specific problem - namely that the standard Times New Roman didn’t go too well with a dog called “Rover” in Microsoft Bob. Vincent Connare defends himself saying that “there was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children”. And that is in fact why Comic Sans is one of the most hated fonts today - it has been overused in inappropriate ways. #2 The Origin of a few select special characters The Ampersand Who would’ve known that the ampersand actually combines two letters? It stems from the Latin word “et”, which turned into a single & when written fast and translates to “and”. Once you know this, you see it! The Interrobang “What in the world is an Interrobang?”, you may ask. Well, it’s a single character combining an exclamation and question mark, ‽. It was created in the 1960s by Martin Spekter, in an attempt to make the clumsy combination of “?!” look more appealing. Unfortunately it failed to make its mark, but the story is interesting nonetheless. The @ Garfield only touches on this one, but it sparked my curiosity to find out more. It actually is not a product of the digital age, but rather is about as old as the ampersand! There is a theory about it coming along very similarly, by combining two characters, i.e. the Latin word for “toward”—ad—written quickly to combine the  “a” with the back part of the “d” as a tail. I found a more in-depth article here. #3 The phenomenon of public outrage when big corporations change their typeface When IKEA changed its typeface in 2009 from Futura to Verdana, there was a similar uproar to when Google changed their logo earlier this year. Garfield diagnoses that suddenly “a lot of people found they cared about something they had never cared about before”, and refers to Online Forum discussions and newspaper articles, as well as a dedicated Wikipedia page titled “Verdanagate”. #4 The story of Mrs Eaves’ Love Affair with Mr Baskerville The book reads Mrs Baskerville had been married before, and it was not a happy tale. At the age of sixteen she wed one Richard Eaves, with whom she bore five children, before he deserted her. She was then working as John Baskerville’s live-in housekeeper - and later became his lover. But she was unable to marry Baskerville until Eaves’ death in 1764 and it may be that some of the society disapproval of Baskerville’s work was fired by their unorthodox relationship. In conjunction with this story Garfield references our very own Aussie artist Gemma O’Brien, who called herself “Mrs Eaves” and broke into the industry drawing letters all over her body. #5 There isn’t a lot of money in designing typefaces Chapter sixteen is called “Pirated and Clones”, where Garfield details how the swiss typographer who created ‘the world’s most familiar font’ Helvetica, Max Miedinger, actually didn’t receive any royalties and ‘died virtually penniless’ in 1980. Font foundry Stempel didn’t make a lot of money from it either though, “for the simple reason that if your font is any good, it gets copied.” Garfield describes Arial as “the biggest transgressor in terms of global impact”, and references the “Font Fight” as well as the “Font Conference” videos from College Humor. The point of the chapter being that type designers still have little means to protect their creations under a patent or copyright, and references a few court cases to support this, i.e. how Adobe won a case against Southern Software Inc, or how French government agency HADOPI used a pirated font in its logo. #6 The origin of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” This sentence is used universally to preview typefaces, because it contains every single letter of the alphabet. There is a video this sentence is said to originate from. #7 The worst Fonts in the World I’m not going to pull out the whole list here because someone else already did that. I just want to share some references for your amusement. How about “Trajan is the movie font”? Alternatively, check out Fontifier where you can design your own fonts to go onto the list, or have a look at collections of wrong font use like Mickey Avenue. Wrapping up “Just My Type” offers so much more, like stories about early discussions in Germany about the clarity of typefaces, why Barack Obama chose Gotham for his “Yes You Can” campaign and a dive into the music scene (think iconic logos like “The Beatles” and “Rolling Stone” magazine) - you really need to read it for yourself. I can promise that after reading this book, you will never look at type the same way - I can only highly recommend it! Source: Wikipedia - Typography | Fun Facts About the History of Typography
  6. Friday's Fact of the Day - D. B. COOPER A 1972 FBI composite drawing of Coope Did you know... that Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the airspace between Portland and Seattle on the afternoon of November 24, 1971. The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. (Wikipedia) On a cloudy afternoon in November 1971, a well-dressed middle-aged man boarded a domestic flight leaving Portland, Oregon. Soon after the plane took off, the man calmly alerted air hostesses to a bomb he had wired inside his briefcase and communicated his ransom demands to the police on the ground. The man, who had used the name “Dan Cooper” to board the plane, eventually ended up with $200,000 in cash from the police.After requesting the crew to take off again, he proceeded to jump out of the plane and into the night. He was never seen again. Here are ten interesting facts about the man the media (incorrectly) dubbed “D.B. Cooper.” He Was Never Identified Or Found The most mysterious fact surrounding the hijacking in November 1971 is that the FBI never identified the man. It remains the only unsolved air piracy crime involving a commercial airliner. The man described by witnesses jumped out of the airplane after the second takeoff and was never seen again. Multiple theories exist as to his identity. Some theories suggest that infamous hijacker Richard Floyd McCoy Jr. was the culprit. In 1972, McCoy hijacked a commercial airliner and demanded a $500,000 ransom. He then proceeded to jump out of the plane, much like D.B. Cooper did. McCoy was caught and later killed after escaping prison. He was never definitively proven to be Cooper, and the FBI had doubts about him. Other culprits include Kenneth Christensen, whose brother identified him as Cooper and who also bore a strong resemblance to the FBI drawing, and Jack Coffelt, who sustained leg injuries in the Portland area during the time and claimed he was Cooper. Although many suspects have existed, none have ever proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be Cooper, and in 2016, the FBI publicly announced that they were suspending the investigation. His Description Sounded Like James Bond Part of the sensation surrounding the D.B. Cooper hijacking is due to the fact he sounded so smooth. The official FBI bulletin that was released described him as a white male, mid-forties, with an olive Latin appearance and a well-spoken, intelligent demeanor. He was wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie, carried a briefcase, and was at times wearing sunglasses. According to one of the key witnesses, stewardess Florence Schaffner, Cooper was calm and even ordered two bourbons during the flight. Cooper even paid his bill and wanted to let Schaffner keep the change! He also calmly explained his plan to the pilots—he needed them to follow his instructions so that he could safely jump out of the plane. To completely round out the “James Bond” appeal, Cooper ended the hijacking by jumping out of the back of the plane with his parachute and the $200,000 in ransom money strapped to him. He May Have Posed As An Agent Working On A Movie Agent Smith, The Matrix The investigative files were released by the FBI to the general public in 2016, and they make for fascinating reading. One of the details that is relatively unknown is that a man matching Cooper’s general description had conducted some discussions with pilots about how to safely and accurately “drop an object” from a moving airplane to an accomplice below. The man’s description resembled that of Cooper’s; he was wearing a smart business suit, had a low, well-spoken voice and low sideburns, and stood around 183 centimeters (6′) tall. According to the FBI reports, two weeks prior to the November hijacking, the unidentified man sat between the two pilots and claimed he was working on a new movie script. He handed out brochures of his existing movies. He specifically wanted to know the best way to accurately drop an object to a waiting accomplice below. He was told by the pilots that flying at as low a speed and altitude as possible, with the cabin depressurized, was the best chance of accuracy. Upon FBI investigation, the pilots could not recall the name of the movie studio, the films, or the name of the new movie the man was working on. The man was never identified. There’s A Good Chance He Died While Escaping Imagine jumping out a moving airplane in the middle of the night, with over 9 kilograms (20 lb) of money strapped to you, into the cold November weather. This is what the hijacker did. Cooper reportedly jumped out of the back of the plane over the dense forest near Mount St. Helens, in Washington state. Cooper would have been landing in an unknown area and would have likely suffered ankle or leg injuries (or worse). According to the FBI investigation files, master parachute rigger Earl J. Cossey stated that Cooper would have been completely unable to control his rate of descent. Seattle case agent Larry Carr said about the jump, “Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open.” Even though most assume he did not survive the landing, no parachute debris or remains of Cooper were ever discovered in the wide search zone. Lakes and rivers were swept to no avail. Another curious fact is that despite a total of five planes tailing the Boeing 727, none of the pilots could say they witnessed Cooper jumping from the plane. He May Have Given An Interview With A Local Newspaper It’s a little-known fact that in 1972, the Seattle Flag newspaper published an interview that they claimed was with the real man who hijacked the plane. Their proof, you ask? They claimed to have one of the $20 bills supplied to Cooper by the police—they even published an image of the purported bill. The newspaper also claimed they had gone to considerable effort to verify the source. The interview itself is fascinating. The man claims that he opened the rear door of plane, walked down to the tenth step, and then jumped out into the cold. He claimed he buried his parachute and was a “few miles” off from his intended landing spot. Interestingly, the man declined to answer a question about having an accomplice waiting on the ground. He also claimed the bomb was a fake—his suitcase contained Gillette shaving cans painted red, with wires rigged into them. He revealed that the riskiest part of the hijacking occurred when the plane was refueling on the ground, and authorities were deliberately stalling. At the end of the interview, the man said he was going to disappear for at least five years and would only return after the statute of limitations had expired. (Note that Cooper was later indicted in absentia in such a way that prosecution can go forward no matter when he’s caught.) He’s Become A Plot Device In Modern Entertainment The Cooper saga has been sensationalized, and he has become a very widely used character in both television and film. Cooper is more often portrayed as being alive than deceased. In the TV series Prison Break, a character within the prison proves he is the real hijacker by presenting one of the stolen bills. In the film Without a Paddle, the main characters go in search of Cooper and his money in Washington state, and they end up finding his remains alongside $100,000. (Cooper burned the other half to keep warm.) In 1981, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper was released—the first feature film depicting the hijacking and its aftermath.Interestingly, in this version of events, Cooper escapes after landing, using a Jeep he’d hidden in the woods. He is then later assisted by his estranged wife. Other shows that have fictionalized Cooper include Renegade, Numb3rs, Lethal Weapon, and Justified. Some Of The Money Was Found Years Later n February 1980, an eight-year old boy who was on vacation near Vancouver, Washington, uncovered some of the bills while raking through a sandy riverbank. They were still bundled as they had been when provided to Cooper in 1971. Although they had degraded over the years, FBI technicians confirmed they were, in fact, a portion of Cooper’s money. The location of the discovery was about 14 kilometers (9 mi) from the theoretical landing position of Cooper. Noticeably, one of the three 100-bill stacks only contained 90 bills, which only raises more questions. How did the bills get to the riverbank? Had they been there for years, or had they recently washed ashore? Were they deliberately buried by Cooper or an accomplice? None of the other bills have ever been reported in circulation and remain missing to this day. However, in what is a feel-good element to this story, the boy was allowed to keep roughly half of the money he found that day and sold it at an auction in 2008 for over $37,000! He Inspired 15 Copycat Hijackers In 1972 After the apparent success of Cooper’s hijacking, many others were inspired to try it in the following year. The most infamous of these copycats was Richard Floyd McCoy Jr., but there were many others who aspired to pull off what Cooper did. One of the most interesting hijackings was committed by a man named Frederick Hahneman, who hijacked a plane taking off from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and demanded it to be grounded at Dulles so that his ransom could be met. His ransom included $303,000, cigarettes, food, parachutes, knives, fuel, and crash helmets. Once his demands were met, Hahneman allowed all the passengers and all but six of the flight crew to leave the plane. He then ordered the captain to take off again. Then he decided the $100 bills he had been given were too small of a denomination, so he ordered the plane to return to Dulles. Four hours later, they took off again with $500 and $1,000 bills. During the flight, the plane experienced mechanical problems, and they had to land at New Orleans. They proceeded to switch planes, Hahneman using his handgun and hostages to shimmy along the runway. They took off again and flew to Honduras, where Hahneman jumped out into the dead of night, over the jungle, clutching his ransom. After being on the run for weeks, Hahneman later handed himself in to the US embassy in Honduras. A more unfortunate attempt was committed by Martin McNally, who, in June 1972, hijacked a plane from St. Louis and dropped his $500,000 ransom upon exiting the airplane! He Changed Aviation Security Forever The cooper vane in place on the aircraft. The front of the aircraft is to the bottom left; the vane rotates clockwise through 90 degrees to secure the ramp. After the Cooper hijacking and the subsequent copycat hijackings, aviation authorities and the FBI realized that the relaxed security on American domestic flights was too easy for hijackers. The first step to preventing hijackings was to introduce full baggage security checks for the first time. This might seen unbelievable in 2019, but the issue had to actually be passed through the US courts in 1973! American passengers thought these searches were a violation of their rights, but eventually, it was deemed necessary to protect those on board. It also became mandatory for all cockpit doors to have a peephole so that the pilots could be aware of what was happening on the other side. Aviation authorities also created what is known as the Cooper vane—a device which prevents the aft stairs from being opened during flight. (The example shown above is unlocked.) This would essentially make disembarking from a plane mid-flight in the the manner Cooper did impossible, and before long, hijackings began to become less frequent. Never again would the hijacking that D.B. Cooper committed be able to be repeated, and the device is forever named after him. There’s A Chance He Could Be Alive Today According to a 2016 book entitled The Last Master Outlaw, the man who hijacked the plane was Robert Rackstraw. Rackstraw, a Vietnam veteran pilot, is the subject of the book, which highlights his history of extreme aviation escapes as well as his uncanny likeness to the FBI sketch of Cooper. In 1978, Rackstraw tried to fake his own death and was arrested. His skill set and experience alerted the FBI to him. They noticed the resemblance to the sketch, but they ultimately could not find enough physical evidence to make any direct connection to the crime. Rackstraw himself reportedly admitted to being Cooper, but the FBI thought this was just a ploy. Rackstraw is still alive today. We may get a deathbed confession from him, but even that wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened in the mysterious case of D.B. Cooper. Source: Wikipedia D. B. Cooper | Facts About the Mysterious D. B. Cooper Case
  7. What's the Word? - FUGLEMAN pronunciation: [FYOO-ɡəl-man] Part of speech: noun Origin: German, early 19th century Meaning: 1. A soldier placed in front of a regiment or company while drilling to demonstrate the motions and time. 2. A leader, organizer, or spokesman. Example: "The fugleman halted and waited for the rest of the company to come to attention." "Derrick was eager to serve as fugleman for the new Science Club at school." About Fugleman Fugleman comes from a combination of the German word "flügel," meaning "wing," and "mann," the German word for "man," making the direct translation "wingman." This word originally meant the leader of the group, but can also refer to your friend who is there for you through thick and thin. Did you Know? Traditionally, a "fugleman" is a soldier that serves as a guide for the rest of the group. A modern day example of a fugleman is the wingman — a friend who supports you and models actions to follow in your dating endeavors. Love really is a battlefield.
  8. What's the Word? - PROLEGOMENAL pronunciation: [pro-leg-AH-mə-nl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: American English, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. Prefatory, introductory, preliminary. Example: "The prolegomenal chapter attempted to give background on the fantasy world the author had created." "As a prolegomenal action, Shelley struck her famous pose, waiting for the audience to recognize her." About Prolegomenal Prolegomenal was first introduced a mid 19th century issue of The Times, but its origins can be found in the word "prolegomenon." This word refers to a critical introduction in a book, and originates from the Greek words "pro," meaning "before," and "legein," or "to say," combining to create a word that means "to say beforehand." Did you Know? You've heard of a prologue before -- but now you can use "prolegomenal" as a way to describe an introduction. If you are a teacher, your syllabus is the prolegomenal piece of your curriculum for your students.
  9. Fact of the Day - OCTOBER CRISIS Coming of age during the October Crisis Montreal Gazette Did you know... that the October Crisis occurred in October 1970 in the province of Quebec in Canada, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area. Members of the Front de libération du Québec kidnapped the provincial Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the only peacetime use of the War Measures Act. The kidnappers murdered Laporte and negotiations led to Cross's release. (Wikipedia) Soldier and child, 18 October 1970, during the October Crisis. The October Crisis refers to a chain of events that took place in Quebec in the fall of 1970. The crisis was the culmination of a long series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a militant Quebec independence movement, between 1963 and 1970. On 5 October 1970, the FLQ kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross in Montreal. Within the next two weeks, FLQ members also kidnapped and killed Quebec Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. Quebec premier Robert Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau called for federal help to deal with the crisis. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau deployed the Armed Forces and invoked the War Measures Act — the only time it has been applied during peacetime in Canadian history. Background The FLQ was founded in 1963, during a period of profound political, social and cultural change in Quebec. (See also Quiet Revolution; Francophone Nationalism in Quebec.) Members of the FLQ — or felquistes — were influenced by anti-colonial and communist movements in other parts of the world, particularly Algeria and Cuba. Felquistes shared a conviction that Quebec must liberate itself from anglophone domination and capitalism through armed struggle. Their objective was to destroy the influence of English colonialism by attacking its symbols. They hoped that Quebecers would follow their example and rise up to overthrow their colonial oppressors. Between 1963 and 1970, felquistes were responsible for more than 200 bombings and dozens of robberies that left six people dead. Their targets included numerous mailboxes in Westmount, a wealthy, anglophone area of Montreal; several Canadian Armed Forces armouries and facilities; the head office of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in Montreal; a federal government bookstore; McGill University; the residence of Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau; the provincial Department of Labour; and the Eaton’s department store in downtown Montreal. In February 1969, an FLQ bombing at the Montreal Stock Exchange injured 27 people. One of the most spectacular actions of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) involved the explosion of a bomb at the Montréal Stock Exchange in 1969. The photos show the damage caused by the explosion outdoors and inside the building. La Presse, February 4th, 1969, p. 7. By 1970, more than 20 FLQ members were in prison for these acts of violence. Four felquistes were sentenced to between 6–12 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of a night watchman at an Armed Forces recruitment centre in April 1963. Pierre Vallières, a former journalist who joined the FLQ in 1965, wrote his controversial autobiography, Nègres blancs d'Amérique (1968), while jailed in New York for FLQ activities. Pierre-Paul Geoffroy, who was responsible for 31 bombings including the explosion at the Montreal Stock Exchange, received 124 life sentences plus 25 years; it was, at the time, the longest prison sentence ever levied in the British Commonwealth. Beginning of the Crisis In the fall of 1969, the remaining FLQ movement split into two distinct Montreal-based cells. The South Shore gang, which became the Chénier cell, was led by Paul Rose; other members were his brother Jacques Rose, Bernard Lortie and Francis Simard. The Liberation cell was led by Jacques Lanctôt; other members were his sister Louise Lanctôt and her husband, Jacques Cossette-Trudel, as well as Marc Carbonneau, Nigel Barry Hamer and Yves Langlois. Shortly after 8 a.m. on 5 October 1970, three armed members of the Liberation cell, one disguised as a deliveryman, kidnapped British trade Commissioner James Cross from his home in Montreal. In exchange for the release of Cross, the cell issued seven demands; they included the release of 23 FLQ “political prisoners,” the broadcast and publication of the FLQ manifesto, $500,000, and safe passage to Cuba or Algeria. The Quebec government was given 24 hours to comply; it rejected the ultimatum but indicated it was willing to negotiate. British Trade Commissioner James Cross plays solitaire almost one month after his kidnapping in this photo released by his FLQ kidnappers in early November 1970. In the days that followed, police arrested 30 people following a series of dawn raids. Several French newspapers published the FLQ manifesto — a diatribe against established authority that was also read on Radio-Canada. Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque published a newspaper article imploring the FLQ not to inflict violence on Cross or anyone else. The Liberation cell provided proof that Cross was still alive and extended its deadline for its demands to be met to 10 October at 6 p.m. On 10 October, shortly before the 6 p.m. deadline, Quebec justice minister Jérome Choquette announced that if Cross were released, the Liberation cell would be granted safe passage out of Canada; but none of their other demands would be met. Shortly after the deadline passed, two masked members of the Chénier cell kidnapped Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte while he was playing with his nephew on his front lawn in Saint-Lambert. (They had found his address in the phone book.) Pierre Laporte (1921-1970) Crisis Intensifies Following the kidnapping of Laporte, elected officials in Quebec flooded the police with requests for protection. On 11 October, the Chénier cell issued a communiqué; they threatened to kill Laporte unless all seven FLQ demands were met by 10 p.m. It also released two letters written by Laporte — one to his wife and one to Premier Robert Bourassa. Shortly before 10 p.m., Bourassa announced on the radio that he would not meet the FLQ’s demands but that he was open to further negotiations. The Chénier cell responded by postponing Laporte’s execution. On 12 October, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau asked the Canadian Armed Forces to deploy soldiers in Ottawa to protect high-profile people and locations. The next day, CBC reporter Tim Ralphe questioned Trudeau at the front entrance of the Parliament Buildings. Ralphe expressed concern about the heavy military presence in the city. Trudeau replied, “Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in the society than to be worried about weak-kneed people.” Ralphe asked Trudeau exactly how far he was willing to go. Trudeau responded, “Well, just watch me.” Meanwhile, Robert Demers, a senior official in the Quebec Liberal Party, began negotiating with FLQ lawyer Robert Lemieux. On 15 October, the Quebec government formally requested assistance from the Armed Forces to supplement the local police. Within an hour, 1,000 soldiers were deployed at key locations in Montreal. Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau requested further federal assistance. That afternoon, around 3,000 students attended a rally in support of the FLQ; they called on the governments to meet the terrorists’ demands. Later that evening, the Quebec government announced it would release five FLQ prisoners on parole and guarantee the two cells safe passage out of Canada in exchange for the return of the hostages. Click the link below to continue reading more on the October Crisis that occurred 50 years ago. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia - October Crisis | Wikipedia - October Crisis | The October Crisis: Calls for apology 50 years later
  10. What's the Word? - INCULCATE pronunciation: [IN-kəl-kate] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, mid 16th century Meaning: 1. Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction. 2. Teach (someone) an attitude, idea, or habit by persistent instruction. Example: "She finally managed to inculcate a better sense of responsibility in her roommates." "The new lecturer was eager to inculcate principles of Asian philosophies to his students." About Inculcate This verb will leave an imprint on your vocabulary; it comes from the Latin word "inculcare," which roughly translates as "to tread into." The act of instilling a particular idea, habit, or attitude into another person is similar to leaving a footprint behind in the soft earth — it creates a guide to rely on for future behavior. Did you Know? People wishing to inculcate a certain habit into their lifestyle could hire a personal trainer or ask friends to hold them accountable. Regardless of the means of transmission, people who are attempting to create healthier habits often need instruction and encouragement to keep going.
  11. Fact of the Day - LEOPARDS Did you know... that the leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western and Central Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia. (Wikipedia) Most leopards are light coloured and have dark spots on their fur. These spots are called “rosettes” because their shape is similar to that of a rose. There are also black leopards, too, whose spots are hard to see because their fur is so dark. Leopards can be found in various places around the world – they live in Sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China. Leopards are fast felines and can run at up to 58km/h! They’re super springy, too, and can leap 6m forward through the air – that’s the length of three adults lying head to toe! Leopards are very solitary and spend most of their time alone. They each have their own territory, and leave scratches on trees, urine scent marks and poop to warn other leopards to stay away! Males and females will cross territories, but only to mate. These big cats have a varied diet and enjoy different kinds of grub. They eat bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer…in fact, pretty much any prey that is available! Leopards are skilled climbers, and like to rest in the branches of trees during the day. They are strong beasts, too, and can carry their heavy prey up into the trees so that pesky scavengers, such as hyenas, don’t steal their meal! Nocturnal animals, leopards are active at night when they venture out in search for food. They mostly spend their days resting, camouflaged in the trees or hiding in caves. When it comes to hunting for food, these big cats know their stuff! When a leopard spots a potential meal, it approaches with legs bent and head low, so as not to be seen. It then stalks its prey carefully and quietly, until it’s five to ten metres within range. Then…. pounce! The leopard dashes forward and takes down its victim with a bite to the throat or neck. Small prey, such as small birds or mice, will receive a fatal blow from the feline’s paw. Ouch! Female leopards give birth any time of the year – when they do, they usually give birth to two or three cubs. Mothers stay with their cubs until they are about two years old, when they are old enough to hunt and take care of themselves. Leopards communicate with each other through distinctive calls. For instance, when a male wants to make another leopard aware of his presence, he’ll make a hoarse, raspy cough. They also growl when angry and, like domestic cats, purr when happy and relaxed. Cute, eh? Leopards grow from 92 to 190 centimeters (3 to 6.2 feet ) long. Their tail adds another 64 to 99 cm (25 to 39 inches) to their length. Males and females vary in weight. Females typically weigh 21 to 60 kilograms (46 to 132 pounds) and males usually weigh around 36 to 75 kg. (80 to 165 pounds),. The leopard is the most elusive and secretive of the large felids. They are extremely difficult to trace and locate in the wild. When female leopards are ready to mate they will mate with many of the dominate males near her territory. This takes away the risk of the cubs being killed by one of the rival dominate males because they will think that the cubs are theirs. Leopards have a gestation period of approximately 3 months and typically give birth to a litter of 2 to 3 cubs. Leopard cubs are born blind and are completely dependent on their mothers. Their eyes begin to open after about ten or more days and for the first few months their eyes are bright blue. Leopard cubs will stay with their mothers for approximately two years, this is how they learn to hunt and survive on their own. The name “leopard” comes from the Greek word leopardus, which is a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther). Leopards don’t need much water. They survive from the moisture they get from eating their prey. Leopards’ ears can hear five times more sounds that the human ear. The leopard is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. Throughout history, leopards have been depicted in artwork, mythology and folklore in numerous countries. They are also now commonly used as an emblem in sports in much of Africa. Some people believe that the bones and whiskers of leopards can heal sick people. Many leopards are killed each year for their fur and body parts and this is one reason why the leopard is an endangered animal. While they were previously found in the wild in a number of areas around the world, their habitat is largely restricted to sub-Saharan Africa with small numbers also found in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, China and Indochina. Source: Wikipedia - Leopard | National Geographic Kids - Leopard Facts | Facts about Leopards
  12. What's the Word? - COPSE pronunciation: [kops] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old English, late 16th century Meaning: 1. A small group of trees. Example: "The hikers decided to take shelter near a convenient copse." "The plaza was beautiful around Christmas, especially the copse draped in twinkling lights." About Copse The Latin word "colpus," or blow, transitioned into the Old English word "coppice," which described the act of cutting back shrubbery to encourage new growth. Since the new growth often ended up taking over the area, the word was shortened into "copse" to describe the group of trees that resulted. Did you Know? While a copse can be artificially created by growing and maintaining seedlings in a close group, those found in the wild often sprout from the stumps of cut or felled trees. This is why trees within a copse grow so close to each other — often, several new sprouts emerge from the same stump.
  13. Fact of the Day - LIGHTNING ROD Diagram of a simple lightning protection system. Did you know.... that a lightning rod or lightning conductor is a metal rod mounted on a structure and intended to protect the structure from a lightning strike? Dom Prokop Diviš, O.Praem. was a Czech canon regular, theologian and natural scientist. In an attempt to prevent thunderstorms from occurring, he inadvertently constructed one of the first grounded lightning rods.(Wikipedia) Lightning rod, metallic rod (usually copper) that protects a structure from lightning damage by intercepting flashes and guiding their currents into the ground. Because lightning tends to strike the highest object in the vicinity, rods are typically placed at the apex of a structure and along its ridges; they are connected to the ground by low-impedance cables. In the case of a building, the soil is used as the ground; on a ship, the water is used. Lightning rod protection system for a residential building The flow of electricity from a lightning strike is channeled harmlessly around the outside of the building and into the ground. A lightning rod and its associated grounding conductors provide protection because they divert the current from nonconducting parts of the structure, allowing it to follow the path of least resistance and pass harmlessly through the rod and its cables. It is the high resistance of the nonconducting materials that causes them to be heated by the passage of electric current, leading to fire and other damage. On structures less than 30 metres (about 100 feet) in height, a lightning rod provides a cone of protection whose ground radius approximately equals its height above the ground. On taller structures, the area of protection extends only about 30 metres from the base of the structure. Lightning rod types(Left top) Vertical rods or masts up to 15 metres in height create lightning protection zones that extend in a 45° cone from the rod's tip. (Left bottom) Connecting two rods with a wire extends the zone of protection. (Right) Towers taller than 30 metres provide protection for an area 30 metres high and 60 metres wide. The protected zone is in the shape of an inverted funnel with inward-curving sides. Towers between 15 and 30 metres high create protected zones of similar shape but with height and width equal to tower height. History of the lightning rod: who invented it and how it works. Controlling electrical energy changed the course of civilisation. Among many other discoveries, the lightning rod represents a fundamental milestone. Benjamin Franklin’s idea allowed attracting lightning bolts to points that were not dangerous. Humanity stopped being afraid of storms. People are often confused and associate the lightning rod with Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. In reality, this medal must be hung around the neck of the politician and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, one of the first people to propose daylight savings time as a measure to save energy. Franklin’s passion for researching electricity led him to pay attention to a phenomenon that had gone unnoticed by many others before him. One day, he was flying a kite when it was struck by lightning that burned it up, which led the ingenious researcher to wonder if it were possible to attract lightning bolts in some way. He tied a metal key to his kites and continued flying them on stormy days until on 15 June 1752, he was able to capture another bolt. Electricity went down the string of the kite until reaching the key. That is how he demonstrated that it was possible to attract lightning bolts to metal structures, thus sparing other elements from being struck. One year later, in 1753, they started to install the first lightning rods. Metal bars of between five and ten meters of length with a copper or platinum tip (materials with high electrical conductivity). Their progressive installation on roofs in the United States (and later in the rest of the world) has helped save countless lives and has prevented fires. Once the lightning bolt is trapped, the metal bar continued in the form of the conduction line. This line was made with metal bars or copper wires. In any case, their function is to bring electricity to the ground. A dissipater, which is nothing more than an extension of this line, was placed underground. There, the electricity of the lightning bolt is diluted and absorbed without harming anyone. The evolution of the original lightning bolt: Nikola Tesla It has rained (and thundered) a lot since Franklin had his great idea. Yet almost 300 years later, there are many lightning rods around the world that continue being used exactly how he designed them. A metal bar with a copper tip, the conduction line also has copper and an underground dissipater. However, this scheme underwent important revisions. In 1918, Nikola Tesla, discoverer of alternate current, notably perfected the invention. He realised that the tip of the lightning rod ionised the air and for that reason, attracted the lightning. However, at the same time, it converted the circulating air into a conductor, which could cause uncontrollable damages. That is how the lightning rod with a collection point and ample base was founded, which was much safer than the original. Later, the combination of new materials and new technologies added more sophistication to the lightning rod, especially in two directions: Deionising lightning rods with electrostatic charge: which are intended to eliminate electrical fields in the structures, thus preventing lightning from forming on them. Today, most experts consider that they have not proven its efficacy. Lightning rods with a discharge device: they measure the electrostatic charges of clouds to predict when a lightning bolt will be produced. When they detect it, they launch an electromagnetic pulse upward that serves to capture the bolt from a distance. In this way, the possible damages from the bolt are reduced by falling toward the lightning rods. Interesting facts and anecdotes about lightning bolts and lightning rods Cranes are not lightning-proof: the principle of the lightning rod is based on combining the negative electrical charge of a storm with the positive electrical charge of the earth. The lightning bolt is attracted by metal conductors. This also applies to metal structures, like cranes, which become an enormous lightning collector. The Eiffel Tower was designed as a giant lightning rod: in reality, it was designed as a laboratory for all types of scientific research, though especially to test theories about electricity and meteorology. This lightning rod over 325 meters tall receives an average of 5 lightning strikes per year. In 1902, for the first time, photographer M.G. Loppé immortalised the moment in which the storm became the emblem of Paris. Source: Wikipedia Lightning Rod | Britannica - Lightning Rod | Lightning Rod
  14. What's the Word? - FAMULUS pronunciation: [FAM-yə-ləs] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. An assistant or servant, especially one working for a magician or scholar. Example: "Salem disliked being referred to as Sabrina's famulus." "The magician summoned a famulus to handle the heavy-duty work around the castle." About Famulus While this noun originates from Latin, where "famulus" means "servant," it has since evolved to also reference being an assistant. If you are assisting your friend with a task, you might playfully refer to yourself as their famulus. Did you Know? If "famulus" sounds familiar, it might be because this word reminds you of the concept of a familiar — a magical companion often seen alongside witches and magic practitioners. While the most common familiar is the classic black cat, the toad is also a popular choice, especially in media.
  15. Fact of the Day - LITTLE HOUSE OF THE PRAIRIE Did you know... that when the very popular TV series Bonanza left the airwaves after 14 years, Michael “Little Joe” Landon went looking for a new project. NBC executives approached him with the idea of producing a made-for-TV film based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular Little House on the Prairie series of books. The movie was a huge ratings hit, and since it had a sort-of cliffhanger ending, the network was deluged with inquiries from viewers asking “What happened to the Ingalls family next?” Thus, a series was born. And while the show itself was very family-friendly and wholesome, the antics behind the scenes of the long-running series weren't always so PG-rated. PA INGALLS’ HAIR COLOR CAME OUT OF A BOTTLE. Michael Landon Michael Landon had gone prematurely grey during his Bonanza days, while he was still in his twenties, and used Clairol Medium Ash Brown to color his crowning glory. He continued using the same product once he started on Little House on the Prairie, dyeing his hair himself. But the scorching, unrelenting sun in Simi Valley, California (where the series shot) would turn his hair an odd shade of lavender after a few days, which caused production delays (lights would have to be adjusted so as to not reflect on his head). Eventually Landon gave in and allowed a professional on the set to color his hair. MICHAEL LANDON ASKED KAREN GRASSLE TO CHANGE HER NAME WHEN SHE WAS CAST AS “MA” INGALLS. Actually Michael Landon asked her to change back to her real name, which is Karen Grassle (pronounced “Grass-lee”). When she auditioned for the role of Caroline Ingalls, she did so as Gabriel Tree, her stage name at the time. THE NOVELTY OF PERIOD CLOTHING WORE OFF QUICKLY FOR THE YOUNG GIRLS IN THE CAST. All the exterior Little House on the Prairie scenes were filmed at the 10,000-acre Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, California, where a “cool” day meant temperatures in the low 90s. On most days, the mercury hit triple digits—and the young actresses were clad from head to toe in heavy cotton stockings, petticoats, pinafores, and bonnets. Both Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, and an assistant director passed out from the heat on the very first day of filming. MOST OF THOSE DINNERS MA SERVED WERE REALLY DINTY MOORE BEEF STEW. Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert Any dinner scene that showed some sort of generic meat and gravy on the family’s plates—regardless of whether Ma announced that it was rabbit, chicken, or squirrel—actually consisted of canned Dinty Moore brand beef stew. Those instances when Laura was seen pulling a drumstick out of her tin lunch pail at school? Well, those came not from the Ingalls’ chicken coop, but from Kentucky Fried Chicken. NELLIE OLESON’S PERFECT CURLS WERE ACTUALLY A WIG. For the first few weeks of filming, Arngrim’s own hair was transformed into a series of sausage curls via a torturous old-fashioned curling iron that had to be heated in an oven. Finally it was decided that a custom-made wig would be more humane, not to mention both time- and cost-effective. The wig had to be held in place with an enormous metal comb plus dozens of long, straight, metal hairpins, all of which frequently dug into Arngrim’s scalp and caused it to bleed. SEAN PENN MADE HIS ACTING DEBUT ON LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Sean Penn, Alison Arngrim, Jonathan Gilbert The season 1 episode 11 “The Voice of Tinker Jones” was directed by Leo Penn, who cast his wife, Eileen Ryan, in the episode—and also brought in his 13-year-old son Sean to play an uncredited schoolboy. MICHAEL LANDON KEPT THE YOUNG ACTORS ENTERTAINED. According to People, Michael Landon would pretend to pick lice out of Melissa Gilbert’s hair after an emotional scene. Frogs were also a big hit. “We used to go with Melissa [Gilbert] to catch frogs in the creek,” Rachel Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, who played Carrie Ingalls, told Closer Weekly. “We would bring them back to Michael, and then he would put them in his mouth and walk up to people, open his mouth and the frog would jump out! People would freak out.” CHARLES INGALLS' MANLY SWAGGER WAS THE RESULT OF SPECIAL BOOTS. Michael Landon was just 5-feet-9-inches tall and didn’t want any other actor to tower over him, so he wore four-inch lifts in his boots. If that boost wasn’t quite enough in a particular scene, he would make sure that Charles was positioned on a staircase, a ladder, or even a slight mound of dirt. NO ONE EVER GOT VERY CLOSE TO MARY INGALLS. Both Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim reported in their autobiographies that Melissa Sue Anderson (known as “Missy” on the set), who played Mary Ingalls, remained somewhat cold and aloof during her time on Little House on the Prairie. There were rumors among the guardians on the set that Missy’s mother was overprotective and controlling and that was the reason the young actress tended to keep to herself. CARRIE INGALLS WAS PLAYED BY A SET OF IDENTICAL TWINS. Rachel and Sidney Bush (credited onscreen as “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush” and known as “Sugar Lump” and “Foxy Robin” to everyone on the set) were just 3 years old when they were cast to play the youngest Ingalls daughter. That’s Sidney falling down while running during the opening credits; the director rotated the girls every few hours in accordance with California labor laws for such young children. In this case, just prior to filming the hillside running scene, he had called for a “Fresh twin, please!” and Mrs. Bush hastily awoke the napping Sidney and quickly put her little shoes back on … unfortunately, on the wrong feet. Michael Landon thought it was adorable when she tripped and hit the ground and left it in the sequence. MICHAEL LANDON WAS VERY PROUD OF HIS PHYSIQUE. Landon never passed up an opportunity to appear shirtless on camera, which is why Pa never broke an arm or leg in any of his farming mishaps, only a rib or two. He also reportedly preferred to go au naturel underneath his tight-fitting prairie trousers. JASON BATEMAN STARRED IN 23 EPISODES. Jason Bateman In 1981, future Emmy-winner Jason Bateman landed the role of James Cooper Ingalls; it was his first TV role. Like Landon, Bateman became a TV director—in 2019, Bateman won an Emmy for directing himself in Ozark. "The only thing that I remember really soaking in was that first big job on Little House on the Prairie,” Bateman told Variety. “That group of actors had been together since Bonanza, and the way in which everybody functioned was very familial. It was a warm place.” Bateman said that Landon influenced him both as a director and as a sort of father figure. “He was the George Clooney of that time. The crew loved him, the industry loved him, guys wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him,” Bateman said. NELLIE AND LAURA WERE ACTUALLY BEST FRIENDS. Mean ol’ Nellie Oleson got her lights punched out more than once by rival Laura Ingalls, but in real life Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert became the best of friends shortly after they first met in the makeup trailer. They had sleepovers at each other’s homes and became partners in crime when it came to playing pranks on their co-stars. MICHAEL LANDON’S OFF-SCREEN AFFAIR PERMANENTLY DAMAGED HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MELISSA GILBERT. Melissa Gilbert became very close to Michael Landon’s family after she was hired for Little House on the Prairie—especially his son, Michael Jr., and daughter Leslie. Lynn Landon and Melissa’s mother, Barbara Crane, became best friends and the two families often vacationed together. One day Barbara broke the news to her daughter that, “Auntie Lynn and Mike are separating.” Gilbert had noticed that Landon had been extremely attentive to “that makeup girl” (as makeup artist Cindy Clerico, 20 years Landon’s junior, was referred to by some cast members) on the set, but she’d never dreamed that he’d leave his wife of 19 years for her. Gilbert remained polite and professional while working with Landon on the set after he married Clerico, but she stopped socializing with him after hours. After Little House on the Prairie ended, she didn’t speak to Landon again until 1990, when she saw him at Leslie Landon’s wedding. Landon’s highly publicized breakup with Lynn also cost him some lucrative endorsement deals, including his longtime contract with Kodak. ADULT BEVERAGES WERE REGULARLY IMBIBED DURING THE WORKDAY. Alison Arngrim often caught a nap in the prop truck during her breaks, and it was there—while she was hunkered down on the front seat—that she overheard Michael Landon say “Hit me” to propman Ron Chiniquy at the rear of the truck. She lifted her head to peek and saw Chiniquy pour the requested four fingers of Wild Turkey into Landon’s coffee cup, even though it was only 10 a.m. She later found out from Ron that the crew usually went through two cases of Coors beer per day while working. Particularly stressful days, when rewrites and retakes were necessary, were referred to as “three-case days.” After filming was wrapped for the day, a makeshift bar with hard liquor was set up on a sawhorse for the “real” unwinding to begin. Yet both Arngrim and Gilbert said that despite all the alcohol consumption going on, no one (neither cast nor crew) ever appeared to be the least bit tipsy, nor did their work suffer. VICTOR FRENCH BRIEFLY LEFT THE TO SHOW TO STAR IN A SHORT-LIVED SITCOM. Rachel Lindsay / Sidney Greenbush, Victor French Victor French, who had starred in Gunsmoke and Bonanza, played Isaiah Edwards on Little House and directed a few episodes. He left the show in 1977 to star as a small-town Georgia police chief in sitcom Carter Country, which was sort of a comedic version of In the Heat of the Night. In 1979, when ABC canceled Carter County after two seasons, Landon welcomed French back. And in 1984, French joined Landon in Highway to Heaven. In 1989, French died of cancer, two years before Landon’s own death from cancer. Click the link below to read more facts about Little House on the Prairie. There are 42 facts, begin at #17 Source: Facts about Little House on the Prairie
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