The Coin of the Realm — and Something Extra

Mongolia talking JFK 500 coin Palau holy water silver dollar
₮500 Mongolian coin (upper right) and the $1 Palau silver dollar (lower left)

Everyone likes money because of the value it has in itself. Coin collectors like certain kinds of money because of its rarity or historical value. Every once in a while currency comes around that is just plain fun.

In 2007 the nation of Mongolia chose to honor US President John F. Kennedy because of his role in the creation of the Peace Corps. The government produced a limited edition ₮500 coin (five hundred Tugrik is worth approximately 20¢ in US dollars) with JFK’s image and a tiny button that, when pressed, plays a recording of Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

The next year the Pacific island nation of Palau chose to honor the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes with a special edition silver dollar. Each of the dollars contains a tiny vial of holy water from Lourdes, France.

Tooth Fairy Budget Grows by an Arm and a Leg

how much does the Tooth Fairy pay per tooth?

Where does the Tooth Fairy get all that money she leaves under children’s pillows? The original source of that wealth remains a mystery, but the evidence suggests that she keeps it invested in the U.S. stock market. Continue reading

The Ultimate Rental House Fixer-Upper

White House Truman renovation

As President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, played the piano one day, she was startled as one leg of the piano suddenly dropped through the floor of the White House residential level. Engineers were called in to see what was going on, and the report was nothing short of alarming.

Continue reading

For the Fanatical Big Game Hunters

Vernal, Utah Dinosaur hunting permit

If you like hunting, and big game is your thing, you might consider a real challenge and try for that mounted Tyrannosaurus Rex head on your wall. Before you load your gun and put on your camouflage hunting gear, be sure that you perform all of the legal requirements. At the top of the list is making sure you have a valid hunting license. Continue reading

Ben Franklin Needed a Sarcasm Sign

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a joke

Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.

For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.

The problem is that he wasn’t really being serious.  Continue reading

Royal Bill Referral

Calvin Coolidge send bill to King of England

President Calvin Coolidge was forced to move out of the White House in 1927 for six months so extensive remodeling and repairs could take place. In the course of the repairs, the architect showed the president the extreme damage that had occurred to the rafters when the White House was burned by British troops during the War of 1812.

The architect insisted that the rafters be replaced and asked whether the new rafters should be wood or steel beams. Coolidge was notoriously thrifty but ultimately decided in favor of the more durable option. He justified the extra expense, declaring, “All right. Put in the steel beams and send the bill to the King of England.”

Boller, P. F. (2007). Presidential Anecdotes (p. 244). Philadelphia: Running Press.