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Fact of the Day - "The Birds" (movie)

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Did you know... Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was partly based on a true story.
With apologies to anyone who already found The Birds terrifying while under the impression that it was wholly fictional: Alfred Hitchcock’s avian thriller was partly based on a true story. Said event took place on California’s Monterey Bay in August 1961, when “thousands of crazed seabirds” called sooty shearwaters were seen regurgitating anchovies and flying into objects before dying on the streets. The Master of Suspense happened to live in the area, and called the Santa Cruz Sentinel — which had reported on the strange goings-on in its August 18 edition — for more information. Long after his movie was released two years later, the bizarre event remained shrouded in mystery: What would inspire birds to act this way, and were they as malicious as they seemed in Hitchcock’s movie? The truth ended up being both straightforward and a little sad. The scientific consensus is now that the birds were poisoned by toxic algae found in a type of plankton called Pseudo-nitzschia. The birds weren’t attacking anyone; they were disoriented and barely in control of their actions. That explanation is absent from Hitchcock’s thriller, which also drew inspiration from Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same name. (Hitchcock’s Rebecca was also a du Maurier adaptation.) A resounding success, The Birds is widely considered one of Hitchcock’s greatest works, alongside Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, and North by Northwest.

 

One of Hitchcock’s earliest films is lost.
A full 86% of American-made films from the Silent Era (1912-1929) are considered lost, meaning they don’t survive as complete works in their original form. Among them is one by the Master of Suspense himself: 1926’s The Mountain Eagle, the second feature he ever directed. Though some production stills remain, all prints of the Kentucky-set melodrama have been lost. Hitchcock completists have spent the better part of a century bemoaning this, but he wasn’t especially bothered by it — he once referred to it as “a very bad movie.” Even so, the British Film Institute has long included The Mountain Eagle on its 10 Most Wanted list of lost films. (Interesting Facts)

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS: Fun facts flying your way for Halloween!

by Behind The Lens | 

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One of the seminal horror films and most terrifying movie-going experiences of our time is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 “The Birds”.  And what better time to talk about some of its “tricks” and “treats” than Halloween.  Loosely based on the 1952 story “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier, the film screenplay was written by Evan Hunter.  Known for his ability to create tension, not to mention having worked with Hitchcock on the television anthology “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, Hunter was charged with developing new characters and more intricate plot.  Starting with the horrific ideology of unexplained widespread violent bird attacks, together Hitchcock and Hunter delved into underlying psychological complexities addressing guilty secrets of the townspeople, and then allowing the imagination to ponder if the bird attacks are a form of punishment.  Hitchcock even drew from real life instances of documented bird “attacks” in August 1961 that had homes attacked during the night and come morning, found the town of Capitola, California littered with dead bird carcasses. As Evan Hunter noted in his 1997 autobiography, “Me and Hitch”, with the horror elements firmly implanted in their minds, he suggested to Hitchcock the film pull some elements from the screwball comedy genre and then evolve into horror, suspense and ultimately, “stark terror”.  Hitchcock loved the idea because of the suspense that would be created as the audience lay in wait, uncertain when the birds would attack. While Du Maurier’s story was set at an English village on the sea, Hitchcock chose the sleepy little fishing town of Bodega Bay, California for his adaptation and made the most of every location, street, shop and townsperson it offered, imbuing “The Birds”, as with all of his films, chilling reality.

 

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1.  The ASPCA was  on set the entire film shoot and an aviary was established to treat injured birds.

2.  This is the only Hitchcock film to not have the “The End” title card. A calculated move on his part, Hitchcock wanted the audience to feel that the terror would continue.

3.  There was an alternate ending to the film that Hitchcock wanted to shoot but was talked out of it by screenwriter Evan Hunter.  Hitchcock originally wanted the ending to include a town on fire, another bird attack as Melanie, Mitch, Lydia and Cathy try to get to the car to leave, and then a final wide panoramic shot of the Golden Gate Bridge covered in birds.  Hunter told Hitchcock it would take at least a month to film just this shot.

 

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4.  As it is, the final shot of the film is composed of three panels, matte paintings and multiple film layers, i.e., 32 separate exposures, leading Hitchcock himself to call this “the most difficult single shot I’ve ever done.”  Complex is an understatement as the scene combined live birds, animated birds, mechanical birds and the car driving toward the matte painting backdrop.

5.  Cinematographer was Robert Burks.  Hitchcock’s favorite lenser, Burks worked with Hitchcock on twelve of Hitchcock’s films.  Starting with “Strangers On A Train” and ending with “Marnie”, the only Hitchcock film Burks missed was “Psycho.”

6.   One may think that Tippi Hedren is “acting” in the key attic scene.  This was no acting.  This was true terror.   Assured by Hitchcock personally that mechanical birds were being used in the attic, on the first take she walked into an attic filled with live birds which were flying loose and also be flung at her by prop men.  Over the course of this five day shoot for this one scene, live gulls, ravens and crows were thrown at Hedren until she was ultimately gouged on her cheek near her eye at which point she was hospitalized for a week.

7.  Birds were hooked onto Tippi Hedren’s suit with rubber bands looped through fabric and wrapped around actual birds.

8.  Early in “The Birds” as Melanie is crossing the bay alone in the little skiff heading back to town, the seagull that attacks her was hooked to a wire while blood plungers were hidden in Hedren’s hair.  When the gull was let go down the wire and hits her head, a prop man would hit the plunger of blood.

 

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9.  While filming the house attack scenes, the house was netted to keep the birds contained.

10.  Hammers with fake bird heads were used to hammer and peck thru the wood doors to give the effect the birds were breaking through.

 

To read more about Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, click the link below ⬇️

 

Source: All About the Birds  |  Facts About The Birds

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Fact of the Day - HOMECOMING

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Did you know... Homecoming is a little different everywhere you go. But whether you’re accustomed to pancake breakfasts or chili cook-offs, school-color sweaters or giant, bedazzled bows, early morning tailgates or late-night bonfires, the fall event boils down to celebrating and rooting for the best sports team around — yours. Here’s how it got started. 

 

How Homecoming Began

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Believe it or not, the tradition of homecoming has ties to the American Civil War. While soldiers weren’t pausing the war for pigskin, ongoing hostility between Kansas and Missouri before the war’s official start ignited a cutthroat rivalry that later spread from the battlefield to the football field. Starting in 1854, the two states were involved in a series of violent conflicts, deemed the Border War, that centered on the spread of slavery into Kansas. Pro-slavery residents of Missouri argued that citizens who moved to Kansas territory should be able to settle the land with any enslaved people they already owned, while anti-slavery groups argued that no slavery of any form should exist in the state-to-be. (For some, the argument was based on the immorality of slavery; for others, it was a chance to compete with plantations for available land.) Heated sentiments turned into massacres, burnings of entire towns, and guerrilla warfare attacks on abolitionist and pro-slavery settlements in both states. The plague of violence during the time period is often referred to as Bleeding Kansas, describing the state’s startlingly high number of fatalities. Kansas ultimately became a free Union state in January 1861, though the violence continued until the Civil War’s ceasefire four years later. Hard-held resentments between the two states didn’t die though — instead they spilled over into sporting events. In 1891, the University of Missouri Tigers and the University of Kansas Jayhawks held their first rivalry game in Kansas City, Missouri, which was halfway between the schools’ home turfs. The two teams continued competing on neutral territory until 1911, when new conference regulations required that games be played on college campuses. In an effort to bolster attendance (and ticket sales) back at the Tigers’ stomping grounds, the university’s football coach came up with a brilliant idea: Invite alumni to “come home.” Coach Chester Brewer’s idea was to turn the game into a multi-day event complete with pep rallies, a parade, and a bonfire. It worked: More than 9,000 spectators returned to Columbia, Missouri, for the game. (Anticlimactically, the two teams tied with a score of 3 to 3.)

 

How Homecoming Spread

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From the late 1890s to the early 1920s, enrolling in college courses became a form of upward trajectory for students of all economic backgrounds. Colleges, which struggled with low enrollment during the late 1880s, picked up on how school pride could be a big boon for the education business. Campuses across the country began to brand themselves with mascots, colors, fight songs, and specialized events. Having school spirit, and not being afraid to chant about it, helped propel events like homecoming from large universities to smaller colleges, and eventually to high schools. By the 1950s, homecoming was synonymous with high school football games. Fans of the sport often credit the University of Missouri as the official birthplace of homecoming, but other schools have made their case, too: Baylor held a similar event in 1909, but didn’t host it annually until 1915. The University of Illinois claims it created homecoming in 1910 but was likely overshadowed thanks to the campus’ smaller size. For its part, the University of Missouri acknowledges that it may not have been first, but its superb early marketing of the event (in addition to its documentation by way of local newspapers) helped it be known as such.

 

Traditions, Old and New

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Thanks to Coach Brewer’s ingenuity, homecomings are often celebrated with the usual round of pep rallies, parades, and late-night bonfires. By the 1930s, homecoming royalty was introduced, though courts (and most specifically queens) were elected based on their parade float, academics, or how much they fundraised to cover the event’s cost. Over time, schools added more royal figures, including kings and junior representatives from younger classes, and voting focused more on the candidate’s personality. In the homecoming boom that erupted in the early part of the 20th century, campuses began to branch out with custom or localized activities that remain today. Texas schools are known for the large mums women are gifted by homecoming dates; the extravagant corsages are made from fake flowers, ribbons, and even stuffed animals. Many historically Black colleges and universities carry their own traditions, such as Howard University’s step competition between fraternities and sororities. And at Arizona State University, the tradition of parading lanterns across campus and passing them from upperclassmen to underclassmen has been the highlight of homecoming celebrations since 1917. But if there’s one tradition that nearly every school follows, it’s tailgating, which was popularized during the Civil War as groups of spectators gathered to watch battles. Before then, it’s likely that tailgate-like parties had their roots in harvest season celebrations — proof that getting together to celebrate shared backgrounds is a human rite of passage older than any college rivalry. (Interesting Facts)

 

What You Probably Didn't Know About Homecoming

Get excited for the 104th Mizzou Homecoming with these lesser-known facts
by LYDIA MCALLISTER | OCT 9, 2015 | UPDATED MAR 8, 2017

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When you see the black and gold out in full force, you know that Homecoming is right around the corner. Our tigers have a lot to be proud of, considering we are the birthplace of the homecoming tradition. This Saturday marks the 104th Homecoming, and somehow it just keeps getting better. So, here are seven little known facts about Homecoming to get you pumped for the festivities. Go Tigers!

 

1. MU Athletics allows the Alumni Association...

to choose the Homecoming game each year. This year is a little earlier than it has been in years past. (In recent years, Homecoming takes place later in the month of October). The warmer, the better! 

 

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2. Stankowski Field...

hasn’t always been the place to play a pick-up soccer game. The field hosted the first-ever Mizzou Homecoming football game in 1911. More than 9,000 fans packed onto the field to cheer on the Tigers as they took on KU.

 

3. That first game...

against KU had a final score of 3-3. That should make us feel a lot better about that 6-9 game against Kentucky earlier this season.

 

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4. The planning of Homecoming...

is a year-round process for the Alumni Association and the Homecoming Steering Committee. Tri-director applications open right after Homecoming ends, and the work starts immediately after. It’s no wonder Homecoming is always so flawlessly organized. 

 

5. You might have known...

that Mizzou’s Homecoming Blood Drive is the largest in the country, and it breaks world records, but you probably didn’t know that over the past 30 years, we’ve gathered 100,000 units of blood. Let’s break this down: 1 unit of blood saves 3 lives. So in the past 30 years, Mizzou has gathered enough blood to save 300,000 people. Now, that’s something to be proud of.

 

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6. Homecoming is so much...

more than a football game. In fact, there’s just as much focus on community service. This year at the Tiger Food Fight, students collected 24,000 pounds of canned food for The Food Bank.

 

7. If you’re a Tiger...,

you most likely know Sheryl Crow. But you might not know that our celebrity alum was part of the Homecoming Steering Committee before she graduated in 1984. Crow is also returning this year to preform on Friday night as a fundraiser for the music department.

 

Source: A Brief History of Homecoming  |  Things You Might Not Know About Homecoming

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Friday's Fact

 

Fact of the Day - MADAGASCAR

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Did you know... Madagascar may have been settled by a group with only about 30 women.
Archaeologists believe that around 800 CE, the first settlers arrived in Madagascar, a large island 250 miles off the coast of southern Africa. In doing so, these travelers completed a journey that experts now callone of the most unusual, and least understood, episodes” in human history. It’s strange enough that an island so close to the Cradle of Humankind in Africa didn’t establish a permanent settlement until only 1,200 years ago. Stranger still is the fact that these settlers may have had only 30 women among them, who hailed not from nearby Africa but instead from 3,500 miles away. 

 

The Native people of Madagascar are known as Malagasy, and both their DNA and language are extremely similar to those found in Indonesia. Although these facts are undeniable, evidence for how such a link was possible was remarkably scarce for decades. In 2012, scientists conducted mitochondrial DNA screenings of Malagasy and Indonesian populations to learn more about the original founding population of Madagascar (mitochondrial DNA is passed through women). They discovered that these Indonesian settlers likely only had 30 women of reproductive age among their number, a shockingly low number for establishing a population, with 98% of them from Indonesia. (Research on the Y chromosomes of men in Madagascar has shown the male founders were also Southeast Asian, although it’s not clear how many there were.) This evidence supports a theory that these travelers were likely blown far off course and accidentally landed on Madagascar, rather than being part of an intentional colonization effort. In addition, archaeological research published in 2016 found ancient traces of Southeast Asian crops, such as mung beans and rice, in Madagascar, which the first settlers must have brought with them. Although they were so far from home, this small band of settlers persevered, creating one of the world’s most fascinating cultures in the process. (Interesting Facts)

 

Interesting Facts About Madagascar

by Melanie Hamilton  |  February 23, 2021

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Famous for its incredible biodiversity and stunning natural landscape, Madagascar has been working its way up on the tourist track in recent decades. Whether you plan to visit for the delicious local food, mind blowing wildlife or rich culture, you’re in for an adventure. Here are some of the most interesting facts about Madagascar from its insanely rich wildlife to its strange pirate era.

 

1. It’s one of the world’s largest islands

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At a whopping 226,917 square miles, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the entire world. It’s surpassed only by Borneo, New Guinea and of course, mighty Greenland. Even more impressive, Madagascar is larger than Thailand, Sweden, Spain and even Germany. At more than 26 million people who call Madagascar home, it has the population to back up the size, too.

 

2. It’s a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers

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It’s no secret that Madagascar is incredibly rich in biodiversity. However, just how rich may surprise you. Of just 17 countries that are considered to be megadiverse, Madagascar makes the cut. This is largely thanks to its isolation and the fact that it took humans hundreds of thousands of years to discover it. Madagascar is also home to more than half the world’s chameleons and several unique lemur species.

 

3. Humans discovered it very late

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Speaking of Madagascar’s remoteness and late discovery – settlers arriving by canoes from the Sunda Islands and East Africa around 500 AD discovered Madagascar. By that time, homo sapiens had already been in Africa for 300,000 years. Interestingly, the island lies near to Bantu-speaking Africa; however, Malagasy belongs to an Austronesian language family.

 

4. It is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Madagascar boasts three incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites that speak to its rich cultural and natural diversity. Among them are the 500 year old burial site of Ambohimanga’s Royal Hill; the lush rainforests of the Atsinanana and the vastly breathtaking Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve famous for its dramatic limestone landscape.

 

5. It was a favourite among pirates

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If lost treasure chests and storied pirate ships are your thing, Madagascar has a treat for you. Thanks to its countless secluded coves and relative secrecy from Europe, Madagascar was a popular hiding spot for pirates. In fact, Ile Sainte-Marie, four miles off Madagascar’s shimmering east coast was referred to as the Island of Pirates on world maps of the time. Other stories include Captain James Mission’s alleged anarchist colony of pirates in the late 1600s.

 

6. Bare-knuckle fighting is a beloved sport

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You’ve heard of martial arts, krav maga and jujitsu, but have you heard of moraingy? This bare-fisted fighting style originated in Madagascar and is considered to be a national sport. Also known as Malagasy boxing or moringue, it’s one of the most intense fighting styles out there and definitely not for the faint of heart.

 

7. Madagascar was once a French colony

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Marco Polo was the first European to arrive in Madagascar, followed shortly after by the Portuguese in the 1500s. However, a few hundred years later in the late 19th century, it was actually the French who colonized the island and declared French its official language. Fortunately, by 1960 Madagascar gained independence, however, much of the French influence can still be felt today.

 

Source: Brief Fact About Madagascar  |  Facts About Madagascar

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Fact of the Day - MARILYN MONROE

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Did you know... Ana de Armas's portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde is all any Marilyn fan can talk about these days. But the movie, which chronicles Monroe's career as well as her tumultuous relationships, is just one of many modern interpretations of the late actor's life. Another is novelist J.I. Baker's The Empty Glass. Back in 2012 the writer shared a few little-known facts about the sex symbol with Glamour. (Ana Escalante | September 25, 2022)

 

Illuminating Facts About Marilyn Monroe

by Interesting Facts

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Forever known as the “Blonde Bombshell,” Marilyn Monroe was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s and became one of Hollywood’s most famous sex symbols through films such as The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot, and The Misfits. But Monroe’s story went much deeper than that. She was raised in foster homes and orphanages in Los Angeles before catching the eye of pin-up photographers and landing her first film role in 1947. While she soon became a Hollywood icon, Monroe was also a voracious reader, an animal lover, and a political progressive. Which classic crooner gifted her a beloved pet? How did she get her legendary stage name? Why were the feds keeping tabs on her? As Marilyn Monroe takes the spotlight once again as the subject of recently released film Blonde starring Ana de Armas (based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel), discover eight fascinating facts you may not have known about the beloved star.

 

1. Marilyn Monroe's Stage Name Came From a Broadway Star

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Marilyn Monroe had several different names before adopting her legendary stage name, and you might even know her real first name thanks to the opening lyrics of Elton John’s 1973 tribute, “Candle in the Wind.” Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, but her mother and father soon divorced, and she was baptized under the name Norma Jeane Baker (her mother’s last name). The future actress was known as Norma Jeane Dougherty during her brief first marriage to police officer James Dougherty, which began in 1942. (More on that below.) When Monroe signed her first studio contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946, an executive named Ben Lyon thought there were too many ways to pronounce “Dougherty,” so the actress suggested Monroe, a last name from her mother’s side of the family, instead. Lyon added the first name “Marilyn” after Broadway star Marilyn Miller, with whom he had starred in the 1931 film Her Majesty, Love, because Monroe reminded him of Miller. The rest is history.

 

2. She Was 16 When She Got Married for the First Time

After a turbulent childhood impacted by her mother’s schizophrenia, Monroe lived with a series of foster families. When the star was just 15 years old, she became romantically involved with then-20-year-old James Dougherty. Although Dougherty claimed he was uneasy about her age at first, the pair got married soon after Monroe’s 16th birthday. The star wrote in her autobiography My Story — published in 1974 over a decade after her tragic death — that the union “brought [her] neither happiness or pain,” adding that she was grateful that it had “ended forever [her] status as an orphan.” The couple grew apart when Dougherty was sent overseas as a Merchant Marine, and Monroe started her modeling career. Their divorce was finalized in 1946, just as she was beginning her ascent to stardom. Dougherty, who married twice more and died in 2005, said he never actually saw any of Monroe’s movies in the theater because it was a touchy subject in his second marriage.

 

3. Her First Job Was Building Drones

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Monroe’s late teens coincided with World War II, and at age 18, she started working 10 hours a day for a company called Radioplane, which manufactured small, unmanned aircraft used to drop explosives. Her job was inspecting the aircraft parachutes and spraying them with fire retardant. It was here at the drone factory that Monroe got her start in modeling — a career she hadn’t considered before. A photographer with the United States Army was assigned to take photos of women in war production (inspired by “Rosie the Riveter”), and one of those photos — of a smiling Monroe holding a propeller — was published in an Army magazine in 1945. Soon, Monroe became a sought-after model and pin-up girl, and eventually that success led to a screen test with 20th Century Fox.

 

4. She Had a Close Friendship With Singer Ella Fitzgerald

At the recommendation of a music coach, Monroe spent hours listening to Ella Fitzgerald recordings while trying to train her own voice. After Monroe first saw Fitzgerald, her favorite singer, perform live in 1954, the pair rapidly became friends, sharing a common bond through their life experiences. A year later, when the “First Lady of Song” had trouble booking a gig at legendary L.A. nightclub Mocambo — the owners thought Fitzgerald wasn’t svelte and glamorous enough to draw a crowd — Monroe used her star power to step in. “She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night,” recalled Fitzgerald. “She told him — and it was true, due to Marilyn's superstar status — that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again.”

 

5. Frank Sinatra Once Gave Her a Dog

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Fitzgerald wasn’t the only singer with whom Monroe had a close connection: Crooner Frank Sinatra had a deep affection for Monroe, and the pair were close friends for years. Some speculate that the pair dated — perhaps because she stayed at his home for a period after her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller in 1961 — but, according to Sinatra’s close friend and road manager Tony Oppedisano, their relationship never got romantic. Close to the end of Monroe’s life in 1962, Ol’ Blue Eyes presented her with a cherished gift: a fluffy white Maltese terrier, sometimes referred to erroneously as her poodle. Feeling cheeky, she named the pup Mafia, or “Maf” for short. Monroe loved animals and had canine companions throughout her life, including her childhood dog Tippy, a chihuahua named Josefa, and Hugo, a basset hound she shared with Miller during their marriage.

 

6. Monroe Was Supposed to Star in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s"

The 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the novella by Truman Capote, is one of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic roles, but the author’s first choice to portray the character of Holly Golightly was his close friend Marilyn Monroe. The character’s backstory even had multiple parallels with Monroe’s own troubled childhood. “Marilyn would have been absolutely marvelous in it,” Capote once said, after Monroe didn’t land the part. “She wanted to play it too, to the extent that she worked up two whole scenes all by herself and did them for me. She was terrifically good, but Paramount double-crossed me in every conceivable way and cast Audrey. Audrey is an old friend and one of my favorite people, but she was just wrong for the part.” (Capote would later say that Hepburn did a great job.) Reportedly, it wasn’t entirely up to Paramount: Monroe’s dramatic advisor Paula Strasberg heard about the role and put her foot down. “There is no way she will play that girl,she said. “Marilyn Monroe will not play a call girl, a lady of the evening.”

 

7. The FBI Kept an Eye on Monroe

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During Monroe’s film career, the country was in the throes of the post-World War II Communist panic, also known as the Red Scare. Despite this, the star was unabashedly leftist in her political views. And her relationship with her third husband Arthur Miller — a playwright closely watched for his supposed Communist ties — attracted the attention of the FBI. (Miller even announced their marriage plans in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he’d been called to testify about his own political leanings and subversive elements in Hollywood.) Most of the now-public FBI file focuses on Monroe’s associations with others, rather than her own activities or views, documenting her social and professional interactions with figures such as Robert and John F. Kennedy. The earliest entries concern her application for a visa to visit the USSR in 1955. It turns out that the Bureau wasn’t too worried about Monroe, possibly because they didn’t take her seriously. "Subject’s views are very positively and concisely leftist,” an agent noticed in his report of a luncheon she attended with John F. Kennedy. “However, if she is being actively used by the Communist Party, it is not general knowledge among those working with the movement in Los Angeles."

 

8. She Had a Crush on Albert Einstein

Actress Shelley Winters lived with Monroe for a brief time in the late 1940s after bonding over their mutual love of politics and spirituality, and the pair grew close, sharing furs, bathing suits, and even a couple of boyfriends. In a 1995 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Winters recounted a story of Monroe’s fondness for older intellectual men in particular. “One Sunday, we made a list of men we wanted to sleep with, and there was no one under 50 on hers,” she said. “I never got to ask her before she died how much of her list she had achieved, but on her list was Albert Einstein.” According to an earlier version of the tale from her autobiography, Winters responded, “Marilyn, there’s no way you can sleep with Albert Einstein. He’s the most famous scientist of the century, and besides, he’s an old man.” Monroe shot back, “That has nothing to do with it. I hear he’s very healthy.” Even after Marilyn’s death, Winters says she spotted an autographed photo of Einstein on her piano that read, “To Marilyn, with respect and love and thanks, Albert Einstein.”

 

 

Source: Facts You Didn’t Know About the Legendary Actor Marilyn Monroe | Facts About Marilyn Monroe

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Fact of the Day - HIDDEN TRESURES

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Did you know... Throughout history, fantastic treasures from various cultures have been stolen or mysteriously gone missing. Often their theft or disappearance happens during times of war or disaster, when they can't be protected or when a military force decides to take those treasures as a trophy. Sometimes treasures are recovered, but many are still missing. (Owen Jarus | published March 28, 2022)

 

Mysterious Hidden Treasures

by Interesting Facts

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Few are immune to the lure of a hidden treasure, its location well-protected by natural fortifications and/or the obscure clues of an old map or legend. The intrigue has spawned an array of popular novels, such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1880s Treasure Island, and movies including 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, but there are also a few real-life stories of secret valuables and the explorers who sought them. Here are seven of history's most famous treasures — some real and others possibly pure fantasy — that have kept fortune-seekers on the hunt for years.

 

1. The Copper Scroll Treasures

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Discovered in the mid-20th century, the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls represented the archaeological find of a lifetime, yet one of them points to hidden riches of even greater value. The lone manuscript written on a copper scroll, officially designated "3Q15," reveals that around 160 tons of gold and silver are buried in 63 spots throughout modern-day Israel. Unfortunately, some of the wording in the ancient Hebrew text is a mystery to contemporary scholars, while other passages describe vague locations that are nearly impossible to pinpoint. It's been speculated that the valuables have already been dug up by later generations of Jews or the Knights Templar (see below), though the more tantalizing possibility exists that the billions of dollars worth of gold and silver remain up for grabs.

 

2. The Knights Templar Treasure

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The Knights Templar, founded as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, wasn't so poor in its heyday, as it loaded up its coffers through the spoils of war, donations of royal benefactors, and oversight of an extensive banking network. Unsurprisingly, the medieval military order’s wealth and influence drew the scrutiny of other powerful figures, and in 1307, King Phillip IV of France set about disbanding the order and claiming its riches. Although many of its members were arrested and executed, the Knights Templar allegedly smuggled their valuables out of Paris via hay carts or vessels. As such, its artifacts could be almost anywhere in the world, although a few collectors in recent years have pieced together what looks to be an impressive assemblage of Templar keepsakes, including a sword, libation cup, helmet, and obsidian chalice.

 

3. The Lost City of Paititi

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If the idea of secret caves and boats overflowing with gold tickles your fancy, then how about an entire city? Legend points to one such place in the Peruvian Andes, rumored to be a refuge for the Incas who escaped Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Expeditions have been trying to find Paititi for decades, but the biggest obstacle is its alleged location, in the midst of dense Amazonian growth, treacherous cliffs, and unwelcoming native tribes. In recent years, French explorer Thierry Jamin has followed clues toward an unusual "square mountain" in the Megantoni National Sanctuary of southeastern Peru, though time will tell whether this locale holds the secret city he and legions of predecessors have sought.

 

4. The Honjo Masamune

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While some treasures consist of sparkling gems, others, like the creations of 13th-century Japanese swordsmith Goro Nyudo Masamune, are one-of-kind works of craftsmanship. Masamune forged one particularly potent blade that took on the name of an early wielder, Honjo Shigenaga, and passed through generations of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan into the 19th century. However, shortly after the Honjo Masamune was named a National Treasure in 1939, the loss of World War II led to an order for the Japanese to turn over their swords, including the Tokugawas' 700-year-old katana, to American occupiers. Sleuths have since sought to recover the priceless artifact, with some following the dead-end trail of a "Sgt. Coldy Bimore" who supposedly took possession. Others are resigned to the idea that it sits in the dusty basement or attic of an unknown veteran's surviving family.

5. Nazi Gold in Lake Toplitz

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While the Japanese surrendered their treasures at the close of World War II, the Nazis supposedly hid theirs by dumping millions of dollars of gold into the Austrian Alps’ Lake Toplitz. But while rumors of the lake being a Nazi repository gained steam when counterfeit Allied currency was found submerged there in the 1960s, divers haven’t uncovered any of its alleged crates of gold. This is partly due to the difficulty of accessing the densely forested region, as well as the characteristics of the lake; frozen for much of the year, it also lacks oxygen in its deeper reaches, allowing the giant trees that fall in to remain preserved and block the path of explorers.

 

6. The Dutch Schultz Stash

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Famed gangster Dutch Schultz met his demise in a hail of gunfire at a New Jersey restaurant in October 1935, but not before delivering a stream of deathbed ramblings that reportedly included clues to a stash of loot hidden in the Catskill Mountains near Phoenicia, New York. Of course, the details of just what was squirreled away and where have changed over the years; it's either a load of cash, jewels, or bonds, and it’s located near a sycamore ... or maybe a pair of pine trees. It’s also worth considering the reliability of the source, who uttered such nuggets as, "Oh, oh; dog biscuit, and when he is happy he doesn't get snappy," as his life slipped away. However, the uncertainty hasn't stopped the treasure-seekers who regularly descend on Phoenicia with the hope of uncovering what could be upwards of $50 million in mob funds.

 

7. Blackbeard's Treasure

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No list of missing treasures would be complete without mention of a long-lost pirate trove, and this infamous buccaneer reportedly left behind a haul worthy of his formidable reputation. After nearly two years of plundering vessels in the West Indies, Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, ran into a sandbar off North Carolina in June 1718. From there, it's believed he transferred his valuables to other boats, leaving little sign of his haul when he was killed a few months later by a British Royal Navy force. Although Queen Anne's Revenge was discovered in 1996, it seems the whereabouts of its captain’s big prize became a massive mystery to all except, as Blackbeard once eloquently put it, the legendary pirate himself and the devil.

 

Source: The World's Most Valuable Treasures That are Still Missing  |  Facts About Hidden Treasures

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Fact of the Day - WAS EXPENSIVE TO BUILD

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Did you know... The International Space Station is the most expensive item humans have ever created.
The most expensive movie ever made is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which cost a whopping $410 million. That’s a pretty penny to be sure, but it’s less than half a percent of the most expensive human-made object in history: the International Space Station, whose price tag comes in at $100 billion. Launched in 1998 after more than a decade of careful (and often difficult) planning, the ISS is a collaboration between five space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It has been continuously occupied since 2000, with a full-time international crew conducting microgravity experiments and other research. For all that, the ISS almost didn’t exist in the first place. “There was never really a strong push to abandon it but there were threats,” according to Valerie Neal of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “It was very nearly killed by a single vote at one of the committees of the U.S. Congress.” Getting five space agencies representing the interests of 15 countries to work together was no easy feat, but few would argue that the results — including insights on disease treatments and drug delivery systems, the development of new water purification systems, and a better understanding of how bodies work in space — haven’t justified the financial investment. (Interesting Facts)

 

Chinese astronauts are called taikonauts.
We tend to think of everyone in space as an astronaut, but the term (which comes from the Greek words for “star” and “sailor”) usually only refers to those from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan. Russian space explorers are called cosmonauts (from the Greek for “universe” and “sailor”). Less well known, but no less catchy, is the term coined in the West for Chinese astronauts: “taikonaut,” which comes from the Chinese word for “space” and Greek for “sailor.” The term is only used in the West — at home, Chinese spacefarers are known as yuhangyuan, which is derived from the words for “space” and “traveler.”

 

Most Expensive Objects Ever Built
Alvin Goodley | May 11, 2022 

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Crystal Piano - $3.2 Million

Humans have built a lot of objects. From the pyramids to the rocket that sent people to the moon, the world (and outer space) is full of big and expensive objects created by people. Mankind has been building things for a long time. Construction is an ancient activity that sprung up out of the basic need of humans to avoid harsh weather. Over time, construction got more complicated as things like decorative structures and artful design became a priority.

 

1. London Crossrail Station

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Kicking off our list is London Crossrail Station, a massive structure serving as part of the Crossrail — a subway line currently under construction in London. In 2021, one part of the system opened to the public: the London Crossrail Station. The Station cost more than $1 billion to create, which was seven times the original budget. Crossrail Ltd. was the main creator of the Station. The company was established in 2001 specifically for this project. Did you know? This project involved 2,800 tonnes of steel. Originally, the Station was given a budget of $151 billion — but that price was blown out of the water as construction began.

 

2. The Hubble Space Telescope

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At number nine we have the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This object was created under the direction of NASA and launched in 1990. At $1.5 billion, the HST is one of the most expensive objects ever built.  The HST is designed to observe far-away galaxies and stars. In 1997, a mission was launched to replace worn-out components and update portions of the system. Today, the HST helps us see far-off galaxies — but only as they looked millions of years ago. Because it takes light so long to travel through the vast distance of space, the telescope captures how stars and planets appeared long before our time. For example, our views of the Andromeda galaxy show us how it looked 2.5 million years ago. Did you know? The HST has helped humans discover galaxies we didn’t know existed, including a collection of 3,000 discovered in 1995.

 

3. Burj Khalifa

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Burj Khalifa is a massive structure standing in Dubai. The building is the tallest in the world, coming in at 162 floors and more than 2,700 feet. Overall, this building cost a whopping $1.5 billion, making it the eighth-most expensive object ever built. Burj Khalifa was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with Adrian Smith serving as the project’s architect and William F. Baker working as the structural engineer. The building currently works as a mixed-use structure featuring apartments and commercial institutions. Did you know? During its construction, the intended height of this building was kept secret. The building eventually opened in 2010.

 

4. Heathrow Terminal 2

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Heathrow Terminal 2, a.k.a. the Queen’s Terminal, was created with leading design by Luis Vidal + Architects of Spain. The massive terminal cost over $3 billion and is the result of years of work. At its peak, Terminal 2 is expected to serve 20 million passengers yearly. The huge space was designed with traffic flow in mind, and the designers say people can get from their plane to the terminal exit in a quick five minutes. About 35,000 people worked on this massive project. Did you know? Terminal 2 will be home to more than Star Alliance 20 airlines.

 

5. The Large Hadron Collider

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Coming in at number six is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This crazy-complex structure was made by CERN and cost $4.75 billion. The LHC is the world’s biggest and most powerful particle accelerator. Particle accelerators are used for various scientific efforts involving particle physics. CERN was founded in the mid-20th century. The organization’s name stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, which is French for European Council for Nuclear Research. CERN researches the particles that make up our world. Did you know? In 2020, reports emerged that CERN wants to build another massive particle collider that’s even bigger and more expensive than the LHC.

 

6. The Stuart Hughes Gold Yacht

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This gold yacht by luxury brand Stuart Hughes may be owned by Robert Kuok, a billionaire and the richest man in Malaysia. The yacht itself costs a jaw-dropping $4.8 billion and features real gold — perfect for a billionaire.  Kuok is at the forefront of a lot of industries. The wealthy businessman owns three holding companies with tons of businesses, including a series of luxury hotels and a leading palm oil company. Did you know? At some point, Robert Kuok knocked down his massive mansion and built five smaller homes in its place to “avoid an ‘excessive’ show of wealth.”

 

7. The Channel Tunnel

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The Channel Tunnel is an underground railway tunnel linking France and England. Sometimes called the Chunnel, this construction project cost several billion dollars to build and stands as one of the most impressive man-made structures on the planet. The Chunnel actually consists of three tunnels — two for passenger and freight transportation and one for maintenance. In the end, the Chunnel took about 13,000 workers to complete. Did you know? The idea of a tunnel linking France and England was proposed in the early 1800s. Construction finally started in the late 1980s before passengers were allowed inside in November 1994.

 

8. San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

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Heading into the top three we have the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (or just the Bay Bridge). The massive undertaking started construction in the 1930s before officially opening to the public on November 12, 1936. Overall, the Bay Bridge cost more than $6.4 billion to construct. The process was overseen by C.H. Purcell, but other engineers and designers supported the bridge throughout the years. Most notably, part of the bridge collapsed during the 1989 California earthquake, sending the structure into a lengthy repair process involving countless workers. Did you know? Recent updates to the Bay Bridge have made it more resistant to earthquakes.

 

9. Hong Kong International Airport 

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Coming in at number two is Hong Kong International Airport. The expansive project started in the 1970s but didn’t get underway until the early ‘90s. The whole project involved countless people, but it was shaped by designs crafted by British architect Norman Foster. Overall, Hong Kong International Airport cost $20 billion to create. In the modern-day, this airport is one of the busiest in the world. However, COVID-19 slowed down flights and limited passengers — one report shows a steep drop in passengers because of the pandemic. Did you know? Hong Kong International Airport replaced an older airport that sat unsettlingly close to residential buildings — people could see planes soaring just outside their high-rise apartment windows.

 

10. The International Space Station

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The International Space Station (ISS) is one of the most impressive man-made objects ever constructed — and one of the most expensive. The insanely impressive structure flies around the globe at more than 17,000 miles per hour and sports a price tag of about $150 billion. Yeah, that’s billion with a B. An object as expensive and complex as the ISS needs a lot of people on-board to get built. 15 nations contributed to the project, with the U.S. and several European nations serving as the effort’s most prominent partners. Did you know? The price of running the ISS depends on the number of people on board. With a six-person crew, the system can cost more than $1 million to run per day.

 

 

Source: Facts About Man-Made Expensive Creations  |  Facts About Expensive Objects That Are Man-Made

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Fact of the Day - SCHOOL SUPPLIES

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Did you know... Many of us take for granted the tools and conveniences we use in our daily lives. Whether in kindergarten or grad school, students are no exception. Probably few have given any thought to how and why the supplies they use in the course of their studies came about. G.K. Chesterton wrote in his essay “A Piece of Chalk” that had he time enough, he could write “a book of poems entirely about things in [his] pockets.” The same is true of the school supplies that students take with them to class every day, as these ten intriguing origins suggest. (Gary Pullman  |  MAY 31, 2017)

 

Not-So Elementary Facts About the Origins of School Supplies

by Interesting Facts

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Whether you’re a baby boomer or a Gen Z-er, chances are we’ve all used the same No. 2 pencils and plastic protractors that have been gracing classrooms for decades. Even as curriculums change and technology advances, many of these simple yet effective supplies remain staples of back-to-school sales across the country. But have you ever stopped to wonder where those tools originally came from? From the surprising food item once used as an eraser to the accidental purpose of Post-its, learn about the origins of everyday school supplies found in backpacks and classrooms around the world.

 

1. Henry David Thoreau Helped Create the No. 2 Pencil

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This bright-yellow tool might never have existed if not for a stroke of luck. According to legend, its creation stems from a discovery made in England in 1564. During a storm, a large deposit of graphite (the “lead” now inside pencils) was unearthed clinging to the roots of a fallen tree, and locals realized that the material could make dark-gray sketch marks on paper. By the following year, Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner had sketched the first known depiction of a wooden pencil (a plug of graphite in a wooden tube), and by 1662, a similar product was being mass-produced in Nuremberg, Germany. A 1795 innovation led to a modern makeover for the pencil, when French chemist Nicolas-Jacques Conté developed a new technique for producing the actual material used to write. With supplies of high-quality plumbago (then a term for English graphite) cut off due to war between Revolutionary France and Britain, Conté combined a mixture of clay and lower-quality graphite — and found it so successful that a similar formula is still used in pencils today. These “Conté crayons” not only served as a solution to the graphite shortage, but led to further experimentation within the world of pencils. Another surprising development in the history of the pencil took place in the United States in the 1840s. While working at his father’s pencil factory, transcendentalist writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau — best known as the author of Walden, a landmark series of essays on self-reliance — helped conceive of a new numbering system to describe the lightness and darkness, as well as the hardness and softness, of a pencil’s graphite. Labeled from numbers one to four, this new notation system took off nationwide, and the now-beloved No. 2 pencil became most popular due to the perfect balance of those qualities.

 

2. Bread Was Used as an Eraser Before Rubber

What was the classroom like before the modern eraser? Prior to the 1770s, balled-up wads of moist bread were used to correct written mistakes. Fortunately for those who would rather eat bread than use it as a tool, that method was rendered obsolete long before modern schooling began. In 1770, scientist Joseph Priestly (the same man who discovered oxygen) noticed the erasing properties of a substance he initially called “India gum,” but which he later called “rubber” due to the rubbing action required by the user. The same year, British engineer Edward Nairne also stumbled upon rubber’s erasing abilities — allegedly when he accidentally reached for some rubber instead of breadcrumbs. Nairne went on to develop and market the first popular, practical erasers in Europe. In 1839, erasers became more commonplace after chemist and engineer Charles Goodyear discovered a method for curing natural rubber to prevent rotting. He called this “vulcanization” — named after the Roman god of fire — and patented the process in 1844. A Philadelphia stationer named Hymen Lipman took the development of erasers one step further in 1858 by attaching one to the end of a pencil, forever simplifying the ability to correct one’s mistakes.

 

3. Protractors Were Commonly Used for Navigation

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While many of us probably haven’t picked up a protractor since high school math class, the instrument used to measure angles served an important role in the field of navigation for at least 500 years. Or perhaps even longer: An early precursor to modern protractors was discovered in the tomb of an Egyptian architect named Kha, dating back to around 1400 BCE. In the 1589 work Briefe Description of Universal Mappes & Cardes, Thomas Blundeville described a protractor-like tool used to prepare maps and navigational charts, and by the 1600s, the tool was commonly used by sailors at sea. In 1801, U.S. naval captain Joseph Huddart designed a more sophisticated protractor meant for plotting the direction of a ship. Protractors were also used for coastal surveying projects, and in the 20th century, they found their place in the sky as an instrument for aviation navigation — as well as, of course, head-scratching problems in math class.

 

4. Glue Sticks Were Inspired by Lipstick Applicators

Kindergarten teachers around the world are no strangers to messy, glue-covered hands, but thanks to the German company Henkel, craft time became a whole lot cleaner with the advent of the glue stick. Henkel’s invention of the Pritt brand glue stick in 1969 featured a design inspired by twist-up lipstick applicators. Adhesives researcher Dr. Wolfgang Dierichs first proposed the design in 1967 after witnessing a woman applying lipstick during a flight. Dierichs was amazed at how careful the lipstick application process was and determined the method could also be applied to glue. Though the company struggled to thicken the glue at first, the solution proved to be a mixture of soap gel and water-soluble adhesive. In 1971, two years after the creation of the glue stick, Carl Weller filed a patent for the first glue gun — though that product should probably remain out of the hands of school children.

 

5. Scotch Tape Was Used to Paint Cars and Repair Blimps

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Long before tape became a mainstay of arts and crafts classrooms, it was developed for a different artistic purpose. Working for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (later known as 3M), inventor Richard Drew created the first masking tape in 1925 to facilitate painting two-tone automobiles, a popular design trend at the time. The tape would help cover up one part of the car while the other part was painted. However, the painters found the initial design subpar, since it had adhesive only at the edges, and angrily told Drew to take his “Scotch” tape back — at the time, “Scotch” unfortunately often meant “cheap.” Drew went back to the drawing board, and in 1930, he successfully produced the first roll of a new cellophane tape, which received rave reviews. This transparent tape became so popular that it was used as an anti-corrosive layer on Goodyear blimps, and in 1946, the tape was even used to help repair the rudder of an airplane that had been damaged by cows. While that may not sound reassuring for travelers, it goes to show how versatile the product was before it became an everyday household and classroom tool for art projects, gift-wrapping, and more.

 

6. Post-it Notes Were Used as Bookmarks in Church Hymn Books

The company 3M brought us not only Scotch tape, but also Post-it Notes. In 1968, Spencer Silver, a chemist at the company, started working on an adhesive that was sticky enough to attach to surfaces but could peel apart without leaving damage. He struggled to find a practical application for the product, but in 1974, his colleague Art Fry approached him seeking assistance with a problem he kept encountering during church. Fry had been bookmarking his hymn book with regular pieces of paper during choir practice and found that they kept falling out. Fry was delighted that the Post-its could be used without damaging the pages, and he even started using them around the office to convey messages. Though Silver and Fry saw the immediate benefit of Post-it Notes, it was a challenge to convince the larger public of their usefulness. It wasn’t until a 1978 marketing campaign known as the Boise Blitz — which distributed free samples to offices in the Idaho city — that the Post-it Note achieved more widespread popularity. A reported 90% of recipients in the marketing campaign said they would buy the product again, and the rest is history.

 

7. Index Cards Were Invented by the Founder of Modern Taxonomy

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Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is considered the father of modern taxonomy — scientific classification schemes — but he’s also responsible for the invention of a helpful item now used at school for memorization and more. In the 1760s, Linnaeus was searching for a way to organize what he found to be an overwhelming amount of research and information that was being discovered in other countries around the world. The result of his quest? The simple yet sturdy index card. Linnaeus found these small pieces of paper, which he cut down by hand, easier to organize and retrieve than regular paper, and used them frequently. Today, a set of over 1,000 paper slips used by Linnaeus can be viewed at the Linnaean Society in London. Though slightly flimsier, these historic relics are largely indistinguishable from modern index cards.

 

 

Source: Intriguing Origins Of School Supplies  |  Facts About the Origins of School Supplies

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Fact of the Day - CANDYMAN

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Did you know... What began as a low-budget indie film has morphed into a contemporary classic of the horror genre, and essential Halloween viewing. In 1992, English filmmaker Bernard Rose—who got his start working as a gopher on The Muppet Show—turned Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden” into Candyman. (Jennifer M Wood | Oct 16, 2017 | Updated: Oct 13, 2019 

 

Facts About the Horror Classic “Candyman” (Candyman, Candyman...)

by Interesting Facts

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Candyman turns 30 on October 16, 2022, and the classic horror film has only improved with age. The 2021 sequel directed by Nia DaCosta arguably avoided a common pitfall by adding to, rather than detracting from, its predecessor’s legacy, a rare feat befitting one of the most original horror flicks of the 1990s. Whether a re-watch or first viewing is in order, there’s no time like the present to say “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman” in front of the mirror and see what happens — but before you do, be sure to read up on these six facts about the film.

 

1. “Candyman” Took a Lot of Liberties With the Source Material

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Candyman is based on Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” which isn’t set in Chicago — or even America. It takes place instead in Liverpool, England, and puts less focus on the eponymous murderer and more on its grad-student heroine and her research into the Candyman legend. In Barker’s version, the killer doesn’t even appear in the flesh until page 31 (out of just 37) and was originally white. Director Bernard Rose changed that after deciding to shift the setting to Chicago in general and the (very real) Cabrini-Green housing project in particular, where the majority Black residents faced deteriorating conditions and rising crime rates at what was once a model of public housing. Barker’s “The Forbidden” is also even more violent than the film, with Candyman dispatching his victims in ways you simply couldn’t show on screen. Candyman is far from the only adaptation of Barker’s work. His novella The Hellbound Heart is the inspiration for the Hellraiser franchise, while other adaptations (some of which Barker has even written and directed) include 1986’s Rawhead Rex, 1990’s Nightbreed, 1995’s Lord of Illusions, and 2008’s The Midnight Meat Train.

 

2. Composer Philip Glass Wasn’t a Fan — At First

Even if you don’t know him by name, you’re likely familiar with the work of Philip Glass. The prolific avant-garde composer is responsible for the scores to movies including The Truman Show, The Hours, and Koyaanisqatsi, to name just a few, with three Academy Award nominations to his name. Also on his resume: Candyman, which he wasn’t happy with — at least at first. According to Rolling Stone, which placed Candyman third on its list of the 35 Greatest Horror Soundtracks, “What he’d presumed would be an artful version of Clive Barker’s short story ‘The Forbidden’ had ended up, in his view, a low-budget slasher.” Glass has softened on it, however, acknowledging in a 2014 Variety interview that “it has become a classic.”

 

3. Eddie Murphy Almost Got the Title Role…

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Eddie Murphy was at the height of his popularity in the early ’90s, with recent roles in Beverly Hills Cop II, Coming to America, and Another 48 Hrs. cementing him as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors. Not even the producers of Candyman were immune to his charms, as the funnyman was their first choice to play the title role despite never having appeared in a horror film before. It’s never been made clear why Murphy didn’t end up with the part, though his salary demands have been pointed to as a potential factor. The role eventually went to well-known character actor Tony Todd, whose unforgettable voice makes it nearly impossible to imagine anyone else playing Candyman. Todd reprised his role in the sequels Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) and Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999). Murphy, meanwhile, dipped his toes in the horror/comedy genre with 1995’s Vampire in Brooklyn.

 

4. … and Sandra Bullock Nearly Got Virginia Madsen’s Part

Candyman is the film’s namesake, of course, but he isn’t its protagonist. That would be Helen Lyle, a University of Illinois Chicago graduate student researching urban legends and folklore for her thesis — an endeavor that leads her to Cabrini-Green, said to be the site of Candyman’s crimes. Future Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen (Sideways) plays Helen, but the part almost went to Sandra Bullock instead. Neither was especially well known at the time, and producer Alan Poul revealed on the film’s audio commentary that Bullock would have been offered the role if Madsen had been unable to fulfill her duties.

 

5. There Was Almost a Crossover Sequel With “Leprechaun”

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Crossovers have long been common in the horror genre, from Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943 to Freddy vs. Jason 60 years later, with the latter’s success almost prompting a mash-up between the Candyman and considerably more lighthearted Leprechaun franchises. The script never made it past Todd, however, who immediately declined any involvement in the project because he felt it would cheapen the character’s legacy. He was probably right. The similarities between the franchises ended with the fact that both were owned by the same studio, and Leprechaun had strayed from its horror roots into campy comedy by that point (see: 1997’s Leprechaun 4: In Space).

 

6. Tony Todd Got a Bonus Every Time He Was Stung by a Bee

It was a good one, too: “I negotiated a bonus of $1,000 for every sting during the bee scene,” Todd shared. “And I got stung 23 times. Everything that’s worth making has to involve some sort of pain. Once I realized it was an important part of who Candyman was, I embraced it. It was like putting on a beautiful coat.” (Candyman uses bees against his victims, a strange, unsettling approach that ties into his tragic backstory.) Less enthused about these insect scene partners was Madsen, and with good reason: She’s allergic. “When Bernie [Rose] was first asking me to do the role I said, ‘Well, I can’t, I’m allergic to bees,’” she explained in an interview occasioned by the film’s 20th anniversary. “He said, ‘No, you’re not allergic to bees, you’re just afraid.’ So I had to go to UCLA and get tested because he didn’t believe me. I was tested of [sic] every kind of venom. I was far more allergic to wasps. So he said, ‘We’ll just have paramedics there, it will be fine!’ You know actors, we’ll do anything for a paycheck! So fine, I’ll be covered with bees.” This necessitated both a bee wrangler on set and the use of “baby bees” (just 12 hours old), who are less likely to sting than their full-grown counterparts. Fortunately, Madsen escaped unscathed — something that can’t be said of most of the film’s characters.

 

 

Source: Fascinating Facts About Candyman | Candyman Facts

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Fact of the Day - BRAM STOKER

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Did you know... Bram Stoker never visited Transylvania.
If you know anything about Transylvania, it’s probably that Dracula calls it home. Yet the author of Dracula, Irish writer Bram Stoker, never even visited Romania’s spookiest region. The town of Whitby, England — home to a 13th-century monastery called Whitby Abbey, which is surrounded by gravestones and has been in ruins for hundreds of years — was actually the most direct influence on the setting of the 1897 vampire novel. Stoker spent four weeks in Whitby between July and August of 1890, a visit that helped inspire his depiction of Dracula’s lair. So why not simply have the world’s most famous vampire live in Whitby? Well, Stoker called Transylvania “one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe” in the book’s first chapter, an evocative description based on his research into the area and 19th-century travel literature. Dracula himself was also partly inspired by Romanian superstitions and Vlad III, whom history often remembers by a more colorful name: Vlad the Impaler. The son of Vlad Dracul, he may have been born in Transylvania, eventually became Voivode (ruler) of Wallachia (a region of Romania), and more than earned his nickname by impaling perhaps hundreds of enemies. Considering he was born in the 15th century, it’s almost surprising it took so long for someone to base a character like Dracula on him.

 

Sunlight isn’t fatal to Dracula in the novel.
Nor was it fatal to any other vampire for a full 25 years after Dracula was published. The trope was actually invented in the 1922 German movie Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, director F.W. Murnau’s unofficial adaptation of Stoker’s novel. Widely considered one of the best, most influential horror films ever made, the German expressionist masterwork almost passed out of existence immediately after its release. Stoker’s estate sued over it in Germany, reportedly leading to a court ordering all copies of the film to be destroyed. Fortunately, enough prints survived for it to eventually achieve its current reputation as a vampiric classic almost on the same level as Dracula itself. (Interesting Facts)

 

Enlightening Facts About Bram Stoker

by Brigit Katz | Sep 11, 2021

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Bram Stoker, author of the Gothic masterpiece Dracula, created one of literature’s most iconic characters: a blood-slurping, shape-shifting, garlic-hating vampire, who dwells in a spooky Transylvanian castle and infuses his victims with the curse of the undead. Since the novel’s publication in 1897, an exuberant vampire subculture has swooped around the world, with Stoker’s creepy count inspiring everything from movies to ballets to breakfast cereals. It is quite possible that Stoker would have been surprised by Dracula’s tremendous popularity. He played many roles over the course of his lifetime—athlete, journalist, civil servant, fiction writer—but was best known in his day as the business manager of a famous stage actor.

 

Here are 11 enlightening facts about the man behind the modern vampire legend.

 

1. Bram Stoker was a sickly child.
Abraham (“Bram”) Stoker was born in 1847 in Clontarf, a coastal suburb of Dublin, Ireland. He was the third of seven children and his family was comfortably middle-class. But Stoker had a challenging start to life. Stricken by a severe, yet unexplained, illness, he was confined to bed during the early years of his childhood. “[T]ill I was about 7 years old,” the author later wrote, “I never knew what it was to stand upright.”

 

2. Bram Stoker became a star college athlete.
Despite his mysterious childhood malady, Stoker grew to become a tall and robust young adult. He enrolled in Trinity College Dublin in 1864, and while he was just an average student, he excelled at a busy roster of extracurricular activities—particularly athletic ones. Stoker joined the college’s rugby team and participated in high and long jumping, gymnastics, trapeze, and rowing, among other pursuits. He won prizes for weight lifting and endurance walking, and was crownedDublin University Athletic Sports Champion” in 1867. Looking back on his university days, Stoker recalled being “physically immensely strong.”

 

3. While at university, Bram Stoker worked in Dublin Castle.
Stoker entered the civil service while he was still a student at Trinity College. He landed a job at Dublin Castle, following in the footsteps of his father, who worked in the historic building as a clerk in the British administration. Stoker was eventually promoted to become Inspector of Petty Sessions, giving him oversight of magistrates’ courts. His first published book was in fact a manual for civil servants titled The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland. By Stoker’s own admission, the book was as “dry as dust.”

 

4. Bram Stoker was a manager for a famous actor.
During his civil servant years, Stoker began moonlighting as an unpaid theater critic for the Dublin Evening Mail. A fan of the theater, Stoker had been dismayed with the drama coverage in Dublin newspapers, which often assigned reviews to staff reporters with no theater expertise. He offered his services to the owner of the Mail, and when he was told that there was no money for new critics, he volunteered to write his reviews for free. It was through this role that Stoker met his thespian idol, the formidable Victorian actor Sir Henry Irving, marking the start of one of the most important relationships in the author’s life. “Soul had looked into soul!” Stoker wrote of their first encounter. “From that hour began a friendship as profound, as close, as lasting as can be between two men.” Impressed by Stoker’s business sense—and flattered by his admiration—Irving invited Stoker to work as his manager. It was an all-consuming job: Stoker organized Irving’s tours abroad, co-hosted his dinner parties, and answered his letters—more than half a million of them, by Stoker’s estimation. He also oversaw the operations of Irving’s London theater, the Lyceum. Though Stoker enjoyed modest success as an author during his lifetime, he was primarily known as Irving’s right-hand man. Upon Stoker’s death in 1912, The New York Times attributedmuch of Irving’s success” to him.

 

5. It took Bram Stoker seven years to write Dracula.
Stoker reportedly liked to say that the vision for his iconic bloodsucker came to him in a nightmare, following “a too-generous helping of dressed crab at supper.” While the author’s notes suggest that some elements of the plot may have indeed originated from a dream, he also consulted a wide range of sources while preparing to write Dracula—from books on legends and superstitions, to natural history texts, to travelogues. A holiday in the seaside resort of Whitby provided color for his character’s backstory. (He never visited Transylvania, the historic Romanian region where Dracula famously resides.) Stoker ultimately spent seven years researching and writing his novel, struggling through “the overload of his own imaginative clutter” and crises of confidence in the narrative, according to biographer David J. Skal. “He had second, even third thoughts about almost everything,” Skal writes. “In the end, he wondered if the book would even be remembered.”

 

6. Dracula was almost named “Count Wampyr.”
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Stoker’s notes for Dracula reveal that he originally planned to give his dastardly vampire a rather on-the-nose name: “Count Wampyr.” But he seems to have changed his mind after reading An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, a survey of two Romanian provinces. Stoker borrowed the book from a public library in the summer of 1890 and copied a telling footnote into his papers, adding his own capitalizations for emphasis: "DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL." At some point, Stoker went back to his notes and, in various places, crossed outWampyr” and wrote in “Dracula.” The new name appears to have made an impression on Stoker’s editor, too; the author titled his novel The Un-dead, but an editor changed it to Dracula before the book’s publication.

 

7. Bram Stoker staged a theatrical adaptation of Dracula before the novel was released.
On May 18, 1897—eight days before Dracula was published—an adaptation of the novel was staged at the Lyceum Theater. It was a slapdash affair. All plays intended for public performance had to be submitted to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office for licensing, so Stoker had quickly put together a script in order to retain the dramatic rights to Dracula. Advertisements for the performance, which was more of a dramatic reading than a play, were put up just half an hour before the show was due to begin. Only two paying customers were in the audience—perhaps for the best, since the adaptation comprised “over 40 scenes in total, and would probably have taken a numbing six hours to read,” according to the British Library. The Count did not appear on stage again until 1924, when the Irish actor Hamilton Deane premiered his dramatic version of Dracula, adapted with the permission of Stoker’s widow. The show was a smash hit, and became even more popular when it made its debut in America, featuring a script revision by John L. Balderston and starring Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Stoker’s Gothic tale, which had sold moderately after its release as a novel, had become a cultural sensation.

 

8. Bram Stoker sent fan mail to Walt Whitman.
Stoker first encountered Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman’s poetic opus, as a student at Trinity College. The work was controversial—for its overt sensuality and experimental style, among other things—but it deeply moved Stoker. In 1872, he wrote Whitman an effusive letter that ran nearly 2000 words, thanking the poet for his work and expressing the hope that the two could become friends. “If I were before your face I would like to shake hands with you,” Stoker confessed, “for I feel that I would like you.” It took him four years to muster the courage to send the letter to Whitman—and several weeks later, he received a letter in return. “You did well to write me so unconventionally, so fresh, so manly, and so affectionately, too,” the poet assured Stoker. “I too hope (though it is not probable) that we shall one day meet each other.” But Stoker and Whitman did meet—three times, in fact, thanks to Stoker’s travels to the United States with Henry Irving and the Lyceum Theater. Their conversations meandered over a range of subjects, from poetry to the theater to Abraham Lincoln, whom both men admired. “I found [Whitman] all that I had ever dreamed of,” Stoker recalled. And when Whitman died in 1892, he left Stoker a gift: the original notes to a lecture on Lincoln that the poet delivered in Philadelphia in 1886.

 

9. Bram Stoker also wrote a novel about a malevolent worm.
Though he is best remembered as the author of Dracula, Stoker wrote numerous short stories and 12 novels over the course of his literary career. His fiction ranges in genre from adventure, to romance, to horror—but only one of his works, a novel called The Lair of the White Worm, claims the distinction of being, in the words of one critic, “one of the barmiest books ever written.” The narrative features a monstrous creepy-crawly, a kite-obsessed mesmerist, and numerous mongooses, among other oddities. Modern readers have criticized The Lair of the White Worm for being flagrantly racist, sexist, and just generally very bad. Published in 1911, it was Stoker’s last novel, written at a time when he was in poor health. Some have questioned whether the novel’s “unhinged nature” was a product of mental decline caused by syphilis—but despite much speculation on the matter, there is no definitive evidence that Stoker ever contracted the sexually transmitted disease.

 

10. Bram Stoker faced financial difficulties at the end of his life.
Stoker’s later years were marked by illness and financial hardship. He suffered from kidney disease, and in 1906, he had a paralytic stroke that left him with lingering vision problems. Henry Irving had died the previous year, and with his long-time employer gone, Stoker turned to various other sources of income; he managed a West End musical production, worked as a journalist, and continued to write fiction. But these ventures did not bring in much money, and his health continued to decline. In 1911, he appealed to the Royal Literary Fund for financial help, explaining that he had suffered a recent “breakdown from overwork” and did not know if he would be able to “do much, or any, literary work” in the future. But the author did not live much longer; he died on April 20, 1912, at the age of 64.

 

11. Bram Stoker’s obituaries scarcely mentioned Dracula.
Now one of the most famous novels in the English language, Dracula barely warranted a mention in Stoker’s obituaries, which focused instead on his professional relationship with Henry Irving. The New York Times opined that Stoker’s “stories, though they were queer, were not of a memorable quality,” while The Times in London predicted that his biography of Irving would be his “chief literary memorial”—only briefly noting that Stoker was also a “master of a particularly lurid and creepy kind of fiction.”

 

 

Source: Facts About Bram Stoker | Facts About Author Bram Stoker

 

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Fact of the Day - POPULAR IDIOMS

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Can't Hold a Candle

Did you know.... Most common sayings and expressions have unclear origins, but we can look back to the furthest recorded evidence of them to get an idea of when and where they came from. (Jeremy Hayes | November 17, 2021)

 

The Origin Stories Behind 8 Popular Idioms

by Interesting Facts

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Idioms are short phrases that often make no literal sense but are nonetheless usually understood by the native speakers of a language. They can be quirky, playful, and sometimes even strange, but the most charming thing about them is their specificity of culture — like an inside joke shared by millions. Someone still learning English might be baffled to hear that they’d been “let off the hook,” though almost anyone raised in an English-speaking community would understand the meaning. Over time, the original context of the phrase is usually lost, but the words find new meaning in their idiomatic form. Take, for instance, being let off the hook. Dating back to the 18th century, the phrase evokes the image of a worm on the end of a fishing line. If it can wiggle itself off the hook, it can avoid being eaten by a fish. Likewise, a child caught stealing a cookie might beg and plead themselves out of being reprimanded, thereby getting themselves off the hook. Here are the little-known origin stories behind eight other common English idioms.

 

1. “Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve”

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To wear your heart on your sleeve is to be honest and open about your feelings. The phrase is generally believed to have originated in the Middle Ages. It was the custom then for jousting knights to wear some sort of insignia on their arm that indicated the ladies for whom they were hoping to triumph, thus proclaiming their love to the world.    

 

2. “Pardon My French”

In England, in the early 1800s, people would “beg pardon” for using French words in conversation. Forgiveness was requested in these instances because most people did not speak French, and furthermore, the Napoleonic Wars had left a residue of animosity between the two countries. By the mid-1800s the phrase had evolved to refer to swear words specifically. It’s worth noting that the Cambridge dictionary defines the idiom as something to be said when pretending to be sorry for offensive language.

 

3. “The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”

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In 1928, when inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, first released his bread loaf-slicing invention, the advertisement claimed it was “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” Riffing on the theme, customers began to compare all later inventions to his, and the modern idiom evolved from there.  

 

4. “With Flying Colors”

This idiom dates back to the Age of Exploration, the period when European explorers first set off across the seas. If a captain had been successful in his venture, he would order the crew to fly their country’s flag (or “colors”) to announce their victory before arriving back at the home port. Originally, the phrase “with flying colors” simply meant that a mission had been completed without disaster, but over the centuries the idiom came to signify great success.

 

5. “Apple of My Eye”

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To be the apple of someone’s eye is to be their most adored companion, but what exactly is an eye apple? This idiom is one of the oldest in the English language, traced back to the ninth century. Back then, it was assumed that the pupil of the eye was a round, solid object, and it was often compared to an apple, as apples were a commonly known round object. The delicate nature of sight (and its tendency to fade with age) made vision precious and over the years the phrase “apple of my eye” came to be used in reference to anything or anyone a person held dear.  

 

6. “Head Over Heels”

If one stops to think about it, being “head over heels” is actually how most humans spend their days. So how did this common, everyday state of being come to signify romance? In the 1300s, the phrase “head over heels” was used more literally to describe someone tumbling through a handstand or cartwheel, but by the 1800s writers had begun to use the phrase idiomatically to describe someone who had fallen hopelessly in love.  

 

7. “Buttering Up”

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To butter someone up is to beguile them, or to lavish them with praise to get what you want. The idiom evolved from the very literal buttering that takes place as part of the Hindu tradition of throwing balls of clarified butter (called ghee) at the statues of deities. In exchange for the offering, it was thought that buttered-up gods would reward the faithful with a good harvest.  

 

8. “Cutting the Mustard”

There is much speculation regarding the origin of this idiom, but the most reputable sources trace its usage from the late 1600s when the phrase “keen as mustard” was used to describe someone of high standards. Combined with “cutting,” which is often used in place of “exhibiting” (think: cutting a fine figure), and you get the modern, idiomatic equivalent of “exhibiting high standards.”

 

 

Source: Weird Origins of Sayings  |  Facts About the Origin of Idioms

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Fact of the Day - HIGH FIVE

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Did you know... Since 2002, the third Thursday of April is recognized as National High Five Day—a 24-hour period for giving familiars and strangers alike as many high fives as humanly possible. A few University of Virginia students invented the day, which has since evolved into a “High 5-A-Thon” that raises money each year for for a good cause. (For 2019, it's CoachArt, a nonprofit organization that engages kids impacted by chronic illness in arts and athletics.) Here are a few more facts about the history of the hand gesture to get you in the high-fiving spirit. ( Jessica Bloustein Marshall | Apr 17, 2019 )

 

How the High Five Started: A Brief History

by Interesting Facts

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It’s a gesture so innate that we rarely think about it — reaching one hand out with a flat palm and slapping another person’s mirrored hand in joyous celebration. Whether it’s teammates bonding over success at a sporting event, strangers offering their hands out to marathon runners, or families teaching it to their babies — and even dogs! — there’s no doubt that there is a universality to the high five. While it would seem the habit has been ingrained in human DNA for generations, surprisingly, the origins of the action go back less than 50 years, no matter which story you choose to believe. Some say it began with women’s volleyball in the 1960s, while Magic Johnson once claimed that he invented the move. But in 2011, journalist Jon Mooallem did a deep dive into its history, finding out that for a simple tradition, the history is far more complicated.

 

1. Taking It From High to Low

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Since at least World War II, the low five had been a part of Black American culture, thought to be a sign of solidarity. During a college basketball practice session at the University of Louisville in the 1978 to 1979 season, forward William Brown reportedly went to slap teammate Derek Smith’s hands low. But Smith said to him, “No, up high,” and Brown obliged. After all, it made sense for this team since they were known for playing above the rim. “I thought, yeah, why are we staying down low? We jump so high," Brown said. And so a tradition was born, often seen in footage of the team on the court that season. “Occasionally, they're jerky, thrusting fives — more like spears thrown perpendicularly at the other guy's torso,” Mooallem wrote. “But they're clearly among the first high fives ever broadcast into American living rooms.” While Smith died in 1995 from a heart condition, Brown says that he wore the badge of honor as the high five’s inventor with pride: “[Smith would] talk about the high five constantly...It was one of those things he was most proud of, right up there with getting his degree, having his kids, and marrying his beautiful wife.”

 

2. A Symbol of Gay Pride

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While that is one beautiful origin story to the tradition, the actual tale may go back further —  by just one sporting season — to a different kind of ball game. On October 2, 1977, 46,000 baseball fans were screaming at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium — and for good reason. It was the sixth inning of the final game of the regular season and with Dusty Baker’s 30th home run, they had just become the first team in baseball history to have four players with at least 30 homers. (Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith rounded out the foursome.) The crowd was going wild, and so was a young outfielder named Glenn Burke. The rookie couldn’t help but go up to Baker at that moment. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back,” Baker remembers. “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do.” Even those on the sideline could tell what a momentous occasion it was — with the home run soon being overshadowed by the high five. Sports reporter Lyle Spencer, who covered the Dodgers from 1977 to 1981, said on the ESPN film The High Five, “I know I wrote about it that day — it was such a moment. It was the energy of it, it was just this explosion of emotion.”

 

That was just the beginning of Burke’s legacy with the gesture. Despite a strong record, the young player was traded to the Oakland As in 1978. Though it was never articulated, Baker said in the film that they all knew it was because Burke was gay. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community wasn’t accepted in professional sports, he was often ridiculed — and eventually demoted to the minors, retiring in 1980. Instead, he started playing softball in a local gay league in San Francisco’s Castro district. “He was basically a symbol of what all these guys were showing the rest of America they could be which was masculine and athletic and the high five was really part of that mystique for Glen Burke,” Mooallem said in the film. Burke came out publicly in 1982 in Inside Sports magazine, and in the feature, gay activist Michael J. Smith wrote that the “legacy of two men's hands touching, high above their heads” became a symbol of gay pride.

 

3. A Fake Story Makes News

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Both Smith and Burke went to their graves believing that they originated the high five. Yet there’s a third man who also shares the credit. Lamont Sleets had played college basketball at Murray State University from 1979 to 1984 and was credited as the inventor of the high five in a 2007 press release from National High Five Day, celebrated every third Thursday in April. The founders of the holiday, comedy writer Conor Lastowka and Greg Harrell-Edge, said that Sleets’ father served in the Vietnam War in a unit dubbed The Five. So when his former army buddies would visit when Sleets was a kid, they’d hold their palms and say, “Five!” Little Sleets couldn’t remember each of their names, so he would slap their hands and say, “Hi, Five!” — later bringing that tradition with him to the basketball courts. The trouble was Sleets ignored all attempts to verify the story. No one, from Sleets’ old college coach to his high school principal, had concrete answers until Mooallem asked Lastowka and Harrell-Edge an unusual question: Was the story even true? Turns out it wasn’t. They confessed that they had come up with the story as a publicity stunt and pulled a name from a college basketball roster.

 

4. Cementing Its Place in History

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As turns out, the high five is as filled with folklore and fairytales as it is with momentous power and elation. It’s woven its way into pop culture with high five-addicted characters in Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother, but also into hard-hitting headlines, like the New York Times March 2020 story, “In Coronavirus Outbreak, the High-Five Is Left Hanging.” While the future of the high five remains yet to be seen — they were even specifically banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — one thing’s for sure, the instinct to share that energy and excitement with another human will never be replicated in any other way.

 

 

Source: A Brief History of the High Five  |  Facts About the History of High Five

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Fact of the Day - MISHEARD LYRICS

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Did you know... A misheard song lyric is called a “mondegreen.”
If you’ve confused “Takin’ Care of Business” with “Makin’ Carrot Biscuits” or “Bennie and the Jets” with “Betty in a Dress,” you’ve been tricked by a mondegreen. As Merriam-Webster explains, this phenomenon occurs when a word or phrase “results from a mishearing of something said or sung.” You can thank American writer Sylvia Wright for the term, which she coined in a 1954 Harper’s essay. When Wright was a child, her mother read to her from the book Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. A favorite entry featured the line, “And laid him on the green,” which Wright misheard as “And Lady Mondegreen.” A mondegreen occurs when there’s a communication hiccup between the syllables you hear and the meaning your brain assigns to them. Mondegreens are especially common when you hear music but cannot see the singer’s face, like when listening to the radio. (For example, when you interpret “Our Lips Are Sealed” as “Alex the Seal.”) They’re also more likely to happen when the singer has an accent. But although mondegreens are perhaps most famously associated with song lyrics, they can also happen when everyday words and phrases are misheard. Occasionally, a misconstrued phrase is so common that it enters our lexicon. Such was the case with “spitting image,” which originated as “spit and image” (“spitonce meanta perfect likeness”), and “nickname,” which began life as “an ekename” (“also-name”).   

 

Bob Dylan claims he wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 10 minutes.
The lyrics of one of the most famous songs of the civil rights era allegedly came to Bob Dylan very quickly, while he was sitting at a cafe in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Dylan was partly inspired by Delores Dixon’s rendition of the enslavement-era protest song “No More Auction Block for Me.” Fittingly, Dixon was the lead vocalist of the New World Singers, the first band to record “Blowin’ in the Wind,” in 1962. The following year, Dylan performed the song himself on his sophomore album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul and Mary then covered the track in front of 250,000 people at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Both Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary’s versions of “Blowin’ in the Wind” are now part of the Grammy Hall of Fame. When some people listen to the song’s opening line — “The answer, my friend” — they hear “The ants are my friends,” a mondegreen that inspired its own book title. (Interesting Facts)

 

The Most Absurd Misheard Lyrics of All Time

by KAREN HAYNES | 18 JULY 2022

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Picture this: you’re down the front seeing your favourite band with a group of mates. It’s time for your song. You belt the lyrics at the top of your lungs, look around at your bestie for that perfect moment of unity, only to see a confused look in their eye. “You what?” they say. It’s at this moment, you realise, the rest of the crowd is singing something entirely different. Could it be that you’ve had the words wrong this whole time? You’re not alone, friend, but we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up some common, ridiculous and obscure misheard lyrics to avoid looking red-faced at the festival.

 

1. OASIS – ‘WONDERWALL‘

 

Here’s hoping that  Aunty G had kept her insurance up-to-date.

 

Misheard Lyric: “Back Beat the word is on the street, that there’s a fire in your aunty’s house

Correct Lyric: “Back Beat the word is on the street, that the fire in your heart is out

 

2. JASON DERULO – ‘WANT TO WANT ME

 

Poor Jase, he clearly needs some Imodium.

 

Misheard Lyric: “I got the shits on the floor

Correct  Lyric: “I got the sheets on the floor

 

3. SINÉAD O’ CONNOR – ‘NOTHING COMPARES 2U‘

 

Who doesn’t want to? A red sarong is de rigeur dinner attire.

 

Misheard Lyric: “I can eat my dinner in a fancy red sarong

Correct Lyric: “I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant

 

4. NANCY SINATRA – ‘JACKSON’

 

The band name is itself a misheard lyric of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Jackson’. The perfect example of owning your mistakes.

 

Misheard Lyric: “We got married in a fever, hotter than a prefab sprout

Correct Lyric: “We got married in a fever, hotter than a peppered sprout” 

 

5. MADONNA – ‘EROTIC‘

 

Who would have thought that Britain’s favourite twitcher was such a dirty birdy

 

Misheard Lyric: “Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie, put your hands all over my body.”

Correct Lyric: “Erotic, erotic, put your hands all over my body.”

 

6. KINGS OF LEON – ‘SEX ON FIRE‘

 

From foreplay to word play. This one’s funny on several levels. 

 

Misheard Lyric: “Dyslexics on fire

Correct Lyric: “Your sex is on fire

 

7. B-52'S – ‘LOVE SHACK‘

 

Either those are very anti-social party goers or they’ve got one hell of a messy kitty cat!

 

Misheard Lyric: “Litter on the front porch/Litter on the hallway”

Correct Lyric: “Glitter on the front porch/glitter on the hallway

 

8. PRINCE – ‘PURPLE RAIN‘

One of the many rumours surrounding The Purple One was that he kept his mum in the garden.

 

Misheard Lyrics:Maybe I’m just like my mother/she’s never sat inside.” 

Correct Lyrics: “Maybe I’m just like my mother/ She’s never satisfied

 

Want to know about more songs that have been misheard? Click below ⬇️

 

 

Source: Facts About Misheard Lyrics  |  Interesting Facts About Misheard Lyrics

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Fact of the Day - FRANKENSTEIN

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Did you know... A volcanic explosion caused a “year without a summer” in 1816 — and inspired “Frankenstein.”
Difficult times can lead to great art. Case in point: the volcanic explosion that caused a “year without a summer” in 1816 — and inspired the novel Frankenstein. The eruption took place at Indonesia’s Mount Tambora, many thousands of miles away from author Mary Shelley’s home in England. In addition to a harrowing death toll, the April 1815 explosion ejected mass amounts of sulphur dioxide, ash, and dust into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and plunging the global temperature several degrees lower, resulting in the coldest year in well over two centuries. In part because of the volcano, Europe and North America were subjected to unusually cold, wet conditions the following summer, including a “killing frost” in New England and heavy rainfall that may have contributed to Napoleon’s infamous defeat at Waterloo. So what does that have to do with Shelley’s masterpiece? Then 18 and still going by her maiden name of Godwin, she and her lover/future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, traveled to Lake Geneva in April 1816, a time of extremely gloomy weather. One fateful night that July, the two were with their friend Lord Byron, the infamous poet, when he suggested, “We will each write a ghost story.” Shelley completed hers in just a few days, writing in the introduction to Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus that “a wet, ungenial summer, and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house.” Who knows: If it had been bright and sunny that week, we might never have gotten the endlessly influential 1818 book, which later spawned an assortment of movies, TV shows, plays — and of course, iconic Halloween costumes.

 

Shelley claimed the idea for Frankenstein came to her in a waking dream.
After agreeing to Lord Byron’s ghostly prompt, Shelley initially struggled to come up with an idea for her tale. “I busied myself to think of a story,” she later wrote. “‘Have you thought of a story?’ I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative.” The idea eventually came to her one sleepless night, when her “imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided [her].” She then saw “the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” Two years later, her book was published, and Mary Shelley would eventually be hailed as the foremother of science fiction. (Interesting Facts)

 

Surprising Facts About Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
By Joy Lanzendorfer | August 30, 2018 | Updated: October 12, 2021

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Frankenstein, the story of a mad scientist who brings the dead back to life, only to discover that he has created a monster, continues to be one of our lasting horror stories. Here are the nuts and bolts about the 200-year-old tale that forever touched on our fears about what can go wrong when people play God.

 

1. Frankenstein was written by a teenager.
Mary Shelley’s teenage years were eventful, to say the least. At age 16, she ran away with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Over the next two years, she gave birth to two children. In 1816, the couple traveled to Switzerland and visited Lord Byron at Villa Diodati. While there, 18-year-old Mary started Frankenstein. It was published in 1818, when she was 20 years old.

 

2. The novel came out of a ghost story competition.

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The Shelleys visited Switzerland during the “year without a summer.” The eruption of Mount Tambora in modern Indonesia had caused severe climate abnormalities and a lot of rain. Stuck inside, the group read ghost stories from the book Fantasmagoriana. It was then that Lord Byron proposed that they have a competition to see who could come up with the best ghost story: Byron, Mary, Percy, or the physician John Polidori. In the end, neither Byron nor Percy finished a ghost story, although Polidori later wrote The Vampyre—which influences vampire stories to this day—based on Byron's offering.

 

3. Mary Shelley said she got the idea from a dream.
At first, Mary had writer’s block, unable to come up with a good idea for a ghost story. Then she had a waking dream—“I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think,” she said. In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein [PDF], she described the vision as follows: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life. … He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.” Mary opened her eyes and realized she’d found her story. “What terrified me will terrify others,” she thought. She began working on it the next day.

 

4. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the shadow of tragedy.

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Before she started Frankenstein, Mary gave birth to a daughter, who died just days later. (In fact, only one of Mary’s four children lived to adulthood.) Soon after the baby died, she wrote in her journal, “Dream that my little baby came to life again—that it had only been cold & that we rubbed it by the fire & it lived—I awake & find no baby—I think about the little thing all day.” This circumstance, as well as the suicide of her half-sister, must have contributed to the novel.

 

5. Frankenstein was the name of the scientist, not the monster.
In the novel, Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to as "monster," "creature," "dæmon," and "it." But if you’ve made the mistake of calling the monster Frankenstein, you’re not alone. As early as 1890 The Scots Observer complained that Frankenstein “presented the common pressman with one of his most beloved blunders”—confusing the two.

 

6. The novel shares its name with a castle.

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Mary made up the name Frankenstein. However, Frankenstein is a German name that means Stone of the Franks. What’s more, historian Radu Florescu claimed that the Shelleys visited Castle Frankenstein on a journey up the Rhine River. While there, they must have learned about an unbalanced alchemist named Konrad Dippel, who used to live in the castle. He was trying to create an elixir, called Dippel's Oil, which would make people live for over a hundred years. Like Victor Frankenstein, Dippel was rumored to dig up graves and experiment on the bodies. Not all historians are convinced there’s a link, however, pointing out that there’s no indication Frankenstein had a castle in the novel, and that Shelley never mentioned visiting the castle herself in any of her writing about her trip up the Rhine.

 

7. Many thought Percy Shelley wrote Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was first published anonymously. It was dedicated to William Godwin, Mary’s father, and Percy Shelley wrote the preface. Because of these connections, many assumed that Percy Shelley was the author. This myth continued even after Frankenstein was reprinted in Mary’s name. In fact, some people are still arguing that Percy authored the book. While he edited the book and encouraged Mary to expand the story into a novel, actual authorship is a stretch.

 

8. Frankenstein was originally slammed by critics.

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When Frankenstein came out in 1818, many critics bashed it. “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents,” John Croker, of the Quarterly Review, wrote. But gothic novels were all the rage, and Frankenstein soon gained readers. In 1823, a play titled "Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein" cemented the story’s popularity. In 1831, a new version of the book was published, this time under Mary’s name.

 

9. Frankenstein is widely considered the first science fiction novel.
With Frankenstein, Shelley was writing the first major science fiction novel, as well as inventing the concept of the “mad scientist” and helping establish what would become horror fiction. The influence of the book in popular culture is so huge that the term Frankenstein has entered common speech to mean something unnatural and horrendous. Mary went on to write other science fiction, such as her short story Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman, about a man who has been frozen in ice, and her novel The Last Man, about a survivor in a world destroyed by plague, from the same year.

 

10. Thomas Edison adapted Frankenstein for film.

 

In 1910, Thomas Edison's studio made a one-reel, 15-minute film of Frankenstein, one of the first horror movies ever made. It was thought lost until it was rediscovered in the 1980s. Watch it above.

 

 

Source: Facts About Frankenstein | Monstrous Facts About Frankenstein

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Fact of the Day - HALLOWEEN-LIKE CELEBRATIONS

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Did you know... While we typically associate Halloween with costumes and candy these days, the holiday is rooted in spiritual beliefs from more than 1,000 years ago. Many trace Halloween back to the Celtic pagan celebration of Samhain, in which observants would wear costumes and light fires to ward off the souls returning back to their homes on November 1. As All Saints’ Day became a Christian take on Samhain, along with it came the festivities of the night before, or All Hallow’s Eve, which evolved into Halloween. The costume-wearing and trick-or-treating traditions popularized in the U.S. in the 1950s have turned into an annual $2.5 billion industry. But around the world, many other countries have their own sorts of similarly spirited occasions that recall the original intentions of Halloween. Here are 18 such celebrations and the stories behind them. (Interesting Facts)

 

Popular Halloween-Like Celebrations

by Sofie | updated on May 9, 2021

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From Halloween in the US to the Day of the Dead in Mexico, the desire to connect with the supernatural is intrinsic to every race. Ghost stories terrify us but also thrill us, and it’s exactly because of this mysterious curiosity with the unknown that we’re drawn towards the extraordinary. But beyond the customary costume parties and jack-o-lanterns are a host of other Halloween-like events that celebrate the dead and the powers that lie beyond. From festive parades that summon the departed to more solemn ceremonies that ward off malignant spirits, here’s a list of some of the world’s most popular Halloween-alike traditions.

 

1. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, MEXICO

Skulls, skulls, and more skulls — the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico is one of the world’s most popular events, and all because of its colorful costumes and iconic skull makeup. Originally celebrated in Mexico on November 1 to 2 but now observed around the world, Dia de Los Muertos celebrates the dead with lots of food — but they’re mostly for weary souls that have descended from heaven to join their families. Home altars are stocked with fruit, meat, beverages, and pan de meurto (bread of the dead), while toys are left for children who have passed away. In cemeteries, graves are adorned with Aztec marigolds and Calaveras (skull decorations made from sugar or clay).

 

2. DAY OF DRACULA, ROMANIA

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What better way to celebrate Halloween than in the legendary castle of Count Dracula, the world’s prototypical vampire? Each year during Halloween, people around the world flock to Transylvania’s Bran Castle where they can explore hidden tunnels and wander through secret staircases, all while learning about the history of the 14th century fortress and its significance to Bram Stoker’s 1987 novel. The vampires are fictional but the fun isn’t, as costume parties attended by more than a thousand revelers are held here every Halloween night.

 

3. HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL, HONG KONG

On the seventh month of the Lunar Calendar, the Gates of Hell open in Hong Kong and allow spirits to roam free to haunt the living. Two weeks of lumbering around and visiting their families have made these restless spirits ravenous, so on the 15th day of the lunar month, members of the Chiu Chow community do their best to appease them by offering fruit, meat, and pastries. Hell money and paper goods are burned for spirits to use in the afterlife, while lanterns and candles are lit to help the deceased find their way back to spiritual world — and this is when the Hungry Ghost Festival begins. Although spooky for the uninitiated, the festival is a time for families to reconnect with the dearly departed and an opportunity to make amends for offenses committed against them.

 

4. KAWASAKI HALLOWEEN PARADE, JAPAN

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Trust in Japan to go all out on a costume party. Flocked by over 4,000 festival goers who are all decked from head to toe in outrageous costumes, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade held in Tokyo every October 28 is the biggest festivity of its kind in the country. This large-scale costume parade draws 130,000 spectators from around the world and features wacky parade floats and performances from DJs and musicians. First-timers who want to take part in the festivities should know that this isn't their run-of-the-mill costume party. In true Japanese fashion, costumes are taken very seriously with most clad in larger-than-life costumes, theatrical face paint, and prosthetics. To participate in the main parade, you must have a costume ready, fill out an application form, and pay about USD 10.

 

5. FASTELAVN, DENMARK

Often touted as a cross between Halloween and a carnival, the Fastelavn celebrated in Denmark is a yearly tradition enjoyed by children every February. During the festivities, children wear costumes and go door to door for candy and delicious cream-filled buns called 'fastelavnsboller'. Akin to the Mexican piñata, children’s parties often include a parlor game called 'slå katten af tønden', or 'whacking the cat out of the barrel', where children take turns whacking a barrel decorated with images of black cats. Dive into the past and you'll discover that today's benign Fastelavn is rooted from darker and more heinous origins. Historically, Danes would put a live cat in the barrel, and the beating of the barrel and the cat was a practice done to ward off evil spirits. Today, however, the cat is cardboard and the barrel is filled with sweets. Whew!

 

6. AWURU ODO FESTIVAL, NIGERIA

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Nigeria’s Northern Igbo believe that every two years, a massive return of the dead occurs where the dearly departed spend up to six months communing with the living. During the festivities, the spirits are welcomed back into the world with feasts and drinking, summoned into their former homes, and sent off with an emotional departure that involves a theatrical Odo masquerade. To bid the spirits goodbye, masked actors reenact the excitement of their visit and the profound grief of their departure.

 

7. WALPURGIS NIGHT, GERMANY

With dark origins of devil worship, witches, and pagan sacrifices, today’s Walpurgis in Germany held every April 30 is a family-friendly event where kids are more than welcome to attend. As opposed to the traditional practice of honoring the dead in most Halloween-like traditions, Walpurgis Night in Thale commemorates the folkloric get-together of witches as they fly in atop their broomsticks to the highest peak of the Harz Mountains. Celebrated all throughout the Harz region in around 20 festival locations, the all-day event includes costume parades, bonfires, bands, comedic performances, and streets flanked on all sides with food and crafts stalls.

 

8. CORREFOCS, SPAIN

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It might be frightening for the uninitiated to be a part of a Correfocs in Spain, but for the locals in Catalan, it’s a commonplace event that’s held to commemorate just about anything. A popular inclusion to holidays and public celebrations, the festivity is one big pyrotechnic party that involves blasting fireworks among crowds of spectators. Though it may sound dangerous, participants are geared for the occasion and injuries happen rarely. The Correfocs dates its origins back to the medieval practice of Ball de Diables (Devil’s Dances) — a theatrical performance where actors masqueraded as devils and recreated the battle between Good and Evil.

 

9. SAMHAIN FESTIVAL, IRELAND & SCOTLAND
Millions celebrate Halloween around the world, but only a few know of its Celtic roots. Held every October 31 in Ireland and Scotland, the Samhain festival (Samhuinn in Scotland) found its origins 2,000 years ago as it marked the middle ground between summer and winter when the division between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. During this time, the living would summon their deceased ancestors while hiding from evil spirits by wearing masks and costumes. Today, these practices are carried over to the Halloween we now know, albeit more Christianized and child-friendly. The Samhuinn Fire Festival in Scotland commemorates this day with costumed parades, fire-dancing, wild drumming, and acrobatics. From grim and ghastly to fun and festive, it’s no surprise that different cultures have different ways of celebrating life after death and connecting with the dearly departed. There’s a common truth that spans nationalities and languages — the more we embrace death as a part of the human experience, the more we appreciate life as we live it.

 

 

Source: Global Celebrations Like Halloween  |  Halloween-Like Celebrations Around the World

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - TIGERS

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Did you know... The pattern of every tiger’s stripes is unique.
Not unlike human fingerprints, the pattern of every tiger’s stripes is one of a kind. And though those markings are invariably beautiful, they aren’t just for decoration. Biologists refer to tiger stripes as an example of disruptive coloration, as their vertical slashes help them hide in plain sight by breaking up their shape and size so they blend in with tall grass, trees, and other camouflage-friendly environments. Tigers are solitary hunters who ambush their prey, so the ability to remain undetected while on the hunt is key to their survival. They’re also helped by the fact that their prey don’t see colors the way we do. Deer, for instance, can process short and mid-wavelength colors such as green and blue but not long wavelength hues such as red and orange. That means a tiger lurking in the grass won’t look bright orange — it will actually appear green to its prey, making it difficult to differentiate from its surroundings. Markings also differ among subspecies, with Sumatran tigers having the narrowest stripes and Siberian tigers having fewer than the rest of their big cat brethren.

 

Tigers have stripes on their skin as well as their fur.
It isn’t just a tiger’s fur that’s striped. Their skin is similarly marked, and the pattern mirrors that of their fur. Scientists have compared this to a beard’s five-o’clock shadow, as a tiger’s colored hair follicles are embedded in their skin and therefore visible to the naked eye. Here, too, we have something in common with these majestic creatures: Our skin is covered in a kind of stripes as well — called Blaschko’s lines — but ours are usually invisible except in the case of certain skin conditions.  (Interesting Facts)

 

Super Interesting Tiger Facts

by  Lauren Taylor | Published on June 30, 2022

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Tigers are beautiful and amazing creatures, and you might be surprised to learn there's probably a lot you don’t know about them, too. For example, did you know that each tiger’s stripes are unique?

 

Find out more fascinating tiger facts below.

 

1. Tigers are pretty big
Tigers are the largest members of the cat family (which also includes domestic cats, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pumas and others). They can be up to 10 feet long and can weigh over 600 pounds!

 

2. There are two recognized subspecies of tiger
Tigers used to be categorized into nine subspecies, but the different types of tigers (below) are now grouped into only two subspecies. These two subspecies are the continental tiger and the Sunda tiger. The continental tiger is the larger subspecies, with adult males weighing up to 660 pounds. Sunda tigers are smaller than continental tigers and weigh around 310 pounds when fully grown.

 

Sunda tigers:

 

Continental tigers:


3. You can identify a tiger by his stripes
Each tiger has his own unique pattern of stripes, which are similar to humans’ fingerprints as they’re different for each individual. And since their stripes are unique, this helps researchers identify and count tigers in the wild. Tigers have around 100 stripes, and they’re used for camouflage. Since the rest of their coats are orange, the dark stripes help tigers blend in with their surroundings and hide from their prey when they’re hunting in low-light conditions.

 

4. It’s not just tigers’ fur that’s striped

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Tigers’ skin underneath their fur is also striped!

 

5. Tigers don’t like company
Unlike lions, who live and hunt in groups, tigers are solitary cats. Aside from mothers and their cubs, tigers usually live alone. Individual tigers have their own territory, which they mark to keep other tigers out of their space.

 

6. Some tigers are white
White tigers are pretty rare, but they do exist. White tigers are actually Bengal tigers, and their white fur comes from a genetic mutation called leucism They typically have blue eyes, while orange tigers have yellow eyes. There are no white tigers left in the wild, so the only place you can find them is in captivity. These tigers are often inbred, because the white color comes from a recessive gene (meaning both parents have to carry the gene to produce the white color), leading to health problems.

 

7. Tigers are apex predators

Tigers are apex predators, which means they have no natural predators. The only predators to tigers are humans.

 

8. Tigers actually like the water

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It’s pretty well-known that most cats hate water — but that’s not true for tigers. They actually love the water and are great swimmers. Tigers like to hang out in bodies of water to cool down since they live in tropical climates.

 

9. Tigers live in different types of habitats
Tigers live in a variety of habitats, including rainforests, grasslands, savannas and mangrove swamps. They can be found in 13 countries: India, China, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

 

10. Tigers are endangered
There are three types of tigers who are already extinct (Javan, Bali and Caspian), and the remaining tigers are endangered. There are currently only about 3,900 tigers in the wild, and they live in as little as 4 percent of the land they once occupied. Many tigers are killed from illegal poaching. Tigers are also threatened by conflict with humans, which happens because of the destruction of their habitats, leaving them without much land, and overhunting of their prey, causing tigers to hunt livestock.

 

You can help tigers by taking some of these steps:

  • Don’t buy anything that comes from illegal tiger hunting.
  • Reduce your use of products made from forests, like paper.
  • Donate to tiger conservation efforts.
  • “Adopt” a tiger to support conservation efforts.

 

 

Source: Facts About Tigers | Fun Facts About Tigers

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Fact of the Day - GHOSTS IN THE WHITE HOUSE

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Did you know... The most famous address in America—1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—is also perhaps the country’s most famous haunted house. Presidents, first ladies, White House staff members and guests have reported feeling ghostly presences, hearing unexplained noises and even running into actual apparitions—even on the way out of the bathtub, in one particularly famous case. (HISTORY.COM EDITORS | UPDATED: AUG 12, 2019 | ORIGINAL:OCT 29, 2009)

 

Famous Ghosts at the White House, “The Country’s Most Famous Haunted House”

by Interesting Facts

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Do you believe in ghosts? If you do, you have something in common with 46% of Americans — not to mention several Presidents. Harry Truman, Abraham Lincoln, and even Winston Churchill are among the world leaders who may or may not have had supernatural experiences at the White House, which was first built starting in 1792 and rebuilt in 1817 after the British burned it during the War of 1812. The White House has been calledthe country’s most famous haunted house,” and with good reason — some even count a former POTUS among the supposed spirits in residence. Here are a few of the most famous ghosts rumored to haunt the Executive Mansion.

 

1. First Lady, First Ghost

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John Adams was the first President to live in the White House after its completion at the turn of the 19th century, making his wife, Abigail Adams, the first First Lady to reside there. According to some, she still does. Because the newly completed East Room was the warmest and driest in the building, Abigail used to hang her wash there. Many have reported seeing her in or near the East Room in the two centuries since, often with her arms outstretched as though still carrying laundry — not the most menacing activity, perhaps, but surely quite the shock when you’re in the middle of a walk-and-talk.

 

2. A Rather Ghostly Rose Garden

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Abigail Adams isn’t the only First Lady who’s said to have taken up permanent residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Dolley Madison, who spent eight years there while her husband James served as President from 1809–1817, helped define the role of a presidential spouse and served as a model for future First Ladies. It would appear she was also quite protective of the Rose Garden. When two landscapers were tasked with moving the famous garden a century later at the behest of First Lady Edith Wilson, they apparently encountered Dolley’s angry ghost and abandoned their plans. The Rose Garden was never moved, and remains in the same spot to this day.

 

3. Harry Truman Hears Three Knocks

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Not even leaders of the free world are immune to the effects of hearing scary sounds at night. Just ask Harry S. Truman, who was awakened by three knocks on his bedroom door at about 4 a.m. one morning in September 1946 and described the experience in a letter to his wife Bess. “I jumped up and put on my bathrobe, opened the door, and no one there,” he wrote. “Went out and looked up and down the hall, looked in your room and Margie’s. Still no one. Went back to bed after locking the doors and there were footsteps in your room whose door I’d left open. Jumped and looked and no one there! The damned place is haunted sure as shootin’. Secret Service said not even a watchman was up here at that hour.” Truman’s letter concluded, “You and [daughter] Margie had better come back and protect me before some of these ghosts carry me off.”

 

4. Mary Todd Lincoln’s Séances

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Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when their 11-year-old son William, often called Willie, died of typhoid fever on February 20, 1862, in the White House. This was doubly tragic, as their son Edward had died about a month before his fourth birthday 12 years earlier. In her grief, Mary Todd began holding séances in the Red Room (some say she held as many as eight of these supernatural gatherings), and she apparently found them to be an effective coping mechanism. “Willie Lives,” she later told her half-sister. “He comes to me every night and stands at the foot of the bed with the same sweet adorable smile that he always has had. He does not always come alone. Little Eddie is sometimes with him.”

 

5. When Churchill Met Lincoln(’s Ghost)

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Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is one of America’s defining historical events, and the trauma lasted long after his death. Our 16th — and, according to many rankings, best — President is the White House’s most famous ghost, having been sighted more than any other spirit. In a way, those sightings include a chilling prophecy Lincoln experienced himself. One evening early in 1865, Lincoln told his close friend Ward Hill Lamon of a troubling dream he’d had a week and a half earlier:

 

I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a deathlike stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs … I arrived at the East Room. Before me was a catafalque [raised platform for a coffin], on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers. ‘The President,’ was his answer. ‘He was killed by an assassin.’”
 

Lincoln was assassinated just a few months later, and sightings of the fallen leader in the room now known as the Lincoln Bedroom began not long after. According to Jared Broach, founder of the ghost tour company Nightly Spirits, “They say Lincoln always comes back whenever he feels the country is in need or in peril. They say he just strides up and down the second-floor hallways and raps on doors and stands by windows.” It isn’t just humans who have felt this presence. Rex Scouten, then the White House curator, said in 1989 that Ronald Reagan’s dog felt comfortable roaming through every room in the White House except the Lincoln Bedroom, where “he’d just stand outside the door and bark.”

 

No less a credible source than Winston Churchill himself reported encountering Lincoln’s ghost in that very room, albeit under different circumstances. He had just stepped out of the bath and was “wearing” nothing but a cigar when he saw the former President by the fireplace. “Good evening, Mr. President,” Churchill reportedly said. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” Indeed he did, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else being so witty in that moment.

 

 

Source: Ghosts in the White House  |  Facts About the White House Ghosts

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https://community.atlasobscura.com/t/what-animal-blows-your-mind/11831Fact of the Day - ALIEN-LIKE CREATURES ON EARTH

 

Did you know... There are Real Animals That Shouldn’t Exist, But Do Anyway
Atlas Obscura readers nominated their favorite unlikely creatures, from pangolin to axolotl. 

by ERIC GRUNDHAUSER | APRIL 19, 2019

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Peacock Mantis Shrimp

 

FOR AS MANY FASCINATING, DOWNRIGHT unbelievable places as there are to explore on our planet, there are just as many, if not far more, mind-blowing animals. Sometimes it can feel like nature is taking its cues from a hyperactive 12-year-old with a big imagination, or that all the alien creatures we need already exist right here on Earth. A deer with long vampire fangs? Sure. A shrimp that punches so hard and fast that the water boils around it? Oh yes, that’s real. How about a pudgy little rodent-like creature with a mouth full of sharp teeth and elephants as its closest relative? Hello, rock hyrax. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers in our Community forums to tell us about the most shocking and unbelievable animals they’d ever heard of, and the responses were both truly insane and delightfully based in reality. Check out some of our favorite bonkers-but-real animals below, and if you know of an another that seems like it can’t even be possible, tell us about it in the forums, and keep the conversation going! No need to look to the shadows for fantastical beasts, the real ones are unbelievable enough as is.

 

Siphonophores

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Colonial organisms, in general, are amazing. It’s like a bunch of organs with specialized functions, all with their own nervous system, got together and decided to be a bigger creature.” — Sluagh

 

Immortal Jellyfish

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“This jellyfish doesn’t mean to brag, but it’s both beautiful and immortal. If it gets sick, or even stressed, it just reverts into it’s younger self so it can get strong and mature again, bouncing between youth and adulthood forever.” — tralfamadore

 

Saber-toothed Deer

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“Hydropotes inermis more people need to know about these saber-toothed deer. When I first saw them, I totally thought they were photoshopped.” — Monedula

 

Blobfish

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“I just can’t get past these guys.” — jonathancarey

 

Philippine Tarsiers

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“I would not be surprised if it was the inspiration for Gizmo from Gremlins (before the change), the Ewoks, or Gollum.” — AnyaPH

 

Shoebill Stork

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“How I lived so long and didn’t, until recently, know such a bird existed is beyond me. Looks like something a child with a big imagination might draw. I really want to see one.” — mbarretdaw

 

Want to know what other animals are most alien -like, click the link below ⬇️

 

 

Source: Real Animals That Should Not Exist

 

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Fact of the Day - SQUIRRELS

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Did you know... Male squirrels get smarter in the fall.
Autumn heralds the arrival of many things: pumpkin pie, crisp morning air, and, apparently, more intelligent rodents. Male squirrels get smarter in the fall due to their hippocampus (a part of the brain involved in memory) increasing in size during the caching season — the time of year when they gather even more nuts than usual. (In an especially adorable move, they stuff their snacks in their cheeks before moving their food to a more permanent storage spot.) Interestingly, female squirrel brains don’t show the same effect; researchers speculate that male squirrel brains may change in the fall to act more like the females’ brains already function all year long. The slightly bigger brains may help male squirrels remember exactly where they’ve stored their nuts, although scientists are still teasing out how. Though we don’t tend to think of squirrels as especially bright, studies have shown that they and other tree-dwelling rodents have evolved larger brains compared to their burrowing counterparts. This all began some 34 million years ago, according to Dr. Ornella Bertrand of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences. There weren’t nearly as many arboreal primates back then, which allowed squirrels’ ancestors to take up residence among the leaves and branches. “When trees became available to them, squirrels’ ancestors seized the opportunity,” Bertrand explains. “This transition was a key evolutionary step for squirrels as it enabled them to acquire larger and more complex brains.” Whether it’s more than mere coincidence that male squirrels get smarter as (human) schools come back to session remains unconfirmed.

 

Squirrels used to be rare in U.S. cities.
Take a walk through just about any park in America and there’s a decent chance you’ll see a squirrel — they’re everywhere. This wasn’t always the case, however, and in fact squirrels used to be a rare sight in many U.S. cities. This changed in the late 19th century, when parks became more common, and urban reformers started releasing squirrels in hopes of creating “a bucolic atmosphere that was entertaining, enlightening, and salubrious,” in the words of one historian. Mission accomplished. Releasing just three squirrels in Philadelphia’s Franklin Square in 1847 led to a boom in their population, and other parks followed suit. There were thought to be more than 1,000 squirrels in New York’s Central Park by 1902, and as of 2020 there were 2,373 — yes, someone counted. (Interesting Facts)

 

Fascinating Facts About Squirrels

In praise of squirrels big and small.

BY ALEXANDRA POPE | January 20, 2016

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Thanks to the Internet, there is a day of recognition for just about anything you can think of, from beavers (April 4th) to tripe (October 24th). On January 21st, the humble squirrel had its day in the sun. The hashtag #SquirrelAppreciationDay trended on Twitter and prompted an outpouring of admiration for the rodents. As squirrel fans ourselves, we thought we’d share a few fun facts about these quirky creatures.

 

1. There are 22 different species of squirrel found in Canada

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Six are tree species, while 16 are ground-dwelling species. A Golden-mantled ground squirrel peeks out from behind a dandelion. (Photo: Michelle Tsoi/CanGeo Photo Club)


2. They are found in every province and territory

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From the Douglas squirrel in the west to the Arctic ground squirrel in Nunavut to the red squirrels introduced in Newfoundland in 1963, sciurids are as Canadian as maple syrup. The Douglas squirrel, a native of the west coast. (Photo: Ron Racine/CanGeo Photo Club)


3. They have multi-purpose tails

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Tree squirrels like the Eastern Grey Squirrel have bushy tails they use to help them balance in high places and as a rudder when jumping from branch to branch. Their tails are also used for warmth in winter and for signaling their mood to other squirrels. An eastern grey squirrel jumps between branches. (Photo: Richard Cooper/CanGeo Photo Club)


4. They are eating machines

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Some species within the Sciuridae family, such as chipmunks and ground squirrels, have pouches in their cheeks to assist with carrying food for storage or consumption. A chipmunk packs its cheek pouches full of nuts and seeds. (Photo: Pamela Beale/CanGeo Photo Club)


5. They come in a wide range of sizes

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The largest squirrels found in Canada are Hoary Marmots, sometimes called “whistle pigs” for the high-pitched sound they make when threatened. Hoary Marmots can be up to 80 centimetres long and weigh six kilograms. The smallest squirrel species in Canada is the chipmunk, which typically weighs only 50 grams. A hoary marmot sunbathes near Hinton, Alberta. (Photo: Garfield Milne/CanGeo Photo Club)


6. They help plant trees

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While they can be a nuisance to gardeners thanks to their fondness for flower bulbs, squirrels play an important role in forest regeneration. As winter approaches, squirrels prepare by burying nuts and seeds to help see them through. Inevitably, some of their stash will be forgotten and germinate in the spring. An eastern grey squirrel in Ottawa. Urban squirrels can be pests, but in forests they play an important role in tree regeneration. (Photo: Valentina Tosheva/CanGeo Photo Club)


7. They are hilarious

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Squirrels are a popular subject for photography — at least among Canadian Geographic Photo Club members — thanks to their curious nature and gravity-defying acrobatics. A red squirrel peeks out from a birdhouse in Val d’amour, NB. (Photo: Rachel Chiasson/CanGeo Photo Club)
 

 

Source: Facts About Squirrels

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Fact of the Day - HORROR MOVIES

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Did you know... There is something enduring about sharing harrowing tales over a campfire or using a friend as a human shield as the undead emerges on the television screen. In controllable doses, horror movies allow us the catharsis of watching our greatest fears manifest on screen right before our eyes. It's comforting to know that we can watch Frankenstein’s monster rise from the operating table, knowing we can just as easily step away and get more popcorn without the threat of a monster lurking in our kitchen. A long way to say, a controlled adrenaline rush is just, plain fun.


Our greatest fears melt into entertainment when we know they aren’t directly happening to us. A genre that has often rested in the periphery of Hollywood and critics' kind eyes, horror has seen quite a few ebbs and flows over the years. Credited by many as one of the earliest horror shorts captured on film, Georges Méliès spins up a frightful tale in “Le Manoir Du Diable” (or “The House of the Devil”, 1896), where Mephistopheles conjures bats, skeletons, and you name it, using a magical cauldron. Horror movies were in play long before the advent of sound in film. Throughout the 1890s and 1900s, a time when filmmakers were unburdened by conventional “scary structure” in movies and tropes, filmmakers began taking their first crack at works from Gothic greats like Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe. (by Kerry at The Film Detective | Oct 25, 2019)

 

Hollywood Movie Monsters and Their Scary Origins

by Interesting Facts

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Undead. Hungry for blood. Centuries-old. Hollywood movie monsters have been keeping audiences awake at night and fearful about turning dark corners for more than seven decades. First popularized on the big screen in the 1930s during the silent-to-sound transition, these iconic black-and-white creations continue to frighten moviegoers and inspire modern updates in film, TV, and beyond. From a blood-thirsty vampire and an oversized ape to a creature lurking from the deep, here are the origins of seven haunting old-school movie monsters.

 

1. Dracula (1931)

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Universal Pictures hesitated before making a Dracula movie. When first presented with the idea in the 1920s, the studio worried about negative audience reactions to a supernatural tale centering around a bloodthirsty vampire. But then a successful play based on Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897) arrived in theaters, and Universal became desperate for a hit. Dracula was greenlit with the intention of placing silent screen superstar Lon Chaney Sr., known as the "Man of a Thousand Faces," in the title role. However, Chaney died in 1930. Bela Lugosi, who'd won over audiences in U.S. theatrical productions of Dracula, was subsequently hired to portray the vampire onscreen. His good looks, Hungarian accent, and ability to carry off a tux and cape (attire that had initially been seen on the stage) helped make the movie a hit.

 

2. Frankenstein (1931)

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Dracula's success prompted Universal to search for another monster movie for Lugosi, now a star. The studio opted for Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley's 1818 book, with Lugosi slated to play Frankenstein's monster, a dead criminal’s body reanimated by science. Lugosi wasn't thrilled about a role that called for his face to be hidden under layers of makeup, but he needn't have been concerned. When James Whale was brought on to direct, he didn't want Lugosi in the part, and instead selected Boris Karloff. The monster's makeup was applied by Jack Pierce, who used his skills to create a flat dome on Karloff's head to reflect the skull surgery the monster would have endured. Other touches, such as neck bolts and shortening the sleeves of Karloff's coat to suggest long arms, resulted in an unforgettable archetype. Paired with Karloff's acting abilities, which communicated the monster's existential pain, this film won over critics and succeeded at the box office.

 

3. The Mummy (1932)

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Universal soon wanted to feature Karloff in another monster movie: The Mummy. Rather than based on a book or play, this movie was partially inspired by the Egypt-mania that overtook the world following the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. The screenplay was penned by a former reporter, John L. Balderston, who'd written about the tomb. The film also spoke to fears of a so-called Curse of Tutankhamun, which had supposedly claimed the lives of several people with ties to the tomb's opening. In the story, an Egyptian priest (Karloff) who was buried alive for trying to resuscitate his dead lover is himself restored to life when someone reads a magical scroll. Karloff appeared onscreen in bandages and in makeup that gave him an ancient, withered face (again thanks to Pierce's skills). The movie, another hit for Karloff and Universal, installed mummies forever in the pantheon of movie monsters.

 

4. King Kong (1933)

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Universal featured many cinematic monsters, but wasn't the only studio to cash in on the phenomenon. In 1933, RKO Pictures wowed moviegoers with a rampaging giant ape known as King Kong. King Kong's beginnings can be traced to Merian Coldwell Cooper filming exotic locations across the globe in the 1920s. His voyages sparked an idea for a movie that would feature a real gorilla in New York City — but then the Great Depression nixed any notion of getting the funds to shoot abroad or transport a gorilla. Cooper found a job at RKO, where he saw Willis O'Brien using stop-motion animation on another film. Cooper and RKO head David O. Selznick believed that this technique could work for a movie about an enormous ape on the loose in New York City. The result, which Cooper co-directed, was the perennially popular King Kong.

 

5. The Wolf Man (1941)

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Universal's Werewolf of London (1935) wasn't a big hit, but the studio eventually decided to try another werewolf film. In The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney Jr. plays Larry Talbot, who returns from America to his family's Welsh estate. He's bitten by a wolf soon after his arrival, which leads to his transformation into the Wolf Man. Screenwriter Curt Siodmak drew on legends of men transforming into destructive wolves, as well as lore that a werewolf emerges during a full moon and can only be killed by silver. The movie's original title was Destiny, to evoke how outside forces can overshadow personal will. Audiences flocked to the film and empathized with the Wolf Man, cursed with an affliction he cannot control.

 

6. Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

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Creature From the Black Lagoon was the last in Universal's old-school era of monster success. The initial idea for the film came from writer and producer William Alland, who in the 1940s heard a tale about a fish-man living in the Amazon and wrote a story treatment in 1952. But it was the look of the monstrous creature that made the film stand out. This was largely conceived by Milicent Patrick, an artist employed by Universal's special effects shop (though her male boss claimed credit at the time). For her creature designs, Patrick studied prehistoric life from the Devonian period, a time 400 million years in the past, when some species were leaving the oceans to live on land. Though it had the option to shoot in color, Universal stuck to black and white for this movie; this cost-saving choice links this monster to earlier ones.

 

7. Gojira (1954) / Godzilla (1956)

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Hollywood wasn't the only place to birth movie monsters. In 1954, Japan's Toho Studios released Gojira, about an ancient reptile who was brutally awakened by a nuclear test. Director Honda Ishiro wanted to make the movie in part due to the devastation wreaked by the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Further inspiration came early in 1954, when crew members of a Japanese fishing vessel got radiation sickness due to a nuclear test. Gojira, his name a combination of the Japanese words for whale ("kujira") and gorilla ("gorira"), was embraced by Japanese audiences. The film was re-edited for its U.S. release. Scenes were added in which Raymond Burr played an American reporter following the story of this monster, but this version erased any message about the dangers of nuclear weapons and testing. Gojira was given a new name as well, becoming Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

 

 

Source: A Brief History of Horror in Golden Age Hollywood  |  Hollywood Movie Monster Origins

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - COUNT VON COUNT

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Did you know... In European folklore, vampires were thought to have a compulsion to count — which inspired the Count on “Sesame Street.”
Humans have long blamed the supernatural for life’s mysteries; take, for example, vampires, the bloodthirsty creatures that supposedly seek out the living as prey. Many modern depictions of vampires make a mockery of these undead characters, relegating them to YA novels and Halloween costumes, but for hundreds of years — perhaps even thousands, starting with the Egyptians — vampires were feared figures believed to prey on families or entire villages. Some historians believe the vampire myth endured because it was an easy way to explain disease outbreaks or unexpected deaths. These fears, echoed by cultures around the world, are why so many communities developed methods to ward off the undead, including hanging garlic bulbs around their homes and laying to rest family members in vampire-proof graves

 

But there’s another way to escape the clutches of these undead monsters: making them count. According to European lore, vampires suffer from arithmomania, the uncontrollable urge to count or calculate numbers. That’s why many Europeans once scattered seeds or grain on their floors before tucking into bed at night, hoping to distract any intruding vampires by triggering their counting compulsion. Some Slavic fishing communities also draped nets on their homes, believing that vampires would stop to count the holes. It’s unclear why vampires would have a tendency to tally, but the idea has lived on with Sesame Street’s Count von Count, the purple-hued vampire who helps children learn their numbers. Inspired by the lore, Sesame Street writer Norman Stiles created the iconic Muppet in the early 1970s based on actor Bela Lugosi’s 1931 cinematic depiction of Count Dracula. The count made his Sesame Street debut on the show’s fourth season in 1972, slowly morphing from a spooky character to the friendly, number-loving Muppet he is today.

 

The U.S. had a series of “vampire panics” in the 19th century.
The Salem Witch Trials are likely the most studied epidemic of fear in early America, but it wasn’t just suspicion of witches that kept New Englanders up at night. Some 200 years after the witch trials’ horrid end, residents along the East Coast experienced a new wave of fear that was later deemed the Great New England Vampire Panic. Around the 1880s, communities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont were hit hard with a mysterious illness that slowly drained energy from the sick until they succumbed to the disease. Theories swirled about the mysterious deaths, and in the frenzy, panicked New Englanders attributed the illness to the supernatural — specifically vampires. Soon, towns began performing odd rituals at cemeteries to keep vampires at bay. As science progressed, anti-vampire events slowly died off; today we know the deaths involved in the Great New England Vampire weren’t due to vampires at all, but simply a widespread tuberculosis outbreak. (Interesting Facts)

 

Five fun facts about my favorite data science mascot

by Bonnie Barrilleaux | Published Aug 28, 2019

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Do you have a team mascot? We do: it's Count Von Count, a vampire who likes to count things, from the children's TV show Sesame Street. In case the rationale isn't apparent, let me spell it out: data scientists love to count things. I do remember the Count fondly from my childhood, although I was more of a Snuffleupagus girl as a kid. While I have to admit I initially pushed for the lemur as our team mascot (because all of our distributions have a very long tail...), I've come around to the Count and actually I'm quite a fan these days. Here are a few fun facts you might not have realized about the Count and his number obsession. Of course, we will count them.

 

1. Fact number one!

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The Count suffers from arithmomania, or compulsive counting. In European folklore, vampires often suffer from arithmomania; you can protect yourself from them by throwing rice on the ground, because they'll feel compelled to count all the grains before attacking you. Thus, a vampire who counts things is actually historically accurate, in addition to sharing a favorite hobby with data scientists.
 

2. Fact number two!

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He has a favorite number: 34,969, which happens to be 187^2, or 11^2 x 17^2. Very square. I suspect that many data scientists also have a favorite number. Mine is 1729, the Hardy-Ramanujan number. What's yours?
 

3. Fact number three!

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You can follow the Count on Twitter, where he only tweets numbers. No word on when he's planning to set up a LinkedIn profile.
 

4. Fact number four!

 

The Count only has four fingers on each hand, leading me to wonder if he prefers counting in octal rather than decimal. How tragic, to be an octal numberphile trapped in a decimal world.
 

5. Fact number five!

 

The Count has been counting things for almost 50 years, since his first appearance on Sesame Street in 1972. The term "data science" was first used in 1974, making it about the same age as the Count.
 

Five facts; one, two, three, four, five, ha-ha-ha.

 

Disclaimer: As usual with my fact posts, please do not take it as gospel since I get my info via the Internet.

 

 

Source: Facts About Count Von Count  |  Fun Facts About Count Von Count

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