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Fact of the Day - MICHELIN STARS

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Did you know... Michelin stars were originally connected to an effort to boost tire sales.
In the restaurant business, there is no greater honor than the Michelin star. Awarded on a ranking from one to three, Michelin stars are the standard of greatness when it comes to fine dining. Chefs pin their reputations on them, and having (or not having) them can make or break a business. So it might seem strange to discover that this culinary accolade is intimately entwined with… car tires. The story starts back in 1900, when brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin, founders of the Michelin tire company, created the Michelin Guide — a booklet full of useful information for French motorists. The free Michelin Guide included maps, lists of nearby gas stations and amenities, basic tire maintenance information, and various road-ready adventures. The hope was that these guides would inspire longer journeys at a time when the automotive age was just beginning, which in turn would mean selling more tires.

 

But the Michelin Guide might be a forgotten relic if not for two events — one big, one small. The first event was World War I, which ravaged France and forced the Michelin brothers to stop publishing for a few years. The other was when Andre Michelin visited a tire shop around the same time and saw his free Michelin Guides doing the undignified work of propping up a bench. To help raise the guide’s prestige (and also help motorists explore Europe again following the war), the brothers reintroduced the handbooks in 1920, featuring more in-depth hotel and restaurant information — and instead of being free, they now cost seven francs. Within a few years, Michelin also recruited “mystery diners” to improve its restaurant reviews (they still work undercover), and in 1926, they began handing out single Michelin stars to the very best restaurants. Five years later, Michelin upped the amount of possible stars to three, and they have continued searching for the world’s best food in the nearly a century since. Today, the guides — and stars — cover more than 30 territories across three continents.

 

Michelin made a tire that never goes flat.

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Tires haven’t changed much over the course of a century. Recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) and types of rubber have come and gone, but the basic equation has remained the same: air + rubber. Yet contrary to popular wisdom, Michelin and other tire brands are reinventing the wheel by making a tire that never goes flat. The idea, borrowed from designs used on smaller machines like riding lawn mowers, is an airless tire that uses flexible spokes rather than air to carry the load. Because these tires operate sans inflation, they’re impervious to punctures, uneven wear, and many other air-centric failures. Michelin estimates that these futuristic tires could save 20% (or about 200 million) tires from ending up in landfills each year. The biggest hurdle? They’re expensive — so it might be a while before everyone’s zipping around on these futuristic wheels.  (Interesting Facts)

 

Five Facts about the Michelin Star

by redletterdaysuk | September 2, 2016

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With the new Michelin Guide coming out 29th September, thousands of chefs around the world are holding their breath as they wait to see which restaurants have gained or lost 1, 2, or 3 of the world’s most coveted stars. How much do you know about the Michelin Star system? Whether a self-confessed foodie or just a fan of great flavours, you might be surprised by the history of this world-famous gastronomic rating system… Read on!

 

What is a Michelin Star?
A well-regarded, critical opinion of a quality dining experience. In 1926, the Michelin Guide introduced a ‘star’ system, whereby a star could be displayed next to a restaurant’s entry to signal high quality. In 1931, an upgrade to the more sophisticated maximum 3 star system emerged, which remains in place to this day.

 

FACT: You can’t give back a Michelin Star, although some celebrity chefs have claimed to. It’s a rating, rather than a physical award.

 

Who started the Michelin Guide, and why?
Ever wondered whether the Michelin Guide has anything to do with Michelin tyres? You aren’t the only one, and it’s a valid question. The Michelin Guide was, in fact, created in 1900 by brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin – the now-famous tire manufacturers with the smiley white tire man logo. The guide was an early piece of marketing genius. It highlighted places to eat and sleep around France, with the aim of boosting car (and tire) sales, as at the time, there were fewer than 3,000 cars in France! Handed out for free, it also contained useful info for car drivers, like maps, instructions for changing tires and lists of petrol stations.

 

FACT: During WW1 and WW2, publication of the Michelin Guide was put on hold. But in 1945, the British Army requested re-prints of the 1939 guide to give soldiers, as it was the best available map and guide to France.

 

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Is a Michelin Star awarded to a chef or a restaurant?
The Michelin Star (or Michelin Stars) are awarded to the restaurant, not the chef. However, the chef in charge of the kitchen generally gets the credit!

 

FACT: Marco Pierre White was the youngest chef ever to receive his 3rd star, aged 33. He has also trained other Michelin-starred chefs, including Gordon Ramsay.

 

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How are Michelin Stars judged?
The rating system is very simple. There are three grades of restaurant:

 

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Anonymous inspectors are sent in to eat, drink, and to decide which grade a restaurant should receive, if any. All meals are paid for by Michelin. No-one knows how many inspectors there are, but there are a lot of restaurants!

 

FACT: As in the Bradley Cooper film Burnt (2015), no-one knows who Michelin inspectors are or how to recognise them, but there are theories and rumours galore.

 

Does décor count when awarding a Michelin Star?
No-one is entirely sure. Japanese sushi restaurant Saito is basically a large white room with white benches, set in a multi-storey car park building and is also the proud owner of 3 stars, so probably not. The guide does give a hint as to luxuriousness, with its pictorial fork and spoon rating from 1 to 5.

 

FACT: A Hong Kong dim-sum eatery called Tim Ho Wan was the cheapest restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2009, serving dishes at just over $1.

 

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Does a Michelin Star really affect a restaurant’s popularity and success?
Yes. Michelin-starred restaurants become not just eateries, but destinations for everyone from food critics to celebrities to royalty. Many travel internationally to sample dishes at newly-awarded restaurants. Chefs can get famously disappointed and angry when stars aren’t awarded or are taken away, even closing down landmark restaurants.

 

FACT: Gordon Ramsay famously cried when his New York restaurant lost its 2nd star in 2013, but is also the owner of one of London’s only 3 Michelin-starred restaurants, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay… Cheer up Gordon!

 

We’ve dined at a Michelin Restauranthave you? Why not taste the creations of celebrity chefs Marco Pierre White or Gordon Ramsay?

 

 

Source: Facts About Michelin Stars  |  About Michelin Star

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Fact of the Day - HOMER SIMPSON

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Did you know... Homer Simpson’s “D’oh” is trademarked by 20th Century Studios.
Homer Simpson’s famed grunt has been ubiquitous both on the long-running animated series The Simpsons (which debuted in 1989) and in the collective imagination for decades now, with “D’oh!” getting its own Wikipedia article, YouTube compilations, and even a book. Yet not many people know the sound is actually a protected trademark owned by 20th Century Studios. Technically, it’s a sound mark, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office explainsidentifies and distinguishes a product or service through audio rather than visual means” and "create in the hearer's mind an association" between a sound and a good or service. 20th Century Studios filed papers to trademark the sound (registration number: 3411881) in July 1002. Other examples od sound marks include the noise Darth Vader makes while breathing and that instantly recognizable Law and Order "chung chung" sound effect. 

 

Homer's utterance is hardly the only iconic Simpsons catchphrase — “¡Ay, caramba!” and “Okily dokily!” come to mind as well — but “D’oh!” may be the most enduring. The channel TV Land placed it sixth on a list of the 100 greatest quotes and catchphrases in television history, ahead of such heavyweights as Fred Flintstone’s “Yabba dabba do!” and Seinfeld’s “No soup for you!” It also isn’t going anywhere any time soon: Although some fans may believe the show’s Golden Age has long since passed, The Simpsons has already been renewed for a 34th season.

 

The true location of Springfield has never been revealed.

What state do the Simpsons live in? According to one chalkboard gag, “The true location of Springfield is in any state but yours.” Despite creator Matt Groening once saying that the town was partially based on Springfield, Oregon, the show itself has made a joke of never revealing its actual location. There have been clues along the way, most of which contradict each other, but it’s likely that there will never be a definite answer. “I don't want to ruin it for people, you know?” Groening has said of the phenomenon. “Whenever people say it's Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, ‘Yup, that's right.’” (Interesting Facts)

 

10 Hidden Details About Homer Everyone Missed

BY PHILIP ETEMESI | PUBLISHED FEB 26, 2021

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Homer Simpson might be lazy, unintelligent, immature, overly-aggressive, and incompetent at work, but he can rest easy knowing he is a legend. Homer sits at second place on the list of "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" and several other publications have also listed him as one of the best TV characters of all time. Alongside Lisa, he is one of only two characters to appear in every episode of the animated sitcom (695). He is also the only one who speaks in all episodes. Fans of the show are well aware of Homer's drinking exploits at Moe's Tavern and his struggles at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, but some tiny details might be hard to notice.

 

1. Conflicting Blood Types

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Homer once volunteers to donate blood to Mr. Burns, with the intention that the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant boss will reward him when he gets better. At this point, Burns has been diagnosed with "hypohemia" and needs a double-O-negative donor. Unfortunately for Homer, he doesn't qualify as a donor since his blood is Type A. However, there are different details mentioned about his blood type later on. When Marge wants a fourth baby, she and Homer try to have one. Sadly, Homer has become infertile. But there is a lucky break when it's revealed that Homer was once a sperm donor and his sperm donor profile (under the name Thad Supersperm) shows his blood type to be AB.

 

2. His Favorite Song

Homer's favorite song is the 1982 classic It's Raining Men by The Weather Girls. In Season 6, he gets unfairly banned from Moe's Tavern for pulling a harmless prank on Moe. Prior to that, Carl, Lenny, and Barney pull life-threatening pranks on Moe, including burning him with fire, but no punishment is given to them. As he gets kicked out, a copy of Homer's favorite song is removed from the jukebox and thrown outside. It then lands in a random car and the driver is thrilled to have it.

 

3. He Had Diabetes At Some Point

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Relationships go through several tests. Early in their relationship, Homer and Marge almost part ways for good. This happens when Marge falls for Springfield University's Professor, Stefane August. In an effort to get Marge back, Homer composes a song for her. When Marge finally breaks up with August, she goes looking for Homer and finds him holed up in his house. He has a needle with him so Marge thinks he has started doing drugs to ease his pain. Homer then clarifies that the needle is for his insulin. Interestingly, he is never seen taking the insulin again, so hopefully his condition got better.

 

4. His Year Of Birth

Since the animated sitcom uses a floating timeline, the characters never really age. To avoid messing up the continuity, the characters' years of birth are never mentioned. For example, Bart's birthday is April 1st, while Lisa's birthday is revealed as May 9th, but the years of birth are left out. Homer's birthday remained a secret for most of the sitcom run. That's until his driver's license popped up. Tiny writing on his license shows his birthday as May 12, 1956. This means he'd be 64 today if the floating timeline wasn't used. The license also shows that he s a certified Class C driver.

 

5. He Has Died A Total Of 22 Times

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Homer has died 20 times in the "Treehouse Of Horror" Halloween segments, which are considered non-canon. In the main show's continuity, he has died two times. He first dies of a heart attack when Mr. Burns tells him he is poor at his job. Mr. Burns then decides to send a ham to Marge as consolation for Homer's death. When Homer's soul hears the word "ham," it rushes back into his body. He also dies while wondering whether to tell Marge about his lottery win. His soul realizes it has made a mistake and returns to his body.

 

6. The Reason He Constantly Eats
Homer once confesses that the reason he eats all the time is due to childhood trauma. As a child, he accompanied Carl, Moe, and Lenny to a quarry to have a swim. Upon jumping into the muddy water, a man's corpse fell on his lap. It turned out the corpse belonged to Waylon Smithers, Sr. The experience had several effects on Homer. It made him hit puberty early and also gave him a desire to eat all the time. Mr. Burns later explains that Smithers died while trying to save the town from a nuclear meltdown.

 

7. His IQ

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For most of his life, Homer has had a low IQ of 55. This detail emerges when Homer takes up a job at a medical testing center. Initially, his low IQ is thought to because of the hereditary "Simpson Gene," but when the doctors at the testing center scan his brain, they see a crayon lodged inside.

Apparently, the crayon has been in his brain ever since he was six years old. The doctors decided to remove it and when it's finally out, his IQ shoots to 105. He is thus able to bond with Lisa, who has the second-highest IQ in the Simpson family (159) after Maggie (167). His newfound intelligence makes him unhappy, so he asks for the crayon to be reinserted.

 

8. He Just Might Be A Billionaire

In the world of the Simpsons, Homer is the proud owner of the popular American football team, the Denver Broncos. According to Forbes, the value of the sports team is $3.2 billion. Since he has never sold or passed over the team's assets to another person, Homer qualifies as a billionaire. How does Homer get to own the Denver Broncos? Wealthy evil genius Hank Scorpio gifts the team to Homer after he helps the Globex Corporation in their evil schemes. Homer is upset that he wasn't gifted the Dallas Cowboys, but he settles for the Broncos anyway. The team is last seen in season 11.

 

9. He Has An Email Address

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After Homer gives Lisa a personalized movie instead of a diary for her birthday, she becomes devastated. She claims that her dad has never understood her (which is somewhat true) and shuts him off. Desperate to impress his daughter, Homer follows Moe's advice to have Lisa followed by a private investigator so that he can learn about her likes and dislikes. He gives the PI his email address so that he can reach him easily and it's seen on his computer as "[email protected]"

 

10. He Is An Animal Whisperer

This becomes evident when the family dog, Santa's Little Helper, impregnates Dr. Hibbert's dog. Since Dr. Hibbert has no intention of caring for the puppies, he gives them to the Simpsons. Lisa soon learns that Homer had once taken Santa's Little Helper to be neutered, but decided against it. This is because Homer communicated with Santa's Little Helper and the dog told him he didn't want to be neutered. While Lisa, an animal lover, agrees with Homer's actions, other members of the family feel that the puppies could have been avoided if he did what he was supposed to do.

 

Source: Facts About Homer Simpson  |  Hidden Details About Homer Simpson

 

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - LOUIS ARMSTRONG

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Did you know.... With his infectious smile and raspy voice, Louis Armstrong (who actually pronounced his own name "Lewis") won over fans worldwide. To untold millions, every note that he let loose made the world feel a bit more wonderful, and his music is still being discovered by new generations of fans. Here are 10 facts about the life of one of the 20th century's most important jazz musicians. (By Mark Mancini | Jul 6, 2018 | Updated: Aug 4, 2020)

 

Fascinating Facts About Louis Armstrong

by Interesting Facts

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Louis Armstrong changed the face of jazz in the 20th century, with enduring hits such as “West End Blues,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “What a Wonderful World.” Born in 1901, the influential trumpeter and vocalist started playing gigs as a child in New Orleans, and long after his death in 1971, remains a giant of the genre. Satchmo (as he was lovingly nicknamed) had a long and rich career, but was he always a singer? Which enduring hit went unnoticed for decades? And how did he revolutionize the trumpet? Take a journey through the “wonderful world” of Louis Armstrong with these seven amazing facts about his life.

 

1. Louis Armstrong’s Childhood Nickname Was “Dippermouth”

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Long before “Satchmo” came along, Armstrong was known in his childhood home in the Storyville district of New Orleans as “Dippermouth,” or “Dipper” for short. He supposedly got the moniker from his wide smile as a child, although the nickname later came to be associated with his embouchure (the way a player puts their mouth around an instrument). Armstrong’s mentor, King Oliver — a fixture in the Storyville jazz scene during Armstrong’s youth — recorded a song in 1923 called “Dippermouth Blues,” which he co-wrote with Armstrong. Dipper himself would later go on to record his own version in 1936.

 

2. Armstrong Honed His Skills in a “Waif’s Home”

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After firing off six blanks at a New Year’s Eve party in New Orleans in 1912, 11-year-old Armstrong was arrested and sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, a facility that was part juvenile detention facility, part orphanage, and part reform school. It was his second stay at the home — according to recently uncovered records, Armstrong did a brief stint there when he was only nine, after he and five of his friends were arrested for being “dangerous and suspicious characters,” a charge used often at the time to detain people without cause. By the time of his second stay, the Waif’s Home had hired a music teacher and started a band program. Under the tutelage of instructor Peter Davis, Armstrong learned the bugle and the coronet, and spent some time as the bandleader. Early on, he showed a skill for harmonizing and improvising that seemed beyond his years. It was far from his first exposure to the instruments, but it was the first time he received proper training. Armstrong started playing gigs after his release from the home in 1914.

 

3. Armstrong Didn’t Start Out as a Trumpet Player

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While he is remembered today for his distinctive voice and rich trumpet solos, the trumpet wasn’t Armstrong’s original instrument of choice — even years into his career. Satchmo rose to prominence in his mid-teens playing the cornet, which is similar to a trumpet but smaller and with a few subtle differences. For example, a trumpet is a cylindrical brass instrument, meaning the tube stays the same diameter throughout, but a cornet’s tube tapers off on its way to the mouthpiece, giving it a mellower tone. From the 1800s to the mid-1900s, the cornet was a standard part of a brass or jazz ensemble, as well as a popular solo instrument. While trumpets were also played, they weren’t typically solo instruments. Armstrong, however, has been credited with reinventing the trumpet in the public consciousness. In the mid-1920s, as Armstrong tells it, the bandleader of an orchestra he played with said he “looked funny… with that stubby cornet.” The band’s other brass player played the trumpet, and Armstrong thought the sound of two trumpets sounded better. He started playing the trumpet as he would the cornet, with extensive improvisation and crowd-pleasing solos. He wasn’t the only jazz musician doing this, but as he rose to national prominence, his inventive style helped change public opinion about what a trumpet could sound like.

 

4. He Used to Play in a Silent Movie Orchestra

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In the mid-1920s, Armstrong played with Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra — the same band that inspired him to pick up a trumpet. The Big Band ensemble was one of the early players on Chicago’s jazz scene and performed at the Vendome Theatre in Chicago, providing accompaniment and intermission entertainment for silent films. Armstrong not only played jazz solos, but also performed operatic arias.

 

5. Lip Injuries Were a Common Ailment for Armstrong

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There was one bad habit Armstrong picked up at the Waif’s Home: a poor embouchure that proved unsafe for his face. Bad form is especially dangerous with brass instruments, including cornets and trumpets, because shifting one’s embouchure is fundamental to playing a melody, requiring near-constant lip and tongue movement. According to Armstrong, the damage started early in his career. “In my teens, playing in that honky tonk all night long, I split my lip wide open,” Armstrong recalled in a 1966 Life interview. “Split my lip so bad in Memphis, there’s meat still missing. Happened many times. Awful. Blood run all down my shirt.” While some of his peers sought professional help and even plastic surgery, Satchmo treated his lips using home remedies. He had a special salve he’d apply to his lips, and when callouses built up, he’d shave them down himself with a razor and take some time away from performing. One particularly nasty split in 1935 took him offstage for a year. While embouchure overuse syndrome can be common among brass players, it’s perhaps associated with Armstrong more than any other musician. Some doctors even use the term Satchmo syndrome for a tear in the lip muscle.

 

6. Armstrong Insisted on Adding Singing to His Act

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Armstrong is almost as well known today for his distinctive, gravelly singing voice as he is for his trumpet skill. While he formed a vocal quartet with other kids in his neighborhood and sang in a choir at the Waif’s Home, Satchmo built his early career on the cornet and later the trumpet, not singing. In 1924, he joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, then a big name in the New York City music scene, for an engagement at the Roseland Ballroom. Armstrong asked repeatedly to sing, yet recalled that Henderson wasn’t interested. But according to jazz drummer Kaiser Marshall, Satchmo found a way to sneak it in anyway: Roseland would host a Thursday revue of amateur performers (similar to an open mic), and one night Armstrong went on stage and performed “Everybody Loves My Baby,” both on cornet and vocals. Marshall recalled that “the crowd surely went for it … from then on they used to cry for Louis every Thursday night.”

 

7. “What A Wonderful World” Took 20 Years to Reach the U.S. Charts

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Armstrong’s most popular song, “What a Wonderful World,” topped the British music charts upon its 1967 release, staying at No. 1 for 13 weeks. The inspiring tune was a hit elsewhere in Europe and South Africa, too, but because the president of Armstrong’s record company, Larry Newton, disliked the song, the record was never actually promoted in the United States. According to the song’s co-writer and producer Bob Thiele, it didn’t even crack 1,000 copies in the U.S. after its initial release. But in 1987, 16 years after Armstrong’s death, “What a Wonderful World” was featured in the film Good Morning Vietnam. Only then did the song reach the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at No. 33. The original album was re-released and certified gold. Armstrong was drawn to the song because it reminded him of Corona, Queens, where he and his last wife Lucille settled down permanently in 1942. “Lucille and I, ever since we’re married, we’ve been right there in that block,” Armstrong said in 1968, according to the Louis Armstrong House. “And everybody keeps their little homes up like we do and it’s just like one big family. I saw three generations come up on that block. And they’re all with their children, grandchildren, they come back to see Uncle Satchmo and Aunt Lucille. That’s why I can say, ‘I hear babies cry/I watch them grow /they’ll learn much more/than I’ll never know.’ … So when they hand me this ‘Wonderful World,’ I didn’t look no further, that was it.” Since then, the song has become a timeless classic, featured in many other films and shows and covered by artists such as Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder.

 

 

Source: Facts About Louis Armstrong  |  About Louis Armstrong

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Fact of the Day - BABY IN THE MAIL?

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Did you know... You used to be able to send children through U.S. mail.
You can send a lot of things in the mail, but you can’t send a person — at least not anymore. There was nothing preventing people from mailing their own children in the early days of the U.S. Postal Service’s parcel post service, and at least seven families took advantage of it. That includes the Beagues, an Ohio couple who in 1913 paid 15 cents in postage to mail their newborn son to his grandmother’s house a mile down the road. Beyond the novelty of it — when the parcel post service began on January 1, 1913, some were eager to see which packages they could get away with sending — it was a surprisingly practical way of getting one’s kiddo from point A to point B. To start with, many people in rural areas knew their postal carriers fairly well, which meant the children were simply walked or carried on often-short trips. In other instances, children traveled on trains as Railway Mail, but with stamps instead of (usually more expensive) train tickets. The longest known trip of a child through the mail occurred in 1915, when a six-year-old was sent 720 miles from Florida to Virginia — a lengthy trip that cost just 15 cents. Fortunately, there are no reports of children being injured by being sent through the mail. (Pictures of children in literal mailbags were staged.) The practice ended, as so many do, when certain higher-ups became aware of the loophole and decided to close it, also around 1915.


The world’s oldest working post office is in Scotland.

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First opened more than three centuries ago, the Sanquhar Post Office is the oldest working post office in the world. It’s been serving the people of Sanquhar, Scotland, since 1712 — just five years after Scotland and England unified. It remains popular among tourists, who enjoy having their letters marked with a “World’s Oldest Post Office” stamp. The future of the site is in doubt, however, as the current owners are looking to retire, and a new owner had yet to be found at the time of writing. The Sanquhar post office predates the entire United States Postal Service by 63 years; the USPS was established by the Second Continental Congress on July 26, 1775. (Interesting Facts)


When People Used the Postal Service to Mail Their Children
In the early days of U.S. parcel service, there weren’t clear guidelines about what you could and couldn’t mail.
by BECKY LITTLE | UPDATED: AUG 21, 2020 | ORIGINAL:JUN 13, 2018

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In January 1913, one Ohio couple took advantage of the U.S. Postal Service's new parcel service to make a very special delivery: their infant son. The Beagues paid 15 cents for his stamps and an unknown amount to insure him for $50, then handed him over to the mailman, who dropped the boy off at his grandmother’s house about a mile away. Regulations about what you could and couldn’t send through the mail were vague when post offices began accepting parcels over four pounds on January 1, 1913. People immediately started testing its limits by mailing eggs, bricks, snakes and other unusual “packages.” So were people allowed to mail their children? Technically, there was no postal regulation against it. “The first few years of parcel post service—it was a bit of a mess,” says Nancy Pope, head curator of history at the National Postal Museum. “You had different towns getting away with different things, depending on how their postmaster read the regulations.”

 

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Pope has found about seven instances of people mailing children between 1913 and 1915, beginning with the baby in Ohio. It wasn’t common to mail your children, yet for long distances, it would’ve been cheaper to buy the stamps to send a kid by Railway Mail than to buy her a ticket on a passenger train. In addition, people who mailed their children weren’t handing them over to a stranger. In rural areas, many families knew their mailman quite well. However, those two viral photos you might have seen online of postal workers carrying babies in their mailbag were staged photos, taken as a joke. A mailman might have carried a swaddled child who couldn’t walk, but he wouldn’t have let a diaper-wearing baby sit in a pile of people’s mail.

 

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May Pierstorff, who was sent through the mail. (Credit: Smithsonian National Postal Museum)

 

In the case of May Pierstorff, whose parents sent her to her grandparent’s house 73 miles away in February 1914, the postal worker who took her by Railway Mail train was a relative. The Idaho family paid 53 cents for the stamps that they put on their nearly six-year-old daughter’s coat. Yet after Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson heard about this incident—as well as another inquiry someone had made that month about mailing children—he officially banned postal workers from accepting humans as mail. Still, the new regulation didn’t immediately stop people from sending their children by post. A year later, a woman mailed her six-year-old daughter from her home in Florida to her father’s home in Virginia. At 720 miles, it was longest postal trip of any of the children Pope has identified, and cost 15 cents in stamps.

 

In August 1915, three-year-old Maud Smith made what appears to be the last journey of a child by U.S. post, when her grandparents mailed her 40 miles through Kentucky to visit her sick mother. After the story made the news, Superintendent John Clark of the Cincinnati division of the Railway Mail Service investigated, questioning why the postmaster in Caney, Kentucky, had allowed a child on a mail train when that was explicitly against regulations. “I don’t know if he lost his job, but he sure had some explaining to do,” Pope says. Though Maud seems to be the last successfully mailed child, others would later still tried to mail their children. In June 1920, First Assistant Postmaster General John C. Koons rejected two applications to mail children, noting that they couldn’t be classified as “harmless live animals,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

 

 

Source: Sending Children Through the Mail  |  Facts About Mailing Children

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day -  CAROLBURNETT SHOW

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Did you know... The Carol Burnett Show is an American variety/sketch comedy television show that originally ran on CBS from September 11, 1967, to March 29, 1978, for 279 episodes, and again with nine episodes in fall 1991. It starred Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. In 1975, frequent guest star Tim Conway became a regular after Waggoner left the series.[2] In 1977, Dick Van Dyke replaced Korman but it was agreed that he was not a match and he left after 10 episodes. (Wikipedia)

 

Fun Facts About The Carol Burnett Show
By Kara Kovalchik | Apr 26, 2018

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After a short stint in the New York theater world, comedienne Carol Burnett landed a job as a regular on The Garry Moore Show in 1959. She caught the attention of CBS executives, who offered her her own series in 1967. With her husband Joe Hamilton at the helm, Burnett broke new ground as the first female host of a TV variety show. The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 seasons and earned a handful of Emmy Awards in the process. To celebrate the legendary comedienne's 85th birthday, here are some fun facts about the show and the folks who made it so side-splittingly hilarious.

 

1. CAROL BURNETT’S MOTHER WANTED HER TO BE A WRITER.

As Carol Burnett painfully recalled later in life, whenever she’d expressed an interest in a career in the theater as a teen, her mother would always dissuade her and recommend that she would have better luck studying to become a writer. “You can always write, no matter what you look like,” she would add.

 

2. A TOTAL STRANGER HELPED TO LAUNCH BURNETT’S CAREER.
As she was nearing graduation from UCLA, Burnett and several fellow drama students were invited to a departing professor’s house to perform at his bon voyage party. She performed a scene from the musical Annie Get Your Gun and later that evening, while she was standing in the buffet line, a man she’d never seen before approached her and complimented her performance. He then inquired what she planned to do with her life. She confessed that she dreamed of going to New York one day for a career on the stage, but seeing that she barely had enough gas money to drive back to Los Angeles that evening, it would be a very long time before she’d make it to Broadway. The man told her he’d be happy to lend her $1000 to get her started, with three conditions: that she repay him without interest in five years, that she was never to reveal his identity, and that once she was successful she must pass a similar kindness along to another person in need. (After pondering the offer over the weekend and consulting her mother and grandmother—who advised her to steer clear of the strange man who was probably involved in human trafficking or something worse—she took a chance and accepted his check.)

 

3. VICKI LAWRENCE CAUGHT BURNETT’S ATTENTION BY WRITING HER A FAN LETTER

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When Vicki Lawrence cut her hair in a short “pixie” cut as a high school senior, many of her classmates commented on her resemblance to Carol Burnett. Lawrence’s somewhat overbearing stage mother encouraged her to write Burnett a letter, which she did, enclosing a photo and a newspaper article that mentioned her upcoming appearance in the Inglewood, California Miss Fireball Contest. To her surprise, a seven-months-pregnant Burnett showed up at the pageant to cheer her on. When Burnett had her baby, Lawrence took some flowers to the hospital, thinking she’d just drop them off. But when the nurse on duty saw her, she immediately mistook her for Burnett’s real-life half-sister Chrissie and exclaimed, “Wait until you see the baby!” and ushered her into Carol’s room.

 

4. LAWRENCE ENDED UP PLAYING BURNETT’S SISTER ON THE SHOW.

When they were casting The Carol Burnett Show, the star remembered the teen and hired her despite her lack of experience. At first her only role was in the recurring “Carol and Sis” sketch, in which Lawrence played “Chrissie,” Burnett’s younger sister. Lawrence recalled in her 1995 autobiography that Burnett was very nurturing to all her co-stars, making sure everyone got their share of the best jokes, but it was Harvey Korman who took her under his wing in the beginning and taught her about timing, dialects, and working with props.

 

5. THE Q&A AT THE BEGINNING WAS BURNETT’S HUSBAND’S IDEA.

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Joe Hamilton was not only Carol Burnett’s husband, he was also the show’s executive producer. It was traditional at the time (and still is, in some cases) to have a stand-up comic step onstage before a show to tell some jokes and “warm up” the audience. Hamilton was wary of going that route, however; as Burnett later recalled, “He worried, ‘What if the guy is funnier than the rest of you?’” He thought it would be a good ice-breaker if Burnett herself went out front before the proceedings to welcome the audience and answer a couple of questions. Over the next 11 seasons, the question that she was asked the most was “Can you do your Tarzan yell?

 

6. BURNETT ONCE USED HER TARZAN YELL AS A FORM OF IDENTIFICATION.
While shopping for nylon stockings at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman one day, the saleswoman recognized Burnett and asked for her autograph for her grandchildren. When it came time to check out, Burnett realized that she didn’t have her credit card or driver’s license in her wallet. She inquired if she could write a check. “I’ll have to see some ID,” replied the woman who’d requested an autograph just moments before. The floor manager intervened and told Burnett that she’d accept her check if Burnett would do her Tarzan yell. Burnett complied, prompting a security guard to kick open a nearby door, burst in and point his gun at her.

 

7. LYLE WAGONNER WAS THE FIRST CENTERFOLD IN PLAYGIRL MAGAZINE.

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Joe Hamilton was looking for a handsome, “Rock Hudson-type” when casting the announcer for his wife’s show. Former encyclopedia salesman Lyle Waggoner landed the job not only due to his devastating good looks, but also because he had a good sense of humor about how pretty he was. He was even good-natured about the teasing he got from his castmates after posing for the centerfold of Playgirl magazine’s premiere issue in 1973.

 

8. HARVEY KORMAN WAS THE FIRST CAST MEMBER HIRED.
The producers wanted a “Harvey Korman-type” for Burnett’s second banana, but didn’t bother to actually ask Korman if he was interested in the job because he was already a regular on The Danny Kaye Show, and most likely he wouldn’t leave a steady job for an unproven new show. Burnett herself spotted Korman in the CBS parking lot one day and “practically threw him over the hood of a car” begging him to join her show. Unbeknownst to her, Kaye’s show was about to get the axe after a four-year run, so Korman cheerfully accepted her offer shortly after that first meeting.

 

9. TIM CONWAY RARELY FOLLOWED HIS SCRIPT.
Conway had been a frequent guest star on the show, and when Lyle Waggoner decided to leave the show in 1974 (he felt that he was being “underused”), Conway was hired to replace him the following year. Conway was legendary for veering off-script and ad-libbing for lengthy stretches, to the amusement of some of his co-stars (Korman) and annoyance of others (Lawrence, who sometimes resented Conway’s disruptions and spotlight-hogging). Lawrence finally slipped her own ad-lib in on one memorable occasion, as Conway rambled on and on about an elephant during a “Family” sketch. Her NSFW remark brought the rest of the cast to their knees and was said to be Dick Clark’s favorite all-time outtake on his Bloopers and Practical Jokes TV show.

 

10. MRS. WIGGINS WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AS AN ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

 

Conway created the Mr. Tudball/Mrs. Wiggins characters and wrote (or ad-libbed) many of their sketches. His original concept had Mrs. Wiggins being ancient, slow, and forgetful. But costume designer Bob Mackie decided that Burnett had played too many “old lady” characters on the show and designed a very voluptuous look for her instead. He explained at the time that he had certain “ditzy” CBS secretaries in mind when he stitched the curvy costume together.

 

11. THE SHOW THAT BECAME MAMA’S FAMILY STARTED OUT AS A MUCH DARKER ONE-OFF SKETCH.
A sketch called “The Reunion,” which originally aired in March of 1974, featured the characters that eventually became known as “The Family.” In this initial installment, Roddy McDowall played Phillip Harper, the successful younger brother of Eunice, returning home for a visit after winning a Pulitzer Prize. The family members were far crankier and more argumentative (and perhaps more representative of actual family life as they talked over one another and changed topics as soon as a thought occurred to them) than the cartoonish characters they eventually came to be on the syndicated series Mama’s Family. The piece proved to be so popular that 30 more “Family” sketches appeared over the next four seasons, with such guest stars as Alan Alda and Betty White turning up as members of the extended Harper family.

 

12. IT WAS BURNETT’S IDEA TO MAKE EUNICE AND HER FAMILY SOUTHERN.
The creators of "The Family" sketch were The Carol Burnett Show staff writers Jenna McMahon and Dick Clair. McMahon hailed from Kansas City, Missouri, and envisioned the Harpers to be of typical Midwestern stock, but as Burnett read the initial script she heard her own Texan and Arkansan family members speaking. She started speaking the lines with a pronounced Southern drawl, and Vicki Lawrence soon followed suit.

 

13. DICK VAN DYKE WAS A REGULAR FOR A SHORT TIME.
Harvey Korman left The Carol Burnett Show at the end of season 10 to star in his own sitcom on ABC.  (The Harvey Korman Show was cancelled after five episodes.) Dick Van Dyke was brought in as a replacement, but he was never a very good fit. As Burnett commented after the fact, “When Harvey put on a wig and a dress, he became a woman; when Dick Van Dyke did it, he was Dick Van Dyke in a wig and a dress.” Van Dyke wasn’t overjoyed with the job, either; he lived in Arizona at the time and the monthly 4000-mile commute was exhausting. He was released from his contract in November 1977.

 

14. BURNETT’S “WENT WITH THE WIND” CURTAIN ROD DRESS WAS BOB MACKIE’S BRAINSTORM.

 

 

Burnett’s Gone with the Wind parody has made many “funniest shows of all time” lists over the years, and one of the defining moments of the sketch was when Carol (as "Starlett O’Hara”) descends the stairs at Tara wearing the green velvet drapes with the curtain rod still in them and admits, “I saw it in a window and I couldn’t resist.” The original script called for Burnett to have the curtains tossed haphazardly over her shoulders, but Mackie decided that it would be funnier to create an actual dress and leave the hanger intact across her shoulders. He is slightly bitter all these years later that of all his magnificent creations, that “joke” dress has become his signature piece; of all the memorable glamorous gowns he’s created for celebrities over the decades, that curtain rod dress is the one that hangs in the Smithsonian.

 

15. CONWAY’S FAMOUS “DENTIST” SKIT WAS BASED ON AN ACTUAL INCIDENT.

 

When Conway was in the Army having some work done on his teeth, the dentist accidentally injected his own thumb with Novocain. Conway exaggerated the experience to hilarious effect in a classic skit that left Harvey Korman struggling to contain his laughter. During a 2013 interview, Conway told Conan O’Brien that Korman actually wet himself from laughing so hard.

 

16. THERE WAS ONLY ONE CELEBRITY GUEST THAT BURNETT WAS NEVER ABLE TO BOOK.
Over the 11 seasons the show ran, a veritable “Who’s Who” of the entertainment industry did a guest turn, from Steve Martin to Julie Andrews to then-governor Ronald Reagan to Robin Williams to Ethel Merman. The only guest who Burnett dearly wanted to have but never did get was Bette Davis. Davis was willing to appear but demanded more money that the show had budgeted. Joe Hamilton advised his wife that if they gave in to Davis’s demand, it would set an unpleasant precedent.

 

 

Source: Wikipedida - The Carol Burnett Show  |  Fascinating Facts About The Carol Burnett Show

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Fact of the Day - VIKINGS

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Did you know.... Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets. Forget almost every Viking warrior costume you’ve ever seen. Sure, the pugnacious Norsemen probably sported headgear, but that whole horn-festooned helmet look? Depictions dating from the Viking age don’t show it, and the only authentic Viking helmet ever discovered is decidedly horn-free. Painters seem to have fabricated the trend during the 19th century, perhaps inspired by descriptions of northern Europeans by ancient Greek and Roman chroniclers. Long before the Vikings’ time, Norse and Germanic priests did indeed wear horned helmets for ceremonial purposes. (JENNIE COHEN | UPDATED: SEP 4, 2018 | ORIGINAL: FEB 18, 2013)

 

Unknown Facts About the Vikings

by Interesting Facts

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The Vikings are mostly known as a group of aggressive invaders who pillaged and plundered their way from Scandinavia to other European nations from about the eighth to the 11th century. In fact, the word "Viking" means “pirate invader” in the Old Norse language. Though they were a fearsome lot, the Vikings were also skilled boatbuilders and seafarers who sailed to other lands for many reasons, seeking riches and profitable trade routes. Historians have uncovered former Viking sites as far away as Iceland, Greenland, and Canada that reveal fascinating history about historic civilizations. Here are six things about the Vikings you might not know.

 

1. Not All Vikings Came From Scandinavia

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Sweden, Norway, and Denmark receive most of the attention regarding Viking history, but a group of warriors known as the Oeselians lived on a large island called Ösel. Known as Saaremaa today, the island is located off Estonia’s coast in the Baltic Sea. According to 13th-century Estonian documents, Oeselians built merchant ships and warships that could carry about 30 men each. In 2008, workers inadvertently discovered a burial ground in the town of Salme that included human remains, along with swords, spears, knives, axes, and other weapons. Archaeologists excavated the site (and later a second site nearby) and found the remains of two Swedish ships dating to about 750 CE. One ship contained neatly ordered remains and the other more haphazard, indicating battles had taken place. Archaeologists believe the two ships likely carried Swedish Vikings who met their end while attacking the Oeselians.

 

2. Latvian Vikings Were Known as the “Last Pagans”

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Another tribe of fierce Viking warriors, the Curonians, lived along the Baltic coastline of modern-day Latvia starting around the fifth century CE. The Curonians were referred to as Europe’s last pagans, since they resisted all attempts to convert to Christianity long after neighboring nations did so — by some accounts, they practiced ancient rituals into the 19th century. They frequently raided Swedish settlements and attacked merchant ships, often forming alliances with other groups, including the nearby Oeselians. The Curonians were also among the region’s wealthiest groups, primarily due to the trade of amber (precious fossilized tree resin). The Baltic region contains vast amounts of amber, nicknamed “the gold of the North,” and Baltic amber was once traded all over Europe and northern Africa. One of the Curonians’ primary settlements, Seeburg, was along the Baltic coast in modern-day Grobina. There, you can visit the Curonian Viking Settlement, an attraction that immerses visitors in folklore and activities such as archery, boat trips, and excursions to visit historical sites.

 

3. Vikings Established the Kingdom of Dublin

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Ireland once contained many wealthy monasteries, since it had been a Christian nation for about three centuries before the first Vikings’ arrival late in the eighth century CE. At first, the Vikings either traded with or marauded Irish monasteries and set up temporary camps. Around 840 CE, they established a year-round settlement and built a wooden fort (called a longphort) along the River Liffey bank in modern-day Dublin. The Vikings used the settlement as a base to raid inland settlements and obtain timber to build ships. Over the next three centuries, they formed alliances and fought battles with local rulers, establishing the Kingdom of Dublin. Dublin became a strategic and bustling trading port and one of the longest-lasting Viking settlements outside Scandinavia. Construction workers initially discovered two extensive Viking settlements in Dublin, one at Wood Quay and the other at Christ Church Cathedral. Dublin embraces its Viking history, and one of the best ways to experience it is by visiting Dublinia, a museum and historic area that hosts festivals. The National Museum of Ireland also houses many artifacts and a Viking Age exhibit.

 

4. Normandy Is Named for the Vikings

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According to medieval Latin documents, Normandy (a province in northwestern France) is named for the Vikings that pillaged, plundered, and later settled here beginning around 790 CE. The Latin name for them was Notmanni, which means “men of the North.” Defenseless monasteries were often their first targets, and a Danish Viking expedition even sailed up the Seine River to raid and occupy Paris in 845 CE. After a French king ceded land to him in 911 CE, a Viking leader named Rollo established a permanent settlement in the region, which became known as the Duchy of Normandy. The Normandy territory expanded over the next several hundred years as Scandinavian Vikings colonized the area. They eventually gave up their paganism for Christianity and integrated into society. Rollo’s descendants built a stronghold and, later, around 927 CE, a palace in Fecámp, which you can visit today. Fecámp overlooks a protected harbor (the likely site where Rollo first came ashore), making it easy to visualize a fleet of Viking ships bobbing on anchors.

 

5. Vikings Settled Iceland

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Unsurprisingly, when these medieval seafaring raiders invaded an area, they encountered resistance from the Indigenous populations. But when Norwegian Vikings arrived in Iceland in 870 CE, the only inhabitants they found were a small group of Irish monks, who left soon after. The Vikings discovered Iceland by accident when they were blown off course during storms. Once word reached Norway that Iceland was open for the taking, settlers descended on the island, bringing with them enslaved peoples from the British Isles. DNA testing and genealogy studies have shown that early Icelanders were about half Norse (from Norway and Sweden) and half Gaelic (from Ireland and Scotland). By 930 CE, the settlers had divided Iceland into 36 principalities, formed the Althing (assembly of free men), and adopted a Norwegian law code to establish a commonwealth. Two surviving texts from the 12th and 13th centuries, the Íslendingabók (Book of the Icelanders) and the Landnámabók (Book of the Settlements), detail these early activities. Surprisingly, the Norse language hasn’t changed much over the centuries, and Icelanders today can still understand their Viking ancestors' language. You can find historic and replicated Viking sites, artifacts, and festivals all over Iceland if you visit today.

 

6. Greenland’s Vikings Disappeared

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A Norwegian Viking known as Erik the Red was the first European to settle in Greenland in 983 CE. Two years later, he led an expedition of Icelandic settlers to Greenland, about 900 miles away. The settlers established two communities, the East Settlement near present-day Qaqortoq and the West Settlement near Nuuk. For the next 300 years or so, the settlers successfully farmed, fished, raised cattle, and hunted caribou, seals, walruses, polar bears, and other Arctic animals. However, Greenland couldn’t provide all the resources (such as timber and iron) they needed, so Greenlanders relied on trade with European nations. During this time, Europeans began importing ivory, which they used to decorate churches and make chess pieces and other trinkets. Greenland’s walrus population was plentiful at the time, and Greenlanders collaborated in groups to hunt walruses for their skins and tusks. The island nation’s success was mostly due to a bustling ivory trade. Then a series of events in the 13th century led to the demise of Greenland’s Viking settlements. Greenland winters became harsher and storms more frequent, making it exceedingly dangerous to hunt and export ivory in treacherous seas. The longer winters shortened the already short farming season, creating food scarcities. Meanwhile, African elephant tusks became a competing source for ivory, collapsing the Greenland market. On top of that, the Black Plague was sweeping across Europe, further reducing the ivory demand and disrupting Greenland’s ability to survive. Archaeologists and historians believe that many of Greenland’s impoverished inhabitants died over time (many drowned at sea), and the others simply left and went to North America, Iceland, or Europe. By the end of the 14th century, the Norse settlements were vacant.

 

 

Source: Things You May Not Know About the Vikings  |  Facts About Vikings

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Fact of the Day - MOUNT KILIMANJARO

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Did you know.... Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable mountains. This Tanzanian giant has featured prominently in explorers’ accounts, literature, and films. (by Nick | December 6, 2021)

 

Things You Might Not Know About Mount Kilimanjaro

by Interesting Facts

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Towering 19,340 feet above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is not only the highest mountain in Africa, but also the highest freestanding mountain in the world (meaning it is not part of a larger mountain range). This mighty, snow-capped landform — rising dramatically from the plains of Tanzania in East Africa — was declared a national park in 1973 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Given these stats, it’s no surprise that Kilimanjaro is popular with climbers — around 30,000 people attempt to reach the summit each year. Mount Kilimanjaro may be one of the planet’s most famous peaks, but here are eight facts you might not know.

 

1. Mount Kilimanjaro Is Formed of Three Volcanoes

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Mount Kilimanjaro actually consists of three stratovolcanoes running from northwest to southeast, and its three peaks are volcanic cones. Kilimanjaro’s highest peak, Uhuru, is found on one of these cones, named Kibo. Though the other two cones, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct, Kibo is technically dormant. Volcanologists believe the last major eruption of Kilimanjaro took place several thousands of years ago in the Pleistocene era, but fumarolic activity within some of Kibo’s summit craters proves that there’s still a slim chance of a future eruption.

 

2. Mount Kilimanjaro Is Where You’ll Find Africa’s Tallest Tree

In 2016, New Scientist reported that a 267-foot-tall Entandrophragma excelsum tree was discovered in a remote valley on Kilimanjaro, making it the tallest known tree in Africa. Fertile volcanic soils coupled with warm temperatures and ample rainfall have allowed the specimen, and others near it, to thrive. Though it’s dwarfed by the tallest trees in North America and Australia, such heights aren’t the norm in Africa. Scientists are now advocating that territory covered by nearby Kilimanjaro National Park be expanded to include the valley, to better protect the extraordinary trees from threats such as logging.

 

3. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Is Part of the Seven Summits Challenge

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Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits — the highest peaks on each continent, which form the basis of one of the world’s most prestigious mountaineering challenges. American businessman Richard D. Bass became the first person to summit all seven on April 30, 1985, when he conquered his seventh peak, Mount Everest. Climbers have been trying to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro since the late 19th century, and a German man named Hans Meyer and his Austrian climbing partner Ludwig Purtscheller made the first documented successful climb to the summit by a European. It was Meyer’s second attempt — two years before that record-breaking climb, a wall of ice prevented him from reaching the top. Together with local guide Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, the two climbers made history at Kilimanjaro’s summit on  October 6, 1889.

 

4. Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro Is Arduous, but Not as Technical as You Might Think

There’s no question that reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro is difficult, but the level of difficulty depends on the path you choose. There are seven routes to the top: Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit, and Umbwe. Marangu’s popularity stems from its relatively gentle gradient and the availability of accommodations on the trail. Lemosho is considered a much tougher climb, but many say that the scenery is better along the way. Umbwe is short at just 23 miles, but steep. On the other hand, the Northern Circuit covers 56 miles. If you are reasonably fit, Kilimanjaro is not as technical a climb as some of the world’s taller mountains, though you’ll still need to tackle a diverse range of environments — including forest, moorland, scree slopes, and rock faces — as you ascend.

 

5. The Fastest Climb to the Top Was Just Under Seven Hours

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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro typically takes between five and 10 days, though it’s often much quicker for elite athletes. In fact, the current record holder is Swiss-Ecuadorian climber Karl Egloff, who managed the round-trip journey to the summit in an incredible 6 hours and 42 minutes. However, racing to the top is not recommended — the risk of debilitating altitude sickness is significantly reduced for those who trek more carefully. And for most people, it’s no walk in the park. Many have failed in their attempts to reach the top, among them former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

 

6. Ernest Hemingway Never Actually Climbed Kilimanjaro

In The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway opens with the words: “Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.” But Hemingway only viewed Kilimanjaro from its base. His inspiration for this short story came from a photograph taken by a prolific climber named Richard Reusch. In 1926, Reusch stumbled across the animal Hemingway describes at about 18,500 feet above sea level on the crater rim, and captured the moment in a famous photograph. Today, the part of the crater where the creature was spotted is nicknamed Leopard Point.

 

7. Kilimanjaro Has Hosted Several Record-Breaking Sporting Events

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In September 2014, a group of international cricketers set a world record for the highest-altitude cricket match when they played at Kilimanjaro’s Crater Camp. Among the players who participated were fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who represented South Africa during his career, and former England spinner Ashley Giles. A few years later, women’s soccer reached new heights with a game played at 18,700 feet above sea level. The 30 players — hailing from 20 different countries — carried goal posts and nets up the mountain and marked out the pitch with flour to minimize harm to the mountain’s precious ecosystem. The 90-minute game ended in a goalless draw.

 

8. The Mountain Has Hosted Many Other Stunts, Often for Charitable Causes

To advertise the opening of the first Pizza Hut in Tanzania in 2016, pepperoni pizza was delivered to employees and guides waiting at the summit of Kilimanjaro. The pizza was cooked in a Dar Es Salaam restaurant and flown to a local airport before being carried up the mountain on foot. An official representing Guinness World Records approved the feat as the highest-altitude pizza delivery ever made. Even straightforward climbs of Kilimanjaro haven’t always been, well, straight forward. Sanjay Pandit from Nepal reached the summit and returned to the foot of the mountain walking backward the entire way. More importantly, climbing Kilimanjaro can be an effective way of highlighting worthy causes in the media and raising money for charity, particularly when celebrities are involved. Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, climbed dressed as a rhino to raise awareness for the Save the Rhino Foundation. And each year, members of Wings of Kilimanjaro climb Kilimanjaro and paraglide back down to raise money for causes such as digging wells and building schools in Tanzania.

 

 

Source: Interesting Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro  |  Mount Kilimanjaro, What You Might Not Know

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - THUMBS

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Did you know... that Thumbs have their own pulse.
If you’ve ever seen someone track their pulse (in real life or on a crime drama), you’ll notice that the index and middle finger are always pressed on the neck’s carotid artery, which is responsible for transporting blood to the brain. There’s a reason why doctors (and actors who play doctors on TV) use these fingers and not, say, their thumbs. While your thumb is good for many things, taking your pulse isn’t one of them. Unlike the other four digits, the thumb has its own exclusive artery, the princeps pollicis, which makes it biologically unreliable as a pulse reader — because you’ll feel it pulse instead of the artery in your neck. Among the 34 muscles, 29 bones, and three major nerves in the hand, there are also two key arteries supplying blood to the area: the ulnar and the radial. The ulnar artery branches at the wrist into a network of blood supply vessels called the superficial palmar arch, which then branches to supply blood to the top four fingers. The radial artery, meanwhile, branches at the wrist into the deep palmer arch, which then branches into the princeps pollicis artery, sending blood to the thumb. But today, there are more modern methods of tracking your pulse that use technology in lieu of touch. The Apple Watch, one of the most popular consumer fitness-tracking devices, relies on a process called “photoplethysmography,” which leverages the fact that blood reflects red light and absorbs green light. The watch uses green LED lights that flash hundreds of times per second, as well as light-sensitive photodiodes that help measure the amount of green-light absorption, and thus blood flow and pulse — no fingers (and definitely no thumbs) required.

 

Thumbs gave humans a significant evolutionary advantage.

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Of the many biological advantages human evolution has brought us, two of the biggest are our brains and our thumbs. While the utility of our brain is pretty obvious, it’s our opposable thumbs that do much of the work of day-to-day life. In fact, some scientists credit our thumbs as a driving force behind human culture. Around 3 million years ago, early hominids such as Australopithecines used primitive tools — basically just sticks and rocks — and possessed hands similar to a chimp’s. A million years later, as our early ancestors began migrating out of Africa, increased manual dexterity thanks to improved opposable thumbs gave rise to more complex culture, because of the variety of tools these early species could now manipulate. Eventually, starting some 300,000 years ago or so, Homo sapiens began grasping all the tools that make modern life possible — whether a philosopher’s quill, a carpenter’s hammer, a warrior’s weapon, or a TikToker’s iPhone. (Interesting Facts)

 

Facts About the Thumb
By Jordan Rosenfeld | Jul 19, 2017

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When it comes to the fingers on your hand, the thumb definitely does its own thing. Thumbs only have two bones, so they're obviously shorter, and they play a very important role that no other finger can claim; thanks to their unique saddle-like joint shape, and a little muscle known as the abductor pollicis brevis, you can bend and stretch your thumbs opposite your fingers to grip things. This is why they're known as "opposable thumbs." To bring you these 11 facts about the thumb, Mental Floss spoke with three experts on this unique digit: Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston; Loren Fishman, medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in NYC; and Ryan Katz, attending hand surgeon at the Curtis Hand Center, located at the Medstar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

 

1. OPPOSABLE THUMBS MAY HAVE FREED UP OUR ANCESTORS' MOUTHS FOR LANGUAGE.
The evolution of a thumb helped our ancestors evolve to be better at defense, allowing for throwing and clubbing activities. Moreover, Fishman says, it may have even contributed to our cognitive function. "Some say this is why we have language," he says, "because we can hold things in our hands and [therefore] use our mouths for something else—such as discussing the functions of the thumb."

 

2. THUMBS HAVE THEIR OWN PULSE.
You might have noticed that medical professionals take a pulse with the middle and index finger. The reason is because there's a big artery in the thumb, the princeps pollicis artery, and arteries pulse, making it difficult to feel a pulse in a neck if you're using your thumb.

 

3. THE THUMB SEPARATES US FROM OTHER ANIMALS. MOSTLY.

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"The thumb is wonderful. It evolved in such a way that we can use it to do so many amazing things, and it's one of the things that separates us from other animals," Bergin says. A handful of other animals, mostly primates, have opposable thumbs, or toes, as the case may be. These include orangutans, chimpanzees, a phylum of frogs known as phyllomedusa, some lemurs, and giant pandas—although their thumb-like apparatus is really just an extra sesamoid bone that acts like a thumb.

 

4. TOES CAN BECOME THUMBS.
If you should lose a thumb, fear not, says Katz. "It can be rebuilt by surgeons using your big toe." This specialized surgery uses microvascular surgery techniques to transfer your big toe to your hand, where it will function almost exactly as your thumb did. "The toe is then brought to life by sewing together small arteries and veins under a microscope," Katz says, a complicated surgery that has become vastly more sophisticated over the years. The second toe can be used too, as you can see in this medical journal, but we warn you: It's not for the faint of heart.

 

5. … BUT IS A THUMB WORTH LOSING A TOE OVER?
It may not seem like a big deal to lose one thumb—after all, you've got another one. But Katz cites the American Medical Association's "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment" [PDF], which states your thumb is so important that a complete amputation "will result in a 40 percent impairment to the whole hand." In fact, they claim that it would take "a complete amputation of the middle, ring, and small fingers to equal the impairment of an amputated thumb."

 

6. IT'S BETTER THAN HAVING YOUR HAND SEWN TO YOUR FOOT.
Katz also points out that "there used to be a common surgical procedure for thumb reconstruction, where the patient's hand was sewn to their foot for a period of time." This procedure was called the Nicoladani procedure, after the German surgical innovator Carol Nicoladoni. "It was a precursor to transplant surgery and plastic or reconstructive surgery as we know it today," he says.

 

7. YOUR THUMB MAKES AN ASTONISHINGLY WIDE VARIETY OF MOTIONS.

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Other than pinching and grasping, Katz points out that the thumb "translates, rotates, and flexes all at once." This coordinated set of motions provides strength and dexterity. "Thus it's the thumb that allows us to easily pen an essay, turn a nut, pick up a coin, or button a shirt."

 

8. THAT DEXTERITY ALSO MAKES IT FRAGILE.
The thumb may appear to only have two knuckles, but it actually has a third, right above the wrist. This is called the first carpometacarpal joint. If that starts to hurt, or gets big enough to look like a bump or a mass, you may have carpometacarpal joint disorder (CMC), a common condition that is partly genetic and partly from repetitive use, according to Bergin. "You can get arthritis in the other joints, too, but this one is the most debilitating," she says. "First it becomes painful, and then you lose the ability to use it." Surgery can help with the pain, but it won't restore full mobility.

 

9. PAIN IN YOUR THUMB MAY REQUIRE LIFESTYLE CHANGES.
Bergin suggests small lifestyle changes so you don't need to grip anything too hard can make a huge difference, such as buying milk jugs with handles or using an electric toothbrush. "There are a lot of things we can do [to help] on a daily basis that shouldn't affect our quality of life," she suggests.

 

10. SWIPING RIGHT MIGHT BE DANGEROUS.
While we generally associate thumb arthritis with older people, Bergin says she now sees it in people in their forties and even thirties. Other studies have suggested that frequent phone use can be damaging. "There must be a genetic component to premature wearing of the thumb," she says. If it runs in your family, it's a good idea to be proactive and try to avoid repetitive gripping activities.

 

11. WHAT IT MEANS IF YOUR THUMB IS NUMB.

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If instead of pain you're experiencing numbness of the thumb that extends to your index and middle fingers, you may be showing early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, this isn't an emergency. "The condition takes a long time to become a big problem" Bergin says. People can sometimes help the condition by wearing wrist braces and getting physical therapy. If you just can't take it, "you can get surgery at any point if you failed to improve with bracing," she says. The surgery can reduce mobility, but it should take away the numbness and pain.

 

 

Source: Facts About Our Thumb  |  Thumb Facts

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Fact of the Day - MINIATURE HORSES

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Did you know... Everyone knows that miniature is better. There are mini cupcakes, mini gingerbread houses, mini champagnes—the list goes on. Bite-size versions of our favorite food and drink are not alone though; this love proclamation of all things tiny holds true with animals, too. And so we say just two words to you: Miniature. Horses. These pint-sized equines are enough to make your voice go up an octave in excitement and wish you were pint-sized once more yourself to enjoy just one more pony ride. Even if you're already familiar with mini horses, there's a lot more to them than their small size suggests. Here are all the adorable mini horse facts your heart could ever desire. (BY LAUREN ADHAV | JAN 29, 2016)

 

Things You've Always Wondered About Miniature Horses
By Hannah Keyser | May 13, 2015

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You know they're tiny, adorable and popular with the citizens of fictional Pawnee, Ind., but here are some things you might still be wondering about miniature horses.

 

1. HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN AROUND?

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Despite some persistent myths to the contrary, mini horses are not directly related to the ancient eohippus, which stood just 1 to 2 feet tall. Those, and other prehistoric precursors to the horse, have been extinct for many millions of years. Instead, the modern miniature horse was specifically bred for its size several times throughout history, with the first known example dating to the 1650s when King Louis XIV of France kept mini horses in his menagerie at Versailles. In other instances, the smallest horses have been bred to one another for the sake of creating circus novelties, workhorses for the narrow mines of both England and America, and most recently as popular pets. The first recorded mention of a mini in America came in 1888, when a lone mini measuring just 31 inches tall at the withers (the top of the shoulder) was discovered amongst a heard of Shetland ponies. He was given the name Yum Yum.

 

2. WHAT CONSTITUTES A "MINI" HORSE, AND WHY AREN'T THEY "PONIES" RATHER THAN "HORSES"? 

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Technically, any member of Equus caballus under 14 hands 2 inches (a hand is four inches) is classified as a pony. But because most minis display a typical horse phenotype with physical features like longer, thinner legs, they are classified as horses and not ponies. The height cutoff for a mini is 38 inches for the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) and 34 inches for the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR). Anything taller than 38 inches is a Shetland pony. And at exactly 38 inches? He can be registered in both AMHR and American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC). There is no bottom limit for their size, although many of the most extreme examples have their growth stunted by a form of dwarfism that can cause significant medical complications. The smallest living horse, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006, is Thumbelina, a miniature sorrel brown mare from St. Louis, Mo. who measures 17.5 inches.

 

 

 

3. WHAT ARE SOME ADVANTAGES TO THEIR VERTICALLY-CHALLENGED STATURE?

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Thumbelina - a Dwarf mare
Just like smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds, mini horses, on average, outlive their normal-sized brethren. Their average lifespan is around 30 years old, and the oldest known mini was a dwarf named Angel, who was just under 2 feet tall and lived to be over 50. Plus, they need less food and require less space than normal-sized horses.

 

4. WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH MINI HORSES?

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Plenty of people keep them as pets. They can't be ridden by anyone except a small child, but they are able to pull carts and buggies with adult drivers. Because of their compact size, mini horses are potential candidates for serving as guide animals. In addition to appealing to horse-lovers, using minis in place of dogs has several benefits, including their longer life spans, which means they can serve as a guide and companion for over 30 years. Not every mini has what it takes to be a guide horse, however. Even before training can begin, the horses must pass an intelligence test to ensure that they have potential. Other minis have found work as volunteers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. There are several horses owned and employed by the Sheriff’s Department, where their job is to accompany officers to events at schools and libraries to help ease the introduction of law enforcement to children. Another popular use for minis is to visit hospitals as a therapy animal.

 

5. AND WHAT ABOUT LI'L SEBASTIAN FROM PARKS AND RECREATION? WHAT'S HIS DEAL?

 

Unlike many animal roles, Li'l Sebastian was played by a single miniature horse named Gideon, who has also appeared in Hart of Dixie, Daddy Day Care and a slew of commercials. When he's not working, he lives on a 150-acre ranch in Piru, Calif. Gideon's trainer, Morgan Bateman of A-List Animals, still has the eulogy and funeral pamphlet—full of actual Li'l Sebastian trivia—following the fictional horse's memorial service. Now, Gideon's living on a ranch with other movie horses, waiting for another call from Hollywood.

 

 

Source: Miniature Horse Facts  |  Brief Facts About Miniature Horses

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Fact of the Day - PIZZA

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Did you know.... Pizza is a dish of Italian origin consisting of a usually round, flat base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients, which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven. A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta. (Wikipedia)

 

Mouthwatering Facts About Pizza
By Anna Green | Aug 28, 2019 | Updated: Jan 12, 2020

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If you live in the United States, it’s statistically likely you’ll eat around 6000 slices of pizza over the course of your life. But how much do you actually know about that delicious combo of dough, cheese, and sauce? Where did pizza come from? What makes a great slice? Whether you’re a fan of thin crust, deep dish, or the New York slice, here are 50 facts that’ll tell you everything you need to know about pizza.

 

1. The word pizza dates back to 997 CE.
The word pizza dates back over a thousand years; it was first mentioned in a Latin text written in southern Italy in 997 CE.

 

2. The Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas was one of the first people to take note of the pizza trend.

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In 1835, Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, traveled to Naples, where he observed that the Neapolitan poor ate nothing but watermelon during the summer and pizza during the winter.

 

3. America's first pizza parlor is still operating today.
The first pizza place in America was Lombardi’s in New York City. Originally opened as a grocery store, Lombardi’s started selling pizza in 1905.

 

4. Pizza's popularity in the United States began with Italian immigrants.

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During the first few decades of the 20th century, pizza was predominantly eaten and sold by working class Italian immigrants.

 

5. GIs were partly responsible for building pizza to America.
But after World War II, American GIs came home from Italy with a craving for pizza, bringing the food to a broader consumer base for the first time.

 

6. America's pizza craze began on the east coast.

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The first American cities to start selling pizza were New York; Boston; New Haven, Connecticut; and Trenton, New Jersey. All four of these cities had an influx of Southern Italian immigrants around the turn of the century.

 

7. Pizzas were originally only sold by the pie.
At first, pizzas were sold exclusively by the pie. But in 1933, Patsy Lancieri (of Patsy's Pizzeria in New York City) started selling pizza by the slice—a trend that was quickly picked up by other pizzerias.

 

8. Dogs love pizza, too.
Humans aren’t the only ones who love the taste of pizza: There’s even a mini pizza for dogs called the “Heaven Scent Pizza” made of flour, carrots, celery, and parmesan cheese.

 

9. Chicago's Pizzeria Uno invented the deep dish pizza

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The first-known Chicago deep dish pizzas were created in 1943 by the restaurant that later became the Pizzeria Uno chain.

 

10. The founder of Domino's is one of only three people with a degree in "Pizza-ology."
Domino’s was founded in 1960. The restaurant chain’s founder, Tom Monaghan, is one of three people in the world who hold an advanced degree in "Pizza-ology” from the “Domino’s College of Pizza-ology”—a business management program he founded in the 1980s.

 

11. Domino's "30 Minutes or Less" guarantee led to unsafe driving conditions.
Domino’s dropped its “30 minutes or less” guarantee in 1993 after a series of lawsuits accused the company of promoting unsafe driving.

 

12. That 30-minute guarantee is still good in some places around the world.

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The Domino's delivery offer is still good in some places around the world. The guarantee has been great for business in Turkey, for instance.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Pizza  |  Facts About Pizza
 

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Fact of the Day - DOLLHOUSE

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Tara’s Palace, Ireland

Did you know... Ever since my childhood, I’ve been a little fascinated with dollhouses. There is something magical about seeing a slice of everyday life shrunk down into miniature. And the more details there are, the more magical it becomes. Here are five amazing dollhouses from around the world that are on my bucket list to see, plus one I’ve already seen. (Julie Shenton Peters | April 7, 2017)

 

Amazing Dollhouses From Around the World
By Bess Lovejoy | Nov 16, 2015

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While we now think of dollhouses as kids’ stuff, for the wealthy Germans and Dutch of the 16th and 17th centuries they were more like cabinets of curiosities, filled with precious woods and metals and hand-crafted items made by skilled artists. The European tradition influenced British and American dollhouses, which are still being made with astounding levels of detail, not to mention an astounding concentration of resources. Below, eight of the most amazing from around the world:

 

1. ASTOLAT DOLLHOUSE CASTLE 

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Designed by Colorado miniaturist Elaine Diehl in the 1980s, this miniature home was modeled after the castle in Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot.” Valued at $8.5 million—and said to be the most expensive dollhouse ever—the tiny castle features 29 rooms filled with thousands of perfectly-wrought shrunken items, including rare books, miniature cars, pieces of jewelry, musical instruments, and even a mini-Dalmatian snoozing by the front entrance. It even has its own ballroom and wine cellar. And it’s now on view in New York City. 

 

2. TITANIA'S PALACE

 

Located in the magnificent Egeskov Castle in Denmark, Titania's Palace was created by the British army officer Sir Nevile Wilkinson as a gift for his daughter, Gwendolen, to serve as a home for the fairies she claimed to have seen in the garden. The dollhouse features 18 rooms, including a throne room, a nursery, a chapel complete with organ, and a royal dining room. Gwendolen was an adult by the time the dollhouse was completed, but Wilkinson exhibited the dollhouse (which was built by Irish craftsmen) around the world to raise funds for children’s charities. You can watch a 1928 video of Wilkinson presenting the palace.

 

3. SARA ROTHÉ DOLLHOUSE

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Wealthy Amsterdam merchant’s wife Sara Rothé created this 11-room dollhouse in 1:10 scale, offering a glimpse of the furniture and decoration you might find inside a real 18th-century canal-side mansion. It’s now on display at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands—also home to a dollhouse “collage” exhibit featuring 71 rooms from 17th and 18th century dollhouses. A second dollhouse Rothé constructed is on display at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

 

 

4. CHATEAU ANTOINETTE
Architectural historians and miniaturists Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers created this 6-room, 16th-century dollhouse for a Californian collector with a passionate interest in Marie Antoinette. Only 42 inches high, the chateau is a pastiche of places associated with Antoinette during her life, and is filled with furniture and decorations made of crystal, gold, and silver. The larger chandeliers cost over a thousand British pounds. Mulvany and Rogers have also miniaturized Versailles, Buckingham Palace, Hogwarts, Sans Souci, and several other astonishing buildings from around the globe. 

 

5. HUGUETTE CLARK’S JAPANESE DOLLHOUSE
Reclusive heiress Huguette Clark collected dolls by the hundreds, and commissioned tiny dollhouse models of Japanese temples, castles, teahouses, cake shops, and other buildings. (She also collected Japanese artifacts, an interest that led to an FBI investigation during WWII.) She specified that her dollhouses should have detachable roofs so she could see the furnishings inside. According to Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr.'s book Empty Mansions, one of Clark’s Japanese dollhouses required special permission from the Japanese government to use a rare cedar generally reserved for imperial buildings and castles. That same dollhouse cost $80,000 and took three years to build.

 

6. TARA’S PALACE 
Tara’s Palace at the Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow, Ireland, is a Georgian Palace built in 1:12 scale, featuring 24 rooms filled with miniature furniture and books, as well as treasures such as a 17th-century house in a bottle. The ceilings are hand-painted, and the tiny floors of wood and marble were all built by hand.

 

7. QUEEN MARY’S DOLLHOUSE

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Built for Queen Mary by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1921 and 1924, this miniature townhouse on a 1:12 scale features thousands of objects made by leading artists, designers, and craftsmen of the 1920s. There’s a well-stocked library and wine cellar, a garden, a toy theatre, and about 1000 works of art, as well as running water, electric lighting, working elevators, flushing toilets, and a miniature working bicycle. 

 

8. BOSDYK DOLLS HOUSE
Now housed at the Powerhouse Museum in Australia, the Bosdyk Dolls House was created by Frans and Christina Bosdyk in the grand tradition of 17th century Dutch dollhouses. The five-level, 20-room house took about a decade to create, and incorporates elements from Dutch and Australian life from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Frans Bosdyk, an electrical instrument maker, even constructed his own tiny hand tools to make the pieces. The rooms include a sewing room, gaming room, library, and kitchen.

 

 

Source: Amazing Dollhouses  |  Facts About Dollhouses Around the World

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Fact of the Day - RUSSIAN BLUE CATS

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Did you know.... Unlike the common Orange Tabby cat, the Russian Blue cat is actually its own unique breed. They are absolutely striking with their soft, blue gray coats and bright green eyes. In fact, they are on Insider’s list of Most Beautiful Cat Breeds!

It is no secret that Russian Blues are gorgeous, so we have put together a list of the more interesting facts about them here. (Pet Adventures)

 

Facts About Russian Blue Cats
By Kirstin Fawcett | September 2, 2016 | Updated: July 21, 2022

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We’ve ogled the British blue shorthair and admired the plush gray fur of the Chartreux from France. Now, it’s time for a crash course on Russia’s sleekest, most aristocratic-looking feline: the Russian blue.

 

1. The Russian blue likely hails from Northern Russia.
The Russian blue’s ancestral roots are lost in time. Some people speculate that they’re descended from the pet cats of Russian czars, but there’s probably more truth to the claim that the breed originated in northwest Russia. According to legend, the gray kitties lived in the wilderness and were prized—and sadly hunted—for their dense, warm fur. Today, it’s said that gray cats resembling the Russian blue still live in the country's coldest regions. It’s believed that sailors brought the Russian blue from the port city of Arkhangelsk—which sits on the Northern Dvina River in the northwestern part of the country—to Great Britain and Northern Europe in the 1860s. The city was one of the most important ports in the Russian Empire. Its name means Archangel in English, which may explain why the Russian blue was once known as the Archangel blue. (Other early monikers include the Maltese and Foreign blue.)

 

2. Russian blues were shown at one of the world's first cat shows.
The “Archangel Cat” made an appearance at one of the world’s first cat shows, held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1875. The breed reportedly drew praise from one writer in attendance, who described it as "a very handsome cat, coming from Archangel … particularly furry …. They resemble mostly the common wild gray rabbit." Sadly, the Russian blue didn’t win any prizes: Harrison Weir—the show’s founder who’s today remembered as “the father of the cat fancy”—grouped all the short-haired blue cats into one category, and he preferred the stockier, round-faced British blue.

 

3. The Russian blue nearly disappeared during World War II.
Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognized the Russian blue as a distinct breed in 1912. The cat was often referred to as a "Blue Foreign type” or the "Foreign blue." But World War II eventually broke out, and many breeders no longer had the resources to continue the kitty's bloodline. The Russian blue dwindled in number, but after the war ended, cat lovers in countries including Britain, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark saved the blue by crossbreeding it with other feline types. Today, the Russian blue's appearance varies around Europe. Scandinavians mated the cat with Siamese cats, resulting in a longer, more angular look. And in Britain, the kitty was crossbred with Bluepoint Siamese cats and British blues, so they developed a stockier silhouette. Russian blues first arrived in America sometime in the 1900s, but it wasn't until much later that the country's cat enthusiasts started breeding them in earnest. They imported Russian blues from Scandinavia and England, and over time, combined their unique features into the blue-furred, green-eyed cat we know and love today.

 

4. A Russian blue inspired Nyan Cat.

 

A Russian blue cat helped inspire the internet’s most famous 8-bit animated feline. Nyan Cat—the YouTube video-turned-viral Internet-meme of a cat-Pop Tart hybrid flying through space, leaving a rainbow trail in its wake—was created in 2011 by then-25-year-old illustrator Christopher Torres, who owned a Russian blue named Marty. Torres was participating in a Red Cross donation drive, and received conflicting suggestions on what to draw. One person wanted him to sketch a cat; another, a Pop Tart. Torres ended up drawing a hybrid of both, but if you look closely, you'll notice that the feline portion of Nyan Cat strongly resembles Torres's beloved cat. This wasn't a coincidence: Marty, who was named after Marty McFly from Back to the Future, “heavily influenced a lot of my comics and the creation of Nyan Cat,” Torres tweeted after his cat died in 2012.

 

5. The Russian blue isn't totally hypoallergenic.
Some people say that the Russian blue is a good pet for people with allergies. It doesn’t shed a lot, plus the gray kitty allegedly produces lower levels of Fel d 1 protein, the allergenic protein in cat saliva and skin secretions that makes your skin itch and eyes water. But even small amounts of Fel d 1 can cause you to suffer an allergic reaction—plus, Russian blues still have dander. There are plenty of reasons to want the gray cat; just keep in mind that it won't be the solution to your allergy woes.

 

6. The Russian blue is different from other "blue" cats.
With its slate-colored fur, the Russian blue resembles other “blue” short-haired cats like the Chartreux and the British blue. But if you look closely, you’ll see subtle differences between the three breeds. For one, the Russian blue has green eyes, whereas the Chartreux has brilliant orange pupils, and the British blue’s are gold, copper, or blue-green. Also, the Russian blue and Chartreux have round faces and stocky (if not slightly chunky) bodies, while the Russian blue is much more elongated and lithe, with a wedge-shaped head. Finally, the Russian blue's dense, double-layered coat is silky to the touch. In contrast, the British blue's plush fur feels slightly crisp, and the Chartreux's is tufted and wooly.

 

7. The Russian blue is a loving (but shy) feline.

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If you're looking for a calm cat with a pleasant disposition, consider the Russian blue. The kitty is shy around strangers, but affectionate with owners. It enjoys sitting quietly by the side of its favorite humans—but it's also down for a playful game of fetch.

 

8. The Russian blue gets its hue from a unique gene.
The Russian blue gets its silvery fur from a diluted version of the gene that's responsible for black hairs. If you mate two Russian blues together, they'll produce a litter of all-gray kittens. But if the Russian blue is bred with another cat type, the black Russian Shorthair, the union will result in a mix of blue and black kittens. (Mate the Russian blue with a white feline, and their children will be white, blue, and black.)

 

 

Source: Russian Blue Cat Facts  |  Elegant Facts About Russian Blue Cats

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Fact of the Day - COFFEE

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Did you know.... There are people who can’t start their day without having a freshly brewed cup of coffee. They love coffee so much that sometimes they call themselves “coffee addicts”. And we understand that all too well. However, drinking your daily cup(s) of coffee isn’t necessarily a bad habit. On the contrary, it’s proven to be healthy, scientists say. Your daily morning coffee provides you with more than just an energy boost. It’s also shown to protect us against Type 2 diabetes and liver diseases as well as lowering the risks of heart failure. Besides the effect on our health, here are some of the more interesting facts about coffee. (Agiboo | March 2018) 

 

Stimulating Facts About Coffee

by Interesting Facts

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Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and Americans are no exception. In 2020, the average American coffee drinker downed more than three cups per day, and Americans overall drank 517 million daily cups. First introduced to America in the mid-17th century, coffee grew in popularity after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, which encouraged patriots to swap over-taxed tea for coffee. In the time since, soldiers have relied on coffee to boost morale overseas, children of U.S. Presidents have founded their own coffee houses, and American coffee brands have expanded across the globe. Can’t get enough coffee? Discover six amazing facts you might not know about this beloved morning beverage.

 

1. Coffee Beans Aren’t Actually Beans

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It turns out that the name you’re familiar with for those tiny pods that are ground and brewed for a fresh cup of joe is a misnomer. Coffee “beans” are actually the seeds found within coffee cherries, a reddish fruit harvested from coffee trees. Farmers remove the skin and flesh from the cherry, leaving only the seed inside to be washed and roasted. Coffee farming is a major time investment: On average, a tree takes three or four years to produce its first crop of cherries. In most of the Coffee Belt — a band along the equator where most coffee is grown that includes the countries of Brazil, Ethiopia, and Indonesia — coffee cherries are harvested just once per year. In many countries, the cherries are picked by hand, a laborious process.

 

2. Decaf Coffee Is Still a Tiny Bit Caffeinated

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Decaf coffee has helped coffee drinkers enjoy the taste of coffee without (much of) the jolting effects of caffeine, but its creation was entirely accidental. According to legend, around 1905 German coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius received a crate of coffee beans that had been drenched with seawater. Trying to salvage the beans, the salesman roasted them anyway, discovering that cups brewed with the beans retained their taste (with a little added salt) but didn’t have any jittery side effects. Today, the process for making decaf blends remains relatively similar: Beans are soaked in water or other solvents to remove the caffeine, then washed and roasted. However, no coffee is entirely free of caffeine. It’s estimated that 97% of caffeine is removed during preparation, but a cup of decaf has as little as 2 milligrams of caffeine — compared to regular coffee’s 95 milligrams.

 

3. Bach Wrote an Opera About Coffee

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Johann Bach is remembered as one of the world’s greatest composers, known for orchestral compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos. But one of Bach’s lesser-known works is Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (“Be Still, Stop Chattering”) — a humorous ode to coffee popularly known as the Coffee Cantata. Written sometime in the 1730s, Bach’s opera makes light of fears at the time that coffee was an immoral beverage entirely unfit for consumption. In the 18th century, coffee shops in Europe were known to be boisterous places of conversation, unchaperoned meeting places for young romantics, and the birthplaces of political plots. A reported lover of coffee, Bach wrote a 10-movement piece that pokes fun at the uproar over coffee. The opera tells the story of a father attempting to persuade his daughter to give up her coffee addiction so that she might get married, but in the end, she just becomes a coffee-imbibing bride.

 

4. The First Webcam Was Invented For a Coffee Pot

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We can credit coffee-craving inventors for creating the first webcam. In the early 1990s, computer scientists working at the University of Cambridge grew tired of trekking to the office kitchen for a cup of joe only to find the carafe in need of a refill. The solution? They devised a makeshift digital monitor — a camera that uploaded three pictures per minute of the coffee maker to a shared computer network — to guarantee a fresh pot of coffee was waiting the moment their mugs emptied. By November 1993, the in-house camera footage made its internet debut, and viewers from around the globe tuned in to watch the grainy, real-time recording. The world’s first webcam generated so much excitement that computer enthusiasts even traveled to the U.K. lab to see the setup in real life. In 2003, the coffee pot sold at auction for nearly $5,000.

 

5. Coffee Was Frequently a Staple in the Oval Office

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Coffee has a long political history in the U.S. — colonists who tossed heavily-taxed tea into the Boston Harbor switched to drinking the caffeinated brew as part of their rebellion. But even after the Revolutionary War’s end, American leaders held an enduring love for the beverage. George Washington grew coffee shrubs at his Mount Vernon estate (though because of climate, they likely never produced beans), while Thomas Jefferson loved coffee so much that he estimated using a pound per day at Monticello during retirement. Similarly, Theodore Roosevelt reportedly consumed an entire gallon of coffee each day, and George H.W. Bush was known for imbibing up to 10 daily cups.

 

6. Your Genes Might Determine How Much Coffee You Drink

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If you can’t get through the day without several cups of coffee, you may have your genes to blame. A 2018 study suggests inherited traits determine how sensitive humans are to bitter foods like caffeine and quinine (found in tonic water). Researchers found that people with genes that allow them to strongly taste bitter caffeine were more likely to be heavy coffee drinkers (defined as consuming four or more cups daily). It seems counterintuitive that people more perceptive to astringent tastes would drink more coffee than those with average sensitivity — after all, bitter-detecting taste buds likely developed as the body’s response to prevent poisoning. But some scientists think that human brains have learned to bypass this warning system in favor of caffeine’s energizing properties. The downside? Constant coffee consumers are at higher risk of developing caffeine addiction.

 

 

Source: Most Interesting Facts to Know About Coffee  |  Coffee Facts

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Fact of the Day - THE YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER

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Did you know... The year 1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer because of severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease by 0.4–0.7 °C. Summer temperatures in Europe were the coldest on record between the years of 1766–2000. This resulted in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere. (Wikipedia)

 

Amazing Facts About "The Year Without a Summer"
By Dennis Mersereau | Jan 15, 2016 | Updated: Jul 21, 2022

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The history of natural disasters is peppered with storms, floods, and even asteroids, but some of the most fascinating disasters have come from deep within the Earth itself thanks to volcanoes. Eruptions like the one that buried Pompeii, Italy, are prominently featured in grade school history lessons, but few volcanoes had such a dramatic and devastating impact as that of Mount Tambora. This volcano produced such a violent eruption in 1815 that it shielded the Earth from the sun's radiation, cooling the Northern Hemisphere and making 1816 “The Year Without a Summer.”

 

1. Mount Tambora's eruption lasted nearly two weeks.
Before it blew in April 1815, Tambora was a 14,000-foot peak at the center of an Indonesian island named Sumbawa. During the eruption, the volcano ejected billions of tons of gas and debris into the atmosphere. Much of the heavier ash and debris fell on the islands and sea around Tambora, but a significant amount wound up in the atmosphere, spreading around the world and partially blotting out the sun for months after the event. The eruption itself killed tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of people in the resulting pyroclastic flows, choking ashfalls, and tsunamis.

 

2. Tambora's explosion was worse than some better-known eruptions.

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Indonesia is home to some of the busiest geological activity in the world. The eruption of Indonesia’s Krakatoa on August 27, 1883, is one of the most infamous volcanic disasters in recorded history, killing tens of thousands of people and affecting weather around the world for months after the eruption. However, just a few decades before it, Mount Tambora unleashed an eruption worse than Krakatoa, Washington’s Mount St. Helens, and even Pompeii’s Vesuvius. Tambora registered a VEI-7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, a metric that measures the size of volcanic eruptions on a scale from VEI-0 (non-explosive) to VEI-8 (megacolossal). Krakatoa measured a VEI-6, while Mount St. Helens and Vesuvius both rated a VEI-5. 

 

3. It caused a volcanic winter.
We’re familiar with the greenhouse effect, where certain gases and particulates in the atmosphere can trap heat and cause global temperatures to tick upward, but volcanic eruptions can cause the opposite effect. There are two main mechanisms for this: the first is that the particulates ejected by volcanoes can reflect sunlight, allowing less solar radiation to reach the surface, keeping global temperatures lower than they would be under normal conditions. The result is a volcanic winter, similar to the much-feared “nuclear winter” that served as a major theme in 20th-century science fiction. But particulates only last in the atmosphere for a couple of days. Far more important is the sulfur dioxide that also comes with eruptions. Sulfur dioxide gets converted into sulfuric acid, which then forms aerosols high up in the atmosphere that also block incoming solar radiation for several years after the eruption.

 

4. Tambora's eruption caused a snow day in June.

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The volcanic winter that followed Mount Tambora’s historic eruption devastated communities around the world. Ironically, the volcanic winter effect was noticed during the summer months, especially in eastern North America. Residents reported heavy snow falling as late as the middle of June in the northeastern United States, with one account citing half a foot of snow on June 6, 1816. 

 

5. The cold killed crops across Europe and Asia.
The sudden drop in temperatures wreaked havoc on agriculture around the world. In addition to heavy frosts and freezes all but destroying crops in the United States, cold and wet conditions also killed the harvest in Europe and Asia. The widespread crop failures around the world led to famine in many regions of the world, costing countless lives.

 

6. Diseases spread around the world.
Not only did the eruption leave weather disasters and famine in its wake, but the combination of the two effects also produced an undesirable result: disease. The disruption of the normal monsoon in India led to a drought and likely allowed the water-borne cholera bacterium to mutate into a more virulent form. The pathogen spread around the world and caused frequent epidemics throughout the 19th century. Millions of people died, but the scourge helped bring us much closer to modern medicine. 

 

7. Mount Tambora's eruption gave us Frankenstein ...
The gloomy weather in Europe during the Year Without a Summer prevented tourists from enjoying a pleasant vacation. One group of literary legends—including Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Mary Shelley), Lord Byron, and John Polidori—took a trip to Lake Geneva in the summer of 1816 and wound up indoors most of the time due to the chilly, rainy conditions. It was during this outing-turned-staycation that Mary Shelley started her classic novel Frankenstein; or: The Modern Prometheus, and John Polidori was inspired to write The Vampyre, which later influenced Bram Stoker's Dracula.

 

8. ... and epic sunsets.

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Chichester Canal (1828) by J. M. W. Turner

Brilliant sunsets are often the result of sunlight refracting through moisture in the atmosphere, leading to vivid displays of warm colors that often balance against a darkening sky. Particulates in the atmosphere such as dust and volcanic ash can create even more vivid sunrises and sunsets, the latter causing these phenomena to linger for many months after such an eruption. Art historians believe these dazzling sights in 1816 inspired the diffuse, luminous color technique of British painter J.M.W. Turner.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Year Without a Summer  |  Facts About The Year Without a Summer
 

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Fact of the Day - THE RINGLING BROTHERS

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Did you know... The Big Top. Three rings of non-stop entertainment with trapeze artists, lion tamers, fire-eaters, acrobats, jugglers, knife throwers, and magicians. And of course, the clowns. Trained elephants and other exotic animals. A midway with shows promising sights never before seen by those who bought a ticket and went in to be entertained. The circus arrived in town by train, with gaudily painted and decorated cars carrying its performers and equipment. Watching the tents being erected using the power of the show’s elephants was part of the entertainment. For decades, one of the dreams of American children was to run away and join the circus. There were many traveling circuses in the United States, but the greatest and most famous of them all was the combined Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, which somewhat immodestly billed itself as The Greatest Show on Earth. From 1871 to 2017 the circus crisscrossed the country, though over time the tents erected on the outskirts of town were replaced with performances inside America’s indoor arenas and showplaces. When it finally succumbed to the combined effects of high operating costs, the protests of animal rights activists, and competition from other forms of entertainment, it had awed audiences for nearly a century and a half. Here is its story. (Larry Holzwarth | June 21, 2019)

 

Ringling Bros. Circus takes final bow: 10 unusual facts about the 'Greatest Show on Earth

by Abigail Elise | May 20, 2017

 

 

The Ringling Bros. circus will close Sunday after nearly 150 years of operation, owner Feld Entertainment said in a press release. The Florida-based production company has owned the "greatest show on earth" since 1967. "After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey' will hold its final performances in May of this year," the company's CEO Kenneth Feld said in January. "Ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company."

 

Here are 10 facts you may not know about the Ringling Bros. circus:

 

1. Ringling Brothers

The Ringling brothers were born in Iowa and raised in Wisconsin. There were seven of them, and their original last name was "Rungeling."

 

2. First Performance

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The family's first performance was held in 1882 in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. It was dubbed the "Ringling Bros. Variety Performance."

 

3. Barnum and Bailey

Five of the seven Ringling brothers purchased the Yankee Robinson Circus in May of 1884. This caught the attention of James Anthony Bailey, co-owner of Barnum and Bailey's Circus. Bailey met with the Ringlings and the competitors agreed to a division of areas. This prevented the Ringlings from performing at NYC's Madison Square Garden. Bailey died in 1905, and the brothers purchased the Barnum and Bailey's Circus two years later.

 

4. The Greatest Show on Earth

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The Ringlings ran the Barnum and Bailey's Circus and the Ringling Bros. Circus shows separately until 1919.

 

5. Merge of Two Great Circuses

The brothers merged the two shows in March of 1919. Charles Edward Ringling and John Nicholas Ringling were the only two remaining family members of the five circus founders. They debuted the joint venture in New York City.

 

6. Charles Ringling

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John Ringling relocated the show's headquarters to Sarasota, Florida in 1927 after the death of his brother Charles in 1926.

 

7. Circus Fire

The Hartford Circus Fire took place on July 6, 1944 in Hartford, Connecticut, one of the worst fires in US history. The cause of the blaze remains unknown, but approximately 167 people were killed and up to 700 injuries reported.

 

8. Feld Entertainment

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Feld Entertainment purchased the circus for $8 million with backing from Blum Capital founder Richard C. Blum in 1978.

 

9. Freak Shows

Irvin Feld canceled the freak show portion of the circus because he didn't want to capitalize on exploiting others' appearances. He also made the performances more family-friendly.

 

10. The Elephants

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In 2015, Feld Entertainment announced it would phase it its elephant shows by 2018. The date was moved forward to May 2016.

 

 

Source: Fascinating Facts About the Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey Circus  | Facts About the Ringling Brothers

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Fact of the Day - STREET NAMES

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Did you know... that In Nova Scotia, Canada, you can stand on the corner of "This Street" and "That Street."
Drive down the highway in Nova Scotia, Canada, some 30 minutes northeast of Halifax, and you’ll run into a trio of odd street names. Just down the street from the Porters Lake Community Center, at the tip of a peninsula jutting out into nearby Porters Lake, are This Street, That Street, and The Other Street, obviously referencing the well-worn idiomthis, that, and the other.” Strange as these street names may seem, the 3,200 or so residents of Porters Lake would find common ground with Americans in Culver, Oregon, who named two of their streets “This Way Lane” and “That Way Lane.” (Meanwhile, in a somewhat similar vein, attendees of the Tennessee music festival Bonnaroo have to Abbott & Costello their way around What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent.) 

 

Canada is known for places with unusual monikers. For example, in Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut, there’s a street called the “Road to Nowhere.” In Ottawa, there’s Scully Way and Mulder Avenue, a nod to the hit TV series X-Files; the neighborhood even held a block party for the show’s 20th anniversary in 2013. Also in the pop culture realm, the Alberta town of Vulcan leans heavily into its Star Trek connection with a visitor’s center that looks like a space station, and even received a visit from Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, who led a parade there in 2010. Then there’s Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Québec — reportedly the only town in the world with two exclamation points in its name. The reason for the exclamation points is far from clear, although by one (dubious) account the French trappers who founded the town exclaimed “Ha! Ha!” in joy when they discovered its beautiful scenery.

 

Nova Scotia is home to the highest tides in the world.

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Not every tide is created equal. Take, for example, the Bay of Fundy, which separates the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Due to the bay’s funnel-esque shape and a geographical anomaly called “tidal resonance,” where a wave pushing in from the ocean to a bay takes the same amount of time to hit the farthest shore and return to the ocean as your typical tidal period (around 12.5 hours), the Bay of Fundy experiences extraordinary tidal extremes. Whereas your typical average for an ocean tidal range — the difference between low and high tide — is about 3 feet, in the Bay of Fundy the difference is upwards of 56 feet (and during storm surges, it can be even higher). Because of this enormous difference, more than 160 billion tons of water enter and exit the bay with every tide. That’s more flowing water than all the world’s freshwater rivers combined. (Interesting Facts)

 

The Weirdest & Funniest Street Names In Canada That Are Totally Real

by Colin Leggett | October 15, 2019 | December 20, 2021

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Canada is a huge country with plenty of unique cities to visit. Of course, finding your way around a new city can be a bit difficult at first, especially if you don't know all the street names. Luckily, Canada's street names can often be pretty easy to remember, especially the ones that are so weird and hilarious, that it's kind of hard to miss them. There are streets all over the country with silly, weird, and downright strange names. Visitors to these places might even do a double-take at some of the oddly named roads where they find themselves. Canada has roads named after food, bands, and even nothing in particular.  People who live in the towns with these roads probably wouldn't think twice about them, but the truth is that they are pretty strange. Imagine finding yourself on Ragged Ass Road, or Buttertubs Drive. You might start to wonder if you've fallen into the Bizarro version of Canada, but nope. You're still in the real world, and these streets are all a part of it. These are nine of the funniest, weirdest, and in one case, coolest street names from across the country!

 

This Street, That Street, and The Other Street, Porters Lake, NS

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This is like the "Who's on First" of street names. There must be a lot of confusion when people get any of these addresses for the first time. "Where do you live?" "This Street." "The street we're on right now?" "No, I said I live on This Street, not this street!" "...What?"

 

Queen's Bush Road, Wellesley, ON

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Wellesley may not be a well-known Ontario town, but it is home to one of the cheekiest street names that you'll ever see. If Queen's Bush Road doesn't get an immature giggle from you, we don't know what will!

 

Buttertubs Drive, Nanaimo, BC

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It kind of makes sense that a town known for its own decadently sweet dessert might have a street named after tubs of butter, right?

 

Ragged Ass Road, Yellowknife, NT

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We don't know how this street got such a colourful name, and frankly, we don't want to know.

 

Road to Nowhere, Iqaluit, NU

 

This street name is either kind of fantastical and charming or just really pessimistic, depending on what kind of mood you're in.

 

The Tragically Hip Way, Kingston, ON

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While some people might think it's kind of funny to name a street after a band, they should understand that The Tragically Hip are beloved in their hometown of Kingston and across the country. The street name also serves as a special memorial to the late Gord Downie.

 

Avenue Road, Toronto, ON

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Torontonians never think twice about how weirdly named Avenue Road really is. Yes, the Toronto street is well known, but what if it was called Street Road? This is basically the same!

 

Ha Ha Creek Road, Wardner, BC

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This street just straight up tells you that it's funny. Who named it? Nelson from The Simpsons?

 

Hill O' Chips, St John's, NL

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This street is just called Hill O' Chips. That's it. Not Hill O' Chips Street, Way, or Road. Just Hill O' Chips.

 

 

Source: Unusual Street Names  |  Facts About Weird Canadian Street Names

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Fact of the Day - INSPIRING LYRICS

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Did you know.... Theatre is a wild and wacky industry? Some will make you gasp, some will make you laugh, some you simply won't believe. (Ben Hewis | January 2019) 

Theatre folk are a superstitious breed! There are several well-known traditions still observed today, here are their origins… (History)

 

The Stories Behind 9 Strange Theater Traditions

by Interesting Facts

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Theater is filled with storied traditions, developed and preserved over its centuries-long history, which dates back to the playwright Aeschulys in 472 BCE. While some of these customs seem to be rooted in some degree of practicality, others have become outdated or simply never had any grounding in “reality” in the first place. But no matter if it's a local stage show or a major Broadway production — or if it's a comedy, musical, or drama — these long-held theater traditions and superstitions are still going strong.

 

1. Telling Performers to "Break a Leg"

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Ironically, wishing someone "good luck" in the theater is actually, well, bad luck. Instead, it's common practice to tell entertainers to "break a leg." That may seem like an odd way to wish them well before a show, but the tradition is rooted in superstition. Many believe that spirits, like ghosts and fairies, may inhabit theaters and be looking to cause trouble. If they hear "break a leg," they'll actually do the opposite, meaning good will come from the wish. But that's not the only explanation, according to Playbill. A different theory suggests that the "leg" in question is not a limb but a curtain that hangs in the wings, so "breaking" it means making it onto the stage. And yet another explanation dates back to Elizabethan England, when audiences used to throw money on the stage to show their appreciation, so when actors "broke" the line of their leg, they were actually bending down to collect their earnings.

 

2. Always Leaving a Ghost Light On

If you ever find yourself in an otherwise empty theater in the middle of the night, you'll likely see a single bare bulb glowing onstage. All the intricate sets and props can make navigating a stage feel like winding through a maze, so it makes sense that a night light of sorts is left on when everything else goes dark. But the fact that the light is called a "ghost light" hearkens to a different explanation. "The superstition around it is that theaters tend to be inhabited by ghosts, whether it's the ghost of old actors or people who used to work in the building," stage manager Matt Stern, who has worked on Broadway in shows including Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera, told Atlas Obscura. "[G]host lights are supposed to keep those ghosts away so that they don't get mischievous while everyone else is gone." Other explanations relate to the historical need to relieve pressure on gas valves in old theaters, or legend of a thief falling in the dark, breaking his leg (literally this time!), and suing the theater.

 

3. Never Saying "Macbeth

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Shakespeare's shortest tragedy is the Voldemort of the theater world. Many people believe the play is cursed, since so many mishaps have happened in its 400-year history. Legend has it that for the very first performance circa 1606, William Shakespeare himself had to go on as Lady Macbeth because the actor playing the role suddenly died, according to History.com. Another actor was supposedly killed onstage in Amsterdam in the 17th century, when a prop dagger was replaced by a real one. Riots have also plagued the play at times, with the most tragic being a New York production in 1849 when 22 died and more than 100 were injured. As even a mere mention of the title may bring similar disasters, the play that shall not be named is often referred to as "The Scottish Play" or "The Bard's Play" instead. Of course, not everyone believes in the so-called curse — after all, a play that has been performed regularly for so many centuries is bound to suffer some misfortune. For those who do buy into it, though, there are ways to reverse the bad luck: According to the Royal Shakespeare Company, you have to leave the theater, spin in a circle three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be let back in.

 

4. Hoping for a Bad Dress Rehearsa

You might think that the final rehearsal before opening night, when everyone onstage is dressed as if it's a real performance, should be when everything goes off without a hitch. But thespians believe the opposite: "Bad dress, good opening." Although the exact origins of the superstition are unknown, according to Backstage, performers swear by the phrase. It makes sense, in a way: The odds of things going spectacularly wrong two nights in a row are slim, especially if a cast and crew have time to address and prepare for those contingencies between a rehearsal and the performance. And if things are going to go wrong, it's better that they go wrong without an audience.

 

5. Not Whistling Backstage

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As far back as the 17th century, before stage managers became standard, productions had people called prompters, whose job it was to make sure everything flowed smoothly during the course of the show, Playbill explains. In the days before electricity, these prompters needed a way to indicate to folks backstage that a scene was changing, so they would use a bell or whistle. To avoid confusion, everyone else was strictly prohibited from whistling, lest they trigger an unintended (and potentially dangerous) set transition. When electricity came along, flashing lights and intercoms took over. Yet the tradition remains — this is one occupation where you shouldn't whistle while you work.

 

6. Avoiding Wearing Blue

As Broadway Direct explains, blue dye used to be among the most expensive, so producers claimed it was bad luck in an effort to keep costs down. But that deception led to another, Playbill adds: Some theatrical troupes would splurge on blue costumes to make it seem like they were doing better than they were. To one-up them, troupes that were actually doing well added silver, which was even more difficult to afford. Thus, unadorned blue ensembles became a symbol of false success.

 

7. Banning Peacock Feathers and Mirrors From the Stag

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Any good prop master knows to keep peacock feathers far away from the stage. The natural design of the feathers contains an "evil eye" pattern that is thought to bring bad luck in the form of technical failures and chaos, History UK explains. The eye's curse (which is not unique to the theater) can be traced back to Plato and even the Bible, while the fear of the feathers themselves has existed since at least 1242, when they were linked to Mongols who advanced into Europe. Another item to avoid? Mirrors. While it's a widely believed superstition that breaking a mirror causes seven years of bad luck, even unbroken mirrors should be kept offstage in the theater, since they can mess with the lighting design. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule — most notably in the staging of "The Music and the Mirror" from A Chorus Line.

 

8. Giving Flowers After a Show, Never Before

First do the work, then receive the appreciation. It makes sense to present flowers to performers after they've graced the stage, but according to Playbill, this tradition is about more than just rewarding someone for a job well done. Superstition dictates that it's actually bad luck to give flowers before the show, for fear that something will go wrong to make the performance unworthy of beautiful blooms. Another (now less-common) floral tradition was to give the director and leading lady a bouquet stolen from a graveyard when a show closed, representing the death of the production.

 

9. Sing "Happy Trails to You" at the End of a Run

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Whether it's the end of a particular actor's run or the entire close of a show, it's tradition for the cast and crew to gather to sing Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' 1950s tune "Happy Trails." While the origins of the tradition are unknown, according to the Lincoln Center Theater, it endures today as a way to bid a fond adieu and wish your castmates well: "Happy trails to you / Until we meet again / Happy trails to you / Keep smiling until then."

 

 

Source: Facts About Theatre That You Won't Believe are True  |  Facts About Theatre Traditions Explained | THEATRICAL TRADITIONS AND WHERE THEY COME FROM

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Fact of the Day - ELIZABETH TAYLOR

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Did you know.... Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor DBE was a British and American actress. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She then became the world’s highest paid movie star in the 1960s, remaining a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood cinema. (Wikipedia)

 

Timeless Elizabeth Taylor Facts

by Interesting Facts

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Headline maker. Timeless beauty. Academy Award winner. Tireless activist. Savvy businesswoman. Global icon. These are only a few of the many phrases to describe Golden Age movie star Elizabeth Taylor Born in London in February 1932 to American parents, Taylor and her family packed up and moved to the United States in 1939, where the actress soon began her film career. Taylor made her big-screen debut with a small role in 1942’s There’s One Born Every Minute but gained popularity after scoring the lead role as a horse-crazed girl in 1944’s National Velvet. Throughout her illustrious career, Taylor starred in more than 50 movies, and was never afraid to take a chance in both her personal and professional lives. “I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them,” she once said. Read below to learn how Taylor’s life was as epic as the roles she played.

 

1. Taylor Had “Violet” Eyes and a Double Set of Eyelashes

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In 1970, when Hollywood Reporter film critic Todd McCarthy first met Taylor, he was stopped in his tracks by “a pair of eyes unlike any I’ve ever beheld, before or since; deep violet eyes of a sort withheld from ordinary mortals.” However, while Taylor’s eyes are typically credited as violet, they were more likely a deep blue with an uncommon amount of melanin in the irises, which made them appear violet when she wore specific colors. This inspired her to often wear black eyeliner with blue, purple, or dark brown eyeshadow to bring out her trademark color. Framing those famous eyes were Taylor’s double row of eyelashes, known as distichiasis, the result of a mutation of FOXC2, a gene responsible for embryonic tissue development. While this heavy, second set of eyelashes can cause complications for some, they quickly became a notable part of Taylor’s beauty at a young age. When she was filming Lassie Come Home (1943) at the age of 9, Taylor was accused of wearing too much mascara, and when production members tried to clean it off, they realized the dark shade was her own eyelashes. As Taylor’s Lassie co-star Roddy McDowall remembered, “Who has double eyelashes except a girl who was absolutely born to be on the big screen?”

 

2. Taylor Was Married Eight Time

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The star famously said “I do” eight times to seven different men: Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton (twice), John Warner, and Larry Fortensky. While many of these marriages seemed out of a movie, it was her first wedding that was a direct part of a Hollywood production. In 1950, at the age of 18, Taylor — who had already been engaged twice before — wed hotel heir Hilton at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Taylor wore a $3,500 gown gifted by MGM as part of a promotional effort for her film Father of the Bride, which premiered the following year.  Designed by MGM’s chief costume designer Helen Rose, the high-collared, long-sleeved gown was covered with pearls and with a 15-foot train. MGM added more movie magic by selecting studio stock players as Taylor’s bridesmaids, and set designers decorated the church. In attendance were 700 guests including Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, and Fred Astaire, and waiting outside were 3,000 cheering fans. Lauded as the social event of the year, MGM boasted that at the wedding were “more stars than there are in heaven.” No matter the fairy-tale event, the tumultuous marriage lasted less than nine months.

 

3. Taylor Was the First Actress To Earn $1 Million

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Taylor was the first actress to earn more than $1 million for a single movie, for 1963’s Cleopatra. When the movie was first planned, her $1 million salary was half of the original budget. As the film’s budget boomed to $31 million, Taylor’s paycheck did as well — to $7 million (around $54 million in 2022). From her youth, Taylor had been a bold negotiator and wasn’t afraid to ask for what she was worth or to end a negotiation that wasn’t going her way. Originally, she had little interest in starring in Cleopatra, which inspired her bold pay request of $1 million and 10% of the box office gross, thinking there was no chance 20th Century Fox would agree to her terms. To everyone’s surprise, they did. As she would later say, “If someone is dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.”

 

4. Taylor Popularized Celebrity Perfumes

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When Taylor’s debut fragrance, Passion, hit shelves in 1987, it was not the first celebrity fragrance — but it was the start of the first celebrity perfume franchise in a line ultimately made up of 16 perfumes. Her most popular scent, White Diamonds, generated more than $1.5 billion in the 25 years after it appeared on the market in 1991. With a $20 million marketing budget, White Diamonds was launched with a cross-country tour, lavish magazine ads, and a cinematic black-and-white commercial that aired both on television and in movie theaters. Featuring Taylor at a high-stakes poker game where she tosses one of her diamond earrings into the pot, the actress improvised the now-iconic line: “These have always brought me luck.”

 

5. Taylor’s a Dame

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One of the most legendary stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Taylor was nominated for four Academy Awards, won two — for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf — and ranks as the seventh-greatest female American screen legend by the American Film Institute. Her star power was felt across the pond in her native U.K. and in 2000, the actress was designated Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. Considering it one of the great honors of her life, Taylor humorously said of the event, "Well, I've always been a ‘broad.' Now it's a great honor to be a dame!"

 

6. Taylor’s Jewelry Collection Was Worth More Than $100 million

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Taylor loved jewelry and had a deep knowledge of the pieces in her collection. Despite W magazine naming her collection the third-most important in the world, as she once explained, "I’ve never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of it and to love it, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty.” The icon died in March 2011, age 79, from congestive heart failure. Her famed jewels were auctioned by Christie’s that same year for $115.9 million and broke the record for the most valuable private collection of jewels sold, with 26 pieces selling for more than $1 million and six for more than $5 million. Many of the pieces were given to Taylor by her seven husbands. Among the record-breaking highlights was Taylor’s 19th-century tiara given to her by third husband, Mike Todd. The sparkling headpiece was worn several times in 1957 and became a cherished object to her after his fatal plane crash in 1958. Additionally, Taylor’s Cartier pearl necklace, named La Peregrina, sold for more than $11 million, setting the record for the most valuable pearl sold at auction at that time. Given to her as a Valentine’s Day gift by her most legendary love, Richard Burton, the 1-inch long natural pearl is one of the world’s most famous, once belonging to Spanish monarchs and appearing in portraits by Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velázquez.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Elizabeth Taylor  |  Facts About Elizabeth Taylor
 

 

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NOTICE

 

I will not be posting Fact of the Day on Saturday, July 30th, 2022.  I will be back to posting FOTD August 8th, 2022. (Going on vacation)

Edited by DarkRavie

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12 hours ago, DarkRavie said:

NOTICE

 

I will not be posting Fact of the Day on Saturday, July 30th, 2022.  I will be back to posting FOTD August 8th, 2022. (Going on vacation)

Enjoy! :D 

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