Monday, September 20, 2010


When Charles II returned to the English throne in 1660, John Milton’s crony Oliver Cromwell lost his fortune after being imprisoned and heavily fined for crimes against the state. The only reason Milton escaped with his head was because he was going blind, which the good king kindly looked upon as divine retribution

Cheesecake was invented in Ancient Greece and served to athletes at the very first Olympic Games

Jim Henson said he made the first Kermit out of his mom’s old coat and used Ping-Pong balls for eyes  (Pictured below is the famous frog as he is familiar to people today)

People in the US didn’t always say “hello” when they answered the phone. When the first regular phone service was established in 1878, people said “ahoy”

A substance called Ambergris, found in the ocean or on the coast and originating in the intestines of sperm whales, was a main ingredient for many popular perfumes (it has an earthy scent) until about 60 years ago

During the year 1881, three men served as President of the United States: Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur

The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest continuously occupied public (and municipal) building in the United States -  It was built in 1610

The French Kiss isn’t from France; it’s actually a slur against the nation. In the 1920s, the English derided the French as the kind of people who’d go around sticking their tongues where they didn’t belong

The longest jellyfish on record measured 160 feet, more than half the length of a football field

In 1944, as a WWII war correspondent, Ernest Hemingway led Free French resistance fighters in the defense of the town of Rambouillet, an act for which he was almost tried under the Geneva Conventions

Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics — while running the marathon barefoot! He repeated the feat four years later, this time wearing shoe

The “mystery flavor” Dum-Dum Pop is truly random. The Spangler Candy Company combines the last of their flavorings at the end of a production run to turn out lollipops of mixed (and mysterious) flavors

Three months after Charlie Chaplin died his corpse was stolen by two Swiss mechanics in order to extort money from the family. The robbers were captured and Chaplin’s body was found eleven weeks later. To prevent further attempts, he was reburied under concrete

The highest temperature ever recorded on earth was a searing 136° F. The scorcher occurred in Al Aziziyah, Libya on September 13, 1922

Tuesday is the most popular day of the week for giving birth. Part of that factor has nothing to do with Nature and everything to do with hospital staffing since elective C-sections and induced labors are often scheduled during traditional working hours

In 2005, at least 2.5 million American drivers aged 85 or older had valid drivers licenses

In 2000, not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States

Since weightlessness causes the spine to expand and straighten, astronauts may measure up to two inches taller in space than they do on Earth

Chewing gum does burn off calories, but it would take two weeks of continuous chewing to burn off the equivalent of one pound of fat

The original Magna Carta has been lost. But about 17 copies dating from 1297 or earlier survive, including one in the private collection of former US presidential-candidate Ross Perot

While its popularity in America is fairly recent, margarine dates back to 1860s France, when Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a prize to anyone who could design a cheap butter substitute

In 1916, an elephant named Mary was executed by hanging in Erwin, Tennessee, for killing her circus trainer. It was decided to hang her after they exhausted the possibilities of firing squad, electrocution and dismemberment by train engines  (Pictured below onlookers witness Mary being hanged (center) with the elephant dangling from the end of the crane)

Montana is the only U.S. state that borders three different Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan)

Napoleon's nemesis, the Duke of Wellington, was an accomplished yo-yo player. At that time, the yo-yo was known as a "bandalore"

Seeing another person yawn makes it likely that you will yawn yourself. Thinking about, even reading about yawning can set you off

A female lawyer from Puri, India, in her mid-30s told The Times of India in July that she recently underwent gender-reassignment surgery in part to avoid the male-female marriage that her parents were arranging for her: "I did not want a family life which is being forced on girls in our society"

James Burden, 55, was convicted of indecent exposure in Scotland's Falkirk Sheriff Court in June based on a March incident when a neighbor looked out her window before dawn and saw Burden, naked, smoking a cigarette, and masturbating while bouncing on her family's outdoor trampoline. Burden said he did not know anyone would be watching at that hour 

In New Zealand's Auckland District Court in June, Judge Mary Beth Sharp dismissed an elderly male juror from a trial involving sexual abuse because the man disclosed, under questioning, that he had worn a condom under his clothes in the jury box because the testimony was making him aroused 

Scot Davis, 52, was charged with robbing the All in the Family bar in Des Moines, Iowa, in March. Davis, a contractor who is friends with bartender Gladys York, had spent the evening at the bar passing out business cards before leaving. Said York, when Davis re-appeared carrying a .22-caliber rifle and demanding money, "Scot, What the (expletive)?" Said an officer, "This is not the hardest case our detectives have ever had to investigate"

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